• Melissa Sanabria

OUR ENGLISH BASEMENT APARTMENT

Our tenant in our English basement is breaking her lease. October is not a great time to try to find a new tenant in DC particularly on the Hill, where the cycle of fresh staffers tends to come in the summer and in January. The lease was supposed to end in May, and I was mentally planning to furnish the apartment and list it on AirBnB at that time (plus I still had several months to get Alberto on board with this idea). But I wasn’t mentally prepared to go down this path right now because neither of us have the time to manage an AirBnB listing at the moment.


That said, we have not had any takers on the apartment although lots of people have looked and we’re getting anxious. So I’m wondering if we should do a refresh. Also, as you guys can imagine, I have LOTS of ideas for the apartment and I would love to update the space, furnish and decorate. Renting it as a furnished apartment would satisfy not only my desire to decorate (and give me content!) but it would also fulfill my need to be in control. So that is something we’re considering.


Here’s a couples photos of how it looks now (more or less):



It’s a decent size for an English basement (750 sq ft) but still relatively small. We actually installed new carpet in the living room, bedroom and hallway so now the tile is only in the kitchen. The carpet is not holding up well though (even though we selected the highest quality available supposedly) so I’m not sure that was the best decision. Renters can be hard on your stuff. We renovated the bathroom last year, so not much to do there. I don’t have any good photos of it yet but I will share when I do.


I’ve been researching how I could do an easy, quick, and inexpensive refresh of the kitchen. The kitchen isn’t really that bad but it’s not a selling point either. Notice how the end of the counter top is a raw edge? Whoever installed it just cut it and left the edge like that. Nice. I’m also fairly certain that the microwave hood does not actually vent to the outside so that’s some that we have to investigate and fix.


I found a product to paint the cabinets without having to sand them here (I’m skeptical but this stuff seems legit), and I’m contemplating swapping out the counter top with something from Ikea or Lowes like this one for $140, getting a smaller sink so that there is more counter space, and adding vinyl peel and stick tiles to the floor (something like this maybe). Basically I want to make it memorable and cool rather than just OK.  I realize that these changes will not necessarily mean we will get more money for the apartment so it may not be the best investment, but I just really want to do it because it would be fun and I want to make the apartment unique. In my dream world, I would also like to get a smaller stove and put in a Smeg, but I just cannot justify spending $1800 on a fridge for down here no matter how adorable it is. And there is nothing wrong with the stove that we have it’s just that it’s too big for the space so I can hardly justify getting a new one.


Here is some of my small-kitchen inspiration for the apartment:


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I like the open shelves here. I would like to remove the cabinet above the sink and add open shelves. I thought they might look strange because they would be next to a cabinet with the microwave, but here I think this looks pretty darn good so I might be able to pull it off.


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I love this stove; it’s compact and pretty. Sometimes when I’m surfing Redfin and I see properties for sale that have stoves and sinks like this I seriously think about contacting the sellers just to ask if I can come and rescue them. I know that the new owners are going to rip them out and replace with “stainless steel appliances” and it makes me very sad. But, of course, where on earth would I put these things?? Fortunately (or unfortunately) my house does not lend itself to hoarding vintage appliances…


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I love this cozy little kitchen complete with my coveted Smeg and the patterned tile floor that I’d like to achieve with the peel and stick tiles. This is pretty much the overall look that I have in mind – wood countertops, black cabinets, open shelving, patterned floor. I’m not sure though if I can pull off black cabinets with white appliances so I’m thinking on that…


So, I’m asking for your input. Do you think that a refresh of the kitchen will help rent the apartment? Is this a terrible idea? More importantly, do you know anyone who is looking for a one-bedroom apartment with amazing landlords?? I’m all ears!


Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend, everyone! xx

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