When is a living room not a living room?

Is this a kitchen, dining room or living room? The conscientious broker who listed the place on Manhattan's Upper West Side characterized it as a "great room." Photo below shows the opposite end.

If a room is not a dining space, kitchenette, bathroom, foyer or hallway, then it can be termed a living room, according to the New York City Administrative Code.  However, a bedroom can be marketed as a living room if it also does not function as any of the other rooms listed.

The minimum size of a living room is eight feet by eight feet by eight feet.  It must have a minimum floor space of 80 square feet, and no side must be more narrow than six feet.

(If you’re confused by the eight-feet requirement and the six-feet one, so am I.  But that’s what the Code says.)

This unit, also shown at the top, had an accepted offer in a week or so and now is under contract.

There must be at least one window that opens onto a street, yard or court–not an air shaft–on the building’s own lot.  The total area of the window must be at least one-tenth of the floor area of the room and at least 12 square feet.

The definition has me wondering whether rooms marketed as living rooms with an open kitchen technically meet the requirements.  The definition of “kitchen” and “kitchenette” says this:

A kitchen is a type of living room and has 80 square feet or more of floor area.  A kitchenette has less than 80 square feet of floor area.

I, for one, have walked into numerous such “living rooms,” though I have to say that I would be hard pressed to challenge that a living room with an open kitchen is just a kitchen.

Note the Pullman kitchen at one end of the living room in a unit 20 blocks south--or is the living room one big kitchen?

One of my pet peeves is kitchens that are merely at one end of a “living room” with no division–no island, no pass-through, no nothing.  To me, those living rooms always seem like enormous kitchens.

But that, I guess, is just me.

Happy Thanksgiving.  See you on the other side.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

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