Living with a roommate is pretty common in New York City, but what happens when two people decide to share a studio apartment? That's the conundrum Adam Finkelman and his roommate faced when they moved into a 0-bedroom loft in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn last year as a way to save money while still living in a neighborhood they liked. While others might have divvied up the space with some makeshift IKEA curtain "walls", the resourceful roomies went an extra step and converted their new home into a 2-bedroom that optimizes their space for the activities that are most important to them. Read on to see how they did it!
“When we stumbled upon our current place in Boerum Hill, it was really just an empty rectangular studio space with a tiny kitchen and a bathroom (see the original plan) on one end, however there were a lot of windows,” Finkelman told us. “After taking a hard look at it, we concluded that there was roughly 7′ between each of the far windows (just enough to fit a bed). We figured that we could squish too very tiny bedrooms in the back of the studio and that would allow us to have a large living room and space to expand the kitchen.”
Finkelman, who has his own design build company called Yorkwood Co., describes his initial experience in the apartment as “a lot like camping.” “With no bedrooms, we placed our beds where they would eventually reside and slept on the floor,” he explained. “After a few weeks, we had built frames and lofted our beds up in the air, but we still had no walls. Next, we framed the walls to our rooms with wood studs. Finally, after about a month we insulated and sheetrocked these walls and our rooms really started to take form. Later we installed doors, windows, stairs, desks, etc.”
Once they were done with the bedrooms in the 700 sq. ft. apartment, the pair began work on the kitchen where they removed the existing shelves, the Formica countertops, the sink basin, and the faucet. They then installed butcher block countertops, a larger sunken sink and an industrial faucet. Finally, they reinstated the old shelves at a new height along with new stainless steel shelves and a custom dish-drying rack.
“We were trying to salvage as much building materials as possible in order to cut down on construction costs,” Finkelman said. “Living in Boerum Hill there were so many brownstone renovations ongoing in our neighborhood that we found all additional doors and windows we needed for the project on the curb nearby. We cleaned them, repainted them, and installed them. The blue, white, and brown wood used over our beds, on our desks, and on our stairs was also salvaged from another loft in Tribeca. As a result of us putting in all of the labor ourselves, and salvaging much of the material for the project we did the entire renovation for roughly one months rent each.”