Built-Ins + Double Duty: Small-Space Living in HBO’s Girls



room within a room

HBO’s hit show Girls has won acclaim for a lot of reasons, but one of the most interesting and least discussed facets of the show is the apartments. Several NYC apartments are shown in various episodes, but maybe the most spectacular is that of Marnie’s sometimes-boyfriend Charlie.

floor plan

Designed by production designer Laura Ballinger Gardner, Charlie’s place in Bedford-Stuyvesant is really a work of small-space art. It has storage galore, a lounge space, and even a dining room table – all in just a few hundred square feet.

charlie's apartment hbo girls

The “bedroom” is the most eye-catching part of the apartment. It is actually a room within a room, with the bed sitting inside a large wooden box and a lounge area occupying the top of the box.

bed

The stairs to get from the ground floor to the lounge area double as a closet, making the whole wooden box setup incredibly efficient. The box is up against a wall with a window, so part of the window lights the lounge area above while the other part of the window provides natural light for the bed area.

built in storage

Amazing built-in storage across from the bedroom lets Charlie store all of his gear. You can never have enough storage when you live in a tiny apartment, but this entire wall of storage might be just the perfect amount. The kitchen gets an extra storage boost from built-in shelves and a hanging grid spanning almost the entire room, letting pans and cups get out of the cabinets.

kitchen

kitchen storage

So how realistic is this dream apartment? The characters implied in the first season that Charlie built all of the fantastic features himself because he’s a skilled carpenter. If you have woodworking talent and the money and time to put into it (or maybe if you know a great carpenter), a sweet apartment like Charlie’s isn’t out of reach.

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