5/22/13

My Hunt for a Lovely, Historic Apartment


If you've been following The Lovely Side on Facebook and Twitter, you're probably in the loop about the ups and downs of my Cedar Rapids apartment search. It's been a rollercoaster rental hunt - far more difficult than finding living arrangements in my former college town of Ames, where there were really no complexes or communities deemed 'that bad' in the grand scheme of things.

Apartment #1 | Cute late Victorian with water pressure, pilot light, and nearby neighborhood problems.
The first place I saw (above) was a unit on the second floor of a late Victorian. While it was cute, spacious, and in a decent neighborhood, the cons outweighed the pros. There were problems with the water pressure and stove's pilot light. There were not-so-lovely neighborhoods nearby. Traffic was a nightmare. And overall, I just got questionable vibes from the place. I had high hopes for the apartment - and it fit my price range - so it was disappointing to not feel impressed or even comfortable at the showing. I had a good cry about it and then hopped back on the apartment hunt.

Apartment #2 | Tiny studio in a historic building with huge windows and high ceilings, but with an outdated kitchen
The second place I saw (above) was an 'on a whim' showing. It was the max time/distance I was willing to commute, but the studio was located in a historic brick building that was once a school. So the historical element kept calling to me. The room I checked out had once been a classroom and still retained the original wood trim, built-in bookcase, high ceilings, and amazing windows. The kitchen was outdated and the efficiency quite small itself, but I loved its rich history, character, and tranquility. Unfortunately, another application was approved before mine and I missed out on the space. I made the mistake of getting a little too excited again - even brainstorming some space saving diy projects. So I shed a few tears and mourned the loss of my dream studio.

I was starting to lose hope that I could find a decent, historic apartment rich with character in a quiet, safe neighborhood within a twenty-minute drive to work... that I could also afford. I started thinking it was about time to go see some of the many "cookie-cutter" apartments I'd come across. But then I decided to go see one more place before reluctantly resorting to the normal, typical, contemporary apartments.

Apartment #3 | Located at the rear of the 2nd story of this Queen Anne house.  Since someone
is still residing in this apartment, I don't have any photos besides this view from the street.
The third place (in the house pictured above) was a second-floor unit in another Victorian house. A good, residential part of town just close enough to downtown without being too close for comfort and quiet. Small on space - a bedroom, large bathroom, and combined kitchen/living area. But amazing details like the original hardwood floors, trim, woodwork, doors, and clawfoot bathtub. The woodwork had me at hello. Since I'd gotten used to disappointment and rejection, I tried reeeeally hard to not get too attached. But the day after turning in my application, the landlord called to let me know I'd been approved and could set up a time to sign the lease!

Just to make sure everything was set in stone, I didn't want to reveal my apartment finding until I had actually signed the lease. But I signed it on Monday morning. :) On June 1, I'll be moving into the lovely little Queen Anne apartment and taking pictures to post on The Lovely Side right away. (I can't right now because the current tenant is still living there/moving out.) But seriously, I swear that I'll be posting them asap - before I even get furniture in the place so that you can see some Before's and After's.

I'm very excited to move in and decorate the place! I will have some limitations. The house is historic and the landlord has lots of restrictions on what can be done, but I'm confidant that I can craftily work around the rules and that I'll enjoy calling the cozy space my home sweet apartment for the next year or more. The neighborhood is full of other gorgeous Victorian houses - and several huge brick mansions. It's very residential and quiet. Driving down one of the brick roads, I saw lots of people out running and walking their dogs. I can't wait to stroll through the area myself, camera in tote snapping away at the historic homes.

Taking this job, leaving my lovely attic apartment and wonderful Ames friends behind, and relocating to a brand new city has been quite the leap of faith. It has had its ups and downs, tearful disappointments, and happy announcements. I'm feeling so blessed that everything has fallen together like it has - and thankful for my awesome bf who has let me crash with him until finding my own place. (...Much longer and I'd surely be turning his bachelor pad into a flowery, feminine mess. Haha.)

Two weeks, lovelies. Two weeks til I get to bathe in a vintage beauty of a clawfoot tub. Two weeks til you get to see my pretty little abode. Bear with me for two more weeks and I assure you that this blog will be bursting at the seems with decorating and diy projects. Yippee!


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