Before I start, you have NO idea how much I’ve wanted to tell you what’s been happening behind the scenes here over the last few weeks! However, I chose not to for a few reasons. First, we weren’t sure it was going to happen. In fact, we almost didn’t sign the lease as recently as last weekend due to concerns about being able to make small-ish changes, like painting and switching out light fixtures. The landlord also expressed concern about our cats, and you KNOW their needs come first, so I wasn’t about to move somewhere that had an issue with cats. To be clear, all of the landlord’s concerns were valid, we just felt that since we are unique renters due to my job it might not be a good fit.
I was also feeling quite stressed and anxious about it all, and couldn’t mentally take on the questions that I would, understandably, be hit with. I’m happy to say that after meeting the landlord, explaining how much we loved her building, and assuring her we would care for the apartment like it was our own, she was put at ease and so were we.
Since I know I’m a curious person and would have SO many questions about this, I went ahead and put together a little Q&A to answer some questions you may have. After all, my job is sharing bits of our life at home, so I’m hoping people will be interested and excited for us to make this move. Be warned, this post is WORDY, but it makes it easier to put all this info down in one spot. Without further ado, the answers to the questions I’ve fully made up haha….
Why were you looking for a new place?
I’ve mentioned this recently in my stories, but since we expanded our little animal family and welcomed Frankie home, we felt strongly that we needed more space. NOT because the cats seemed uncomfortably cramped, but because WE did. We’ve been in our one-bedroom for over five years, but David has always wanted a studio with a window, and I’ve always dreamt of having a bigger bedroom. You know me, I’m always on the real estate lookout, but we did not expect to find a place so soon! I had very specific wants in mind, including historic details that aren’t easy to find in our budget. So when we found this spot, we did a double-take, got so excited that we stayed up all night dreaming about the opportunities, and went to see it the next day.
You’ve put so much work into your current apartment, why would you want to leave it after all of that?
This answer is long and a bit nuanced, because we don’t want to leave it, and for the time being we aren’t going to give it up entirely. I can explain though, so stick with me here!
The new apartment is lovely. It’s exactly what we’ve wanted in our living space, it’s in a beautiful little brownstone, it has a room for David’s studio (with two windows!), original fireplaces, hardwood floors, a tin ceiling, my DREAM window frame moldings and shutters, and it was surprisingly listed within our budget. It’s all pretty perfect for us, except for the kitchen. I’ll share more about it soon and show you what I mean, but the kitchen is unusable at the moment. Meaning, there’s no range or refrigerator and it’s basically an empty room with an old sink. Weird, I know. When we went to view the place, it was made clear that the landlord was planning to make some changes in the kitchen before anyone moved in. Given a large part of my job is sharing design projects, home decor, and DIY’s, we let them know in the off-chance they would be interested, that we would love to help make those changes. It’s a much smaller kitchen than ours and the work needed is not nearly as intense as our current kitchen was (i.e no tiling the floor). It took some talking through, but we reached an agreement with the new landlord to make the changes ourselves. To be clear, if content creation in the home decor space wasn’t my job, we would not be doing this. I can’t stress that enough. We will be making it livable as quickly as we can, but until then, we will be sleeping at our current spot. So the first month or so will be a lot of painting, cleaning and working on the kitchen.
What happens to your place when the kitchen is done? Will you let us know when it’s available to rent?
As soon as the kitchen is done, we will bring the cats over and start living there full time.
Of course, you will be the first to know when our Greenpoint place is eventually available! We have put so much work and love into this apartment, and I would be so happy to know that its next guardian would love it as much as we do. We’re not sure about our timeline and have a few ideas we want to flush out before letting go of it.
Those ideas include renting the space out, furnished, for photoshoots while simultaneously using it as an office/studio space for Reserve Home. We’ve hosted a few small photoshoots in the past (who remembers when we were sequestered in the bedroom all day last month?! lol), and our place is on a few websites that specialize in promoting location rentals. Ideally, if we could host photoshoots here and there, it would help offset the additional rent. Believe me, I’m not so flush with cash that I can pay for two apartments like it’s no biggie. It’s just that my business is growing and hiring and working with a team out of my home isn’t ideal. I haven’t worked outside my home in years, so it would also be nice to have a place to go to work even just a few days a week.
I was nervous to tell you all about this idea, as wild as it may seem, but a close friend recently helped me think about it in an entirely different way. If I said that I was looking for an office or studio in a more traditional setting, say a coworking loft or small studio space, most people wouldn’t bat an eyelash even though the cost would be similar to keeping this place (believe me, I’ve looked). To be honest, I’m nervous about either of these ideas working for us financially and practically, so we’re thinking of it as an experiment for now. When we started searching for a new place, we never dreamed of keeping this spot too, but reframing how we look at it, plus the idea that we can always let this place go if it doesn’t go how we want it to, is comforting.
I should add that we’re on a month-to-month lease in our current spot. We have an amazing relationship with our landlord and neighbors and all of this gives us the freedom to stay here, temporarily or not, without the fear of being locked into long-term leases at two places, especially given these unpredictable times.
So if you’re keeping your current place, even for a little bit, how are you deciding what to keep there or bring to the new spot?
We’re still trying to figure this out! Many of the furniture pieces in our living room were chosen specifically to fit this space, so we will leave most of it until we know what the plan is more long-term. That includes the pier mirror, fireplace, and little sofa. We have some furniture in storage that we can use at the new spot and we will either purchase or try to partner with a few select brands to decorate as well. I’m going to take my time with this though since I firmly believe that designing a space should not be rushed and furnishing a larger apartment all at once is just not financially feasible.
Why not just buy a place? This all seems a bit much for renters.
You have no idea how much we wish we could buy this new place or something comparable, but the reality of the situation is that’s not possible for us right now. Many people can’t afford to buy in NYC, and you know what, that includes us and we’re okay with that. Renter life isn’t so bad anyway! The key for us is to keep finding flexible landlords that allow a certain amount of freedom to create places that truly feel like home. Honestly, we’re really excited about this new place and see it as a stepping stone to grow my business!
When can we see more of this new place?
Very soon! The first step was telling you. We got the keys yesterday and are beginning to clean and prep to paint some rooms. I will bring you along for the entire process! I hope to share a walkthrough tour soon.
Is the new place close to your current spot?
Pretty close! It’s about a 15-minute drive, but still in Brooklyn.
If you’ve made it to the end, thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read this and only hope you can understand why we’re making this move. I’m so excited to take you along for the ride. : )
xo Mal, David, Kiki, Mikey, and Frankie
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