Room for Improvement

Built-in shelves and duct-tape-free kitchens: Five New Yorkers share their real estate wants

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Bigger, better (or at least functional) kitchens. Storage solutions you won't find in an IKEA catalog. And an extra room just for "wrecking." Five New Yorkers share what they'd improve about their apartments, if they could.

  •  No space to keep the eggs: I’m a busy person and my kitchen—especially my fridge—is tiny. Recently, I invited friends over for an impromptu birthday party and decided to have all the food delivered to me the day of the party. There was absolutely no space in my fridge for the salads and finger foods. I knocked on my neighbors’ doors to see if I could use their fridges, but nobody was home. Not kidding: I ended up asking the deli downstairs if they wouldn’t mind keeping my gallon of milk and tray of eggs for me. Why do I have to live like this? - Maya, Upper West Side
  • A heir-y situation: I pay very little rent, but the trade-off is that I live in a shitty apartment. The bathroom  is disgusting and when I moved in, my landlady agreed that I’d be allowed to make minor improvements in the apartment and that she would hire people to fix some things, too. But she died and now the townhouse is being sold and the executor of her estate doesn’t care about making any improvements. I just wish I could have a clean, fresh bathroom. Not one with moldy tiles and water stains from leaking shower heads. - Trey, Harlem
  • Tired of a make-shift kitchen: I would give anything for a brand new kitchen! Right now, there is no kitchen to speak of, since all that was in the apartment when we bought it was a fridge, a stove and a sink sitting on a cabinet base where the door was held together with duct tape. I’m very excited to get started on the renovation, even if it is going to just be a Home Depot kitchen. But the first thing we had to do is get the bathroom fixed so we’ve been living here with a kitchen [and] my old desk is being used as a countertop! - Melanie, Harlem
  • When IKEA can’t help: I’d love to have bookcases with window seats built in! I have a lot of books and little objects that I need to store and also would like to display. Plus, I have a pretty decent view. You really only see it if you’re sitting directly by the window, hence wanting window benches. But they would also have to be built around huge cast iron radiators and act as radiator covers. So, all told, there isn’t really anything I can just pick up at IKEA that would solve my problem. It has to be professionally done and that just isn’t in the budget right now! - Annaliese, Upper East Side
  • A room for recreation: I always have a lot of trouble arranging furniture in the living room so that it makes sense for watching TV, but also for conversation. I hate how the whole living room is geared toward watching TV. What would solve that? A den. A room just for watching TV, or better yet, projecting movies on to a wall for epic movie parties, or even just a place for playing games that you don’t have to clear away right away. That’s one thing I miss about living in the suburbs. My parents had a den—a rec room. Or as we called it, a wreck room. - Danni, Long Island City

Related:

 
How to buy a NYC apartment
 
 
How I tricked out my humdrum closet

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