Saturday, November 19, 2011

Zurich Apartment

We've been in our new apartment for more than two months now, but didn't finish decorating until we finally had some people over for dinner. Sometimes it just takes a little pressure! Here are pictures of our place.
Looking through front door

We had heard a number of horror stories of new residents to Zurich viewing hundreds of apartments, applying to dozens, and coming up empty. While we did go to a few very busy apartment viewings, in the end, we got the first apartment we applied for, so it was a lot less trouble than we were expecting (your mileage may vary). We have a great 3 room apartment (more on how the Swiss count rooms later) in Zurich - it's close to a grocery store, restaurants, and trams/buses. In addition, it's about a 15 minute walk to work for Brian and a 5 minute tram ride to the Zurich main train station.

As you would expect, apartments in Zurich generally differ from those in the US:
  • Light fixtures and window treatments are generally not included. When Brian moved in to the apartment (I was in the US), the only lights in the apartment were in the bathroom and over the oven - he went around with one desk lamp and his head lamp until I could help make those important design decisions. For the windows, all the windows have outdoor shutters, so we've only put curtains up in the bedroom for now.

  • Looking from kitchen into dining area
  • Built-in closets are not the norm. We did see a few apartments with built-in closets, but for the most part, your wardrobe (likely from IKEA) comes with you. This makes it harder to hide messes!
  • Apartments and houses are counted by the number of rooms they have. In the US, we would call our apartment a 1 bedroom apartment. Here, we have a 3 room apartment - not counting the bathroom or the kitchen, there is a dining area/entry way, a den, and a bedroom. However, if we arranged it a bit differently, there could be two bedrooms and a small living area. The math on counting rooms is a bit fuzzy to me, though- when is an area 1.5 rooms versus 1?
  • Payments are different. Checks are not done at all in Switzerland - instead, the preferred way is to do direct payments from one bank account to another. In addition, apartment deposits are secured in a bank account that is both in our name and our landlord's name - and deposits range from 1 to 3 months rent (3 months in our case).
  • Kitchens are smaller and rather sleek. In most newer places we saw, the kitchens were very IKEA-fied. The fridges and dishwashers are hiding behind the cabinetry and the stove/oven is well-integrated. In our case, we have a "large" oven for Switzerland, but it is small by American standards. It also has strange racks that are the bane of Brian's existence.
  • Kitchen
  • Cleaning seems to take a lot longer. Dishwasher and washing machine cycles are a lot longer than I'm used to. The oven doesn't have a self-clean mode (and oh, we make it quite messy). Zurich has rather hard water, so fixtures have to be decalcified regularly. Recycling is a whole other story. And no closets to hide messes in! Good thing I'm such a good hausfrau.
All in all, we like our little apartment a lot! Nice kitchen, high ceilings, well-insulated (well... I hope. winter comes!), and two porches. Can't wait until spring so I can make our decks nice and green!
Back porch

No comments: