Thursday, April 28, 2011

Square footage

Quite frankly, I'm a ball of stress, and this will continue for at least 10 days. I can barely process all that's on my plate. But I think I'll feel better once I've secured a place to live in New York, which will be my mission tomorrow. Fortunately, for this task, I have enlisted the assistance of a broker, recommended through a classmate/friend who has a lot of experience in the city. Yesterday, he sent me 18 listings, and tomorrow we're going to look at about 5-8 of them. My hope is to return to New Haven with a place.

I'm really looking forward to living in the city. One adjustment I will have to make is downsizing. I'll be making a good living, but because I am determined to live in Manhattan in a nice place, the trade-off is square footage. Most of the listings I received were for studios, with a few one-bedroom apartments (or "junior one-bedrooms," a term I'd never heard before), with areas no greater than 550 square feet.

I'm trying to imagine that area. My one-bedroom apartment back in Fort Worth was 800 square feet, and there was actually too much space for my stuff. But my apartment in Dallas was 695 (and two stories), and it was barely enough room for my things. So 500 does concern me a little. But this is also an opportunity to unload some pieces I truly don't, or won't, use:

1. My weights and bench, which because I go to the gym a couples time a week I only use about once a week these days. If I take a building with a gym, I'd be happy to sell this.

2. My black leather chair and ottoman, currently used primarily as a receptacle for mail and dirty clothes, and only rarely for reading.

3. My dining room table and chairs, which currently live in storage and, after four years, have been used for their intended purposes only a handful of times.

But these types of concerns still live slightly out on the horizon. When I visit places, I want to concentrate on the feel and emotion of the space, which sounds all new-agey but which I've come to believe is key, after many years at many different addresses. I know I can adapt to even the strangest and most limiting of physical characteristics. I even once lived in a bedroom attached to a garage in an elderly woman's house, without so much as a chair. What matters is charm -- that homey feeling, or that sophisticated aura, the intangible energy that gives a home personality. I once lived in a place like that. It wasn't really special on paper -- just a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, the bottom floor of a duplex, without a dishwasher or garbage disposal or anything particularly amazing about it. But there was something about the colors, the way trees would sway in the sunshine outside the windows, the way the angles snaked around to make the place look bigger than it was ... the little things that don't show up in a real-estate listing. That's what I'm looking for ... much to my broker's frustration, probably.

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