Living in a modest apartment in Brooklyn Heights has its advantages. I believe in living little. Living little is my way of making as small an impact as I can on the environment without living in a yurt and showering in a lake. More on that in the future…
One of the disadvantages of small apartment living is the lack of outdoor space. I can open windows, but that’s about as “outdoors” as it gets in my building.
There are problems with traditional balconies. First, most apartment buildings with balconies are not that attractive. Most balcony buildings in New York look like a cereal box with a skin disorder. They are grand structures with all these little bumps all over them. Second, those balconies become a catch-all for stuff. Sometimes good stuff (like plants, trees, and café tables) and sometimes bad stuff (think old barbecue grills, last season’s bicycle, and Rubbermaid crates used for extra storage). Then, there’s the whole maintenance thing. There are constant back-and-forths between co-op boards and tenants. Who is responsible for cleaning balconies? It’s technically living space, so it should be the owner. But, it’s technically the exterior of the building, so it should be the co-op management company.
Enter the Bloomframe. It’s basically a window that folds out of the wall and becomes a balcony. This is just plain brilliant. The balcony will not become a catch-all, because the only way to close the window eliminates the balcony. The interior is inside, the exterior is outside. You can have an outdoor space when you need it, and fold it up when you don’t. The exterior of the building will be alive, constantly transforming into a different shape as residents open and close balconies over the course of the day.
I can see some issues with efficiency, notably the giant hole in the side of your climate controlled space every time you open the balcony, but that’s nothing a sliding glass door mounted inside the Bloomframe can’t handle.