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Monday 12 August 2013

Moving Day

It's moving day!

Well, to be precise it's moving weekend.

After one and a half years of living in a small two bedroom apartment our family of four is moving to... another small two bedroom apartment! And it's even in the same building!

Our search for a new home started back in March. At that time we had planned to find a house, townhouse or duplex to move into. Something a little bigger and preferably with some private outdoor space for the girls to play in and grow a little veggie garden.

We gave notice that we'd be moving out at the end of our lease in August and started our search for a new home in Berkeley.

Several months passed and our search was not going so well. I was spending every day scouring through Craigslist and various other sites, calling and emailing landlords and agents, and attending open houses. What we had first thought would be relatively easy turned out to be an absolute nightmare.

Houses were either too small, too expensive or a combination of both. Now when I say "too small" I really mean it. It's surprising just how many two bedroom homes under 700 square foot there are in Berkeley. Our apartment was just under 1000 square foot and was already a little squishy for our family of four. At the time we were expecting another baby so the thought of moving into something so much smaller was one that we did not want to entertain.

There were also plenty of fantastic places that were in our price range and a good size for our family. Unfortunately we discovered that being foreigners with small children tends to push you straight to the bottom of most landlords' preferred list of tenants. Between March and May we applied for seven houses/townhouses/apartments. We were knocked back seven times.

As you can imagine all this rejection was starting to get us down.

And then disaster struck in late May when we found out that our unborn baby was not well. I was put on bed rest and our search for a new home ground to a halt. We decided to give in and stay put. We had been hesitant to do so as the rent in our building was about to skyrocket. Our apartment's rent was to increase by over 12% and many others in the building were increasing by 17%. I got in touch with the building management and asked if we could renew our lease.  Too late - they'd already rented it out!

We were stuck. I was unable to continue searching for a new home and we couldn't stay put.

The management staff of our building were fantastic and stepped in to help. There were a few other two bedroom apartments coming up for lease in our building and they offered to give us first dibs on any that would be suitable for our family. One such apartment was perfect. And I'm sitting in it right now, surrounded by boxes, typing away and watching the twinkling lights of San Francisco out of my dining room window.

Our new apartment is technically a little smaller than our old apartment. However the layout is such that it feels much more house like with distinct separate living areas and a hallway between the living areas and bedrooms. Our old apartment had two bathrooms and walk in closets. Our new apartment has one bathroom and regular closets with mirrored sliding doors. The loss of that extra bathroom and the standing room in the closets accounts for the smaller square footage of our new apartment. In fact, with our furniture now in place we've realised that the rooms in our new apartment are actually more spacious.

The best part of our new apartment is the natural light. We can't get enough of the sunlight shining through our windows. Our old apartment was located on the lowest floor of our building and faced an internal courtyard filled with lush gardens of ferns and bamboo. While it was nice to look out and see a little nature, it was unfortunately all we could see. The girls' bedroom window faced onto the bamboo garden. The bamboo (which reaches up to the fourth floor!) blocked all the sunlight. Even in the middle of the sunniest day with the blinds open the girls' bedroom was dark. Our new apartment is located on the fourth floor of the building and faces out onto the street. There's so much natural light. It's fantastic. And on top of all that sunlight, there's a view of the bay! The Bay Bridge, the cranes of Oakland's port, Treasure Island, and San Francisco are all there when I look out of our lounge room, dining room and bedroom windows. Unless of course it's foggy - then it's all hidden! Our roof top garden has a better version of the same view, but there's something nice about being able to see it without having to leave home.

I'd best get back to moving the last of our belongings from downstairs but before I do here are a few photos of the girls enjoying their new home...

Ava opens the door to our new home for the first time

The girls were pretty happy with what they found behind the door. Lots of empty space to jump around in - sorry neighbours below!

A separate dining area!

Our new kitchen is much bigger 

A long hallway back to our front door

After undoubtedly disturbing the neighbours below with all that jumping we started to move things upstairs. Ava and Lola chose what they thought were the most important things to move first. Ava chose their minion posters and Lola chose her tricycle!

Heading through the hallway with their prized possessions  

Sticking the minions on the wall was the first task!

Look at all that light coming through the bedroom windows!

And here's why there was no natural light in the girls' old bedroom! The top of the bamboo garden reaches up to the fourth floor where I took this photo (from the hallway). Just imagine how dark it is looking out onto this two floors lower down.

Two store high bamboo

 Ok, enough procrastinating. Back to moving...

1 comment:

  1. My favorite part of moving is arranging all the furniture in the new space! It's fun to plan out where everything can go :) Congrats on the new place!


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