Tiny Origami apartment in Manhattan unfolds into 4 rooms

In 2005, third-grade-teacher Eric Schneider bought as big as an apartment as he could afford in Manhattan. He paid $235,000 for a 450-square-foot studio with a tiny kitchen.

Then he let architects Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects design a way to pack more density into his small space.

In order to fit more apartment in a small footprint, they created an object that’s bigger than furniture, but smaller than architecture and that morphs with the changing activities of a day.

It’s a large, blue, oversized cabinet that houses all of the walls/bed/tables/shelving/closets needed for at least 4 full-sized rooms.

By continuing to unfold, or fold differently, Schneider can create a bedroom with accompanying built-in nightstand and closets, but an office plus library, a guest bedroom, and a living room. Or close it up entirely and simply flip down the small bar and the room becomes entertaining space for a dozen.

The Normal Projects architects called their creation the Unfolding Apartment, though given Schneider’s affinity for the Japanese sense of space (he spent his first year post-college living and teaching in Japan), it could as easily be called the Origami Apartment.

In total, Schneider spent $70,000 total remodeling his new apartment and this includes not just the cabinet, but the bathroom renovation, all cabinetry, kitchen appliances, furniture and dishes.

In this video, Chen shows us his custom cabinet of rooms and Schneider unfolds a few of his favorite configurations: his bedroom (& closet/changing room), office (& library), guest bedroom, kitchen, dining bar, living room and lounge.

Normal Projects/Michael Chen Architecture:

Original story here:


  1. Very well doneπŸ†. I've seen pull out drawers that pop up after it's pulled out. Good to put sewing machines or Bread Mixers there, or whateverπŸ‘

  2. That's not even "tiny" though. That's a decent sized place for one person. My brother lives in a place smaller than that and my place isn't much bigger. We live in L.A. and rent is expensive here too, but we've never lived anywhere else so we do what we can to get by.

  3. The design and architecture are beautiful; almost like a sculptural space. And you definitely need to work your muscles whenever you want to do something, which makes you more purposeful if this is your intention, to begin with.

  4. Wow. Really takes my appreciation of what I have to a whole new level. I live in New Zealand and, to my knowledge, we don't have small makeshift apartments like this. I'm glad it floats your boat, but this stuff makes me uncomfortable. I could never live like this.
    They've got a much better place than the video I came from where the dude lives in a 70 odd square foot shoebox and has to share his bathroom with three other 'apartments'.

  5. People pick these spaces because living in new York is high as fuck my rent is 3k a month studios can run you between 1600 to 2k depending on the Borough that you are in. People live here for convenience why many new Yorkers. don't know how to drive because they never needed cars living here. everything is outside a couple mins away. But for me I'm leaving new York high rent isn't for me. Ownership is important

  6. i watched many of these tiny New York closet apartment videos and this tiny apartment is by far the best thing i have ever seen. it's so beautiful and is something i would love to live in for a long period of time 😊

  7. I live in a studio in Brooklyn and it's really quite big. I liked when you said, bringing things in just because you want them or just because you can have them. I cannot do stuff like you guys because I'm pretty poor. I love my studio and that's all I need. A brand new roof over my head with, believe it or not, a full kitchen. Less to clean and it keeps me safe. Great video. I'm a little envious but in a good way.πŸ’ž

  8. I hope nobody next door builds over that lot line window.

    This space seems reasonable for a bachelor. Everything you need (I'd mount the biggest TV I could get up the stairs to that wall opposite the settee) and less to fuss over. He didn't show us the bathroom though. I saw a photo of him with what's presumably his girlfriend (who presumably lives elsewhere lol) and I'm thinking that bed looks too flimsy for sex? Also I bet the rent is like 5000 Dollars a month at least :-/

  9. I really really love the idea of living in a tiny space like this.
    But I wanted to have a yard for my kids to run around in safely and garden.
    Perhaps this is something that is only possible for single person or a couple, or… maybe a family of 3… at the most.

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