Tuesday, March 14, 2006

That Moving Feeling

So, measuring 900 square feet, our co-op has grown too small.
Yes, we are fortunate among the many New Yorkers who torment each other in even less space. But my acceptable-square-feet-for-raisin'-up-a-family scale is tainted by the grand suburbias of the west where I found perfect isolation for desperate pre-, mid-, and post-pubescent breakdowns. In my big bedroom I was left quite alone to quietly confront the freakshow that was my bosom. For one tearstained solid year in front of a suburban full-length door mirror, I watched my right breast grow to a gropeable size while my left breast (wisely) clung to the predictable plains of childhood. Oh, the beauty of fourteen.

Now, I watch Emmie, 9 1/2, from the corner of my eye. We all do, for how can we not? Where can she go? To dress, she has taken to standing with her back to everybody while one hand covers her no-news chest and another works a shirt over her head. Closed doors are meaningless, because she knows that the minute she shuts a door, Boone will hear it and come barging in. It is his room too.
She has hung sheets around her lower bunk, carefully tucking them under the upper mattress and pinning the openings shut. Such a tiny tent for the upcoming freakshow.

Naturally, then, we are occasionally looking at real estate, usually in a not as expensive area for the best run-down bigger house we can get for the buck. I am intrigued with this house, although the realtor tells us that there is nothing left inside. I think we're talking about a carcass, a carcass which we would need to share with renters to make the mortgage. But darn it. My daughter deserves her own little space in which to privately view her own upcoming freakshows, audience of one. (Or two, if I can get a ticket.)

(On the other hand, we could move to Tokyo and live in one of these modules for around the same price. Freaky.)


Anonymous KeepYerBag said...

Having just moved my little family from a dwelling about the size of your co-op, I can understand the need for a bigger home. It's good for everyone to have their own space.

Nonetheless, I have to wonder how literally we are to interpret "nothing left inside" because that place looks like it might fall over if you leaned a rake against it.

I'm sure you've seen even scarier offerings in your quest for a home in the city, though.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Lilac Penguin said...

Ask your realtor for a structural report signed off by a structural civil engineer. IFFFF the building is structurally sound, which your own personal architecturalistic stalker thinks it may be (well at least from the one front of structure shot I can review) you need to have an election and a plumber run through it and tell you what you need to do to bring it up to code (about $50 dollars each and a six pack...). And remember... Minumalism is the current architectural trend. Who needs woodwork and trim?

11:25 PM  
Anonymous BIG Mike said...

Last year I sold the house that all 3 of my children were brought home from hospital to. All 800 square feet. Now we bask in the 2200 of the new abode. It's nice to have a kitchen where you can't get hit by the oven, dishwasher and fridge door simultaneously.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Writermama said...

If you had to, you could give Emmie your studio--turn that into a third bedroom. A three-bedroom apartment is relatively rare.

I know a 14-year-old girl in our neighborhood who has been sharing a room with her seven-year-old brother since he was born. Not that you should do this, but it is interesting to me that, contrary to so many others in this country, people just learn to make do with whatever space they have here.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Fatty said...

you need to learn to think simultaenously inside and outside the box. specifically, look up. see all that unused space between your head and the ceiling? what if there were a floor right there? by installing a second story in your current living space exactly 2" above your head, you could DOUBLE your living area!

Yes, I know this may pose a problem for Dan. Dan will have to learn to crab-walk. For the greater good.

10:19 AM  
Blogger dr. fluffy jones said...

A loft bed for Emmie might be a fun option, yes. And about the inspections -- important to be structurally sound, but electrician and plumber will probably tell you you need 10,000$ worth of work done. "Code" is relative. When we bought our 1912 ramshackle house, not much had been updated electricwise, and what had been, was done badly. As long as the old stuff works, and is free of frays, don't go spending zillions. Beautiful house, though. the address is 1313 Mockingbird Lane? I'D live there!

12:15 PM  
Anonymous petunia said...

Oh, I think you could work a little elfin magic on that place. Especially considering your outfit today. I can see you.

2:16 PM  
Blogger newbrooklyner said...

Keepyer, I'll report what "nothing left inside" means. Hopefully it means that we can afford the house. I know it looks bad, but that's how we always buy 'em.
Plus we don't have a rakeo.
Congrats on your new place.

lilac p, we're really used to bad buildings (as it sounds you are.) I do want sound mechanicals to start, but know that skeevy mechanicals can make the place a bargain. I think we are on the same page about the minimalism vibe. I actually don't mind something with the history removed because then I can be free to do those things that I wouldn't do if I needed to bow to the never-painted wainscotting. We've been "trapped" by a historically pristine house before. Either/or.
I'm interested in the kind of work you do.

Big Mike, your old kitchen was our pre-IKEA current kitchen's cousin.
Your current house sounds humongous.

Writermama, I know. 3br is gold here. But I don't consider giving up my studio an option. I really gotta have a place to paint.
Fact is we are a live/work situation and need more space than a live-only situation. I wish my profession didn't require so much space.

fatty, you are joking, I can tell, but people do that all the time.
Lofting is not legit square footage people.

Dr., you like the house? I do too! It's so un-NYC, no? Very Mockingbird Lane. The area is pretty cool too.
I bet your ramshackle shack is a beauty. I bet you have one of them thar Craftsmans they have in the Northwest. Lucky duck.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Edie said...

Through my teen years we lived in a two bedroom one bath mobil home... mom, step dad, me, sister, 2 brothers, 1 dog, 3-13 (it varied) cats, 1 bird and 1 snake. The mobil home was 12'X60'. It can be done... though having one's privacy is not even an option.

I like the "gutted house"... lots of potential.

When I lived in Brooklyn I was lucky enough to find a rent-control apartment, and it was BIG... especially for one person. I do remember my other friends' places though... super tiny.

Once I moved to Las Vegas though I discovered what BIG really was... the first apartment I had was cheaper than my rent control place, and was about twice the size, in addition there was a pool and weight room in the complex. Sigh. I miss the luxury sometimes.

4:43 PM  

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