Last week, us digital media folks had a little fête to celebrate the relaunch of Foodnetwork.ca (it’s all new – check it out!) and I got to chatting with my colleagues about their first places. To me, your first place could mean any number of dwellings – the first time you left home and lived elsewhere, the first home you created with someone you love or the first home you paid for all by yourself (with the bank’s help).
My first place was a two-bedroom basement apartment in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood, back in (gasp!) 1997. It had huge, street-level windows and the living space was quite large and bright. My roommate and I paid less than $500, which seemed a lot to me then and painfully cheap to me now. I thought it was a palace at the height of bohemian charm (hey, I was 19 and obsessed with Leonard Cohen).
Here’s what the HGTV team had to say about their first places:
Elana, Web Producer/Writer: My first place was a “loft” – read: dirty, shady squatter house, with uneven concrete everything – in an old warehouse building on the East side of Toronto. I lived with two roommates, and about a zillion drop-bys, who would routinely crash on our couch. When we first moved in, the building was in the middle of being converted into bare bones live/work units. Our unit was an uneven concrete box, but large – about 1300 square feet – so we got some construction workers from around the building to put up drywall and create three bedrooms. Our bedrooms were like barracks; windowless, dank, with no ventilation. Each of us had sleeping lofts built – the ceilings were high – and installed fans in round holes we cut in the wall, to circulate air. It was gross. I lived there for a year and a half.
Vanessa, Web Producer: I consider my first place the condo I live in because I actually own it – or own the bathroom (the bank owns the rest). It’s small and was listed as a “zero plus one” because it had no bedroom but did have a stupid solarium, which I had ripped out and I’ve used a big almost floor-to-ceiling shelf to separate the bedroom and living room and it’s really quite comfortable and feels roomy now.
Mia, Manager: It was a four bedroom basement apartment that I shared with three other girls while we were all university students. I think we each paid about $300/month, which was actually quite a bit for a student pad at the time. This place was full of hand-me-down furniture, to date I think we had some of the ugliest pieces I have ever seen, including a brown tweed couch with wooden arms that was not only hideous but also incredibly uncomfortable. The kitchen was painted a bright mint green and the cupboards were painted a dark forest green. Someone must have thought these two shades went together. They didn’t.
We had wall to wall industrial brown carpet everywhere except the kitchen and bathroom, it was awful but did hide most of our spilled cocktails and cigarette burns pretty well, which I assume was why it was put in there in the first place.
Despite the horrible décor, the slightly strange smell, and the utter madness of four party girls trying to exist under the same roof, I would not change one minute of the time spent in that place. I lived there for two school years and they were two of the best!
Camille, Web Coordinator: My first place was a one bedroom in one of those 30 year old condos. So while it was huge enough for me, my guy and our newborn, it did not have the marble and glass dynamic that these new 500 sq. foot bad boys do. To me, it was just like an apartment building. It was sweet because it had amenities downstairs, but again …not the hotel suites that you buy into now. The best thing about it was that it was our first, babe-in-tow.
Jessica, Manager, Community: I was in college in some small, small town in New Brunswick. But this town had charm—loads of old Victorian houses. I got a little nook of a place above a beautiful old house. Great landlords! The place was cozy, a little too cozy for a double bed, so that was tucked up against my kitchen cupboards. The place had a washer and dryer in the apartment—a dream when you’re in college. The bathroom was also amazing. It had an old claw foot tub and a great window out to a big wooded backyard. Loved having baths there!
Let us hear it! Leave a comment and tell us about your first place or Tweet us @hgtvcanada.