09 July 2007

Apartment Beautiful

Yikes! It's nearly mid-July! I wanted to do a post before now, but it's been a very busy two weeks of covering Summerfest, Art v Craft and reviewing Panic! At the Disco.

But here's something I've had in mind for a while that's really relevant this time of year: a handy checklist for finding an apartment. I'm about to move, and my hopes are high that I've found the perfect place. I tend to become somewhat obsessive about where I live. Having lived in New York, I can testify that living in the wrong place can ruin your whole life--let's just leave it at that.

Without further ado, here are the things to remember to look for in your perfect Milwaukee apartment:

Storage
Duh. It doesn't matter how cute your Art Deco studio is; if you don't have some place to put your towels, it's going to seriously cramp your style vibe.

Counter space
It's very hard to cook without them.

Quiet neighbors
Sometimes someone has to call the po po. Don't be afraid to be that person.

Quiet street
Unless the sound of semis changing gear is actually part of a desirable lifestyle.

Water pressure
It's easy to be taken in by a charming old-fashioned bathroom, but make sure the water doesn't shoot out of the shower like so many fine needles.

Busline
Oh, the delicate balance! It's important to live fairly near the bus stop if the neighborhood gets a little iffy at night. But, the bus stop on your block is probably too noisy.

No pets in the building
I really like animals, but I'm sticking by this one. This is probably a paranoid holdover from having lived in what became a flea circus at one point. Seriously.

No moldering Victorian smell
It's impossible to banish and it probably means something somewhere is structurally unsound or becoming that way.

Apartment's location within building
This affects noise from the street and the all-important natural light factor.

Lots of windows
It's depressing as hell to live in a place with a total of three windows. A good rule is that it should be possible to see outside from all but one room.

Terazzo in the kitchen
No gummy lino! Terazzo is beautiful and you'll feel like a 1920s starlet.

Gas stove
You're not serious about cooking with electricity, are you?

Placement of electrical outlets
This doesn't become apparent until you realize the shelves for your stereo are across the room from the plug-in and you've got a surge protector dangling on the wall.

Light fixtures
Are you going to have to call your lazy building manager every time you need to change a lightbulb because of how high the light fixtures are? Will it be easy to put on a shade or install a new pendant?

Built-ins
How covetously Milwaukee-dwellers eye friends' and neighbors' built-ins. They're sweet reminders of a bygone era of craftsmanship. And very handy. And, honestly, a status symbol.

Move-in deals
Don't be afraid to turn the screws before you move in! For real! Can you get a free month? Can you shave a couple months off so your lease is 9- or 10-month instead of the cumbersome 12? Learn to smell a landlord's desperation.

Onsite laundry
Having to schlep to Soapies is the easy way to become a person who does laundry four times a year.

No manky carpets reeking of cat pee or cigarette smoke
Don't even bother with the carpet cleaning service. The smell won't come out. Ever!

No concrete under wooden floors
I would advise asking about this out and out. It's bad for the joints.

I hope this has been somewhat helpful. Good luck finding your beautiful, amazing new apartment!

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