RUSSELL/FONTANEZ. New York City, United States

In this East Village floor-through apartment renovation, the configuration of the two units--combined by previous owners to encircle the central staircase--resulted in significant wasted space, awkward connections, and dark interiors. Our challenge was to transform the difficult layout into an open plan, with more light and maximized space for storage. The solution turns the problem on its head by transforming the forgotten and least-interesting areas into the most important and enjoyable spaces.