Last week I shared some of the gorgeous autumn pictures from New York City I captured while out and about apartment hunting in the city a few weeks ago. Today, I’m excited to share a first look inside my first Manhattan apartment: a beautiful one bedroom apartment in a pre-war brownstone walk up! Click through after the jump to read about my experiences negotiating my way through finding and securing a rental in NYC for the first time.
I always believe that the moment you walk in the door of a potential new home that you know whether it’s The One or not. It just has that indescribable X Factor which manifests as a comforting and cosy warmth in your tummy. The apartment doesn’t have to be the height of luxury or akin to Carrie’s ‘heaven on fifth’ from Sex and The City, but it just feels right. Know the feeling? I felt this immediately when I stepped in the front door of our new apartment for the first time.We had originally planned to wait until we arrived in NYC full time before we began apartment hunting, but the thought of essentially being ‘homeless’ and not having anywhere to plan living in ahead of the move didn’t sit well with either of us. One night we casually started looking at properties when a series of apartments started to catch our eye. When we arrive in the US our credit history from the UK doesn’t get carried over (I know, yikes!) so it’s like starting completely from scratch. As such, we had to get a guarantor before any landlord or building rental company would even consider an application from us. With no family in the States who could do this for us, we had to do this via a special company. (If the guarantor is an individual they have to earn at least 80 times the monthly rent to qualify, so it’s not like you can just casually ask your bestie to do it for you!) That was the first hurdle, then next was accepting that even with the guarantor and paperwork clearly stating what we could afford to pay, many landlords and buildings simply wouldn’t consider rental applications from overseas tenants. So when we found apartments in a few buildings that we liked and also accepted our guarantor I knew we had to be quick, so I jumped on a flight to view them the very next day.When I landed in the city my trusty driver picked me up and drove me straight to the first viewing in the city. In the Manhattan rental market there’s no time for hanging around: if you think you like something you need to act fast. That afternoon I viewed a whole bunch of apartments across different buildings, giving my heartmate Facetime tours as I did. We decided we liked one and would sleep on it. Ha, ‘sleep on it’ – what irony because that night I barely slept a wink! Something just didn’t feel right. It was as though we were just going to sign because we felt backed into a corner by all the restrictions on our search in an already competitive and complicated rental market. I called my husband back in the UK at 5am EST and we decided I should view more apartments that day. That was when we discovered this gorgeous brownstone apartment: it was just what we had dreamed our first home in NYC would look like. It’s not a grand luxury building but a small and homely one-bedroom with stacks of character – we love it!For us this apartment has all of our dream NYC home elements: exposed brick walls, wooden floors, a working open fireplace, traditional radiators, high ceilings, an industrial spiral staircase and stacks of natural light thanks to big brownstone windows. The apartment also feels much bigger than it is because it’s split over two floors. Our last apartment in London was also a duplex and it really helped to separate the living and sleeping environments, especially as I worked from home a lot.We are both so excited to make this space feel like home. I’m going to be sharing all the adventures of choosing furniture and decor on the hashtag #BBbrownstone on Instagram etc, so do follow along in the adventure. What do you think of the space, folks?! // Photography by Will Taylor