What I learned from going home with strangers

By Kelly Kreth  |
September 12, 2012 - 8:47AM

Your mom may have warned you never to go home with a stranger, but if you do it in New York City, you just may learn something--about real estate, anyway.

At least that’s the premise behind a new show on the SPACES YouTube channel called Take Me Home.

Hostess Arden Myrin (of "Chelsea Lately" and "MadTV" fame) stages herself in a different NYC neighborhood weekly, imploring random strangers to take her back to their apartments. (And I thought that's what Craigslist was for…!)  

Once inside, Myrin--who comes across like a histrionic Cat Marnell on meth (wait, that’s redundant)--takes viewers on a tour of the willing victim’s apartment pointing out all that is noteworthy. 

Why, you may ask?

"Our goal in making the show was to fulfill our voyeuristic need to see inside peoples' homes and satisfy our own curiosity as to whether we could guess the degree to which our personal style — our hair, our clothes, our demeanor – influences how we design our homes. all came together over beers while people-watching in NYC," says Bradley Werner, vp of production and series development for DBG, the digital video company behind the channel.

The series premiered online August 21st and a new episode airs every Tuesday at 10 a.m. This season will have twelve episodes, but hey, this is the Internet — if you keep watching, they will make more. 

In episode one, we meet Patrick,  a mustachioed creative type who has rented a 900-square-foot walkup-railroad apartment in the East Village for the last 16 years, and learn that:

  • Vintage and foreign decor are useful in making an old rundown railroad apartment look funky and eccentrically curated. 
  • A cold water flat is an apartment that originally had no hot water. Because of this bathtubs were generally in the kitchen so tenants could bathe by heating water on the stove.
  • Hanging a dish rack to dangle above one’s kitchen-based tub can assist in cooking meals a la "Seinfeld" (when Kramer took to multi-tasking by cutting up vegetables -- and even installing a garbage disposal -- in his shower). 
  • Continuing on the “keeping it real” and old skool vein, we also learned what a railroad apartment is: an apartment with a series of rooms connecting to each other in a line much like a railroad car, necessitating walking through one bedroom to reach the next. Cozy!
  • To make up for both the lack of a doorman and an elevator, it's important to create a "mixology" corner for your spirits. And hey, if your guests imbibe enough, they may not even notice that the tub is in the kitchen.

On the other end of the spectrum is Greg, a hoodie-wearing banker living in a 2,250 square-foot luxury three-bedroom apartment (which he combined two units to make) in a tony building on the Upper West Side. Going home with Greg teaches us many things (except whether it's a condo or co-op), but mostly that life is simply not fair:

  • When you come upon a banker in a hoodie just out “getting some meat” don’t be surprised if he is a control freak, using a remote control to control everything from window treatments to lighting and music.
  • Aside from his favorite things about the Upper West Side being Central Park, Lincoln Center, great shopping and eateries, hoodie-wearing Jeff’s absolute fave thing may simply be being rich as evidenced by his guest bathrooms, laundry room, fancy ceilings, wine fridge, walk-in closet, ceiling faucet and master shower with five-jet shower nozzles! (Jeff: Call me. I’m single and would like to visit your “magical palace!”)
  • Being rich means you can watch TV from your tub instead of cook in it...
  • ...and put gemstones in your countertops. In this case, agate from Israel is created by mixing epoxy with rare gemstones creating a translucent surface that glows when lit from what seems to be a light glowing within our banker's countertop.
  • Molding means drastically different things to New Yorkers of drastically different circumstances.  To Greg, it's the decorative trim easing the eye's passage from wall to ceiling; to me, it is the stuff growing on my bathroom ceiling.

Related posts:

10 things I learned from YouTube about living in a micro-apartment

15 things I've learned from  "Million Dollar Listing" so far


Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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