Apartment of the Future, Small but Perfectly Formed

Minimalist-living advocate Graham Hill’s 350-square-foot LifeEdited 2 may be the smartest space in Soho.

In parts of the country that aren’t New York City, there is a growing trend called the Tiny House Movement, wherein people take inordinate pride in occupying outrageously small but fully functional domiciles. Living small is hardly a novel concept for New Yorkers, so it takes something pretty special to stand out in a city where kitchens once had bathtubs and fire escapes doubled as spare bedrooms. Apartment 33 at 150 Sullivan Street is just such a place. In an unassuming red-brick walkup, it’s an L-shaped urban riff on the Tiny House Movement: compact even by Soho studio standards but overflowing with innovation.

The home—newly listed by Corcoran agent Jerrie Butler—is the brainchild of Graham Hill, the journalist founder of TreeHugger.com and a vocal proponent of the less-is-more approach to planetary habitation. It’s a sequel to his original concept co-op, a 420-square-foot pad in the same building called LifeEdited, created in 2012 and sold in 2014 for $790,000. At 350 square feet, LifeEdited 2 is even smaller than its predecessor but no less accommodating. The main room—the only room, if we’re being completely honest—transforms from a comfy parlor to a dining space with seating for 10, and morphs again into a sleeping zone with a queen-size Murphy bed, blessed with air and light from east and west exposures. There’s a windowed food-prep nook and even a “guest room” for two, with a curtain and an accordion wall to carve out a modicum of privacy. The whole apartment operates like a big spatial-reasoning puzzle—ottoman slides here, tabletop lifts there, bed folds like that.

Hill demonstrates one of Apartment 33’s many neat tricks: A living room that transforms into a dining room with space at the table for 10. (Christopher Testani for LifeEdited)

Naturally, LE2 is packed to its Big Ass fan with cutting-edge domestic technology, including motorized window blinds, purifiers for air and water, LED lighting, an app-controlled thermostat, a smart door lock, and a live-streaming security camera. The kitchen is decked out with a full array of top-line appliances—a little stove, a little dishwasher, and a slender fridge—and there’s a surprisingly broad fold-down standing desk that transforms the in-quotes guest room into an in-quotes home office. And there’s a little loo, too, done up beautifully with gray penny tile and high-tech Lithoverde recycled marble. And throughout—in nooks, crannies, cabinets, and cubbies—are clever storage solutions: for clothes and shoes, pots and pans, and remote controls for all the remote-controllable bits.

In his 2011 TED talk, “Less Stuff, More Happiness,” Graham Hill extolls the virtues of “life editing,” a process whereby we consider the footprint of our lives—our living spaces, our possessions, or financial obligations. When we trim the excess, he argues, we become happier humans. Apartment 33 is the extreme expression of this philosophy. It’s a space that will require its purchasers to attack their lives with an unsentimental red pen, to identify the essential and offload the unnecessary. Or, because this is New York, they could always just sublet it to someone who will.