Monday, August 21, 2017

How to Maximize Your Living Space

Living in Manhattan has a lot of perks but when it comes to the size of apartments they typically run on the smaller side. However, just because your apartment is small, does not mean you have to think small when designing it. In order to make your apartment reach its fullest potential you have to think outside the box and find new ways to make every area of space have a thoughtful purpose.

How to Create a Purposeful Design
We recently did a renovation for an apartment located in Gramercy, New York that was in need of a makeover. Before JMA designed it, the apartment had a dark cramped layout that lacked function or beauty. Our first step when renovating was to reconfigure the entire layout and give the compact looking apartment a breath of fresh new air.

The kitchen and living room layout was maximized by removing a dividing wall that separated the spaces, resulting in a much more flexible and efficient layout. An integrated island separates the kitchen and living room visually, but doesn't constrain the spaces, all the while providing usable space for the kitchen.

Gramercy Apartment Designed by JMA

Let There Be Light
JMA used diffused accent lighting to provide a feeling of openness and natural light to help make the apartment feel larger and brighter. Light is an important design element because it creates a visual impression of expansiveness. Not only does light make an apartment seem brighter and more open, but choosing the right paint colors can have this effect as well. When designing your apartment always choose a solid light color to make your rooms seem bigger and more spacious. The light blue color we chose for the Gramercy apartment was the perfect choice because it makes the apartment look airy and gives it a calming effect.

The Benefits of Storage in Unexpected Places
When designing this apartment we aimed to find new ways to maximize square footage wherever we could. One of the ways we did this is by creating an efficient use of shelving in the kitchen and living room areas. If you live in a smaller apartment, staying organized is essential.  JMA designed the Gramercy apartment to have ample cabinet space so it can be clutter free. The best designers always approach design with each bit of the space carefully and thoughtfully in mind.  By us placing the built-in shelves close to the ceiling it made the apartment look taller and reduced taking up precious floor space.

Thinking Outside the Box
Our overall vision when designing this apartment was to make it look minimal, modern, and have a timeless appeal. The white cabinets in the kitchen and the wood accents in the bathroom give the apartment a modern elegance. Although the bathroom is on the smaller side it still looks stylish, unique, and functional. It fits perfectly with the rest of the house and the minimalist look we were going for.
Modern Bathroom Designed by JMA

At JMA we are always focused on strategizing new ways to maximize square footage when we are in the design planning process. It is important for us to create smarter home layouts for our clients regardless of their apartment size. The best designed homes are functional, beautiful, and makes people feel comfortable in an environment that works for them. It is a very rewarding feeling designing a client's home that satisfies their artistic desires and changes their lives for the better.

  • McLaughlin, Camilla " Efficiency is Best: Buying Homes That Utilize the Most of Each Space" Web.
  • Renzi, Jen and Smith, Lauren " 11 Ways to Maximize a Small Space." July 27. 2017 Web

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Inviting the Outside In

Louis Kahn once said “A room is not a room without natural light”, and here at the JMA team we couldn’t agree more. Natural light is an architectural element that is on the same level of importance as any other structural element needed in a building. A well-lit room gives someone a refreshed and uplifting feeling. Light is one of those powerful elements that can change the whole appearance of a home.

I am sure there has been plenty of times when you have been in a home or building and it gave you a vibe like the “walls were caving in." A dreary and darkly lit space can definitely give a home that effect. A good way to combat this is by expanding living spaces, opening doors and breaking down the barrier between indoor and outdoor living.

Unifying Outdoor and Indoor Living Spaces

When JMA designs, we see the outside as not separate from the home, but as an extension of it. Designing a house is an exciting art form because you want to choose the best layout, materials, and overall design aesthetic to draw the visitor in. Your house should make guests feel like they have a strong gravitational pull leading them all around the house.
The beautiful entryway at the 7th Street Brownstone
For our interior renovation project at a 7th Street Brownstone in Jersey City, we expanded the doorway lintels to create continuity from the entrance of the home, all the way to the back patio. As soon as you enter through the door, you get a perfect tunnel like view to the back patio area. It is almost as if the patio is calling you forward and a lovely natural light surrounds you as you move through the house.
Dining Room Designed by JMA
Creating Desirable Places in Your Home

At the 7th Street Brownstone, we gave it a complete transformation because it was not living up to its fullest potential. The home was very cramped, had a drab kitchen, and not enough natural light. JMA made some much-needed modifications using expansive windows and skylights to allow an abundance of light to flow throughout the kitchen. It’s amazing to see the positive energy the house now exudes with the brand new spacious layout and inviting aura. 
Contemporary Kitchen Designed by JMA
Finding Your Room Showstoppers

The 7th Street brownstone is a standout project for the JMA team because it has so many unique characteristics and personality in all the rooms. Personally, I think the kitchen is the ultimate showstopper. Everything about the kitchen screams JMA because it is the perfect combination of a functional and beautiful space with a sense of timelessness.

When we renovated the house, we aimed to make all the rooms become seamless and have a nice flow with each other. The beautiful cedar wood is the material that ties the whole house together. The red cedar wood addition we created in the back gives the house an earthier look. If you only looked at the patio we created, you might think it belonged to a house in a cabin somewhere, not an urban area like Jersey City.
Red Cedar Wood Patio Designed by JMA

JMA loves using our creativity and technical skills to give our clients their dream homes and fulfill their artistic desire. We encourage other architects and design professionals to always keep an open mind when designing. You never know when inspiration may strike and cause you to create that perfect masterpiece.