Apartment Living

A Small, Chic Icelandic Apartment Is an Absolutely Dreamy Minimal, Modern Home

A Small, Chic Icelandic Apartment Is an Absolutely Dreamy Minimal, Modern Home

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Name: Jewells Ramona Chambers and husband, Gunnar Örn Ingólfsson
Location: Mosfellsbær, Iceland
Size: 753 square feet
Type of Home: Two-bedroom apartment
Years Lived In: 2.5 years, owned

It’s been a long, hard year. And while I’ve definitely been daydreaming about running away from it all to live in an A-frame, on the road in an RV, or off the grid in a tiny house, I’ve also been fantasizing about leaving the country! I’ve always dreamed of living abroad one day, especially in a country that is vastly different than the U.S., and one that features stunning landscapes would be a bonus. Travel is important to widening your horizons and understanding different cultures and people, but just visiting a place for a few days usually isn’t enough time. Living abroad would give me the opportunity to really get to know a place. And in a year where I’m not sure when I’ll ever be able to travel again—let alone move to a foreign country—dreaming vicariously through Jewells Chambers’ Iceland home is sustaining me.

Jewells is the founder and creator of All Things Iceland, an award-winning podcast and YouTube channel. She gives travelers (and hopeful travelers) the “inside scoop on Icelandic nature, culture, history and language.” This native New Yorker ended up in Iceland after falling in love and marrying an Icelander, Gunnar Örn Ingólfsson, who is a psychologist. Together, they live in this minimal and modern two-bedroom apartment in Mosfellsbær, a suburb that is a 20-minute drive to downtown Reykjavík.

Jewells says that on paper, they have 753 square feet of living space. “Because we live on the top floor and some of the walls slant, there is a certain percentage of the height under the walls that are not counted in the official number,” Jewells explains. “If it were counted, the size would be 968 square feet.” HOWEVER you count her home’s square feet, though, clean white walls, big windows, and lofted ceilings make the space feel much larger than it is.

Jewells confesses that their style is very simple, but that’s precisely what makes the whole home so lovely and relaxing. Though the home could certainly be described as “minimal,” it exudes coziness. It’s a great example of allowing one’s home and one’s style to be a canvas that highlights the lives living inside of it… and the gorgeous views of movie-scene-worthy landscapes outside. The views from the apartment’s ample windows and skylights are actually perfect for enjoying gluggaveður, an Icelandic word that translates to “window weather,” and refers to the vibe of curling up all cozy-like while enjoying nice-to-look-at but not nice-to-be-in weather.

The whole home has great examples of how minimalism can make the decor that is incorporated so much richer. The cozy bedroom with the cute built-in is the perfect backdrop for some of Jewells’ YouTube videos and makes me wish I had a slanted wall of storage. The oversized paper stars in the windows give off the cutest Nordic vibes. Sheer white curtains make the views and light feel soft and dream-like. And the ample open space around a curated selection of meaningful art allows the individual pieces to shine beautifully. While Jewells says their current home isn’t her dream dream home, it is comfortable, welcoming, and bright, important aspects to any good home. And in a year where I’d kill to travel anywhere, Jewells and Gunnar’s home—and the gorgeous, exciting, adventurous landscapes and culture surrounding it—make it a dream home to me!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is very simple. We like having white walls, some art, neutral colors for furniture, and not a lot of clutter. It’s nice to pop in a statement piece but we’ve kept the decorating to a minimum.

Inspiration: We are inspired by spaces that are functional, bright, and comfortable. We see our home as a space that makes others feel like they can relax and have a good time.

Favorite Element: The high ceilings and brightness from the multiple windows in the apartment. It is not common in Iceland to have very high ceilings. That element makes the space feel so much bigger. Also, the windows on the slanted walls and in the living room brighten up the space a lot. That brightness makes a big difference during the long, dark winter nights.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is that a fake wall was built around the kitchen, so there is not a lot of flow from the kitchen to the rest of the house. The upside is that the fake wall lets us have more cabinets in the kitchen, but it would have been nice to have a more open feel. We have just decided to accept it because the pros outweigh the cons.

Proudest DIY: We received the big, black couch in our living room for free from Gunnar’s brother. However, there were some broken springs in it. Gunnar and his friend fixed the springs and the couch is like new. For a little bit of sweat we got a practically new couch, that normally costs thousands of dollars, for free.

Biggest Indulgence: Gunnar is a big fan of electronics and the biggest indulgence purchase we’ve made so far is buying a 65” television. Funnily enough, we don’t watch a lot of TV, but it is awesome when we do. The colors are amazing and it sometimes feels like we are almost inside of the picture.

Describe what a “dream” home means to you. Do you consider this to be your “dream” home? A dream home to us is a place that has amazing views of mountains and water, is on one level so that our moms can easily access it, is a single family home, has a studio for Jewells’ projects, a game room for Gunnar, an exercise room, two bathrooms, five bedrooms, an open floor plan for the kitchen, dining room and living room, as well as a glass-covered patio that acts as a sunroom, and a big private garden. We would also like to have an apartment on the property that we can rent out or use if we have a lot of guests staying over. The most important aspect of our dream home is that it feels comfortable and welcoming. Our current apartment is comfortable, welcoming, and bright. While it is not our dream home, it does feel like it was the perfect starter home for us.

What was your idea of a dream home when you were a little kid? How close is this home’s version to your childhood dream? As a young girl, I wanted a 20,000 square foot home with a pool, access to the beach, huge kitchen, lots of bedrooms and bathrooms, huge grounds, and a game room. I was just regurgitating what I saw on TV. At this point in my life, I do want more space but I don’t think we need anywhere near the amount of space I say on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” It makes me laugh now to think about it.

What is your best advice for finding/creating a dream home? You’d be surprised at what you think is your dream home until you go there and realize that maybe it wasn’t all that you dreamed of. I think keeping in mind what is non-negotiable for you regarding a home is important and then allowing yourself to be flexible with what is on that market that meets your absolute needs. Houses have a vibe and it’s important to let yourself be open to the vibe of the home and its surroundings. Also, it’s amazing how much fresh paint and new glass panes can make a difference in a place.

Thanks Jewells and Gunnar!

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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Published at Thu, 22 Oct 2020 16:00:08 +0000

7 Genius WFH Solutions From the 2021 IKEA Catalog

Nicoletta Richardson

Senior Associate Editor, News and Culture

In her spare time, Nicoletta loves scrolling through Airbnb, doing at-home workouts, and nurturing her plant babies. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, AFAR, Tasting Table, and Travel + Leisure, among others. A graduate from Fairfield University, Nicoletta majored in English and minored in Art History and Anthropology, and she not-so-secretly dreams of exploring her family lineage in Greece one day.

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Published at Thu, 22 Oct 2020 15:15:06 +0000

Apartment Living

Choosing The Best Self Storage Facility: A Guide For Los Angeles Residents

Choosing The Best Self Storage Facility: A Guide For Los Angeles Residents

Los Angeles is a popular city to move to, known for big dreams, big salaries and — for those who earn them — some very big houses. But folk here sometimes find they have to downsize, move to temporary accommodation, or perhaps make space at home for their growing families. In all these cases, self storage comes to the rescue, helping people store furniture, cars and other belongings for a time.

Household furniture and vehicles can be kept at storage facilities until their owners can move to more spacious accommodation. And while gardening and skiing in the San Gabriel Mountains are great seasonal activities, the equipment needed could be kept in storage and out of the house for most of the year. There are different storage options for different purposes, and LA residents need to know what size units are available to them, what the advantages of the different types are, and how much they cost. There are storage facilities all across LA, with a variety of different attributes, and residents can choose one that is just around the corner or one further afield that offers more exactly what they require. Here we provide a guide for Angelenos who want to maximize the advantages they can get from self storage right now.

What storage unit sizes are available in LA?

There are plenty of unit sizes to choose from in LA, including those as small as 3’x3’ and 3’x4’ for holding a few boxes of paperwork. For storing additional items, for example seasonal clothes or small pieces of furniture, the 5’x10’ and 5’x10’ sizes are popular. For accommodating the contents of a one- or-two-bedroom apartment, 5’x15’ and 10’x10’ units can be ideal, while 10’x15’ to 10’x25’ units are available for larger homes.

People often keep cars in storage units, either because they don’t have a garage or a driveway or on a more temporary basis because they are moving to a new house. The common 10’x20’ lockup-garage-size units are popular for this, though RVs may need something larger and a smaller vehicle might squeeze into a 10’x15’. Anyone lucky enough to own a boat in LA can use a specialist storage unit, perhaps a 10’x30’ size and with a ceiling higher than the usual 8’.

Self storage unit with possessions outside

What should you expect to pay for self-storage in LA?

LA storage units rent for anything from $25 for a tiny unit to as much as $2,500, for example for a 30’x60’ unit at Downtown Mini Storage. The average street rate is $186 per month for a non-climate-controlled 10’x10’ unit, with only San Francisco demanding higher rents. Climate control adds to the price: for example, 5’x10’ units at East Hollywood’s BA Self Storage cost $166 if they have it compared to $141 without it.

Housing your car in a storage unit might cost well over $300 in the city. However, cheaper ones can be found away from the center, for example for $240 at this StorQuest facility in San Fernando — climate control probably won’t be necessary, unless you intend to store a valuable model for a long period of time. Simply parking your car on a designated spot at a facility’s premises could cost less than $100, for instance at this Extra Space facility near Long Beach. Boat owners would usually have to pay more for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

The storage industry in Los Angeles offers about 4.6 square feet per person, according to Yardi Matrix data, less than some cities but more than New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Corresponding to this relatively low inventory — and the high costs generally in LA — storage street rates can be higher in the City of Angels than in other large US cities.

What range of amenities is available at LA self storage facilities?

When determining whether a storage unit is suitable, one important factor is how it is accessed: a swing door is fine for most items, but one with a roll-up garage-style door is necessary if bulky objects will be loaded inside. Some have external doors which a moving truck can be driven right up to, while others are situated inside the building, maybe not on the ground floor and requiring a trip in an elevator. Many operators offer dollies to help customers move their stuff around. LA storage facilities offer this entire range of amenities.

Very many self storage operators have adapted rapidly to the changing pandemic situation, implementing rigorous cleaning schedules and making several procedures contact-free. The service kiosks a lot of them installed have helped with this. An increasingly popular service is ‘valet’ self storage: the storage company collects and delivers a customer’s belongings so they never actually see the facility — this is very convenient, making traveling unnecessary and limiting potential infection risks. Local LA firm Russell’s Moving and Storage, for example, offers this service.

What should you pay special attention to when choosing a storage facility?

Security is a vital aspect of self storage, and you might like to check out what precautions a facility has installed before you decide to store your belongings there. Up-to-date locks and gates with electronic access are a good sign, as is the presence of surveillance cameras and maybe security guards too. Individual units may be fitted with alarms, and some operators, for example Guardian Storage in Fullerton, combine both video and infrared detection with high powered lighting for maximum protection against intruders.

If economics are a major reason for renting a unit, and stored items won’t need to be retrieved often, an out-of-town facility can be considered — at Storage Etc in Diamond Bar a non-climate-controlled 10’x5’ unit costs less than $100. Insurance is another consideration: some storage operators insist on it and many offer it. When belongings are not of high value it may not be necessary, or perhaps a renters’ policy can be used to cover the stored items, but if you own any expensive artworks it’s worth properly insuring them in storage.

Hopefully you will always be able to pay your unit’s rent until you need to close it, but if not, a good facility should enforce the rules concerning delinquency correctly but with understanding. To evaluate a storage operator’s attitude toward clients, check out the review section of their website for positive comments — such as at Fort Storage near the Fashion District — and also ask for recommendations from your local buddies.

Couple with storage boxes outside home

LA offers a wide range of storage units for a variety of different purposes. While prices may be higher than in some US cities, the cost per square foot will always be a lot cheaper than residential LA property, making it a great way to economize without having to throw away favorite belongings. Anybody with valuable possessions they don’t currently have room for can put them safely in a unit with climate control and can take out insurance, while those with just a few boxes and bags of stuff can easily find a cheaper option. And any lucky locals with an RV or a boat can take a touring vacation or a romantic weekend trip from a local marina to Catalina Island knowing that self storage has their backs, providing a home for their precious conveyances. By choosing the right facility, unit and location, and by being aware of all the potential benefits involved, Angelenos can make self storage an integral part of their way of life.

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Published at Tue, 20 Oct 2020 10:11:15 +0000

A Guide to Recognizing and Avoiding Rental Scams

As a renter, it is important to know how to protect yourself against those who may try to take your money fraudulently. While the internet has increased flexibility and ease in finding apartments for rent from trusted sources, unfortunately it has also created an environment where scammers thrive. In 2020, a massive shift to heavy reliance on virtual property tours and online research has created new opportunities for scammers to take advantage of renters.

Since the beginning of the year, local Better Business Bureaus have issued warnings in multiple areas across the country of a spike in rental scams. Local authorities have cautioned renters to pay even more attention when apartment hunting, because scammers are using the social distancing rules to avoid showing apartments and promote fraudulent rental listings. Rental scams have been signaled in every corner of the country, from Boston to San Diego, from Arizona to Washington state.

As an apartment listing website that prides itself in offering 100% verified listings directly from property managers, we at RENTCafé are committed to ensure a safe and worry-free apartment search. Which is why we have put together this comprehensive guide to help you recognize and avoid rental scams.

Navigate the contents:

What is a Rental Scam?

According to the U.S. government, a rental scam is when “either a property owner or potential tenant misrepresents themselves” through fake ads, applications and so on. While there are other types of scams, today we’ll focus on recognizing scams as a renter and protecting yourself against such risks. Unfortunately, there are a variety of ways in which scammers try to steal your money, primarily through either a non-existent rental or via a stolen ad from another website.

Types of Rental Scams

apartments for rent online

Among the various types of rental scams, watch out for hijacked ads and phantom rentals. These are often prominent on Craigslist, where there are no filters to help you find legitimate listings.

  • Hijacked Ads

In some cases, scammers will steal an ad from an existing rental and revise the contact information so that you reach them when trying to contact the owner. These copycat ads will appear on different websites, as well, so make sure you check to see whether the internet listing service you’re using has 100% verified listings.

Another way scammers hijack ads is by gaining access to the email accounts of various property owners. Therefore, it’s important to confirm that you’re talking to the real owner.

avoiding rental fraud

  • Phantom Rentals

Other scammers simply create a fake ad on a non-existent rental and promote it as real. Typically, these are the ones that have a significantly lower rent than average or amenities that should raise the price. If an offer looks too good to be true, find out what caused that drop in price and always check out the apartment with your own eyes before committing and sending any amount of money.

Another scam that’s common on Craigslist is illegal subletting. Be careful about this one. Unlike the others, these scammers will have access to a rental to show you — but they’re not the legitimate owners and have no right to rent it to you. To avoid this situation, research who the real owner of a unit or building is.

How to Spot a Rental Scam

There are plenty of other ways in which you can be deceived into thinking a rental is legitimate when, in fact, the person you’re talking to has no intention of renting it to you. To that end, pay attention to these red flags when discussing a rental with a potential landlord:

  1. They Refuse to Meet You

visit apartment in person

Scammers usually steer clear of meeting with you because they want to minimize the chance of being identified. As such, they will refuse to meet with you in person or — in the context of the pandemic — even show their face during a video call. This is a red flag because a legitimate landlord would want to see their potential tenant and evaluate you, as well, in order to establish the required level of trust between the owner and the occupant of a home.

  1. They Ask You to Wire Money

A major warning sign is when someone asks you for money up front — before you’ve signed anything. For instance, a scammer might claim that they’re not in the country and require you to mail them money with the promise that they’ll mail you back a key. Don’t do it. Instead, cease all communications and report it as a scam. Furthermore, wait to pay your security deposit, rent and any other fees until after you’ve seen the property, met the landlord and signed the lease.

  1. They Ask You to Pay for a Credit Score Check on a Referral Website

Another common type of scam is related to credit reports. Specifically, some scammers ask their unknowing victims to obtain a credit report through a link they send you in an email. The link then redirects the renter to a screening company, where the renter is supposed to pay for their evaluation via credit card. Consequently, the scammers get a commission through the referral campaign, although they clearly have no intention of renting to you — if the rental you’re applying for even exists.

  1. There’s No Screening Process

As a renter, you should be prepared to undergo a screening process involving your credit score and a background check. If there is no such process for the property you want to rent, that should raise a lot of questions. That’s because landlords are very careful about whom they let into their apartments, and you want a landlord who is concerned and experienced. Conversely, a landlord who skips the rental application and credit check is not going to have either of those traits.

  1. The Listing is Shady

If the listing itself has typos, excessive punctuation or grammatical errors, that might also be a sign that it’s fraudulent. Professional property managers or serious landlords will have an accurate, quality description. So, if the listing is poorly written, chances are that you’re dealing with a scammer. Be especially careful about the supposed deal if it’s paired with a price that is much lower than the average rent for a similar unit.

How to Avoid Rental Scams

avoid rental scams

  • Always Use Apartment Search Websites with Verified Listings

Not all internet listings websites are created equal, so be sure to use one where scammers are not able to post listings. At RENTCafé, we understand the mental comfort that this feature gives our website visitors when searching for their next home. That’s why all listings are verified, coming directly from property managers. We don’t advertise single units posted by individual owners, rather, all apartments and single-family rentals listed on are provided by property management companies.

Scammers may hijack ads from trusted websites and post them on less secure websites. Fortunately, you can do a reverse Google image search of the property you find to see if it appears on multiple websites under different names or displaying different information. In that case, you can contact the original listing owner or your local authorities to report the fraudulent ad.

  • Meet the Landlord & See the Apartment in Person

The best way to prevent yourself from falling for a scam is to meet the landlord and see the apartment in person before you sign the lease. Be prepared to ask questions related to the rental and living there — such as details about payments, maintenance requests and refund policies — and see how the landlord responds.

Even during the pandemic, solutions have been found to minimize social exposure, such as self-guided tours. This is an important last step before signing any contract or making any sort of payment. That’s because you need to make sure that the place is real, the person you’ve been in contact with has access to it, and everything is transparent so you know what you’re paying for.

  • Get Everything in Writing

Before you send any money, review the terms of the rental, including the price of rent, all fees and maintenance. Ask for a copy of the contract for yourself, as well, but only sign it after you’ve researched the owner and the agent to verify their identities.

How to Report a Rental Scam

how to report rental scams

If you come across a rental scam or fall victim to one, contact the platform in which you found the listing to make sure they take it down. You can also reach out to the Federal Trade Commission and your local law enforcement agency. And, because these take place on the internet, you can also send a report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), as well. The IC3 works with the FBI to take down any scheme that occurs on the internet, including rental scams.

Be aware that scammers are out there and be skeptical when you spot a deal that seems too good to be true. Do your research and don’t give in to the excitement of the moment — most scammers will also pressure you into thinking that you’re losing the deal. Instead, remain calm and be patient. If you see any of the red flags listed here, cut all connections and don’t be afraid to report the listing to prevent others from falling for rental scams.

Expert Advice on Rental Scams

Lawyers and realtors also have advice for dealing with scammers and reporting rental frauds. In particular, they say to never confront a scammer directly. Rather, these experts recommend educating yourself on how to spot these fraudulent listings and knowing how to safely report them. We thank them for their collaboration; click on their names below to see their full answers.

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Published at Tue, 20 Oct 2020 08:02:16 +0000

Apartment Living

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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Apartment Living

Covid-19 Home Quarantine: New York City versus Taipei

Covid-19 Home Quarantine: New York City versus Taipei

Currently, both New York City and Taipei have 14-day quarantine mandates in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Home Quarantine In New York

Individuals arriving in NYC from a list of 30 high-risk states, or from abroad, must stay at home in isolation. Unfortunately, NY Times reports the enforcement is rather lax. People who receive the quarantine paperwork after arriving in Manhattan can freely go to parties, parks, and other social events with seemingly no restrictions.

Home Quarantine In Taipei

There are two ways to quarantine after arriving in Taiwan. Individuals can stay in government subsidized quarantine hotels, which range from budget hostels all the way to luxury 5-star hotels. The option has become so popular that there are online spreadsheets detailing availability, and calls to widen the program to all hotels. There are plenty of great blogs and vlogs documenting this process – plenty of folks break up the hotel room boredom by spinning up youtube channels.

The other method is the home quarantine, which will be our focus.

Day 0: Airport Arrival

Prior to your flight, you should fill out an online form detailing where you will be staying during your quarantine, complete with your passport info and cell phone. Once you land, your phone receives a text message linking to your completed home quarantine document. You show your phone at various airport checkpoints and local CDC officials near your “home” receive a copy of the document.

Gotchas: No Local Sim? Did Not Complete Form? No Problem

In case you didn’t properly research the process, you are still ok! You can fill out an electronic or paper home quarantine form upon arrival. The amount of airport / CDC staff to passenger ratio is quite good – plenty of people who can offer help in English or Mandarin.

For those without local phone numbers, the CDC has partnered with cell phone companies to sell you a subsidized data and phone plan: 30-days of unlimited data and 7 hours of voice calling for $35. The booth to buy these sims are conveniently placed in the pre-immigration area.

For those coming from the US, we recommend bringing two phones and carrying both. Your primary phone which will retain your US phone number – and a secondary phone to utilize your new Taiwan SIM card. That way, you will still receive calls and texts to your primary phone and old number, but CDC can call you and track your GPS on the second phone. You will also use the second phone to make local calls, use data such as Google Maps, and enable hotspot mode for your primary phone.

Quarantine Taxi And Getting Home

Normally, freedom begins once you clear customs. However, after you retrieve your luggage, they direct you to the subsidized quarantine taxis. Some choose to have family pick them up, which is allowed (5am for the JFK-TPE flight!).

The government subsidizes taxi rides and quarantine buses so that residents can quickly and safely arrive at home. For Taipei residents, the cap is $35 from the airport, a modest savings over what is normally about $50 depending on your location. However, the subsidy is substantial if you live in the eastern or southern parts of the country.

You don’t need to do anything to get the subsidy, the driver will take care of all that paperwork once you sign some form. The driver is also pretty concerned for his or her own safety, and will spray you once more from head to toe.

Home Free – For Now

By the time you are home (or at your Airbnb, until Sept 22nd), it’s time to download Uber Eats and Food Panda – two critically useful apps to help stock up on supplies, groceries, and food during the quarantine. It’s also a good time to get some rest – things will seem surprisingly quiet for the first day.

That’s because the official quarantine and fun begins on Day 1 through Day 14 (more on that later). Your arrival date is simply Day 0, therefore expect to stay 15 nights in your quarantine accommodations.

Published at Mon, 07 Sep 2020 06:11:10 +0000

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Apartment Living

7 Places to Get Custom Home Decor That’s Actually Affordable

7 Places to Get Custom Home Decor That’s Actually Affordable

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Custom home decor sounds like it costs a fortune, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. A crop of new-ish, direct to customer companies have changed the made-just-for-you game for the better. Sure, some of these offerings may still give you sticker shock compared to the cost of mass-produced, big box furnishings. That said, by eliminating the middleman—namely showrooms with “to the trade” models of sale, these brands have brought the cost of custom decor down without compromising on the quality that bespoke products are generally known for.

Most importantly, you get exactly what you want: hand-picked items that fit your aesthetic and the way you live, from fabric and material choice to dimensions and sometimes even cushion fill on upholstered pieces. Custom pieces can also be ideal for when you’re dealing with challenges in your layout or need to eke out extra room or storage in a small space. Whether you’re looking for linens and banquette cushions in special fabrics or sofas and window shades in very specific sizes, you can find something bespoke for less from one or all of the companies on this list.  

Looking to outfit a window seat, bench, or even a breakfast nook? Cushion Source should be your first stop. You can find styles in both indoor and outdoor fabrics in a myriad of colors and patterns, and pieces can be ordered in whatever seat length you need. Coordinating pillows are also available, and the site also sells custom drapes, bedding, table linens, and patio umbrellas. Custom bench seats and seat back cushions rated for indoor applications start in the low hundreds.

Thanks to BenchMade Modern, it’s possible to get a custom sofa in a matter of just four weeks—not four months. With 14 collections and over 100 performance fabric and leather options, you’re bound to find something that’ll suit your tastes. The best part? You can specify sizing in increments of five inches, so you can get as much sofa as you want or need in terms of both length and depth. You’ll even receive a life-sized printout of your design by mail to try on for size before you buy. Ottomans and chairs are available as well. Prices start around $1,500, but keep in mind that these pieces are made by hand in Dallas, Texas, and delivered free of charge right to your door. There’s also a risk-free, 100 day return period.

One thing that really makes a space look pulled together is custom drapery. In the past, however, options for bespoke drapes that didn’t cost a small fortune were limited—unless you sewed your own or brought material to a tailor. Enter Loom Decor. In addition to offering bedding, pillows, and outdoor pieces, this e-tailer sells custom Roman shades and curtain panels in over 400 different fabrics. Prices are reasonable and the lead time is, too. Classic linen drapery panels start at $198, and you can expect your order to ship within less than a month’s time.

This woman-founded company specializes in smaller custom furniture items like ottomans, stool cushions, and headboards alongside standard fare like curtains and pillows. The shaped cushions, including spheres and pyramids, are super stylish standouts. The quality is great—many of Stitchroom’s pieces are installed in restaurants and businesses throughout the country, so items should stand up to heavy use. Pillow pricing starts at $45, and seating starts at $125, while headboards are available for $250 and up. Drapery starts at $175.

This retailer prints fabric, wallpaper, pillows, curtains, table linens, and more on demand using eco-friendly inks and artwork from thousands of different artists. You can even upload your own designs for the ultimate in custom home goods. Two-foot by 12-foot panels of wallpaper start around $72. Spoonflower does charge a little more for rental-friendly peel-and-stick styles.

You already know this artist-forward marketplace for their stationery and wall art, including new framed canvases. Did you know they also offer some custom home decor, too? Check out their Little Mint shop for personalized chairs and pillows for kids. If they don’t offer exactly what you want, you can also order fabric by the yard and DIY whatever you like. Cotton canvas cushions cost $44, while chairs are $148 each.

Over the years Ballard Designs has built up a pretty robust and fairly reasonably-priced custom furnishings collection alongside their catalog business and retail outposts. Shop everything from benches and barstools to sofas and headboards. Ballard also can custom make bed linens, slipcovers, bedskirts, and even vanity stool cushions and covers (all in a variety of sizes and fabrics). A custom x-bench, the perfect solution for that blank spot at the foot of the bed, starts at $349.

13 Decor Trends That Will Rule the Rest of 2020

Danielle Blundell

Home Editor

Danielle Blundell is AT’s Home Director and covers decorating and design. She loves homes, heels, the history of art, and hockey—but not necessarily always in that order.

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Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 15:00:07 +0000

2 Full Moons Will Be Rising in the Sky This October, Including a Halloween Blue Moon

Nicoletta Richardson

Senior Associate Editor, News and Culture

In her spare time, Nicoletta loves scrolling through Airbnb, doing at-home workouts, and nurturing her plant babies. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, AFAR, Tasting Table, and Travel + Leisure, among others. A graduate from Fairfield University, Nicoletta majored in English and minored in Art History and Anthropology, and she not-so-secretly dreams of exploring her family lineage in Greece one day.

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Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 14:45:06 +0000

Apartment Living

These 15 Sofas are Small Space-Friendly and Stylish

These 15 Sofas are Small Space-Friendly and Stylish

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

I’ve lived in a New York City apartment for over a decade, so I know a thing or two about squeezing a sofa into a small space—and coaxing it through narrow hallways and tight corners to get it there. (Who doesn’t remember the pivot scene from “Friends”?) And no, I’m not talking about dorm room-ready futons but full-fledged sofas, though you might spy a loveseat or settee in this mix.

Thankfully, I haven’t had to go the futon route since college, and that’s because companies have paid attention to the way people are actually living these days. Looking for a sofa for your small space? I’ve got just the thing. From mid-century marvels to bohemian seats, the fifteen options below are perfect for your teeny, tiny place:

Yes, you can maybe actually afford an Anthropologie sofa—at least this compact little guy seems within reach if you wait for a sale. There’s a 70-inch wide option for those of you working with really limited square footage, plus the deep, single cushion is perfect for kicking back and relaxing.

Buy: Denver Sofa, Starting at $1,998.00 from Anthropologie

2. Sven 2.5 Seater Leather Sofa

If you’ve been dreaming of a buttery soft, 70s-inspired tan leather couch, you don’t have to give that idea up because of your space constraints. Article makes this caramel stunner in a 72-inch wide footprint. I actually own the larger size, and I absolutely recommend it.

Buy: Sven 2.5 Seater Leather Sofa, Starting at $1,699.00 from Article

3. Leanna Tufted Loveseat

You can tuck this modern channel tufted loveseat into tight corners, and it’s oh so easy to maneuver around a central staircase in a walk-up building (speaking from experience). The gold-capped legs offer a small hit of shine, and the neutral velvet upholstery can hang with just about any style decor. The best part, however, just might be that sub-$400 price tag.

Buy: Leanna Tufted Loveseat, $399.99 from World Market

It’s tough to talk about small space sofas without mentioning IKEA. Everyone’s favorite Swedish retailer has a nice white farmhouse modern small space option for all you “Fixer Upper” style fans. Best of all, it’s less than $500 and currently comes in six different colorways!

Buy: EKTORP Loveseat, Starting at $379.00 from IKEA

Lest you think all the small space options on the market are clean-lined and boxy, Interior Define offers this shapely stunner for two, which features a curved back. At 60-inches wide, this option is futon-sized but feels decidedly more elevated.

Buy: Tegan Loveseat, Staring at $1,195.00 $1,015.00 from Interior Define

6. Avec Apartment Sofa with Brass Legs

7. Stone & Beam Lauren Down Filled Oversized Loveseat Sofa Couch

8. Chelsea Apartment Sofa

This pared-down option from Joybird has won my heart over with its good looks and fairly decent price point. It comes in a bunch of different colors and has a 365-day home trial policy. If you don’t like the way it sits, you can send it back and start over.

Buy: Chelsea Apartment Sofa, Starting at $1,993.00 $1,495.00 from Joybird

9. Caroline Chaise Lounge

On the hunt for a true space saver for your studio? Look at this cutie of a chaise, which is a perfect lounger for one and sports a subtle red ticking stripe. Push it into a corner or try it with a loveseat or another accent chair for an unconventional but super functional small living room layout.

10. Cavett Wood Frame Loveseat

Full disclosure: I’m not sure how Netflix and chill compatible this wood frame loveseat would be as your main sofa. But if your small space has a little extra room for a companion couch for guests, this guy would be a solid wingman.

Buy: Cavett Wood Frame Loveseat, $1,499.00 from Crate & Barrel

At just 60-inches wide and 35-inches deep, West Elm’s Andes Sofa comes in truly pint-sized proportions (though what you’re seeing above is a larger-scale version). Only trouble is that no fabrics are actually in stock in this custom size, but the amount of made to order color and fabric options available are well worth the six to nine week’s wait. Snag yours now while West Elm’s Friends and Family Sale pricing is in effect.

Buy: Andes Sofa, Starting at $1,299.00 $779.40 from West Elm

12. Emerson 78″ Flared Arm Loveseat

With its flared arms and exposed wooden base and legs, this red loveseat is all mid-century modern in style. Put one in your living room, and you won’t have to do much else for decoration.

This cane sofa is the Scandi meets boho sofa of my dreams. Yes, it’s a splurge, and you’ll probably want to pile on the pillows to make that woven seat back extra comfy. Make no mistake about it though—if you are looking for something sleek and stylish, this rounded ash wood design has that in spades, especially for its compact 65-inch frame.

Buy: Cane Sofa, $3,500 from Industry West

14. Otho 76″ Reversible Sectional

If you thought a small space couldn’t handle a sectional, think again. This traditional gray upholstered design has reversible sectional functionality, which makes it a great candidate for renters who aren’t in their forever spaces.

15. Novogratz Brittany 81.5″ Convertible Sofa

This major steal of a sofa is a little bit longer than the rest of the finds on this list, and that’s simply because it folds out into a full bed. If you can squeeze this style into your living room, you won’t regret having an extra place to put up guests when the time comes again.

Danielle Blundell

Home Director

Danielle Blundell is a New York-based writer and editor that covers interiors, decorating and organizing. She loves home design, heels and hockey (not necessarily in that order).

Published at Mon, 28 Sep 2020 23:15:15 +0000

These 3D-Printed Pumpkin Planters Will Get Your Succulents Ready for Halloween

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Listen up, plant parents. Halloween might look different this year due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up your children (we’re talking about your plant babies) for the season.

Florida-based Etsy store Print A Pot is selling a collection of 3D-printed planters that look like pumpkins. Made from a plant-based plastic, the pots become even more realistic once you transfer your succulents, making it seem as though they have oddly-shaped vines and stems.

The planters come in different colors and sizes. There’s the traditional bright orange, as well as cookies and cream, gold, and even wood, among others. As for sizes, the smallest pumpkin ($20) measures 3 x 3 x 2.5 inches, the medium one ($25) measures 4 x 4 x 3 inches, and the largest pumpkin ($32) measures 5 x 5 x 4 inches. You can buy all three options for $73, which would not only save you a few dollars but also turn your desk into a cute little pumpkin patch.

These gourds also come with a hole at the bottom to make sure your succulents don’t drown while trick-or-treating.

What will your succulent be dressing up as this year?

Published at Mon, 28 Sep 2020 20:47:04 +0000

Apartment Living

As NYC Exodus Continues, Sublets Rose 158% Year-Over-Year

As NYC Exodus Continues, Sublets Rose 158% Year-Over-Year

Summer months are historically great for real estate. This summer, however, has been a rough one, especially for landlords across New York City. The market has been grappling with high vacancies as New Yorkers flee to suburbs and other metro areas and companies extend their remote-working policies, which further hinders population inflow.

Citywide, median net effective rent in the month of August fell 5.2% year-over-year. Manhattan, specifically, saw a rent drop of 7.5%, from $3,284 in August 2019, to $3,039, as landlords offer more concessions in response to the high vacancies. Meanwhile, the median net effective rent fell 1.9% year-over-year to $2,795 in Brooklyn.

NYC Exodus Continues

As previously reported, this year we’ve noticed an unprecedented number of renters looking to sublet their apartments. The total number of sublet listings1 on RentHop went up 110% from April to May 2020 and has since been trending upward. In August, the total number of sublet listings increased by 9.8% month-over-month and is 158.2% higher than August 2019. This once again broke the record in RentHop’s 11-year history.

In our previous sublet reports, we highlighted that wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 average than other neighborhoods. This time around, the outflow from wealthy neighborhoods in Manhattan, such as Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, seems to have reached its peak in July and has since died down slightly. The neighborhoods that saw the largest spike in new sublets in August 2020 vs. the first four months of the year were Yorkville (+643%), East Harlem (+464%), Astoria (+420%), Central Harlem (+327%), and Bedford-Stuyvesant (+300%). Most of these neighborhoods also saw a month-over-month increase in the number of new sublets from July to August 2020.

Brooklyn Replaced Manhattan as the Most Popular Borough

Grand Central was once the busiest hub in New York City. It’s now one of those eerily empty stops that make people wonder if New York City will ever be the same. According to CBRE via WSJ, only 9% of the office workers returned to their office after they were permitted to return to the workplace. This inversely drove rental demand in outer boroughs, as living in the city center and being close to work no longer justifies the rent premium many landlords ask for.

Bushwick was the most inquired neighborhood in August 2020, replacing Hell’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, Crown Heights rose to the second from the 8th in the previous year. Yorkville and Upper East Side, both used to be the most popular neighborhoods for rentals, had experienced significant changes in terms of renter inquiries.

1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

Published at Wed, 09 Sep 2020 12:50:11 +0000

Taipei Cracks Down On Airbnb Quarantines

We recently described the Covid-19 home quarantine process for various cities, including New York City and Taiwan. Today, Taipei Times reports that the city will no longer allow short-term quarantine rentals, citing dangers such as increased cross-contamination from large groups, and inadequate cleaning standards. Per usual, the punishment is both a financial fine and a public shaming – they will publish the names and addresses of landlords found to be in violation (sparing the guest it seems).

How Did They Know?

The government used their data analysis powers to identify about 80 or addresses that seemed overly suspicious. Each of these homes supposedly hosted 5 different groups over the past few months, triggering some red flags back at HQ. Also, keep in mind a local CDC official will visit your home early in the quarantine – eventually he or she figures out you are not all relatives or family friends.

What Is The Rule?

The rule is you may stay at an official quarantine hotel, booked accordingly, where each individual must stay in a separate room. The only exception is a parent caring for a young child; a husband and wife still must stay in separate rooms.

You may also stay at home, meeting certain conditions: either you are the owner, or you have a clear family, friendship, or employment relationship with the owner and are not providing compensation (company corporate apartments seem to be allowed – a loophole for sure).

A normal hotel is not allowed, as they do not have adequate procedures in place to enforce safety measures. There are simple things like knowing you need 3 meals a day, lots of extra water delivered straight to your room, and garage taken out regularly. They must also not allow the guests to leave their rooms at all, which means forgoing all of the other hotel amenities: lounge, gym, pool, restaurants, etc.

Worth The Risk?

Still, a search for “Quarantine Taipei Airbnb” still nets quite a few results. I imagine those disappear soon – or at least they do a better job concealing. It’s been a tough year for Superhosts everywhere, and while I don’t blame them for trying, I also agree with the government.

It is understandable that people choose to quarantine in an Airbnb – the entire family can stay together and keep each other company. There is more freedom to choose grocery or food delivery options. You can even have relatives stop by for socially distanced engagement during the 14-days (they shouldn’t use the bathroom apparently, unless you have a spare).

But with the extra freedom, there is much greater temptation to break the rules. Yes, the fine is significant for those who are caught, but in the end most government regulations and technology solutions still require a level of human compliance and good judgement. No one wants to be the cause of a major outbreak and ruin things for millions of others.

Published at Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:35:46 +0000

Apartment Living

Daydream Destination: Mallorca

Daydream Destination: Mallorca

As I stare down the barrel of facilitating online kindergarten (lawd help me), my mind is wandering to any and all escapes. While I sadly cannot exit our current reality, I can dream about a far-flung destination. At some point during a mindless scrolling session, idyllic images of a beautiful sun-soaked location kept cropping up in my feed and I had to know more.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

These incredible pictures are of a townhouse nestled in the village of Sóller on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Designed by Berrow Projects, the Canoneta Townhouse was built in 1910 by Parisian architects and Berrow has painstakingly updated the property to meld beautiful old-world bones with contemporary details and finishes that make this home feel both timeless and contemporary. All I know is that I’m totally smitten.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

Every detail of this island home is picture perfect. This custom kitchen features cement floors with radiant heating and a beautiful mix of custom oak cabinetry and honed stone countertops. The views out of those french doors have me swooning. I can see myself enjoying a morning matcha at that island right now.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

The house’s dining room offers a perfect indoor/outdoor feel with those large picture window french doors and oodles of natural light. I spy built-in bench seating at the end of the space. And I’m always a sucker for built-in shelving too.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

This townhouse has six bedrooms and six bathrooms! A main bedroom features a cast concrete soaking tub and a beautiful mix of concrete and geometric tiles to mimic carpeting. The continued use of warm oak softens the space. And again the views! What a dream.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

I love the cross hatch caning on the custom wardrobe cabinets.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

The bathroom is a beautiful, smooth homage to minimalism. I love the single basin for the double sink.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34 Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

But let’s talk about this home’s incredibly garden. It features a lap pool and spa, sunken seating area and covered outdoor dining table along with an expanse of yard and established orchards of orange, lemon and other fruit trees. The townhouse gets its name, Canoneta, from the native orange variety that grows here and brought prosperity to the region in the late 19th century.

I think I could stomach homeschooling and a really uncertain future if I was sitting next to that pool, a Spritz in hand.

How about you?? Did I mention this house is for sale?!!! I have officially found my exit strategy.

For more Daydream Destination inspiration, CLICK HERE.

images courtesy of berrow project

Published at Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:28:40 +0000

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now

While it can feel a bit odd to get excited about any kind of shopping during these intense times, it’s clear we’re going to continue to need to stay home for the foreseeable future – I’m about to start homeschooling a kindergartner woohoo – and so there’s no better time to upgrade your space however you can. Thankfully, a couple of new furniture collections are making that much, much easier. I’m officially drooling! Scroll to get some much needed inspiration right now.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

First up is the stunning new collection that launched on Anthropologie late last week. Called the Artisinal Modern Collection by Lemieux Et Ciethis truly chic mix of everything from chairs, sofas and coffee tables to accessories, rugs, art, and even wallpaper is the brainchild of one of my longtime favorite designers in the home furnishings space, Christiane Lemieux.

Lemieux was the founder of DwellStudio – a collection that launched an iconic bird print bedding set – among a number of other items. DwellStudio was sold in 2013 and Lemieux has continued to have a hand in the home furnishings space – but I am so excited to see this comprehensive collection take a store like Anthropologie in a more elevated, elegant and design-savvy direction. As I scrolled through, I wanted virtually every single piece. I’m sure that was influenced by the beautiful editorial images you see here – I just want to dive right into this home. But that also doesn’t surprise, as Lemieux tapped my favorite stylist Colin King to style this beautiful shoot.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

I was just sitting in my dining room last night thinking I need to add a rug to anchor and soften the room. This dining room has officially convinced me. I think this handwoven Tukar rug would be perfect!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

The rounded sofa trend is here to stay and I am so happy about it. The look is the easiest way to elevate a room. This sofa is a beautiful option. I’m coveting that vintage-looking vase as well!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34 Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

Her sculptural pieces in this collection are reminiscent of Brancusi – and I am completely smitten.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

While I would gladly add virtually any piece from this collection to my house, I’ve picked a handful of my favorites for you to shop below.

It appears Zara Home has also gotten the timeless modern design memo, as their newest collection has equally lovely neutral pieces photographed in yet another stunning space.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

I’m particularly loving the warmth of this space. The creamy walls, mix of wood tones and natural materials transports me to the countryside of Spain or France.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

Obsessed with this chunky kitchen counter – and the accessories from Zara are cute too!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

Did you notice the arched doorways throughout this house, painted with a black accent? Officially banking this idea for a future dream project.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

This is an absolute dream bathroom situation!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

If I could add a piece or two to my house that would make me feel transported to a space like this, well sign me up! Here are a few of my favorite finds.

images courtesy of anthropologie and zara home

Published at Tue, 11 Aug 2020 16:59:26 +0000

Apartment Living

Philly’s Old City is Immersed in American History & Local Culture

Philly’s Old City is Immersed in American History & Local Culture

Tucked into the tiny cobblestone streets of Old City lies Philadelphia’s most historic neighborhood. A part of the original city of Philadelphia, Old City is where some of the nation’s earliest and most important artifacts are stored. Tourist draws like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the nation, bring visitors from all over the country, while locals delight in the area’s charming rowhomes, shops and restaurants.

Where is Old City?

Old City is a small collection of blocks on the Eastern border of the city, wedged up against the Delaware River, Chinatown and Center City to the West, and Society Hill to the South. The Northern border is on I-676, which divides Old City from the now trendy neighborhood of Northern Liberties. The Delaware River waterfront has undergone a slow transformation over the years, now including small markets, pop-up seasonal festivals and stretches of green space with a bike path. On the western border of the neighborhood, Independence Hall, part of the U.S. National Park Service and Independence National Historical Park, houses much of the city’s and nation’s rich history.


Old City is seething with history. Not just for the city of Philadelphia, but for the country overall. Independence National Historic Park is home to Independence Hall, a UNESCO world heritage site and part of the U.S. National Park Service and Independence National Historical Park. This is the birthplace of the U.S.A. Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written and signed here, and it’s where the Liberty Bell, U.S. Mint and countless other historical sites are kept.


What to do

History buffs have all the fun in Old City. Aside from the Liberty Bell and the rest of Independence Hall, there are also countless museums and sites to visit. American Philosophical Society Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History and Museum of the American Revolution (which has become increasingly popular since the launch of the Hamilton musical) are just a few of the cultural centers worth a visit in Old City.

Being at the center of many of Philadelphia’s most popular tourist attractions, Old City offers quite a few options for hotels including branches of Kimpton, Marriott and Aloft hotels. However, Old City offers a great quality of life even if you’ve never cracked open a history book.

Where to eat & drink

The food scene is varied and fun to explore, ranging from old, dark pubs to sophisticated fine dining dinners at restaurants like Fork. Arguably one of Philly’s best-known restaurants, Zahav, has won numerous regional and national awards for its delicious Israeli food served up in a cozy interior.

Locals and visitors in their early 20s often head to the bars in Old City on the weekends, spending their nights drinking and dancing into the early hours of the morning. Yet there are also quiet, completely residential streets in the neighborhood, offering a respite for young families and professionals as well.

Moving to Old City

Real Estate Snapshot

Old City is on the higher end of renting in Philadelphia. At $2,243, it’s about 36% above the city’s average. Over the years, Old City has become increasingly desirable. With mostly small townhouses and rowhomes, apartments are harder to come by, and when they are available, they tend to go quickly. If you’re decided to make the move, better start browsing through apartments in Old City now and choose your next home.

All to say that Old City costs a bit to live in, but for good reason. In spite of the numerous attractions that make tourists flock from all over the world to visit, the neighborhood retains a charming and local feel. Although it also has less of the necessities, like grocery stores, Old City is the perfect mix of quiet and vibrant streets.


Bordered by I-95 and I-676, Old City is easily accessible by car from the rest of Philadelphia, NJ, and beyond. Due to its location and bustling tourist attractions, there are frequent and well-maintained public transportation options here as well, including more than a dozen bus lines and two stops on the Market-Frankford public transit line. Old City is also a very walkable neighborhood, with a short stroll of around 20 minutes bringing you easily into Center City.

Schools & Employment

Old City has plenty of options for schools, from Olde City Day School and Amigos Spanish Immersion Preschool for early education all the way up to high schools. Constitution High School is a local public school that takes advantage of its idyllic location, integrating trips to local museums and sites for an immersive experience into American history, for children between the 9th and 12th grades.

Perhaps not surprisingly, lots of the Old City jobs are involved in local tourism. From work at the sites and museums to jobs for the surrounding parks and green space, in addition to hotel, transportation and restaurant jobs, there are plenty of employment opportunities for hospitality and tourism careers in Old City.

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Published at Tue, 01 Sep 2020 10:25:51 +0000

Chicago’s Best Neighborhoods for Renters

Chicago needs no introduction. Whether you’re already living in the city or are planning on moving here, you certainly know what to expect from one of the nation’s most bustling metropolises. From the historical jewels and vibrant streets of The Loop to the artsy atmosphere of the famed Wicker Park, there’s a little something for every type of renter in this sprawling business and culture hub. 

If you’re thinking about moving here or want to get to know the city a little better, here’s a list of Chicago’s most sought after neighborhoods, whether you’re looking for urban hotspots with high-rise apartments or residential havens with lakefront views. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 57
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 9,782
  • Average rent: $2,284
  • Average apartment size: 779 square feet
  • Median age: 32.2
  • Share of renters: 58%

It should come as no surprise that West Loop, Chicago’s proudest redevelopment project, takes the top spot in the ranking. This continuously evolving gem is what a reconversion success story truly looks like. The neighborhood turned a gritty meatpacking district marked by abandoned warehouses and factories into a trendy, lively area perfect for young professionals and families alike. West Loop is also the home of Restaurant Row, the cuisine heart of the city, and features the only year-round, closed market in Chicago. 

This central neighborhood comes with airy apartments, big-name tech employers, fine dining, vibrant bars and art galleries — the whole package. But these perks also come at a price, since the average rent in West Loop circles around $2,284, above the national and city average. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 87
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 15,212
  • Average rent: $2,068
  • Average apartment size: 818 square feet
  • Median age: 33.4
  • Share of renters: 54%

South Loop is a sight to see and live in. This historic downtown neighborhood is where you’ll find the famous Museum Campus, a beautifully designed culture hotspot that houses three of Chicago’s most impressive museums. But this isn’t where the culture trip ends, as South Loop is also filled with live music clubs, theatres, restaurants, and historic landmarks like the former car manufacturing hub, Motor Row. South Loop mixes all the markers of a young, lively neighborhood with the intimate feel of a residential area, including one of the city’s most famous green areas: Grant Park, also known as Chicago’s Front Yard. 

South Loop’s eclectic atmosphere attracts professionals and families alike, and its proximity to college campuses attracts an ever-changing crowd of young residents who make the neighborhood that much livelier. While apartment rents here are above the national average, they’re only a hair above the city average, fluctuating around $2,068.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 67
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 5,584
  • Average rent: $1,845
  • Average apartment size: 654 square feet
  • Median age: 36.6
  • Share of renters: 43%

As you might expect, this neighborhood named after a park should be at the top of your list if you live for the great outdoors. Lincoln Park is the biggest and most beautiful park in all of Chicago, with endless trails, luscious gardens and waterfront views. It’s also where one of the oldest free zoos in the country resides, along with a conservatory, a nature museum and a history museum, so you can spend days exploring its natural landscapes. But don’t fret if you’re an urbanite to your core since Lincoln Park also features one of the best shopping areas in the city.

When it comes to living here, the sophisticated residential areas should be appealing to families and professionals alike, since Lincoln Park mixes a community feel and some of the best schools in the city with some of the most vibrant nightlife hotspots. Plus, apartment rates here circle around $1,845, below the city average. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 25
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 7,290
  • Average rent: $2,580
  • Average apartment size: 814 square feet
  • Median age: 34.5
  • Share of renters: 34%

River North is the ultimate urban neighborhood. This sleek, upscale area is renowned for its dramatic skyline views, bustling arts and design scene, and the most lively nightlife in the city. The urban playground directly borders the downtown Loop area, so it’s the perfect spot for professionals of all ages looking for a walk-to-work (and then to the hottest new club or bar) lifestyle. River North is truly the best neighborhood if you enjoy living in a bustling “never sleeps”-type of place, since everything you might need to entertain yourself is a stone’s throw away and probably open late into the night. However, it’s not your best bet if you have children since it’s an ultra-busy urban area that can definitely get a bit chaotic. 

The many benefits of living in one of Chicago’s most upscale areas come at a cost, though, since River North has the highest rents among all of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods, with a $2,580 average apartment rate. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s affluent Near North Side, which includes both River North and the Gold Coast, check out this dedicated neighborhood guide.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 174
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 16,521
  • Average rent: $1,718
  • Average apartment size: 680 square feet
  • Median age: 34.5
  • Share of renters: 48%

The first thing you need to know about Lakeview is that it’s home to the world-famous Blue Man Group and the famous Wrigleyfield — you can definitely make some assumptions from there. This arts and entertainment hub is actually made up of a few smaller neighborhoods (East Lakeview, Central Lakeview, Boystown and Wrigleyville), all connected by a casual atmosphere and an eclectic entertainment scene. Whether we’re talking sports or theatre hotspots, vintage boutiques, or quirky local eateries, Lakeview has it all. And the fun doesn’t end there — as the name suggests, Lakeview comes with a 1,200-acre park with endless views of Lake Michigan, so you’ll be happy here if you’re an outdoorsy person as well. 

This vibrant, bohemian neighborhood also has some of the most accessible rents in the ranking, with apartments here going for $1,718 on average. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s vibrant Lakeview area, check out our dedicated neighborhood guides to West Lakeview and Lakeview East.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 15
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 1,189
  • Average rent: $2,149
  • Average apartment size: 756 square feet
  • Median age: 31.7
  • Share of renters: 60%

Every city has that one young neighborhood where hipster culture seems to converge into an all-out explosion of great food and drinks, independent music venues and plenty of art and entertainment events to keep you busy 24/7. When it comes to Chicago, that neighborhood is Wicker Park. To put it quite simply, this Chicago staple is the place where you’re most likely to meet a famous artist on your way to getting your artisanal morning coffee, or in one of its many tightly-curated vintage shops. It’s also where you’ll always find something cool and Instagrammable to do, be it a packed indie rock concert or a thought-provoking art performance. 

Of course, the perks of living in a world-famous artist hotspot come at a price. Rents in Wicker Park are some of the priciest in the city, with apartments here renting for $2,149 on average. 

Thinking of moving to Chicago’s hipster haven? Check out our dedicated neighborhood guide to Wicker Park.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 101
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 7,552
  • Average rent: $1,464
  • Average apartment size: 739 square feet
  • Median age: 32.3
  • Share of renters: 71%

Hyde Park is yet another Chicago cultural hotspot, but this one also comes with plenty of history and the most diverse makeup of residents in the area. Former President Barack Obama lived here, while the neighborhood is home to the University of Chicago, along with two of the four original historic sites in the city: the world’s first artificial nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House. Of course, if you’re a history buff, there are plenty more landmarks to visit. Hyde Park is also one of those well-rounded neighborhoods with a little something for every type of renter. Whether we’re talking parks, shopping districts, or entertainment options, if you move to Hyde Park, you’re set. 

Since this neighborhood is still up and coming, rentals are much cheaper than in other communities in the ranking. Apartments in Hyde Park rent for around $1,464, well below the city average. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s Hyde Park area, check out our dedicated neighborhood guides to Hyde Park and East Hyde Park.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 67
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 5,584
  • Average rent: $1,845
  • Average apartment size: 654 square feet
  • Median age: 30.2
  • Share of renters: 51%

Park West isn’t as big or as well-known as other neighborhoods on the list, but it made it to the ranking for a reason — this delightful area comes with everything you might need from the perfect neighborhood. International bars and restaurants? Check. A big park and a lake? Check. Access to the beach? Check. Close to the Loop? Check. Essentially, moving to Park West means moving to a lively neighborhood big enough to accommodate all your needs, but small enough to still have a community feel to it. 

Living in Park West also isn’t as pricey as in other areas, despite its prime location between The Loop and Wrigleyville. Rents for apartments here circle around $1,845, below the city average. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 10
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 765
  • Average rent: $1,952
  • Average apartment size: 736 square feet
  • Median age: 31.6
  • Share of renters: 60%

Logan Square is your one-stop-shop for anything related to arts. This beautiful historic neighborhood comes with infinitely walkable streets, plenty of historic sites, trendy bars and shops, and even Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s also known throughout the city as one of the prime hubs for independent artists and musicians, so if you’re the type of person who enjoys art or theatre shows and indie music, this neighborhood should be at the top of your list. Living in Logan Square will make you feel like you’re part of its bohemian community, while the urban atmosphere will ensure you never get bored. 

As you might expect, apartments here can be on the pricier side, with rentals going for $1,955 on average. Still, it’s definitely cheaper than the more exclusive places in town.

If you want to learn more about Logan Square, check out our dedicated guide to Ravenswood, one of the neighborhood’s best places to live in. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 73
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 18,486
  • Average rent: $2,377
  • Average apartment size: 736 square feet
  • Median age: 36.9
  • Share of renters: 57%

Finally, if you’re the type of person who enjoys the finer things in life, Gold Coast is the picture-perfect luxury haven you’ve been looking for. This trendy neighborhood is the definition of high-end: exclusive boutiques, upscale restaurants, historic architectural jewels, and luxury buildings with breathtaking views. To put it quite simply, Gold Coast is the place where you’re most likely to meet a celebrity going about their daily business and feel like they actually belong in the same neighborhood as you. 

Of course, living in the lap of luxury comes at a cost. Apartments in Gold Coast err on the pricey side, with their rents circling around $2,377, well above the city average. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s affluent Near North Side, which includes both River North and the Gold Coast, check out this dedicated neighborhood guide.

Still haven’t found the perfect place for your new home? Check out the rest of our Chicago neighborhood guides: 

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Published at Fri, 28 Aug 2020 12:56:30 +0000

Apartment Living

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia: A Historic Neighborhood Layered With Elegance

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia: A Historic Neighborhood Layered With Elegance

For many Philadelphians, Rittenhouse Square is the heart of Center City. It’s where the city comes to gather in nicer weather, picnicking on the immaculately kept lawns while dogs chase tennis balls and a fountain gurgles gently in the middle. Much of the city’s most high-end real estate lines the borders of this small square.

Shops and restaurants are crammed into the surrounding blocks, with a select few having the coveted position of being on the square itself. With charming rowhomes, well-maintained green spaces and one of the highest safety ratings, life in Rittenhouse Square doesn’t come cheap, but it’s one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Philadelphia for a reason.

 Where is Rittenhouse Square?

Rittenhouse Square is central to most of the city. It’s just South of Fairmount and Spring Gardens, two beautiful neighborhoods on their own, and across the Schuylkill from the beginning of University City and West Philly. Graduate Hospital and Fitler Square sit on the Eastern border of Rittenhouse Square while the Gayborhood and Old City are further East.


Named for the park that sits at the center of the neighborhood, Rittenhouse Square was the southwestern corner of the original Philadelphia. Before it expanded into the urban center it is today, Rittenhouse Square was originally the Southwest Square, one of five urban centers planned by William Penn when he initially designed Philadelphia. 


What to do

Living in Rittenhouse Square means living with status. It has a reputation for being the wealthiest neighborhood in Philly, and for good reason. Updated penthouses housed in historic buildings lining the square routinely break records for being the most expensive real estate sold in the city, and some of the city’s most expensive and sought-after shops and restaurants are found here.

Where to eat & drink

Parc is one of the few restaurants that landed the coveted location of being on the square. It’s a tourist draw, with visitors and residents alike clamoring for a table and often waiting hours before they’re settled into one. If you’re looking for one of the few outdoor seating options that overlook the square, you could be waiting even longer. However, unlike other tourist spots, Parc also happens to serve really delicious food. It features a traditional French menu and the higher price points to back it up.

Metropolitan Bakery, just a few doors down from the square, is a Philadelphia staple. This outpost fills the area with scents of freshly baked bread and rotating pastries every morning. An additional space next door to the bakery houses a wood oven and pumps out mouth-watering pizzas and sandwiches during lunch.

For date nights or any night when you just want to slip into something nice and hit the town for a fabulous meal, Friday Saturday Sunday is known for its shifting, seasonal menu. It’s a transitioned rowhouse, with a dark, inviting bar on the first floor serving award winning cocktails and a handful of dining tables on the second floor. The layout gives it an intimate, cozy feel, perfect for diving head-first into whatever delicious specials are available that day.

That doesn’t mean it’s all about the money, though. There are plenty of deals to be found in the charming rowhouses a few blocks off the square if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of square footage, and neighborhood joints like the Black Sheep still serve beers for $5 each.

Moving to Rittenhouse Square

Real Estate Snapshot

Rittenhouse Square is known for being one of Philadelphia’s most expensive neighborhoods, and the numbers don’t lie. Rentals here cost about 35% higher than the city’s average. The premium is for location. Many of the buildings here are a bit older, though some have been beautifully updated.


Situated smack in the middle of the city, you can get just about anywhere from Rittenhouse Square. Buses lead to Western, Southern, Eastern and Northern neighborhoods in Philly, as well as the airport. It’s a few blocks from the Broad Street train line, which connects the north and south areas of the city.

It’s also a quick trip across the river to 30th St Station if you need to go a bit further afield. Local train lines bring commuters and residents out to the nearby suburbs, while Amtrak connects Philly to cities all over the East Coast.

Schools & Employment

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rittenhouse has a wide selection of private schools, but it also has some great public ones. Greenfield School is one of them, an elementary school that has been given a boost in recent years thanks to parents stepping in and filling in some holes. For those who do want to go the private route, Independence Charter School offers an option for grades K-8.

Many people who live in Rittenhouse work in the nearby area. With its wide selection of schools, restaurants and shops, there is plenty of work in the hospitality, education and retail area. Mostly, though, people make the quick walk into Center City to head over to Comcast or one of the other large-scale corporation that has offices there.

Want to get a taste of this charming neighborhood? Browse through hundreds of available listings and choose your next apartment in Rittenhouse Square.

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Published at Tue, 25 Aug 2020 09:31:46 +0000

7 Gorgeous Green Spaces from Apartment Buildings to Relax In [Editor’s Picks]

Lately, weve learned just how important it is to love the home we live in and appreciate what we have. Especially for those who live in big cities, it’s even more important to be able to access a small corner of nature — be it in the form of a cozy patio, an enclosed courtyard, a comfy balcony garden or an exquisite rooftop terrace. 

So, we set out on a quest to find some of the most beautiful green spaces built into apartment communities in big cities all over the countryAnd now, were sharing some of the best so we can appreciate their beauty together. Let’s take a look! 

northshore pool garden

With lush and robust greenery, this leisure area at Northshore in the heart of Austin offers the perfect spot for respite. 

terrace garden

After working hard all day, rest your eyes and your soul by lying down in the shade of the trees or taking in some sunshine by the pool. 

leisure area northshore

It’s the perfect place not only to gather around the fire pit after dark, but also to sip a cup of coffee as you watch the sun come up. 

grill garden northshore

The Bowie in Austin, Texas 

rooftop garden bowie

Nature and modern amenities coexist in the heart of the busy city. Complete with a luxurious pool and edgy, poolside décor, here you can relax and enjoy the sunset after a hot summer day.

pool bowie austin

Grab a cool drink and kick back in the shade of the trees overlooking the beautiful city. 

green space rooftop

hwh pool

Luxurious living is defined by the amazing rooftop garden and leisure zone of LAs HWH. The elegant design of the natural area gives you peace of mind and a comforting place to relax with a glorious view of the city of angels.

hwh pool view

Take cover in the shade during the sunny days while working from home, or relax in the evenings with a good book by the pool. Clearly, this is an oasis in the middle of a concrete desert. 

hwh aerial view

parkside apartments rooftop

Enjoy a moment of peace relaxing in this beautiful enclosure. This gorgeous area of Birmingham’s Parkside Apartments is an ideal spot for the summer evenings when all you want is a chilled glass in your hand and the feel of the cool breeze on your face. 

parkside apartments firepit

piedmont house pool

This is an area complete with all you might need for the summer — from well-groomed greenery to a cozy fire pit, a lovely grill area and a refreshing swimming pool. 

leisure area

Plus, enjoy a barbecue and rest by the pool while being nurtured by some muchneeded sunshine — it’s really a dream come true.  

rooftop firepit piedmont house

towers rincon view

The minimalist design of Towers at Rincons relax zone is the perfect background for a peaceful retreat in the bustling city of San Francisco. 

rincon relax area

Here, you can get lost in your thoughts and contemplate the beauty of this world while gazing at the city and enjoying the water and iconic scenery. 

strata mission bay garden

A lovely space that combines natural elements in the landscape and in the design, Strata at Mission Bays recreation area offers its residents an open space to take in the sun and relax during a day off or after a busy workday. 

All of these areas combine both nature and modern design for the perfect balance of solace and city life. So, which space would you choose to relax in? Let us know your favorites and share your own green spaces with us by tagging us in your pictures. 

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Published at Fri, 21 Aug 2020 08:59:08 +0000