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What is it like to live in an apartment?

Posted by Girlygirl_1 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 20, 05 at 9:27

Hi!
Im doing a post-graduate course in industrial (product) design and am currently doing a project on apartment living. The purpose of the project is to find out problems and needs in apartment living and design something which caters for those needs. Its hard to find this kind of information through research in books and magazines, so Id like to post some guideline questions on this site to get you thinking so you can express your opinions on what youve found through your experiences living in apartments. I have read through this site and find it helpful, however I want to obtain more info. Thanks for doing this; hopefully Ill be able to come up with an awesome design which will improve apartment living for many people! Any info at all would be great!

Firstly I just need some background research
Age
Gender
Size of apartment
Facilities available in apartment complex

What bothers you about living in an apartment?
Common problem areas seem to be noise, limited space, no outside area for pets or garden, maintenance and landlords and undesirable neighbours. Have you experienced these or other problems not mentioned?

How do you use your living space?

What appeals to you about living in an apartment?

What needs for apartment living do you see that designers should take into account?

What would you like in an apartment, perhaps that you dont have?

Excellent! If you want to answer any or all of these questions, or just say anything that youve noticed in apartment living, I would love to hear it. Thanks for you time!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Age: 29
Gender: Female
Size of apartment: 2 bedroom, about 1000 sq. feet
Facilities available in apartment complex: pool, gym equipment

What bothers you about living in an apartment?

What bothers me the most is noise from my neighbors, and from nearby pets. I also dislike the feeling that it's not really my space -- can't paint, can't change out the carpet or flooring, etc. I like the layout of this current apartment -- lots of space, storage, etc. but I've lived in ones in the past that weren't so great.

Common problem areas seem to be noise, limited space, no outside area for pets or garden, maintenance and landlords and undesirable neighbours. Have you experienced these or other problems not mentioned?

I've definitely dealt with noise. I once lived next to some neighbors that had a) a retarded child that would spend her days beating her feet and fists against the adjoining wall. They also bought this child a piano, which she would often try to "play". b) a bird that would sit there all day making this really annoying sound. c) a barking dog. d) teenage sons that would blast their stereo at all hours of the day. These were the best neighbors ever!

Then there were the neighbors that installed surround sound in their apartment. These apartment walls were so thin that when they had sex, we could hear every sound they were making, and could hear their conversations as if they were in the room. So yeah...surround sound in such an environment, not so good. They also had a barking dog that they left outside all day, and it never shut up.

My current place is not so bad -- a few barking dogs now and then, a few thumps now and then from upstairs, but that's about it. I can live with just about every other possible apartment inconvenience, but unreasonable noise is what really gets my goat.

How do you use your living space?

We use one bedroom to sleep, the other as an office. The living room has our giant television and game consoles in it. I'd say we split our time between the three rooms pretty equally.

What appeals to you about living in an apartment?

Not much. That's why I'm buying a house this summer. About the only thing appealing is that you don't have to take care of a lawn, or deal with maintenance yourself.

What needs for apartment living do you see that designers should take into account?

Major soundproofing in walls and floors! People live different lives than they used to -- they play loud music, install surround sound, and have unruly children. Apartment builders need to take that into consideration, and stop using such cheap materials.

What would you like in an apartment, perhaps that you dont have?

Nothing in my current apartment. I'm rather happy in this one. It's pretty decent as far as apartments go (notwithstanding getting flooded several times in the past week.)


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Wow, I can't believe how similar my answers are to rivkadr's!

Age: 49

Gender: Female

Size of apartment: 2 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths, approx. 1000 sq. feet

Facilities available in apartment complex: playground, swimming pool.

"What bothers you about living in an apartment?"

Noises/smells from adjacent apartments.

"Common problem areas seem to be noise, limited space, no outside area for pets or garden, maintenance and landlords and undesirable neighbours. Have you experienced these or other problems not mentioned?"

Noise, yes, as I mentioned. This place is much nicer than some I've stayed in. The builders used a layer of "air-entrained" concrete on the subfloors to dampen sound transmission between floors, and sound-proof walls between adjacent units. However, they installed forced-air heating/AC ducts in the ceilings/floors which allows smells from one apartment to infiltrate others.

Space is more than adequate (by apt. standards), maintenance has been good, landlord is nice, plenty of parking, and nice grounds.

"How do you use your living space?"

I sleep in the master bedroom, and the smaller bedroom serves as my business office. (Yes, I run a business out of my apartment, but it is just an engineering/design consulting business, and no one seems bothered by it.) Don't use the living/dining area much anymore, but there is a nice balcony that I often use in warm weather.

"What appeals to you about living in an apartment?"

Like rivkadr said, not a whole lot. Thank God I just closed on a house this week, and will be moving by the end of May! It's nice not having to worry about maintenance in an apartment, but I do enjoy a certain amount of yard work. Also, in an apartment you don't pay PROPERTY TAX, and insurance costs are much less.

"What needs for apartment living do you see that designers should take into account?"

Echoing rivdadr: Major soundproofing in walls and floors! There needs to be a whole different set of design standards when planning for multi-family dwellings, specifically to address noise transmission and infiltration. This is such an important criterion, that others do not even bear mentioning.

"What would you like in an apartment, perhaps that you dont have?"

A Garage, and an area to wash cars.

Paula


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

I work in the Apartment Management industry. This may offer you a different perspective. Apartment structural designs vary and depending on customer needs can have a direct effect on their decision to rent, but when it all comes down to it, price. Apartment communities can offer you amenities such as fitness centers, pools, spas, sport courts, activities, cable, wi-fi internet, etc. and raise the rent for having these options. Rent control is a plus for the renter. For your use, I recommend noise reduction, space savers (stackable washer/dryer)(murphy beds). Anything that you can hide in a wall and pull down is a great feature. Flooring, wall treatments that can save on carpet and paint costs. Overall, think cost and maintenance reduction. As for the renters.... any suggestions they make will end up costing you money. :) Hope this helps.


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Condominium and apartment-living is the wave of the future with 78 million boomers retiring--sooner rather than later.

What is difficult to fatham is why every new condominium, and many apartment communities MUST have:

1 A 24 hour concierge. A 24/7 concierge requires three employees with a minimum $70,000 expenditure.

2. Multi-internet connections at the swimming pool. Can anyone imagine renting an apartment without internet connections by the diving board?????? I sure can't.

3. A wine cellar. Of course, stocked with circa 1713 vintage wine.

4. Three swimming pools-- olympic, junior-olympic, and wading. The number of pools means everything. POOL BACTERIA MEANS NOTHING.

5. Fitness centers. Some of the fitness centers are a joke. Sorry, A THIGH MASTER is NOT a fitness machine. Nor a butt-master.

6. Valet parking. Having an 18 year old jerk, with a tongue ring, nose ring, and an eyebrow ring, drive my car is a joyous thought.

The above ameneties are nice, but they are EXPENSIVE. I live in a condo complex with a pool and a tennis court. My best guess is that 90% of the condo owners do not swim in the pool or play tennis. I don't, and yet these amenities cost money--lots of money.

One 20 story plus hi-rise, upscale condo complex close to me was built without a pool and fitness center. WHAT A GREAT, GREAT NOVEL IDEA. NO! NO! NO!

Why pay monthly fees of $150 ( the fee in 1992 without a pool ) when a new olympic indoor pool and fitness center bump the monthly fees up to $450 plus ( 2005 ). Of course, the higher the price of the condo the more the monthly fees--$600, $700 plus. I am sure the special pool assessment had Mark Spitz and Ester Williams swimming two more laps.

A concierge IS more important than sound-proofing!!!!!!! Valet parking IS more important than quality construction!!!!!!!!

Why can't condo builders just focus on construction quality.

Screw apartment and condo
builders.


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

25
female
650 SF 1 BR condo (For real estate purposes, it's a 2BR, but I can't fathom using it that way. If I rented, it would definitely be called an apartment!)
a few amenities, but I don't use them (dog area, bike storage room, parking)

I love:
The convenience. I could never afford a house so close to the city.
Having close neighbors that look out for me and feed the cats while I'm out of town.

I don't love:
The neighbor below me, who "works at home" with her subwoofer.
The floorplan. So many bad uses of space.

I wish I had:
a large, lovely soaking tub.

I've lived here 2 years, and it's very much my space - it would be quite difficult to add another person to the mix.


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Age: 23
Gender: Female
Size of apartment: 1000 sq feet
Facilities available in apartment complex: Pool, gym, business center, playground.

What bothers you about living in an apartment?
A: Loud neighbors! Having to share common walls (and ceilings) with strangers. Parking lots basically a recreation area.

Common problem areas seem to be noise, limited space, no outside area for pets or garden, maintenance and landlords and undesirable neighbours. Have you experienced these or other problems not mentioned?
A: Absoultely! My upstairs neighbor stomps around all the time and likes to do her chores in the middle of the night when I'm trying to sleep. Neighbors throughout apartment building play loud music and slam doors all day.

How do you use your living space?
A: To live!

What appeals to you about living in an apartment?
A: No yard work, flexibility.

What needs for apartment living do you see that designers should take into account?
A: Thickness of the walls. I think they should install concrete between floors and walls so that sounds cannot transmit as well to other apartments.

What would you like in an apartment, perhaps that you dont have?
A: To live in a top floor unit!


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Age-26
Gender-female
Size of apartment-2 bed, 2 bath
Facilities available in apartment complex-laundry, garbage, recycling, parking

What bothers you about living in an apartment?
Common problem areas seem to be noise, limited space, no outside area for pets or garden, maintenance and landlords and undesirable neighbours. Have you experienced these or other problems not mentioned? - It is always nicer to live away from others in a house, but I just deal with neighbors. I figure if I put up with occasional loudness from them, they will put up with occasional loudness from me.

How do you use your living space? I am careful not to collect too much, try to be organized about space/storage

What appeals to you about living in an apartment? it is cheaper and less responsibility.

What needs for apartment living do you see that designers should take into account? soundproofing is important

What would you like in an apartment, perhaps that you dont have? more storage


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Hi all!
Thanks to your comments I have come up with a multipurpose, customisable storage device specifically intended for apartment residents. I have included a link to an image of my design and would once again love to hear your opinions, as it is not my final design and I have yet to make improvements on it. To help me with this, I have included a few questions below.

Age -
Gender -

Do you feel that design would be useful to you?
Do you think it is visually appealing?
Which features do you like?
Which features dont you like?
Are there other features you would like the design to incorporate?
Is there another way you would like to personalise your apartment through furniture?

Here is a link that might be useful: Photobucket.com


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Age: 42
Gender: F
Size of apartment: 2 bd split bath 850 sq ft.
Facilities available in apartment complex: Swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, excercise room, covered parking, free r.v. parking, water, tash, and sewage pd for. Clubhouse with pool table, cable t.v. with dvd and surround sound. We have movie night once a month.. and have a singles club for those who wish to meet other singles in the complex. Monthly newsletter is sent out every month.

What bothers you about living in an apartment?
Rarely but sometimes noise. But I live in a good entryway and because I manage the complex I live in, my neighbors behave.

How do you use your living space?
I live in it.. With my two boys. The master bedroom has become my boy's main living space. Entertainment center, ect...

What appeals to you about living in an apartment?
I don't have to pay for repairs.. If my fridge dies, they replace it. I hate yardwork, apartment complex does that.

What needs for apartment living do you see that designers should take into account? For the most part, I love my apartment it is.

What would you like in an apartment, perhaps that you dont have? I wish I had a dishwasher.


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Girlygirl, your design looks attractive but it's not clear how the shelving is attached to the backing material. Could shelves fill up all the available space above the desk? Could the whole unit also be used as a room divider?

You did not mention a budget or marketing plan, but you might also consider describing the types of potential materials and finishes, not to mention sizes.

It seems that the modular, multipurpose furniture available today has a modernist style and is either cheaply made or very high end. If you could invent something customizable which considers the very diverse tastes, ages and income levels of apartment dwellers, it could be quite successful.


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Apartment Living

I just moved from a house to an apartment. I am saving over $500 per month in utilities and maintainance. I really love apartment living.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sound Click


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Ripper330, I noticed you commented that anything the renters have to say will cost you money. I suppose that's an "interesting" way of looking at the customer service end of things in the rental business. So let me ask you this....would you rather have a cheaply made building that people don't like to live in so they:

1) leave as soon as their lease allows them to so there is a constant turn over of units, cleaning costs, repair costs, etc
2) get frustrated and stop paying their rent
3) get frustrated and trash the place above and beyond the security deposit meaning you have to waste time going after them for the balance
4) spread word around town about how aweful the place is and units sit empty

OR you can listen to what renters are looking for and have:

1) units that lease quickly and STAY leased by good people
2) continuous income because people are happy to pay to stay there
3) a better chance at a sense of community by people looking to keep a good thing good which general means your building will be better taken care of by the people living there
4) more free time because people will be complaining to you less about how aweful the place is!

Those are just my thoughts but if you want to look at the business from a used car salesman perspective...well, you're the one who'll lose in the end.


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RE: What is it like to live in an apartment?

Age > 49
Gender F
Size of last apt 1 br, LR, DR
Facilities: off street parking, shared basement laundry hook up

1. Worst noise is due to lack of firewall between units
2. space? Normal furniture is too big. A regular dresser is too deep. 1 foot deep would open up space. Sofas have high thick arms and backs. If you move you must buy new furniture. I had an apt with wide, but not deep closet of shelves which I used instead of dresser. Deep shelves are awkward. You tend not to use items stored in back

3. no outside area for pets, garden - worse is lugging shopping bags long distances to the apt or garbage to dumpster, or laundry to washers. In my house, I can drive to side door.

4. maintenance - Helps if apt is designed to be cleanable. One clever landlord installed with screws a hard surface 'backsplash' behind stove and on side of stove. That area gets disgusting. Landlord would replace backsplash when tenant moved out. Laminated or coated wire shelves are more cleanable than painted shelves.
5. undesirable neighbours - houses have it too but this is reason I'll never live in apt again, after tenant below set up drug lab. You don't know what vulnerable is until chemical fumes seep thru floor and apt owner doesn't want to deal with problem.

I loved apt living before this

6. what needs do you see? True apt-scaled furniture that looks like real furniture - less deep cabinetry, low sofa arms, easy to disassemble

I lived in lux apt with rebar/concrete walls, floors that eliminate fire danger, fumes, sounds. Had a serious security system with cameras, guards. One problem was installing window treatments. Why can't they have a replaceable sturdy wood molding above windows to which people could affix window treaments without damaging walls or trim

Your design is cute, like dorm furniture. I had a storage ottoman in my apt and could never get people to sit on it for long. They all wanted a sofa or armchair for real sitting

I wonder if it is easy to buy kitchen cabinet doors at places like home depot. If you had a storage unit scaled for livingroom/bedroom that would accept kitchen cabinet doors from home stores, then people could customize modern or traditional and choose any colors. They could even recycle old doors.

On HGTV I saw a designer create a desk unit in a wide closet by removing the doors and installing a length of laminated kitchen counter, you know the type with the backsplash, by building supports underneath. What if you designed an adjustable size frame with legs that could support a length of countertop? Persons could get the slab cut at the home store to exact size and build a perfect desk, maybe add kitchen cabinet doors to the front if you had a shelving unit that could accept such doors as part of the frame. Such a desk could be disassembled for moving, or changing the countertop/doors

I appreciate that people are out there listening to suggestions and trying to improve things


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