Tuesday, September 27, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Finally, after two months apart, me in China, Andrew in New York, and then another two months apart while I was in California, Andrew still in New York, we were reunited on August 30th, a mere two days before our 5 year wedding anniversary. Finally, the two of us, and our cat, were together in the place we'll be calling home for the next 3+ years.

Finding a place in New York City is a nightmare. Andrew was busy with classes and job hunting, and didn't have a ton of time to apartment hunt. I, on the other hand, had loads of time, but was incapable of follow-through. This actually made us a pretty good team. I would search, mostly through Craigslist, for available rentals, and Andrew would either shoot it down for sensible reasons ("Do you know how far away Long Island is??"), or he would scurry on over for a look. About the last week of July, I stumbled upon a little gem. I saw an advertisement for a "garden apartment" in the Bronx, a mere 1/2 mile from Andrew's job. We jumped on it, and after much begging (I even sent an email to the owner offering to pay more money in rent; is that legal???), she agreed to let us have it instead of one of the million other people who wanted it.

Everyone kept telling me that it probably wasn't as nice as I thought it was going to be, and not to feel stuck, I could always move someplace else, etc. You know what? It's even better than I hoped. I'm in love with this place, and if it were more than 1 bedroom, I'd probably live here forever because it's so cute and perfect for us. Of course, there are some bad things, but I can live with them for a few years.

The Good:
  • It's within walking distance to Andrew's school.
  • It has a patio and garden attached that we can use for BBQs and parties, and which the cat can roam around.
  • The bathroom has excellent water pressure, a great supply of hot water, and a tub that actually stays plugged during baths.
  • All rooms have great lighting.
  • There's an open kitchen, and a dishwasher!
  • Our landlords live in the unit above us (it's actually a duplex) and are quiet, clean, considerate, and very helpful.
  • All of the windows are recessed, which means we have plenty of room for decorations in the window sills.
  • It's only two blocks from the train station, supermarkets, Target, Starbucks, the post office, the thrift store, the gym, and everything else we need.
  • Our neighborhood is really friendly and safe. Most days that I go out, people stop and say hello or offer to help carry my shopping cart up the steps.
  • Rent is only $1,000 a month, which is really, really rare in NYC.
The Bad:
  • There's no laundry on-site. However, the laundry mat is only 2 blocks away and is very good.
  • It's only a 1 bedroom. But, we have a very, very large storage room that we've turned into an office, and could possibly use as a nursery someday.
  • We had some problems with flooding during the hurricane, but the landlords have since repaired the problem.
  • There are frequent problems with the train this far north, and on weekends we sometimes have to transfer a few times in order to get home.
  • Our neighborhood is dirty. It feels run-down and shabby, but it still feels safe. I just hate the sight of all that trash.
  • We live at the top of a flight of steps followed by a steep hill. It's quite a workout, especially with a cart full of groceries or laundry.
Without further ado, feast your eyes on these photos.
Gate up to our door
Front door
Patio space; we plan to spruce it up more next summer
My lovely kitchen as you walk in the front door
I love the openness of the kitchen. We're going to get a little island
Living room; the table & chairs are used but come from IKEA
Living room with futon for guests
Pull-out couch (ignore the wall; it's being painted this weekend)
I LOVE my bed. It was also used, but in amazing condition and makes me feel grown-up
The walls were painted this way; we might change them later
I love the big walk-in closet in our bedroom
Office area; it needs paint and decoration
My beautiful teal bathroom!
Our long term goals for the place include painting the kitchen yellow, the office green, the bathroom teal, and the living room blue. I think we'll leave the paint job in the bedroom for now because it'd be hard to paint over those dark colors. I'm hoping to get a pantry for the kitchen instead of the wire rack we have in there now. We also need an end table for next to the couch, a TV for the wall above the futon, and decorations for the walls. We're going to be printing a bunch of our travel pictures and framing them around the house. I'm really enjoying sprucing the place up and making it homey. I'm trying to take things slowly so I don't get out of control in terms of our budget, but it's so hard. It's been so long since I've had a place that I could really consider home and not just a temporary residence.

What do you guys think?


  1. I love it, and I envy your counter space! It looks like you've lived there for a long time; you've definitely got "homey" down. I really hope to be able to visit soon. Things have just been crazy... Are you using the herbs?

  2. It's really nice. I like your furniture too. Very cute.

  3. Yep, I use the herbs almost everyday. My basil is dying, but the rest are doing great!