Thursday, September 10, 2009

Inside the condo

I had a chance 10 weeks ago to share my excitement about possibly securing a place here on Alki, but I didn't delve too much into the condo itself because we knew that Plan A was never a sure thing. Now, with keys in hand, I can share a little more about the living quarters.

The condo is a three-story building, and our unit spans the second and third floors of the building. The is our first place to span more than one floor, and I have to admit that it was a huge attraction. Our nature is to be messy, to let clutter flow from one room to the next and take over. That's been particularly true since starting our home business, as there was never a clear demarcation between living space and work space. Now there is. The downstairs can be the place to play, eat, relax, and entertain, and the upstairs can be for work and for projects. Our hope is to be able to have our friends over more often this way, although you will never be allowed upstairs, sorry.

Along with two floors comes two bathrooms, something we've never had either. Actually, it's two half baths: Downstairs is a toilet and sink, and upstairs is a toilet and tub, with two separate sinks in each of the bedrooms. That affords a lot opportunity to get ready without stumbling over each other (but more sinks to clean, darn).

Other things new to us include a washer/dryer in unit, which is not uncommon in apartment buildings these days but we've never been fortunate to have, so that's the end of lugging hampers up and down stairs, huzzah!

We have a real working fireplace now (instead of a fake 1920s electric one), although I'm not sure how often we'll actually use it. The master bath has a full-length mirror as a closet door, so now we can see more clearly how bad we look from the waist down. Oh, and a garbage disposal, that's new to us, and something that we've missed a lot.

The other thing I'm looking forward to is being able to keep our curtains open. I like light. I like the openness that windows bring to a room. And yet in our three apartments, we've always been near a lot of foot traffic, and people always turn their heads and look inside our place. I get self-conscious when I'm sitting around on my couch and strangers are walking down the path and staring at me. I prefer privacy, especially if I'm wrapping stacks and stacks of packages, or still wearing pajamas, or any of the other work-from-home oddities. But being on the second and third floors, there is no one at all to look in on us. (Except for an apartment building a couple blocks away, although you'd need binoculars to see in, and I'm sure I'm not that interesting.) So we can at last be free to have a lot of light and openness in our place without feeling spied on. Nice.

Speaking of light, I forgot that each of the bedrooms (and the hallway) have a skylight installed. It's the only unit in the building that paid for that upgrade when the did the roof, so it's a nice perk and adds a lot of light, plus they can be vented when the weather is hot. (And speaking of the roof, the building recently finished all major renovations including roof, siding, and windows, so we don't have to endure the year of scaffolding on the place that everyone else had to.)

There are a few downsides from perfection, the first being that there is no garden for Amanda. There is a nice picture-window box for plants that extends from the side of the building to capture lots of light, but, still, it doesn't offer the same opportunities that her double-bed garden at our apartment as afforded. There is also the fact that we'll have people living next to us on three sides once again (our current place is adjacent only one other unit), which means we'll have to be careful of keeping the noise down (not always easy with a toddler) and being aware of the late hours (not easy for us night owls). And we will now be part of a Home Owner's Association, which is something we've never done before, and we've heard stories of people having conflicts with their HOAs that has made us nervous. On the other hand, I like the chance it gives us to get to know our neighbors better, which we've haven't done very well in apartments.

OK, enough prologue. Here are two quick sketches (not to scale at all) that I've drawn up of the general layout of the two floors so that when you see the photos, you'll have a rough idea of the context (click to enlarge):

And here are photos off the realtor's website of the inside of our condo. These are probably more interesting for you to view than if we took our own photos (since it's now completely blank and empty), although I should mention that the staging is more bachelor-style than what we're hoping to achieve: a more beach-cottage feel. Enjoy!

fireplace/living room

patio/dining area


living room/patio

downstairs bath

master bedroom

master bath

second bedroom (here staged as an office)

extra sink in the second bedroom

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