What do you look for in a place to live?
Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? I think location, location, location is definitely near the top of the list no matter your circumstances or situation.
But I was recently made rudely aware of how the rest of the list may differ wildly for different areas not so far from each other.
In Ireland (my home for much of my life), I think people are concerned about light. We love open plan kitchens, garden and a spare bedroom/office. A separate utility room is a handy thing to have too. We want south-facing gardens and lots of windows to bring in light. There is a very popular TV show in Ireland which involves an architect travelling around our country and placing big glass boxes (rooms) onto the back of people’s properties to create a ‘wonderful sense of light and space’. In a country where it is so often cloudy it is not a surprise that we crave light so much. Also we typically prefer to have a games room than a garage, as we are not usually plagued by extreme weather. Generally, we can get much of our list if we are willing to pay as we are not a densely packed country.
We were recently looking at apartments in New York City.
Now this is a completely different beast. The right location is still a priority consideration – how far is the subway? Being close to transport links is essential for city life. But no longer are we thinking about spare beds and TV rooms. The new questions are about washing machines and storage space. It had never occurred to me before spending time in New York that you might have to bring your dirty clothes in a bag down the street to a Laundromat. Or that I’d be using my suitcases that I’ve previously stored empty in the attic as a box to keep my towels in because I don’t have enough space in the cupboards.
Another thing that was new to me was the idea of building amenities. When you have so many people living on top of each other, each building becomes its own mini neighborhood. And many provide their own services. Some offer just a small fitness center. Others have beautiful roof decks with grilling stations, swimming pools, basketball courts and one of the most popular toys– golf simulators. You can potentially also find libraries, poker tables, arcade games, cinema rooms and even a climbing wall. All without leaving your building. Of course you pay handsomely for these facilities. It could be up to $200 per month in prime Manhattan locations for the privilege of being able to scale a climbing wall before breakfast.
To be continued tomorrow…