Much of this Memorial Day Weekend was spent looking for a New York City apartment for one of our children. Being a Greenwich realtor, you would think I would have the whole house hunting shebang down to a science, from selecting a realtor to getting through the mad dash application process. Where rental vacancy rates are less than 1% in some parts of New York City (and naturally those would be the locations that our child has defined as her preferred venues), it’s tough to tell which is more difficult in New York City– getting your child into private school or securing a rental apartment. Neither is enviable.
We looked at a number of different apartments and most that we saw were occupied. Or rather, over- occupied. While the possessions changed, the overall impression did not. Young folks living in New York City may be long on talent but they are short on living and storage space. While I didn’t see this particular apartment, there were many that were just the same:
You can imagine the discouragement for a parent who has spent years trying to train into the young mind the belief that “a cluttered home reflects a cluttered mind” in an effort to promote organization, law and order. So, when I got a phone call full of euphemisms and enthusiasm from my child, claiming that I would not BELIEVE the apartment that was just found which fit budget and location and was newly renovated and (I swear I could hear the clink of glasses toasting) had an outdoor terrace that was larger than the entire apartment itself, how could I do anything but ride the wave of good luck?
The furry of applications and gathering all the personal financial information that you can’t believe you are sharing with total strangers in order to secure said apartment and beat out the rash of others that you are told are breathing down your back, was completed in a New York minute. I was asked by the happy renters if I would go look at it wearing my other hat, the interior decorator one. So, armed with measuring tape and draft paper, I headed down planning to take measurements and figure out a layout that would work for the space.
I suppose it was not a good omen that it took me 45 minutes to park and then another 20 to find the door to the apartment building. I cropped the photo below for privacy purposes but this is the actual block and somewhere in this photo is indeed the door to the building. It’s definitely a Where’s Waldo? sort of building.
I gingerly walked past a few trash containers and rolls of wrapping paper in the entry, which seemed to bother no one but myself, and walked the one flight up to the new place. It was empty, having just been completely renovated, and so, to the uninitiated, would seem much larger than it actually was. One look and a few measurements confirmed my suspicions. The entire living room would fit one small loveseat and maybe a tiny coffee table. Those two pieces would then leave 18″ before hitting the back of the stools that would be the only eating space in the apartment.
Looking at the larger bedroom revealed that the bed would leave 24″ before hitting the closet; and with closet doors open you might need to stand on the bed at that point.
Why do I share this story? For one lesson. Laying out a furniture plan when you are considering a home that is tight in space is really, really, really important. I can’t say that enough. The only way to know if a place is going to function for you, is to understand how the key rooms and key needs can be met. If you are looking at a larger home, then no worries and you can stop reading.
But if you are considering a home or an apartment that makes you ask yourself if it is going to fit the fundamentals that you and/or your family needs, than better to double check before committing. Here is a secret known in the decorating world: Space EATS furniture. What seems spacious will quickly disappear, once you get furniture in.
Enough said. When in doubt, bring pencil and paper out.
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