Apartment goes viral after images show toilet, tub, combined with kitchen

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) — One 200-square foot studio apartment is getting a lot of attention world-wide after a Craigslist ad listing looking for a potential new tenant went viral!

The ad is no longer listed since a St. Louis man moved into the small apartment with an extreme unique layout including a kitchen, toilet, and bathtub all in the same room for only $525 a month!

Harold Karabell, General Manager at S.F. Shannon Real Estate Management, says this “lighthouse “ style apartment is not unusual in larger urban cities, but he can understand the commotion it is receiving in St. Louis.

“People think it’s unusual, it’s really not, around the world you find floor plans like this, in New York City you may find some like this.”

The apartment is featured inside The Cambridge, built in 1907, and is walking distance from the most-populated Central West End pubs and restaurants including Llywelyn’s Pub and Pi Pizzeria.

The Cambridge was originally designed as 12-family luxury apartments. During the time of the Great Depression, the 12 apartments were divided into 50 smaller units.

When News 4 asked Karabell how and when the tub was placed inside the kitchen, Karabell said it’s been there for decades.

“The tub is a clawfoot tub, it was probably there for 90 years,” said Karabell, “It’s been that configuration, unaltered floor plan, nothing’s changed but the color paint on the wall and the finishing of the doors, and the cabinetry in 90 years.”

Thousands of comments have been left on Reddit’s discussion page about this Craiglist’s ad with the title Studio apartment..no thanks.

Karabell says the apartment was last inspected just before the new tenant moved in and said the design is legal.

News 4 obtained documents from the City of St. Louis Division of Building and Inspection that shows records that the Building Division inspected the apartment and issued a violation letter stating the Building Division “cannot legally at this time approve unit/units as dictated by current code”.

A worker with the City of St. Louis Division of Building and Inspection says the violation letter was read during a hearing in January 2016.

The owner of the property, Rachel Presley, went to City of St Louis’s Board of Building Appeals, which heard her appeal on Jan. 28. 2016.

According to the summary of the court proceedings, Presley stated her family purchased the building in 1975, and that the smaller units without kitchen sinks were exactly that way and they did not make any changes.

Building Division Manager Ed Ware told the board, according to the proceedings, that kitchens in a few of the units did not have a required kitchen sink.

City Inspector Hank Cider presented a letter from Ware that stated “all Housing Conservation requirements were met except that the kitchens did not have a kitchen sink, and as such, do not meet the requirements of a habitable apartment”.

The letter also stated that ”the Building Division recognized this was an unusual condition, but that they further felt that this special condition did not warrant the apartment to be viewed as a rooming house area”.

Supervisor Brown appeared and stated that in 2013, “the building was inspected and the Certifications were only granted for several of the units but during the discussions with the owners, it was agreed that “over a three year period, all fifty units would be inspected and provided with Certificates of Inspection”.

The board granted the appeal on Feb 3. 2016, but added that if “major improvements” are done that these unit upgrades for all eight units should include installing kitchen sinks.

Karabell responded saying requirements may change since the image of the apartment has went viral.

“Now because it’s gone viral, one doesn’t know what the Building Division may do. They may want to talk to us about doing this or that, I have no idea that will be up to the Building Division. But we have an excellent relationship with the Building Division.”

Karabell says he believes the unique configuration is what caused the apartment ad to go viral and it gives people something to discuss, “People want to smile about something.”

One St. Louis man is enjoying his new residence, according to Karabell.

“The moment (the ad) went viral it was rented by someone who is thrilled to be here. He’s thrilled to be able to afford something in the heart of the most expensive upscale neighborhood,” said Karabell.

Video produced by Summer Delaney.