I am officially a Brooklynite!
I moved lock, stock and barrel last Wednesday from the Manhattan apartment I’ve owned since 1992. Well, not quite lock, stock and barrel, because the movers couldn’t extricate my sofa from the building. Seems the moving men who detached the legs to get the sofa into the building four years ago stripped the screws so badly that it was impossible to remove them this time around. The chunky legs prevented the already-big piece from getting out the door.
Dr. Sofa to the rescue! Yep, you read that right. Dr. Sofa. Two men took apart my stubborn sofa in about 30 minutes, trucked it to my new (1899) house in Brooklyn, then reassembled it in 20 minutes. Operation successful. And this was no lightweight Ikea DIY sofa. Dr. Sofa doesn’t take Medicare, so I had to pay $650 out-of-pocket. But I could never buy a sofa like it for that price.
The apartment which I rented from Airbnb, about .7 of a mile from the new (old) house which I’m renovating, was downright depressing. It didn’t have a regular-height table, only a counter with two wobbly, uncomfortable stools. The “air conditioning” came from a portable unit, which was not designed for 90+ degree heart-of-summer days. The bedroom, located down three little flights of high stairs, smelled musty. And the Internet didn’t work down there. The refrigerator held two dried-out limes and a moldy jar of something. Two bulbs were burned out in the bathroom. There wasn’t a single garbage bag in the place. And, the hallways of the apartment building looked like they hadn’t been painted or cleaned in decades. Even Rigby, my Norfolk terrier, seemed depressed. He also fell down a few of the crazy steps, until he figured out how to gingerly work his way up and down.
I had to get out of there, but where would I go, and would I get back the money I paid, up front, to rent the place?
Fortunately, the broker who I used to sell my Manhattan apartment and find me the Brooklyn house that I bought, hooked me up with a company called Stay Awhile, which rents furnished apartments in the coolest neighborhood in Brooklyn, called Williamsburg. I grabbed the studio they showed me. It’s about 500 square feet, and it’s white, light and clean. The building has a fully-equipped gym, a rooftop with a barbecue, and a lobby where I can sit and watch the hip young men and women streaming in and out, many with their dogs. David and I definitely are the oldest people in Williamsburg, but I like that. It’s great fun to be around artsy 20 and 30 somethings and to scout out the jumping neighborhood when I walk Rigby.
Bye bye Manhattan’s Madison Avenue. Hello Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue.
Another piece of good luck
The Airbnb “resolution center,” and the woman who rented me her apartment, agreed to refund most of the hefty fee I paid. I have no intention of writing a bad review on the Airbnb site, but I caution any of my FOFriends who are thinking of using the service to be cautious of the salesy descriptions accompanying the often-misleading photos of the places for rent.
Renovations are underway at my house. Combo air conditioning and heating units installed. Front and backyards cleared and ready for new pavers and topsoil. (I may even try my hand at gardening!) Tiles ordered for the bathroom walls and floors. Kitchen cabinets under construction, and appliances ordered. My years of experience as a reporter and editor for a leading trade newspaper in the home furnishings industry are helping me through the process, but it’s a huge undertaking. I’m doing it myself because interior designers charge a fortune and I’d rather use the money on the house.
Stay tuned for how the house is shaping up.