A 700 Square Foot NYC Loft vs. a Washington, D.C. Duplex


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During my most recent apartment search, I was obsessed with square footage — namely how to get more of it. But as I toured one-bedrooms the size of two closets and surprisingly spacious studios, I began to realize that more space is great, but what really matters is how that square footage is laid out. To take this curiosity to the next level, I’ve been comparing and contrasting the varying layouts of homes with the same square footage.

In this case, I’m looking at a recently sold one-bedroom duplex condo in Washington, D.C., and an exposed brick loft in New York’s Lower East Side. Both are splendid homes, and both are exactly 700 square feet — but let’s take a closer look at the layout.

How 700-Square-Feet Is Laid Out in a Washington, D.C. One-Bedroom

Though it’s a one-bedroom unit, this Washington, D.C. home just feels bigger having two floors. On the main level, you’ll find a charming studio-like setup: Hardwood floors and recessed lighting are the bright backdrop for the open living and dining area. That also encompasses the kitchen, which serves up a huge marble-topped island (which doubles as a barstool breakfast bar), maple cabinets, and stainless steel appliances.

Tucked behind the spiral staircase, there’s a nook for a work-from-home setup, writing desk, or reading chair, rounding out a room that takes care of pretty much everything you need to do at home — besides sleep.

For that, wind up the spiral staircase to the upper level. There, the footprint contains a large, carpeted bedroom with a fireplace; a nice walk-in closet; a full bath made to feel spacious with a pedestal sink, large mirror, and white tiling; and a covetable in-unit washer and dryer.

That’s not technically it for living space, though. Not only is there a massive shared rooftop (complete with a grill and sink) for all building residents to use, but the duplex also has its own private balcony. Just off the living area on the main level, step through the glass door to a spacious outdoor refuge, enclosed on three sides by brick walls, so you can enjoy some shade and privacy while sipping your morning matcha.

How 700-Square-Feet Is Laid Out in a NYC Loft

On the other hand, 230 miles northeast near the border of New York’s Chinatown, is another 700-square-foot home, which uses the space entirely differently. Rather than split across two levels, this home is all on one, and since it’s a loft almost everything is in one room.

In the main living area, oak floors stained a deeper hue gleam under the spotlights installed between the exposed wooden beams that stripe that ceiling 10-plus feet above. Four huge windows line one exposed brick wall, bringing in plenty of natural light. The layout is completely up to the owner, but there is more than enough space for a sectional sofa, dining table fit for festive dinner parties, and a big desk, bar area, plant wall, or whatever else makes you feel at home.

Slightly dropped ceilings define the kitchen, making it feel like a separate space despite the open layout. The low-profile space looks incredibly high-end thanks to its wide limestone counters, stainless appliances, and crisp, white walls. Because all of the drawer and cabinet storage is below-counter — save a couple of minimalist cantilevered shelves — the kitchen maintains a clean look that’s sure to keep anyone calm in the kitchen.

Around the corner, you’ll find the two rooms that are separate from the main living area: The bedroom, another bright white room with stained oak floors; and the bathroom, which is truly one of the biggest bathrooms I’ve seen. Square tiling bedecks all of the walls, making it look like one big, soothing grid. The illusion is uninterrupted by a shower curtain or metal-framed door: A clean, border-free slab of glass acts as the divider for the shower, which boasts heated floors (yes, please). In all, though it doesn’t claim a second floor or private outdoor space, the brick-and-beam loft makes excellent use of its square footage, too, by making every space feel exceptionally large and luxe.


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