Weidner Apartment Homes, the 15th largest owner of apartments in the US, announced in December of 2019 that it will suspend its 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 Google Maps 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 its 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 about 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 features, 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!
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!
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 set on the town’s highest point protected by a Roman and Iberian fortress 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 townhouses 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 for rent in Panama city fl from the Moorish era. Among the many churches and convents in 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 Ontinyent, 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 summer 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 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 riding, rock climbing and paragliding on offer in this rural setting.
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.
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. Its 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.
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 Brookshire. While 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.
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.
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 leaks
New heating and hot water systems
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 snail’s 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 the tour of our ground floor!
A clean black and white palette greets you as the enter the front door. We had to restore the staircase, recreating a period-appropriate newel post and banister as well as recreating a historically accurate plaster ceiling medallion. The oversized pendant by WEP (which I stalked for years after seeing it in a 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.
The dining room really showcases some of the home’s original architectural gems that make my design-loving heart smile. The layers of the 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 a 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 Chesney’s 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.
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.
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.
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 bookend 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 the 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 inlaid 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.
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 for Rent in Ocean Springs both my oven suite from Thermador 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 dramatic 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 on 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 every day? Yes. Is it a great home for my son? Most definitely. And that is really the point.
I 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
Many apartments for rent available are in our city. The standard rent may vary from $400 per month up to $1500 for a luxury suite. This price is for a one-bedroom apartment with a fully fitted kitchen and a full bathroom.
Usually, you have to put a security/damage deposit in as well. Such a deposit normally is equal to half a month rental price. In some cases, utilities are included in the price, and in others, they are not. If paid separately utility costs vary depending on usage.
One of my sisters was very fortunate to find a nice apartment for rent in a very quiet building for only $550 per month. And it is only a few blocks away from where I live. In fact, she’s paying a bit more as there is an additional fee of $35 per month that goes for using the indoor underground parking. In her building, there are also some additional extras like cable TV, air conditioning and an indoor pool, that are available to tenants’ families.
Another popular type of apartment for rent that is widely available are the so-called bachelor apartments or studios. Their rent varies between $250 and $600 per month because they only consist of a large room with a modest kitchenette and bathroom facilities. And as you can guess they are really only suitable for a single person. Usually, the lowest range ones are in fact old damp and dark basement, and most of them are in such a condition that living there is a real danger. All the bugs and vermin they often host create such health hazards that it is not rare at all, the City to close them down and warn the public about such inhuman dwellings.
Unfortunately, there is another type of apartment for rent offered in our town that is even worse. In fact, they are not apartments at all, they are only rooms, usually situated in an old ex-boarding house. Places like these do often attract prostitutes, drug addicts and all types of underground world members. Apart from being very filthy and unsanitary, such dwellings are also extremely dangerous because of the people who stay there. Murders in such types of dwellings do happen on a regular basis.
Of course, there are great apartments for rent too – situated in the most prestigious areas of the city and are often with bigger size than some homes. They do usually offer top quality and of course feature additional facilities like saunas, spas, and gyms available for their tenants. Laundry and dry-cleaning along with concierge services are not a rarity at all. And all that comes at the corresponding price, that’s usually in the $2000+ per month range.
There are also people who do offer apartments for rent situated in their own Pensacola Houses for Rent. In case the house is way too big for one family only there is nothing bad in converting it into a duplex or triplex and renting out. And many people have done so. But the most important downside of those is that being, in fact, one house they have very thin inner walls that allow noise to spread easily to the other units and no one actually has any privacy there.
So as expected, there is such a wide variety of apartments for rent offered in the City, that they can suit any rental range or family situation possible. Actually anybody can find one that suits him.
What is the customary tip for your luxury high-rise doormen? or for that matter, your super, your porters, and housekeeper? Every other guide simply defers to the non-advice of “it depends.” So we will try to be more concrete. First, check out our guide on how MUCH to tip doormen.
Most people who give will give more than you think
In an infamous and wide-ranging study, Sociology professor Peter Bearman sent students out on a massive crowd-sourced effort to interview doormen everywhere and ask about tipping. He found that most of your neighbors will lie about how much they give – because they actually give more!
What’s the logic?
Some are naturally more generous. Others more frugal. We all lie somewhere on the spectrum, but of course we prefer not to spend more money than we need. Most New York residents aim to be slightly above average tippers in their apartments in Everett WA. So they will tell their neighbors when asked a lower amount.
Perhaps they say they gave each doorman $50, but they did not include the Macy’s Gift Card worth another $50. Or that $50 only went to the least favorite doorman, but others got up to twice as much!
But Many Give Zero!
Ok, maybe not MANY, but a larger percent than most millennials would expect. Unfortunately, you can’t count the cheapskates into your equations. In some ways, it’s better to give nothing at all and have the staff assume you don’t know the culture and tradition. Because if you do tip, and it is far below the typical amounts, you actually end worse than the non-givers.
What actually happens to you when you are a low or zero giver? Don’t expect any over the top service in the future. The next time you have guests coming over or a heavy delivery, the doorman will be very by-the-book. No bending the rules to make life easier. But worst of all, residents have reported that they KNOW when the tip was too low. The staff suddenly stiffens up into a very stoic, almost blatantly obvious cold tone for the next few weeks. Ask yourself, is it really worth saving a few bucks if it means coming home to an awkward building lobby for the entire next year?
If you actually own your unit via a condo or co-op, then going the cheap route is incredibly foolish. Things happen when you live in a building for a long time, and you want the staff that is there day to day to be on your side.
Who To Tip
The luxury high rises, large no-fee doorman buildings, and private social clubs make this easy for you. If you should be giving a tip, or at least the staff expects it, they will send you the classic holiday mailer in late November or early December. For no apparent reason, they think you want a list of the names and sometimes tenure of all the staff members. In some cases, it lists their position, and in all cases will have staff nicknames in case you don’t know their full legal name.
How To Tip
Cash versus gift cards vs check? That’s easy – they don’t like gift cards as much, for the same reason you don’t like gift cards. You need to actually deal with the hassle of spending the cards. Sometimes if you had a personal conversation about liking a particular store or brand, it can be a nice touch to add a gift card – but only in addition to the primary tip.
As for cash versus check, doormen probably prefer cash in all cases. But there is a practical reason to give checks. At least you will know that the correct person received the tip, AND the doormen will also track it properly (yes they do track). Best of all, YOU can track over the years in case you’ve forgotten. And as a practical concern, if you don’t keep the correct hours to see each doorman individually, you might need to drop the checks and cards into the communal box or to the trusted “main” doorman, in which case checks are simply more secure.
When you do the hand-off, you don’t need a long speech. They know the game and have dozens of other residents doing the same thing daily. But thank them for their hard work, wish them happy holidays, offer a firm hand shake, with extended eye contact, and you are done!
Back in 2009, Lawrence and I were speaking with one of our early investors about spam messages. Specifically, Craigslist postings at the time were full of low quality ads, and for anyone with a legitimate apartment, they would find their inboxes quickly filled with unsolicited offers.
“Getting rid of spam is easy!” the investor told us excitedly. “You just need to make sure the spammer doesn’t realize they are banned.” This particular investor knew a lot about spam – he was one of the inventors of modern spam filtering today.
So finding and identifying the spam is not hard. But how do you make a spammer go away? The practice known as “hell banning” or “shadow banning” comes from the old days of dial-up modems and bulletin board systems, but deployed in modern apps such as WeChat, Reddit, and RentHop’s apartment finder and messaging system.
Why Is It Called Ghosting?
The idea is, eventually the problematic or abusive user will see that his or her messages appear to be sent to and seen by everyone else. However, the crowd just ignores them completely; no one even engages with or interacts with the offensive post. The banned person, unable to elicit a reaction from anyone, leaves and brings their toxic attitudes elsewhere.
Perhaps it’s like the classic movie Ghost, when the hero desperately tries to have an impact on the world around him but is unable to do so? Or how about Sixth Sense and the classic quote: ” Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.”
Today we had our annual RentHop Secret Santa gift exchange. We upgraded from the old “names in a hat” method to the much higher tech Elfster (because one employee was tired of getting the same recipient 3 years in a row, which Elfster can prevent).
Photos from the gift exchange and drinks will follow, but we also spent time discussing our multi-year tradition of exploring various escape rooms in New York City (we used to also play NY Urban volleyball). Our latest conquest is the Ultimate Heist, a puzzle from Clue Chase near Bryant Park.
Escape Room Stats – Which Is Most Important?
Some people prioritize the decor and ambiance of an escape room. Call it part of the immersion experience and production value. Others want extremely clever or memorable puzzles. I usually ignore the storyline, but some rooms punish you if you forget key points in the plot!
Lawrence in particular likes what I call the “Zelda effect” – performing a seemingly innocuous triggers some huge surprise. For example, a tiny switch opens an unexpected secret passage into a new, larger room, or a sturdy looking wall suddenly collapses away revealing an exotic contraption (or dummy corpse).
Something for Everyone
Thankfully, Ultimate Heist has something for everyone, checking all of my boxes, but also with a unique twist. Ultimate Heist is one of the most parallel escape rooms ever designed. A team can split into groups working on an endless slew of side quests. Just don’t forget to actually solve the main puzzle and… escape the room!
Last time we discussed the very early days. From mid-2008 to 2010, RentHop used co-founder Lawrence Zhou’s apartment to write code on nights and weekends, while the founders held day jobs at Traxis Partners, D. E. Shaw & Co., and Two Sigma Investments. The doormen must have assumed we were dating, given all the late nights when I would leave the Beaverton apartment, looking disheveled from a long hacking session.
Grand Central Tech – Urban Tech Hub
In 2013, RentHop raised a seed round from Two Sigma Ventures, one of the first investments TSV made in the PropTech and Big Data space. Floored and Canary were also part of their early portfolio, and all three companies shared offices, first at 96 Spring Street then 101 Avenue of the Americas.
Within two years, the office was full of startups from all kinds and sizes. One of the best things about Two Sigma Ventures is their willingness to invest in a large range of company stages, and a wide range of check sizes. You can be two founders with a prototype, or a borderline private equity deal – as long as your company is engineering innovative solutions using data analysis and machine learning, they should be on your list.
RentHop grew to 9 employees during our time at Two Sigma – but sitting next to us, delivery company Homer Logistics raised $8.5 million and quickly expanded to over dozens of executives and employees. When Homer outgrew the space, CEO Adam Price moved the company to Urban Tech Hub at Grand Central Tech, and was kind enough to carve out space for us to sublet. Adam is now CEO of a publicly traded company after selling his startup, and we took over the GCT space!
Urban Tech Hub at Grand Central Tech attracts alumni from various accelerators – some from Y Combinator (RentHop), others from Bachman’s Hacker Hostel (SeeFoods)
Not at All Like WeWork
Urban Tech Hub brings together a unique community of invite-only startups focusing on unique problems and opportunities in dense cities such as New York – transportation, logistics, infrastructure, clean tech, and big data, and space allocation are focus areas – thankfully RentHop and RealtyHop tick many of the boxes! We will discuss our current offices more another time!
While I’d usually be regaling you with gift guides, party ideas and more holiday decor then you can handle right now, I’ve got a different kind of gift for you this year. After nearly five full years since our demo day, the official before and after reveal of This Old Victorian is here! I’m thrilled to announce that our home has been published in the first-ever Renovation Issue of Domino Magazine and it hits newsstands & stores today!
Over the next few days, I’m going to take you behind the scenes of our renovation saga, fill you in on all my decor dilemmas and share every before and after that I’ve had to hold back for SO many years now. I hope I can impart a few helpful lessons, a little design inspiration, but mostly, I want to raise the curtain on what it really takes to create your dream home. Everything from HGTV, to this blog right here leads one to believe that design and decorating should be quick, easy and cheap, but most of the time that is so far from the truth.
I’m sure you’re asking, why oh why has this house taken you SO long? Well trust, I’ve asked myself that question a million times too. But there are actually a few very legitimate reasons this process was painstakingly slow.
The first is that we bought a historic home. As in, the house can be found on the historic register and therefore has a number of restrictions on what you can and cannot do in a remodel. Those hoops can take quite a while to jump through.
We also wanted to do more than simply remodel the home – just tearing everything down to start with a blank slate would have been easy. Instead, we really wanted restore the house to its original grandeur. A historic Victorian is such a gem. I just happened upon a diamond in the rough. Our house had not been well cared for over the years. In fact, it stood abandoned for a good chunk of the 70’s! Lath and plaster from the 1860’s, leaking windows, rotted out framing, falling down chimneys, original plumbing and nob & tube electrical – we had it all. Don’t worry, as we dig into all the befores you’ll understand the hot mess with which we started.
While our focus was on restoration of the home, we did make major architectural changes. The house was originally four bedrooms, one bath and is now three bedrooms, two and a quarter baths. There wasn’t actually a real kitchen of any kind, so we had to build one from scratch. I also wanted to open up the postage stamp sized rooms to create a more modern, open living concept. That required removing load baring walls, taking out a second staircase – we basically reshuffled the entire layout of both floors. All that to say, renovating required major focus on everything that you’ll never actually see – plumbing, electrical, architectural structure – you know, the extra sexy stuff (that tends to be rather spendy).
Oh, and did I forget to mention that I had a baby less than three months after demo started? I’d be the first to warn that first-time motherhood and major renovations don’t mix particularly well.
But in the end, it was all more than worth it, because 12 years after I started this site to chronicle the remodel of 250sq ft condo I thought was going to be my dream house (oh hello 27 year old self), I’m thrilled to have a dream home for my son to grow up in.
I do hope you’ll pick up the new issue of Domino to see the full tour. If you need a few more sneak peeks and just cannot wait until you get your issue, you can see the online story here.
But come back tomorrow – I’ll be digging into how we figured out our new floor plans and the full reveal of the first floor!
To catch up on the This Old Victorian journey, CLICK HERE.
If you don’t follow Apartment 34 on Instagram, than you might have missed the exciting announcement that official This Old Victorian – aka my five year renovation saga – is about to come its close. Domino Magazine announced its first ever Renovation Issue and I’m thrilled to announce that office tour of our house is included. If you want your first sneak peak into the our before & afters (and they’re rather dramatic), click here.
But I think once you try your hand at renovations, you catch the bug. And so I’m already designing my fictional future dream house in my hand. And I think I already found my dream kitchen.
This epic kitchen is another product of design savant Amber Interiors. She has figured out the magic mix of California casual, old world grandeur, and what I like to call elevated rustic style that combine to create warm, welcoming but also dramatic spaces.
Obviously, the architecture of this space lends itself to its awesome dramatic feel, not to mention all that stunning natural light. But that is probably one of my biggest leanings from our renovation – that a space’s bones are everything. If you happen upon some a home with some good architecture, jump on it! You can be confident that even the ugliest of toads can be transformed.
The use of various both refined and rustic materials offers really beautiful juxtaposition in this kitchen. Honed Calacatta marble counters and backsplash feel sleek and fancy. But then the reclaimed French limestone looks as if you could be in a farmhouse in Burgundy. The mix and match continues with smooth plasters walls abutting a white brick pizza oven. Brass hardware offsets the custom white oak cabinetry, but the cup drawer pulls reinforce the more country, rustic feel. Finally, a rustic beam holds residence above a sophisticated Lacance range. Yet it all works.
This space would feel fitting should it be in middle of wine country, in Europe or in downtown LA. In fact it resides in Malibu, CA but you certainly wouldn’t say it has a beachy feel.
I love how Amber switched the far counter’s top to a dark limestone to anchor the space and mirror the dark range across the room.
If I could get my hands on this space I might have thickened the countertops (I still love that fat look), selected more modern cabinetry hardware and swapped out the antique pendant lights for something more minimalist and refined. But that’s fun thing with renovating. Once you get to play with the details, you just want to play more and more and more and more.
Good thing I have my yard project to keep me busy at the moment, because I’d be rather tempted to start housing hunting again! Don’t tell my hubs.
Lawrence made a bold prediction 10 years ago, back in the Wild West days of online Everett apartment marketplaces and listing portals. He said in the future, all that would be left are syndication websites and aggregation websites (alongside brokerage firms). Attempting to play in more than one role would be impossible, because such a platform needs to serve two sets of opposing interests. Amazing foresight into the endgame scenario for the rental world!
Back in 2009, almost every city had their own rental startup. While we were graduate from Y Combinator Demo Day, investors everywhere listen to our pitch with enthusiasm, but then the next day they would send three links to competing sites and ask, “What are you going to do to beat them?”
Listing Syndication is Born
Naturally, many companies opted to stop competing as yet another marketplace to reach out to consumers. Instead, they wanted to be a syndication tool, which helps landlords and brokers manage all of their listings in one place, then syndicating out to the other marketplaces.
Listing Aggregation Becomes The Norm
Eventually, Postlets, Repost123, RealtyMX, and many others grew a large enough client base that new marketplaces came along offering to aggregate the various data sources, rather than source their own inventory. An aggregation website could focus on the front end features and avoid gathering inventory, but create new challenges in back-end data processing.
The battle of the online portals continue to this day. There are still many syndicators. There are still aggregators. But with each passing year, we also see more consolidation. Some players are even taking aggressive moves to become BOTH a syndicator and aggregator, or both a marketplace and brokerage firm, but the inherent conflict of interest makes the dual path challenging.
Can we imagine a world with only one winner, or will there always be multiple niches that can only be served by multiple apps and websites? Renters looking for lease breaks and sublets might be very different from those willing to rent in a condo or co-op investment.
Today we had a discussion as a team about how to deal with brokers behaving badly. After posting a fake or misleading listing, we have many algorithms and support staff in place to catch or flag the bad advertisement. Unfortunately, it becomes a cat and mouse game as rotten agents find new ways to post bad advertisements. Unfortunately, in a competitive industry such as apartment and flat rentals, there are many incentives to cheat.
Just today we suspended a broker who continued to insist that Financial District rental building 90 Washington Street had true 2 bedroom apartments for rent at $4150. That’s the price of a studio with home office, or post-converted 1 bedroom with home office. As discussed, a home office is not a bedroom under our current policies.
Fine vs. Ban?
How does our team handle advertising violations? We could apply a fine to the agent and deduct credits from their accounts or even charge their credit cards. However, we don’t want to put a price on a bait-and-switch advertisement, not are we trying to collect money from unscrupulous agents. Our goal is to put an end to the bad listings.
Our decision is to suspend or permanently ban accounts that show a repeated disrespect for our policies. RentHop works because the majority of landlords and managers believe in honest and truthful advertising. We shouldn’t let a few bad apples linger around, no matter how much they are willing to pay to break the rules.
You might live in a Bala Cynwyd apartment or occasionally rent a tux or a car, but what is it like when you rent the place where you work?
Coworking is a trend that’s been gaining momentum all around the world, especially among freelancers and entrepreneurs. What it basically means is that you pay the coworking hub a membership fee for a desk or office area, while also getting access to the hub’s common areas and amenities. This system isn’t all too different from renting a place to live, but there are some things to keep in mind when deciding to join a coworking hub.
How Coworking is Similar to Renting an Apartment
Coworking hubs are similar to apartment buildings through the networking aspect that they imply. Common areas are a great place to socialize and meet new people, and coworking hubs have the added benefit of connecting you to people who might share your ideas or work in a similar field. In this way, coworking hubs can help your business by introducing you to valuable contacts.
However, interaction doesn’t have to happen only between hub members. A good landlord will see his tenants as more than just sources of income and try to connect with them on a personal level. Similarly, the administration and staff of a coworking hub will probably try to interact with members and build friendships. This process is made much easier by coworking software like Yardi Kube, which helps coworking hubs keep in touch with their customers while also assisting with things like billing and invoices.
The Economic Side
You might prefer to rent an apartment in Bala Cynwyd because it offers more flexibility than securing a mortgage. Moreover, rentals offer much more freedom if you have to move into a place of a different size; the situation is similar in the case of coworking hubs.
Coworking is especially popular with solopreneurs and startups simply because they allow you to rent anything from a single desk to a decently sized, private office. This gives a lot of leeway to companies at the start of their journey, offering freedom for gradual and efficient expansion, while also being much more affordable than a full office.
Additionally, many coworking hubs offer month-to-month memberships, while traditional office lease agreements are generally signed for several years and include upfront costs that are generally much steeper than those for flexible office spaces.
How Coworking Might Differ from Your Usual Rental Experience
Many coworking hubs are quirky and homely—to a much greater extent than a traditional office. Still, even though you’ll be renting a desk for a relatively long period of time, you might not necessarily be able to express yourself by decorating your desk space as much as you can with your rented room back home. Some potted plants and bobbleheads could make your rented workspace feel more like you, but make sure you know the hub’s cleanup rules and keep in mind that you might not be the only one using the desk.
Your apartment block might have an on-site laundry, assigned parking spaces, or a common patio. On the other hand, coworking hubs are more oriented toward a business environment when it comes to amenities, often offering conference rooms and kitchenettes stocked with beverages. Sometimes, they may even include attached daycares and regular yoga classes. If you’d like to get the best of both worlds, look into coliving, which is a more recent development of coworking that also offers on-site housing and associated amenities.
So, if you’re all about the community spirit and would like to get out of your home office every now and then, you could start browsing coworking hubs near you and see what it’s like to rent your workspace first-hand.
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For all its timeless magic, December has a tendency of speeding things up. It adds a bit more pressure to our daily routine as we try to squeeze more time in for presents, social events, decorating … and oh, the shopping. Strangely enough, the end of the year also slows things down somehow; it helps put things in perspective and makes us understand—time and again—that we’re not alone and that we can offer help and support to those less fortunate.
If you’re in Atlanta and up for a good deed or feel like giving back this time of year, here are a few options worth checking out:
The wonderful people at the Atlanta Children’s Shelter share one mission: to break the cycle of poverty for families facing homelessness by focusing on early childhood education. You, too, can become an ally in this noble quest by volunteering, donating, or even going the extra mile to help host a fundraiser. This season, you can be part of their annual Holiday House event and make the season truly special for families who are currently or formerly homeless.
To those living here trying to make their community a better place, the Atlanta Mission is no secret. If you share their objective to leave a lasting influence and end homelessness, consider volunteering to provide and serve a meal at one of their facilities this December. You can also help by browsing their Christmas catalog and funding a hot meal or a warm bed to a person in need.
If you’re looking to do your part, the Children’s Restoration Network is among the non-profit organizations that could use your attention and support. The agency has been around for quite a while trying to make the world a better place for children and women with children. This month, the elves at the Children’s Restoration Network hold the 12 Days of Caring Toy and Gift Drive 2019. Even the smallest contribution can help this worthy initiative and touch the lives of many.
The mission of this non-profit food rescue organization is simple: reduce hunger by reducing food waste across the Atlanta metro. But, in order to do this, they need your help! Second Helpings is constantly updating its routes and needs volunteers who can transport food as soon as possible from food donors to partner agencies. The organization has many volunteer opportunities, so don’t waste time and apply now!
The people at PAWS Atlanta have a deep love for furry friends. Without any federal funding, PAWS Atlanta relies on the generosity of its supporters. You can become one and help their cause by giving money, getting involved in their events, or simply volunteering to help their small staff. Or, take it a step further and offer to foster or even adopt one or more of the many cats and dogs at the shelter. This winter’s event is a lovely day out for you and one of the doggos there; the pooches are dying to stretch their legs and go for a long Saturday stroll with you. What a wonderful idea that is!
As far as Georgia animal rescue initiatives go, Furkids is among the best. The organization runs its own thrift store that helps fund Furkids programs, and customers and their donations are more than welcome! If you can’t take one of the shelter pets home with you, you can also help by sponsoring one of them; or, be their holiday hero by making a year-end donation. The younger generation of pet lovers can also get involved by volunteering to be Santa’s little helpers for Christmas events across Atlanta adoption centers. All you have to do is sign in and bring the cheer!
Older than mainstream climate talks, the story of Trees Atlanta began from a simple human need to be surrounded by green in the graying landscape of downtown Atlanta. If you share their vision of conservation and environmental initiatives, you, too, can become part of the solution by donating, volunteering, or partaking in any of the planting and education events.
The holidays are a time of spreading joy and giving back. So, why wait to make a difference? Start with one of these area charities spreading goodness in the local community!
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In a world that moves at a breakneck pace, finding time to slow down and quiet your mind is difficult—and it’s also essential. Many people turn to meditation to help. The practice guides the mind to a calmer place using breathing techniques, mantras, and imagery. It can be as simple as breathing deeply and repeating a phrase or as complicated as traveling to a different plane tucked away in the recesses of your imagination. Either way, you need a quiet, calm space to do it in order to really reap the benefits of meditation. Here’s how to make your apartment feel bigger when you meditate.
Oust any clutter. One of the most obvious ways to make your space feel larger is to rid it of any stuff that’s non-essential. Purging extra clutter is a good habit to get into, whether you meditate or not. Donate any knick-knacks, furnishings, and decor that you don’t really need in order to open up some space for your meditative practice. This will make it even easier to get into the zen zone.
Welcome natural light. When sunshine comes streaming into your home, it makes your world a bit brighter and bigger. Harness the power of natural light and pick a corner for meditation with ample windows. The sunny rays, and the view visible through the windows, will make your meditation nook feel instantly more spacious.
Enlist neutral hues. While dark colors tend to make a room feel smaller, light and neutral tones do just the opposite. Whites, creams, and shades of beige create the illusion of extra space. So when you pick furnishings for your meditation area (or for any room in your home, really), opt for these lighter colors instead of dark, bold hues. If you already have darker furniture in the area where you intend to meditate, there’s no need for a full makeover. Just add some lighter elements, like a whitewashed throw blanket or set of pillows.
Just add mirrors. Mirrors instantly add square footage to your home, almost in the same way that a window does. The reflection seemingly doubles the size of any space. Affix a mirror to your wall or find a small stand-alone mirror that you can incorporate into your meditation nook.
Strategically place your pillow. One essential that every meditation space must have is a cushy pillow for you to perch on. Pick your pillow and then arrange it strategically to make your space feel larger. Instead of pushing it up against the wall, pull it out at least six inches. This is an old trick for arranging furniture. When you let your furnishings float, the room feels bigger. When they connect with the wall, that seems to suck up space—or, at least, make a room look smaller. You can use this tip with any piece of furniture or decor in your meditation area.
If there’s ever a time to indulge, it’s the holiday season. The nonstop family gatherings, workplace celebrations, and get-togethers with friends certainly provide ample temptations in the form of festive treats. And while it’s fine to nibble on something sweet at the occasional soiree, when you make a habit of it, you could enter the new year carrying some additional weight. Here’s how to avoid going overboard with the holiday snacks.
Preemptively eat a healthy snack. When you grab a healthy snack before you head out to a holiday party, you won’t be ravenous by the time you show up. This will make it easier to stay away from the festive spread, or at least to keep yourself from overdoing it. So nibble on some fruit or veggies the next time you’re getting ready for a holiday party.
BYO noshes. If you don’t think pre-gaming with healthy snacks will be enough to keep you away from the buffet table, here’s another way to avoid temptation: bring your own bites. Instead of chowing down on holiday cookies, chips, and other unhealthy snacks, bring along veggies and hummus, fruit and yogurt, or low-fat cheese and whole-wheat crackers to share with the crowd. Other health-minded partygoers will probably thank you!
Focus on balanced snacks. If you do intend to partake in the provided nibbles at a holiday bash, make smarter selections. Opt for a healthy balance of protein and carbohydrates, ideally with a small amount of fat. This combination will help to keep you full and avoid overeating.
Sip on tea or coffee. When you’re at the family holiday party, do you devour snacks because you’re actually hungry, or simply because they’re sitting on the table next to you? Many people will absentmindedly snack just for something to do. Distract yourself with a hot cup of peppermint tea or black coffee instead. Sipping on the warming beverage will keep your hands busy, but it won’t add any calories to your daily intake.
Chew gum. Another way to distract yourself from the snack spread is to chew gum. Most gums contain only a few calories, and they help to trick your brain into thinking you’re snacking freely. If you’re not actually hungry, just looking for a way to keep your teeth busy, pop a stick of gum instead of snacks.
Keep treats out of sight, out of mind. When you go to a party hosted by someone else, you don’t have control over the menu. That’s when the previous tips may come in handy. But when it comes to your own home, you can choose what you bring into it—and how you display (or don’t display) holiday treats. Try to avoid bringing candy, cookies, and other desserts into your apartments in Duluth altogether. When you can’t, at least keep them stowed away in the cabinet and showcase fruit and other healthy snacks on the counter. This makes it more likely that you’ll choose a light and healthy bite over a calorie-dense treat.