Going Up

Avida and I bought our condo in 2006, four years before kids or in our terms, 4BK. It was in a great up-and-coming location that was close to work, the ocean and friends. We knew we wanted a family, and I guess we assumed we’d follow the path of so many of our friends and move to a house in the suburbs soon after the first child was born. 

But something happened along the way…we realized we didn’t want to leave the city or we’d at least postpone it until the boys were ready for first grade… then about 10 months after Nugget #1 and #2 came along we received news that Nugget #3 was on the way. Well, time to pack up and move out, right? Nope, we weren’t quite ready to leave yet. And, hey, it’s a boy they can share a room for a while until we’re ready to move. There are a lot worse things than sharing a room with your brothers. Well, maybe we could find a new place in Southie – a bigger place, 4 beds, parking and a small yard…

The thing about getting in to a neighborhood in the early stages of new construction and staying while it explodes is that you reach the tipping point where things are going so well in real estate everyone wants to live there. You love your neighborhood, but now can’t afford to move into a new place in your own neighborhood…and renting would double our monthly payment. Yes, it has been that crazy.

When Beckett came along we were able to fit all three cribs/beds in one room, but knew the combination of toys, clothes and growing boys would result in space constraints soon. There was no way to knock out a wall to make the room bigger, we could potentially add a third bedroom but it would take up 1/3 of the open space in the living/dining room where we spend 80% of our waking hours. There was only one way to go … UP. Truth be told, I did little more than agree with the assessment for bunkbeds, Avida did all the legwork. She found a great brand and product. 

What’s cool is that you can customize the build to fit your needs. We opted to create a “loft” style design that accomplished several things:

  1.  Fit three beds in a space that was smaller than the area taken up by 2 of their previous beds
  2. Add a trundle bed for one of their friends to stay over – currently called Charley’s bed
  3. Create a library area complete with bean bags
  4. Add more storage via the stair case
  5. Have a bed big enough for Mom to curl up in when our bed gets taken over

The boys really like them and apart from a few slips down to ladder and stairs, they’ve been relatively unscathed (note for consideration: socks are to toddlers as a banana peel is to bad physical comedy). They’re well-built and sturdy enough to handle the wrestling matches and mini-football games that occur on them. 

We think we can ride this wave for a few years and I will march forward with my head in the sand as it pertains to running out of space…I’m thinking levels, Jerry, levels.
 

Here is our setup:

Check out product here:

 

 

Home Envy- Washington, D.C.

Our second installment of Home Envy drops us right in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown located in northwest Washington, D.C., known for its cobblestone sidewalks and picturesque homes along the Potomac River.
 
This home is a contemporary dream.... an award winning modern townhouse with an open floor plan that has features I can honestly say I have never heard of until now but somehow have convinced myself I need.  You can't help but want to throw shade at the person who will own this someday. Things like smart glass, geo-thermal heating and cooling, Bulthaup kitchen, Nanawall doors that open to a ozone swimming pool and a wait for it.... a glass elevator. Oh yea and parking... a separate garage  for three cars.
 
So here it is... 5,680 sq. ft. single family home with 6 bedrooms 5 baths
Price: $9,995,000 

When you have your own elevator its not exactly "Walkup Living" but dream on my friends....

Source: REDFIN

The Urban Hound

In honor of National Puppy Day, I want to introduce you to my puppy Fitzy! Yes he is 7 years old but he will always be a puppy to me. Fitzy is truly an urban hound and will be the focus of our "Urban Hound" series. This column will focus on living in the city with dogs... I have learned a lot while raising Fitzy in the city from how to find the best place to board him when I go on vacation to how to get my new landlord to love him just as much as I do! I plan on sharing all these tips, tricks & doggy etiquette I have picked over the years! So stay tuned.... 

Here's a few pics and fun facts about my fur baby!

Name: Fitzgerald but Fitzy for short

Breed: Schnoodle (Schnauzer & Poodle Mix)

Age: 7 years old

Fitzy is a rescue dog born in Georgia who was saved from a puppy mill when he was only a couple months old. Fitzy has lived in multiple apartments and loves city life. Fitzy enjoy naps, destroying stuffed animals and walks around Boston.

Product of the Week

When we moved into our new apartment the one thing I knew had to replace was our trash can. The one we had at our old apartment had been around the block and it was gross. I planned on buying a new one, but to my surprise I was gifted one from friends and I am in love with it...yes, I'm in love with my garbage can.

The simplehuman Sensor Can has a sensor that opens with just the wave of your raw chicken juice coated hands. Now you are saying, "I've seen this before". The reason this one is better than the competition is because the sensor is above and in front of the can which makes opening a breeze. A hand, an empty chip bag, a banana peel -  just about anything will trigger the can to open and close quietly. Now, there is a warning here. Mark has this can as well - yes, this is Avida approved also - so when you have 3 little ones running around, you'll want to stock up on batteries. The design allows for the trash bags to cleanly fit in and not slip to the bottom creating a mess and the nano silver coating protects from finger prints and germs. 

Check it out here:

simplehuman

Living on demand...

City Living is something to be mastered and in most cases, it’s a skill that requires trial and lots of error. We have compiled our current Top 5 go-to apps and while these may not make you the Mr. Miyagi of city living, a few short cuts here and there could qualify you for the Cobra Kais.   

You will notice a trend in these apps but we can all agree that if there is an app that can get us what we want faster and easier, we will use it.  

1. Drizly- This first one is a no brainer, but maybe you haven’t heard about this amazing on-demand alcohol delivery app. Drizly will get you the libations needed after your friends start treating your casual get together like Frank the Tank auditions…and don’t get me started about the convenience with a pending snow storm on the way. Drizly is now serving in over 20 cities including Boston, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.  Try it, you know you want to…  (Available for iOS & Andriod)

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2. Instacart- The hands down number one thing that is difficult to do in the city is a major grocery store run. There are so many obstacles… maybe you live in a fourth-floor walkup, don’t own a car, don’t want to lose that parking spot or you are just too busy. Instacart comes in like the Dalton of groceries, kicking ass and taking names. They promise delivery within an hour and to date even their selection of produce has been spot on.  (Available for iOS & Android) 

3. Grub Hub/Foodler/Seamless- When you don’t feel like cooking and you want to just stay home and veg there are 3 take out delivery apps that can help with those "I just want to stay in and watch Mean Girls nights..." Grub Hub, Foodler & Seamless will get you access to all your local favorites in just a couple of clicks. You know what your like and you’ve found your favorite go to spots, so let these apps bring them to your front door. My personal favorite is Foodler.. They know me... they get me... (Available for iOS & Andriod)

4. Lyft- Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…or cars at least. It’s become such a common part of my life, I can’t remember life before I could call a car to my home/work/bar across town in a matter of minutes… what was I doing? Sometimes it’s not in the cards to take public transit… either you’re dressed for a night out, you don’t have time to get to the nearest station or the meltdown your drunken best friend is having won’t work so well on the T (subway).  Just a reminded be a good traveler, you’re getting rated too. (Available for iOS & Android)

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5. Venmo- As Anne Perkins knows, splitting that dinner bill is a pain - especially for the water drinker. I’m not sure if it’s the convenience of not dealing with the “let’s split this between the 12 of us” or the funny way my friends charge each other for things that makes this app a city dwellers dream. When you see one friend charge another for "your soul" you will understand.  Venmo makes it easy to connect to your bank account or credit card and send money to your friends and, in turn, request money from them. Uses are endless, but include the aforementioned splitting of bills, paying roommates for rent or even for those concert tickets to Lady Gaga next weekend. (Available for iOS & Andriod)

*Honorable Mentions- Audible & Kindle because commuting can be long and who wants to carry anything more than their laptop when they are in a jam-packed train or bus. 

Snowdenfreude

March 13th, 2007 – 3:05pm Eastern Time
weather.com calmly reassures us: 

Worst… imminent…paralyzing

Fill up the bath tub and check the flashlights. I envision Gubernatorial and Mayoral Chiefs of Staffs screaming “get me the FEMA fleece, we’re on in ten!”. News reporters descend on fabric stores to get yard sticks for the live measurement. I always think about the person driving the van, after warnings to stay off the roads they drive what seem to be top heavy, unwieldly vehicles starting before dawn...lots of coffee and probably no ruler.

It’s that time of year again … when New Englander’s seemingly forget the annual tradition of the “storm of the decade” and discussions turn from the upcoming Spring to the late winter Nor’easter.

Here in Boston, it means you check out UniversalHub’s FrenchToast Alert System. It means you can aggregate all the weather reports by the amount of beer and wine being sold at the grocery store. It means that household items morph into apparently immovable objects for staking claim on a parking spots. 

And then there’s the pre-storm trip to the store. I’ve come to believe it’s less about the actual groceries and more about a sense of Snowdenfreude… misery may love company, but I think we all want to be part of the chaos, the story, the jockeying for deli meat – maybe because it’s one of the few collective experiences we have left.

Snow storms in New Hampshire meant one thing. Here in Boston, they mean another. Deep down, I think we’re all hoping for a storm that locks us in our neighborhood for the a few days. You can walk down the middle of an eerily quiet street. The restaurants and coffee shops are still open yet there’s a less frenetic pace about the experience. Binge watch some Homeland, or in my case Curious George. You know the bar around the corner will be open throughout the storm with a rolling cast of locals commiserating about the snow, but more likely treating the afternoon like a one day Mardi Gras. And by the way, that grocery store that you can walk to is also open…

Tomorrow’s date with destiny is named Winter Storm Stella. For New Englander’s of a certain age, I think it’s high time we lobby for a Winter Storm Shelby…

Now if you want to talk paralyzing, the winter of 2015 was it. This is my friend Sasso, he’s 6’7”, now that was some freakin’ paralyzing snow…

Home Envy- Boston

For our first Home Envy post it only seems fitting to drool over the newest & flashiest building in Boston.  
 
Millennial Tower is Boston's tallest residential building and if the views alone don't amaze you the building's amenities will have you wishing you won Powerball. Some of those amenities include a two-story club with private dining, an outdoor terrace, a 75-ft indoor pool, salon & spa and something they are calling a lifestyle program...something tells me I will never get to find out what that is...  
 
So here it is... 3,060 sq. ft. penthouse 2 bedrooms 2.5 baths 3,060 Sq. Ft.   
Price: $6,960,000 

Because its always fun to dream....

Source: REDFIN

 

The bed that rocked my organizational world....

I would never categorize myself as an organizational guru, but I am always trying to improve… There's the drawer in my my kitchen that collects everything from batteries to measuring cups to takeout menus of restaurants long since closed. Then there's the shoes crammed to the back corner of my closet, because, well "you never know". I'm not the only one…right? 

One thing that has always been an issue is finding extra storage in my apartment. If you have a ton of storage in your place, then hold it tight and never let it go. As an adult I never had the luxury of living in a space larger than 1100 sq feet and once you add a bed, a couch, a husband, a dog and a roommate you are left with tiny closets full of precariously balanced stuff. This is when I go into space survival mode -- under the bed. You can always hide, or in my case shove, things under the bed. There were many times I was certain that the monster under my bed was a collection of old socks and an assortment of crap I collected from college that I could never throw out... or maybe it was Mr. Marbles plotting to kill me in my sleep. I had so much stuff and had nowhere to put it. The catch was that once it went under I was probably never going to see it until the annual "I'm getting my life in order" purge.

This all changed when we recently moved and decided it was time to buy an adult bed, upgrading from a frame that may or may not have been my husband’s childhood bed (don’t judge me, beds are expensive).

I began my search and my number one requirement was extra storage. I looked at beds with storage, but they all looked like they were made out of cheap particleboard -  an era I'm ready to move on from. Then, I finally came across the Brayden Studio Morphis Upholstered Storage Panel Bed . A bed with a hydraulic lift (?!?) that raises the mattress and slatted base to allow easy access to the storage under the bed. This was just what I needed! 

When it arrived it only took about an hour to assemble....my husband Tim did that... I can't lie. Its sturdy and opening and closing it is a breeze. This bed allows me to store things in a more neat and organized way vs. gently packing them under my bed with my feet. The look of it is great too, it has a grey upholstered head and foot board that gives it a clean modern look. If you are looking for a new storage solution this bed has solved "some" of my problems and it could help you too.

A lifestyle blog for the urban dweller...

Welcome to Walk Up Living, the blog that takes an honest look at city living from people who live it everyday. City life has both its benefits and challenges, and we plan on sharing the things that impact our lives one blog post at time.

Whether you live in a 4th floor walk-up, have too many roommates, share a wall with noisily romantic neighbors, or suffer the "too much stuff-too little space" conundrum, we will cover the creative, functional & fun solutions for city life. Our posts will include  Tips & Ideas, Photospiration, Products of the Week (for humans and their 4-legged friends), Dream Homes and other observations about all things urban. 

Of course it’s not always going to be freaking rainbows and unicorns so stay tuned for our weekly Rants & Raves, because everyone could use a good dose of reality. 

To learn more about us check out our About Up page. 

Katie & Mark