Developers have made news in New York City with tiny apartments, following the city's move to allow a reduction in square footage, as Coastal Connection reported last year (see: "Thinking Inside the Box: Modular Micro-Apartments for Singles Take Shape in New York," 2/23/15). But young adults who want easy access to the Manhattan lifestyle are also accomplishing the same thing for themselves—with temporary walls and creative planning, the New York Times reported last week (see: "Roommates Divide and Conquer With Temporary Walls," by Jaclyn Peiser).

"When four young professionals share a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, a strategy for the morning routine is a necessity," the paper reported. "Katherine Neal, who works in sales, and Annie Jackson, who works in public relations, take the first shifts in the bathroom. Ms. Neal gets in there at 6:45 a.m. and has 15 minutes before it’s Ms. Jackson’s turn. By the time Ms. Jackson finishes up, their male roommates, Michael Morgan, who works in advertising, and Andrew Bell, also in sales, are back from the gym in the building."

It's a typical arrangement for the working people profiled in the Times story, who subdivide their spaces—sometimes skirting the city's code rules—to provide a modicum of private space, along with some reasonable access to the shared common areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.

In some cases, the solution is a short, temporary wall that doesn't reach the ceiling, and could, in principle, be easily removed or relocated. "Pressurized walls require no adhesives or screws when put in place, but are installed snug between the existing walls and can be removed without damaging the permanent structure," the paper explained. Said Donnie Zanger of All Week Walls, a city contractor specializing in apartment modification: "The fire code doesn’t clearly define the parameters of what constitutes a temporary wall versus a permanent wall, and we think these walls are clearly temporary based on the fact that they are easily installed and removed."