Apartment Living

The Best Museums in Washington D.C.

The Best Museums in Washington D.C.

Ready to get your learn on?

Washington, D.C., is home to dozens of world-class museums featuring interactive exhibits ranging from an authentic Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton to a historic slave cabin to a complete collection of presidential portraits.

Here’s a guide to the best museums in Washington, D.C. Note that while admission is free to the Smithsonian and other publicly funded institutions, a few of the top attractions are privately owned and charge admission fees.

International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

Editorial credit: Erik Cox Photography /
  • Address: 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
  • Admission: $22.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids (Children under 6 are free)

The privately-funded, nonprofit museum opened its new location in Southwest Washington, D.C., in May, 2019 and features interactive exhibits and the world’s largest public display of authentic spy tools and gadgets.

Exhibits highlight both U.S. intelligence work, as well as the operations and history of espionage agencies around the world, including those in the Middle East, China and Russia. The rooftop provides some of the best panoramic views of Washington, D.C.

Museum of the Bible

Museum of the Bible

Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible
  • Address: 300 D St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
  • Admission: $19.99 for adults, $9.99 for kids (Children under 6 are free)

This gorgeous contemporary 430,000-square-foot, eight-story museum invites people of all faiths to engage with the Bible through high-tech exhibits and interactive experiences.

The museum was privately financed by Steve and Jackie Green, owners of the arts and crafts store chain Hobby Lobby to house their personal collection of more than 40,000 rare biblical texts and artifacts.

There’s also a state-of-the-art lecture hall, a performing arts theater, a children’s area, restaurants and a rooftop garden with panoramic views of Washington, D.C.

National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum

  • Address: 600 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20560
  • Admission: Free

The Smithsonian’s most popular museum maintains the world’s largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft at two facilities. The flagship building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., houses many of the icons of flight, including the original 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, John Glenn’s Friendship 7 spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope.

The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, VA, houses many more artifacts in an open, hangar-like setting, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde and the sole-surviving Boeing 307 Stratoliner. Both museums feature IMAX films and special programs for all ages.

National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

  • Address: Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20565
  • Admission: Free

The world-class art museum displays one of the largest collections of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture and decorative arts from the 13th century to the present. Its exhibits span two buildings and include an extensive survey of works of American, British, Italian, Flemish, Spanish, Dutch, French and German art.

The museum’s six-acre sculpture garden is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the National Mall. During the summer on Friday evenings, jazz musicians entertain a crowd by the reflecting pool. In winter, the fountain is converted to an ice rink for outdoor skating.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Editorial credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung /
  • Address: 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
  • Admission: Free (Advance tickets may be required)

The newest of the Smithsonian museums, this popular attraction features a variety of exhibits and educational programs on topics such as slavery, post-Civil War reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

Favorite artifacts include the Harriet Tubman hymn book, a Jim Crow railroad car, Rosa Park’s dress, a slave cabin from the early 1800s, Muhammad Ali’s headgear and more.

National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History

Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History
  • Address: 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
  • Admission: Free

With more than 3 million artifacts of American history and culture, the museum covers the nation’s history from the War of Independence to the present day. Favorite exhibits include the Star-Spangled Banner, America on the Move, the First Ladies and Many Voices, One Nation.

Object Project, Wegmans Wonderplace and the Sparks Lab provide hands-on activities that inspire kids.

National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian

  • Address: Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20560
  • Admission: Free

The Smithsonian museum showcases Native American objects from ancient pre-Columbian civilizations through the 21st century. Multimedia presentations, live performances and hands-on demonstrations bring Native American culture and history to life.

Dining at the Mitsitam Native Foods Café is highly recommended. The cafe offers indigenous cuisines that change quarterly representing each of the five geographic regions covering the entire Western Hemisphere.

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

  • Address: 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
  • Admission: Free

This family favorite Smithsonian museum maintains of some 145 million natural history specimens and human artifacts. Visitors can get a closeup glimpse of a life-size model of a blue whale, the 45-carat Hope Diamond, live insects and butterflies and more than 274 specimens of mammals. The new dinosaur hall features a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton alongside more than 700 specimens.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Editorial credit: Matt Smith Photographer /
  • Address: 8th St NW & F St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
  • Admission: Free

The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum are housed together in a historic landmark building in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. The exhibits tell the story of America through the visual arts and represent one of the most inclusive collections of American art of any museum today. America’s Presidents is the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House.

The Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection

Editorial credit: Orhan Cam /

  • Address: 1600 21st St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
  • Admission: Free for permanent collection, $12 for adults for ticketed exhibitions

The Phillips Collection presents one of the world’s most distinguished Impressionist and American Modern art collections in an intimate setting in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

Art lovers enjoy paintings by renowned international artists, including Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O’Keeffe, van Gogh, Diebenkorn, Daumier and Lawrence, as well as contemporary artists such as Wolfgang Laib, Whitfield Lovell, Zilia Sánchez and Leo Villareal. The Phillips’s is a private museum, supported primarily by donations.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • Address: 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl. SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
  • Admission: Free (Timed tickets required between March and August)

This museum tells the story of the Holocaust and is a memorial to the millions who died during the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. The permanent exhibition presents a narrative history of the murder of 6 million European Jews By Nazi Germany from 1933 through 1945.

The exhibit uses graphic images showing film footage and eyewitness testimonies of Nazi concentration camp survivors. The museum is recommended for visitors 11 years and older.

Published at Mon, 24 Feb 2020 13:02:37 +0000

3 Things to Know About a Notice to Vacate

It’s time to move on.

A notice to vacate is given when a tenant is planning on moving out or if the landlord needs the tenant to move out of a rental property. It’s a written form that specifies the date by which the tenant will be moved out.

1. A notice to vacate can be written by the landlord or the tenant

If a landlord needs a tenant to move out, they may write a notice to vacate to give the tenant a final move-out date. On the other hand, if a tenant is planning to move out, they may write a notice to vacate to the landlord, letting them know the date when the rental property will be empty.

2. A notice to vacate is sometimes known as an “eviction notice”

When a landlord gives the notice to vacate, it’s the same thing as giving an eviction notice. It tells the tenant when they need to be out of the rental property, why they’re receiving an eviction notice and what they need to do before moving out.

3. A notice to vacate should be given at least 30 days in advance.

Whether the landlord or the tenant is giving the notice to vacate, it should be given at least 30 days in advance. Some states have laws that require more time — even 45 or 60 days. So, make sure you check out your state’s laws to find out the legal time period for a notice to vacate.

notice to vacate

The more notice, the better

No matter who is giving the notice to vacate, if you can give more time, it’ll be better for both parties. It will make it easier for the landlord to find a new tenant or for the tenant to find a new place to live.

Additional resources

Published at Mon, 24 Feb 2020 13:00:17 +0000

Apartment Living

Going Dark on Social Media

Going Dark on Social Media

Going Dark on Social Media

Weidner Apartment Homes, the 15th largest owner of apartments in the US, announced in December of 2019 that it will suspend it’s use of Facebook to better protect the privacy and data of its residents and business operations. They will be looking at new in-house options that are safe, secure and easy to use. (Source: Multifamily Press) That’s why Central Media Solution added Call Assist 24/7 to their suite of print solutions for Multifamily.

Many companies are starting to “go dark” with their print marketing in the past few years. They believed that people would prefer using the internet versus reading a magazine. This was another example of a bold decision. Who takes the time to read any more? Lots of folks.  Print does not require another new password or leave a trail of cookies with every page that you turn. It provides a story through content and pictures.  Central Media Solution is a publisher of many targeted magazines such as Apartment Magz and  New Homes Monthly and their latest pub, The Vender Guide. People are craving for print once again. Especially our seniors who prefer print than Internet as the Boomer generation downsizes to look for an apartment home.

Fake news has been an ongoing concern and alternative facts are now accepted as commonplace. (Source: The Guardian) Facebook has suspended about 400 apps associated with developers.  Many people are returning to conventional venues for information such as newsprint, radio and TV. Weidner is looking for simple and easy to use solutions to communicate with their residents. But can we just disconnect from social media? And why are we as consumers so easily addicted to “likes” and “shares”?

Technologies improved our daily living.  It can be used to enhance our lives. Social media gives people a forum to express their opinions and connect with companies, family and friends. At first the multifamily industry was very cautious of social. Then we dipped our big toe in the Facebook ocean to see what would happen. Negative and positive reviews poured into our profile pages. These negative reviews were scary, but we learned that they are an opportunity to show how we respond to our residents and solve their issues. That’s telling a positive story. We focused on increasing our followers, post likes and linked our websites to channel our leads in-house creating SEO. Is Social media a monster to be tamed or another solution in our leasing toolbox?

Each company will have to NAVIGATE their way through the fake news and concerns of data safety. Is Weidner being a visionary by “going dark” on Facebook? Planning to look for simple, safe and easy technology is a very smart decision indeed. That’s why Central Media Solution has created Call Assist 24/7 . Its simple, easy call management platform designed with feedback from on-sites in multifamily. It has no Apps, snap photo feature and uses the native tools our cell phones to communicate in real time. And all info is easily updated and stored in the cloud. Call Assist 24/7 is a game changer for call management… just what you are looking for now!

Published at Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:51:22 +0000

Who’s Getting App Fatigue?

Who’s Getting App Fatigue?

There’s an app for that.  There seems to be an app for almost everything these days!  Then why do so many of us feel app weary or fatigued? Are these apps adding value to our lives? Why do we need all these apps?  With Central Media Solution’s new IVR call management system, Call Assist 247, no app needed. There is snap photo or video functionality using the native tools in our smart phones. The apartment resident calls in an after-hours service request and the maintenance tech on call, requests a photo or video getting image showing water coming out of the ceiling of an apartment. Seamless communication without an app. (Source: Vanilla plus)

I am blessed to be of an age where I can recall the excitement of getting a colored television. Soon we were playing “Pong” Pong was a table tennis sports game that was one of the first video games. How exciting it was to see the little white blip bounce along the television screen. Soon Atria and ColecoVision battled it out in the 80’s to bring the arcade experience into our homes. Then……this thing called the Internet. To access the world wide web, you needed to use a dial up router through your phone system. While you were on the internet, you could not make any outgoing or receive incoming telephone calls. But no worries because we had pagers to help us be accessible 24/7.

Fast forward to cordless phones that look like a small “brick” and paired with a pager, gave us the ability to be more mobile with our information. We jumped from razor and flip phones to the first Blackberry allowing us to read email and respond immediately. We can work from anywhere now!  But the release of the first iPhone in the UK changed our world forever. Because now we have smart phones and we are so much smarter.  To stay smart, we need lots of apps to help us do stuff better than ever before.

The average person could have over 100 apps on their smart phone. I thought this seemed high, so I checked the settings on my android phone and was shocked to see that I have 91 apps. How the heck did I get so many apps and am I using them all? What the heck is eBay Attribution? It’s even scarier that if I try to remove an app, I get a message effectively saying that “removing this app may disable my data”! Now I am anxious that I could break my phone.

Call Assist 247  understands that technology needs to be intuitive and simple for every generation. Having one less app for us to download makes Call Assist 247 a smart choice for your property management answering service and call management. We were built specifically for multifamily with the goal of helping your leasing and maintenance teams communication seamlessly with your valued residents. Our system allows your residents to send a video or photo of their maintenance issue while your residents receives a photo of the maintenance technician coming to make their repair. No app to download. Out tools work on every mobile phone. So, if you are app weary, we hear you!

Published at Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:48:14 +0000

Apartment Living

Peek Inside This Well-Preserved Stunner Near the California Coast

Peek Inside This Well-Preserved Stunner Near the California Coast

Mid-century modern homes are famous for their large windows and open, airy floor plans. But this specimen in Eureka, Calif., takes those hallmarks to new heights with a whopping 3,367 square feet of living space.

The home is, in a word, huge. It’s also spread across one level, making it feel cavernous in the best kind of way. Take a step back in time through an orange front door to be met with exposed beams and bricks. Inside, a fireplaced living room with soaring ceilings serves as the perfect setting for a sleek sofa and a retro starburst clock. Floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a few skylights, let in light from all angles.

Beyond the main living room is a sparkling solarium, adding to the airy quality of home. (Plant lovers, take note.) Down the hall, a spacious den or home office offers built-in bookshelves and cabinets.

The kitchen, meanwhile, overlooks a spacious dining area that should only be furnished with Danish teak pieces, if you ask us. Aside from a center island with a hood, the kitchen also comes with a wood-fire oven and all the counter space you could ever dream of.

Open a dutch door off the laundry room—also painted orange—to reach the wooded yard. There, a detached shed could serve as a workshop or studio. To top it all off, the place is only a short 7-minute drive to the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean.

According to that retro starburst clock on the wall, it’s time to put in an offer. This home is listed for $850,000 by Michelle Voyles at Azalea Realty.

Are you on the house hunt, or just the type of person who loves browsing real estate listings, even when you’re not in the market for a new home? Property Crush is a column where we feature actual real estate listings that get the Apartment Therapy seal of approval in regards to style (we haven’t done home inspections or anything, so don’t sue us). Know of a great house on the market? Email the listing to

Published at Tue, 18 Feb 2020 20:00:00 +0000

This $14 Broom Organizer Just Might Inspire You to Clean More Often

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

When it comes to keeping my home tidy, I’ve got the best intentions — and just about every cleaning tool you can think of. But I’d be lying if I told you my broom, floor mop, and duster were stored neatly. In reality, they’re leaning precariously in a corner of my cramped laundry room, creating a total eyesore (not to mention a tripping hazard). Clutter creates a whole different kind of mess, but thankfully, we found a clever, space-saving organizer that can help.

“We always need a way to keep our cleaning stuff off the floor and cluttering up the area! This utility holder was just the thing!” says a reviewer. “Super easy to install and it holds all of our brooms and mops!! For a bunch of OCD people who hate when things are a mess this was a lifesaver.”

Other companies make similar organizers, but Berry Ave’s design is uniquely innovative. The five slots auto-adjust to fit anything (up to 1 1/4-inches in diameter) and are lined with gripping rubber so even heavy items hang securely. In fact, some reviewers note that the slots are so secure, it can take a bit of muscle to remove items at first. (Don’t worry, the grips soften a bit after regular use.) The six sturdy hooks are perfect for hanging things like dustpans, aprons, dog leashes, or reusable shopping bags, and can be folded into the organizer if they’re not needed.

Despite its compact design, the holder can bear 35 pounds of weight. “Even hanging heavier objects like my shovels and deck brooms don’t seem to be a problem,” notes a reviewer. Other customers mention using it to store things like kayak paddles, umbrellas, snow shovels, and lacrosse sticks. 

For under $14, the holder is an affordable way to use wasted space to create a sense of calm and order. Another bonus? When things are organized and easy to access, you’re more likely to actually use them. And if it has to do with cleaning, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Published at Tue, 18 Feb 2020 19:30:00 +0000

Apartment Living

On the route of monuments from your Valencia apartments for rent

When making arrangements for your Valencia apartments for rent, why not start your journey of discovery at the beginning in Xativa, the capital of commerce of La Costera? This fortified village has a castle setting on the town’s highest point protected by a Roman and Iberian fortresses that has become one over the centuries. This now protected precinct contains thirty towers with four fortified doors.

With this all around you, take a walk through the market where the San Pedro and Moncada streets cross. At this point you can almost feel the grandeur of the court life that must have taken place here those centuries ago. The town houses from that period still have their aristocratic shields on the entrance that is further enhanced by the Gothic fountains in this little village. As you roam around the castle hill take note of the town hall and church that are constructed in part with inscribed Roman masonry along with a number of houses from the Moorish era. Among the many churches and convents is the collegiate church, once a cathedral from 1414 only to be rebuilt in a Renaissance style a century later.

The next region on our itinerary is Albaida, the white city. This area with contrasting landscape due to its location between the Grossa and Creu Mountains to the north and the Mariola and Benicadell Mountains in the south forms the Albaida valley with the Clariano and Albaida Rivers running through it. Also located here besides the village of Albaida are the Ontiyent, Bocairent and Lolleria villages making up the community of the Albaida valley.

Be sure to bring your swimming suit with you from your Valencia apartments for rent on this sojourn to Bocairent as the access road is the beginning of the Clariano River. On a hot summers day there is nothing better than a swim in the cool spring water. The area surrounding the river with its natural landscape is known as Pou Clar which is where the walls have been excavated for a cave dating back to prehistoric times. This is apropos for your entrance into the village of Bocairent with some parts carved from rock. In addition to this there are two rivers that emanate from this area creating ravines and cliffs surrounding the city. This medieval city is a must visit on this your journey of discovery.

From your holiday lodgings you have started on your journey of discovery covering the realm of monuments. While you are out in the countryside you will enjoy a taste of nature. This is a good time to explore the possibilities of cycling, canoeing, rappelling, horseback ridingPsychology Articles, rock climbing and paragliding on offer in this rural setting.

Apartment Living

How to Retain Tenants in Your Houseshare or Houses for Rent

Experienced landlords know just how hard it is to find good and reliable tenants for their houses for rent. So once good tenants have been found, either for a househare or whole property it is important for landlords to retain their tenants for as long as possible. A few simple steps can really help to make sure tenants want to stay for longer.

The first thing to consider is why tenants leave. Some tenants will be forced to leave through a change of job or lifestyle and there is little that the professional landlord can do about this. However many tenants will leave simply because they feel their problems are not being addressed and think that there are better houses for rent available. If you are renting out room in a houseshare, tenants will also be very sensitive to price increases.

Looking After Your Tenant

Landlords who want to keep their tenants should look after them properly. Tenants should feel that you care about them properly and fix any problems quickly. This alone can often prevent tenants looking at other houses for rent.

If the tenant raises a problem with the house for rent such as a shower that has stopped working or a blocked drain then you should respond by phone immediately to let them know that you are aware of the problem and to explain what you are doing about it. You should always take action on the same day, even if the tradesperson might not be available until the following day. Make the tenant feel that you a dealing with the problem as quickly as possible.

In houseshares, the landlord usually has to check the property regularly as to make sure it is clean and tidy.  This allows the landlord to spot any problems and have them fixed.

Consider Rent Increases Carefully

If you have a good relationship with your tenant and they generally pay the rent on time and keep the property in good condition, then consider any increases very carefully. An increase can often trigger the tenant to immediately start looking at other houses for rent to check how your proposed amount compares to other properties on the market. As part of this price checking the tenant may very well see another rental property that he prefers to yours.

It is important to try and keep tenants staying in houseshares for as long as possible to reduce the time and effort it takes to find new flatmates. 

Just one month’s void costs can often be substantially higher than the additional letting income that you would have collected from your tenantFree Articles, and your next tenant being so reliable. You should consider whether any proposed rent increase can be justified and whether the new rent would seem reasonable to the tenant.

Apartment Living

Battery Park City and FiDi Rank the Most Livable Neighborhoods in NYC

Battery Park City and FiDi Rank the Most Livable Neighborhoods in NYC

Finding the right apartment is never easy, especially in the City of New York.

To find the right apartment, we need to first identify the right neighborhood. But how do we do that? Well, this is where data science comes in handy. Instead of blindly recommending neighborhoods based on how “hip” they are, the Data Science team at RentHop crunched the numbers and ranked the NYC neighborhoods by livability. We all know that as people, we value different things. For some, finding an apartment in a quiet neighborhood is of the highest priority, while for others the number of subway stops in the area is just as important. We believe, by analyzing the pros and cons of each neighborhood, we can help renters make an informed decision and find the perfect apartment in less time. The findings will be released in our quarterly RentHop Neighborhood Livability Index.

Our findings this quarter include:

    • Battery Park City-Lower Manhattan ranks the best neighborhood among 150+ NYC neighborhoods. The NTA, which includes FiDi and Battery Park City, has 14 subway stops, or 20.5 per sq mi, with a renter-friendliness score of 94.4. However, it is not cheap to enjoy such convenience – the median 1BR rent is $3,749 in this neighborhood. [Neighborhood Livability Infographic]
    • Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill makes the second in NYC and top in Brooklyn with a high cleanliness score of 94.7, which means that the residents experience fewer poop complaints and rodent sightings. [Neighborhood Livability Map]
    • Washington Heights South suffers a low renter-friendliness score. This is mainly due to heat complaints – the neighborhood received 640.2 heat complaints/10k households from October 16, 2019, to January 15, 2020. It also received lots of housing maintenance code violations. In total, 914 violations, or 338/10k households were issued during the same time period.
    • Midtown-Midtown South, while being the healthiest neighborhood in New York City, saw the most motor vehicle collisions. From October 16, 2019, to January 15, 2020, the neighborhood saw 813 collisions, or 220 collisions/10k population.
    • Surprisingly, the popular North Side-South Side (commonly known as Williamsburg) only scored 70.6, mainly due to its poor performance in the Cleanliness and Quietness categories. While receiving no poop complaints, the neighborhood saw 56 rodent complaints, or 29.2/10k households, which brought its cleanliness score to 75.0. Meanwhile, the neighborhood received 452 noise complaints, or 235.8/10k households, therefore earning only 69.9 in the quietness category.
    • Ft. Totten-Bay Terrace-Clearview, Bayside-Bayside Hills, and Fresh Meadows-Utopia are the top three neighborhoods in Queens, scoring 79.2, 78.1, and 78.0 respectively. [Top 5 Neighborhoods in Queens]
    • The average score among neighborhoods in the Bronx is 61.7. This is mainly affected by the base score (mostly the transportation part), as well as renter friendliness. [Top 5 Neighborhoods in the Bronx]

NYC Neighborhood Livability Map

The map below illustrates the livability of each NYC neighborhood. The darker the shade, the higher the score. You can click on the neighborhoods to learn more about the score breakdown as well as the median 1BR rent.

Generally speaking, Manhattan neighborhoods enjoy higher base scores thanks to the comprehensive MTA subway lines. Compared to the other three boroughs, Manhattan neighborhoods also have relatively higher renter-friendliness scores (average 79.4). Neighborhoods in Queens enjoy higher cleanliness scores, averaging 91.6, with few poop complaints and rat sightings. It is also the quietest borough with the least noise complaints and DOB permits issued, averaging 86.5 in the quiet score category. The neighborhoods in the Bronx generally did not perform well in the quiet score category nor renter friendliness. Most neighborhoods suffer high heat complaints as well as housing maintenance code violations.

Here are the Top 10 Neighborhoods in New York City

How We Did It

To determine the most renter-friendly and best neighborhoods in New York City, we compared over 190 Neighborhood Tabulation Areas (NTAs) across six key categories, including (1) Neighborhood Greenness, (2) Transportation, (3) Quality of Life, (4) Renter Friendliness, and (5) Safety, using in total 13 relevant metrics.

The following metrics were used for this neighborhood livability index:

Base Score [25 points]

  • Population Density — NTA Population / Land Size (sq mi) [2.5 points]
  • Transportation — MTA Subway Stops / Land Size (sq mi) [10 points]
  • Neighborhood Greeness: Tree Data — Street Tree Count / Land Size (sq mi) [6.25 points]
  • Neighborhood Greeness: Park Coverage — Park Area / Land Size (sq mi) [6.25 points]

Cleanliness [15 points]

  • Poop Complaints — 311 Canine Violations / 10k Households [7.5 points]
  • Rodent — 311 Rat Sightings / 10k Households [7.5 points]

Quietness [20 points]

  • Noise Complaints — 311 Residential Noise Complaints / 10k Households [16 points]
  • Potential Construction Noise — DOB Permits Issued / Total Housing Units [2 points]

Renter Friendliness [30 points]

  • Landlord Level of Responsibility: Heat Season — 311 Heat Complaints / Renter-Occupied Units [9 points]
  • Landlord Level of Responsibility: HMV — Housing Maintenance Code Violations / Renter-Occupied Units [3 points]
  • Percentage of Renter-Occupied Units — Renter-Occupied Units / Total Occupied Units [3 points]
  • Evictions — Evictions / Renter-Occupied Units [15 points]

Safety [10 points]

  • Motor Vehicle Collisions — Collisions / 10k Population [10 points]

We also adjusted the curve based on rental unit availability since that it’d be easier for renters to find an apartment in a given neighborhood if it has more available units on market. The rental rates were calculated using RentHop listings from October 16, 2019, to January 15, 2020.

We will be releasing the RentHop Neighborhood Livability Index on a quarterly basis, and we’d love to hear from you! Think we missed something? Any specific 311 complaints or dataset you’d like us to include? Or, would you like to work on an urban planning project using our underlying dataset? Email us at

Published at Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:00:53 +0000

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

Published at

Apartment Living

Studio Portraits in a Lounge

So I
progressed on to a 3ft umbrella with a SB800, SB600 and a couple of old Vivitar
flashgun on remotes which all work
great, usually!  The flash with umbrella certainly stopped the motion but
sent light everywhere and I struggled to light the background separately in such a cramped space.  You can see some of the
results of this on my  BlogWebsite

So, how to to
stop sending light everywhere? I now I
have a soft box attachment for the SB800 and find that I can
control the direction of the light a lot better.

I liked the umbrella with teenagers who wanted to bop around. It
seemed to light them pretty well no matter what angle they were at and the softbox was more useful for

used a flash, high up behind the
model to put highlights in the hair or to rim light them against a dark
blackground.  I
have also added a pringles tube, covered
in black tape, as a snootFree Articles, and foam cards
to act as flags to stop the flash at the back
from giving glare in the camera lens.

I found using the menu on the Nikon
D300 to control the flashes was cumbersome and now use the SU800 Commander unit which sits on the hotshoe
and is much quicker to use.

With all this kit I have enough to experiment with
and am constantly learning. It is beginning to amaze me just how tilting a light
this way or that way really affects
how the photographs look. I have read a lot but doing it in practise is
where I am really learning what I read

I am not sure what advantages studio lighting will give me  but I still have so
much to learn and explore with the equipment I already have.  If I need
more space then I will hire a local

Apartment Living

Banquet Halls are Ideal for Large Celebrations


Banquet halls are large rooms that you can rent. There are some that are very plain and basic, while others are very classy and beautiful. The places that are very nice will cost more to rent, but there are many advantages of these. If you want to throw a great party for your guests, this is the way to go. If you happen to be on a very tight budget, you may want to look for one that is very plain and basic. These are more likely available and cost much less. The difference is the quality. These places are not beautiful; they are very plain, but they serve the same purpose. When you rent a place like this, you will need to lock in the date well in advance. Really great banquet halls will book up a year in advance. If you are planning on renting this for a wedding reception, you will want to book it as soon as you have your date. If you wait too long, you will risk not finding a place that’s available.There are certain things that you will want to look for in a place like this. One of the main things to consider is the catering service. Most of these nice places provide the catering services. These normally cost a certain price per person. If you are having 100 people, you will pay for 100 meals. You must normally tell them in advance the approximate number of people that will be there. When the date gets closer, you must give them an exact count. You will have to pay for this number of meals even if everyone doesn’t show up. If extra people show up, they will charge you extra for these meals. These prices might even be higher than the quoted prices because there were more people than they planned for. You will also get to choose your meal for the dinner. Most places offer a variety of options. A lot of times you will get to choose three meats and two or three side dishes. You will pay more if you would like a salad included. They will also need to know how you would like the meal served. You can choose to eat by the plate, or buffet style, and the pricing will differ for each type. It just depends on how you want it served because this will help them know how many workers they will need to prepare and serve the meal.There are other things to consider too when looking at banquet halls. You might want to ask them about decorations. Some places will provide certain things on the tables, while others do not. If you are planning on having a band or DJ, you will need to make certain that this is possible. Some places are not large enough to accommodate these activities, but most places are. In fact, most places have dance floors and stages for this particular purpose.

Article Tags:
Banquet Halls, Very Plain, Most Places

Source: Free Articles from

Grand Rapids banquet halls are a great choice for large celebrations, particularly weddings. Check some out at:

Apartment Living

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

I have been waiting so long to finally get to “tour” you through This Old Victorian. However, doing said tour in blog post form is a bit more challenging than I thought. Hence it’s taken me more than a week to get this all together! Remember Instagram was barely a thing and Stories, Snapchat and TikTok didn’t exist when we bought our house in 2014 so I have ZERO videos of our reno. Seems crazy, right? Therefore, I feel an Instagram video tour series coming on! For now, I want to  share the dramatic before and afters of each space, give you a bit of a behind the scenes peek at our renovation and share a few (of the million!) things I learned about tackling a renovation of this scale.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

To recap for those who haven’t followed since day one, we purchased a Victorian in San Francisco – an Italianate to be exact – five years ago. It was an exhaustive two year search, but finally found a gem. It just happened to be a diamond in the rough. It estimated build date is the 1850’s, but the exact year is unknown. The home is on the national historic register and the previous owner, who was approaching 90 years of age, had owned the home for more than 45 years.

Let’s take a tour of the first floor before we touched it, shall we? You needed a little vision to see its potential.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

I knew as soon as we got the house (and looked past all the garish colors, the wall to wall carpeting and reams and reams of…stuff oh and the smell!), that I wanted to preserve the home’s amazing original historic details – original windows, crown molding, arched doorways, plaster walls and transoms to name just a few.

I was also clear that Victorian-era design – ie small closed-off rooms, no closets, zero storage, tiny bathrooms – was not conducive to modern day family life. I knew from the start that if we were going to create our forever home, we were going to have to make major layout changes. Enter our amazing architect Seth BrookshireWhile I thought I had tons of crazy amazing ideas to optimize our space, he had much better ones – and they were also structurally sound – ha!

Renovation lesson one: surround yourself with very talented experts.

Here is a peek into how Seth proposed we rearrange the ground floor’s layout.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

We actually changed very little structure at the front of the house. The entry and dining room retain all their original elements. We simply did our best to restore them. But as we moved deeper, the changes got much more substantial.

Our biggest structural change was the choice to remove two major walls to create an open concept living room and kitchen. This choice eliminated the long dark hallway and allowed the natural light from our 8′ tall windows to spill from one side of the house to the other. It also ensures that each room flows from one to the next.

Another significant architectural change was the elimination of an unnecessary back staircase. Removing the stairs allowed us to connect the house straight from the front door all the way back and made way for a large custom kitchen, adding a walk-in pantry, building out a dedicated laundry room and adding a powder room.

While it’s easy to summarize all this in writing, it certainly undersells the time, effort and insane amount of work and this reno required. Here’s a glimpse.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

As the pictures above illustrate, nothing about our renovation was small. A sampling of the renovation and restoration punch list included:

  • Replacing all electrical
  • Replacing all plumbing
  • Insulating whole house
  • Repairing rot and and leaks
  • New roof
  • New floors
  • New windows
  • New heating and hot water systems
  • Restoring plaster
  • Restoring staircase, four fireplaces, ceiling medallions

And then there were the actual major structural changes! We added three bathrooms, opened up the ground floor and created a kitchen from scratch. And while we had an amazing architect and builder, we did not have have a general contractor, leaving the procurement of materials, the management of schedules and the coordination of trades up to us. Having never undertaken a renovation of this scale, that was definitely a steep learning curve. And did I mention that I had a baby right in the middle of all this? I had to pick every single light fixture and outlet placement six weeks postpartum. I do not recommend this.

When it was all said and done, renovations took 20 months to get the house to a point where we could move in. But don’t mistake livable for done! We moved in with maybe 80% of the work complete. We quickly learned that the old adage is indeed true. Once you move in, the work slows down to a snails pace. Life gets in the way of construction.

While on the one hand the slow down was maddening, it also gave me time to take decorating deliberately. Intentionally. And with a lot of thoughtful consideration. When we moved in I made the commitment to hold out for the right thing, not just the expedient thing. Because when you put in a placeholder, be it a sofa, dresser or even a light fixture, it’s likely to stay for years. I’m sure this has happened to you too. I did not way to fall prey to that trap. Instead, rooms sat nearly empty for months (to years!) on end while I slowly but surely figured out what both the home and we really needed.

I would like to say my patience paid off. I hope you think it did too. Here is the official after tour of our ground floor!

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

A clean black and white palette greets you as you as the enter the front door. We had to restore the staircase, recreating a period appropriate newel post and bannister as well as recreating a historically accurate plaster ceiling medallion. The oversized pendant by WEP (which I stalked for years after seeing it in an 2012 issue of LivingEtc) offers the air of grandeur this house demands. The leaning console by Skagerak creates the perfect unobtrusive place to drop keys and mail. The arched transition is original and one of my favorite details.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

The dining room really showcases some of the home’s original architectural gems that makes my design loving heart smile. The layers of crown, the ceiling medallions, the fireplace and bank of bay windows are all built in design elements I’m lucky enough to get to play with. I wanted to create a design aesthetic that both matched that grandeur of the house’s scale, but was also allowed for comfortable family life. I would describe my final design for this house as old world European meets easy California living. The lines and details are refined and pared back, but also warm, inviting and livable. The dining room really embodies the old world European feel.

Custom credenzas by Lauren Nelson Design flank the fireplace and offer the storage and functionality I needed, with beautiful modern design I love. It took some time, but I finally realized that the dining room’s dimensions required a custom dining table. Thanks to Instagram, I found a local woodworker with whom I worked to design a custom racetrack table in a stunning bleached oak. It took over two years of scouring 1stdibs to find the oval antique mirror that now resides over the fireplace (which we restored to a historically accurate Victorian style using a Chesneys mantel).

This room may appear elegant and formal, but because it connects directly to the living room it is in fact fully integrated into the rest of the house and we eat dinner here nightly.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

The easy California living side of my aesthetic couldn’t be more evident in our living room. While the original windows and restored fireplace are the architectural stars of the show, I finally figured out that I needed a custom seating area that allowed us to maximize the use of this room. That’s where I abutted my design limits. Thankfully, I turned to my friend, and design spirit animal Lauren Nelson to help me by designing more custom pieces that address the scale and spacing challenges of this room. She designed both the sectional and the stunning fluted coffee tables. Do you spy the brass feet on that sofa?? So much goodness.

Renovation lesson two: Don’t try to force a round peg in a square hole. Sometimes investing in a custom design that is made specifically for your home’s needs is going to last you much longer and make you much happier than any off-the-shelf option that only leaves you disappointed.

The one-of-a-kind Moroccan berber rug from Mehraban’s Atlas collection pulls everything together in an easy, cosy way. There’s nothing I love more than curling on that sofa which a good book (or let’s be real, Instagram) in hand.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

One of the best ways to help a newly decorated space feel lived in is to use vintage pieces to add patina and history. I spied this dramatic woven lounge chair on Pinterest and finally tracked it down at Amsterdam Modern. Lauren helped me get custom cushions made to mimic the chair’s original design, but in a more of-the-moment nubby fabric. It’s my happy place.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & AfterThis Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

Directly across from the living room sits the opening to our den. I probably had the most specific vision for this room, which is why I was able to “complete” it before many of the others. I always wanted this room to envelop you in a dark, cozy vibe with tone on tone walls and furniture. The pièce de résistance of this space however, took nearly three years to complete.

I knew from the get go that I wanted steel and glass french doors to enclose this room from the rest of our living spaces. This room houses our TV and so I wanted to create a separate space for movie nights and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel binge sessions with doors to buffer the sound. But I also envisioned these french doors as the perfect book end to the black framed windows that sit exactly opposite.

Yet the oversized opening we cut during the renovation sat vacant as we saved up the budget and I hunted endlessly for perfect partner to design this custom piece. I finally found Bananas and Hammocks (on Instagram of course!). The husband and wife design and fabricator duo based in Ventura, CA fashioned an amazing set of custom doors with a matching transom. Even the brass inlayed hinges are one of a kind. When those doors finally went in this summer, I finally felt like my original vision for the house was realized.

This Old Victorian Reveal: 1st Floor Before, Design & After

Our kitchen reflects my more modern design inclinations. I wanted to create a clean, relatively clutter free space. We have almost no upper cabinets. A single stack houses both my oven suite from Theramdor as well as our hidden refrigerator. I love incognito appliances. I couldn’t resist open shelving at the time, but as I look back now (by nearly four years) if I had to do it over again, I might even eliminate those. Sadly you can’t see my big drama moment in this pic, but we installed a stone wall from counter to ceiling behind the range. It offers subtle texture and movement.

A desk height “breakfast bar” connects the kitchen to the living room and offers a great spot for our son to do crafts or someday homework while I’m in the kitchen. If the counters look odd, that is because we chose to make them 39″ high. We come from a line of very tall people!

To complete the tour of our first floor, you move down the hall past the kitchen, and there you’ll find our walk-in pantry (which is quite dreamy if I do say so myself), our laundry room and a powder room. I’m happy to report that we make use of every single space on this floor every single day.

I hope this 2000 world monologue has helped shed light into our renovation at least a little. If I were to impart one point, it would be this – creating a dream home isn’t necessarily quick, cheap and easy as much as HGTV and the like would lead us to believe. While sometimes a fixer can be tackled slowly, project by project and in DIY fashion, some home’s needs are so large scale that they take on a life of their own. Our house certainly resides in that latter category. Did I make many a design mistake that likely cost us both time and budget? For sure. Would I do somethings differently if I had to do it over? You bet. Did I learn so much along the way? Absolutely.

Does our house make me smile everyday? Yes. Is it a great home for my son? Most definitely. And that is really the point.

Hope you’re excited for my next 2,000 words touring our second floor! Hopefully I’ll have that done before Christmas.

If you can’t wait for that though, be sure to check out Domino’s online feature HERE! Have you picked up Domino’s winter Renovation issue yet?? There are SO many good home tours in there.

photography by seth smoot for domino magazine 
produced by kate berry
styled by rosy fridman


lora pendant lamp by wep lights ylighting / georg console table skagerak / steven bukowski planter

Dining Room
custom credenzas lauren nelson design / custom dining table godar furniture / paint white wisp, black 01 by benajmin moore / antiqued french crested mirror 1stdibs / ceramic vessel by ANK spartan shop / arch totem and seed sculptures by tina frey designs / la rochelle mantel chesneys new york / tonneau chiars by pierre guariche via almond & co / stick shelving system menu design / art print by seth smoot / large white vase march sf /  bubl vase 101cph / vintage vessel elsie green

Living Room
custom sectional lauren nelson design / custom coffee tables lauren nelson design / serge mouille two arm wall sconce dwr / knot pillow dwr / crinkled cotton throw h&m / pampas lumbar pillow the citizenry / moroccan middle atlas tribe berber rug / fireplace chesneys / basket zara home / vintage portrait elsie green / bow marble candle holder ferm living / upholstered swivel lounge chair by gerard van den berg amsterdam modern / straw rope hanging by sarah simon / paint white wisp & black 01 benjamin moore

custom french doors bananas & hammocks / sectional room & board / george nelson cigar bubble pendant / paint gravel gray benjamin moore / wool curtains the shade store / coffee table west elm / black marble tray the citizenry / fluted glass vase h&m 

bulb fiction pendant lamps fritz hansen / norm na3 stools by &Tradition / promaster faucet kohler / silestone countertop in ariel / mid-century knobs and pulls school house / appliances thermador / art tappan collective

Published at Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:53:09 +0000

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

Published at

Apartment Living

Websites Serving The NYC Short-Term, Sublet, Rental Spectrum

Websites Serving The NYC Short-Term, Sublet, Rental Spectrum

When people mention sublet websites, there are seemingly many choices in a crowded space. That’s weird, because Harvard Business School professors Peter Coles, Ben Edelman, and Mike Luca found that a strong marketplace network effect should consolidate the ecosystem into a few winners.

Why So Many Sublet Websites In New York City?

Each sublet website actually serves a different occupancy duration niche along the spectrum of sublet rentals. The key to understanding the sublet market is to break down tenants and landlords into categories by length of stay.

Vacation Stays: Airbnb / VRBO /

The ultra short term housing sites operate more like inns and small hotels. Guests come for a week or two, sometimes only a weekend, and occasionally just one night. Airbnb is by far the largest marketplace by almost any measure, but we should mention’s increasing inventory of short-term housing. aggregates hotel listings and runs a much larger hotel inventory, comparable to Expedia. But they’ve got their eyes on short-term and have heavily recruited hosts to their platform.

Short-Term Housing / Serviced Apartments

There is an industry built around corporate professionals relocating to new cities, and New York City is full of them. Sometimes called corporate housing or serviced apartments, these units are designed for stays of one to three months. They are generally too short to be of interest for brokers, and too long to fall under the hotel and vacation stay category.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most fragmented of all markets. You wouldn’t want to rent one of these sight-unseen, if you can avoid it. That rules out sites that collect payment up front, such as Airbnb. But no one can grind out a living showing 1-month stays all day long; even if there were great deals, who would pay the commission?

To find serviced apartments, you will need to do most of the legwork on your own. To start, try the extended-stay sections of your favorite hotel search sites, and you can find monthly occupancy rates. Still, not many buildings can list themselves on Expedia and Priceline, so you should also scour ads on social media and Craigslist.

Lease Breaking Websites

People still call these sublets when searching on Google, but a lease break can take many forms. If a tenant needs to leave mid-lease, it’s important to loop in the landlord to find out your options. Sometimes, the landlord will want someone to assign the remainder of the lease; other times the new tenant signs an entirely new lease (potentially with a fee to the breaker). The duration of stay tends to be 3 to 9 months in the assignment case.

Sublets and For Rent By Owner Listings

Sublets are a broad term, but some of the best sublet deals come from For Rent By Owner listings. You can search on RentHop for NYC Sublets of both types – a condo owner with an exclusive for example, or a lease breaker with landlord willing to renew for 12 months.

When searching for sublets, the listings will often be interchangeable with full-fledged landlord listings for vacant apartments, or brokered exclusives looking for 12 month or longer lease. In that case, is there an advantage to having a separate section?



RentHop Sublet Solution: FRBO Postings, Multiple Search Categories

When catering to the For Rent By Owner crowd, our team realized they clearly have different needs than the leasing office of a large building. Safety and verification is much more important for individual owners, as they likely won’t have any online presence or reliable research the poster prior to meeting.

On the outward facing search result for consumers, we do mix the results and provide special filters and tags We tag them with a special “By Owner” tag, so you can filter for them, and we require the full address be shown on the listing. Next time we will discuss the search-engine side features we built to help you find the best sublet, leasebreak, and FRBO deals.

Published at Thu, 23 Jan 2020 15:40:37 +0000

Breaking Down The Stratus, REBNY, RLS, And Perchwell Claims

Yesterday we discussed the Game of Thrones level drama that has erupted between the various REBNY and RLS vendors. We obtained and read through some of the claims laid out in the Stratus Data Systems demand letter to REBNY. Here are some key arguments.

REBNY and Stratus Always Agreed On Data Ownership

Usually these API and data disputes are at the heart of who owns the data. REBNY seems to have that covered in their original contract with Stratus. No one seems to dispute that the data belongs to the brokerages, and Stratus the vendor never owned the data.

Data Schema, Software Methodology, and API Design In Dispute

However, Stratus claims the way they crafted the data schema is proprietary. Moreover, vendors using the system were prohibited from reverse-engineering or copying the software and related methods for distributing the RLS Data of New York apartment listings, and how they syndicate to NYC real estate marketplace portal websites.



In the NYC ecosystem, RentHop and RealtyHop are Syndication Portals.  Client Vendors include RealtyMX, Nestio, OLR, and Perchwell.  A separate company usually implements the RETS server.  (Hat tip  Wright Strategy Advisors)

Perchwell Replacement Is a URL Change To Identical System

As evidence that Perchwell is in violation of the agreement, Stratus points out REBNY alledgedly told other vendors that transitioning to Perchwell would be seamless. No methods of querying, inserting, or reading data from the RLS will require changes. The only changes would be a URL change to point to a new server, and a new set of credentials.

Of course, Perchwell and REBNY had planned further modifications, but Stratus claims the initial transition is a reverse-engineering of their proprietary systems and a violation of their agreement.

Both Systems Use Industry-Standard RETS specification and API

To make things more complicated, the Stratus system is compliant with a widely used industry standard called RETS. It is neither an API or a schema, but a data transport standard. It mandates many of the API calls that a RETS server should implement, a general way of laying out the data schema, AND a query language for inserting and selecting data.

There are many RETS implementations already out in the world, many open source. However, details of how to make a local marketplace fit into a RETS implementation is left unspecified.

That’s a good idea, because it allows the local brokers and websites to accommodate local peculiarities. For example, in some cities the property types will be “House” vs “Mobile Home” vs “Farm”. In NYC, you instead see “Condo”, “Co-op”, and “Townhouse“.

No Stolen Code, No Stolen Data, Industry-Standard API, Proprietary Implementation Of Schema

So where does that leave us? No one has stolen any code or any data! However, did they steal by reverse engineering the proprietary technology architecture? Is it proprietary when we are talking about a widely used industry standard, but with customizations tailored to the New York market?

For the geeks out there, it’s not quite like REST, which is purely a transport standard on top of HTTP. RETS clearly mandates some real estate specific endpoints, methods of querying, and an architecture built around iterating through a multiple listings service.

But it’s also not the same as a ready-to-use SQL schema where all tables, columns, and indexes are in place, and all that is left to do is drop in the data. RETS requires the implementation to think carefully about what data fields are necessary and how they might be linked. For example, is every listing part of a unit? Is every unit a part of a building? Can a unit be part of two buildings?

I am not a lawyer. I am not an expert in IP law. However, I am a data nerd, software engineer, and real estate enthusiast. We will continue the 3rd part of our analysis next time!

Published at Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:02:03 +0000