September 28, 2013

House Hunters: J+J+J

Description: Jodie loves her adopted city of Chicago so much that she's decided to buy her first home. She wants a loft space close to work with high ceilings and character, two bedrooms, a gym and a view. But her budget may not match up with reality. Luckily, she has her sister-in-law, Jamie, and her childhood-friend-turned-agent, Josh, to help her navigate the city's condo market.
Available on

So today's house hunter is Jodie.

Jodie says she's 31. I'll eat my hat if she actually is 31. Some facts about her that I don't dispute is that she works in ad sales and is originally from St. LouisNellyville. She enjoys "running on the lake." Running on the lake, Jesus?

Helping her with her house hunt is her sister-in-law Jamie.

Jamie has bought homes in Chicago before, so I guess this makes her an expert or something? I don't know; she seems like one of those women who gave up her job when she had kids and now like thinks she's an expert at organizing and decorating and like anything home-related and that like gluing a strand of beads to the bottom of a lamp shade is the equivalent to actually having a career in interior design.

Jodie's realtor is her friend from Nellyville, Josh.

J+J+J discuss Jodie's wish list. She wants a timber loft with skyline views, high ceilings, an open floor plan, and an updated kitchen in River North for $300,000. Josh doesn't know if she's going to be able to get all of that for $300,000 in River North.

And the camera pulls back and there are like 17 other people at the table.

House #1 is a 1 bed, 1 bath 900 square foot condo in River North for $290,000. Jodie doesn't like that there's only one bedroom, but there is a gym in the building, which she wanted. 

Josh holds the door open for Jodie and then Jamie starts to walk in and Josh totally cuts her off. It was amusing.

Jodie likes the kitchen and the black appliances, but Jamie says, "It's not stainless steel, which we were kind of hoping for." We?

The living room is right there too, so Jodie got the open floor plan she wanted.

Josh points out she has city views off the balcony. As long as you lean over the railing. 

The bedroom isn't as big as Jodie wants and she doesn't like that there isn't any natural light. I have a window in my bedroom that's only there to comply with the fire code and it opens to a wall, so there's no sunlight ever, but it's awesome because you're not woken up by the stupid sun at 5:15 in the morning. 

Jodie isn't sure about the size of the whole space, but Jamie says, "You're not gonna live here forever. You're gonna end up in the suburbs one day with me." I saw this episode with my mom - who's like the nicest, least judgmental person - the last time I was at my parents' house and after Jamie said that my mom was like, "Ok, I hate her." According to my mom, you never move out of the city. Although it should be noted that we spent 11 years not in Chicago because of my dad's job.

House #2 is a 2 bed, 2 bath 1300 square foot condo in the west loop for $265,000. The building has a ton of amenities, including a freakin basketball court. Always go with the place that has a basketball court. 

This place is called Haberdasher Square? Amazing!

The condo has a large combined living room/dining room/kitchen. Jodie really likes the tin ceiling, and I agree.

The kitchen is pretty dated and not updated like Jodie wanted. And if you have to add an ugly support beam to your countertops, maybe reconsider going with concrete.

Jamie talking heads that "From all my past experience, I know that kitchens and baths are the biggest expenses." From all my HGTV viewing, I know that too. It's really just common knowledge at this point.

Jodie thinks the walls in the second bedroom are "very, very cool." Really? But...

"There's no door on this bedroom and the ceiling aren't even finished. Do you think that's going to be noisy for my guests?" Does Jodie even know what a loft is? Has anyone in this family ever even seen a chicken?

I really like the juxtaposition of the feminine decor of the master bedroom with the masculinity of the loft style. Jodie likes the size of the bedroom and the walk-in closet. But...

The master bathroom is pretty gross looking.

Jodie says she mostly likes the loft but is "disappointed in the cabinetry." Can you be "disappointed in" an inanimate object? You can be disappointed with it, but I'm fairly certain you can only be disappointed in people. Like my mom was when my sister was in college and drank too much one night and then overslept the next day and missed her bus from Urbana to Chicago, thereby missing my high school graduation. It's funny when your siblings screw up. Anyway, Jamie says she's "a little nervous about the location" of the loft. It's the west loop, not Humboldt Park, for Christ's sake.

Fucking yoga, of course.

House #3 is another loft in the sketchy west loop. It has 2 beds and 2 baths in 1150 square feet for $295,000. 

There's a skyline view from the living room that Jodie and Jamie just love. Jamie says, "This is like the ideal Chicago view, Jodie." And Jodie replies, "This like epitomizes everything I love about this city." And here is why people like Jodie and Jamie suck. They don't want to love a woman with a broken nose; they just want to live near tall buildings and trendy restaurants and overpriced boutiques and try to be as Sex and the City as they can be without having to move to New York. Remember when people who suck just stayed in the suburbs because they were scared of cities? Yeah...

Anyway, back inside the apartment, Jodie thinks the living room is too small and says she's "a little nervous about this overall living space." Jodie and Jamie seem to be "a little nervous" about a lot of things.

They check out the second bedroom and Jamie says that there is "not room for a bed," while literally standing next to a bed.

Thankfully the master bedroom is bigger than the second bedroom, but there's no door.

Again, it's a loft. You're lucky there are walls.

J+J+J go for a glass of wine+wine+wine and they discuss Jodie's three options. House #1 had a gym in the building and is close to Jodie's work, but it's small and there's only one bedroom. House #2 has that cute tin ceilings and has the 2 beds and 2 baths she wants, but the kitchen and bathroom need updating. House #3 had good views and 2 beds and 2 baths, but she didn't like the size of the living area. 

Jodie picks #2, which is the one I would have gone with too.

One month later Jamie and the fam visit Jodie and they say "Hiiiiiiiiiiiii" for like a really long time.

Jamie's painted over the stripes and I don't think this looks good. If you're going to do a contrast wall it should either be a completely different color, like three white walls and one green wall, or in a similar shade, like peacock blue and, well, a lighter shade of peacock blue. These two colors are way too random and don't relate to each other at all.

September 15, 2013

House Hunters: See My Vest

Description: Megan is looking for her first home in Boulder, CO.
Available on Hulu

So today's house hunter is 28-year-old Megan.

She moved to Boulder from Sacramento nine months ago and she owns upwards of three vests. She also owns two cats and a bird and I think it's really jerky to own birds. If something has the ability to fly, why are you gonna lock it in a cage?

Megan loves Boulder. She says, "I feel that my personality was made to flourish somewhere like Boulder," which I think means she's a hippie.

And this vest isn't disproving what I just wrote. Helping her with her house hunt is her friend Laura. 

Megan's realtor is Summer Youngs, and that has to be a fake name, right? I got a call at work recently from a guy in a southern state who had an Indian accent and he said his name was Dennis O'Brien and I was like, "Dude, your name is not Dennis O'Brien." I'm a Mc, so I know from O's. But if I were an Indian guy living in the south, I would probably change my name too.

Anyway, Megan qualified for Boulder's affordable housing program, which means she gets a discount on certain housing and that property is guaranteed to have one to three percent annuity each year. 

Megan's wish list includes: 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, room for a dining table, and in-unit laundry for $90,000-$110,000. Ideally she would like to be near downtown.

On a fashion note, if it's warm enough for short shorts, it's too warm for a knit scarf. And if it's cold enough for a knit scarf, it's too cold for short shorts.

Of course Megan is the kind of person who would hug her realtor. I understand hugging your friends, but your realtor? Come on, let's be professional, Megan.

Anyway, house #1 is a 1 bed 1 bath 740 square foot condo close to downtown for $105,000. 

The entry way opens to the kitchen to the left and the living room in front. Megan likes the amount of natural light.

Laura points out the countertops are laminate and that granite would be nicer and Megan agrees. I guess even hippies want granite. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would expect granite for $105,000.

Laura's concerned that there isn't enough room for a dining table and then Megan starts describing how she could use a pub table instead of a full size table and she's using the sort of voice you would use if you were describing something elaborate that not everyone will understand and not, you know, a table. Laura says that Megan is a designer so she'll figure it out, but based on her outfits I don't have too much faith in Megan's design skills.

The bedroom is another rectangular room with the same non-descript walls and carpeting. Megan's concerned about the size of the room because she wantes to upgrade her bed to queen size. You can totally fit a queen size bed in that room.

There's a washer and dryer and walk-in closet in the bedroom and Laura says of the three doors in the hallway, "you kind of have to plan how you close your doors." I guess, if for some reason you had to have all three doors open at once.

The one bathroom in the apartment is in the bedroom, which I would hate because then you would have to clean your bedroom whenever you had guests over.

House #2 is a 740 square foot 1 bed 1.5 bath condo in northern Boulder for $111,000. The condos are still under construction, so they check out a model unit.

And I'm totally turning into my mom because I thought, "Be careful, there's no railing."

The laundry and half bath are right at the front door.

The kitchen is off the front hallway and open to the living room. Once finished, this kitchen will also have proletariat laminate countertops. 

Summer points out the "contemporary windows" and Megan responds that they're "a fun little feature." Is Megan using fun to mean ugly, because that's the only word that makes sense. Seriously, builders, that's dumb-looking. 

The entire window situation in the living room is tragic. These windows would drive me nuts.

There's a view of the mountains from the balcony off the living room and the window in the bedroom.

Boulder really has a thing for non-descript rectangular rooms. This is the bedroom, which does not have crazy windows.

There's an en-suite full bathroom.

Megan likes the apartment even though it's not in the downtown location she wanted. Megan says northern Boulder is "a little slower paced than downtown."

Yeah, that does seem pretty fast paced and energetic and not at all like Disney World's main street.

House #3 is a 1 bed 1 bath 600 square foot condo for $112,000 near downtown Boulder.

This apartment has neighbors on both sides and above and below. Personally, I would not live in an apartment that has a front door that opens directly to the outside. Especially in a cold location and especially if you own a cat. 

Is Megan wearing a romper? Lord.

Whoever lives here has terrible furniture. And why would you put the couch on the shortest wall in the living room?!

The kitchen is small, but Megan and Laura like the cabinets and countertops.

The bathroom is off the hallway to the bedroom, so people won't have to go through the bedroom to get to the bathroom.

Megan likes that the bedroom is large and has plenty of room for a queen size bed. I can understand wanting a big bedroom if you have roommates. No matter how much you love your roommates, you still need a space of your own. But if you're living by yourself, who cares? You've got the whole place to yourself.

Megan and Laura discuss the condos they've just seen. House #1 gets lots of light and has an in-unit washer and dryer, but it's pretty close to the University of Colorado. House #2 is brand new and has a nice view of the mountains, but it's not in the downtown location Megan wanted. House #3 has a big bedroom but no in-unit washer and dryer.

Megan chooses house #1.

And she seems to have based her bedroom color scheme on her vests. And I must add, that bedding does not go with those walls at all.