House call: Design-conscious dad

A father sacrifices square footage for his offspring-but not his grown-up aesthetic.

Download a pamphlet in which the designer explains in detail how to construct his plastic tower.

After appearing in our Home Design issue last year, architect Frederick Tang, of Dumbo firm deFT Projects, received an urgent, but tricky phone call: A recently divorced dad needed to create a spare room for his three kids, who stayed over in his UES one-bedroom rental on weekends—for under $2,000. Tang devised a clever solution for a translucent partition, sparked by Steven Holl's glowing boxlike addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Pairing Ikea shelves and custom-made ones, he hired a carpenter to construct the wall and then cover it with corrugated plastic, the same material used for mail bins (Tang scored it at Canal Plastics Center, 345 Canal St at Church St, 212-925-1666). The neutral exterior blends with the modern, clean-lined living room; the cheery blue interior reveals an under-the-sea theme along with beds and a chandelier from Ikea. And since it's held up by bolts and Velcro, the piece can easily be taken down and reassembled—the dad plans on moving in a few years.

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