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New York-style mini-apartments are catching on in L.A.

May 29, 2010 |  8:03 am

Olympic Studios

Timm Freeman's Santa Monica apartment has 17-foot ceilings, granite countertops and collector guitars hanging on the wall. He's got a built-in microwave, dishwasher and central air conditioning.

All in 350 square feet.

Freeman's coffee table is also his dining table. His desk is three steps from his sitting room. And three paces from his stove.

"Everything is within three steps of the next thing," said Freeman, 40, a graphic designer.

Southern California, meet the Manhattan-sized mini-apartment. In a region known for its sprawl, diminutive dwellings are finding a toehold among renters who couldn't otherwise afford to live in choice neighborhoods.

Freeman's apartment may be smaller than many suburban master bedrooms, but rents in his Olympic Studios complex are comparatively small too — $1,110 a month at the low end — and the beach is just a mile away.

Prospective tenants need to sign up for a waiting list: The 165-unit Olympic Studios has been filled since it opened in late 2008. Its developers are now building a similar complex nearby, and a pint-sized apartment project is also planned for the Palms neighborhood of West Los Angeles.

The units are about the same size as a large recreational vehicle and have the same design imperative: Fit as many features as possible into a small space, but don't make it claustrophobic.

Read the full story here.

--Roger Vincent

Timm Freeman lives in a 350-square-foot apartment at Olympic Studios. There's just enough space for his possessions, although band rehearsal can get crowded. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times / May 5, 2010)

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