Monday, 13 July 2009

Desperately Seeking The One (Bedroom Apartment)

An apartment in the island of Manhattan, with high ceilings, large French windows with the view of the Hudson River. An oversize Victorian sofa, wall to wall bookcase containing most of my precious finds, and a chandelier, a bloody chandelier with Swarovski crystals---this is my dream apartment and my quintessential living room. One that has been living in my head since I got out of the university at the age of twenty. Nine years later, the picture still lives in my head. I can imagine my body spread on that beautiful antique sofa, the chandelier giving my face a warm glow while I lazily read a McEwan novel. Alas, a picture perfect scene for a Vogue editorial.

But as always, reality bites. Life didn’t sweep me away to the frosty winter mornings of the Big Apple or to it’s fast suburban life. Fate didn’t bring me to its skyscrapers or to its exciting (and dangerous) neighborhoods. Instead, it lead me to the South of Spain where it’s all sun and smiles, where houses are washed white and the terrazas are adorned with colorful terracotta pots. Different Manhattan and the Costa Del Sol maybe, one thing is for sure: My ideal apartment is still waiting to become a reality.

The Hunting Season:
Only the looniest of loons will pack his bags and begin hunting for an apartment in the middle of the summer. As a general rule, you don’t look for a long term place to rent when everything's tag priced for the tourists and the agencies are taking advantages of their peak season in business. However, opportunity only knocks once and I am using this opportunity to knock somewhere, unpack and live.

Where I am working at the moment is a suburb of Marbella called Elviria---a place full of filthy rich Scandinavians and Germans hence the general rental is high and they are mostly villas. There is no life in the surrounding aside from a mini commercial centre with a few restaurants and banks. Lots of it. I live in a town called Benalmadena Costa and it takes me 45 minutes by coach to reach my workplace. Hence, my strong passion to move somewhere near my office. I am just sick and tired of standing at the bus stop everyday under the blazing sun together with millions of sweaty tourists waiting to get a seat in those oh so torn down buses.

I live in point A and work in point B. This is the map of my daily sufferings.

Scanning the internet for the most reasonable price (my friend said you can haggle at least a hundred euros less than actual price as the coast is quite quiet at the moment) I found some very interesting ones but mostly situated in the hills. As for someone who doesn’t drive and get repulsed by the idea of walking, a lengthy stroll uphill or downhill is out of the question.

I phoned a couple of numbers but unfortunately, almost all of the ones that I liked are occupied until September or not exactly what I am looking for (I am looking for a one bedroom apartment with a bath, not just a shower.) Prices range from 450 to 600 euros for a one bedroom but who are they kidding? The real estate business is heavily sleeping at the moment and I am not prepared to splurge 600 euros unless it‘s a 3 bedroom apartment in the middle of Puerto Banus (now, that’s too much to ask).

(one of the apartments that I like. Not bad for 450 euros, 1 bedroom. Too bad it is situated in Calanova Hills. You heard it right, hills.)

Inspirations
However difficult the hunting process might be, I am excited with the thought of finding the one (bedroom apartment). Internet is the best resort for inspiration with thousands of sites and blogs dedicated to apartment hunting, designs, living, up to moving out and finding another one. You can even find social networking sites for apartment hunters! ApartmentTherapy.com is the best for interior designs and tips, unfortunately it is just concentrated in the US. Leading broadsheets and magazines around the globe has a section for real estate, rentals designs etc. like nymag.com where I found my inspiration du jour for my ideal apartment: Jason Wu’s one bedroom in NYC.

love the burst of blue amidst the gray walls

Jason wants to perfect his macaroons. I'm afraid I'm not a domestic goddess, better to keep the kitchen spotless. Chinese takeaway on my speed dial.

I love, I love the floral wallpaper!

Jason Wu could not only design Michelle Obama’s gowns but he can work magic with his apartment as well. I love the minimalist style and the monochromatic colours using predominantly gray, black and silver.

I could only dream at the moment. The hunting has just began and the search is far from over. No, I don’t have the money to acquire a real Victorian antique sofa or a real fur carpet to step on; maybe a nice brown floral wallpaper, yes.

I can’t hang any Picasso or Monet or any expensive stuff on my walls but I make sure my 6 year old niece’s picture will be on the living room welcoming my guests with her smile.

I might even find some (obviously) fake Oscar statuettes in the flea market and put it in the bathroom so guests can practice their speech infront of the mirror.

Finally, I know I can’t have big French windows and the only bookshelf I can get is from IKEA but I make sure my living room has a fucking chandelier, Swarovski or not.


Besos!

Photo: US Harper's Bazaar August 2009 : Kate Winslet by Peter Lindbergh
apartment photo: www.solvillaspain.com
Jason WU: www.nymag.com

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