When you hear about the new TV show Tiny House Nation on FYI Network, you assume it takes place in New York City. Where else do people voluntarily cram their whole lives into one room? But no, a movement to downsize from the typical American home of 2,300 square feet to 500 square feet or less is actually afoot nationwide. Living small is the new living large (though us New Yorkers knew it all along).
Every week co-hosts John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin guide people through a move into a home no larger than 300 square feet, including one with sleeping areas for four adults and another with a recording studio. Here, Weisbarth explains why stuff is your enemy and how downsizing can free up your relationship.
WHO: Actress Edie Falco, who is up for an Emmy this month for “Nurse Jackie,” says she likes to get around New York on an electric bike. We prefer to get around on the electric subway. For $2.50, you get a train ride plus a free sauna just waiting on the platform. Is there a better deal?
A brownstone apartment with natural light would be nice, but $3,000 is awfully steep for Crown Heights.
We'd love to live in a sun-filled brownstone apartment in just about any neighborhood, but Crown Heights also happens to be getting ever more popular with renters. Still, $3,000 a month for a three-bedroomis unusually high for the area, especially for bedrooms that are less than spacious. And given that the price of this apartment has already gone down by $800 a month andthe fact that this floor of the building has never been rented out before, per the listing, you may be dealing with a first-time landlord with unrealistic expectations.
Still, the place could be a good fit for a small family with money to burn (and the energy to redecorate). Our experts — including RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin and freelance writers Julie Inzanti and Lambeth Hochwald — weigh in for this week’s Take It or Leave It.
Who wouldn't want to buy an apartment in the Ansonia?
It’s common wisdom that New York City real estate is a solid investment, which explains why so many foreign investors are buying in. But you don’t have to be a Russian oligarch to take a bite out of the Big Apple. There are plenty of opportunities for domestic buyers to snag an apartment and rent it out.
Q. I live in a co-op with an old, dark kitchen, and I'd like to install lights under the cabinets to make it brighter. What exactly does this job entail? Can I do it myself or will I have to hire someone?
If you're even a little bit handy, this is the perfect DIY job, especially if you're keen to take on your first home project. (You can, of course, hire a handyman, which would probably cost about $200 for two hours of work; it may make sense to go that route if you're already redoing your kitchen cabinets and can lump this in with an existing job.)
We've all wondered about the people who lived in our apartments before us—how much did they pay in rent? what did the place look like then? did anything sinister happen?—and the older the building, the more mysterious its history. If Brian Hartig's work with the Brownstone Detectives is any indication, the truth is even stranger than you'd think.
The service—which offers to dig up the back story of your Brooklyn brownstone, and ultimately, put together the findings into a House History Book for the coffee table—launched in spring of 2013, in part the result of Hartig's research into his own home in Bed-Stuy. "When the house was being renovated, every night I went through and sifted through the rubble, looked under the floorboards, everywhere," Hartig tells BrickUnderground. "I was trying to find as much stuff as I could to tell me about the people who had lived there before."
Things could get dark in my sun-starved one-bedroom piso interior in Madrid, a type of apartment with windows facing a roofless, enclosed tile patio. My girlfriend and I were teachers in the Spanish city when she got news that a visa to teach her native French would bring her to work in Manhattan for the next year.
Moving to New York for the first time, I knew we could count on seeing more of the sun than we did in my 375 square feet in the shade, but there were a number of great things about my living situation that I had come to take for granted after two years in the Iberian capital.
Thanks to tenant-friendly housing laws and what is perhaps the more easy going and liberal culture of Spain, Madrid is something of a renter's paradise, where landlords can be counted on for regular and responsible maintenance and much more. That's a world apart from NYC, where daily calls to landlords to fix the toilet seem like mandatory conditions of the rental contract. New York City's building owners could learn a lot from their matches across the ocean. Here are a few examples.
It seems like a surprising decision, but then, the couple wasn't exactly squatting: Frieda and Howard Dropkin had "only" paid $90,000 of $103,000 worth of maintenance payments since 2012, as the New York Law Journal first reported, and were also behind on electric bills they were required by their proprietary lease to pay.
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