600 Square Feet in Greenwich Village

The New York Times just ran a feature on singer and songwriter Kenny White who lives in 600 square feet with 20-foot-plus peaked ceilings on Bedford Street (just around the corner from Christopher Street) in Greenwich Village. The building, named Twin Peaks, was converted from a 19th-century row house into artists’ studios in 1926, and christened by the silent film star Mabel Normand, who broke a bottle of Champagne on the roof.

600 Square Feet in Greenwich Village

“Douglas Fairbanks lived in this apartment,” Mr. White says. “Cary Grant stayed with him here for a while; it became a much cooler space when I found that out. Disney lived on the first floor, that was a while ago. Miles Davis lived here…

600 Square Feet in Greenwich Village

“Just over 10 years,” says Mr. White, who is 56 and first moved into his co-op when it was a much smaller studio. “I walked in with a Realtor, they had a fire going and incense burning. I said, ‘I’ll take it.’ The Realtor didn’t get it. She was making all these signs, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it!’ But to me, this is like you’re living in a cabin in Wisconsin. It just felt right. Maybe I was seduced by the fire. There was no bread baking in the oven.”

He rented the space for $2,900 a month, buying it the following year for $275,000. Four years later, he bought the studio next door for $250,000. Richard and Catherine Lo, architects in Portland, Me., did the renovations for about $200,000, removing the kitchen in the closet and building a proper kitchen, albeit one in which no appliance is wider than 24 inches, in order to fit through the door. They also replaced the old wiring, the plumbing and much of the water-damaged floor and pine paneling.

For more images check out the NYT slideshow.

Read the full NYT article by Joyce Wadler.

images by Michael Weschler for The New York Times.

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