Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cathartic (Apartment) Cleansing

What you are gazing upon above is a "before and after" snapshot (click on images to see closer shots) of two days spent cleaning out our apartment. It's Christmas break (feels like we are back in college) and we decided to take advantage of it by beginning the process of cleaning out our closets (both literally and figuratively) of everything that we will and won't be taking with us to the new apartment. (Never mind you that we will be staying with her parents for a few months as we decided to pass on renewing our lease and instead opt for living with the 'rents' in order to save some dough).

The blessing and curse of our current apartment is the unbelievable amount of closet space it afforded us. Of course, it also afforded us the opportunity to save everything and just throw stuff everywhere (as you can see by the before picture of our master closet). As our new apartment doesn't have nearly as much space and knowing that we have tons of crap we don't really need, we used this exorcising exercise as an opportunity to be brutal and get rid of EVERYTHING we don't need. Amanda found herself saying goodbye to old purses, outfits, shoes, makeup, cards, and more. I was tasked with going through our book collection and discovering just how much crap we had that 1)we never read and 2)read and would not only never read again, but would be embarrassed as to have part of our permanent collection. So with that, i went through the books, organizing and creating piles, and found a nice selection of about fifty that we can soon donate to a local salvation army or library (whoever does pickups gets the books!) In organizing everything (especially the books, we even created a section of the closet that is dedicated to books that have yet to be read, we both agreed that we wouldn't buy any new books until we've read all the ones that we own...for me that's about 20, for her it's about 3), we discovered that moving and packing will be much easier, as everything is organized and just needs to be boxed.

There is something cathartic in cleaning your apartment, forcing yourself to say goodbye to things that you think you want, but realize you don't. It also gives you a chance to go through all your old things: pictures, love letters, short stories, childhood memorabilia, that you only look at when you are moving and won't look at again until the next time you do. Sometimes, you find the unexpected, like my grandfather's old porno collection from the 1960's that look like a laugh-in factory photo shoot as done by Hugh Hefner's camera lens.

But despite the dust you inhale and the inevitable allergic reactions (if one is so prone), it is a truly wild experience where you are forced to ask yourself: what do i really need? Is this really important? Am I EVER going to use this, look at this, read this, wear this, think of this again? For the majority of what we did, the answer was actually no.

Before this weekend I was a little freaked out about the actual move (I'm still freaked out about the whole construction and co-op application thing), i now feel like it will pretty seamless as we know that everything we are taking are things that we actually want to take.

And for the record, we each did keep a little box of random things that we don't know what to do with, but we're keeping anyway.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tailor Made

Jeez, I hope no one else got my vague I love New York 2 (electric bugaloo?) reference. It's just so sad that this is what my life has been reduced to. It's not even my fault, I go to the gym to work out and it's just ALWAYS on TV.

Amanda and I paid a visit to our new pad this weekend to do some measurements and what not. Since I'm about as handy with any type of tool as a border collie, Amanda's dad did most of the measuring and I did most of the 'holding' of the other side of the measurement.

We also brought our resident in-house designer, Ron, who works with Amanda and has an incredible eye, to take a first look at the apaartment. He and Amanda started to plot the layout of the furniture, and debate the placement of a new, large flatscreen TV. I'm still praying for my recliner/lazy-boy. (Which might possibly happen-ok, it probably wont).

After we did all the measurements, our potential contractor stopped by to take a look at the apartment. We showed him the bathroom that is going to be gut renovated, and the plus room which will be made into our dressing room. We discovered we might actually be able to expand the bathroom into the closet of the second bedroom, which although would cost more money, would certainly make the apartment more valuable in the long run. And who does't want a bigger bathroom?? We also discovered more places that we could do some fixing up, such as the kitchen, and my head started to spin as the dollar signs added up in my head. More info on that to come later.

The good news about our contractor is that he is actually a tenant in the building that Amanda's company owns, so should he not do a good job, rent might suddenly go up, u hurr?

anyhow, that was our weekend. we came back to the city, checked out the crafts fair at Bryant park (pic above), and then saw Into the wild on Saturday night, and I am legend on Sunday. Into the wild was great, although we knew how it was going to end, and I am Legend was a little disappointing, but an intriguing movie none the same.

Visiting Park Slope early on a Saturday morning was fantastic. We couldn't believe how quiet it was, how peaceful. We loved Ozzie's on 5th ave, an independent coffee house, complete with yummy baked goods, wanted/for sale leaflets, and condoms (yes, they had condoms near the condiments...ha!) The vibe was just perfect, and as we walked up the street to our apartment, we knew that no matter what cosmetic changes we made to our apartment, we would love life in BKLYN no matter what.

Seacrest out......

Monday, December 10, 2007

A picasso or a garfunkel...

So while there isn't much to report just yet, (after Amma's friend does the CAD sketch next week we'll upload for you all to see), this weekend, while fighting through a sinus and ear infection (plus the possibility of strep throat, I'll find out tmw for sure) we went to this crafts/christmas fair down in union square, while on our way to see Juno (awesome movie btw, trailer below), and found this awesome art work that we bought for our apartment! It's a hybrid of photography and graphic design, which is really really cool. We bought 4 pictures, one of which is posted at the top of this posting, which as you can see is a day time photo of a city skyline with stars superimposed below. (Be sure to take note, as your kids will one day ask you what it was like to see the stars from the sky). I fell in love with this instantly.

The other three photos, which we bought as a set to be displayed as three consecutive images, are of trees, that instead of leaves, have been altered to look like a kaleidoscope of pinwheels. They are very very cool, and the only reason they aren't posted is that when i tried to take a photo of them, they came out poor, and since we won't frame them until we move, i did not feel like removing them from the plastic. (If you REALLY want to imagine what they look like, imagine yourself in Amsterdam, having ingested some foreign substance, and then talk a walk among the trees. How's that? ) Either way, they are awesome, and we are both really excited. The designer/photographer, unfortunately did not give us a card, and of course we have both forgotten his for the moment if you want to see their work, you'll have to come to our April.

Not much else to report right now...the contracts are signed and the down payment made. As of now, it looks like we probably won't move in until may or even June, as we have decided that we will have to redo the bathroom since it is stuck in the 70's and takes us back to our visits to Forest Hills and the land of the Golden Girls. We will keep you all posted as that moves along too.

That's all for now...enjoy the Juno trailer and definitely go and see.
Seacrest out!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Not much to report but still...

well we are in a holding pattern for now. The contracts are signed an the deposit has been made. So now we are going to begin getting things in order for the co-op board, which brings us to a funny article that we found in new york magazine this week. You can find the original link here,

But we’ve also cut and paste below. Enjoy!

Getting the offer accepted is, strange as it sounds, often the easy part. It’s passing muster with the co-op board that’s tough. Assembling a killer package is key, of course (stellar references, wad of cash in the bank). Then comes the interview—and by this point, it’s your game to lose. “Ninety-five percent of the work has been done. The 5 percent is up to you, and that’s a very important 5 percent,” says Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Jacky Teplitzky. Most rules are standard—arrive early, dress conservatively—but brokers say some strategies appear counterintuitive. Take name-dropping. Though it may seem advantageous to mention friends in the building, agent Alison Rogers, author of Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, says skip it, unless you’re certain they’re adored by their neighbors. “You may score points with some, but annoy others who may not like them,” she says. In fact, steer clear of talking about anything specific about the building in general (the new fitness room or the chatty doorman). Those are what Corcoran’s Deanna Kory calls “hot points.” The gym could have come at a massive and controversial hike in maintenance; that doorman may be on his way out. “Somebody on the board may hate [them],” she explains—and your innocent enthusiasm will leave a bad taste in their mouths. Samantha Kleier Forbes of Gumley Haft Kleier once had a buyer, hoping to look interested in the future of the co-op, ask if the lobby was scheduled to be renovated. Unfortunately for him, the lobby had just been done over. “The board meeting is never the time to ask these questions,” she says.

Served on the board of your old building? Resist touting your accomplishments. “That’s a big N-O!” says Teplitzky. No one likes a braggart, for starters, and you may unnerve board members who like things the way they are. And though it may seem smart to dress to the hilt to gain entry to a chic co-op, Bellmarc’s Cayle White recommends leaving the diamonds and Birkin bag at home. “You don’t want to look like you’re trying to look rich. It’s very ostentatious and gauche,” she says. “Your financial information speaks for itself.” And, says Kleier Forbes, “you don’t want to look like someone who’ll steal someone else’s husband. No one’s ever been turned down for looking boring.”