Our awareness of tiny homes has increased over the past few years, but many of the wonderful examples we’ve seen consist of freestanding, outdoor units. Micro lofts bring the concept indoors.
Providence, Rhode Island is one place where you’ll find these small apartments catching on. They are housed in The Arcade, an 1829 architectural gem and America’s oldest indoor shopping mall. The building itself has been through several rounds of restorations and became a national landmark in the 1970s.
Three levels make up the shopping center, with the first floor being dedicated to retail shops and the second and third floors being tiny lofts. Evan Granoff, the owner, wanted to convert the unused space into something livable and affordable.
There are 48 apartments in The Arcade, and unit sizes are between 225 to 800 square feet. Each comes with basic built-in furniture: a bed with drawers, cushioned bench/seating, refrigerator, and shelves. Since The Arcade is zoned as a rooming house, cooking ranges are not allowed, but microwaves are fine.
Larger apartments have a washer-dryer stacked combo but residents can do their laundry in the community room. As you can see in this video, the apartments are charming and small, yet still have all the creature comforts.
For Dr. Karim, having a small place like this works for her schedule and lifestyle. It’s comfortable and homey and comes with the freedom of not having to maintain a larger space when she travels internationally. That fact that there is no stove doesn’t bother her.
Since Sharon Kinnier only needs to live in town on a part-time basis, her apartment suits her career and needs as well. Tenants can choose to pay for their own cable and Wi-Fi connections or watch TV in the common area. The residential areas of the building are only accessible with fobs and security cameras are installed throughout the space.
Demand is so high for units in The Arcade that there is a waiting list. Listen to Granoff describe what inspired him to convert the old building into a micro utopia of living and retail space. For a while, The Arcade saw declining popularity and eventually shut down in 2008.
Its downtown location saw a revival and when it was purchased in 2013, it was given a new lease on life. While the Greek Revival style architecture may not scream “home”, there is natural light that pours into the space to help make tenants feel warm and less cramped.
Other cities like Portland and New York also have micro lofts in their communities, but sizes and rent amounts range. Some are on the higher end (like $1,000 per month) and some are on the lower end like the Arcade. Paying $750 per month for downtown city living sounds almost unheard of.
Take your time to check out these specially-designed lofts and let us know if you would live in one of these. Many find the setup to be ideal for singles, busy students, or seniors who are looking to downsize.