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 Post subject: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Apparently there is a trend in certain areas to revitalize older, established buildings into apartments, some of these deemed micro-apartments.

I ran across an article about this one in downtown Providence, RI but apparently they are few cities looking at them. The big draw seems to have small apartments for young urbanites.
http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/find-yo ... n-the-mall

I was totally on board with this until I read that your cooking appliance was a microwave, no stove, no oven and really not much room to add something other than maybe a single electric burner to your kitchen. That doesn't mean all micro-apartments are like that.

Here is another article on a proposal for micro-apartments in Denver.
http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dy ... on-denver/

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:03 pm 
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Kinda love it as a building reuse idea.

If I lived by myself, I think they'd be really appealing to me. The
no stove thing is crappy but it looks like there's enough counterspace for a toaster oven and a hot plate... Which, while not ideal, would probably get me by.

(As a total aside, I'm sometimes kind of blown away by how much real estate prices have increased in my lifetime. My dad used to rent an entire 3 bedroom house for not much more per month than one of the Providence micro apartments.)

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:07 pm 
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at least in providence these apartments will be affordable; in new york i've seen 200 to 300 square feet and no kitchen go for $1,000 a month and be considered a catch. i can't imagine living without a kitchen, but i know people who don't cook at all and are really only in their apartments to sleep.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:24 pm 
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Add a shared kitchen on the same floor and you're not too far off from a college dorm. Which should be nice and familiar to the demographic they are marketing these to. Having your own bathroom would even be a step up!

I live in a 450 sq ft apartment though, and it is not at all considered micro. Just a small apartment, which has a fully functioning kitchen with a four burner stove and small convection oven. I share it with my partner.


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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:31 pm 
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They're very cute, but this would not work for me in this universe or any recognizable alternate universe.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:36 pm 
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I could do it, and it would probably even be good for me--I have a strong tendency to only clean within arm's reach of my bed.

But it already happens in New York, where micro-apartments are known as 'apartments'.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:42 pm 
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i lived in a 200 square foot apartment, but it wasn't fancy at all. It was cute, but from those pictures it looks like a lot of space is wasted trying to make everything look modern. My apartment was a studio (obvs) one big room and a bathroom. and the kitchen was against the back wall. Here's a pic:

Image

if i had this apartment today, i'd probably get a real couch and a tv against the wall, so i wasn't watching tv on my computer with cords everywhere.

anyway, it didn't seem micro to me. it was a good size.

and my bed is right on the other side of the couch.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:42 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
They're very cute, but this would not work for me in this universe or any recognizable alternate universe.


You would immediately suffocate and/or be crushed by your books.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:53 pm 
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I don't think I have a picture of it but the smallest place I lived was the last 3 years of college, I lived in a trailer on campus (somehow my college had a trailer park, go UC).

It was about 200 sq ft, maybe even smaller. It had 2 built in slightly smaller than twin beds, a tiny bathroom with tiny shower, a tiny fridge, tiny oven/stove and I had room for a futon and a desk. It also had some storage, a little bit in the kitchen, 2 small clothing closets and storage under the twin beds. It worked for me considering I had no car, I had no money and my school was in a very expensive area.

I think one thing they are doing in the micro apartments is trying to maximize your storage so they do have some wasted space but seems to have a lot of storage for such a tiny space.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Cool idea, but I'm slightly confused as to how 225-450 sq ft is "micro". I live in a ~350-400 square foot studio (http://cl.ly/image/0k0W230P1e3S) and it has a proper kitchen and would be completely liveable with plenty of free space even with a roommate.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Maybe because they are 1 bedrooms or more? the 450 sq ft is a 3 bedroom apartment.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:07 pm 
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linanil wrote:
I don't think I have a picture of it but the smallest place I lived was the last 3 years of college, I lived in a trailer on campus (somehow my college had a trailer park, go UC).


Was that Santa Cruz? If not, UCSC has one too.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:08 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
linanil wrote:
I don't think I have a picture of it but the smallest place I lived was the last 3 years of college, I lived in a trailer on campus (somehow my college had a trailer park, go UC).


Was that Santa Cruz? If not, UCSC has one too.


No, Irvine, they got rid of it though, it is now a parking lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:16 pm 
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Wen I moved to Washington, D.C. I lived in 300 sq ft for $650 a month and that was an amazing deal. It was a cute studio, but the area was really dangerous at the time. It was perfect for a single person and I loved that apartment.


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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:52 pm 
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linanil wrote:
solipsistnation wrote:
linanil wrote:
I don't think I have a picture of it but the smallest place I lived was the last 3 years of college, I lived in a trailer on campus (somehow my college had a trailer park, go UC).


Was that Santa Cruz? If not, UCSC has one too.


No, Irvine, they got rid of it though, it is now a parking lot.

I remember the trailer park! I parked there once it was turned into a lot. I always wanted to live there.

I like the idea of a micro apartment. I don't think I'd want to live in one though unless most of it was kitchen space.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:06 pm 
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I like the idea and the apartment, I just have too much stuff (that I really don't need anyway). I think it would be refreshing to just have a small space and not have to worry about having a ton of stuff or cleaning a larger space.


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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:21 pm 
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I lived in an apartment that was less than 200 sf (final year of my undergrad in Montreal - $200/mo!). I quite liked it, and while cooking was a bit weird with my bedroom IN the kitchen, it served me well.

Until recently, I lived in a 300 sf studio in San Francisco. People thought it was small, but I quite liked it and can't see myself needing all that much more space. Now that I'm living in a (shared) 2.5 bedroom house, I honestly don't know what to do with all the space. I work from home and feel like a penny rattling around in a tin can all day. It's nice to have the space, but I have to make an effort to actually use it.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:29 pm 
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I'm pretty sure my cats would mutiny at the lack of rumpus space.


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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:39 pm 
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The one in Providence says they don't allow any pets. I'm kind of surprised they wouldn't say up to 2 cats or something. I could see dogs being a potential issue but cats?

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:12 pm 
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I wish I could have a micro that was only kitchen and then like a bed in it. I had fantasies about trying to extend my kitchen in my condo out into the living room but the walls made it awkward. I need kitchen space and that's it.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:26 pm 
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I could see living in one if I was single, and maybe willing to weed my book collection back a bit.

That photo of downtown Denver in front of Union station is weird. What is there now is far more lovely, why are they drawing it like there are some gaudy glass and steel skyscrapers in front of it?


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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:51 pm 
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As I sit here at my gigantic, L-shaped, totally hard wood office desk/cabinet set up all I can think is.... no. So much no.

Maybe if I wasn't married and had no pets and could afford to go out to places.

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:05 pm 
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I think it's really weird that these apartments have no stove but have a microwave AND A DISHWASHER. Ok, I get that lots of young people don't ever cook for themselves and a lot of what people feed themselves is microwave food, but I'd way rather have a stove, which could easily be a small efficiency sized stove, than a dishwasher. I have also lived in plenty of places with no microwave. (I think we don't have one right now at my apartment? But now I'm not sure...)

I shared a one bedroom apartment with a partner for almost a year that was probably about 300 sq ft. Everything was nicely sized for us except the kitchen, which in addition to being about the size of a large closet was awkwardly laid out so that two people could technically fit in there, but you couldn't really walk past each other. We still hosted big weekly brunches there though. I would have preferred the kitchen being open to the living room and having space to move around it, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:03 pm 
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electric_claire wrote:
I think it's really weird that these apartments have no stove but have a microwave AND A DISHWASHER. Ok, I get that lots of young people don't ever cook for themselves and a lot of what people feed themselves is microwave food, but I'd way rather have a stove, which could easily be a small efficiency sized stove, than a dishwasher.


I suspect it's to give you a place to put dirty dishes so you don't have to wash them immediately and don't take up valuable counter space by stacking them or having a place to dry them. With that little counterspace and that tiny sink, it would be very easy for dirty dishes to get out of control...

Plus, you could get a toaster oven instead of a microwave and take care of many (if not most) baking needs. It makes sense to me.

Tiny apartments are cool and hip in the US, but in Hong Kong they're the norm, and I fear that this is the direction micro-apartments in the US will head:

http://www.businessinsider.com/hong-kon ... 013-2?op=1

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 Post subject: Re: Micro-apartments, seems like a good idea?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:35 pm 
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I always think it's a good idea to re-use, re-purpose or otherwise perform an adaptive re-use on an unused building. From an environmental standpoint it saves countless resources when compared to building something new, which usually results in the loss of green space on top of the drain of raw materials. It also preserves the fabric of the neighborhood.

However what goes into such re-purposed building has to be beneficial to the neighborhood. Micro apartments are primarily designed for one person, particularly a young person who doesn't have a lot of stuff. I think that a lot of these apartments are going to essentially become transient housing, in the sense that people stay in them for a short period of time before moving onto something else, which may or may not be in a different area. They don't cater to the elderly, or to families, and thus foster no sense of permanence within the neighborhood.

I tend to feel that they are an interesting design problem, but in terms of urban planning something that should be limited. As some noted they are essentially one step above dorm rooms.

The square footages seems comparable to studios, however in modern condo lingo, that 250 square feet includes the walls and 6" past that into the adjoining apartment, into outside, plumbing chases, etc. So these newer 250 square feet apartments are actually a lot smaller in terms of usable space then your pre-war 250 square foot studio, whose square footage doesn't include wall thickness.

I think I would like to see these buildings have a mix of small and medium and large apartments. Neighborhoods that thrive are neighborhoods that offer a variety of different housing mediums at different income levels. When someone is willing to pay $1,000 a month (rent) on a teeny apartment in a not so great neighborhood, the person living with their spouse and kids in a larger, older, apartment who pays less than $1,000, gets forced out because now the landlord will rent that apartment to three younger people for $2500 or more. Look what happened to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Yea it's nicer (if you like that sort of nicer), but a lot of people also had to move out of someplace they lived for decades. Now it's too expensive, and too over populated, and the local businesses can't afford the rent. which mean large chains which can will move in.

I also have to question discouraging home cooking in a nation with a rising obesity problem.


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