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If you’ve ever spent any time in New York City, you know just how small the average unit runs. Even apartments with multiple units typically lack any surplus of space, providing just enough square footage to live.

And while there’s nothing quite like living in The Big Apple, that lack of space can start to weigh on you. That’s exactly what happened to Brian Landman and Sean Gilleran—Murray Hill residents living in a pre-war co-op building. 

After living in the space for upwards of five years, the pair realized the unit simply “didn’t fit their lifestyle,” anymore, says Jordan Slocum of The Brownstone Boys. “They’re natural hosts—they love hosting friends and family—and they’re full of personality,” he explains. “But, the whole apartment was all chopped up. It didn’t make any sense for their lifestyle.” 

What’s more, the bedroom had a louvered closet that was “so horrible, we couldn’t ignore it,” says Barry Bordelon. It may sound harsh, but the offending closet was problematic from both a functional and aesthetic perspective. Not only was it unattractive, but one partner had a collection of shoes that was “taking over the bedroom” and posing a storage issue that was wearing on the other partner, he explains. 

To help modernize the apartment and make it more functional for the pair, the Brownstone Boys knocked down a number of walls to reconfigure the space, making the entire unit more of an open-concept layout in which the kitchen flows into the living space. They also turned to BOXI to Semihandmade for help maximizing usable storage space.

In the kitchen, they used BOXI Salt Shaker cabinets to create a large pantry area on the left side of the oven. Between this and the rest of the kitchen cabinets, Landman and Gilleran now have plenty of space for all of their everyday and hosting essentials. 

Design by The Brownstone Boys; Photography by Nick Glimenakis; Styled by Beth Clevenstine

In the bedroom, BOXI really steals the show. The Brownstone Boys lined the entire wall with cabinets to create a floor-to-ceiling closet system that holds the aforementioned shoes, plus so much more. Plus, there’s no denying the semi-custom closet is a real eye-catching design feature in the room. 

Slocum and Bordelon also added BOXI to the long, narrow hallway to make the otherwise unused space more efficient. With the cabinets, they were able to carve out a small office space, complete with storage above and beside the desk. 

Now, though the overall square footage didn’t change, the apartment has more usable space and storage that your average New York City dwelling, plus has gorgeous modern design features—custom oak shelves, charcoal hex tile, stone quartz, Schoolhouse electric fixtures, and more—that strike the perfect balance of modern and traditional for an early 1900s Manhattan apartment building. 

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