A Transformable, Space-Saving Basement Apartment in NYC


The image of a small basement apartments conjures up visuals of dark, dank spaces most of us would probably rather avoid. What architect Martin Hopp has done to this 720-square-foot apartment in Chelsea is pretty miraculous, proving not all basement spaces are equal. Despite its limited square footage, Hopp uses white and created clever space-saving elements that make the most of every square inch.

interior view of small apartment with white walls and cabinets and wood floors

The all-white living room benefits from built-in seating and cabinets providing lots of storage space. A dining table pivots out from a row of cabinets aligning it with one of the banquet seats.

interior view of small apartment with white walls and cabinets and wood floors with white table and bench

angled interior view of small apartment with view into kitchen with man

Despite its lack of windows, the interior is bright thanks to the white surfaces and hidden lights. Folding doors help section off the living room from the rest of the apartment for added privacy.

angled interior view of small apartment with white cabinets and potted greenery

interior view of apartment bedroom with white furnishings

The small bedroom still feels spacious with everything hidden behind custom minimalist storage.

angled interior view of dark wood hallway looking to light bathroom in background

In the private areas of the apartment, wood paneling covers the walls and ceiling for a uniform look. Hidden lighting runs along both sides of the ceiling in the hallway to keep it lit without fixtures.

interior view of wooden hallway with sliding doors open and bed folded out by shelves

The hallway hides a compact space that houses storage and a Murphy bed that folds down for overnight guests.

interior view of wooden hallway with sliding doors open and bed folded out by shelves

interior view of wooden hallway with sliding doors open and small desk folded down in front of shelves

When the bed is folded up, the space can be used as an office.

interior view of modern bathroom with L-shaped wood shelves with backlights

At the end of the hallway is the lone bathroom which features backlit wood shelving which makes it feel bright, as if there was a window in there.

exterior view looking down small staircase to apartment entrance

The apartment’s entrance is down a few stairs which are protected by a wooden fence filled with potted plants.

floor plan of apartment

floor plan of apartment

Photos by Fei Liu.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.



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