Monday, 7 November 2016

Weird stuff we discovered when buying our apartment

Maybe one day I'll have a house...

This week marks the 10th anniversary of our property purchase: a cosy 2 bedrooms apartment in a seaside village, 45 minutes from Dublin. I can't believe it's been 10 years already, especially when I see the outstanding amount on our mortgage. Anyway, buying an apartment wasn't always the plan, but unfortunately, it was the only thing we could afford at the time. Initially, I wanted a house, a garden, an attic, and 3 bedrooms. But in 2006, it was almost impossible to buy a house unless you were prepared to queue for hours and buy off the plans (I tried, it didn't work), try to bargain the price of a second-hand house (we also tried, didn't work either) or buy in a dodgy area (we almost did and looking back, I'm glad the sale fell through). We didn't have enough money to buy in our area of choice (Swords and Malahide), so we went further afield and lowered our expectations. We eventually found an affordable apartment in a brand new complex so we didn't think twice and signed straight away. I loved the fact that it was minutes from the sea and on top of that, it was a good size (80 square metres) so we knew we would have enough space when the time would come to extend the family...

But when we moved in, we discovered a few interesting oddities!

The apartment was sold half-furnished

Yes, you're reading that well. The kitchen came with all the appliances: hob, oven,fridge, washing-machine, dryer and dishwasher. But there was no flooring across the whole apartment. We had to buy tiles and wooden floors, and do all the work ourselves. Well, my husband did it, but I was there for moral support.

The walls are not straight

Every time my DIY husband tried to install something on the wall, I was giving out because it didn't look straight. I blamed his poor vision for that, but after closer inspection, we realised that in fact, the problem was the wall, not the shelf or the cabinet he was trying to install. So yes, if you come to our place, don't be surprised if you notice that the towel hanger is not straight. It's not us. It's the builders.

There is a radiator in a cupboard

That was a bit of a shock. What is the use of having a radiator in the cupboard? Well, don't forget we're in Ireland. Usually, there is a hot press in the bathroom. You know, that's where the hot water balloon is, and in general there are a few shelves where you can dry  your towels. In our apartment, there is no hot water balloon in the bathroom because we have a boiler in the living room (another strange thing). So the clever builders/designers/architects thought it would be a great idea to have the "hot press" in the hall. And how do you dry towels? With the radiator of course! Needless to say we never turned it on.

Sockets and switches in weird places

In the bedroom, there are two sockets high on the wall, and I had to think hard for a while about their use. Then I realised it was to plug a TV, in case we wanted one on the bedroom wall.
Then we discovered a lone switch on the living room wall. It didn't switch anything on, and it only took us 6 years to find out it was there in case we wanted to install a gas fireplace.
And last but not least, the only phone socket in the whole apartment was placed on the kitchen wall, near the hob and the oven. I still don't get it.

Apart from all these odd Irish building ideas, we love our apartment. Sure we've been living in an unfinished complex for almost 10 years (Thank you recession and the property developer who went bust), but it has been sold recently so hopefully the block across ours will be finished soon. We are near the sea and just passing by on my way to work makes me happier. We have great neighbours and the area is very quiet. I still want a house though, and I hope some day we'll be able to sell and have a garden. When that happen, I'll make sure to check all the walls first!!