Let’s talk about six: What’s a classic six apartment?

Have you ever heard of a “classic six” apartment? From time-to-time in NYC you might’ve crossed this listing term and found yourself curious as to what it actually means. According to Brownstoner, a classic six apartment is “chic, desirable and great for raising a family”. But what makes this style of living just so appealing? What is it makes a “classic six” one of New York City’s most sought after apartment layouts? 

Let’s break it down.

 

The classic layout

A classic six is a prewar (“classic”) apartment with a certain number of separate rooms (you guessed it – “six”). However that’s not all, it must also include a living room, formal dining room with a window, a kitchen, two full bedrooms and a maid’s room (typically smaller than the main bedrooms and usually located off the kitchen). While a classic six can have any number of bathrooms, oftentimes you’ll find the maid’s room also boasts its own full or half-bath.

A Prospect Heights’ classic six floor plan. Image: Brownstoner
A Prospect Heights’ classic six floor plan. Image: Brownstoner

The “other” classics

You might have come across the phrases “classic five” (lacking the maid’s room), or “classic seven” (which includes an additional bedroom), however, the less common, rare surviving “classic eight” with a room for a second maid, also exists.

Searching for six

According to Brownstoner, “the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side are known for having the largest stocks of classic six units in New York, [but] even there, listings are scarce”. Many are in co-op buildings (and occasionally condo buildings) and it’s incredibly rare to find one for rent. 

A good place to start is Brooklyn – Brooklyn Heights, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights or Park Slope – places boasting large-scale pre-war apartment buildings.

Apartment appeal

In addition to the obvious, being the sheer size of a classic six, both the fact that they’re so hard to come across and the distinct layout play a big role in the appeal. More or less impossible to achieve in smaller NYC apartments, the layout of a classic six provides both privacy and a feel of openness. How? The kitchen, dining and entertaining/common areas are often separated from the main bedrooms by a distinct hallway. Because of this, these “apartments” actually have a layout more similar to a classic single family home.

The space separation of the maid’s room to the rest of the home, tucked away by the kitchen, is often a favorite of NYC youth who enjoy the privacy and the idea of occupying their own living quarters. Of course, being so close by the kitchen and that endless supply of coffee, this space also makes for a great home office or studio! If you’ve found yourself with a classic six with a maid’s room that boasts it’s own bathroom or half bath too, why not turn it into a guest bedroom?

A classic six kitchen with a maid’s room converted to a guest bedroom. Image: The Wall Street Journal
A classic six kitchen with a maid’s room converted to a guest bedroom. Image: The Wall Street Journal

Your pre-war classic six: The 2017 update

Given the original construction date on majority of these apartments, chances are, yours might be in need of a little upgrade. Or perhaps you’re ready to do a little renovating to turn that maid’s quarters into your new home office? You might like to enlist the help of someone like All Renovations – specialists in high-end Brooklyn and Manhattan brownstone renovations. Or Brooklyn-based Creative Renovations – whose past client list includes a number of Brooklyn brownstone landmarks!

Getting your deposit back – a moving out cleaning checklist

So you’re excited – you’re finally about to move into your new apartment! Of course, the last thing you want to do is clean out your current place, right? Unfortunately, if you want your deposit back, it’s something you’re just going to have to do! That’s why we’ve put together the following checklist to help you make sure you’ve covered your bases when it comes time for your moving out clean up.

#1 Everything – including the kitchen sink

  • Get rid of all old food from the cupboards and fridge. Come across some spare canned foods? Before you send them straight to the trash, why not donate them to a NYC charity for those in need? Organizations like The Bowery Mission accept donations 24/7 – plus, you’ll receive an in-kind gift receipt for your donation.
Image: Bowery Mission
Image: Bowery Mission
  •  Clean cabinets and liners
  • Clean and disinfect all countertops, including the sink and faucet
  • Clean your refrigerator inside and out
  • Scrub the oven inside and out. Handy hint: use steel wool to clean shelving, burners and drip pans
  • Clean the microwave inside and out

#2 Bathe in reassurance

  • Be sure to clear out the drawers, shelving and vanity of any personal belongings, not forgetting to remove any hair – you might need to remove liners too
  • Clean soap scum off the tiles in the tub/shower and around the sink
  • Clean the toilet
  • Wipe down and disinfect the mirror
  • Dust, sweep, vacuum and mop the floors and surrounding surfaces

Looking for the right products to clean your kitchen or bathroom? Check out Brooklyn’s Common Good – you’ll find cleaning products made of 100% natural ingredients and pure essential oils.

#3 Putting doubt to bed

  • Once you have cleared the room of all your belongings, don’t forget to dust, sweep, vacuum and mop all rooms
  • Wipe down window sills and around any window unit air conditioners

#4 Common (area) mistakes

  • Clean windows
  • Vacuum any carpeted areas. If you’ve come across any hard to remove stains or you think this particular job might be best let to the pros, enlist the help of a local carpet cleaner like Green Choice Carpet Cleaner in Williamsburg

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  • Wipe down/disinfect door knobs, doors, light switches and outlets
  • Clean all marks off the walls and kickboards
  • Dust ceiling fixtures
  • Remove anything hanging on the walls and take all fixtures out of the wall (nails, screws etc.) – you may need to putty these surfaces to cover holes
  • Ensure all rooms are empty and clean before leaving
  • Clean laundry areas
  • Dust, sweep, vacuum and mop entry way
  • Clean and dust the blinds
  • Remove all trash

#5 Thinking outside the house

  • Clean out and sweep the garage
  • Cut the grass and pull weeds (where applicable)
  • Clean and sweep patio

Now it’s time to relax, and enjoy moving to your new home!

Escaping New York noise – soundproofing your apartment

 

Whether you’re relatively new to New York City or you’ve been living here for most of your life, it’s never easy to adjust to the daily (and nightly) grind. No matter how many floors you walk up, street noise, snow shoveling, garbage collection, your neighbors, traffic horns and other noises always seem to make their way into your apartment – particularly when it comes time to sleep.

Of course, “soundproofing” per se generally refers to completely eliminating sound. And for those of you living in NYC, you’ll agree that eradicating sound 100% isn’t exactly possible. That’s why we’ve pulled together 3 handy hints for minimizing the noise getting in to your apartment and dealing with the city sounds around you.

#1 Sealing is believing

 

Yes, that gap between the bottom of your door and the floor really might not seem like much, but it allows for the entry of a great amount of noise. Try using a door seal or draft guard to fill the gap! Not only will this help block extra unwanted noise, it’s a simple and cost effective way to add a little extra insulation to your apartment, helping to trap warm air in in the winter. You can pick up a draft seal from Bed, Bath & Beyond for under $10! 

Image: Bed, Bath & Beyond
Image: Bed, Bath & Beyond

 

#2 A win-win(dow) situation

Do you own your apartment? While upgrading your windows is a step up from purchasing a door seal in terms of the price tag, it’s certainly a worthwhile investment. Did you know with the appropriate glass thickness and the right insulation, some windows can block up to 95% of external noise?

If you’re not sure upgrading your windows is worth your investment, you can check in with an acoustic consultant, or soundproofing specialist, to get their advice. You might like to check out Brooklyn Insulation and Soundproofing or City Soundproofing in Manhattan.

Image: Brooklyn Insulation
Image: Brooklyn Insulation

#3 The quick fix: White noise

How does adding more noise to the equation work? Generally speaking, it isn’t the noise itself that keeps you awake or wakes you up during the night, but rather sudden changes in the consistency of noise that jar you awake. White noise creates a masking effect, evening out sudden changes and helping you sleep more comfortably. You can find an interesting read on White Noise by Marpac here

While there are plenty of apps on the market for white noise, a simple table fan will suffice. The hum of a window-unit air conditioner also works great – and will keep you at a comfortable temperature at the same time! 

Image: Marpac
Image: Marpac

Neighborhood etiquette: 3 tips for being a good neighbor this holiday party season

The holiday party season is one of the busiest times of year – you’ve got presents to wrap, dinners to plan and family and friends to cater for. But while you’re caught up in the events happening inside your house or apartment, do you ever stop to think about your neighbors and keeping the people outside of your apartment happy too?

Try these 3 simple steps to ensure you’re a good neighbor this party season.

#1 Provide a little warning

1elehOnce you’ve gotten the word out and invited your friends through Paperless Post or other organizer-friendly apps, it’s time to warn your neighbors too. You might like to include details on the time and size of the event. Your neighbors will likely be more comfortable with the whole scenario knowing you’ve taken them into consideration too, helping resolve issues before they even arise.

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#2 Be reasonable about the noise and the hour

While this might seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities of the night and forget the time and just how noisy you’re being. Most co-ops have a no-noise rule after 10pm, but given it’s the holidays, your neighbors are likely to be a little more flexible.

As a general rule, try and turn things down after midnight. If you have guests moving out onto a terrace or balcony, remember that voices tend to travel quite easily outside too, so it’s not just your neighbors you’ll need to consider!

taskrabbit-logoWhile we’re on the topic of time, you might like to think about timeliness too. If you’re in need of a little extra assistance for setting up or packing down, you might like to consider enlisting a little help to make sure things run smoothly. There are plenty of options for help. For example, you could hire an assistant from Task Rabbit to help keep you on track with setting up, during the event –keeping glasses filled, getting more ice, putting food out, and packing down – emptying the rubbish, cleaning up etc.

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#3 Contain your party

If you’re throwing a party, your neighbors will be thankful if it stays exactly that – yours. Keeping everything from your decorations to your guests and their belongings inside will help to ensure you’re not blocking the hallways and stairwells or cluttering common spaces.

It can be as easy as having a coat stand and shoe rack inside by the front door for guests to leave their belongings on. While you’re at the front door, you might also like to hang a “please close the door behind you” sign for your guests, to help keep the noise inside.klean-freaks

Containing your party extends to the day after too! Don’t forget to clean up both inside and outside your apartment – checking that the hallways and common areas are left as they were prior to your party. You can always enlist the help of cleaner like Klean Freaks to make the task even easier!

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Making Room for a Roommate

The reality of high rent costs in NYC means that many of us can’t afford to live alone, and often you’ll need to split rent with another person or several people. Roommates can offer cost and space efficiency and become great friends, or they can be messy, unreliable and noisy. So, before you enter a semi-long-term, committed relationship with a complete stranger, here are some screening tips.

 

1cd092b0-77ed-0132-1d4f-0a2c89e5f2f5Bills, Bills, Bills
People often say that one of the biggest sources of stress in marriage is money. The same can be said for roommates. Money conversations can be awkward but are best discussed first up. It’s a good idea to establish, before you move in or someone moves into your place – obviously, can they afford rent? Do they have a steady job or is their rent paid for by someone else? How will the bills be paid each month? Who is responsible for paying them? Who will be paying who back for what? It’s also a good idea to establish an expected timeline for payments. If you pay the full rent every first of the month, do you expect your roommate to pay you back that day? A day or two before? Or is a few days later ok?

 

Experience Necessaryfriends-cast
Just like hiring someone for a job, you want to find a roommate who has been there, done that. Ask the potential candidate about the best and worst roommate experiences that they’ve had. You can learn a lot about a person by hearing about the troubles they’ve encountered and how they dealt with them. The more you talk with the potential roommate, the more you’ll get a feel for whether or not you actually get along. Do you enjoy their company? Or can you just not wait to get out of the situation? Taking the time to talk to the person and discovering if they’re the right person, could be the difference between a friend for life that you look forward to seeing at the end of the day, or horror stories that you’ll tell at dinner parties for years to come.

 

61324c703423de5f59050915a700d9b615cf1d81Shared Space
Consider the space you’ll be sharing. Apartments where autonomy is possible (e.g. having large bedrooms or two common spaces) work best in roommate situations, however this is not always possible. If you’re moving in with a friend or your roommate will never be home, it may not matter that the space is small and intimate. Think about if the space will work with your respective lifestyles. Do they have a pet? Like being alone? Watch a lot of TV? Determine how you’re going to decorate. Who will be responsible for contributing which items to the common areas? If you or they are particular about décor, let it be known up front. Talk about things you might be confronted with within your shared space – bedbugs, bad neighbors or an unresponsive superintendent for example, and how you would deal with these together.


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Once you’ve found the perfect roommate, it’s a good idea to come up with some rules together. Talk about how often you like to have friends over, if you expect the house to be spotless and tidy all the time, if they plan on getting a pet or how often a significant other is allowed to sleep over before they have to start paying rent. Even though it’s early days and these conversations may seem premature, it’s better to have an open discussion and maybe even put the decision in writing, that way if there are problems down the line, you can refer back to what you both once agreed upon.

 

While we can help you find the perfect home in Brooklyn, check out the below services to help you find the perfect soul/roommate!

 

Move it, Don’t Lose it!

Summer is the busy season for the rental market in Brooklyn and throughout New York and as if finding a new home isn’t stressful enough, the move has the potential to break you! If moving is in the cards for you, here are some tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

 

Picture1Declutter to Destress
Holding on to almost empty shampoo bottles, expired medicines, worn washcloths, clothes you never wear? Now is the time to let go! Decluttering will help make your move easier and your new home easier to set-up. Start with the bathroom where there is less sentimental attachment and discard any products you don’t use regularly. Donate anything worth donating. Don’t try to declutter every room at once – getting rid of excess stuff in even just one room will make your move shorter and less expensive. When in doubt, take pictures of clothes you no longer wear but which still have sentimental value – a photo takes up a lot less space!

 

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Move a Muscle
Now is the time to look at your family and friends verrrry closely. Are they strong? Do they work out? Do they owe you one? If not, you’re going to need some professional help. Don’t put off lining up movers. Get estimates and lots of them! The more research you do, the better deal you’ll get. Ask friends if they recommend any movers in your area, compare prices and look for a reputable company that’s bonded and insured. Check out local Brooklyn companies like JP Urban Moving, Get There Moving, Lightning Van  and Sweet Lou Moves You.

 

Picture12pngWise to Organize
Save your sanity and make your move smooth, short and sweet by preparing, organizing and packing! Start with the virtual move by backing up all your data. Next, label cords so you know which device each cord goes to – this will make setup easier later. Gather important papers like birth certificates, passports and financial documents in a fireproof lock box, and make sure this stays with you on moving day. Streamline your DVD and CD collections and save a lot of space by moving discs into binder sleeves and discarding empty cases. Come up with a labeling system – color-coding or numbering and keeping a record of the contents of boxes. Then when you are unpacking, you can simply check your master list to see which box you need. Keep a moving binder with info including your moving company, to-do lists, master packing list etc. Start a stash of essentials like toilet paper, trash bags, basic tools, bath towels and sheets, so that when you arrive you don’t have to go through boxes just to get through the first night.

 

Bust a Move
Picture13Okay so it’s time to move! If you’ve prepared properly, unpacking shouldn’t be too overwhelming. Start with assembling furniture. Items like your bed are best transferred in disassembled form. If you don’t remember how to put things back together you can often find manuals online or by calling the manufacturer. Clean and dust items before bringing them into your new, clean home. If you can manage, fill your closets first, even if it’s only temporary. Keeping clutter out of the way will leave you more room to unpack the important stuff. When you’re all done, you can get rid of boxes on Craigslist or trash/recycling, but best to check with your building’s management – some have policies that you might not be aware of yet.

The Lord of the Residence

Being in NYC, we know finding great housing can be a challenge to say the least. When you finally do find that perfect apartment (in Brooklyn, naturally), you don’t want to ever let it go! You might feel like the king of the (Boerum) hill, but the real lord of this land is the person you pay rent to, and if they are your best bud, you could be home sweet home forever. Here are some tips for fostering a flourishing landlord-tenant relationship.

 

8-Tips-to-Help-You-Get-Along-With-Your-Landlord-Say-HiNice Advice
This should go without saying, but pile the smile! Be friendly, be honest and be reasonable. Wave hi or stop for a quick chat when you see your landlord. Come holiday time, send your landlord a small gift. Report any problems as soon as possible, because small problems can turn into catastrophic ones if ignored. For minor stuff, DIY! Replace the light bulb or batteries in the smoke detector yourself. Be clean and respectful – be the kind of neighbor you would want to live next to, and the kind of tenant you would want to rent to.

 

Put on a Pro ShowWoman's hand holding a pen writing
How do you behave in the workplace? Are you courteous, efficient, a good communicator? Your relationship with your landlord is an investment, and you should consider your interactions in a professional context. Respect the rules set out in your lease and treat your landlord’s property with care. As with important business interactions, get everything in writing. Try to correspond via email when possible – this will protect both of you and reduce the risk of miscommunication. In the event that something goes wrong, be aware of your rights. There is legislation in place nationwide to protect tenants from discrimination, negligence and other issues that may arise.

 

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Rent Well Spent
A day late really is a dollar short if you get in the habit of paying rent late. Just as a homeowner needs to pay a monthly mortgage, many landlords depend on rental income to fund their mortgages. Late rent is not only disrespectful but can result in late fees, or even eviction. Of course there are legitimate reasons for late rent, and having a positive relationship may mean your landlord is open to negotiation. It is essential to discuss any concerns regarding rent with your landlord ASAP. Always strive to pay your rent on time, if not early!

 

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The Company You Keep
If you have a bad track record with landlords, it might be time to consider a building with a management company. Generally these companies have a good reputation and they require good reviews and positive ratings to stay afloat. Although this means living in a larger complex or building with more tenants, management companies usually have more organized and professional systems in place for maintaining and fixing your apartment. Oftentimes they’ll even give you a checklist when you move-in to make sure everything is satisfactory.