Like many people familiar with the process of finding suitable dwelling in New York, I prepared myself for the worst shortly after I started apartment hunting. I probably looked at about 20 apartments total, during which a few common themes emerged. Tiny spaces. Weird locations. Bad renovations. Mostly, these spaces were small, ugly, awkward studios in Manhattan. In this sense, they were a lot like me circa 8th grade. With better skin. Which is to say, with no skin.
I’ll admit, I got myself a little excited in a sort of fucked up, masochistic way about working with something like that. I accepted that my square footage would be drastically decreased in the move, and all at once the task would fall to me to purge most of my things and devise innovative storage solutions for what remained. I’d edit down my stuff to include only the best of what I own, ultimately achieving a miniature, flawlessly curated version of my former glory on the Upper East Side. Slowly, I began to envision myself, dressed in a well-tailored, neutral palette, a veritable human embodiment of the existenzminimum. I would want for nothing. Finding myself thus transformed, my unencumbered, immaculately efficient lifestyle would be perpetually thrilling. Daniel 2.0 would spend long hours sitting in a single, awesome chair, thinking great thoughts. When the hours were late and my mind tired, I’d stand up, walk three inches to the left, retire to my bed, and succumb to the unclouded vista of my unconscious. Imagine the glamor! Imagine the fun!
Then this place popped up on Craigslist, and all that bullshit went out the window. I called immediately. I made an appointment for early the next morning. I put a deposit down and signed a lease the next day.
At heart, I’m not a minimalist. I try not to keep much excess around, either, so as a consequence I really love the things I have. Luckily, instead of downsizing, I’m actually picking up somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 more square feet than my last place, significantly more pre-war charm, and, well, a lot more work. That last bit is probably why this place fell within my price range at all. It needs some help. You’re just going to have to believe me when I say that the following terrible point-n-shoot pictures are actually incredibly flattering.
Upon entry, you’re greeted with one of the most hilariously long hallways ever. It just goes on, and on, and on. This is the view from the front door. Note the awkward shelf placement, if you can see anything past the paint job. Speaking of, the overlapping-quadrilateral scheme seen here is based on a technique borrowed from the ancient Egyptians, intended to confuse bandits who sought to ransack the royal pyramids. It was thought that the squares would cause confusion by inducing a dizzy spell, resulting in either an epileptic seizure or a lasting case of vertigo. True facts, people. Well, I’m guessing they’re true since why the fuck else would somebody do something like that to a bunch of innocent walls?
Once you turn that corner, look! More hallway! More squares, punctuated with squares of cork! Also, a window that’s all rotted and broken and painted over and filthy. I’m envisioning trying to replicate Anna from Door Sixteen’s window restoration prowess before winter comes and the temperature of the interior of my apartment matches the exterior. Good thing I’ve hoarded an unreasonable amount of blankets (5? 6? I’ve lost count.).
See that open door? That’s the bathroom door. I love the doors in this apartment—huge, solid wood, paneled things… that don’t actually close. Add it to the list.
Here’s the bathroom. Not a whole lot to love or hate in here; I think it was renovated in the mid-90s, and luckily the landlords chose super-duper generic everything, which is much more workable than some of the bathrooms I saw that looked like they were paying homage to the interior design of Olive Garden. The walls are a sort of light lavender, which I hate. There is no storage beyond that ridiculous ledge and that ridiculously tiny medicine cabinet. As much as I might begrudge the former tenant’s taste, I guess I’m glad they left stuff like that faux-crown-molding-ledge number, since—once scrubbed clean—it’s a useful thing to have around until I tackle the bathroom.
In here, there’s another painty, rotting wood window. God give me strength.
Across from the bathroom door is the bedroom door. Another room, another bad paint color, another door that doesn’t close. But! It’s going to look great. I love the floors. The closet, though an ugly add-on, is spacious and I’m glad it’s there.
It’s a pretty big room. The previous tenants also generously left this super-fug lighting/ledge setup above where their bed was. So sexy.
What do I love most? These pocket doors between the living room and the bedroom! They make my heart go all aflutter. Who cares that the transom above it has no glass? Who cares that currently the doors are really hard to open and close (I’m hopeful that I can fix them)? They’re badass, big, and beautiful.
Which brings us to the living room. Which is also big. And is also red. Very red. Blood red, painted so, so badly (you can’t tell from the pictures, so just trust me. The paint job is a damn mess). But check out them sweet moldings! Check out my snazzy tin ceiling! Check out my fancy-ass floor! Check out my motherfucking non-working fireplace! I’m toying with the idea of just putting a grand piano in the middle of the room, hanging a gaudy chandelier, and roping off the room with polite signs that say “for looking only.” I’ll let you know what I decide, though.
Look! Big windows! The most awkward shelf placement you’ve ever seen!
Look! A big wall! The saddest IKEA Billy Bookcase you’ve ever seen!
And then, the kitchen. You’ll notice that it is ugly. It’s also oddly arranged, what with everything just sort of packed into that one corner…
…even though there’s, like, six feet of space to the side of the fridge. Things are going to get a little… “rearranged” in here to hopefully achieve a little bit more storage and prep space, but I’m still working out what the best way to go about that is without going crazy and just tearing everything to pieces as my crazy person instincts are telling me to. It’s hard living with these demo-happy voices in my head, let me tell you.
Obviously, I love this place, warts and all. I’m still a little giddy and shocked that I’m going to be living here, and I can’t wait to start fixing things up. This is going to be fun.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: welcome to my home!