26 votes

Tell me about your living space

With widespread lockdowns and quarantines having been in place for awhile now, I imagine many of us are more intimately familiar with our living spaces -- houses, apartments, rooms, wherever we're stuck -- than we ever have been. We know them inside and out, along with all their positives, negatives, and quirks.

Tell me all about:

  • What's the breakdown of your living space?
  • What do you appreciate about it?
  • What bothers you about it?
  • In what ways have you made the space "yours"?
  • Do you share it with anyone: pets, plants, or people?
  • Are you happy with where you are?
  • Is there anything you'd recommend for others regarding their living spaces?

24 comments

  1. [5]
    UniquelyGeneric
    (edited )
    Link
    This post could not have come at a better time. I recently moved into a new apartment a couple weeks ago so I've been spending the past ~2 months obsessing over every detail to optimize the space...

    This post could not have come at a better time. I recently moved into a new apartment a couple weeks ago so I've been spending the past ~2 months obsessing over every detail to optimize the space in New York's notoriously small living quarters.

    What's the breakdown of your living space?

    It's a 500 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor of a building made in the early 1900's. The bedroom contains the only two windows in the unit, and the living room is merged with a tiny, but serviceable, kitchen with an electric stove. There's wood floors I've covered with a large rug in the living room, and exposed brick I've mostly left untouched aside from two large posters that I think balance out the nooks in the wall that they occupy. There's two fireplaces, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. I've cleverly placed a shoe rack in the bedroom one, and the second is occluded from view by my media center, which makes use of the empty space for all my power cords and networking.


    What do you appreciate about it?

    Many things. It's a "southern"-facing apartment, which given the orientation of Manahattan means I get the evening sun which works out perfectly for me because I am not a morning person, and I appreciate having more of the day that I'm awake with sunlight in the room. My last apartment got the morning sun and this proved to be problematic while taking video calls for work later in the day when I would lose any available natural light and had to improvise to make my face visible.

    I really like the layout as well, everything is very rectangular. While apartment hunting it was clear that most apartments in my price range were either repurposed studios or incredibly awkward shapes (e.g. a triangular shaped living room, or a long thin hallway that eats up the square footage with unusable space). Having everything rectangular means that the area of the room is maximized for usable space. I also like the French doors that separate the bedroom from the living room. It's clear it was a wall that was not part of the original building design, but it really helps me to separate my bedroom/office from the living/creative space. I keep the doors closed while working, and open them when I log off to mentally switch gears. The French doors really make the unit feel open and airy and help pass as much light as possible into the rest of the apartment.

    Everything just fits. There's some nooks in the walls that could have otherwise been a hassle, but for me they are perfect for allowing a slight separation of space within the same room. I have a nook in my bedroom which allows for the tiniest of desks to fit in, but I have a comfortable situation with a second monitor/TV screen visible from the bed and an old Kindle Fire I've mounted on the wall to be an always-on monitor for IRC chats. A nook in the living room is exactly the right size to fit my 88-key digital keyboard and nothing more. I had a guiding principle to ensure that all doors that can open in the apartment would be able to move completely without obstruction. I put a bar cart in the kitchen area, and while it could have made things cramped, the sink's under-cabinet door opens with less than inch to spare. My couch in the living room is spaced perfectly between a coat closet door and my vertical bike mount, giving both the space they need to operate.


    What bothers you about it?

    There's some element of its age that shows. For some reason mine is the only building on the block that has its Internet cables hanging on the outside, so my modem has to be next to my bed, and I've laced a 35 ft ethernet cable around the molding into the living room. It's well hidden and would make /r/cableporn proud, but unnecessary if the cables were interior in the first place.

    While I've made the most of the kitchen space, it still leaves something to be desired. It was clearly furnished in the 90's and it shows. Everything is white, including the cabinets, but the cabinets themselves have started to deteriorate from presumable water damage at the edges and don't hold up well to close inspection.

    It also has a toilet without a reservoir, so it uses a flush mechanism found in most bar toilets, which while it makes noises like it's doing a great job evacuating its contents, usually takes two flushes to get rid of everything. It also has a checkerboard tile on the floor which I'm just not a fan of.

    The last small complaint is that while there's trees on my whole block, for some reason right where my building is are newly planted trees which are quite small and cannot be seen while inside the apartment. A minor gripe for sure, but my last apartment had an entire garden outside the window so in relative terms it's a downgrade.


    In what ways have you made the space "yours"?

    The last tenant was clearly a recent college-grad with a job at Twitter so they had no idea the amazing space they had and no sense of style to make it look nice. They had boneheaded decisions like a couch sectional that blocked the bedroom door access, and printed out pictures taped up on the walls. Shelves were used to store cardboard boxes in plain sight and an attempt at growing a plant inside the fireplace unsurprisingly did not bode well for the plant.

    My general decor is intended to provide a parlor feel, with the kitchen taking on a bar/cocktail vibe, and the living room has this large artwork someone was throwing out at my last apartment complex, bookended by two large framed playing cards (Ace of Spades and an arabesque back of a card). The bedroom has this poster between the two large windows, which gives it a feeling of being another window to the outside (though my actual view is not nearly as idyllic). I also recently bought a guitar which is now mounted next to the keyboard to have a musical corner which also has its own aesthetics.

    Along with not being a morning person, I'm an extreme night owl. While I have f.lux on my computer, I bought smart bulbs for all areas in the apartment and plan on automating them through Home Assistant to provide a f.lux-like feel. I can tell it's already helping me go to sleep earlier, and it's so great to switch hues from blue to orange after sunset. Makes the apartment feel warmer, and along with the exposed brick makes me feel very comfy and relaxed.


    Do you share it with anyone: pets, plants, or people?

    This is very much a bachelor pad and it probably comes off that way to anyone who were to see it, but I've learned to treat the things I own much better than I used to, so I hope it also has an air of sophistication rather than just appearing like the living space of a drunk musician.

    I used to live with roommates for the past 3 years. It was done for the socialization as well as a larger space than my previous studio (which probably had 200 sq ft less than my current setup). I'm happy to have full ownership of my bathroom and kitchen where I can keep things clean and tidy without fear someone else will muck it up for me.

    I do have a small succulent collection of about 6 different plants. They occupy the one window sill without A/C and just today I bought an outside pot for my window sill and have some basil and spinach growing in it currently.


    Are you happy with where you are?

    Very much. Whether it's because I no longer have roommates, or because I was able to optimize my space to my liking, I feel very comfortable where I'm at. I joke that I had to optimize this space because due to covid I was going to be spending many hours in the same space. This apartment is my home office/gym/restaurant/bar/cinema/studio, and I can very easily transition to each function due to how I've set up everything.

    I also got lucky with the price for my place due to coronavirus messing with the pricing of NYC apartments. My only fear is that next year they will significantly increase the rent rate, but if it's not too much higher, it will still be worth staying rather than pay a broker fee and go through the hassle of moving. I expect to live here for the next 3 years (subject to change if there is a significant other that enters the mix).


    Is there anything you'd recommend for others regarding their living spaces?

    Use the vertical space! I had many things mounted that opened up floor space while being functional themselves: two spice racks cleared out cabinet space, a wallet/key holder prevented my one kitchen counter from being used for non-food items, a vertical bike mount allowed me to keep my bike inside while not getting in the way, my new guitar is mounted as well which keeps it easily accessible, there's command hooks in my closets for belts and other items that get frequent use, and I have two floating shelves over my desk for purely decorative purposes to make the space not feel empty. Also, I bought a lift-top coffee table, which has tons of storage space for books, and makes for a convenient transition to a dinner table or computer stand. What a game changer.

    I'm also a firm believer that "out of sight, out of mind" and its inverse are true. That is, place the things you want to use more frequently within arm's reach, and within eye sight. That's why I have my bike, guitar, keyboard and spice rack all very accessible so I can use them more frequently. The more friction points you put into something, the more activation energy it takes to actually use them. Good habits can be engineered rather than just conditioned.

    10 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      This is such an incredible reply! Thank you so much for being so thorough. It sounds like you're using your space very efficiently, and I love all of the little optimizations you've shared (e.g....

      This is such an incredible reply! Thank you so much for being so thorough.

      It sounds like you're using your space very efficiently, and I love all of the little optimizations you've shared (e.g. the lift-top coffee table, fitting things in nooks, hanging things on walls, etc.). Your space is lucky to have you. :)

      3 votes
    2. [3]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Do you happen to have any advice for doing that? I wired my ethernet through my walls properly, but I couldn't be bothered to do the same with the 20ft HDMI cable running from my computer to my...

      I've laced a 35 ft ethernet cable around the molding into the living room. It's well hidden and would make /r/cableporn proud, but unnecessary if the cables were interior in the first place.

      Do you happen to have any advice for doing that? I wired my ethernet through my walls properly, but I couldn't be bothered to do the same with the 20ft HDMI cable running from my computer to my TV. And even though I bought some velco backed tape to hold the HDMI cable in place along the floorboards so I don't trip on it, it kinda looks like shit, and it's the one thing that still really annoys me that I have no idea how to remedy.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        UniquelyGeneric
        Link Parent
        I used these clips, which are sized perfectly for ethernet, but might be too small for HDMI. There's other versions that might support the slightly larger diameter of the cables, though. My advice...

        I used these clips, which are sized perfectly for ethernet, but might be too small for HDMI. There's other versions that might support the slightly larger diameter of the cables, though.

        My advice would be that you need to have tension in the cable to keep it neat, but you don't need to have a clip at every section to keep it form-fitting, only at areas where the cable will naturally bow out or around corners. I think less is more here, as the clips are somewhat more visible than the cable. I opted to not use nail-in versions, although they would be more sturdy than the adhesive (which will likely lose grip over time), because I thought the nail itself might stand out too much (and it's more of a pain to keep the cable tension while laying them down). You don't need the tension to be so extreme that the clips are at risk of getting pulled off, but just enough to keep the line taut and minimize the visible gap between the molding and the wire.

        4 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Ah yeah, something like those clips but for HDMI would definitely be a huge step up, and also help with the tension issue you mentioned. The problem I have with the velcro I used is that the cable...

          Ah yeah, something like those clips but for HDMI would definitely be a huge step up, and also help with the tension issue you mentioned. The problem I have with the velcro I used is that the cable is basically completely free to slide around behind it, so I often have to re-tighten the cable, as it tends to snake out a bit from the floorboard with time as it gets bumped when vacuuming and such. Well, that and despite the white floorboard and white cable, the only velcro I managed to find was black, so it sticks out like a sore thumb. :P

          Thanks for the link (which gives me a great jumping off point) and the advice!

          3 votes
  2. [3]
    ohyran
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm not in a state of quarantine or lockdown where I'm at. Which is good because I would, without trying to be glib about it, go insane. I live with my husband and cat in the area of Majorna in...

    I'm not in a state of quarantine or lockdown where I'm at. Which is good because I would, without trying to be glib about it, go insane.

    I live with my husband and cat in the area of Majorna in Gothenburg. Its like this mix of working class, and artsy with a larger and larger chunk of posh people moving in each year. The city of Gothenburg can be described as an enclave city, where each neighbourhood exists more or less isolated in its layout. Majorna and the area of it I live at is fairly cutesy. Old wood and brick building and an active street life.
    Our apartment is a fairly big two room (+kitchen + hallway + bathroom) affair at the third and top floor of one of these old buildings. The walls are made of wood so you have to accept hearing a lot of your neighbours at times. Since there is no AC in Swedish houses during the warmer summers the windows are all open too so you hear everything.

    I love it. We've lived here for 10 years which is odd considering how much we moved around when younger, but its this perfect little anchor for our lives. My husbands job is just across the river, 15 minutes with his bike and mine is 2 minutes away in the same area.
    Its a rent apartment controlled by a company held by the city/commune so the rent is... ok, but we have no loans or anything. Its right next to the ocean and during warm summer nights we've taken our bikes out and gone skinny dipping during the midnight sun.
    The mix of people is awesome and (odd comment but worth it) the mix means Swedes of different walks of life and from different backgrounds intermingle. The Somali-Swedish girl and the blond-as-shit-boy who both live in the same house found each other this summer and its... I mean its adorable. Seriously I see them sort of hold hands (their 12-14 I think) and my heart can't take it.

    Downside is that everything is small, built in a time when people where not only short but only women did kitchen stuff - the old wooden shelving left behind from the 1800eds is made for tiny tiny people (I'm 192cm) so I have a backache trying to get to some stuff. Its only one bathroom.
    I would complain about our neighbours as the walls are thin wood, the Afghan-Swedish dude next door playing ... folkmusic? Or assaulting his guitar with a steel ruler while shouting at it... I don't know... BUT tbh its not a problem, not a real problem. Oh or the neighbours little kids playing on the attic with what SOUNDS like clog-shoes... again, annoying but not THAT annoying.

    Our home is handled by two vaguely confused people with dumb artistic sensibilities. Our living room is bright yellow with friends paintings, some posters, my dads X-ray on the walls. One wall covered in a bookshelf where a quiet war between me and my librarian husband is waged daily. He wants them ordered after topic, and then writer. I want them ordered after size and colours like a normal person.
    Our kitchen has an old kitchen-sofa (ask your nordic friends what that is) where my husbands grandfather was born and some other relative of his died. My dads old radios and some weaponry is everywhere else. An indian bronze swastika with Ganesh on it is next to the door from one of my closest friends because he has a sense of humour. Everything is part of our past. I can walk around my apartment and point to each node in our past, his or mine or both, and see the trajectory of our lives.

    I share it with my husband. I mean we both live here. One thing I love is how he leaves his socks in the couch. I mean I hate it, but at one point in the beginning of the relationship I made the best choice I have ever made: I decided to ignore it, and put them in the laundry bin myself. The argument or me berating him for something he did without malice was more damaging than me just finding little sock-ores under the pillows and putting them away properly myself. Now everytime I find a pair I think of him and kinda smile.
    We have a cat. I pretend she is anti-science and harbours racist opinions and talk with her and pretend she says horrid dumb things back. She doesn't know what I say, but likes the attention. My husband hates it and keeps telling me to stop pretend the cat is an anti-vaxxer nazi. I tell him that its not MY cat (when we me she was a few months old) and its not my fault he raised a neonazi with a penchant for distrusting modern science.

    I'm very happy where I am, I go to bed next to the person I love having a neonazi anti-vaxxer cat purr between us. I wake up to the sound of the neighbours toddler eating her breakfast or fois-grasing gravel down a tuba and turn over and see my husband again sleeping in the shard of light seeping in through the bedroom curtains. Never gotten bored with that sight.

    My recommendation: don't care too much. You got a roof over your head, is the place safe and clean? Good. Is it somewhat close to things you like? Awesome.
    Then fill it not with stuff you love but people you love and then the things you love together will collect themselves.
    Pick a smaller living space. As long as you can hide away in your own room for a little while when things get a bit tense (like one sitting in the kitchen and the other in the bedroom), we all need to cool down on our own.

    Your home is a tool. Its where you are safe. The rest is about people <3

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      monarda
      Link Parent
      If you're not a writer, you should be. I read this a few hours ago and it filled me with so much emotion, good emotion-- joyful, laughing, happy type emotion. The kind of happy that is tearful in...

      If you're not a writer, you should be. I read this a few hours ago and it filled me with so much emotion, good emotion-- joyful, laughing, happy type emotion. The kind of happy that is tearful in its beauty.

      6 votes
      1. ohyran
        Link Parent
        Not a writer but thank you <3 Glad I made you joyful

        Not a writer but thank you <3 Glad I made you joyful

        6 votes
  3. [2]
    krg
    Link
    I'm in a studio apartment with a bathroom, kitchen, and small closet. It suits me. I have room for a bed, my books, a desktop that's built into the wall which holds my computing stuff, and my...

    I'm in a studio apartment with a bathroom, kitchen, and small closet. It suits me. I have room for a bed, my books, a desktop that's built into the wall which holds my computing stuff, and my musical gear. People seem to ditch furniture in the hallways and I've reclaimed a few things (including a faulty plasma TV that I think I can fix). I can def use more storage, though.

    Besides books and the choices I've made in the stuff I use, I haven't really personalized my space much. I have some rolled-up posters that I guess I could put up, but I kinda think posters on walls are corny. Though I think putting up LP covers is corny, as well, I do have a signed cover of Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. that I've considered displaying.

    The biggest negative is that I'm on the top floor. Besides the occasional leaks that spring during heavy rain (which is rare), people have access to the roof and when they walk around it sounds like heavy stomping. Hmm...I wonder if the room beneath me hears that when I walk. Well, I try to step light.

    I recommend everyone invest in a pull-up bar. Cheap and effective workout! And, uh... renter's insurance. Shit happens.

    9 votes
    1. kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Your mention of people walking on the roof reminds me of a story from my life. I had recently moved to a new city and wasn't comfortable being openly gay there yet. Part of it was that I wasn't...

      Your mention of people walking on the roof reminds me of a story from my life.

      I had recently moved to a new city and wasn't comfortable being openly gay there yet. Part of it was that I wasn't sure how accepted I would be, but part of it was also that I didn't want to pigeonhole myself as "the gay guy" for any social groups I'd join (which I'd had plenty of experience with in the places I'd lived before).

      I'd met a girl and we became fast friends and spent a good amount of time together. One night while we were hanging out she suggested we go up on the roof of her apartment building during the evening, so I did and it was absolutely lovely. It was twilight and the sky was still dimly beautiful from the sunset; you could see the city lights sparkling all around us; faint sounds from below filled the air with noise but the kind that makes everything feel far away. It was gorgeous and moving -- an ideal romance moment.

      She, of course, was feeling exactly that. Meanwhile I, being inexperienced in love and having no romantic radar whatsoever (least of all for women), was completely oblivious. It wasn't until she started making some roundabout overtures about "us" that the realization hit me like a slap in the face. I felt a rising and immediate horror as it became suddenly clear to me that she had probably intended the whole excursion to the roof in the first place as a chance to spark the kindling of a new relationship. My mind raced: I thought we were just hanging out! How did I miss this?! How long has this been going on with her?!

      Caught in this fraught moment, I hastily considered the best way to deactivate the momentum of evening. Outing myself would have been easiest, but I was wary of doing that because once you tell someone, you don't know who they'll tell, and I still wasn't ready for everyone to know. Not outing myself, on the other hand, might require dismissals that could feel callous or mean-spirited, especially because at this point it was clear that I'd completely unintentionally led her on. I didn't want her to feel bad in the slightest, but is that even possible when you find yourself accidentally a lot further along romantically than you ever intended to be?

      I was having my crisis of conscience while she was continually hinting towards intimacy, and it was exactly then that the door to the roof opened and a very unhappy person started yelling at us. The person's apartment was right beneath us and she was sick of people always walking around and sounding like elephants on the roof and she hated the super for never locking the roof door and so on.

      It was a more effective and timely mood-killer than I ever could have asked for, and we promptly left -- all hints of romance dissolved the moment some stranger began loudly chastizing us. I've never been so happy being shouted at.

      I eventually did come out to her, by the way, but that was not before I had the chance to be party to yet another unintentionally misguided event. Her very buff, very attractive brother tried to intimidate me one time I came to the apartment they shared. He no doubt saw me as the new "potential boyfriend" of his sister, and he, as the older protective brother of his younger sister, no doubt felt compelled to convey a domineering machismo as a warning to me, letting me know I shouldn't even think about treating her wrong lest I wanted to square off with him.

      It was a paternalistic but also ultimately kind gesture. He was looking out for his little sis, and he was trying to do it in the best way he knew how: by giving me an unconditionally masculine show of force. Unfortunately for him, he made quite a strategic error. His attempt to intimidate the potential-boyfriend-of-his-sister-but-actually-closeted-gay-guy was to, one time I showed up at their apartment, deliberately answer the door for me wearing only a towel, leaving nearly all the large and rippling muscles of his body on full display. Masculine show of force indeed.

      I think he interpreted my shocked look as fear, so from his perspective, he probably felt that he was successful. Meanwhile, I can in hindsight appreciate the poetic reversal of the situation: now it was my turn to feel the one-sided romantic heat for a patently oblivious and unavailable man.

      10 votes
  4. triple8
    Link
    I live in a four bedroom house with my parents and brother and sister. My bedroom is the second smallest of the four, but its size is good enough for me (I have no partner). I happen to have a...

    I live in a four bedroom house with my parents and brother and sister. My bedroom is the second smallest of the four, but its size is good enough for me (I have no partner). I happen to have a large(ish) closet, and a large picture window which is nice. I've got enough room in my bedroom for a queen size bed, a dresser (with a TV mounted to the wall above it) and a computer desk with my PC. I also have a small refrigerator for drinks (I drink a lot of soda... haha). I used to have a bunch of flags hanging on my wall, and a few posters of my brother's band, but I recently took them all down for a more clean, streamlined look... I have to say: I'm liking it!

    My brother and sister and I have our own bathroom to ourselves near our bedrooms. We have a decent sized kitchen, dining room, living room, and a basement. We grew up here, and for the most part I think we all love living here together.

    We are all homebodies, so we enjoy the privacy that living in the country affords. However, it sucks needing to own a car. Cars are expensive... Also, the Internet connectivity options are very limited here. No fibre, no cable... (I'm keeping a close eye on SpaceX's Starlink...)

    The plot of land we live on is about 4 acres, and it's a 15 minute drive from the nearest town with a grocery store. We have a large deck (that me and my brother helped our Dad build) and a pool in the backyard. We also have a gazebo on the deck, which is nice!

    My advice: if you're looking to get a new home, or even an apartment: look out for cell signal, and Internet connectivity options: without a doubt you are going to need both of those things at some point.

    7 votes
  5. MimicSquid
    Link
    My wife and I live with our dog and cat in a beautiful and decaying three bedroom apartment, with her crafting hobby stuff in one bedroom and our business in the other. The front half of the...

    My wife and I live with our dog and cat in a beautiful and decaying three bedroom apartment, with her crafting hobby stuff in one bedroom and our business in the other. The front half of the apartment is beautiful. Built in the 1920's it has dark wood built-in cabinetry, picture rails, and hardwood floors. The back half of it is awful. It wasn't designed to have indoor plumbing and originally had a wood stove rather than gas, so the bathroom and kitchen are both a series of poor compromises and awkwardness. If we owned it we'd have ripped it all out and fixed it ages ago, but we rent so we just dream about it.

    I've lived here for 29 years and my wife has lived here for 12 1/2, so it's as much ours as it could be without legal ownership and the willingness to invest serious money in making it less janky. We've repainted multiple times, fixed everything that comes up outside of plumbing and electrical issues, and changed up the yard multiple times. We're pretty happy, I suppose. If we can buy a place we will, just so that we can have more control over our space, but until then we're willing to put up with the jank for the low rent.

    7 votes
  6. mftrhu
    Link
    My home is, right now, a ~40 m2 apartment, on the third floor of a fairly old apartment building. It is split in two rooms of roughly the same size, kitchen and bedroom, mostly furnished with IKEA...

    My home is, right now, a ~40 m2 apartment, on the third floor of a fairly old apartment building. It is split in two rooms of roughly the same size, kitchen and bedroom, mostly furnished with IKEA furniture, and it has a tiny bathroom.

    I'm not sure there is anything I appreciate about it, per se, but I love the fact that it allows me to live alone. I love the independence it affords me: I love how I can dictate how my day should go, and I love how I can let my hair down, both metaphorically and literally, without anyone being there to comment on it. The fact that I don't have to pay rent - it belongs to my mother, and before I moved here for work it had been left empty for at least a year - is also a pretty nice perk, and it allowed me to save a nice chunk of money.

    What bothers me is, mostly, its location. It is on the third floor, there is no elevator, and the stairs are fairly narrow, which makes lugging my groceries upstairs a chore. It is a bit too well-insulated, making its walls prone to mold, and making it difficult for me to rest: I run hot, even in winter, and summers here are just unbearable. The bathroom, too, is too small - it lacks a bidet! - and was built by someone incompetent, as the shower lacks a siphon, letting the lovely smell of the sewer in.

    I didn't do much with it: it was a mess when I got here, it took a week to make it livable, and getting new furniture - it doesn't really need much, tbh, just a decent office chair and maybe a few shelves - is a bit difficult when you move with public transport and live on the third floor.

    What really makes it mine is the sprawling mess of my things: my keys hanging near the door, my pens and notebooks scattered all over my desk, my clothes on the laundry hamper, my backpack hanging from a steel wire hook I made and put on my desk.

    Also, I didn't spend that much effort on making my living space mine because I first had to make mine my own life.

    I think I'm happy. I'm certainly much better off than where I lived before: together with my family, in a village with the nearest shop being half an hour ago by car, with no prospects and slowly shutting down.

    I'm not sure what I could suggest to others. Get a good chair, maybe? Be ready for summer? Don't let the dishes pile up? Make a meal plan? Take your time to set your cables just so to avoid having to go back-and-forth to check on your charging phone?

    7 votes
  7. grahamiam
    Link
    Right at one year ago my spouse and I moved from an 1800 sq ft house in Texas into a 450 sq ft apartment in Taiwan. Making this big move has taught me a lot about what we value. We lost two guest...

    Right at one year ago my spouse and I moved from an 1800 sq ft house in Texas into a 450 sq ft apartment in Taiwan. Making this big move has taught me a lot about what we value. We lost two guest bedrooms we almost never used, a second bathroom, a lot of storage space, some space dedicated to pets, and our kitchen is about half the size. Our clothes washer is now outdoors on a patio, we dry our clothes on a line and have no dryer, and we have no dish washer. I got rid of about 1000 books; only kept ones that were signed, or were a meaningful gift, or that I planned to use for teaching. Really, the only thing I miss a lot is being able to escape noise - whether it be cooking, or the Roomba, or my spouse working or watching TV, there is no avoiding noise. I hate wearing headphones but am getting more used to it. I also kind of miss having a larger kitchen - I used to do a lot more baking and fermentation, but there's less incentive to do that here in Taiwan (groceries for a meal cost almost as much as a meal out, etc. and it's too hot to be cooking much).

    What I like about our apartment is its convenience. My spouse has a walkable commute and my commute is about 12 mins by bus. Our grocery is walkable, the subway is walkable, and there are is a huge variety of restaurants nearby. What I wish I could change about the apartment is a) I wish there wasn't a bathtub and instead that space was replaced by a closet and b) I wish the ceiling was a foot or two lower and we had more sound insulation between us and our neighbors.

    One thing I think everyone should own is a robot vacuum if you don't already. Also, going shoe free was a bigger improvement than I thought it would be.

    6 votes
  8. troleibusas
    Link
    What's the breakdown of your living space? It is a ~9m^2 room with a single window. Only furniture I have is a mattress, small table, chair and a rack for my clothes. What do you appreciate about...
    • What's the breakdown of your living space?
      It is a ~9m^2 room with a single window. Only furniture I have is a mattress, small table, chair and a rack for my clothes.
    • What do you appreciate about it?
      Extremely easy to clean, since there is nothing on the ground, all of my books and items live on the table. Feels spacious too.
    • What bothers you about it?
      Sharing an apartment takes away some freedoms, like walking around naked or being completely free to do whatever I want in the kitchen. But those tradeoffs are way better considering the rent I would pay for a full apartment.
    • In what ways have you made the space "yours"?
      It probably smells like me, and I am the only one that has no bed frame in the whole apartment.
    • Do you share it with anyone: pets, plants, or people?
      I do have some plants, but they don't talk with me.
    • Are you happy with where you are?
      I love the fact that all of my stuff just fits in the car in one go, I don't need to care about moving furniture or other bloat. I will donate my table and chair, take the rack and throw out the mattress. A backpack of clothes and a few boxes of books/items. Makes moving not a challenge.
    • Is there anything you'd recommend for others regarding their living spaces?
      Most stuff is garbage, do not get attached to furniture, books and other stuff that can be easily replaced. Sleeping on the floor also helped my back, hard floor and thin mattress somehow helps. Not a doctor, but I have a fucked up back and it got better.
    6 votes
  9. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    Spouse and I have been living in a three-bedroom apartment for the past year. No kids or pets; apart from us, the only life is an ornamental chili pepper plant and whatever fermentation project is...

    Spouse and I have been living in a three-bedroom apartment for the past year. No kids or pets; apart from us, the only life is an ornamental chili pepper plant and whatever fermentation project is currently underway in the kitchen. [PSA: Don't ferment garlic paste indoors.]

    Good: The building was literally completed just in time for us to move in, and the apartment was so pristine that it feels like we're ruining the place by existing in it. I know when every dent and scratch happened...

    We've each got an office for work-from-home. Kitchen/living/dining are open-plan, so it feels reasonably spacious. The modern construction meant plenty of closet and cabinet space to control clutter, and ADA-compliant bathroom sizes. There's a walkout balcony surrounded by trees. We were fortunate in the location - it's near enough to town that most amenities are within 15 minutes' drive.

    We were overjoyed to find a clean, well-appointed, affordable place given how scarce rental housing was in the marketplace. We'd been offered a dank, mold-infested, unimproved two-bedroom 1960's cottage for the same rental cost.

    Bad: The floors are cheap woodgrain laminate with no sound-damping whatsoever. Walls and doors are also thin. We're on a middle floor, so it's like living in a drum - everything happening in adjoining apartments is noticeable at all times. We can hear toilets flushing, teeth being brushed, pets' nails clicking on the floor, weird sex noises, children banging on things. You can judge pretty closely what footgear the neighbors wear, their entertainment tastes, and the health of their relationships.

    The shiny stainless steel kitchen appliances have the cheapest possible innards - the dishwasher doesn't get anything clean, the 'fridge compressor whines at a teeth-gritting pitch, the stove can just about boil water, the washer and dryer...don't. Even the luxe-appearing granite countertops weren't sealed properly, so we're anxiously wiping every drip in the hope that we don't sacrifice our security deposit to an ineradicable stain. The heating/cooling are uneven, the smoke detector is erratic, there's not enough hot water capacity for 10 minutes of low pressure showers, and we've already had to deal with a flood from bad upstairs plumbing.

    The paint and bedroom carpeting aren't great, either. Sponging off a mark on the wall left an even worse patch of rubbed paint, and there's already visible thinning of the carpet where the underlayment foam is breaking down in the high-traffic areas.

    Everything is in shades of greige and white, which turns out more depressing than restful when you're stuck inside for long periods. The windows of our office rooms have fine views of sodium-lit parking lots; it's nearly impossible to black out enough light throughout the apartment for good sleep. Despite the nasty orange glow at night, there isn't enough daylight from any window to grow houseplants without supplemental lighting. We're also under the flight path for the airport...

    Both our upstairs and downstairs neighbors are smokers, so it's rare that we can sit out on our balcony or leave windows open without inhaling whatever they're smoking.

    Other than unpacking books and a few decorative objects, we haven't really personalized the space. Our original plan was to rent until we could buy a house, which we actually accomplished last November. Unfortunately, renovation on that place got stalled with the COVID-19 lockdowns, so we've been in a not-great apartment for half a year longer than expected. Landscaping and gardening outside at the new place has been a major sanity saver. Fingers-crossed, we move in three weeks.

    5 votes
  10. AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    1,800 sqft (167sqm) house Three bedrooms (sleeping, my office, wife's office) Two bathrooms (main/hallway bathroom and my wife's office has a bathroom as it is technically the "master bedroom" but...

    What's the breakdown of your living space?

    1,800 sqft (167sqm) house
    Three bedrooms (sleeping, my office, wife's office)
    Two bathrooms (main/hallway bathroom and my wife's office has a bathroom as it is technically the "master bedroom" but I see no point in having that much space for somewhere that all we do is sleep and I don't like bathrooms in my bedroom)
    Two car garage (for now, meeting with contractors as of late to have a detached garage/workshop built in the back yard)
    Two dens/living rooms (one is the traditional den/living room where people we have over congregate, the other has been turned into a home gym)

    What do you appreciate about it?

    It has walls and a roof to keep weather out and my stuff inside, is sound, sturdy, and has some character. The garage houses two of my project cars, tools, welding equipment, etc. The new workshop will house whichever project car is the current focus along with my CNC machine and all of the other equipment in the garage at present. It's better than most places I've lived prior, which isn't a huge stretch considering I've lived in a range of places from outright homelessness to in a car to in a 150 year old "historic" home.

    What bothers you about it?

    It doesn't have enough space for my projects, tools, machines, etc so I'm building a workshop/garage. It's not the first choice I had when we went looking for a house, but time began to quickly run out and it's good enough. It's still in Texas while the plan is to move elsewhere.

    In what ways have you made the space "yours"?

    Put my stuff and the stuff I enjoy in it. Removed things I didn't like from the previous owner.

    Do you share it with anyone: pets, plants, or people?

    Two cats, one dog, one wife.

    Are you happy with where you are?

    Nope.

    Is there anything you'd recommend for others regarding their living spaces?

    If you live with someone else make sure you have a space that is truly yours. My office is mine, it has the things I enjoy, the projects I work on inside the house, my wife has her office for her stuff and projects. This keeps you from having to fight for a region you can be comfortable to do what you want to do. Personal space isn't just about your person, it's about somewhere you can be you and do you.

    5 votes
  11. aphoenix
    Link
    I live in a moderate sized bungalow in a small southern Ontario city. Our house's main floor is ~100m^2; we have a finished basement which is almost the same amount of usable space (~100m^2); if...

    I live in a moderate sized bungalow in a small southern Ontario city. Our house's main floor is ~100m^2; we have a finished basement which is almost the same amount of usable space (~100m^2); if you're more comfortable with it, that's about 2200 square feet of space.

    My family consists of me, my wife, and our three children, ranging in age from 5 to 14.

    Upstairs is 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a whole bunch of hallway, a moderately crappy kitchen, and the family room which serves as a combination dining room / living room / entertainment room / music room. Our family room has a lot going on and is usually in some state of disaster, see above re: children. This is the room the children spend the most time in, which will be surprising when I describe the downstairs.

    Downstairs has 2 more bedrooms, one of which is my office and is very large, a very large play room, a laundry, the furnace room, and the storage room. The play room is the largest room in the house, and the least used. Kids, eh? What're you gonna do.

    My wife uses half of our master bedroom as her office, which means that on any given day, several lectures happen from there. I work from my office. During "normal" times, this wouldn't be the case - she works at a university, I work out of the offices of the company I work at.

    We have a relatively large back yard, which has two sheds; one shed is large and beautiful. I built it with my father about 9 years ago. The other is small and awful and every year I consider pulling it down. We have a bit of storage behind The Good Shed to store our canoe. There's a sandbox, a fairly large cedar deck that I built with my father, a natural gas grill, some lawn furniture, two fair size garden beds with lots of vegetables growing in them, and a very nice back sidewalk that I (you guessed it) built with my father, that incorporates a nice french drain that goes around the back and side of the house, draining out to the front yard. We do not have a garage. Our front yard is mostly lawn with a small ornamental cherry tree and the ultimate end of the french drain, filled with moderate river rock.

    I appreciate that this house has given us 15 years of good life and good memories. When we moved in, we rented out the basement and only had one kid; we changed that over time, and now use the whole place, and we've enjoyed building our family here. The location is fantastic; we love the city we are in, and we love the access to parks that are nearby.

    The house has had years of water problems. Leaks, floods, mold, and other awful crap. I'm nearly finished the long process of finally fixing just about every goddamn way water can get into this house, just in time to sell it.

    The space has been made "ours" through handiwork; I'll never be able to look at the shed in the back, or the bathroom that we redid, without being proud of the work I can do with my hands. That said, I am certainly looking forward to the somewhat near future where we will sell this house and move to one that will suit our needs more. We need more room, and we want to live in a nicer place.

    I don't have a strong series of recommendations other than, if you can swing it, get good at fixing things. Home ownership is often one long fix after another; if you can fix the things yourself, then you will save thousands upon thousands of dollars.

    5 votes
  12. [2]
    Icarus
    (edited )
    Link
    What's the breakdown of your living space? I live on the top floor of an apartment building in a corner unit. I have a bit over 1200 square feet, 2 bed/2 bath, with an open floor plan. Each...

    What's the breakdown of your living space?

    I live on the top floor of an apartment building in a corner unit. I have a bit over 1200 square feet, 2 bed/2 bath, with an open floor plan. Each bedroom and bathroom is on opposite ends of the "L" shape floor plan. We have a nice balcony that overlooks open space, with the tops of palm trees within touching distance. 10 foot ceilings throughout, with huge windows.


    What do you appreciate about it?

    My bedroom has an eastern facing window which really helps me wake up at 6:30 every morning without an alarm clock. The kitchen has my first gas stove that I have regularly gotten to cook with. I'm allowed to smoke marijuana in it. It has good airflow when the windows are open. The patio is relaxing.

    I live closer to shops, restaurants, and a grocery store with unique perks from my leasing office. I have only driven twice in 2 months. There is an extremely large park and dog park within walking distance.


    What bothers you about it?

    Takes forever to drive from the top of the garage to the bottom. Its nearly a quarter of a mile at 5 miles per hour. Lots of road noise so no windows open during work meetings. No couch in the living room at the time. There is carpet in most of the unit.


    In what ways have you made the space "yours"?

    I have a projector mounted in my room to make a 100"+ screen and decent bookshelf speakers to accompany it. It really has a movie theater feel, especially when I make popcorn on the stovetop with the flavacol seasoning. We are still in the process of putting up hooks, deciding if we want to hang pictures, and that sort of thing. I do have some very large drawers and excess space in my kitchen, where I was able to make "spice drawers" that were in alphabetical order. My fiancée credits it as "the best thing you have ever given me in my life"


    Do you share it with anyone: pets, plants, or people?

    Fiancée and dog. Dog tax


    Are you happy with where you are?

    Yes, its the fanciest place I have ever lived in. Sometimes its unbelievable to me that I can live in a place like it and be comfortable. I regularly feel blessed and appreciative of my good fortune.


    Is there anything you'd recommend for others regarding their living spaces?

    Spice drawer?

    4 votes
    1. krg
      Link Parent
      Yea! Used to have the same at my old place (well, not mounted) and I loved to kick back and watch a movie before bed. There's really no suitable wall to project onto where I'm at now, so I gave it...

      I have a projector mounted in my room to make a 100"+ screen and decent bookshelf speakers to accompany it.

      Yea! Used to have the same at my old place (well, not mounted) and I loved to kick back and watch a movie before bed. There's really no suitable wall to project onto where I'm at now, so I gave it to my sister a couple of months ago thinking they'd make use of it in quarantine. But, I don't think they are... so I may ask for it back and just get a screen. I can't really relax and watch movies any other way.

      3 votes
  13. [2]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    First I'll start with the wider house. Originally there was only an auto repair shop built by my grandfather 25 or something years ago, dimensions are 6×20 meters. After my mother came from a...

    First I'll start with the wider house.

    Originally there was only a mechanic an auto repair shop built by my grandfather 25 or something years ago, dimensions are 6×20 meters. After my mother came from a rural community in the Brazilian northeast (SE state) and hanged around a few peripheral communities (in Brazil, the suburbs are shit, not the core.) 2 more floors were built. The bottom one is the mechanic, where my father works and has done so since he's 11.

    The middle one is empty and only has a somewhat small "proto-bathroom" and and other blue collar paraphernalia. My cats enjoy going there. I'll have to ask why he built it. Recently my mother

    The upper floor is where my parents and I live, but so does my uncle and his wife/spouse (are these things the same? I'm socially bankrupt so I wouldn't know.) This happened much like for how my mother came to live here. The space used was the half of the floor that was empty, which I used to play around in when I was a toddler/child.

    What remains empty is a small corridor which ends at a side-sliding door at which my (parents' although technically it's still my grandfather's house, no paperwork was done here and I suspect it's not good for him) house.

    So anyway after that door is crossed there's the closest thing to a background/yard area, unpaved with a few plants my mother likes, the sand that the cats toil, the washing machine and a few other laundry related things. (Most obviously, the clothing and towels, although the vacuum is there too.)

    After entering the third door since the street, you get to the actual living space you asked for.

    What's the breakdown of your living space?

    (6×6-10m), 2 bedrooms, one for my parents, with a 39-inch "Smart TV", a lot of participation awards that my mother got from running/jogging), their (couple-sized) bed and wardrobe and a weird compartment for shoes and related.

    My bedroom is the same, but with a place for my glasses (5 of them, because growing up), my shoes, stored in the boxes in which they were delivered, since I don't use them very often, and a few other things from my childhood.) And smaller.

    The bathroom has a toilet, (hand)washing place and and (electric, cold sucks) showering place. There's also the bathroom window you can't see out of because this is real life and you don't actually want anyone to see you.

    So you get the living room and the kitchen, both with one window (with curtains) each. The windows have a net around them to keep the cats from falling off the window. The rooms used to not be separate, but they asked my (maternal) grandfather to help fix that, and he did.

    So anyway, the kitchen has the stove, 'dishwashing place', a wardrobe looking place for smaller food, like crackers or the (glass) plates, the fridge and the (glass) table.

    The living room has 2 couches, another TV (42-inches), a PS3, 8 games, a 10-12 years old half-gig, a Windows 7 CPU (the physical monitor is in storage somewhere, currently we just use the TV.)

    The roof of all these but the "background" is covered with a 'lining' (forro, lost in translation) so the lamps aren't hanging off the ceiling.

    What do you appreciate about it?

    The lining/roof, the walls are smooth, the windows capture the sunrise, my bedroom is right next to the bathroom, and I can visit my uncle, his spouse and child (one of my cousins) at any time I want (despite this I never do lmao), it's not rented.

    What bothers you about it?

    Laundry clothes/towels being right on front of the exit/entrance, the wall between the kitchen and living room is too tall for us to see the TV, smart TV is really slow and not that smart/modern (when I tried to see Wikipedia, the softwar was so outdated that this affected me), when my uncle and his spouse-wife argue, (more often and more loudly than I'd like, they're often screaming at eachother), we can hear it. Also the cats cross the small hole on the top of my bedroom and often come to bother me at night. My father put a net tof stop them, but they broke it in 2 weeks :/

    In what ways have you made the space "yours"?

    My parents asked me what color did I want my bedroom to be and I said light blue so i did that, I suppose.

    Otherwise, it's not my house, it's my parent's house and at least legally, it's my grandfather's house only.

    Do you share it with anyone: pets, plants, or people?

    My parents and 3 cats. One is male and ~8, one other was found nearly exactly one year after him, is female and has heavily clogged lungs :/ and the last one is 2 and is a replacement for a (female) cat we had that died of renal failure :(

    If you count people in the same floor as you, as mentioned enough, my uncle, his spouse and their child.

    Are you happy with where you are?

    It's not rented so yes. More seriously, a lot of the hardware could/should be updated, but it's expensive :I

    Is there anything you'd recommend for others regarding their living spaces?

    If your going to the US, make sure you go to a place with as many competitive races overlapping as possible so your vote matters the most. But more seriously though, see question 3.

    4 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      @Kuromantis, I believe that “mechanic” (oficina mecânica?) is probably better translated as “auto repair shop”. Some info for Tilderinos: this is how many if not most Brazilians live. Our nuclear...

      @Kuromantis, I believe that “mechanic” (oficina mecânica?) is probably better translated as “auto repair shop”.

      Some info for Tilderinos: this is how many if not most Brazilians live. Our nuclear families are frequently extended for cultural and economic reasons. Even when we got the means, we tend to stay close—in the same neighborhood or at least the same city (when we migrate, we often bring relatives along). Americans seem to place great value in going where the wind blows. Us, not so much. Independence is still expected and we will have our own places if possible, but failing to do so is frequently not considered an existencial apocalypse—just super annoying at times.

      3 votes
  14. teaearlgraycold
    Link
    Normally my living situation consists of just me in a studio (almost 1 bedroom?) apartment in the Bay Area. I'm unsure about the apartment's classification because it has a ~8ft x 10ft room/walk...

    Normally my living situation consists of just me in a studio (almost 1 bedroom?) apartment in the Bay Area. I'm unsure about the apartment's classification because it has a ~8ft x 10ft room/walk in closet that I've fashioned into a working space with a desk. The unit also has a discrete kitchen. I live on the first floor, which has it's pros and cons. It's easier to move in and out, but I have less privacy and higher risk of robbers, although the neighborhood I'm in is very safe so that's no major concern.

    But since March I've been in and out of AirBnBs with some friends in order to maintain sanity and stave off cabin fever. We started by renting a cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains for 10 weeks. A coworker, his long time friend, and I stayed there through the end of winter while snow still fell on a regular basis through the mid point of spring. We were able to hike and bike through the mountains and get familiar with the local town. There was a local brewery which we visited on weekends for BBQing supplies, an unsurprisingly mediocre Chinese food restaurant, and basic necessities like a grocery store.

    During our stay in the cabin, which offered us around 2000 sqft, we cooked meals for each other daily. It was kind of fun to plan out 7 days of meals, putting together a full schedule before committing to it with our weekly grocery run. The living space came with a gas grill which my friend rigged as a smoker. We did a few tri-tips, nuts, tofu, ribs and a ton of glasses for mescal old fashioneds. My coworker was gifted 3 bottles of very nice mescal from a professional partner months ago and had been holding onto them for the right occasion.

    Now we're on to the second location which is in California's wine country. It's a 4 bedroom house in a relatively cheap part of the region. It comes with some upgrades - a hot tub, a gas rather than electric stove, a friendly neighborhood goat that gets all of our cooking scraps, more wineries than we could ever hope to visit, and a fourth member to our party. The major downside is the heat here. Outdoor exercise is a rare opportunity, with average temperatures near 90 degrees. Thankfully, we still have a grill. I put together pizza on Sunday with some mozzarella we cold smoked on it.

    4 votes
  15. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Unless you're facing the largest pandemic in the history of humankind, my situation is quite comfortable: I live in my mother's apartment rent-free, while she lives in another continent and spends...

    Unless you're facing the largest pandemic in the history of humankind, my situation is quite comfortable: I live in my mother's apartment rent-free, while she lives in another continent and spends 60 non-consecutive days a year with me.

    It's a big place (190m2), in a good neighborhood, relatively safe (for Brazil), surrounded by amenities, and close to the ocean.

    I'm quite happy, but only stayed here because of her unique work schedule, and that can change any minute (like covid has shown--she's now stuck in Brazil due to air travel restrictions). I intend to look for a place of my own once this ends.

    4 votes