Kim and I found our apartment. It is a perfect, cozy, newly remodeled one-bedroom on the Upper East Side. Yes I said it, it is a one-bedroom. That means we have to put up a wall to make the living room into a bedroom. This of course didn’t phase us when we were picking places. It’s just typical NYC.
We were lucky enough to have picked an apartment with enough space to convert a full bedroom with room still to spare for an actual living room. We had seen some apartments where the living room – deemed “easily convertible” – was simply not. They were just too small and both the living room and bedroom would turn into closets. Our standards are a little bit higher than the Cupboard Under the Stairs (Harry Potter reference…anyone?).
Putting up a wall is commonplace in the city. Literally everyone does it. You’ve probably been in apartments that you didn’t even realize had a wall put up. It is safe to say that you would think it would be a piece of cake, right? Wrong.
First of all, there are about 29483 pressurized wall companies in NYC, all of which have so-so reviews. How do you choose? They are all the same! We requested quotes from at least 16 companies, all of which had the same price range of $1,000 – 1,100. Word of warning: always look at their photo galleries. They tell you a lot about the company. My company shares space with an architecture firm, so I even asked them for cheap alternatives, but to no avail. We asked our friends and bosses and finally picked the one that popped up the most.
Second of all, it’s illegal. Illegal. Apparently a few years ago, wall-building became illegal due to fire hazard reasons. That clearly doesn’t stop anyone, it just creates yet one more hurdle. We had to tell company after company little white lies like “Yes, our Management Company totally knows” and “Our lease says it’s alright.” Our lease does not say we can have a wall, but also technically does not say we can’t have a wall. When our broker asked our Super he said “what I don’t see, I don’t know about”. Translation: “Go for it, I don’t give a shit”.
Third of all, walls can only be built during business hours on the week days. We all have work, so that’s a whole other issue. And how do we sneak in a man with tools and paint and plaster to build a wall without anyone seeing or hearing?
Through all of the stress, we did end up with a wall we love and are excited about, which officially makes it a habitable two-bedroom.
A few words of wisdom:
- If the company only sends one lonely person, expect to be there for at least 9 hours. If they send two people, it may be about 5.
- Prepare a plan of payment before they show up. It’s a little stressful when the wall is done and you have to figure out how to connect via ChaseQuickPay or eventually run to the bank.
- Send them a photo of the space that the wall will go in. Our wall needed to be shaped to fit in an archway, so this helped them see what they were up against.
- They might be 1.5 hours early. Plan accordingly.
- Slip the Super some $$$ or cookies ahead of time, just to get on his good side. He doesn’t need to know what this is for.