It’s a modern apartment.

There is a small hallway when you come in …. a  bathroom to the left… a double bedroom to the right and straight ahead into an open living room area. 

P. and I moved here in January, so we been living here for 2 months. 

We had never used rental websites  before  but when we were doing viewings at least we knew what the asking prices were. 

The thing that really stood out for us was the variation in quality.

You could tell people were exploiting the strain on the  housing market. Someone would charge up to €2,000-2400 for a double room, but the quality might not be great. Others were coming up at  similar prices at much better quality. Because there was such competition in the market people were jumping on them immediately.

Any place  that you were looking at online, or going to view,  there was always a sense of urgency about getting your application in. You  had to have your reference from your current or previous landlord,  references from  your employer, as well as your deposit, ready to go.  

I’d say we looked at  between ten and twelve apartments in total. P. did  three or four,  I did three, and we did four together.  

modern apartment with sofa, lamp and bookshelves

One of the nicest ones I saw was on Leeson Street. I  thought: this is very promising… great area…close to town. I think it  was maybe €2200 per month. But when you went in… they had done a very quick veneer  just to make it look appealing in the photos. It looked as if it had very lovely wooden floors – but it was lino.  

Some of the photos on the listings I found very deceptive.

Many of the properties had potential – if you owned them. However, to go into to it as a  renter, with things not being in the best shape, would be a problem. 

We had a lot of tick boxes – carpark space, dishwasher.. etc. We had to weigh the  pro’s and con’s on what each apartment offered and to try to strike a happy medium.

There was one particular place I really pictured myself  living in.

It was in the same complex that one of our friends lived and it had a second bedroom.  But, the bathroom was very  dated, it just had a little electric heater on the wall. The kitchen… only one person could stand in the kitchen at any time. If I compare it to where  we are now, I can see there are some benefits that we don’t have here. But, there are also benefits that we have here that it doesn’t have. So, it was just about trying to strike a happy medium.

When I first saw this apartment I quite liked the island unit.

island kitchen unit, modern apartment

The first thing I noticed about the bedroom was that it had a king-sized bed. The bedroom seemed a little more spacious from our previous house, which was quite narrow to walk around. 

I was also  struck by the amount of space on the balcony.

Because I had  never lived in an apartment before it was almost a novelty. When  we first viewed the apartment it was late but because there was quite a lot of glass I envisioned it  being bright, which was appealing.  

Location-wise we were mainly trying to look  in Dublin 2, 4 and 1.

P. always liked walking to the office. I used to cycle to the office  so I didn’t mind if we lived slightly further away. It was one of the benefits of where we lived before and  something we didn’t want to compromise on.  Maybe he got more than he wished for because we are exceptionally close now. He’s literally 2 minutes from work!

Here, we are on the Luas line. Before, we were more on the DART line. We are also exceptionally close to Connolly Station and pretty much any transport link. We went to the airport recently using the port Tunnel. We were there in around 15 minutes. It’s well connected. 

modern  apartment bathroom

Going into the move I wasn’t really looking forward to losing the  second bedroom. We were very lucky to have a spare bedroom  – but that was purely because of Covid  and the landlord allowing us to stay on after our housemate moved out.  

When we moved my dad came down with his van to help the larger things. We had a coffee machine…and kitchen aid mixer.. and television and my bike as well. There was also quite a lot of books, so we went over and back a couple of times. Luckily he had a trolley that we could wheel into the lift and straight into the apartment. 

P. and I took the smaller stuff over in the car separately. There was a lot to take. We had gathered up quite a lot of stuff that we didn’t really need – and didn’t  even know was there. I was a little shocked at how much we had –  and how much effort it took.  There was a fair bit to throw out, as well as things to take back home (to NI).  

I don’t think I will be rushing into moving any time soon. 

The furniture was all here – couches, dining table, coffee table… bed but it was minimally equipped. I think there were four  knives, forks, spoons, cups. There seemed to be four of everything. But we had quite a lot of glassware, plates and stuff so I think a lot of the effort was in getting all those safely wrapped up and transported.

working from home - apartment

We still have two desks set up – one in the living room and one in the living room for working from home. Even though  P. is back at the office he keeps a desk if he needs to do a little more work. I think the only thing we actually need – in terms of furniture – is an ironing board! 

There is no extra room for anything else. 

When we have people  over they can stay on the couch  and are quite happy with that. The living area is well set up for having people over.  We just had one couch before and that was facing the fireplace. There are two here. So, if there are people over they are looking at each  other when they are talking, which is more conducive to a social atmosphere. The island unit is quite nice as well. 

I feel here there is more space for prepping dinner – which I didn’t think would be the case.  In general, storage is down a little because before we had the attic and under the stairs  which was good for things you don’t use that much. But, we have made it work. 

At the beginning of Covid, we were still living with M. We had no desks at home and I was still going to the office  every day in my old job – because they sort of mandated that, even though it was not strictly abiding by the rules. P. and M. were working from home and when she moved out her bedroom became an office for P. Our bedroom became my office. 

When the two of us were at home working away it was nice to have the company.

Now that I am still working from home and P. is  in the office I feel the day can be slightly lonelier –   especially now that things are  getting back to normal. 

It’s got to the point where I am looking forward to going back into the office  – at some point. Although the office is open we are waiting on getting a new office for the sub-set that I am attached to. It could be any time.

It hasn’t really affected my relationship with my colleagues – in that I have never met them.

apartment working from home window

I started this job a year and a half ago and have swapped around three different teams. There are people who have since left the company, so even when I go back I will probably never meet them.

While on calls, one of my managers encourages us to use the camera  as much as possible, which I think helps. When  you are just speaking to little icons it’s hard to get  an overall sense of people’s humour. Without the camera it’s very formal and business-like. We have got to know each other a little better  – but I would be  very keen to meet them in person.

People talk about the water cooler chats and coffee chats. I think that’s what  I’m after – to hear the craic from different people.  

We have team calls but unless I need to call someone with a specific point I wouldn’t really bother them. If  you get them on the phone on a one-to-one it almost follows a format –  so there is very little chance to really get to know them.

In previous jobs I’ve had there is the age-old tradition of going for  a drink on a Friday  before heading home. It is a very good way  to break down barriers outside of the office. It  brings people together.

living area modern apartment

During the lockdowns I was exceptionally glad not to be living on my own. 

Queueing for the shops – that was the worst bit.  

At its strictest we were limited to a 2 km zone from our homes.  Our two  closest shops were a Tesco and a local deli and the queues were crazy. You would have masks on… be queued down the road and maybe waiting 40 minutes or so, just to get into the shop. 

It was strange. We had friends  living close by and even if you saw them on the street there was such a sense of fear you  couldn’t get close to them, you had to stand back. You had to restrict yourself even from people you know.  I think that was the toughest bit. 

The 2 km limit gave us that sense of things being so close  – but so far away. When we go home (to NI) both our families are close and so not being able to see them, that was very restrictive and upsetting at times.

modern kitchen

Both P. and I are quite interested in cooking and so we turned to the kitchen a little more than we are at the moment. I bought little Chinese dumpling steamers and  made my own bao buns and dumplings. We tried out different recipes – things that take a lot more time to do. So I was investing more time in that. We already had a pasta roller and a pasta maker for fresh  pasta. It can be a tedious exercise and takes up time but when  you have the time to do it, it was relaxing and enjoyable. 

Why not do some thing that you like when you have more time at home?

P. got involved with gardening –  with various degrees of success. I think he grew some chard, and there were some edibles that came from that. Even in that tiny little square that we had out the back, we were able to grow plants. If you were living in an apartment and didn’t have your own little outdoor space, it would be hard to cope. 

Everything here is on a smaller scale than the last place.

We only have a half-sized fridge so  we can’t really stock it up as much as we used to. But the benefit is we have shops below us, so if you need anything you just go out and get it on the day. We have less perishables in the house but are going to the shops more – because they are literally on the doorstep.  

bedroom in modern apartment

On every floor there is a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom apartment, so you only have one  apartment beside you.  We have friends living above and there seems to be a healthy mix of age-groups. When we were moving in I noticed on the contract that it is prohibited to use the apartment as an Air BnB – whether you are a renter, or owner.

It seems to be mostly professionals living in this block. But, when I am sitting at my desk I look out onto the courtyard I see families with prams going into other buildings.

It’s not particularly noisy, but there is definitely more ambient noise.

view from modern apartment

You can hear the Luas at times …. a little hum or the ring of its bell. You can hear people wandering about the courtyard. It was very noticeable when we first moved in because of where we lived before. 

A typical day? I get up, have a shower first thing… start work at 9am and probably work until 10 or half ten. I grab a coffee  and then work until lunch time – around 1pm.  For lunch I usually try to use up leftovers from the night before. Then I go for a walk… back for 2pm and work until the end of the day.

In the evening I will maybe go for a short walk if I can. 

modern housing blocks by river

One of the benefits of living here is that you can walk down to the Liffey, or into town to do a bit of shopping. You couldn’t get much closer to the centre. 

Apartment living? It’s different.

I have been to other people’s apartments, but had never lived in one. 

It’s more pleasant than I thought.

All photos by Respondent.

Nuala Rooney

I am designer, educator and researcher developing creative and holistic human-centred insights across the social/spatial sphere.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Nuala
    Enjoyed this study immensely but i am slightly biased as i was the Dad with the van.
    Thanks Oliver

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