Room for Improvement

Balconies, bathrooms and, yes, even washer/dryers are bothering New Yorkers

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Adding an extra room, repainting the kitchen and selling the place altogether: five New Yorkers share their home improvement dreams.

  • Wherefore art thou, balcony? My apartment has a Juliet balcony—but the building removed the doors leading out to it and changed them for conventional windows, and now I don’t have use of the balcony. I’d love the get that feature back! It’s a tiny sliver of a space, but I think this feature would make such a huge difference. It would really open up the space and bring in the amazing view. And I’d have room for some potted plants! - Veronique, Hamilton Heights
  • Let it go The rent is very low and it’s a great sized apartment, but we will not be renewing our lease. The whole place needs a makeover, starting with the kitchen where the white paint is yellow with grease and grime. I know from our landlord’s attitude that he will never do any improvements and I’ve got better things to do with my life than fight with him. I hope he then realizes what great tenants we were and regrets that he didn’t do more to keep us! - Carol, Sunnyside, Queens
  • Conversion reversion This apartment is great in almost all respects, not least of all is that we are allowed to have a washer/dryer!  To accommodate this luxury, however, the previous owner got rid of the half-bath—a teeny-tiny water closet, but still—and stuck a gigantic washer/dryer there instead! It looks awful. The washing unit is too large for the space, so they cut away a chunk of the doorframe and wall—and it sticks out into the kitchen by a few inches. The kitchen is just large enough for a washer/dryer, so I can’t imagine what possessed them do it that way instead. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll be converting that space back to a half-bath. -Cara, Washington Heights
  • Growing pains My apartment is so small. Too small. I really wish I could just “grow” another room—then it would be perfect. It’s not completely impossible, since there is a small apartment next door. I know some people have combined apartments here. I’ll just never be able to afford to buy it and do it myself! -Dom, Harlem
  • Irreconcilable differences Well, mostly, I hate my apartment because [I'm getting divorced] and it’s such a huge point of contention and pain. I just want to get rid of it. But now [my ex is] talking about, we should have work done to it first so we can get a better price. What a dumb idea. No work the apartment needs—skim coat, new bathroom, more storage—will be worth it. At best we would break even. -Maria, Upper West Side​

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