12 January 2007

Apartment hunting. Watch out, they bite.

So far this week we've been to see six apartments, as we wanted to dip our toes into the market and get a sense of what's out there. Only one was compelling. They were, in order:

-A duplex with a nice terrace and great windows but skinny tiny stairs to get to the sleeping-under-the-eaves area, and we've had enough of skinny tiny stairs and falling down them to get to the bathroom.

-A peeling-at-the-corners box that was definitely not big enough for two, and anyway was furnished with ugly stuff.

-A large apartment with a decent kitchen and dining room, but with an awkward layout wherein a nice walk-in closet was beside the living room instead of the bedroom. It was also a little bit peely at the corners. And the girl who showed it to us was sort of rude and said it might be too small for two people. Hah! She should see the other places we're looking at!

-The one place that we almost took is actually right around the corner from where we are now. This is both a good and bad thing, as we really like this neighborhood for its liveliness, but the place is a little more smack dab in the center of the liveliness than we are now, if you know what I mean. It was reasonably priced (see: liveliness), but recently renovated and neither too small nor too big. The kitchen, tiny but nice (but lacking an oven), the bathroom large (and next to the bedroom!), including a washing machine. (It is revealing that for me it is a luxury to have a bathroom next to the bedroom.) One large dining/living/office space, one large bedroom, all wood floors, large windows. We both had a positive reaction to it, but it also wasn't an "absolutely." We both had doubts. And it would have meant moving in three weeks. Eek.

-The largest one yet ended up being quite out of our budget once utilities and charges were included, almost double the price of the prior place. And it was very spacious, but not quite to our liking in many ways, especially the kitchen which was shaped like a long skinny triangle. You'd have to wedge yourself in to use the sink. It was immaculately kept, but filled to overflowing with decorative items, such that it was hard to even get a sense of the bones of the place. The couple who showed it to us, about our age, were very sweet, except for an astonishing outburst from the cherub-cheeked wife, who yelled "No, STOP, please!" at a fairly innocuous but erroneous statement from the husband about the landlord. It rather startled us, but we had a good chuckle over it afterwards, while downing our falafel en route to the next place.

-The last apartment we saw yesterday turned out to be a studio, and a whoa nelly ugly one at that. Not ugly in the sense of dirty or unkempt, but ugly in the sense that it looked like someone's eighty-year-old grandmother lived there. Or like it was a hotel room built in the 1970s. Um, no thanks.

If there's anything we've learned, it is that there is no accounting for people's taste. It is an exercise in imagination to subtract the chirping parakeets, the ugly sofas, the pseudo-tribal art, and other tchotchkes in order to repopulate an apartment's space with our own belongings (which, in fairness, would probably be just as ugly to these folks' sensibilities as theirs is to ours). I'm just glad M and I are of one accord so far when it comes to the space itself and in every case came away thinking the same thing. Either nope, blech, or hmmm. We're waiting for the one where we both say, absolutely.

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