Tuesday, September 22, 2015

House Hunting - Which Apartment Would You Choose?

So after looking at a dozen apartments, we narrowed our search down to two.  They are in the same general area, with lots of amenities.  Both of the homes were built in the early 1900's and have that tall, narrow Dutch style.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Which would you choose?

Apartment 1 - Museumplein

This apartment is around the corner from the world famous Musumplein, home to The Rijksmuseum (one of the top 10 in the world per National Geographic), the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedlijk Museum (the Dutch version of MOMA) and the Concertgebouw.  It's a bustling location that exudes energy, next door to restaurants, trams/buses, and shopping.

The apartment is on the 2nd floor (3rd floor to our American brains - 34 steps to be exact!), faces south (so lots of sunlight) and comes furnished.  There are 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two toilets.  As well as a rooftop deck and a balcony.

The living room is nicely sized - but the furniture is enormous, making it difficult to walk through the room.  There is a gas fireplace, which will be wonderful in the winter!  And the ceilings are really high, which makes the rooms seem even bigger.
Marilyn Monroe photos - yeah....I want to look at her everyday!!
The french doors open to a balcony which looks down on the cafe below.  The office is off to to the left of the living room.  

View from balcony to cafe below

What do you think of the bright red kitchen?  At least it has an American sized range!
Dining room with small breakfast room next to the windows
Office space - off of the Living Room
Don't you love this staircase?

Smallest bedroom - no idea why there are so many mattresses!
There are 3 bedrooms upstairs, as well as a sauna, a giant closet with a washer/dryer, and the staircase to the rooftop deck.
Sauna - which apparently doubles as storage for vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies, etc.
Bedroom number two
Check out the light fixture over the bed.  It's blinding when it's on.  There is a nice balcony through the double doors.

This is the hallway bathroom.  I love the sloped walls/ceiling and the exposed timbers.

The front bedroom is really large and like the back bedroom, it has a king sized bed.  Isn't the chandelier gorgeous?  But again, why extra mattresses???

This Jack and Jill bathroom is between the two large bedrooms.  That's the shower off to the right.  And there is no toilet in either bathroom - that's reserved for the toilet room, which is in the hallway so everyone can access it!

The upstairs hall has these double doors with the washer/dryer behind them.  The staircase leads up to the rooftop deck.

View from rooftop - that's the Rijksmuseum in the distance
The Stedlijk Museum is straight ahead, with the Van Gogh museum on the right.
The rooftop deck is pretty amazing, with views of world famous museums and the concert halls in every direction.

Apartment 2 - Old Zuid

This apartment is on a busy tram line, but is a quieter location than apartment 1.  It has 2 bedrooms, two bathrooms (and a toilet in the bathroom - oh my, such a luxury!), and is unfurnished.  Now unfurnished is WAY different than what we are used to.  There is no such thing as a closet here - everyone uses a wardrobe.  So you need to supply wardrobes, light fixtures (yup, there are just connections at the ceiling), furniture, etc.  (Just be thankful this isn't Germany, you need to bring your own kitchen there!).  We need a reconnaissance trip to IKEA to figure out what it would cost to furnish it!

It's a bit bigger than the first one and very contemporary inside - which would be a fun sort of change!  I'm pretty jazzed about that idea.  It's also on the 2nd floor, with a confusing stairway that shares storage space with the neighbors.
The living room is huge, with a gas fireplace and beautiful parquet wood floors.

Look at this kitchen!  It looks like something out of a magazine with an oven, espresso machine and microwave all built in to the cabinetry.  And there is a big refrigerator and freezer (it's the unit on the right side of the cabinet wall)- Hooray!  The only thing I can't figure out is where you store your 'stuff' when you have a streamlined kitchen like this!  The only counter space is on the open island.  I'm not sure we're neat enough for this layout!
There isn't a balcony in this apartment, but the sliders off of the dining room open wide.  
This small office is next to the dining room.  A bit claustrophobic, but the french doors open to the railing.

 Upstairs, there is a decent sized master bedroom.  Again, doors open to a railing - so not as nice as a balcony, but still a great touch.

This is the nicest master bathroom we saw in any apartment, including a toilet, tub and shower.  Oh, and all the bathrooms have those nice wall mounted towel heaters.  That's a nice touch!!

 This is the front bedroom.  I love the angles and beams!  The only tricky part is where would you put a wardrobe?  There is only one blank wall that would really work for a bed - but wardrobes would need to go there too!  Hmmm.......

So these are both great apartment options, with different pros and cons.  Which one would you choose?  Apartment 1?  Or Apartment 2?

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  1. Apartment 1 - it's already furnished, it's laid out nicely (it seems) and has the balconies which make it seem larger. Honestly, the fact that it's furnished is a huge mark in the pro column for me - I wouldn't want to have to deal with furnishing a temporary (even if it is for a few years) apartment. I'd rather gather a few pieces over my time there, that I can take home with me when I leave :) Good luck in whatever you choose - at least both kitchens look amazing!

  2. Apartment 1, for sure. That balcony is going to be where you enjoy coffee in the morning and wine in the evening as the world passes you by. Not to mention the roof top deck, that is amazing!!! There will be no better entertainment space.

    1. Ha ha....and we do love to throw parties! Although our realtor warned us that we'll probably only get to use the roof deck 3 days a year - the weather here is a bit wet!

  3. I think you have to go with #1, as fun as it would be to furnish #2. You're not likely to live there long enough to make the hassle of buying all the furniture...and then selling all the furniture!...worth it. But, as with house hunting TV shows, there are intangibles we can't judge. Like the noise level, access to that fabulous restaurant you just know you're going to go back to over and over again, transportation to the job, etc., etc. So I know you'll be happy with whatever you choose. And please keep blogging. This is wildly thrilling for stick-at-home types like me.

    1. So glad to hear you're enjoying our adventure!!!

  4. I'm a fellow American living in Amsterdam so have loved following along on your adventures here! I would definitely pick #1. It's such a great area, and I think you will appreciate the balcony and deck more than you would ever guess. And to fix the cramped feeling of the living room, I would swap the living room with the dining room. Good luck! (Or as the Dutch say: Succes!)

    1. You're in Amsterdam? What a small world! Thanks for the tips!

  5. I would choose #1 for the experience. I love the views. I think being furnished is a plus since you will be staying there for a limited time. I love the staircase too. I need counters, so I like #1's kitchen better too. I think #2 is a bit claustrophobic looking. It is hard to tell for sure from pictures.
    I am sure either will be wonderful. Looking forward to seeing which one you choose and how you personalize it! Best of luck.

  6. That's a lot of furniture to buy if you go with no 2! i like the red kitchen in 1 too. not forever but it would be fun as a part of your adventure. go with 1 for sure. if you want to replace the huge furniture in 1, you'd still be ahead costwise-only buying a few pieces rather than furnishing the whole. i think you'd get really tired of the lack of storage space in no 2 bedroom too.

  7. by the way, what's the time difference btwn US and Amsterdam?

    1. We are 6 hours ahead! So I'm not quick to respond if you send me notes in the evening :-)

  8. Number one. The light is amazing there!

  9. Another vote for #1 - sorry if your heart is telling you #2. Maybe it's cause I don't have the vision you do but honestly wouldn't you rather enjoy your new surroundings and city rather than how many trips to Ikea (not to mention assembly)? Looking forward to your decision.

  10. I'm in love with apartment 1, swoon! What a beautiful space- balconies, roof top deck, the window architecture, the staircase and lots of light! Being furnished is a huge plus, for all the reasons everyone already mentioned. Plus, the furniture looks unobtrusive so you can still puts lots of your own style into it. Of course, go with your gut and things will work out ;) Thanks again for sharing your journey, so I can live vicariously!

  11. Another vote for #1 for all of the reasons others have noted. No need to spend your "free" time buying things to furnish your living space (you do enough of that when you're renovating in SoPo). Spend that time sightseeing and enjoying Amsterdam (and sharing it with us)!

  12. #1 - better layout; excellent views, access to outside; already furnished. Although what you would do with all those extra mattresses escapes me!

  13. Both are beautiful options, but I would definitely, DEFINITELY choose apartment #1. The furnishings are nice, there is that extra bedroom, and it has kitchen storage and nice big range. #2 is a bit too contemporary for my taste - inside it does not feel as "Dutch," although the outside is very much so. Quieter is nice, but you have chosen to live in the city, and I think the overlook of the cafe and museums would enhance that experience.

  14. #1 !! First, location, location, location. Second, that KITCHEN! Something you would never have the guts to do in your own home, might be fun to live with for a while. LOVE sharing this journey with you, it's so exciting and I'm oozing with jealousy from domestic drudgery over here! I'm knee deep in elementary choir programs and housework, makes me look forward to empty nesting!!

  15. Thanks so much for all the input! I'm a bit amazed at all the votes for #1. We are really agonising over this - pros and cons both ways! We discovered the bar next door to #1 is open until midnight on weekdays and 3 am on weekends. Hmmm.......

    1. Get a nice sound machine - they work wonders!!! ANd, not that it matters cause I'm a little late to the game here, but I would definitely have gone with 1 too. The apt is gorgeous and the location looks absolutely amazing. Be in the middle of the action if you can!! Have fun... and when can we all come visit?!! :-)


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