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A Downtown Loft Apartment Bldg Goes Chic
Designs by: Shoshana Gosselin,
When this downtown Allentown brick warehouse building was converted to loft style apartments my team and I were hired to ‘glam up’ the lobby, two empty model apartments, along with the main hallway, and a community atrium- to help potential tenants visualize how they could live there. Loft living can be very cool if designed right. You have high ceilings, great concrete floors and exposed pipes to work with. But you have to worry that the spaces do not end up looking cold and uninviting.
Our goal was to create a warm, contemporary urban vibe for young hip professionals in this urban area. We got to work right away. Once our design plan was approved we had three weeks to complete the project on a budget. Our paint crew rolled on the colors while SJ and I, in baseball caps and sneakers, purchased, assembled and placed all the furniture and decor. And with some help from a contractor from heaven, all of our wishes came true (minus the broken mirrors and stressed out moments)!! Continue Reading
The Uptown model apartment is a rich blend of bold color and shiny finishes. A place for a young sophisticated executive to host after work happy hours and . We brought in that red orange, along with deep grays, to play off the shimmering finishes and exposed pipes. Warm deep colors can bring down the size of tall walls, to make room feel comfortable. To keep the space from feeling overwhelmed with color we broke it up with some white walls in between.
To take advantage of the main space we floated a good amount of seating in the center of the room, utilizing as much floor space as possible that would other wise be unused. Using light colored upholstery and a thin metal framed coffee table keeps the loft space feeling open and airy. The oversized shiny chandelier above not only offers greater brightness when natural is limited, but offers an industrial chic addition, that now compliments the exposed piping. We also used a buffet as the media center to get more storage out of it.
Via: Designs by Shoshana
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Below another Bethlehem Pa. apartment, a loft at the Silk Mill Loft Apartments
Any room in a Bethlehem Pa apartment can use great design choices and one of my favorite chairs is the French Bergere style chair. I have a gorgeous one in our bedroom, with matching ottoman, in a pale woven tapestry with light wood. It is simply scrumptious to sit in and read with its down-filled cushions. Here are some of my favorite finds online that would be great in any Bethlehem Pa apartment and bit of Bergere history. Image above is an antique reproduction of a French Louis XV bergere via Haqure.
Color choices for a Bergere chair for your Bethlehem Pa apartment are important. Of course I couldn’t resist this chartreuse-colored Fauteuil Bergere style via Deco en Vogue.
Built for royalty, the French Bergere Chair was originally designed in the early 1700s, inspired by Louis XIV of France. These overstuffed elegantly built, comfortable chairs were used in sitting rooms and bedrooms, and were often moved about the mansions for party use. The grand comfort and beautiful presentation of these chairs and ottomans have endured the centuries in interior furniture design and are still very popular. Refurbished and classic reproductions are less expensive than the original antiques of course. Above is the traditional beige chair and ottoman by Hickory White.
In contrast, this black Fauteuil Bergere Louis XV reproduction is a gorgeous choice with a more daring Bethlehem apartments living space.
Grand Bergere chair and ottoman by Century Furniture.
Upholstery of your Bergere chair for your Bethlehem apartment will be chosen to suit your apartment design. A more French Country feel in your living space will call for a chair like this soft yellow printed one. Via Apartment Therapy.
My Bergere and ottoman was made by Fairfield Chair Company in North Carolina. It cost around $1500 twenty years ago when we bought it. Here is a gorgeous design for your Bethlehem apartment, Louisa Bergere Chair from Ballard Designs. $600
When you share an apartment there are many things to consider. We’ve gone over Roommate Agreements, the pros and cons of having a roommate, and also how to interview a new roommate. Now it’s time to look at ways to make sharing an apartment a successful endeavor.
Look at this scenario. You’ve moved into your new Bethlehem apartment and you interviewed and found the perfect roommate. She’s a great person with similar interests, very honest, comes from a nice family, likes to watch Mad Men with you, and has a cat that you actually like. She plays the violin and doesn’t practice at midnight but only during the times the two of you have agreed upon. You and your roommate have been equally sharing the expenses for your new Bethlehem apartment and everything seems to be going fine.
But the inevitable has happened. You are in the midst of a disagreement, you are not completely sure what’s wrong, and your roommate has stopped talking to you. She slams her door often, and she won’t let her cat out of her room, so the poor thing is meowing a lot, and this bothers you as well. You are late for work. You don’t have time for this drama. You leave all the dishes unwashed even though it’s your turn to do them, and you purposely used your roommate’s expensive shampoo this morning, a big handful, just to annoy her. At this rate, you know the crap will hit the fan, no doubt about it.
What to do?
The first thing to consider is that retaliation is never the answer. And neither is silence. You have to talk to your roommate and make clear what you don’t understand, what you feel, and what you need. And, you have to do this as soon as possible.
The following are some effective ways to handle a conflict.
- First, always stay calm when confronting your roommate. Ask him or her to talk when they are ready. Speak openly and honestly and focus only on the problem that concerns you both at the present moment. Keep on this topic. Do not deviate into other things that may be bothering you. This will side-track the conversation, and hinder progress in solving your issue.
- Ask: What can we do together to change the present situation? Be respectful of each others’ opinion and try to understand the others’ point of view.
- Once you know what the other is thinking and what they want, avoid using attack words. Make sure both of you are on the same issue and use positive, helpful words to explain your view.
- If you just cannot see eye to eye on the issue at hand, it may be necessary to bring in a mediator. This is a person who does not live in the apartment, and does not hold a special friendship with either of you. Consider someone who would stay neutral when hearing each point of view. An outside person perhaps can see deeper into your problem and offer suggestions to help the two of you balance out your conflict.
With thoughtfulness, honesty, and calmness, handling a conflict, though not a pleasant thing to do, can be easier and less stressful on both yourself and your roommate and make sharing an apartment a great experience.
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One of the best ways to share your apartment peacefully is for you and your new roommate to put together a Roommate Agreement. This agreement can be as formal or informal as you want, as long as you both agree to the terms presented. Both parties (or more if you share your space with 2 or more people) should sign the agreement, promising to uphold the issues presented. You and your roommate should sit down and take some time to address the issues that below and write up your agreement according to the specifications of your living space, as well as your personal preferences.
In the long run having this agreement as a reminder of each of your responsibilities will ease tension when disagreements happen. All childishness and drama will be set aside, and you and your roommate will live together peacefully…and have fun too!
The following are some things to consider when forming your Roommate Agreement:
- Expenses. This for many is the hardest issue, but once things are made clear as to who is responsible to pay for what life together will be easier. With respect for each other decide on the rent payment division, food and grocery expenses, and any subsequent utility expenses such as electricity, garbage pick up, or parking.
- Storage Spaces. If your apartment, like many, is limited to closet and cabinet space, thoughtful division for personal items will be helpful. Examine all the storage areas together and agree to who will use what space. Keep the space division as equal as possible. This includes kitchen cabinets, refrigerator shelf space, bathroom cabinets, closets, and the entertainment center if you have one, and any built-in shelving.
- Space of Apartment in General. Consider what areas of the apartment are shared, like kitchen, living room, and bathroom, and what areas are considered private space, such as your bedroom. Agree to how each of you will approach the others’ private space and adhere to this agreement.
- Personal Items. It is most important to consider what items are to be shared and what items are to be kept for individual personal use. Decide how all food items will be shared and be respectful. If one of you has dietary issues this could be very important. Also make agreements on other personal items like shampoos, towel usage, and other grooming essentials like blow dryer use. Apply labels to items that are personal so there is no confusion.
- Cleanliness. If both of you are neat freaks I see no problems! But, as with normal living, not all of us are neat 100% of the time. Make an agreement to keep the place looking neat by not leaving unnecessary items around the shared spaces, like clothing, used dishes, ashtrays, magazines, etc. Also, and most importantly, make a chore list for each of your weekly responsibilities to keep the apartment clean. These chores can be rotated weekly or to your own preferences. In this way each of you will be clear on who is responsible for what and held accountable. Post the list in the kitchen area, or somewhere visible as a reminder to get things done.
- Noise issues. Make rules to acceptable noise levels for certain times of day. If you or your roommate is a musician, make agreements to when and where you will each practice your instrument and at what times of day so as not to inconvenience the other. Other things to consider are music playing and TV watching and the volume used for each.
- Parties and Overnight guests. Another thing to consider is when and how often each of you will have overnight guests or parties. Set agreeable limits. Decide on how much notice needs to be given to your roommate when planning a party or having someone stay over. It’s no fun to wake up and make your way half naked to the kitchen for coffee, only to find some strange guy sitting there. Be sure to inform your roommate beforehand when having someone over. This way no surprises or problems will arise. Planning to have a party together will be tons of fun and with each of you informed properly, with enough time to make arrangements for it or otherwise, this will keep the occasion from getting ruined with a disagreement.
Hope you found some of these suggestions interesting and useful. If you are already sharing an apartment, there is no reason not to incorporate a Roommate Agreement into your present arrangement. This will inevitably help to remove potential conflicts. Thanks for reading.
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Finding a roommate to share your Allentown apartment can be a difficult task, but one of the key strategies on your search is to meet the potential roommate in person and interview them. They in turn may do the same. I discovered through experience some interesting questions that you should include on your questionnaire and thought I’d share.
image: Cafe by Stockholm Syndrome
As protocol for the meet up, make sure you decide on a public place to have the interview, especially if this is a stranger responding to your ad for a roommate. Make it a comfortable place, where you can have a coffee or tea and get to know each other. Avoid bars and liquor. You want to have a clear head and a clear atmosphere. Also, I suggest you meet during the day if possible, on a weekend perhaps if you both work full time, or during a lunch hour.
Open your meeting with a nice greeting, and a handshake. First impressions? Take notes in your mind when you can. Your first impression will take you far. Trust them. An immediate bad feeling can be telling you something. When you sit down, don’t be afraid to bring out your list and take notes. This is your place you want to share after all. You will want to find someone truly compatible to make life easier, not more stressful. With that said, here are the questions:
- Have you shared an apartment with someone before?
- Was the person you roomed with a relative, girlfriend or boyfriend, co-worker, or friend?
- Why did you decide to move out?
- Was there any problem with your previous roommate?
- Do you have a full time job?
- What are you work hours?
- Do you do any work at home? How often?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you use recreational drugs or alcohol?
- Are you in a serious relationship? Will your boyfriend or girlfriend be staying over and how often?
- Do you have a special diet that you follow, vegetarian, diabetic, vegan, or any other?
- Are you religious? Does your religious principles effect you daily living and how so?
- Do you consider yourself a neat person or carefree and sloppy?
- Will you be will to do a share of the chores to maintain a neat and clean apartment?
- Will you share the cost of cleaning products for the apartment?
- Are you willing to work out and divide the cost of a grocery list each week?
- Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
- Friends? How many?
- Will your friends visit a lot, and do you like to throw parties for your friends? (This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the two of you are in agreement!)
- Do you watch much television? What do you watch? How often?
- What time do you usually go to bed, and what time do you get up?
- Are you a musician? What instrument do you play? How often do you practice?
- Are you willing to co-sign a lease?
- Are you willing to sign a roommate agreement?
- Are you able to supply references from previous roommates, employer, or previous landlord?
Asking any of these questions will open a dialogue with your new acquaintance and will help you get a feel of what the person is like. Keep in mind that this list is designed for an interview with someone you’ve never met before. If the person you’re meeting is an acquaintance, adjust the questioning accordingly….or perhaps not! It’s up to you, but do take the time to get to know a person before jumping in to sharing your Allentown apartment.
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