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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brooklyn apartment hunt


We've been thinking about moving to Brooklyn for a while, and...

...our search is gearing up! It's exciting. Last weekend, we saw five places with our friend Porter, who recently became a realtor. Of the five apartments we saw, we fell in love with one, but sadly it was over our budget. Going to see places is incredibly helpful, though, since we learn so much about what we're looking for.

Our little list includes: A two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens. On a low floor since I hate elevators. A garden would be amazing!

I'm curious: Do you think it's key to have the kitchen and living room close together or even combined? Some apartments have the living room and kitchen on opposite ends, but would that mean that your family would be split up a lot of the time?

Overall, I've been surprised by how emotional the process is. We'll see a place, and I'll immediately envision children running around and Alex making brunch and me on the sofa watching The Bachelorette:) So when we realize that we can't quite afford it or there's a dealbreaker, then it's weirdly emotional. I didn't anticipate that at all. It's almost like dating.
Of course now I can't stop watching the show House Hunters and pinning home photos:)

Where do you live? Do you like your home? Anything you'd recommend looking out for while searching? We'd be so grateful for any advice! xoxo

(Bedding photo by Imogen Heath)

267 comments:

1 – 200 of 267   Newer›   Newest»
Sharon said...

love how you compared it to almost like dating. haha!! :) good luck on your home search!

17 beats. said...

We live in DUMBO and absolutely love it. Have you considered it ? If you end up in the Heights or DUMBO, you'll LOVE the parks.

Ashley Cassandra Ford said...

I live in a renovated townhome and I love it! The neighborhood has so many age groups and everybody's really friendly and weird. It's extremely walkable & bikeable. I love our built-in cabinets and fixtures. A

s you're searching, always think about the light. Bad lighting can make even the cutest home feel oppressive at times.

anne taylor said...

We have been thinking about moving for awhile now, too. It's hard to think about all the changes that come with that! It took us a full year in our first place to start decorating, and now that we're starting to settle in, we're talking about leaving. What a whirlwind.

And I agree, having the kitchen and the living room split up seems like the family would be separated!

Angela Broderick Bedell said...

I love living vicariously in NYC through Cup of Jo. :)
I'm in Leawood, KS, a Kansas City suburb and I love it. We have a 4,000sq ft home and a less than $2k monthly mortgage payment. Kansas City has so much to offer in sports and the arts. But I travel alot for work, and I HAVE to visit NYC at least four times per year.

Erin said...

We live in a two bedroom condo in Chicago, and I'd say the most important thing for us is good sized bedrooms. We have our kitchen and living area split, where the living room and dining table are all in one big room in the front of the condo, and the kitchen is in the back. I don't love it apart, but it's far from a deal breaker. I do spend a TON of time in the kitchen, but since our home is only about 1,000 sq feet, we are never too far apart!

Have fun with your search... it is an emotional process! We've lived in our condo for about 4.5 years now, and I still walk by some of the places we visted but didn't end up buying and end up feeling nostalgic :)

AVY said...

I don't want to have a kitchen in my living room, they don't really match.

/ Avy
http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com



Julie Hernandez said...

Wow! Read this post and almost started crying. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I've been looking for an apartment for an year. We found once twice, but couldn't afford it too. I made plans and thought about the furniture and everything, and was already planning parties. :(

Well, keep looking! I wish I could get a place near Brooklyn, lol. Too bad it's too far from my job (like 9h flying or so.)

Kisses.

Andrea @ Mama in the City said...

I totally get that. It is something that drives my husband NUTS. He could pick up and move anywhere and I'm all hmmming and wondering about every last detail. I think more so now that I have 2 kids of my own....oh and then you have to start thinking about which schools they will attend!

Happy apartment hunting!!

Joanna Goddard said...

@17 beats, thanks for your note! dumbo is one of my favorite neighborhoods, but most of the apartment buildings seem to be high rises, and i'm scared of elevators! but going to ask porter… :)

ritd said...

we have lived in apartments with separate kitchens and living rooms, one where they were on opposite sides and we currently live in one where they are combined and we definitely like this better both in everyday life and with entertaining. good luck with the search!

junebug said...

I agree that it is soooo emotional. We interviewed for a co-op and not getting it was very hard on me. Of course, I had chosen all the paint colors, etc. I'm still a bit in mourning.

Joanna Goddard said...

julie, i love that you are already planning parties!! going to keep my fingers crossed for you.

J+H @ Beyond The Stoop said...

our current brownstone in jersey city is the typical "three-windows-wide" style, where there's the 2-window-wide living room in the front and the 2-window-wide kitchen in the back. so, basically our kitchen is the same size as the living room, side-by-side, with a standard doorway between. though the kitchen is practically separate from the living room, it's huge (for kitchens around here anyways). it's big enough for a steel island table that we use for extra counter space, which has a counter-height bench and 2 stools. usually we are either BOTH in the kitchen or BOTH in the living room, simply because there's enough space. if my boyfriend is cooking, i might bring my laptop to the kitchen so we can chat, or vice versa.

so, i think that you either need an open-concept kitchen/living room (even if the kitchen is small), or a separate kitchen large enough for others to join if they choose (the kitchen is often the gathering place anyways in my house!!)

good luck!

SashaK said...

We've been in Carroll Gardens for almost five years now and we love it. Cobble Hill is also very nice. Beautiful brownstones (and gardens!), lots of amazing food, and nice people. I've never lived somewhere where I knew my neighbors before moving here. And SO MANY kids.

Nina Leung said...

You definitely want some kind of play area near the kitchen so you can cook and watch Toby at the same time. Think about the toys he'll be playing with in the next few years so you can keep in mind what size space you need (train table, padded activity mat, mini trampoline).
We just renovated our house and restructured it so I can cook and watch the kids. It has cut down on the stress immensely!
Good luck on your search!

lauren. said...

it is just like dating... because once you buy/rent it you realize all of it's little problems you didn't notice while you were infatuated!

my advice is not to buy anything you don't *really, really* love. when we were house shopping i found a house i fell in love with. then we were outbid. so i settled for a house i didn't love as much and i regretted it. i constantly compared it to the other house. we moved less than a year later but weren't able to sell it right away. now we have renters in it. ugh. definitely won't do that again!

Joanna Goddard said...

ashley, that's SUCH a great tip about the light. you're so right. we actually saw a beautiful place the other day that was just very dark, and alex thought it would feel depressing, especially in the winter. really good thing to keep in mind.

Joanna Goddard said...

ps. ashley: "everybody's really friendly and weird." = thumbs up:)

Sammi said...

firstly, don't worry, you'll find it, that place that your kids will run around and you and alex will live in happily.

if there is a dealbreaker or it's too much it's not meant to be :) somewhere will pop up and it will be everything you need for your family. honestly, you'll find it and wonder why you even thought twice about the other houses ;)

Xx

Jessica said...

I understand the feeling. We've been planning to move to LA from Wisconsin for a while, when my husband's company can pick up more projects out there but since finding out that I'm pregnant I've become very emotional about staying here where I'm closer to family and friends. Not to mention LA would be 3x more expensive than here! When you have a family there's so much more you need to consider when looking for an apt/house and even neighborhood. Good luck in your search for a new home!

Maria Camila said...

OH how i WISH I was in a apartment hunt in NY.I loveee Brooklyn!

GOOD LUCK!

XO, Adropofbliss.blogspot.com

Beth said...

Have you thought about Boerum Hill - it is east of Cobble Hill/north east of Carroll Gardens. Has amazing picturesque Brooklyn brownstone streets. We rent a 2 br apt just down from the Brooklyn Inn. The Bococa (I hate that term) is the best part of Brooklyn!!

mod erin said...

We bought our first American home after relocating here 18 months ago. I totally get the emotional thing, we lost out on the cutest house we wanted so, so bad and ended up buying in the next street. Thing is I wouldn't have it any other way now. Keep looking, be flexible and remember your home is what you make it !Good luck !

Elsa de Diego said...

Loved the dating comparison! :) I don't have a lot of experience in real estate, but I like to follow these premises: lots of reasearch, start doing research way before your ideal moving date (I usually started like a year before!) and be sure that when u find THE ONE, u will know it right away. I do believe in real estate love at first sight. Good luck darling! xoxo

kd_ring said...

One of the things I love *most* about our place in Park Slope (other than the dishwasher - heLLO!) is the pass-thru between the kitchen and the living room - they're two separate rooms but you can cook / hang in the kitchen and still watch TV or chat with guests who are in the living room. When we move, I hope to find a similar situation! Good luck!

Erica Ladd said...

When you were looking for houses when we moved to Arizona, I immediately pictured where the Christmas tree would go. I knew we had the winner when I saw 20 foot vaulted ceilings in the front room perfect for a huge Christmas tree.

Bookgirlbklyn said...

We live in Carroll Gardens and *love* it. Our building even has a babysitting co-op where we watch each others kids. My son just started Kindergarten at 58 and I am amazed that this is public school. With all the activities and classes, it feels like a private school. Carroll Gardens is a lovely, friendly, warm and involved community and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Jill GG (good life for less) said...

House hunting is SO hard and yes, very emotional! I love our house, but we love the location more (which to us was our goal, a great location!)... but even after living here for over 5 years I still remember other places we looked at and the things I loved about those homes too. It IS almost like dating!

I hope you find an amazing place for your growing family! :)

http://goodlifeforless.blogspot.com

domonique matthews said...

The right place will come and you will know it when it does. I look back to places we put offers on and am SO glad they didn't work out. The kitchen, family/living rooms and the lighting are the most important. i don't like elevators either! :)

Leah PS said...

ummm... a quick google search reveals that your realtor appeared on mad men. you are separated from jon hamm by ONE degree. nice.

- said...

My husband and I bought a 100-year-old "fixer-upper" last year. Many friends and family members tried to talk us out of it because, admittedly, neither of us knew anything about home maintenance and repair. But, we had a great inspector, and we felt ready to take on the challenge. We've learned so much in the last year and have grown closer together. Best of all, every day when I get home from work, I feel amazingly lucky to walk through my front door. So, I guess my advice is: be weary of other people's advice! Trust that you know what's right for you.

jodi said...

we live a little out of the way in bay ridge, brooklyn, but we have a really great two bedroom and are still close to parks and the water. if you don't mind a little bit longer commute, it's a great neighborhood! (that said, i totally love brooklyn heights, carroll gardens, etc.) good luck with your search!

Nomadic D. said...

Scary! I usually love house hunting, but the idea of house hunting in nyc terrifies me. Especially now that my husband and I have decided to take the plunge and move there next fall. Jitters! Please share more of the process with us, prove to me that it's possible to find something decent without being a millionaire?

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

Lisa Jones said...

Have you looked at Park Slope? I have always dreamed about having an apartment there. Yes, make sure you look for good lighting! You'll definitely need the sun to come in.

whatnomints said...

I'm currently attending graduate school in FL so by boyfriend and I live in North Miami Beach. We love our jobs, but hate the climate. Fortunately, we both know that the 4 years we spend here are just a stepping stone to where we ultimately want to be (back north, close to our families, enjoying 4 seasons) - So the short sacrifice will be very much worth it in the long run. Our apartment here is nice and safe, but lacks any personality or charm (we live in a complex) and I'm not emotionally invested because I know this stay is only temporary and the time to settle down and raise a family will come sometime in the future, far away from here.

christen said...

As a mother of a 2 1/2 year old I feel it is imperative to have the kitchen and living room open or at least right next to each other. In our old apartment the kitchen was on one end and the living room on the other and it was a nightmare. So much happier now that everything is open and I feel comfortable letting my daughter run about and explore because I can always see her. Good luck with your search!!

Lynn said...

My daughter moved to Vancouver at the start of this year, and she has been flat-hunting ever since; it is a frustrating business, particularly there. She is unusually tidy and quiet, so clean and not-noisy are important, and she has already stretched the boundaries of her search area, but she wants to be on the top floor (noise again)of a low-rise or a house, and she wants wooden floors. There are a zillion applicants for every vacancy, and because she's a good Dutch girl who saves and doesn't charge, she has no credit rating, and everything falls through. I get as discouraged as she does!
Good luck, though, Joanna, with your search - I'm sure something perfect is just around the corner. :-) And I hope it is for her, too.

The Cardinal Planner said...

Haha I love your dating analogy! I think it's ideal to have the living room near the kitchen, but it's not super important. Good luck with your apartment hunting! I'll be searching for one in Northern California after I graduate this year.

Erika
www.thecardinalplanner.com

Barbie // Little Skyline said...

Take your time if you can. And just know that you will soon have the perfect little place for your family!

We moved over the summer. In our old place, the kitchen and living room were separated by a long hallway. In the new place, the kitchen is right next to the living room and I really love it. I like that I am close to my son when I'm cooking, and I feel more connected to guests. But often with brownstones these rooms are on separate ends. I would sacrifice the closeness of these two rooms to live in a brownstone!

Definitely pay attention to the light (and the view if possible). The windows and light have made a world of difference in our new place.

margot said...

Joanna, are you renting or buying? When I was renting I was able to compromise more, but I do agree with you, it's exhausting! We moved from Astoria, Queens to Jersey City and my absolute must-have was outdoor space--which I highly recommend to anyone. Especially with more than one kid--you can let them run naked and hang out in your PJs :)

Anna said...

Having the kitchen and living room together is a big deal to me. Right now, a wall separates them in our house, and I hate how I feel disconnected from people in the living room if I'm in the kitchen. I added a small TV and comfy chair in our sunroom, so my husband and guests can chat with whoever is in the kitchen. Having the living room & kitchen close or even in one big room makes for much better entertaining too.

Cara said...

We are going to be in that boat in a few weeks apartment hunting in SF!

cuentoscantabria said...

I can't tell you how much I think you should find a place with the kitchen and living room connected. Last year my husband and I lived in an apartment where the living room and kitchen were both huge rooms, but completely separated. You had to walk through the hall to access the different rooms and we definitely couldn't hear each other from the respective rooms. As a result, we never spent any time in the living room, even though it was much more comfortable than the kitchen. I love working in the kitchen, but I also want to be around my husband when possible. I love our new apartment. The floor plan is really open and I can talk to my husband from the kitchen while he works on the couch. We are much happier with this set up. Also, natural light is so important to us, as well!

j said...

I'm so excited you are moving to Brooklyn! I just moved in August to Boerum Hill and I love it. It's always a stressful process, but once you're here you will love it! I will keep my eyes & ears out for you.

Ashley Doan said...

As a realtor, I never show clients a place that is not within their budget. That way there hopes are not dashed and also that they aren't comparing a $3K/month home to a $1200K/month home because honestly, there is no comparison.

Stick within your range before you go out and don't get tempted. Put that double fudge 1200 calorie down, Jordanna! :)

rachael said...

It is so strange, the emotion let-down, isn't it? We just bought our first house and it was full of ups and downs just like you said! We would picture ourselves there, imagine where we would put things...only to be let down by something else. It's disheartening! And many people say not to get personally wrapped up in a house, or get attached, but how can you not when it's such a personal decision?

It's very tricky - but also fun. I wish you luck!

Ashley Doan said...

I meant, Joanna...sorry, my colleague right next to me is Jordanna and she was just talking to me. How embarrassing! Sorry, again!

Anastasia Wylie said...

Well, it's not BK, but we live in a two bedroom apt in Forest Hills (Queens). As a former Manhattanite myself, I was amazed by what I found out here. Forest Hills Gardens is one of the most amazing neighborhoods I've ever seen in my life. And boasts some of the best school in the City. We happen to live in a high rise, but the neighborhood is full of beautiful town homes as well as regular home, homes...with yards and everything. At least Google it. Worst a look.

SUGAR LANE said...

I REALLY HATE GOIN FLAT HAUNTING, BUT GREAT TO HEAR YOU ARE ENJOYIN!
S

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

As a kitchen designer; I can say there are pro's to both. If you and your spouse are foodies, then you would want your child(ren) to grow in the kitchen space, so living room/kitchen combo space is wonderful. If you enjoy alone time in kitchen, and quieter time in living room, then separate is wonderful. To each their own; it's all about the FAMILY that resides! GOOD LUCK in your new home

Lizzie Andrews Wright said...

I'm moving to Carroll Gardens (from London, UK) in October - so pleased to see the lovely comments about the area!

Best of luck with your search - my preference is to have the kitchen and living room separate so you can properly relax at the end of the day.

anniecardi.com said...

My husband and I recently moved into our new apartment. We're about two miles from where we used to live, but we have a little more space. It's great so far, but the search process was kind of stressful. Once we made the decision to move, I was on Craigslist all the time (even though it was pretty early to be looking). I kept thinking "What if I miss something? What about this search term?" It's a lot of stress and hope combined.

Magdalena said...

I live at home with my parents (sigh*) but if I were to move out, I would look for a place with open spaces. The kitchen and living room definitely have to be next to each other.

Prescott Perez-Fox said...

Unfortunately, looking for properties in a city like NYC or Brooklyn means that the architectural fashions of today collide with those of centuries past. Unless you're seeing a place that is newly gut-remodeled, it's going to be a lot of "why would they put that here?".

These days, families want an open-plan living-dining-kitchen. This way, they can cook, eat, and entertain together without boundaries. Social roles are blurred these days. No longer is the "little wife" in the kitchen while dad is in his study with pipe and slippers. Sadly, we can't have it all. If you want "old world charm" and original features, you're likely to find the architectural philosophy of that same outdated era.

Audie said...

One thing that my boyfriend and I did when we were house hunting and considering putting in an offier was visting the neighbordhood at night.

We wanted to get a feel for how it felt and how much noise there was once everyone was home from work. We also wanted to feel safe in our new neighborhood after dark.

This is definitely one thing I recommend to anyone house or apartment hunting. The vibe you get visting a place during the middle of the day and late at night can sometimes be incredibly different.

Happy house hunting!

Brooklynbee said...

Having just moved OUT of Cobble Hill I can tell you there's such a low vacancy there - very little housing stock on the market... but I don't know your budget, so you might be able to find something. We just moved to a really cute town just outside of the city, which seems to be filled with about 75% ex-Brooklynites!

Shelley said...

It really is oddly emotional! When we were searching I actually cried after a home inspection gone wrong because I didn't think we'd ever find another home with such charm and oh...wainscoting (had to have old wainscoting). My fiance is the most patient man alive haha

You kind of fall in love and get disappointed several times then all of the sudden you find your perfect match!

Melissa said...

Joanna! This is exactly what I am going through. Well slightly different, as I am looking for my first apartment ever. I am apartment hunting in Brooklyn now and I agree, it's bringing up all types of emotions! The quick decision making and the (rude) realization of what my budget can afford me. I love Caroll Gardens, it's my top choice. Good luck with your hunt, i'm sure you will find something amazing...and I will too :)

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sugar said...

We moved a few months ago. Last year this time we looked at a house out of our budget, and I cried because I could see our little lady growing up there. I still LOVE that house. We ended up with in something more affordable, a block away because we love the neighborhood. All things happen for a reason and you will find your perfect house! Maybe some day we'll upgrade down the street. I do LOVE that we have a pass through in the kitchen so I can watch my little lady while she plays in the other room. Good luck, it is such an emotional roller coaster.

Eleanor said...

Housing hunting is like dating. You're right. I had never thought of it quite like that, but I can't think of a better way to explain it. And I'm also a sucker for immediately envisioning my life in a space I adore. I love that our family room and kitchen are connected. I can easily make a meal and see my little one playing safely. I'm not sure I would ever cook a meal if they were so far apart. A lot of natural light, garden space, and minimal stairs are among my top must-haves. Also included in that are decent closets or space to create closet space, like from ikea or the container store.

figandsparrow said...

My husband and I are "on the brinks" of buying a home and like you we were both startled at the "heat" surrounding the topic. I'm trying to follow my own advice which is this: stick to the original vision and BUDGET and try not to make an emotional decision. ( : best to you!

Hannah Hart said...

Jo! My two roommates and I have been having the worst time looking for an apartment in Brooklyn. We just had one swipped out under us. Send us porter! And good luck with your search!

Christina said...

I live in Texas now and am thinking about moving to NY! I can't imagine what it would be like searching for an apartment there. And as far as the kitchen and living room goes, it depends on how much time you spend in either of those places. If you spend a lot of time cooking, but there's not a lot of space to hang out in the kitchen that could pose a problem later down the road..

Christina, bohemianwild.blogspot.com

17 beats. said...

DOH ! I forgot about the elevator bit. There's always the second floor ! hee hee.

Alex said...

I live in the border lands between Cobble and Carroll (honestly not sure where I fall), but I would urge you to check out the more southern parts of Carroll Gardens. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, down to Nelson St. With the 2nd st subway stop renovations complete, it's convenient and accessible but seems to have a much more low key vibe that up near Carroll St Park. It almost feels like it's own subcommunity. (I also suspect prices are lower, but I'm not sure.)

rebecca said...

for me, the thought of leaving our current place is so emotional. even if we left for an apt bigger and better. we've started our lives here.

you will find something soon enough and then wonder how you ever lived anywhere else. :)

Equipe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Slow Pace said...

I use to hate the house where we live because when we moved in my grandfather died. But now things are better... because I've realized that I love every house if my wife lives there with me :-)

Tasha said...

About the kitchen/living room thing: We live in prospect heights and have a lovely apartment. The only thing we hate is the fact that the kitchen is separated from the rest of the apartment by a small hallway. It's so so inconvenient for a number of reasons--but it is the worst with small children. I either have to keep my poor 9 month old penned up while I'm cooking (cause I'd have to run back and forth to make sure she and her 4 year old brother are not causing havoc or ingesting something crazy etc etc) or have her on the kitchen floor(which for obvious reasons doesn't work for too long). Living room/kitchen/island combo is the way to go in my humble opinion! Good luck with your search.

LK said...

I live in Phoenix and I am just starting the house hunt to purchase my first home. I haven't looked at anything in person yet and I just got my realtor secured. I feel like such a grown up! It's so nerve wracking. Good luck on your hunt!!!! Keep us posted.

Equipe said...

Hi!
My name is Luciana and I live in Brazil, in a 3 bedroom house, in a quiet neighbourhood. My husband and I have been living in this house for 9 years, but what really sealed the deal when we were house hunting was the garden! I didn't like the house much, but I LOVED the garden! We remodelled the house latter and it became lovely. So, if I could give you an advice: find the garden, and the house will come! Best wishes!

.e.r.e. said...

For those addicted to House Hunters, as I am, this is worth a quick read:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/06/14/house_hunters_is_fake_here_s_why_it_matters.html

Katie said...

Joanna, I totally get why it would be emotional/stressful looking for a place! We have talked a lot about buying a house and just that stresses me out! I'm obviously not ready. I think I would rather have a baby then deal with everything that goes into buying a house. I guess the gypsy in my isn't ready for that much commitment. That and I think I'm tramatized by all the people I know in California that have bought and then lost their houses. :(

I honestly hoping my husband just comes home one day and says he bought us a house. That would be ideal! He has great taste so I know it would be something I would like.

On a better note, I would go for connected kitchen and living room. Seems much more practical. Good luck, I know you are going to find something perfect for you, Alex and Toby!

Thanks for sharing!

heather said...

Good luck with your search! My brother and best friend from college live in Brooklyn Heights, so we come up and visit every few months from NJ. We are almost always taking advantage of the waterfront parks, since they've been finished. With the kids, they are just so fabulous. The merry-go-round, paths to go biking on, the waterpark, and the ferry to Govenors Island. I just love that area. I hope you find what you are looking for!

Liz said...

We bought a house from the 1920's a little over a year ago, it has had two additions since originally being built and everything is very choppy (bathroom is on opposite side of the house, bedroom beside dining room, etc). I really like our house, but the room locations urk me to no end!

Topperlett said...

My husband and I love to cook and to entertain, we specifically bought a house (in Toronto) with an open plan so that everyone can be together. We don't have children yet but plan to soon and we think it's going to be important for us to be able to keep an eye on the family room and the stove at the same time.

Kate Harvey said...

Though we haven't started looking for a house, we plan to transition from renting to owning pretty soon. I can't wait! I'm already planning out rooms in my head. This might sound weird, but one of my biggest concerns is finding a house that isn't too big. I think big houses can swallow people up, and I think smaller homes are usually cozier. Obviously there's a happy medium! Good luck with your search :)

Kate
Something Ivory

eleanor said...

We're doing a similar apartment search – looking forward to your eventual home-decorating and new-neighborhood posts! I personally like the kitchen open to the living room as it feels more open and is nice for entertaining. The problem is it has to have an island or else the counter/cabinet space is tiny.

Ann said...

I want to live where you live! I'm in Florida (meh) and have absolutely nothing to recommend. But, I'm crossing my fingers for you guys and looking forward to what you find. I'm sure whatever you pick will be amazing!

Sara S. said...

My advice is that if you plan to live there until Toby is school aged, and want to send him to public school, keep the school district in mind. Look at a DOE map to be sure you are in the zone the realtor tells you. sometime they lie (or don't know for sure) to get you to look at an apartment. It took us over a year to find our apartment in park slope, but now that we have it, we love the school district and can spend as many years as we need to there! It is VERY competitive out there, especially in the neighborhoods you are looking at. so you need to have a thick skin, and be ready to put in an application the minute you decide you like something, or you will risk it being taken awak from you.

Unknown said...

My husband and I live in Carroll Gardens and I cannot say enough amazing things about it! My brother, his wife, and two kids live near by and they always hang out and play in Carroll Park. This neighborhood is amazing for those with kids, you'll love it here. Good luck on the house hunt, I realize it can be very daunting!

Emily Christiansen said...

When I am looking for a new place, I always want it to be in a safe area, close to an awesome grocery store, close to a park, lots of bright natural light, plenty of outlets in the bathroom and kitchen, plenty of counter space, and nice neighbors around my same age.

bungteaux said...

My husband and I used to live in Fort Greene (before we moved to Portland)and we loved that area. Not as many kids as Park Slope, but I think it's still very kid-friendly, lots of small parks close by and there're varieties of shops and restaurants and also options for subway lines. If we ever move back to NYC we would consider Fort Greene (again) and Carroll Garden.

Angela Brinkley said...

Ok. So I live in Charlotte, NC very close to downtown. Even though I am sure my home search experience was very different from yours, we looked at over 60 houses and finally picked the one that needed the most work. Floor plan is everything, and for me, I don't want all the design decisions to have been made. I would feel too guilty ripping up flooring just because it was two shades darker than I wanted or I didn't like the type of stone they chose for the counter tops. To answer your question- I picked this house because the kitchen is attached to the family room and breakfast room. I want to be part of what's going on while I am fixing dinner, preparing lunches or cleaning up. I LOVE it, and I know we made the right choice for the family life we wanted to have.

Good luck with your search- very exciting and scary at the same time : )

Alie said...

Yay to asking about Dumbo. We live in Dumbo, and LOVE it. There are definitely some walk-ups in the nabe, too:).

Heather said...

I've never thought about it until you mentioned it but our rowhome is set-up so the kitchen and living room are on opposite ends. I think we actually find ourselves spending more time in the same room because you begin to notice you're alone when no one is on your side of the apartment!

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

I am such an emotional home searcher! I totally envision life there and picture what I would decorate and how I would arrange furniture with almost every place we see - it's a bit of a roller coaster. We recently settled in to a home in Norway (where we're currently living for the next couple of years) and so far, I love it. We have a terrific view, a nice open plan living area and a gigantic terrace. The only thing missing is a bathtub (difficult to find in Norwegian apartments.)

Good luck with your search!

Nicole said...

we live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Atlanta and I would highly recommend the kitchen and living space be near each other! that way while your cooking or hosting you can still be a part of the group! good luck!!

Gabriella said...

I think my boyfriend and I actually live close to you guys in the city -- Grove at Bleecker. We love the lively neighborhood and the convenience of everything (i.e. we're spoiled.) Still, space is always an issue so we may be Brooklyn bound before too long. Good luck with your search!

Emily D said...

We live in Cobble Hill and LOVE it!
The neighbourhood has everything you could ask for - restaurants, shops, movie theatre! - and reminds me of the west village. :) Plus, it is also only 2 short subway stops away from Manhattan!

Good Luck! Excited to see what you find!

Veralynn said...

My husband and I bought our first home together right before we got married almost three years ago. The househunting process was an emotional roller coaster! I do love our home, even though I know it won't be the only house we ever live in. It's the house our wedding reception was in and the house we brought our son home to, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Veralynn
joiedeveralynn.blogspot.com

EmmaMalloy said...

We live in a renovated 1800's building in Chicago and it's awesome. It took us a while to find something that we love, and I knew it from the moment I walked in. Just a friendly tip - don't look at places that are above your budget. You'll always want what you can't have. Just stick to things in the budget. good luck!!

Mihaeko said...

Just moved to our all-time favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn. The apartment is very small for us, but it had all the original (1930) details that make a place feel real and charming and homey. And we love being by the water, there's open air and we feel exposed to weather more than traffic. Renovation sneak peek on the blog now - http://mihaeko.blogspot.com/

Jocelyn Pascall said...

2 years ago my husband and I were trying to get this house that had the kitchen and the living room separate. We loved the house and wanted it really badly, but it was a short sale and didn't go through. The house we ended up in is perfect and it has the kitchen and living room combined. One day my husband said, very sweetly, "You know - I'm glad we didn't get that house because I think I would have really missed you when you were on the other side of the house." It was so cute, but I think also very true. You end up living a lot of your life in the kitchen, so I think trying to have them together is a good idea. Good luck with the search!!

Margaret H. said...

I live in the Southwest (very different from Brooklyn, I know) but found house hunting to be an emotional rollercoaster. I needed to be able to picture myself in a house before making an offer on it, and then when I lost out, it was kind of devastating each time. Finally, found the right place and the right price. Good luck!

Brooklyn said...

High ceilings! It makes our one bedroom/one bath industrial-style apartment in Chattanooga, TN feel so much larger than it actually is! Good luck with the hunt!

Paige Geiger said...

It is like dating! You are so right. We are currently living in a city loft while we renovate our forever home. It was an emotional process to find it (and sell our first home) but you will 'just know' when you find the right one! Good luck! I look forward to hearing about your search...

Jen said...

I live in Maui. We bought a condo. Not something I'd ever do again. It's because we realized we like a yard and to be away from neighbors. We live in a beach town with over 28,000 residents.

Our condo needs renovating which we are slowly doing. Pick a place you love. You seem to have a great skill at making small places livable.

Good luck!

amanda said...

As someone who's lived in eight (maybe nine?) New York City apartments in less than five years, I consider myself somewhat of a pro - especially since I had to start from scratch after one burned down. The ideal layout, in my mind, has bedrooms at either end, with the living/bath/kitchen space sandwiched in the middle: everyone can get their privacy (no shared walls!) but you have to walk through the common areas throughout the day. It's good for couples with roommates, good for single roommates and great for couples with a kid (or two). AND BONUS: if one room has great light, they all do (since the windows will likely be facing the same direction) - no one is left out!

lauravaughn said...

I'm currently looking at apartments, too, and it can definitely get really discouraging. I made the mistake of envisioning my dream apartment and how life would be once we were there. This has pretty much only set me up for disappointment, so now I am trying to re-evaluate everything and be a bit more realistic.

I would also suggest not even tempting yourself by going to look at places beyond your budget! If you love it, you'll just feel short-changed with wherever you do end up.

Lost in Provence said...

I am number hundy in the comments? Whoohoo! Ok, silliness aside, here in France the fashion is often 'la cuisine americaine' or a kitchen that is open on the living room. I try to tell my friends that this concept isn't really typical American but hey! What counts is that it sucks majorly to be far away from everyone, the lone sad person slaving away in the kitchen amidst the laughter at the other end of the apartment. Just say no! And hold on because the economy is going to take a major dive soon if I understand correctly so you have time to choose wisely.
Good luck!
PS. I lived in Cobble Hill when it was still so gangsta that we were robbed twice in the same week!

Heather said...

I live in Carroll Gardens! It's been two years and really can't dream of living anywhere else. I love the neighborhood. It has a community feeling plus how can you not love the tree lined blocks with brownstones on them. Plus it's perfect neighborhood for your little one. It's all families and young couples. And the best part is that its a hop skip and jump away from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Also it's only a couple of stops on the F train to Prospect Park. And you don't have to go far for food, drinks, and shops! Did I sell you yet on the hood? Hope so! PS they do lots of filming in the area too, they are filming the show Blue Bloods tomorrow on Smith street! We are slightly famous. Cobble Hill is pretty much attached to Carroll Gardens but our end does it better ;)

http://fashionistanygirl.blogspot.com/

Kerri Lynne said...

Ha, it really is like dating isn't it?! I work in a real estate office and understand this completely. I see people get emotional about this stuff all the time... totally natural! :)

Jenna said...

We bought our first house five years ago. Its 100 years old with lots of rooms. Over the past few years we have been making a list of things we want in our next house -- one main thing being a kitchen combined with a living room or den space. I feel so cut off from hubs and son when making dinner... wish we had a cozier layout! Good luck on the hunt!

That's Not My Age said...

I live in London - but in a parallel universe my home is a Brooklyn Brownstone.

Lindsay Rondo said...

that's an interesting thought! I never would have thought it would have been an emotional process but I could easily see myself getting wrapped up in a place and loving it. Good luck with house hunting! We haven't done that at all but I figure what is supposed to be home will happen easily. :)

HeatherK said...

We bought a house almost 3 years ago. The one thing our realtor said (who is SUPER AWESOME, and was actually on one of the house hunter international episodes!): Don't get emotionally attached, until you have the house.

He just warned that if something falls through that is beyond your control you might be talked into paying more than your budget (or more than it's worth).

Good luck and I'm sure whichever apartment you choose will turn out to be beautiful and cozy!

VintageDanielle said...

I've always wanted to live in Brooklyn but my city shy fiance isn't so thrilled about that, so now. Maybe one day. Good luck on your search. I prefet the kitchen and living room close by since they happen to the most active rooms in the home for me. I would love to have a big kitchen where I can add a table and chairs, again, one day.

Sennie said...

No real advice here, we spend apprx 1/2 year traveling in our Airstream RV, and apprx 1/2 year in rural Maine in a lakeside camp. But what's import an to me as a mom of 5 is laundry/pantry/entryway solutions.

Good luck! I am a firm believer the right place will come along xoxox

Annie said...

We lived in both Brooklyn Heights (5th floor walkup!) and Cobble Hill (garden level of a brownstone). Both great neighborhoods for kids!

The thing to remember about low level living, especially in Brooklyn, is the LIGHT. The 5th floor walkup was a pain, but oh my oh my did it get great natural light. Our ground floor apartment in Cobble Hill was amazing (we had a backyard!!) except for the total lack of light. We kept our blinds in the front closed all the time because they looked on to a busy street, so we were left with one window in the back. Definitely felt like we were living in a cave.

We moved out to the 'burbs (Maplewood, NJ--definitely look into it if you're even slightly considering a move out of NYC) and are loving all the space, our new town, our neighbors (who are all from NYC/Brooklyn, weirdly) and the LIGHT in our house!!

Actually, the only thing I miss about our BK apartment is having the living room and kitchen next to each other! So much easier to cook dinner/clean the kitchen and keep an eye on the kidlet...

Tiffany and Jim said...

I wanted to be sure our daughters room was near our room but not sharing a wall. Also two toilets, even a WC and full bath would be fine. With all the girls sharing a bathroom and daddy getting his own. And yes there is nothing like outdoor space no matter how small.

Meaghan Carpenter said...

Searching for a home is a roller coaster ride! A few years ago my then boyfriend (now husband) and I were going back and forth on two extremes: buy a fixer-upper home in Baltimore or sell half our stuff/life and move to Brooklyn. Then the perfect mid-century modern fixer-upper fell in our laps and we could not be happier with the decision we made. We get the vicarious NYC experience from our work and friends and have our Bmore Garden Oasis to come home to. You'll find it and when you do you will feel it in your heart and soul. Good Luck!
XOM
palateandpantry.com
readyluck.com

MotherEarth said...

STORAGE! Make sure there is enough storage for your family. WQe recently moved to this awesome house. Just beautiful. There is NO STORAGE. Didn't even think of that.

sumslay said...

Ha, it is soooo emotional! I actually wrote about it in the link below, but I really think buying a home is as close to marriage as anything is: Most of the time I'm happy with it, but then there are times that I wonder how my friends and family could let me make such a horrible decision. (And I still look at other places for sell and think, "Dang, I could have had that?" Marriage, I tell ya. ;) )I've lived in my place for 4 years, and I still jog past one I was outbid on and think, "Mmmmhmmm, bet you wish you had me as an owner instead of that person who put a wreath of ugly fake flowers on the door! Fool!"

Be patient and you'll find "the one" home for you though!

http://ppwhp.blogspot.com/2011/10/what-ive-learned-from-home-ownership.html

La. said...

I live in Barcelona (a little bit far from Brooklyn xD) and we are also looking for a new apartment...It'a exhausting process!
Good luck!

Food for Thought said...

I would definitely recommend having the kitchen and living area attached. When my husband and I bought our first house, we were mainly thinking about getting the best place that we could afford, so we overlooked the floor plan. Now, I'm always itching to knock down walls because it's just not functional for entertaining. If you like to entertain, my advice is to have a large central hub.

Jess littlebunny.etsy.com said...

I know that you are looking in Brooklyn but don't forget about Queens! I've been a Sunnyside Gardens resident for 4 years now and I absolutely LOVE it. It's not far off the 7 train and you get a lot more space for your $. The neighborhood has a lot of young families in it and it's walking distance from Astoria! It's worth looking into :)
Good Luck!!

Melinda said...

if you could afford i would forget the apartment and go for a house (owning one). there is more value and its your very own at the end and the money you spend on rent could go toward a real mortgage.

MaxxSilly said...

Think not only of your kids playing in that space,but also growing. We made sure to get a big backyard so there is room to run and play baseball if they want. There is also room for gardening which my husband and I both love and entertaining. I do wish we had a second bathroom.

We also picked our home based on the school system in our New England town. Very important since we knew we could never afford private school.

Remember walls can come down and every place has potential. The house you choose will be the one you were meant to be in.

Scout and Rice said...

It's my preference to have the kitchen and living/dining all in one big open plan. It's so much more social that way - you can prepare dinner or drinks while your friends lounge on the couch or sit at the table, and you can all still chat together.

Also my toddler's play area is in a corner of our living room, so having the kitchen attached means I can prepare her lunch or clean up a bit and watch her play at the same time.

I know what you mean about house hunting being emotional. :) When my husband and I stepped through the door of one place, we knew it was going to be ours. It can be dangerous to fall so in love though, unless you are very strong about how much money you'll be willing to spend.

I hope you'll post about this often, I love house hunting!

Chelsea said...

Wow, I had noo idea! Good luck!

Brittany said...

We moved to Crown Heights about 2 years ago and love it so much. Previously I'd lived in Bay Ridge for 4 years which is such a wonderful neighborhood - great restaurants, nice people, a great park - but it's a hike into manhattan. Crown Heights is a great location - lots of good food and close to the park and the rents are still pretty reasonable

Arts Award at Claires Court said...

Men can be a whole lot more detatched and subjective about the whole thing I think. I too found the whole process to be an emotional rollercoaster... especially as I had one baby and another on the way!

I have an open plan space where the kitchen and living room are combined. I have to say that it is lovely that the children can play in the living room while I am in the kitchen and I can keep an eye on them and play with them whilst doing the cooking/ washing etc. The downside is that you can never shut the door on a pile of dirty dishes!!!

Best of luck

1f11f96e-01c8-11e2-bfe1-000bcdca4d7a said...

House hunting is soooo emotional! Good luck - the only advice I have is to find a place and seal the deal BEFORE you get pregnant again. We did not do that and ended up having to move out of our place before we could find a new one. I spent my last trimester in my parents' basement with my husband & 2 year old, not knowing where we were going to live with the stork circling overhead! It was also the dead of winter (we live in Canada!) not fun! but...we moved in 4 days before baby #2 arrived and we still talk to my parents!

Arts Award at Claires Court said...

...sorry i can't work out how to leave a comment using just my name... see above!!!

Beatriz said...

My boyfriend and I just started looking for a 1/1.5 bedroom with garden in BK Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill or Boerum Hill. This past weekend we saw the MOST BEAUTIFUL parlor floor apartment with original fireplaces, wainscoting, huge closets and shared garden $200 over our budget. We're trying to negotiate with the owner.

Depending on the types of places you are looking at, the layouts are a bit strange, especially if it's a converted brownstone. I like the idea of having the dining area near the kitchen and the living room apart. It allows you to decorate each area differently, experiment with different colors, design, etc. Good luck with your search! It's def exciting and I keep having to remind myself that if a place we saw rents before we have a chance to send in our application or is out of our budget, then it's just not meant to be for now!

Jessie H said...

Hate to break it to you, but you're about 10 years too late in regards to Brooklyn's "affordability". I lived there 10-15 years ago when it was affordable, but Manhattan-ites made fun of me for it. Funny how things change!

Mad Max and Family said...

I love Brooklyn! I lived in Carroll Gardens several years ago (left in wow, 2005 now)... I'm back home in Houston.

If I ever moved back, I would definitely move to Brooklyn.

-Tara

http://madmaxandfamily.blogspot.com
http://blog.chron.com/madabouttown/

Rachael {all things beautiful} said...

Oh my goodness, this post is speaking right to my heart. We, too, are in the process of house hunting and I couldn't agree more with it being much more emotional than I anticipated. My husband and I looked at a house out of our price range too hoping we could get the owners to compromise on the price. Not the case and I was so heartbroken. I had completely envisioned us living there, having children, and being there for a really long time. I felt so sad and bummed when I realized it wasn't going to happen. House hunting has been quite a roller coaster for us and we're still on the hunt. Exciting yet very frustrating at the same time. Good luck with your hunt and I look forward to seeing what you all find!

C.V.B. said...

The most important thing about an apartment searching is noting the noise level, If you have someone above you in a not so well insulated building you will hear every move they make. Try to come back to view a place after work hours so you get an idea about noise levels.

Anne said...

Swissmiss just posted www.padmapper.com - which I wish we had when apartment searching in Brooklyn. Wonderful place to live, although The Oberserver just reported it is now the second most expensive place in the US.

Ellie said...

I live in Fort Greene and love it! I would definitely add it to the list as you can get slightly more for your money here. We have a great park too, which is lacking in Carroll Gardens. And it is a super easy commute, much better than just relyaing on the F. We are right by pretty much every train and just one stop to Manhattan. Good luck with your search!

Tamara Watson said...

I live in a 90-year-old small (1050 sq.ft.) bungalow that I completely love. What makes this place feel like a home is how the living room, dining room and kitchen all flow into each other through large archways, but still maintain their defined spaces. The kitchen is centrally located within the floor plan, which I also like. My only wish would be to add a 1/2 bath to our single bath. :)

Notes from Holly St. said...

I know what you mean about the emotional aspect but for me it's the opposite. we're moving from our little apartment in a super walkable part of LA to the suburbs in a few months and I find myself feeling emotional about leaving our tiny home and city lifestyle. I keep reminding myself about all the space we'll have and the huge yard for our toddler to play in and that helps, but I can't help but feel so attached to our current home.

Happy house hunting! Hope you find something great :)

liz said...

We lived in Park Slope for years- I love Brooklyn so much and miss it! I find that as a mom with little ones you will spend a lot more time in kitchen than you would like, so having the livingroom next to it is ideal so the kids can play and you can keep an eye on them and they will be comfy seeing/ being near you without being at your feet while you clean/ cook etc. I have seen families do it seperate, but they just have a little toy nook in a corner in the kitchen so the kids have something to do.

If you want any connections to ppl I know living there or restaurant referrals let me know I am happy to share what experiences I learned from while living there.
ps. later with kids we moved to Bronxville/ Tuckahoe area where my husband could take a quick RR to work in 30 minutes to NYC. I loved that space the most and started my family there. I have contact there as well if you would like.

Sarah said...

I can see the family being split up a bit more if the kitchen and living room are totally on separate sides. But again, if it was a killer deal and I loved everything else I may do it anyway.

I live in silicon valley since my husband got his new job at FB. I like it here, although it's super expensive since all the tech jobs out here have driven up the prices. But, I'm sure you understand how that goes. Even more so since you live in NY lol!

- Sarah
agirlintransit.blogspot.com

Jenna said...

I can relate to you when it comes to pinning home pictures. My husband and I are waiting to close on our dream home and I can't stop pinning! Also I would definitely lean for a house with a close living room and kitchen. Our apartment now, which isn't large, has the kitchen and living room on opposite ends and I feel like we're always shouting or getting annoyed because we can't hear one another.

kaela said...

it is EXACTLY like dating....especially if you're looking to buy. I'm 24 and I just bought my first house by myself. The first house I went to see was staged with mid century furniture just like mine and I fell IN LOOOOOVE. Then I didn't get approved for the loan fast enough and someone else got it. I bawled and bawled and called my parents and friends and I'm pretty sure they all felt bad but were kinda thinking I was nuts. "Kaela it's a house..there are so many others out there...you'll find 'your' house when it's right for you." I was pissed and it felt like meeting the perfect guy only to find out he's engaged to some other girl he just hadn't mentioned yet.

Then I kept looking and found THE ONE for me (house that is...no guy yet ;) ....it was true. The house I have now matches everything that was on my list....natural light, at least 2 beds, a 50's kitchen with character, a big yard, etc. I got it and sure it's old and I have a major "hobby" for the years ahead ...but I am so happy and feel at home every time I pull up the drive way. It's okay to be emotional about it...but don't get hung up on anything. As annoying as it is, "the right house will find you" even if you're renting.. ;) Good luck!

Lisamarie said...

I live in SoCal, where prices are just ridiculous. Having an outdoor space was top of my list when searching for a condo. Good water pressure is a top requirement as well. Don't forget to do a Megan's Law sex offender search!!

kaela said...

OH! and of course....don't settle. :)

msp said...

i live with my boyfriend in a walk up duplex in cobble hill. sure outdoor space is the bomb -- but i have really come to believe that stairs are more important (and findable in the area). multilevel makes it feel so much more spacious than it actually is! my dad calls our place the townhouse in the sky.

Jessica Flett said...

Hi. Sadly I know about NYC real estate as I'm from Australia but my 2 cents worth is... Lighting is very important, good sized bedrooms, kitchen and living room definitely together (for me that's a deal breaker and I took that approach when house hunting last year) We spend so much of our time in the kitchen and I needed to be able to see my son. Good luck with the hunt. I look forward to hearing and seeing more about the process. Jx

abby said...

My mom gave this wise advice while we were recently house-hunting: "There's always another house/apartment." So, if you think you have found the "one" and it doesn't work out don't worry there will always be another. It turned out to be the best advice. And, it took a bit of the pressure off thinking there was only ONE perfect place for our family.

Best of luck. Brooklyn is one of the favorite places we've lived (Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope).

Ash said...

just don't settle!

i settled- and am subsequently paying the price (just stress and anger over where we live... who knew it mattered so much?!)

Rebecca said...

We are a wee family of three, plus a house rabbit. A year ago, we had to make the gut wrenching decision to walk away from a house one week before closing due to structural issues. I, too, had fallen for the house at that point (the vision of a kiddo running down the stairs at xmas, etc.). Only one week after that, the house we now live in was listed (on the eve of my birthday). It is a 1910 house in Portland, OR. I am so so in love with this house. It has so much heart. And I can't wait to see kiddo run down those stairs come xmas morning.

Conchita said...

Dear Joanna,

I hope you find a nice new home in a nice neighborhood. good luck and love from Portugal

Remy said...

Oh man! Good luck with the house hunt. My husband and I bought our first home last year in Portland, Or. When we first started looking at houses I thought I was going to find our "perfect" home: An old house (pre 1920s) with perfect insulation, lots of character, a great yard, perfect square footage and price. Guess what? That house doesn't exist! It took me a while to make peace with the fact that there was no perfect house out there, but plenty of good enough houses that with time, patience, love, and $$ could eventually become perfect. Good luck in your search and don't let it bring you down. You will find the perfect house that you and your family will turn into a perfect home.

Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts said...

im a strait up city chix lol im used to the nyc dark apartments (family in the bronx and harlem,) I also have family in Staten island and you know its a bit of change and thats why im thinkin of living in queens (family there too) or brooklyn. I think its fine to have the kitchen and living room connected as long as we are happy, i can afford it and safe its a win/go situation for me! I wish you well I love brooklyn you will too.

Fen said...

my boyfriend and I live in a tiny weeny apartment which is basically 3 rooms - bedroom, bathroom and open plan kitchen/living room. I really like the living room and kitchen being together, it's very farmhouse-like and homely!

good luck with your house hunting -- I can identify with it being an emotional experience!! you'll find the perfect one in the end, though :)

nadia said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the distance between the living room and kitchen. Having had way too much experience apartment hunting, the two things that I would and will always rest my decision on is the overall energy you feel in the space and the light. If you have those two things, everything else will fall into place :)

Good luck to you and your family! How exciting for you all :)

xo Nadia

Elisa Shere said...

Good luck with your search. Finding a home for your family IS so emotional. I hated looking and it is very hard when things are out of your price range. I definitely like the kitchen near the living area, open is preferable. We live in a small house and the kitchen is its own room, but off the living area. So, we're either all in the kitchen, or at least I'm next to the action/where my child is playing. Also, how cute is it that you are househunting on a bicycle? Adorable!

chandra ~ oh lovely day said...

I'm doing the same thing in LA as we speak. We've totally outgrown our apartment but love our neighborhood and can't afford bigger around here, but I can't imagine moving to a burby area and having to drive everywhere with my kid(s) - we love to walk! Oh, the downsides to living in a big city. Wouldn't it be nice if we could put all this rent towards a lovely house with a big yard?

The Pumpernickel said...

I live in Carroll Gardens and I LOVE it. Happy to give you a tour anytime :)

CelesteClaire Design said...

Closet space!!! I have lived several places and I have found one of the most essential items is good closet/storage space!

Pistachio said...

Okay, I know this is a little outside the box, but have you thought of Ridgewood, Queens? It is on the L line and M (I know you like to bike, so it maybe too far), but you should see what you can buy there. Ridgewood is home to an enormous National Historic District which includes just under 3,000 houses and apartment buildings. Many of these homes were built to last in the early 20th century by the German factory and brewery workers who settled there.

Check out this cute couple who made there home there:
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/05/11/realestate/0511-HABI_index.html

And here is just some info:
http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_living/real_estate/157422/ridgewood--queens-offers-quality-homes-with-historical-flair

I hope you find the home of your dreams!!!! :)
Cheers!

Bethany said...

We're moving out of Fort Greene next weekend, and our place is still available ... no idea what budget you're looking at but the listing is here and I can vouch for the landlord and neighbors :).
http://www.corcoran.com/property/listing.aspx?Region=NYC&ListingID=2448469
Good luck in your search!
Cheers,
bethany

Tragic Sandwich said...

We live in L.A., so the kinds of living spaces are very different--but when we were house-hunting, our priorities were proximity to public transit (we're bus commuters, even in L.A), a neighborhood that showed pride of ownership (clean, neat public-facing spaces), good light, and good storage. If we had been looking at condos, I would also have prioritized an in-unit laundry area so that we didn't have to share machines.

teeny said...

how incredibly exciting! brooklyn is my faaaavorite! best of luck to you and alex....remember to breath :)

mylettchronicals

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Love house hunters and property brothers (where they make a non appealing house into a dream home). Happy hunting!

Lizzie Polish said...

I looked at 19 places before I found one that I love. It is huge, high ceilings, big windows, new floors, new appliances in the kitchen. The bathroom is pretty old and kind of gross but we'll get it fixed up sooner or later. It was priced way lower than it's value. Don't worry. You have to look at loads of places to find your gold mine. So many people I know live in closets and come over and talk about how jealous they are of my space but they also live in the 2nd place they looked at. I live in the 19th because I didn't settle. I also suggest a door separating the kitchen from the dining/living room (swinging preferred) and a door separating the living room from the hallway to the bedrooms to minimize sound transferal when you want to stay up and the kids are asleep. Don't you want 3 bedrooms? You are trying to get pregnant!

Eliza Jane said...

For me a living room and a kitchen have to be detached yet close together. I can totally imagine that it's emotional! I like your comparison to dating lol.

Amanda aka MamaRobot said...

My advice is, start taking note of what you love about your current apartment. What still makes you happy on a daily basis? Is it that the subway is across the street? That you can watch the sunset? Notice what still makes you feel cozy, safe, comfortable every day, even after having lived in a place for a long time. These are the things you should try not to give up in your search.

Carrie said...

I'm just curious-- with planning for a second baby, do you expect that you'll have the two share a bedroom, regardless of the gender? We moved from Brooklyn to Seattle when I was 7 months pregnant with my second, but I always wondered what we would have done if we'd have stayed in our old apartment with two. We have a girl and a baby boy...

amiechristo said...

In 21 years I've lived in 11 different houses. (We've moved a lot). And, I'd probably say, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that, realistically, you're not going to find 'the perfect house'. There's going to be some thing(s) that you're not going to like. You're going to have to compromise on a couple of things. And don't forget about the simple wonders that buying paint or pictures on the wall can do. And it's going probably not going to feel like home right away, that's going to take a little time, too. As well, keep in mind what furniture you have, how it has to fit. Rooms do look smaller without things in them, and you have to invision your things over top of the things that are already there.

Hope some of that helps and good luck!

Clare said...

I live in a basement studio apartment. This was my first time having to search for an apartment, even though I'm 27. I always thought I would be so logical and rational throughout the whole process as I am with every other aspect in my life...but no. I was completely emotional. In the end, I ended up choosing the perfect place. I gave up a lot of things (storage, closeness to town), but I, surpringsly, am okay with it...Good luck with your search. Enjoy it!

Leigh said...

Hi Joanna,

I love your blog. I feel for you in this house hunting search. I would say truly think about the layout and light, plus something you can grow into (if you can), obviously the location too. (Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights) you can not go wrong. You can change anything in your apartment, but not those things.

We were going through the same process not so long ago our little family of 3 was leaving the West Village moving to Hong Kong. We sold our apartment and are now renters. Which was hard to adjust to, because we really made the apartment our home in the west village. House hunting here is tough, equal to NYC. Our approach was to find something that had been on the market for a while and make some changes. Even for a rental it was a great strategy.

Oh one last thing. Before I left I bumped into your son and baby sitter on Greenwich Street. Toby is so adorable, I was with my daughter Julia . It made our day!

www.anamericangirlinhongkong.com

ALI&ANG said...

Hee hee I totally thought of House Hunters International too after reading this post. But yes it sees the open concept is really big now in home design. But so many apartments in Brooklyn are prewar and "open concept" was not really a trend then.

Mrs. P Vega said...

I know exactly what you mean. Our agent suggested writing letters to the sellers. Ultimately, this is what won us our home since I told the seller that this home would be our one-year anniversary gift and they ended up going with us because they also moved in on their one-year anniversary :)

Tiffany said...

it is true, i had never thought of it before, but it really does seem analogous to dating! oh dear!
good luck though. i find apartment hunting much more fascinating, and less stressful as the emotional part is more detached!

Tina said...

I live in a wonderful two bedroom apartment in Detroit, the corktown neighborhood. Beyond the beautiful wood floors and high ceilings I really love how invested and meticulous my landlady is in not only maintaining her apartments but also the lawn and garden around the house the apartments are in. Knowing that I'm renting from someone that doesn't cut corners or maintain cheaply is something that I've come to really appreciate.

kate m said...

We live in an apt. with the kitchen at one end and the living room at the other, down a ~60 ft hallway. We are looking to buy and definitely want the living and kitchen areas to be open to each other. We find ourselves yelling down the hall to each other, not understanding...repeat. I do most of the cooking, and it would be so nice to have a conversation with my husband while he is doing his own thing in the living room. Just not possible with our current place. It can get a little frustrating, and also a little comical. Just our experience, hope that helps!

lessthanperfectmama.com said...

I hear ya on the emotional part of apartment/house hunting. We'll be in the same boat when we sell our home. I think making a list of the most desired amenities in your dream home (and why shouldn't it be dreamy!) helps a lot. From there you can list the different neighborhoods in order of affordability. But my rule is location, location, location. Sacrifice the least important things (like a walk-in closet) for a great neighborhood.

Jennifer said...

I've bought 2 homes and renovated one. I know it's hard not to get emotional about some of them. The biggest thing I'd say is don't be afraid to negotiate and come in low on a property you really like that's out of reach. It's still a buyer's market. Remember, all they can do is say no. It's worth taking a risk. My husband and I just did this with a house we loved that was out of reach and we negotiated it down to what we budgeted. This is key especially when the house has been on the market for awhile. Also, if you can find out how eager the sellers are to move on, that can help you negotiate.

If there's no family room and the living room will serve as one, it is nice to have it open to the kitchen, if that's possible.

Now that I have 2 kids (and one on the way), I'd also tell you to try to envision an area (corner or room) where most of their toys/stuff will go -- otherwise it'll take over your home.

Good luck and I hope you find what you're looking for!

lillian said...

my advice is to figure out your goal neighborhood and your practical wish list and wait. I knew which neighborhood I wanted to live in, what my price range was, and what I really wanted in a house (mine was A/C, good bones, garage/parking, and room to grow). I looked at pretty much every house that came on the market in the neighborhood I wanted. find an agent you trust, make sure they know your specifics and recognize that it might be a long process (unless there is a rush?).

I was fine renting and didn't want my first home purchase to be something I wasn't in love with. after 2 years of looking (and a baby), I finally found the right house and moved in just after my daughter turned one. it is funny driving around our neighborhood, because I have been in most of the houses--some of them were quite nice, they just weren't me.

Nora Nuno said...

I live in California in a 2 story victorian 1910 home. I fell in love instantly, and with my parents help, bought it. It's a project home tho because it's so old and the previous owners werent kiind, almost everything needs to be redone. I just stay optimistic because I know in the end, this home will reflect who We are as a family (me, hubs, 2 boys) but it is a pain. I recommend something with minimal renovations needed..something you can just move into and start decorating But don't be afraid of a lil fixer upper just be realistic about ur budget and time.

Nicole H.S. Kaufmann said...

We live in Carroll Gardens and love it. Great parks, restaurants, and lots of growing families. You and Alex will have to come over for coffee. We have chickens that Toby will love!

Sophia Binello said...

You should look into Fort Greene as well! I've been in this neighborhood for 3 years now, it's very similar to Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens but a little more diverse! It's super safe, amazing restaurants, filled with young families and it's beautiful :)

ezrazoe said...

consider Jackson Height Queens - you can get a 2-3 bedroom with a fireplace, 15 - 20 mins to magazine offices in midtown and a fraction of the cost of Brooklyn. Seriously - save the $$$ for your kid's future. Enjoy NY and space at the same time

Marisa M said...

Getting a new place is so emotional! We bought a house in midtown where everyone else wants to be. It was so hard looking at homes and then picturing us being there. I had my heart set on one particular one and getting it was hell!! BUT after a lot of tears and stress we got it! I love living here and when I think of the crazy process it was to get the house it makes me appreciate it even more.

laurasaurus said...

My boyfriend and I have lived on the border of Cobble Hill/ Carroll Gardens for 2 years now and we love it. Lots of elevator-less buildings for you. Millions of young families around and endless bars and restaurants on Smith and Court. I definitely recommend moving here!

Julia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Willow Westwood said...

I live in Ditmas Park and LOVE IT! It doesn't really feel like the city, but it's only 27 minutes into Union Square on the Q train, and something similar in a car (the train runs above ground for a while out here too, which might help with your claustrophobia issues. It's mostly free-standing Victorian houses with back (and front!) yards, which is really wonderful for kids--and general lovely-ness! A lot of people own whole houses/mansions (expensive!), but some of them are split into apartments, and in that case rent isn't too bad. Good luck no matter what you do!

Monica said...

When we were looking for our first home, my best friend told me I would just know when it was the right house because I would hear the Hallelujah Chorus in my head as I walked through it. Silly? Yup. True for me? Totally.

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

Your question about the kitchen and living room is funny because my partner always says, "I don't want my kitchen in my living room". I always struggle to understand what he means by that. But it is nice having them close to one another so you can hang out with the cook. But if the kitchen is a good size, I don't think it really matters because you can just hang out in there, kids can colour or play lego at the table and what not. Good luck with the apartment hunting!

meet emily said...

as someone with a toddler, having the kitchen far from the living space stinks. we've been doing it since graham was born and it's tough. doable, but tough.

Amanda said...

I live in SE Portland with my husband. We were lucky to find an amazing bungalow built in 1939. The curved archways and picture rails in the living room are lovely. The bedrooms are nice size and we have a yard with a covered patio. Perfect for Indan Summer barbecues and rose wine. I can live with the one teeny bathroom (for now) and we have a roomy basement, just ripe for remodeling.

Unknown said...

You should look in Fort Greene. THe neighborhoods look like they are fresh out of Sesame Street, Fort Greene park is great, and there are tons of families. You are 2 train stops from Brooklyn Heights, and a quick jaunt to DUMBO. Much more affordable, and much hipper than somewhat stodgy Brooklyn Heights.

Joan said...

Apartment hunting sure can be exhausting!

I found it helpful to decompress about everything I looked at that day at a nice cafe or restaurant in that neighborhood. When I did this, I really could picture myself living there, and it felt really comforting.

You could check out (if you haven't already) The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (it looks like you might have already come across it), Iris Cafe, Colonie, and Van Horn Sandwich Shop if in the Brooklyn Heights/Bordering on Cobble Hill.
BookCourt is also an awesome bookstore.
And Carroll Gardens always has a lot of great Italian options :)

Best of luck!

Monica L. Shulman said...

Every apt that I've ever lived in has been special and great for different reasons. One thing that I can say is that the first time I walked in to each of these places that later became home was that they just "felt right" - I don't mean to sound trite but it's so true.

The thing that is most important to me is great light. There's nothing better than walking into your home and seeing that lovely flood of natural light. Now that we have a baby about Toby's age I love that our living areas and bedrooms are far from each other. I mean, we live in a NYC apt so it's not like we have a palace but our two bedrooms are on the opposite side of our apt so we feel like we can really enjoy our place together as a family and then when she goes to sleep we can hang out in the living room and kitchen and not worry that we're going to wake her bc we're right outside of her room. We still have a white noise machine in her room just in case but she hasn't ever woken up bc we were too loud and we also have friends over all the time.

Another thing that we have now that we never had pre-baby is two bathrooms. It's a small luxury (in Manhattan) but makes a huge difference.

You will LOVE Brooklyn. Our first place together was in Bkln Hts (my husband when to Bklyn Law School) and we go back to the neighborhood all the time and even though it was tiny it is to date my favorite place we ever lived...such a magical neighborhood. Plus now with Bklyn Bridge Park it's even better than it was before for families.

outsmartener said...

Thank you for posting this! My boyfriend and I are currently apartment hunting as well in Portland, Oregon and the process is extremely emotional! I totally sympathize with falling in love with a potential home that is just a bit out of your reach. I start to think about fun things to do in the neighborhood, envisioning our furniture in the house-this table would be perfect here/this is the perfect sized room for our bed, and even daydreaming about us doing things, like writing, reading, cooking, around the apartment. it's crazy, it's madness, it's a little, or a lot, heart-wrenching!

Nice to not feel alone in the search. I agree going to places is very helpful, we saw an awful place today and have clearer standards of what we want to shoot for and what we definitely won't trade down for.

Lindsey said...

My husband and I just bought our first home and I would highly recommend that the living room and kitchen be close together, especially with kids. Our last apartment had a huge gourmet kitchen but it was down the hall from the living room and I always felt isolated when I was cooking. It got to the point where I hated cooking dinner. Our new place has an open concept and I can happily make dinner while chatting with the husband and listening to the TV. Just my two cents! :)

islandfairy said...

I live on a tiny island in the Mediterranean so our problems (eg-proximity to main roads, heat during summer, whether the place is on a hill and therefore safe during floods) are very different from those in NY but I agree living room and kitchen should be close because the kids are going to be there most of the day and somehow the kitchen is where I always end up. Also, The direction the place faces is very important in terms of how much light/heat/cold you get.mgood luck!

Spencer and Michelle said...

In our apartment our living, dining room and kitchen are all one. Only seperated by a supporting beam and peninsula in the kitchen. I love having that big open space for us all to hang out, especially since our place isn't that big as it is. The two bedrooms are right across the hall from each other. I like being that close to my daughter's room. The ONLY thing I don't like - we only have one bathroom. This has posed to be a problem. If I want to shower and my husband has just... done a business, I don't like to go in there. Or if two people have to use the toilet at the same time (which has happened WAY more then I thought it would!) its always a fight. Or, if you have to do a # when guests are over, I am always self conscious. It would be nice to have an en suite. Anyway, I hope that helps!

Elina said...

It's been a while sins my last visit in here, but it's nice! Good luck finding a new place. /Elina

lh_unsworth said...

Hi Joanna!

Firstly, I love your blog! I wish I'd known about it when I was living in the USA as I would have made full use of all the great articles that you write....hopefully we'll return to America one day :)

With regards to the house hunt - are you still considering a dog? If so, I would say a garden (sorry, yard!) is imperative. We became the proud parents of a beagle puppy whilst in the USA and trying to house train him whilst living on the 32 floor was not easy. Especially when you throw into the mix a very harsh winter!!!

Just s'thing to think about if a dog is still on the agenda.

Good luck with your search!

X

Unknown said...

Hello from Greece!
Having a kitchen combined with the living room used to be "the thing" here for the last 20 years, we all thought it was convenient and good for socialising, as many have said. Well, now we all figured it was only convenient for the construction companies who were gaining from the combined space.. Being on rent and having a kitchen combined with the living room myself, I have to say that it is pretty awful. You can't cook anything without filling with smelly air all the apartment. I never fry anything, because on the two times I fried chips or fish, I could smell them all over my apartment for 3 days! Let alone the fact that whenever you are entertaining friends, your kitchen needs to be perfect. That means when you are finished with cooking you also have to leave time for washing the dishes, pans , pots before your friends arrive, so everything can be perfect. Consequently, if you have a choice, I would recommend to avoid the combined space.

Chrystal said...

Hi Joanna!

A big hello from Singapore! I love reading your blog, haha sometimes I wish I could just fly right to NYC. I guess when house-hunting, my mom (she was a realtor) has always advised to be mindful of what kind of light your apartment is going to get. The best option is a place which gets morning light, as afternoon light can be a bit too strong and make your house unbelievably warm in the summer.

I've always liked the idea of having the living room near the kitchen! Some of my best childhood memories are catching a whiff of mom's cooking from the living room. It's a nice, homey feeling! (:

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