FLARE Editors Share Stories of Their First Apartments

The bug infestations, the plumbing probs and at least one gaudy accent wall. Read (and laugh at) our editors' survival stories of their very first apartments

first apartment stories

The pros and cons of solo living are real and varied… (Photo: HBO)

My first post-university apartment somehow landed me in a one-bedroom delight in Yorkville. It was my first time living on my own, and I had high hopes for the splendid sanctuary I would surely curate. My friends would joke they were visiting the Taj when they came over because it had a huge, gorgeous windows shaped similarly to the iconic mausoleum. Less impressive was the second-floor view I had of the depressing seniors’ home across the street, and the stark contrast between my scatterbrained existence and the fancy, stuffy olds who would call in noise complaints whenever more than four people came over. It turned out living on your own and on a seriously tight budget (not a penny to spare with that rent) was less glamorous than expected. My place was a hot mess of vintage hand-me-downs from my grandma, shitty IKEA purchases and DIY art from late night craft sessions with friends, all topped off with the excessive untidiness that has plagued me since infancy. The crème de la crème was a set of ancient hideous floral sofas I inherited and tried to salvage with oversized beige slipcovers. The result was far more saggy and scrotum-like than I’d hoped. I may or may not still be using them. Adult-ing is hard. —Gillian Berner, editorial coordinator

When I first moved to Toronto to intern at FLARE, it was on less than a week’s notice and I had zero connections in the city. I was desperate, but managed to find a six-week sublet from a photographer who was headed to New York for work. I had no idea where it was in relation to the office (or, how to check Google Maps, apparently), but on the day I moved, I was delighted to discover that my new home was literally right beside the office (including a balcony view of the building). Some things are just meant to be (though the futon I slept on for six weeks was not). —Caitlin Kenny, beauty editor

I both adored and loathed my first one-bedroom apartment. I’d had roommates throughout university but this was my first solo mission. It was in a great location, was full of vintage character and had such good bones—an arched kitchen entrance! Hardwood! A bedroom larger than the one I grew up with! I even thought the rads were cute and would put teacups of flowers on them. The honeymoon was over when I started to notice water damage and leaks blooming in the bathroom ceiling, which developed into exploding pipes before it was finally fixed. The thing about cute old apartments is they’re actually OLD. The water issues came to a (fountain) head with the equivalent of a waterfall in the space between the kitchen and living room wall any time the unit above ran their shower. It was time to go. There’s only so far good bones can carry you! —Lindsay Murrell, photo editor

It wasn’t my very first apartment, but definitely the most memorable—a tiny four-bedroom, one-bathroom convert on the edge of Chinatown that I moved into with three girlfriends the summer before our last year of undergrad. I’d just spent six weeks backpacking in Europe during which time I stayed in a half dozen dingy hostels (at least one of them was infested with bedbugs), so the newly renovated glorified student housing seemed SUPER glam and my girls and I were totally pumped to turn it into a perfect hybrid of grown-up chic lady sanctuary and ultimate party den. This translated as a mishmash of furniture and martini glasses (for cosmos, OBV!) cobbled together from our respective previous apartments, and one VERY red wall, which took us about three days and five coats of paint to achieve. Looking back, that accent wall makes me cringe a little, but this was all during the first years after Sex and the City wrapped and we were still v. inspired by Big’s bold post-divorce decor choice. That wall ended up being the background in two years of cherished pictures of packed-to-the-rafters parties, first date selfies and still the most fun girls’-nights-in to date. —Charlotte Herrold, digital editor

first apartment stories

(Photo: Apartmenttherapy.com)

The first time I lived on my own was after breaking up with my first boyfriend. I thought I was gaining independence—turns out independence was overwhelming and cost more than I could afford. I ended up in a tiny moldy studio apartment with a silverfish infestation in the bathroom. This was the scene for mourning my first love. It was awful and lonely, to say the least. Lesson learned: I will never live without housemates now—my need for human interaction is too strong, and it definitely helps with expenses! —Peghah Maleknejad, contributing associate fashion editor

I had this middle-aged neighbour whose techno music would vibrate through the hallway every time he was f*cking some young, fresh trick he met off Grindr. It actually became a joke between me and my friends to see if a guy was leaving as we were getting off the elevator (we encountered at least a half dozen). One time, one of his conquests even messaged me on Grindr from INSIDE my neighbour’s apartment and attached a casual pic of them both in the shower together. The real drama? Approx. six weeks ago when, like, 12 police officers started pounding on his door and shouting for him to get on the ground MID-LAY.  I headed out into the hallway and found him and his dude tied to chairs while the apartment was being raided. For. Three. Hours. A couple weeks later when the building manager and a repair man were leaving the vacant apartment, she turned to him and said “It’s always the ones who work with kids, isn’t it? —Michael Li Preti, designer

When I moved to Toronto five years ago from Nova Scotia, my mom and I spent just one day looking for an apartment, and I ended up in a newly renovated junior one-bedroom that was super affordable. Not. But, it had brand new everything, so we thought it was worth it. Also not the case. Within three months of living there, I had a seriously gross ant infestation, my super was this awful rude man who asked if I was menopausal when I complained about the heat being jacked up all the time, and when I flushed the toilet the shower drain would occasionally back up. The horrible building was actually featured on CBC’s Marketplace for its plumbing issues. Needless to say, when my lease was up, I was out. —Tara MacInnis, assistant fashion and beauty editor

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