The Third Apartment
Time for another apartment comparison. I made the notes for this while sitting in its empty rooms, the morning after the heft.
Our last apartment had a master bathroom, which was cool, but the bathroom sink was in the bedroom, separate from the toilet by a door. While that might be a nice arrangement when I have kids who don’t know what privacy is, during this stage in life, it was annoying; we had the baby’s crib in the bedroom with us and running water from the sink makes it hard to stay quiet. For those last few months, we used the toilet and sink in the second bathroom just beyond the bedroom. That second bathroom was also useful when the master bath toilet broke.
We originally groaned when we moved into our last apartment because we had an extra bathroom; we considered it wasted space, since we knew we’d never use the tub, and especially since it didn’t have a shower head in it. We ended up using the cupboard space for our tools and stuff like spray paint, and the medicine cabinet in the second bath was used as well. I used the tub a few times to shave my legs until I couldn’t reach them anymore, and I used it a few more times to give Toby a bath.
Having said that, I loved having a shower stall in the master bathroom. It was the first time I had a shower stall since I lived in the dorms, five or six years ago, and then, I shared it with five girls, which equals lots of hair and lots of stuff. In the dorms, our shower stall was often a wading pool, and every day, there were half-empty bottles and cups and razors as floating bath toys for my feet.
Sharing a shower stall with one other person was heavenly, especially since we, combined, had only three bottles, two razors, a mirror, and a soap dish. And nothing was stored on the floor.
I also enjoyed having a walk-in closet. I had to be really careful that the master bathroom door and the closet door didn’t scrape against each other: there was a line on one door where the previous renters had done just that. Plus, there were lots of ugly white squares on the beautiful wooden doors where previous tenants had used those detachable sticky-hooks but had mounted them incorrectly. We covered those up with clothes hanging from over-the-door hooks.
There was a hidden luxury of not having to stare at your clothes while doing other things in your bedroom like waking up or reading a book before bed. And I could dress in our walk-in closet, with the light on and the door closed, without waking anyone. It was a cool setup; I even managed to put a dresser in there, too, and still have plenty of space for both sets of clothes that were hanging up.
Along the lines of closets: We didn’t have enough storage space from the closets as we’d hoped, even when we added extra shelving. We added a shelf along the lip of the shower stall, above the level of the shower head but not on the same wall, a shelf that spanned from the top shelf one one side of the walk-in to the other, and a set of plastic shelves to the office closet.
We also converted what would be a laundry room just off the kitchen into a pantry; I was really proud of that transformation. Just’In bought four matching bookcases—three short with two inserts and one really tall one—and put them where a washer and a dryer would go. We used the shelf space for baking supplies, food storage, cookware, extra dishes, and food like cereal and chips; we had a small kitchen, though not as small as our first apartment. We also kept our folding chairs, our mop bucket, and our stepstool in that tiny room.
Enough talk of storage. I also liked the light fixtures. Modern, gender-neutral, but not utilitarian—read: masculine but not bare bulbs. The only poorly lit room was the bedroom, and we had plenty of lamps to only use that light for quick in-and-out tasks. The chandelier in the entryway (A chandelier! In an apartment!) was cool and 70s/80s without looking outdated. It was also obviously a chandelier without being too fancy and showoff-ish; it had glass panels and five lightbulbs on metal arches. I had fun with its shadows and picture frames on the nearest wall.
Four other apartment things to note:
1: We could hear the traffic of the belt route distinctly from our bedroom. With the windows closed. If I didn’t concentrate too hard, it sounds like the lull of the ocean or the roar of the wind. If I focused on it, the traffic was annoying. The lights from the traffic were mesmerizing at night.
2: There were lots of trees on the grounds, which meant lots of birds. Both were cool, visually–the path to our apartment was covered in trees and our birdfeeder got at least a dozen birds at one time–but also meant that our porch was a mess of leaves, birdseed, bird poop, and pollen.
3: We could see inside the windows of a 24-hour gym from our apartment. You’d think it’d be a boring view, since the building itself is quite drab, but it actually proved to be quite fascinating. People of all sorts of body types and lopes and rhythms on treadmills and stair-steppers, all in one room. Up at 2AM for a feeding? There’s someone on the treadmill. And the coolest part was that all the machines were faced away from us so we could stare all we wanted.
4: There were also lots of kids that lived in the complex, and the complex was huge. As a result, they were often playing, loitering, and walking to and from the school bus stop. It gave the area a warm community feeling; I would often see a kid and think, “Oh, I want one exactly like that.”
Despite the small space, we made our last apartment a home and enjoyed our time there. Now it’s time to do the same thing here; the difference is that we actually want to live in this city and this state.