Room for Improvement

NYC real estate wish list: Automate everything, add a bathroom, de-grime the hallways

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One New Yorker wants a second bathroom, another wants less bathtub, and a subletter admits to the shortcomings of his rental. Six city dwellers share what they'd improve about their homes:

  • An extra bath, please What I’d love to do is somehow add a bathroom. Even just a half-bath. But it’s so expensive! And we’d have to make the kitchen smaller. We could enlarge the kitchen by opening it up to the dining area and adding a counter. So you see, one thing leads to another and another expense. Better to leave well enough alone.  - George, Inwood
  • On second thought, forget the bath I’d totally like to redo the bathroom. I know it’s sacrilege or whatever, but I’d just get rid of the tub and create a walk-in steam shower. There is literally no reason to have a tub, but there is every reason to want to free up space for storage. I don’t think that’s a bad investment. In fact, I think that’s what we’re going to do next in our place! - Hannah, Morningside Heights
  • No furry friends They started construction on a bar downstairs from my building. I work from home, so the noise really bothers me. It’s good they are finally doing something with that place and it looks like a good addition on the street--which really needs it--but all my neighbors who live downstairs said they are worried about rats! Thank goodness I live on a high floor. - Sheila, Harlem
  • Automatic comforts I would love to automate my apartment: Automatic blinds built into the windows, automatic screen that comes down when I want to use the movie projector, and I love, love, love that new automated security system that can turn off running faucets and lights and electrical devices. I’m sure my super wouldn’t mind a few less frantic phone calls from residents like me who are both paranoid and scatterbrained--a really weird combo! - Lisette, Upper West Side
  • A facelift for the hallways  I live in a really old building and it really shows. The hallways are disgusting. They get “cleaned” regularly, meaning the floors are regularly doused with the the harshest smelling chemical concoction our building staff could find. I think it must be pure ammonia. You can smell it throughout the building, even when inside your own apartment. It burns my eyes. And still, the hallways are dingy and depressing. The grime is just deep in the grout between those old prewar tiles. The marble is so discolored, it looks like the color of mud. They have started restoration work on the lobby, thank god! You can actually see what the colors of the building were supposed to be before the '80’s happened to it. That was an eyesore, too. I really hope the building tackles the hallways next. I’m always a bit ashamed to bring people over. - Lucas, Harlem
  • A total facelift After renting [my apartment] out for the longest time the board has put its foot down and we can't renew our tenant’s lease. Now we have to do something to our apartment. Before we can live in it again or even sell it, we’re going to have to redo the kitchen. I’ll be the first to admit it’s pretty lousy. The appliances are so old--I never updated once in the seven years we’ve been renting it out, first to several short-term renters and then two long-term tenants. And the cabinetry is old, plain and kind of ugly. They were there when I bought the place in 2000. The bathroom needs work, too. The place is falling apart. My tenants rarely complained, but I wouldn’t like to rent a place like this if it were me!  Now I’m going to have to foot a pretty big bill to get the place spiffed up.  -Blaine, Astoria

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