What was you first apartment (or whatever it was) like?

Spring of 1973, my grandfather rented me his basement suite. His house was small but the suite was totally private, own bathroom, utilities, private entrance etc. Rent was $115/mo. I had one room mate and there was only one bedroom. Needless to say it was a bit tricky if one or the other of us had a girl over.

And what prompted you to do this at age 16? Do tell!

That kind of sounds like the first apartment one of my brother’s friends had, in the mid 1980s. It was a single room, with a shower and toilet in what used to be the closet (and rust rings in all the fixtures) and a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. For $150 a month, it was precisely the kind of place where a 19-year-old on his own for the first time might live, but he did complain to my brother that it was roach-infested. My brother pointed out that while it’s perfectly OK to live on delivery pizza, it’s NOT OK to stack the boxes in the corner until they reach the ceiling, which was what he had set out to do. He did toss the used boxes, and the roach problem did somewhat abate.

My first place was a 1BR about a mile from my parents’ place, in what was considered a “really nice” place at the time - $300 a month in 1984. In more recent years, that complex was bought out by some slumlords, and the building I lived in was pretty much destroyed in a meth lab explosion.

I don’t count college apartments even though the OP allowed them. The first apartment I ever got was what I’d consider a medium-sized 1 bedroom apartment and all things considered it was tied for the best place I’ve lived on my own, because it was safe and quiet and well-maintained and not very tiny. I certainly had a enough room for all of my stuff with room to spare.

The second place was a tiny studio apartment which was close enough to a sketchy neighborhood you could hear the police helicopters circle regularly, and people start their dying jalopies at 3 am in the morning with a bone-chilling squeal, and motorcyclists race up and down the street.

But the third place, even though it was tied for the best place turned out to be the most dangerous, at least statistically. In 2 1/2 years I was egged, BB’ed, and had bottles thrown at me while running/biking, and had my parked car hit-and-run in the middle of the night. The place itself though was large, quiet, and well-maintained.

I’m not counting college apartments either. My first “real” apartment while I was employed, while waiting for my spouse to finish his computer science degree so we could get married and move to the Bay Area, was a tiny little 1-bedroom, 1-bath thing on the third floor of a building with 6 apartments, 2 on each floor. Looking back, I have no idea how I lived in something that small (with the spouse, because he moved in with me while we pretended he was still living in the room his parents thought he was renting) but those were good times. It even had a tiny balcony overlooking a park, which was nice to sit on during summer days. It was close to the school and the town, and very safe. It was $400 a month, in 1987,

The guy below us used to like running the heater a lot during the winter, so we never had to. It came up through the floor and kept us nicely toasty.

It was sorta a quarter of a duplex. It was a 3 story house one block away from the Ohio State main campus. Each half had the first story set up as a 2 bedroom apartment. The upper 2 stories on each side was a 5 bedroom apartment with a kitchen and bath. There were 4 of us and we declared one bedroom as our living room. Our apartment was furnished with used stuff. My bedroom was the front one on the third floor. One side had a slanted ceiling.

We were maybe a half block away from High St and there was plenty of street noise from the weekend binge drinkers getting blasted at the bars across High St. I lived there 2 years. Here’s something I learned: when female roommates get drunk after breaking up with their boyfriend, they stagger home and cry. When male roommates get drunk after breaking up with their girlfriend, they stagger home and punch holes in the plaster walls. So, you want a male roommate who smokes grass instead of drinks beer. He’ll just eat those last two slices of pizza you were saving.

The summer before my senior year, I got a two bedroom apartment a couple blocks from campus, on the first floor of a complex affectionately known as Mushroom Manor. This was in 1976. It was pretty typical, a brick two-story complex with maybe 18 units. All rented by students. It had a big picture window in the living room that looked out onto a privacy fence on the other side of a walkway. The kitchen door led to the parking lot. So not a lot of greenspace. I had some really fun times there, sometimes, but not always, involving mushrooms. And I had my first, and only, waterbed there.

A friend of mine rented the second bedroom. It turned out that she was really a lousy roommate - she was a total slob and kept bringing random guys over to have sex with all. the. time. She moved out after 4-5 months but I don’t remember it being contentious or anything. She may have lost her job. Whatever it was, we are still friends 40 something years later. She’s a great friend, I just couldn’t live with her.

After that I realized I liked living alone. I was working part time in the evenings. I made enough to just barely cover the rent so for the last couple months I let a co-worker rent the room. When the lease was over, I moved to a cheaper one bedroom place and took the cat who was living in the parking lot with me. That began my years as a cat slave so is another reason I have fond memories of the place.

My first non-dorm living location in college was a house that I sublet, along with several friends, during the summer between my junior and senior years. It was an old, two-story frame house just off campus in Madison, Wisconsin, and had undoubtedly been rented to students for decades. It was, as you might expect, somewhat run-down, though what I remember the most was that the kitchen was carpeted (eeeeeew).

After I got my Master’s degree, and got a job, my first “permanent” place was a house that I rented, along with three friends, in suburban Chicago. It was a fairly normal house, a split-level, with four bedrooms (but only one bathroom). I’m not exactly a neat freak, but I quickly discovered that my three roommates were slobs by comparison – I started dating the woman whom I would eventually marry while I lived there, and after a couple of visits, she essentially said, “I’m not coming over there, it’s a pit.”

Does a college dorm room count? It was the first place I lived in away from my family home. It was pretty typical other than it was more crowded than it should have been. It was designed for two people but the dorms were overfilled and some of use had to have three people in a room.

The other thing I remember about it was its bizarre colors. Students were allowed to paint their dorm rooms and the previous occupants had decided to paint the room in the school colors; bright green and yellow.

My first apartment when I first permanently left home was essentially an off-campus dorm. I was lucky that that very year, the university students council had purchased a three-story walkup apartment building near the campus and completely renovated it, and then furnished it with new furniture, and that fall was the first time it became available as an off-campus dorm, technically operating as a “co-op”, so everything was fresh and new.

The slightly odd thing about it was that major items of furniture like beds and dressers were all fastened to the walls. No, it wasn’t fear that students would steal furniture, it was a rather clever move whereby anything permanently fastened to the building would be considered “part of the building” for mortgage purposes, and thus the student council managed to get the bank to cover the furniture costs as part of the mortgage. We residents paid a nominal monthly rent – I have no idea what it was, but it couldn’t have been much. It was fortunately a rather pleasant and relatively non-stressful experience for a shy young lad leaving home for the first time. It was a co-ed residence, though the boys and girls were segregated to their own apartments.

It was a small place in the heart of popular downtown Naperville in Chicago suburbia. First floor, consisted of a decent sized living room (for one person) and a tiny bathroom, tiny corridor type kitchen and a bedroom that was small and oddly shaped. The only logical place to put a bed left the closet behind it so you had to climb over the bed to get your clothes. Also, the only windows were in the living room – the bedroom had a back door with a screen so, if you wanted a breeze, you had to leave the back door open all night. This being a relatively safe town and me being male, I did this fairly often in the summer. Besides that, the only notable thing I recall is that it had a radiator for heat that cooked in the winter. I’d have to leave the windows open a crack in sub-zero temperatures to counter the intense heat from the radiator. Besides that, it was clean and the stuff worked. I remember delighting that the bathroom mirror-cabinet had a slot for safety razor blades and I knew what it was from a Straight Dope column.

I wasn’t especially outgoing so never really took advantage of the proximity to the bars but there were a few bookstore and the river to walk along. If I was somehow single & childless again, I could probably live there comfortably.

My older brother got a summer job there, and I convinced my parents to let me fly up and look for a job too. (and I got one, cleaning fish). I thought I would live with him, but he was living with his girlfriend in an apartment not much bigger than mine. He let me stay there a day or two, but then I had to find a place.

Luckily, one room apartments in old buildings were cheap.

My first apartment was an “efficiency” near the UT campus. $500/month, all bills paid.

It was a single room with 2 windows, a closet, and a bathroom. The windows opened into the alley behind the building. No kitchen- I had to wash dishes in the bathroom sink. No air conditioning, and no heat.

For heating in the winter I was told to use the gas oven… which, by the way, was just freestanding in the room. It had a faulty igniter- when it would finally ignite, it would do so with a loud bang and rock a few inches across the floor.

Looking back, it was horribly illegal and dangerous. I had no clue at the time, of course.

It was a cute bungalow house in Hollywood Lakes, divide in two with a garage apt off the alley. We had the front half and access to the grapefruit trees. E. Metzger was the landlord, old lady about 4’9” beer barrel shaped always wearing a mumu with her flaming Red/ orange hair tightly coiled against her head. Loud opinionated prone to drink too much wine I think she lived nearby and spied on us.

It was my first year of law school in the D.C. Metro area. I settled on living in Alexandria, Virginia, but not the cool part. It was a high rise apartment off of – if you can believe it – Jefferson Davis Highway. (I need to check to see if that name still exists). I had a one bedroom apartment on the first floor and became accustomed to things like taking trash to the trash bin through the hallways, using a shopping cart to wheel groceries home, and living on my own for the first time ever.

Re Jefferson Davis Highway – it took until 2018 (!) for the name to be changed to Richmond Highway.

My first was one quarter of a house in Champaign Illinois, which I moved into my first summer of grad school and stayed in until I left for a new school. One bedroom, one living room with a kitchen alcove. Plenty of room. $125 a month (1974) including all utilities, really nice giving the Illinois winters. Came furnished with a queen bed. Not too far from campus, easy walking, driving or biking distance. Just a block from a supermarket also.
The only negative was that there was only one thermostat in the house, in another apartment. When I came back after Christmas I found that the people in that apartment had left also and had turned it down - way down. (I’m sure they had no idea that they owned the only thermostat.) I was able to break into their apartment from the basement, turn up the thermostat, then leave. I wonder what they thought when they came back. I never even saw the other residents.

My first home was a house - not unusual in the UK, where apartments were something of a rarity (it was the early 90s) and Victorian terraces were plentiful. It was my student home, shared with three other girls - a Dutch girl, an Israeli and a half Czech/half Brit.

I doubt it had been decorated since the 70s. Still had a deep pile brown/orange swirly carpet, a lemon yellow bathroom suite (with no shower) and an orange formica kitchen (no dishwasher). The bathroom was mouldy and the living room was often smeared in the trails of small slugs who would come out after dark.

My Czech/Brit housemate had a hamster, which the Israeli thought was vermin. She kinda had a point. The hamster chewed off the sleeve of the Dutch girl’s jacket and made a bed out of it.

It was the time of the Gulf War. The Israeli girl went home for Christmas break and we never saw her again - she’d been a Captain in the Israeli army and got drafted when she was away.

I think current students, with their spanking new apartments and Ikea furniture would be horrified by the state of the place.

Happy days!

The first place I lived as a married 20 year old was found by my new wife. It was half of a mobile home. Seriously. Our neighbor’s bathroom was on the other side of the wall of our bathroom. You could hear him grunt.

That reminded me of another thing about my old apartment. My unit was, apparently, the only one with access to the building’s attic. I learned about this one January morning when the maintenance people had to wake me (as a student a kept a later schedule than most) up so they could get up there to fix my next door neighbor’s heat.

I lived with my mom in a place like that in the 90s – a ranch home in America but that had the same color scheme.

It did, however, have a dishwasher, which my mom refused to use because she enjoyed doing the dishes and supposedly saving money. She used it as an additional bookshelf which struck me as unwise if it should ever leak or turn itself on, but thankfully it never did.

The worst part about the color scheme was that we also had wasps that would come in occasionally, and perfectly blend in with the mixed brown and orange carpet when they landed.