My new life in Raleigh

originally posted March 9, 2013, with apologies for the informality
May 2021: password removed; post reformatted; one link updated; revised text is noted

I know I’ve been promising pictures of my new digs for weeks, now (and, that’s not them in the image above; see my update, below), but the weather has been so dark and dreadful that the apartment would not have looked its best!  Today, however, has been a really nice day and the sunshine is doing wonders, streaming in the windows.  So, enjoy . . .

outdoor patio, Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Raleigh, ca March 2013
I might as well start out with the “best” first: This, above, is my back porch!  lol.  Okay, in reality it’s the porch of the brewpub just around the corner and down a block: the Boylan Bridge Brewpub. I’ve enjoyed going to this place since my interview visit in December and I was absolutely thrilled when I found an apartment in the vicinity (no—seriously, they have good burgers and good fries . . . in addition to the brew). The free Wi-Fi signal inside the dining room was an added bonus, and gave me a justifiable reason to invite the staff to serve me in my “home away from home”—at least until I got Internet service in the apartment.

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh  new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
This is the front of my building at 705 West Morgan Street. Built in 1933, it has eight units on two floors—as you look at the building, it has one apartment on the left side of the front door and one on the right side of the door, then another set behind those two; the floorplan repeats upstairs; my unit—number 8—is upstairs, on the left, in the back. It is very, very quiet!

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
This is almost the first view you see after entering my unit (“almost” because you immediately walk into a foyer that is a bit too cramped for me to get a picture of; you’ll see parts of it in other views, though). This view is looking through the living room toward the office.  One of these days, a mini-loft will appear to the right—it will hold my bed on top and allow room for a small workout area underneath.  Don’t worry: I won’t obstruct the view!

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
This shot is looking left from a few steps farther into the living room. Don’t you love the windows? Those windows, that view, the high ceilings, and the wood floors were initially what attracted me to the apartment.

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
This shot is from about the same position as the last one but I’ve turned to face the dining area (through the doorway). Those of you who know about my Edmund (or Edmond) Spence furniture will recognize two of the pieces here: the little nightstand in the corner and the bureau (through the doorway), which I’ve always used as more of a hutch, or cupboard.  (Ignore the little radiator/heater and the workout bench for now—you already know where the bench will be moving in the next few months!)

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
I’ve now taken you through the doorway in the last photo and into the dining space; the Spence bureau is right behind us. This is one of two built-ins that bookend this kitchen entrance. These were a couple of other reasons I didn’t hesitate to fall in love with the unit!

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
Now, we are looking from the dining area, through the kitchen, and into that little foyer I mentioned earlier (the front door would be to the right; the living room, to the left). I haven’t done much work on the kitchen, yet—except cleaning.  [Editorial comment: In all my years of apartment living, I had never moved into a kitchen that was so filthy and greasy!]  Everything is good now, though, and I’m in line for a new stove and new refrigerator . . . somewhere down the road . . .

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
Now, I’ve crossed the kitchen and turned around so you are looking from the foyer and through the kitchen, toward the dining area. A few months down the road, I’m planning to get a small high-top table and a chair for the dining room. For now, the space is getting more use as an ironing room!

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
After going back through the kitchen and the dining area and turning back into the living room, this is what you see: my unromanticized, bare-bones sleeping area!  Remember, my loft will be there in a few months (after I get a mattress, of course: I do have priorities, you know). And, yes, I should have closed that closet door!  But, forgive me one little faux pas and look beyond the door on the left and into the office . . .

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
The office is at the back of the unit, in the farthest corner of the building from the two exterior shots at the beginning of the post. I’ve divided the room into an office area and a dressing area, which leads into the bathroom. This view is from the far corner, looking back out toward the living room (through the doorway).

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
Now, I’ve turned, from the same spot, to the left so you can peek into the bathroom. I did a lot of cleaning and even painting in there during my first few weeks. (They don’t have to do that between tenants, in North Carolina, you know . . . kinda icky . . . lol.)  I also ran an electric line in there—they didn’t have any electric except the lights!  You can also kinda, sorta, almost see my little dressing area to the left; what you can’t see is the full-length mirror on the back of the bathroom door!  Jealous, much?  Ha!  Apologies for the mess in the office, but, hey, I work here!

new home: 705 West Morgan Street, Apt 8, Raleigh
Well, that’s it, gang. It seems bigger than it looks and, as you can see, I have lots of floor space for guests!  In this photo, we’ve exited the office and we’re crossing the living room, heading for the foyer (OMG: I swear I didn’t know that glass of tea was there!) so I can show you my view of downtown. To do that, we have to return to my “back porch” . . .

Raleigh skyline, from Boylan Bridge Brewpub, ca March 2013
Yes, this would be my view (well, from a block away) except for a grove of bamboo trees that line my side of the building. This is downtown Raleigh, and much of the height that you see is new since I was here in the ’90s. The elevator and the old rail yard buildings in the foreground are, as I understand it, slated for demolition in the near future; they are remnants of the old, and, evidently, infamous, “Raleigh wye” which was where several rail lines that met on the north side of town used to converge into just one line and head south. While their numbers are fewer than they once were, I still get to hear those moaning freight train whistles off and on during the day and night. In the next few months, the graffiti-ized building beyond the trees and to the left of the elevator will start transforming into Raleigh’s new Union Station—for Amtrak and a new commuter line to Durham and Chapel Hill.

Raleigh skyline, from Boylan Bridge Brewpub, ca March 2013
This view is a continuation of the panerama, to the north (left) and will give you a general idea of my morning commute. The circular building on the left (the one with the sun gleaming off it) is the Clarion Hotel and is about six blocks away; the next tall building is the new State Employees’ Credit Union building and is another two blocks. The Museum of History is another block farther. To rub it in, that’s a ten to twenty minute walk, depending on what crosswalk signals I catch!  (And, how cold and strong the wind is, of course!)  Jealous?  That’s all right; you don’t have to admit it!  I’ll just chuckle to myself!

View my home-work-home commute in a larger map

So, there you have it: my “new” life, in a few pictures. Oh, one last shot: for my little sister, who keeps bugging me for a glimpse of my new wheels—yeah, the ones that just sit and rust away five days a week now!  (I have, however, been making use of those “complimentary” seat warmers I used to joke about when I lived in Orlando, btw. Guess I didn’t get the last laugh on that deal!) Here you are:
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT, Raleigh NC
Ain’t he a beaut? I know. Miss you all; thanks for reading and following along,

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UPDATE:  By the spring of 2016, that section of town was “discovered”—it’s now known as the Warehouse District and Glenwood South—and the rent started increasing by the legal maximum each year. In order to lower my monthly payments—and to gain a working kitchen (the stove never was repaired or replaced), some outdoor space, and HVAC access that was in my control (as opposed to a massive boiler in the basement and no AC), I relocated across town to a converted (to four apartment units) house in historic Oakwood—that’s it in the featured image at top—still in walking distance of downtown Raleigh. The loft did get built, and it was moved to the new smaller apartment in Oakwood, where it was used for a few more years with storage underneath. In other news, after a hurricane, a flood, and an abuttment collapse, the Boylan Bridge Brewpub closed down; it was replaced, eventually, by the more upscale Wye Hill Kitchen and Brewing Company, which is not on my regular list. My little car, which still sits on the street five or six days a week, is still serving us like a trooper!

image information: Featured image, via my personal collection; my apartment is upstairs and in back—that’s my future balcony hiding under the preceding tenant’s screen.