When thinking about the size of a living space in Manhattan, things can start to seem a little bleak. It’s tough for any newcomer to swallow the price tag of their first New York apartment and the fact that this very expensive new habitat is comparable in dimensions with a shoebox of sorts doesn’t help to make it easier.

We see this every day, especially with the studio apartment. The holy grail of Manhattan rentals. Quite possibly one of the most egregiously priced yet highly sought after commodities on the rental market. It’s true. As you are reading this very sentence, studios are appearing and then vanishing from the market like blips on a radar, shattering the hearts of prospective renters who didn’t act quickly enough.

Late this spring Suitey had the good fortune of meeting then-soon-to-be New Yorker Krista Robertson, a Kentucky graduate and new social media coordinator for Major League Baseball. Working with Krista and her family was an amazing experience because despite the drastic change in location (let’s think price per square foot Lexington vs. Chelsea, Manhattan right now), they still had a clear vision of what they wanted. Throughout the process I remained very curious to see how Krista and her wonderful mom Karen would bring the space to life.

A fashion blogger on the side, I remember Krista once walking into an apartment with a very disturbed look upon her face as she noticed that the 24-feet of hanging space that she had grown accustomed to in college was not going to fly here in New York. But rather than get down about it, Krista and her mom immediately began planning ways to create more space. When I sat down to draft this blog post about decorating studios, I decided that seeing must be believing.

So I gave Krista a call to talk about her apartment. Here’s what she said:

1.      Before moving to New York you lived in Lexington, KY. How does your space in New York compare with your apartment in college?

“Moving from Lexington, like anywhere else, to New York, you’re going to have a lot less space for a lot more money. I was previously living in a one bedroom loft that was around 900sqft with a big kitchen, open living room, two sinks and the closet of my dreams with the wonderful addition of a washer and dryer inside. In NY, I moved into an alcove studio that’s around 350sqft for about 3 times as much as my place in Lexington. It’s a great place and I love the building, but that big of change takes getting used to.”

2.      How were you able to maintain the comforts you grew accustomed to there with your much smaller newfound space? Did you have to eliminate certain things?

“Moving was a blessing in disguise for getting rid of things I didn’t need. Maybe old t-shirts or extra clothes, and even that desk I never used. I was able to cut down and make sure I had only the essentials when I moved. I also sold a lot of furniture in the move like an oversized dresser and nightstands because I knew there just wouldn’t be room.”

3.      A studio is essentially one open space. How do you separate your living from sleeping space in your studio?

“Thankfully for me, the apartment I moved into was an alcove studio. So there was a little separate corner of the apartment for my sleeping space. I didn’t entirely separate it from the rest of the apartment to make sure I was able to watch TV from my bed. The alcove style studio was seriously a great fit for me.”

4.      As an avid fashion blogger you obviously didn’t pack very lightly for your big move to New York. Do you have any tips for efficient storage?  

“Build up. A lot of people waste a lot of space by forgetting about the walls. Building up creates more storage that’s out of the way. I have a bookshelf for my shoes and also a wall closet from The Container Store that holds my jewelry, purses and hats while also doubling as a place to store personal items. As for other storage around the apartment, it’s everywhere. I found Ikea was a big help for storage. The bed I bought has 4 huge drawers under it, the end of the bed footstools hold blankets and towels inside, my kitchen island is a great space for pots and pans, and the tall TV stand hides extra things.”

5.      What is your favorite part about your apartment? What will you look for in your next one?

“My favorite part of the actual apartment would probably be my bathtub. That’s one thing I missed out on in my last place. It’s something small, I know, but when you don’t have a bathtub you’ll find out how much you really want one. As for outside the apartment itself, the building is amazing. Great amenities and wonderful doormen. In my next apartment, I’ll look for more closet space. I already have two and the wall closet, but it’s still not quite enough for everything.”

6.      What was your favorite part about working with Suitey?

“My favorite part was the people of course. Andres was so helpful with everything, really understood what I was looking for, and stood up for me.”

7.      Do you have any advice for prospective renters moving to NYC?

“To figure out what’s really important to you: the non-negotiables for you apartment. Like the location, the price or the specifics. For me the non-negotiables were natural light and closets. So if you really stick to what’s most important to you, you’ll find a great place for you!”


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