I moved into my new apartment a week ago. Except for one glaring problem, it’s really quite nice. The one glaring problem is huge: no internet, yet. I’ve been a happy user of cable based internet for most of the past six or seven years, from Fredericksburg to Salt Lake. I haven’t even had a phone line since moving back to SLC.
I’ve been happy enough with cable internet, having had very few problems over the past few years. But right now, COMCAST is having troubles recognizing the existence of my new building – even though the builder remembers working with COMCAST to lay the cable. It’s there, apparently, waiting for the first tenant to place a subscription order. And hey! That’s me! I don’t think it’s any major fault of COMCAST’s though… Not really anybody’s fault. But I hope it gets resolved soon.
The apartment is small, but cozy. And it’s not even really that small. This is the third in a series of living spaces that have been open plans: the only doors (besides the entrance) in my last three apartments have been for the bathroom, storage areas, and (in the case of the last two) a/c and water heater access. What differentiates the new space is that it features an upstairs loft, letting me separate the living space from the working space while still keeping everything open. It also means that the ceiling in the working space is extremely high. Actually it slopes back as it’s an arched roof.
The building is a converted warehouse. It’s a newer warehouse than the ones I was previously in, with cinderblock walls. It was one of those high ceiling single-story warehouses with the arched roofs, which is where the room for the upstairs loft comes in. The cross beams up there remain exposed (providing fun places to try to hang / tuck things). The ceiling/roof is punctuated with clear skylights, with one in the loft area that can be cracked open for ventilation. I’ve enjoyed being able to sit / lie up there while watching clouds go by. The arched roof creates an interesting sense of coziness as it slopes down away from the living space. From my reading space in the corner, the place feels snug – almost like a cabin. I can then go over to my writing desk and peer into the workspace, enjoying the open nature. But while sitting and writing, it’s never overwhelming.
Another feature across my recent series of apartments has been hard flooring. Hardwood floors in one, painted plywood/particle board (yep) floors in another, and in the new space: brushed concrete!!! Damn that’s nice. Unlike the last two apartments though, I also have carpet in the loft – a feature that my dog greatly appreciates (thin-skinned bony greyhounds love soft surfaces).
While the kitchen and bath (on the main level) and living space (loft) feature regular lights, the workspace can be illuminated by two pairs of halogen lights. Excellent for painting, drawing, recording, everything! A large modern ceiling fan in this area circulates air and drives down the need to keep the air conditioner on constantly.
Perhaps the best feature of all is the neighborhood. I’m surrounded by metal recyclers, an old concrete plant my dad worked at when I was young (primarily empty now, although its large silos still seem to be in use). Empty warehouses, active warehouses and industry, random pockets of artists, trains, overpasses, underpasses, industrial back-alleys, a pyramid, and more. It feels good to be out just-ahead of the city. My last couple of places were a little closer to the heart – different sides of the heart, though. The area I moved out of (and where my office remains) has started to feel different over the past few months, and I don’t like the feeling. It’s not bad – in fact, I’m glad my office is still here. There is a lot of interesting growth happening and on the verge of happening here. And suddenly, it felt boring. It felt too contemporary when I wanted it to feel more creative, which is strange because I lived in the actual artist block of Artspace and had some great (and creative) neighbors. But the edge was gone.
I think my last trip to New York woke me up to this feeling. I played a show in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn and fell in love. I fell into a funk as my plane landed back in Salt Lake. Over the next couple of weeks I daydreamed of a new space to live and work. I hid in old films, images, and articles of SoHo, and scoured Flickr archives for photos from different neighborhoods and cities that captured an elusive feeling that I was wanting back. My lease came up for renewal, which put me on month-to-month until I renewed, and I decided to take a serious look around at some new options. Ideally I wanted a place I could convert on my own, with a big garage door and a layout that’d let me keep the dog(s) safe on one side while I worked on the other. I don’t really have the spare time or funds to support such an endeavor at this time. Still, I decided to look around and see what was available that would allow me to separate workspace and living space, or that I could buy. This was when a flyer showed up under my door announcing the lofts that I’ve now moved into.
As I walked down to check them out, I realized that they were in the heart of the industrial area that I loved. In fact, I had been walking through that area a couple of weeks prior and had been kicking myself for not having a camera along with me. The energy of the area was more active, fresh, raw, gritty, real, and beautiful – to me anyways. And upon seeing these new spaces and their design, I signed almost immediately. A couple of weeks later, I was moved in. It all happened so fast and naturally, just a straight-ahead instinctual thing. Compared to all of the stress I’ve felt this year, it was nice to do something big that felt just right.
Best of all – the dog loves it. In fact, she seems even more playful now.
All I need now is internet.