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Virginia Woolf said it best: Each of us needs a room of one’s own. But if you’re like many New Yorkers who share living space, the idea of having a room that belongs only to you is unimaginable if not impossible, especially in that starter apartment that you’re sharing with your three besties.
Still, your New York real estate fantasy may have a chance to be fully realized--if you score some temporary walls from All Week Walls, a handy service (and the subject of this week’s Real.Est.List Spotlight Series) that constructs and installs temporary pressurized walls exactly to your specifications in one day.
By now you’re probably thinking, "Hey, why don’t I just get some bookshelves and cordon off my own slice of utopia?"
You could do that, but here’s a few reasons why installing temporary walls is better.
For one, they’re seamless and they look like actual walls. They have the same look and feel of a traditionally anchored wall, but you can have them dismantled and brought to your next place.
Better still, you can have the walls installed in any configuration, like an odd ‘L’ shape, or with fancy extras like French doors (for added light) or customized to accommodate that giant plasma TV (each side of the wall can hold up to 30 lbs. or more if you specify). They also block out light and noise better.
How it works
Once you contact All Week Walls and explain your needs, a representative will give you a rough estimate of the cost, which starts at $750 for construction and installation. (Unlike some temporary wall companies, All Week Walls does not require customers to pay a security deposit.)
The size, type, and configuration of your desired temporary walls and their materials, like whether you want floor-to-ceiling walls or just partial (one foot from the ceiling) walls and other add-ons like doors, will increase your final cost.
Other things to consider include how much you want to hang from the walls (more weight requires modifications in construction) and whether or not you desire soundproofing, which also increases costs. The typical wait time for your new 5” thick temp walls is about two days, with the busiest time occurring in the summer and early fall when school begins and students attempt to see how many academics can safely cram into one apartment.
We interviewed Donny Zanger, project manager, who explained a few rules and regulations regarding temporary installations in apartments:
- Be sure to clear the installation with the appropriate parties before you rent or buy an apartment. Every management company is different; some may permit temporary installations and provide a list of rules with which you must adhere and others may outright object. Check your lease (if you rent) and ask the management company—do not rely on your real estate agent's assurance. Some management companies will even specify which temporary wall companies you must use.
- Creating another room in your apartment by closing in an interior space requires planning. You must follow New York City building codes. For instance, every room must contain a window. In order for a room to be considered a bedroom, it must be at least 80-square feet. And obviously, your new installation cannot block any entrances or exits or it will never pass a fire inspection. The same is true for not blocking access to ceiling sprinklers and vents.
- Consider all possibilities. If you don’t have the means or the space to really carve out a second or third room, consider using partial walls, which are usually one foot from the ceiling. If you’re really on a budget, consider prefabricated walls with seams, which can be assembled quicker but also have a less polished and more temporary look (All Week Walls builds both seamed and seamless walls). If you need extra privacy, or if you’re creating space for a roommate or live-in household help, consider getting temporary walls with added material for soundproofing.
- With about a month’s notice, All Week Walls will return to dismantle your temp walls for free. If you forget to book that appointment and need a quicker disassembly, it will cost you $350.
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