Condo Hacks

The view. The close proximity to everything. The immediate influx of (mostly) cool neighbors. Having a bird’s eye view of the city from your balcony is one of the best ways to experience Miami — for locals and transplants alike. Whatever challenge may arise, there’s a solution to resolve it. Herewith: Brickellites share ways they’ve eased into hi-rise living.
Text by Anja Maltav | February 5, 2018 | Lifestyle


Jennie took a deep breath and cuddled up in her new loveseat overlooking a breathtaking view of Biscayne Bay high atop one of Downtown Miami’s most amenity-rich condo buildings. It was her first weekend in Miami; and Monday would be her first day at her new job. Chicago’s hustle & bustle and bonechilling breezes had gotten the best of her and she was ready to start anew at the tip of The Sunshine State. As the sun set and the sky lit up with beautiful hues of pinks, oranges, purples and yellows, she took a mental tally of all the boxes that still needed to be unpacked and dozed off.

Over on the other side of town, Agnus was looking at the same sunset, but she was a few stories higher than Jennie, facing west. But she wasn’t ready to take a nap quite yet. Instead, she was spraying water on her hedges. Wait…what?! Yes, after living in a historic plantation home near Fairchild Tropical Garden most of her adult life, Angus and her husband decided a year prior to put their home up for sale and make the vertical move to hi-rise living. They couldn’t imagine living out their Golden Years anywhere else. “We know that our decision to move to Brickell will keep us young,” she says. “We’ve seen the neighborhood evolve throughout the years and always knew we’d end up here one day.” The one thing Agnus refused to give up? Her plants. “I told my husband that the only way I was leaving my big backyard behind was if I could create a mini version of it on our new balcony to frame the view!” Autopian mix of hibiscus, bougainvillea, roses, hedges, hanging plants and herbs, Agnus’ balcony looks like something out of a movie. “Whenever our friends come to visit, their jaws drop,” she says. “We don’t know much about social media, but we’ve been told that our balcony is ‘Instagram famous’!”

Back to Jennie, who was abruptly woken up by the video game antics of her new neighbor, who was huffing and puffing as GAME OVER undoubtedly flashed on his screen. Having come from a thick-walled greystone in The Windy City, she wasn’t used to hearing the goings-on next door. Her realtor had warned her that this particular building was notorious for its thin walls and there were plenty of other options with extra noise-cancelling insulation between the units, but she’d fallen in love with the place at first walkthrough. Next door, the ruckus continued. “Sounds like a rematch is in the works,” she muttered to herself.

Just a few floors down, Miguel was getting ready for a night out with friends. He was looking forward to debuting the new URB-E his girlfriend had gotten him for his birthday. For those not versed in the latest modes of transport tech, URB-E is a lightweight foldable electric vehicle that doubles up as a power source to charge multiple phones at the same time, making you a hero just about anywhere you go. “When I moved to Brickell, I sold my car and got rid of the insurance payments, maintenance and gas costs,” he says. “Between Uber, Citi Bike, Metrorail, Metromover, Metrobus, Miami Trolley and my new URB-E, I can get just about anywhere right on time, every time, no sweat — it’s one of the main reasons why I love living right in the middle of all the action.”

Fast-forward a few hours and Jennie’s neighbors are back at it. But this time, it’s not the gamer next door, it’s the neighbors a floor below who sound like they’re throwing the party of the century. “Hey, how come nobody invited me,” she laughs to herself. Exhausted from unpacking (and with a tinge of FOMO and no friends in town yet), she eyed a book peeking out from one of her moving boxes, grabbed it and hopped back into the loveseat she’d napped in earlier. Not even a paragraph into Chapter 2 and…“Hachoooo!” The sound startled her so much that she slammed her book shut and shouted “Bless you!” out of sheer reflex. “Thank you!” her upstairs neighbor replied.

Mortified, Jennie called her mom. “I can hear when my neighbors sneeze!,” she said, almost hyperventilating. “Oh honey, what did you expect? That nice realtor warned you the walls were thin.” Then her mom helped put everything into perspective. “Do you love your new place?” Yes! “Do you see yourself living there for a long time?” Yes! “Have you already started settling in?” Yes! “Well, then it seems like all you need is a sound machine in the background to drown out all that noise!”

Jennie immediately went online and ordered a pair of the highest-rated sound machines she could find. They arrived two days later and she’s been sleeping — and waking — in peace every day since. Who knew such a simple little hack could change someone’s life forever?! Jennie’s mom did, of course.