would you sacrifice location for space?

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{Some dreamy living rooms I love from my living spaces board on pinterest}

I was so happy to finally meet Cait, author of the amazing blog Blonde On A Budget, this past Saturday at The Revolver in Gastown. Over lattes we talked about everything– but one topic in particular stuck out in my mind when I got home: her new apartment. After a crazy month/year of moving (read more about that here) she’s finally found an apartment she loves… in Port Moody.

Port Moody is a suburb of Metro Vancouver and is a good 45 minute commute by car. The idea of living that far outside the city used to repulse me. But then she told me about all the fantastic amenities her new condo has. The unit is only 5 years old and has a huge gym, pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, yoga room and a squash court! It’s right in the village with shops and cafes nearby.

When I came home to my tiny, damp, dark basement suite in Vancouver (ok, I am making it sound worse than it is), it got me thinking. Would Andrew and I be willing to sacrifice our easy daily commute for a better apartment?  A few years ago, I would have given anything to move downtown and live where the action is. But today, I am leaning more towards trading location for living space.

I guess its no surprise, as I get older my priorities have changed.  Because I don’t party every weekend anymore, I don’t need an apartment near the nightlife to stumble home to. Andrew and host a lot more house guests these days (like parents, siblings and friends who want a weekend away in the city)–which makes having a larger living space more comfortable. I appreciate modern amenities like a recently renovated kitchen, ample storage space, and in-suite laundry. A dishwasher would be nice too. Our current apartment doesn’t have one. Now that would be luxury!

While my apartment wish-list still includes: being near to transit, walking distance to coffee shops, grocery stores and parks, it now doesn’t bother me if that means I am in a suburb of Metro Vancouver rather than near the city’s centre. Andrew is not as easily convinced that bigger is better. Living further out would cause us to be much better at time management. No more rolling out of bed and getting to work in 20 minutes. A nightly outing would have to ensure it ended before the last Skytrain left the station, or else we would be paying a fortune in cab fare.

The reality is we can’t afford my apartment wish list and live in the heart of Vancouver. I am no longer a delusional young person who thinks I can afford anything I desire. Andrew and I can’t have the best of both worlds, so we have to choose one over the other.

The question remains: would you sacrifice location for space?

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16 thoughts on “would you sacrifice location for space?

  1. We currently live 45 mins out of the city, but in this place, even 10 mins out and you’re in the country. A we have a bit of acreage,and a large comfy house. As the kids gets older and leave home, I would love to have an apartment in the city. But I dot see hat happening. I love the country far too much. I love my space too, so it would have to be a spacious (but one bedroom) place. Which, again, is not going to happen.

    • My parents had this beautiful big house growing up so there are times I miss the space! I think the day we move outside the city is the day we invest in a place and buy. Right now we’re just renting… I’ll keep you posted!

  2. This is such a good question – and I feel like a very grown-up problem. I am going through this right now! I am still in school and live within walking distance and a short bus ride from work and campus. Moving out of the city would mean I could invest in a house, but I would be sacraficing sleep and time with the commute. I don’t have any good answers but I do know that if you hate where you live – you can always move 🙂

    • Very true! Thats the beauty of being renters right now– we can move. After publishing this post I also realized this was also a case of wanting what I don’t have simply because someone else has it… I don’t know if moving outside the city would be better so until I am sure I think we will stay put. If we ever bought a house it would have to be outside the city– inside the city limits is way too expensive. So a part of me thinks maybe I should enjoy living close to downtown while I am a renter and can afford it.

  3. Hey, I remember saying to your dad that I will not want to live in NB because it is too small, boring and quiet but now, I can’t wait to finally settle in good old NB because I know that Chicago is only a train ride away; plus, we can get more for our money there than say, Chicago.

  4. The classic debate that becomes ever more nuanced as we grow slightly more into our family lives and less into the daily chaos of the city. Jon and I are living in an apt in downtown Minneapolis, but we’re yearning (just a wee bit thus far) to move into a larger home slightly further out of city. Maybe in a couple years or so?

    • Yup, that’s what we’ve decided… perhaps when we are ready to buy (we’re renting now) and perhaps when we start having kids– space will be more essential than ever.

  5. I work with people who live in The Burbs. Some of them drive an hour each way every day in good traffic. Last week one collegue spent 2 hours driving to work. That is just crazy.
    I see the cyclist driving past my buildng and envy them. No parking fees, no gas tanks to fill, no auto insurance. They probably live 5-10 miles out side of Boston. Probably in half decent apartments or sized homes.
    My house is 5 miles from Kendal Square in Cambridge. My mortgage is less than rent for a small city apartment. I have a yard and a decent sized house. My goal is to bike to work next year after mydaughter goes to colllege and I no longer need to provide taxi service for her.
    I would never advise anyone to buy a big house on a big lot far from work. You end up spending way too much time in your car and being stressed out by the experience.

    • Great point! I think there is a limit– I’ve always been a public transit kind of girl so wherever I move in the future would have to be on the subway line or bus route. If we ever move outside the city it will be to buy we’ve decided… because everything is too expensive inside the city limits. But I think the biggest commute I could stomach would be 45 minutes to an hour by subway. I don’t think I could stand bumper to bumper traffic. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      • Here in Massachusetts they are encouraging “smart development”. A lot of condo developments are being built near commuter rail or subway stations. A development a few miles from my house is getting a brand new stop build for them!
        I live about a mile from the nearest subway stop. When I take up riding my bike to work I may walk to this subway station on rainy/snowey days.
        I hate long commutes also. I used to drive 45 min + drive both ways. At the time I had not discoved books on tape!

  6. You obviously know my answer to this question. 😉

    I hadn’t really thought about one part of the equation though and that’s that quitting drinking / the party lifestyle probably did have an effect on this decision (over the course of many months and multiple moves, that is). I care so much more about having a nice living space now than I do about being close to any “action”. But that’s not to say I won’t come into the city for another coffee with you – sooner than later, please!

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