More than 10 million viewers tuned in to HGTV’s tiny-house shows this year. There’s a Tiny House magazine, at least two documentaries and countless blogs about tiny-house living.
“Part of the surprise is that it has resonated with urban viewers — the majority of whom are already living in tiny spaces,” said John Feld, senior vice president of programming and production at HGTV.
And while tiny studios are common in NYC, 1987 zoning restrictions meant new-build apartments could be no smaller than 400 square feet. But in 2012, a waiver was passed allowing for one building of “micro-units,” measuring between 260 and 360 square feet. The ribbon on those 55 units was officially cut in October.
These four tiny-home dwellers in the New York area show that better doesn’t always mean bigger.
COZY ABOVE THE PARK
Linda, 69, and Jack Sproule, 71, gave up 1,900 square footage for one luxury amenity: a view of Central Park.
The couple owned a home in Old Chatham, NY, for 14 years. But in 2002, Jack got a job as a private school administrator in Manhattan, and the empty-nesters decided to move. And downsize.
They landed in a 320-square-foot apartment at 230 Central Park West. The pad’s one large window looks onto trees, which are reflected in a wall of mirrored cabinets.
“We built the apartment around the need for storage,” said Jack. That meant a Murphy bed that folds down over the sofa and stowing the TV inside a closet.
The Sproules say compromise is key when living in one room. If only one of them wants to watch TV, the other dons headphones or might decamp to the building’s roof deck.
Nick Koridis paid less for his home than many New Yorkers shell out for a down payment.
The 28-year-old stagehand spent $28,000 for a 125-square-foot mobile cabin.
“What got me into it was the financial freedom. I didn’t want to put my money into renting,” he said.
In May, Koridis moved the cottage to a leased acre of land about a 15-minute drive from Port Jefferson, LI. Under his peaked roof, he sleeps in a loft that fits a queen-size mattress and is accessible by a staircase, which acts as extra seating and even a standing desk.
But there are a few sacrifices he had to make: “My beer-brewing stuff is still at my parents’. ”