Alex Bandon

Alex Bandon

Apartment hunting in NYC is hard. When you fall in love with a space in New York you better hurry and make a decision because the housing market is crazy competitive. No one knows that better than renovation expert, Alex Bandon.

Alex started her career as a journalist and spent over 17 years with the This Old House brand. Her talents first served as the senior editor of the popular magazine and then moved on to cultivate their media presence as editor of their website, Falling in love with home improvement, Alex became one of NYC’s premiere urban DIYers and told her stories on the blog The Shelter Life. Her work and expertise has been featured on NBC’s Today show, CNN Open House, CBS, Apartment Therapy, and The New York Times, just to name a few. She now is the founder of North River Renovation Management where she serves as a Renovation Coach, project managing all aspects of home maintenance and improvements from start to finish. She oversees the work of general contractors and sub-contractors and makes sure the homeowner’s needs are met and the quality of work is high.

….And now you understand that when I had the chance to get a peek inside her apartment, I jumped at the opportunity!

Alex loves New York City and has a special place in her heart for the West Village, a neighborhood that boasts history, charm, and modern conveniences. Cobblestone streets lead you to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. It’s a safe neighborhood that is proud of the eclectic vibe its bohemian artists of days-gone-by created. Alex had always wanted to live in a backhouse, so when a 100 year old home became available to rent, she knew she had to act fast. It’s located in her favorite neighborhood and includes over 430 sq. ft. of outdoor space—it was perfect. Well, almost.

Real estate in the West Village, whether you buy or rent, is some of the most expensive in the city. Just one square foot can set you back over $1,400! “My philosophy is that I may be a renter for the rest of my life. Why should I wait to own to live in a place that feels like home?”, says Alex. So when this avid cooker looked at the tiny kitchen with a half fridge and two burners next to a sink, she didn’t hesitate to ask the landladies if she could renovate the kitchen. Before you scoff or wrinkle your nose, realize that Alex did the math. Renters often pay more for extra amenities. If Alex were to live in this home for at least three years, she was just tacking on an extra $138 a month—well worth the price for more storage space and a beautiful full-sized oven and fridge.

The only thing Alex couldn’t control in this apartment was the size. The entire two-story home is 400 square feet. She grew up in a 4,000 square foot house where if you forgot anything upstairs you were in for a long haul. She knew she didn’t need that much space. While she does recognize an extra bedroom and a slightly larger living room would be nice, she is grateful for the 430 square foot garden that greets her anytime she comes and goes – a feature that is unheard of in Manhattan! She found a gem! Pair that with a smart furniture layout, perfect paint colors, and clever organizing solutions and you have one of New York City’s most unique and charming homes.

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