One Saturday morning that is really exciting!!! I completed one very big thing on my 20 Before Twenty List and a pretty big thing for life in general: #19. get my first apartment. I didn’t actually get it today, but I signed the lease and will get to move in on May 15th!
First things first. I am staying in New Orleans for the summer for two reasons. 1. My scholarship requires that I be gainfully employed during the summer, and there are better chances of finding a good job that will be beneficial to my portfolio and enjoyable at the same time in New Orleans. I am hoping to get a summer internship with a graphic designer, a letterpress studio, or a stationary/invitation shop–or something in that sort-of job arena. There aren’t really opportunities for things like that in Harrisburg. 2. As much as I love being at home, I really need to feel a little more stability in my life. I hate moving back and forth from Illinois to Louisiana for the summer or for school. It is really stressful and my stuff is all over the place and I don’t have anywhere that really feels “mine.” Because I wanted to live off-campus, I was going to have to sign a year-long lease anyway, so that covers housing for the summer and for the school year, so it all works out well. Not to mention that Drew has a real job and bills to pay, so he of course will be here in the summer as well. We also need to be working on major wedding planning this summer anyway.
I had always wanted us to wait to live together until we were married. However, you always have to make compromises. The scholarship that Drew had for school was only for two years, so next year things are going to be really expensive for him as far as school is concerned. He also has a car payment to pay and rent and bills and on top of all that we are trying to save money for a wedding. We really can’t afford to live in separate houses in New Orleans, and besides it is really kind-of stupid since we are always together anyway. Plus, I don’t know that I would feel safe living in New Orleans on my own. So, that means that we are getting an apartment together next year. We can get something nicer and a little bigger together and we can just move once and if we like it enough we can stay there for more than just this year (which I think we will!).
So anyway, his current apartment has been perfect for the last two years and his landlords are amazing and it will be sad to leave, but it is just a studio and not really big enough for both of us and all our stuff. It has very limited closet space and a pretty small kitchen area that we have already outgrown. It is in a pretty great area though. As sad as we are to leave where we really first established a life at in New Orleans, it is time to move on to something that is bigger than just one room. That is for both me and him. I’ve been more than ready to have more than just a dorm room since the day I moved into the one I have now (Tulane requires all students to live on campus their first two years).
Anyway, back to the point. Lately we have been looking for apartments. We were really nervous and scared that we weren’t going to find anything that we could afford or anything that would be big enough or in a good neighborhood. We tried to keep an open mind, but had several things that we really wanted in an apartment:
-Laundry! It is so expensive to go to the laundromat and so inconvenient to lug your dirty laundry all across the United States to take it home and do it on visits. Plus in order to do the latter, it requires that you have enough clothes to last you a month or more without washing them. I hand washed quite a bit this year.
-A house with more than one room. No dorm rooms, no studio apartments. I wanted at the very least a kitchen/dining/living area and at least a bedroom and bathroom that were separate.
-Enough space for two people and a layout that allowed us to have a separate area to sleep, to study, and to relax. When you are constantly studying and working in the same area as everything else, it makes it hard to ever feel like you can relax in that space. I knew we might not be able to get something super big, but I at least wanted a layout that allowed for a small nook or area to dedicate for a desk and whatnot.
-A kitchen at least a little bigger than the one we have now, preferably with at least some cabinet space so that everything doesn’t have to be on display. Also big enough that the dishes don’t have to be in the same closet as my clothes. Also one that included appliances (they rent some apartments in New Orleans without appliances and we definitely don’t have the money right now to buy a fridge and stove). Drew also really, really, really wanted a dishwasher (He is the current one), although we knew that would be tricky to find and we could live without it.
-A good neighborhood, preferably somewhat close to Tulane/Uptown. New Orleans does have a high crime rate, and although I’ve never really felt unsafe here before, I don’t want our apartment to compromise our safety.
-A good landlord. The landlords that Drew has now are super nice, as you can tell in my last post, here. We knew we probably wouldn’t find someone else as awesome as they are, but we wanted to find someone that at least relatively cared about their tenants and the shape of the property.
-We really wanted a lot of natural light as well. Drew’s apartment now has a few windows, but they are all really small and don’t let in much light. It leaves the place feeling very cave-like. My first dorm room was similar to that as well. Not only is it depressing, but it costs more for your energy bill as well because you have to constantly have lights and lamps on. My current dorm room has huge windows that let in a lot of light and I never have to turn on any lights at all, unless it is night time.
Basically all in all, we would have preferred a two-bedroom, that way we both have our own spaces to study and whatnot, with a furnished kitchen in a good neighborhood with laundry. Ideally, we were willing to look past decorative features and whatnot, but obviously the more character and the nicer, the better.
I have to move out of my dorm room in like two weeks or so, so we really had to get on the house hunt. We found many that could have worked and went and looked at several of them. One was really nice and big and even had an outdoor area, but was in a not-s0-great neighborhood, one was too small, farther away and didn’t have laundry, and one was run by what Drew called a “slum lord” and was a big disaster. I didn’t even want to step foot in that place again. The last one that we looked at seemed perfect from the pictures and description and we started to get excited about it, but we were weary to get our hopes up too high, in case it didn’t turn out.
But ohhh was it Ahh-mazing. It is in a really good neighborhood, just a few blocks away from my school and is actually closer than the apartment that Drew has now. It is also 2 blocks away from the streetcar, so when we have guests or we want to go downtown we can just hop on over there. It is really in the absolute perfect location! It has off-street parking, so there is room for Drew’s car and also mine that I’ll have down here soon. It is also really big and has lots of windows in every room! There are these really pretty arched windows on the front of the house that are super pretty! We toured the house right before sunset and it was still bright enough in the whole house that we didn’t really need to turn the lights on! It also has old-fashioned dark stained hardwood floors that are really pretty and really tall ceilings as well!
When you first walk in, there is a big, sunny foyer area. The current tenant uses it for her dining room, but I think we will use it as Drew’s office, since he works from home a lot. The sunlight that comes in there will be good for him to work and keep him nice and awake when he is on the computer all the time. There are two french doors that you can use to close off the room as well, so that would be perfect if Drew was working and I had company or was watching television or doing anything noisy in the other room. You walk through the foyer/office and into the living room. It is the perfect size for us and I think we can fit our small kitchen table in there as well. Then there is a hallway that stretches the length of the house and all the rest of the rooms lead off of it. The first room off the hallway is a nice-sized kitchen. It has all relatively new appliances with a fridge, microwave, gas stove (YAY!), AND… a dishwasher! (Double YAY!) It has the perfect amount of cabinet space for us and also has a little closet pantry! Perfect!
The next room off the hallway is a bedroom with a nice-sized closet. This would be my room/office/art studio/study space. The end of the hallway splits and on the end is a pretty big laundry/utility room and then the other way is a bathroom with an old porcelain tub/shower, toilet and sink with a built in medicine cabinet and also a pretty built-in linen cabinet with a normal wooden door on the bottom and a glass display door on the top. Next to the bathroom is the other bedroom, with two closets and lots of windows. The house also has central air, which is a big bonus for the scorching New Orleans summer coming up.
The landlord is really nice and really seems to care about the apartment and the condition of everything. He said that they had just installed the central air not too long ago and he was even concerned about having part of the ceiling repainted right next to the new unit before we moved in. We both fell in love with everything about the apartment. It had everything on our list and everything we wanted that we thought we were going to have to compromise about as well. It feels a lot bigger than what we thought we were going to be able to afford, so it will be a great place that we can stay for hopefully a couple years. Actually, I think that the just the foyer and living room area is bigger than Drew’s current apartment! I really, really love the old-fashioned New Orleans charm in the building and I’m really excited that it has charm and also still is nice and functional. It also has lots of storage space for all the stuff we have. PLUS, the price was exactly what we wanted to pay! It was even cheaper than the other, much-worse, apartments we had already toured!! The previous tenant was also moving out at the same exact time that we were looking to move in, so it worked out perfect!
I’m so relieved to have found something so amazing! I still can’t believe it! We were anxious to find out what “the catch” was going to be in the midst of all of its amazing-ness, but it doesn’t really seem to have one. The only bad thing is that we don’t have hardly any furniture to fill all the space! We’ve got to save up and look for some furnishings! Good thing that we’ve got time to build up with those. Now the hard part is waiting for the rest of the month and a half until we can move in…
I feel like God placed this house in our hands for a reason! It is just too perfect not to be!