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New Yorkers test micro apartment

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Most apartments in New York are on the small side but with expected changes in demographics over the next couple of days, city apartments may even get smaller.

The Museum of the City of New York has a full scale micro-apartment on exhibit that takes efficiency to a whole new, functional level.

The walls have desks and closets and beds in the micro apartment on display at the Museum of New York City.

"And you can see how light this is," Resource Furniture Design Director Challie Stillman said, demonstrating the weight of the fold-out bed.

Stillman's company designed much of the furniture for the micro apartment. She and her girlfriend, Lina Franco, spent Friday night in this 325-square-foot section of museum.

"Not as scary as you might think," Franco said. "It was fun. They turned the lights on us very early this morning."

City housing code rules the apartment's space too small for occupancy. Stillman and Franco's sleepover (and the exhibit itself) hopes to show: City housing code is wrong -- if we build smarter apartments. 

"Everything has a use," Franco said. "Everything changes into something else."

Indeed, part James Bond gadget and part Transformer, nothing in the micro apartment is exactly what it seems: A chair transforms into a step ladder, a coffee table into a set of stools and the TV slides away to reveal a bar.

It all looks very sleek, but Stillman and Franco admit the space requires neat tenants.

"You have to be a very organized person to make it work," Franco said.

That may turn off the slobs among us, but not lifelong New Yorkers Allen Hoffman and Wendy Ceracche.

"I'm living in a small space now," Cerracche said, "and this is even more efficient."

Mayor Bloomberg stressed the need for housing efficiency earlier this year. Not quite half of New York is single. Many live alone. And the city -- already the most expensive in America -- expects to add a million residents in the next 20 years. Eventually, something has to change. The prototypes on display at the Museum of New York City simple provide a few multi-purpose suggestions.

The exhibit also includes smaller models of some designs submitted for the city’s “adapt competition.” The winning design will be developed on a site on East 27th Street in Manhattan.

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