Has it really been 5 months since my last post?
The process of trading our skyway connected apartment for a slice of the city skyline took more energy than I anticipated. Happily, we are now home high in The Pointe of St. Paul, a 34 story building with family friendly amenities. Still downtown St. Paul, still in under 1000 square feet, but 2 blocks removed from the skyways we still love and use.
We moved for the normal reasons: rising rents, a desire to customize our living space, and with luck, we hoped to add a 3rd bedroom. Existing 3 bedroom condos were rare or beyond our budget, so we had to be creative.
It was gutsy, buying a condo with a floor plan we hated before knowing what to do with it, but we had faith for a few reasons.
1. Location, location, location
Even if we epicly failed:
- We’d at least still be where we wanted to be: on the green line, 95 walk score, next to our church, a block from a grocery store.
- We could rent (or sell) our unit and try again somewhere else. (Many condo associations ban renters – if you buy, make sure you know the rules.)
2. Post tension concrete
This is a building technique that puts all the stress and weight of a building on the exterior walls. It means interior walls don’t matter, they can exist or not exist. When we learned The Pointe was post tension concrete a world of possibility opened up. The down side is absolutely no wires or channels can be made in the ceilings or floors. Would we have exposed conduit? We took that chance.
3. It was a good deal.
Our condo was priced below comparable condos, thanks to unfortunate design choices and worn surfaces, but since we planned to move walls this was good news for us.
4. Personal experience
From our rental apartment I knew 900 sq. feet was big enough – if designed well. Renting is great practice for owning. The challenge was in the design, the bones were there.
5. We had shoulders to stand on.
God bless the experts and trail blazers before us.
I must give Slow Home Studio a special shout out. Their book, “What’s Wrong With This House?” is awesome. They should re-title it “The Life Changing Magic of a Good Floor Plan.” Maybe it would get the traction Marie Kondo got (also a stellar book). If you are searching for a home, or hate the one you are in – worth $10.
Which leads me to our floor plan. Our awful, tragic floor plan.