The Great Apartment Hunt

So I recently moved out of my old apartment. In other words: no more MDR. While I love the kid to death, I decided it was probably for the best – especially since I had gone back to working in Corporate America and had to be up at 6am (vomit) to get ready for work and haul my morning-hating-self downtown – for my sanity and our friendship in general to go back to living on my own.

Let the hunt begin.

They say honesty is the best policy, but apparently apartment leasing companies missed the memo on this.

Being a designer and having friends who work in real estate, I get it. Pictures can be deceiving and typically are. We know how to manipulate camera angles and line up a shot to make it look like spaces are larger than they really are. We know how to stage to give the illusion of more or less space, depending on how we want it to be perceived.

That’s why I’d much rather see a floor plan and 2-3 photos of a space instead of 10 photos taken through a fisheye lens.

Seriously.

Nothing irritates me more than a fisheye lens.

Even when I’m blitzed out of my mind a room never looks like it does through a fisheye lens so why on earth would I want to tour an apartment with photos that make it look like I’m high on shrooms? No thank you. Instant disqualification.

After lining up a couple potentials in my neighborhood within a reasonable price range, I started touring.

Oh. My. God.

Tiny. Cramped. Terribly space-planned. Falling apart.

You say this is a “rehabbed vintage apartment” yet the only thing thing “rehab” about this is that I’m going wind up spending a few weeks at the Betty Ford if I see one more place like this.

Really now. Honesty is the best policy. Don’t show me this crap. Give me a couple photos and a floorplan — with dimensions of course.

So anyways…

I go to look at this one place. On-site fitness center. Doorman. Great finishes in the unit — granite, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors –annnnd about 120 square feet of poorly-planned living space. I get that this is a studio apartment but ummmm whaaaaaat?

Me: “So what was this building previously?”
Leasing Agent: “It was a hotel.”
Me: “Oh? You don’t say. I’ve never seen a hotel room this small. You’d be hard-pressed to even fit a twin-size bed in here. A hotel for dogs perhaps, but not for people.”

I mean, I’m good at space-planning and can fit a lot in a small amount of space. I’m definitely not a minimalist per se — I just really really really hate clutter. But this? This brings a new meaning to tiny (which I know a pretty good deal about since I’ve been with a couple Asian guys – oh whoops?). I can deal with having one nightstand, but if I can’t even fit my queen-size bed in the place then this queen is not about to sign a lease on it.

Not to mention the fitness center if that’s what you even want to call it… Up the elevator to the top floor, down the hall, up a twisting flight of stairs, through a door, down a sketchy hallway, through another door — it’s like it was something out of a horror movie. I was just waiting for Jigsaw to pop out. Then once you finally get up there? Two treadmills, a stationary bike, and an elliptical. It’s like they started hauling it up then said “screw it” and gave up. Thanks, but no thanks.

Next!

A week, a few buildings, multiple units, and several grey hairs later, I expanded my Craigslist search to include the option of a sublet and stumbled across a hidden gem. It’s like angels started singing. Behold, a new home is born. Its name: Melrose Place.

I’d seen a unit in the building earlier that week so I knew this place would work before I even went to see it. I would’ve signed on the previous unit but the length of the sublet wasn’t ideal and there was an unreasonable security deposit required that I didn’t feel like coughing up.

But this? This was perfect. Four floors higher, a better kitchen, a better closet, and $40/month cheaper WITH NO SECURITY DEPOSIT. I’d struck gold.

Despite a ton of miscommunication (and lack of communication in general) from the leasing office who tried to spring a never-before-mentioned security deposit of nearly a grand on me when I went to pick up the keys (News Flash: I won and didn’t have to pay it), a snowstorm, a few friends who went MIA when it came time to help me move, and multiple subletter options who’d been lined up to take over my spot on the lease with MDR then bailed at the last minute — two weeks and a ring of keys later, I was home.

284 square feet of space never felt so good — but could it feel even better? Absolutely.

Let the home improvement begin!!

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