First 30 Days Blog

07 mar

Big City Home Remodeling Tips

JennaSmithHome remodeling is pretty easy if you live in a place with a lot of space. You can store furniture and boxes in the garage, or use your back porch to keep track of sawhorses, paint cans, or any other supplies that don’t fit in the house.

But what if you don’t have a back porch, a garage, or even an extra room to spare? If you’re living in a big city or urban center, you’re often stuck with the space you have — which isn’t very much. Of course, this very lack of usable space may be what’s prompting you to remodel in the first place! Still, you’re going to have to find a place for your furniture, your belongings, your kids, and your pets to go while you tear out walls or redesign kitchen counters.

Here are a few suggestions to help make big-city remodeling a bit easier, helpfully categorized by city:

Storage in Chicago

Dealing with excess stuff in the Windy City is a breeze if you have access to a good storage unit. Storage units provide inexpensive ways to store your valuables, and storage in Chicago is plentiful and low-cost. This is good, because many historic Chicago homes are urban brownstones that barely have extra rooms, let alone backyards. If you’re remodeling, your stuff has to go, and storage is the best place for it.

Simply pack up everything you can live without, and move it into one of Chicago’s many storage units. These units are often climate-controlled, have 24-hour security, and include drive up access. Choose a unit with the features you need, and live a minimal life at home until your remodeling project is finished.

Sublets in New York

Sure, you could look for a storage unit in New York as well, but you’re going to have a harder time; the New York Times reported in 2013 that, like everything else in the overpopulated city, storage units were at a premium. To store your stuff during your home remodeling project, you’re going to need to compete against everyone else trying to store items in the Big Apple.

So if you’re in NYC, consider trying a different tactic. If there’s one thing the city does well, it’s offer up sublet apartments. Other cities often have many rules about who can or can’t sublet, but in New York, according to the Metropolitan Council on Housing, “tenants in privately-owned buildings of four or more units have the right to sublet by law.”

Sublets also have to be for at least 30 days in duration, which is perfect for a small remodeling project. When it’s time to tear down your interior walls and fill your home with drywall dust, simply put painter’s tarps over your furniture and move yourself and your family into a sublet. If you need a longer sublet, say, six months or more, don’t worry — you’ll find plenty of opportunities as the city’s many residents shift from apartment to apartment and open up sublets so as not to break their lease.

Tiny Houses in Portland

Portland is slightly less population dense than other cities, which means you’re probably going to have a bit of an actual backyard with which to work. And what’s better than moving directly into the backyard while you remodel your home? Tiny house living has taken hold in this eco-friendly city as a way to share space and reduce environmental footprints; in fact, America’s first official Tiny House Hotel opened in Portland in 2013.

These tiny houses, which generally measure under 500 square feet and include a living space, kitchen, bathroom, and lofted bedroom, are easy to build or to buy pre-made. They live on trailers and can be placed wherever you need them. By putting a tiny house in your backyard, you have a place to live while you remodel your home. Then, you can keep the tiny house and use it as an accessory dwelling (often called a mother-in-law suite or a “granny flat”) or as a rental space and a source of additional income.

Although many other cities have a lot of strict rules about renting granny flats, Portland’s rules are relatively few, and is one of the most accessory-dwelling landlord friendly cities in the US. When you’re tired of being a landlord and want to enjoy your newly-remodeled home by yourself, simply sell your tiny house and move it onto someone else’s property.

Whether you choose a storage unit, a sublet, or a tiny house, you know you have options when remodeling in an urban area. There are as many ways to get this job done as there are types of homes — so use your imagination, along with these tips, to make your urban renovation as smooth as possible.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on March 7th, 2014 in House and Home | 0 comments

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