Monday 20 August 2018

Affordable 'Friends'-style living spaces - inspired by Monica's apartment - coming to Ireland

Photo: Warner Bros
Photo: Warner Bros

Mark Keenan, residential property editor

Co-Living for adults inspired by the style of the 1990’s comedy series “Friends” is coming to Ireland in March.

The expected opening of the country’s first modern concept multi occupier building by Node Living, at a swish Georgian building in Dublin’s FitzWilliam Square, will make a huge change in Ireland's rental sector.

Co-living, which involves professionals sharing large buildings, is being hailed as a new more affordable and stylish type of living in big cities where rents are running out of control and those spaces which are affordable are often grotty and in less attractive neighbourhoods.

Node Living’s will be Ireland’s first upmarket building of self contained apartment scheme for adults which it says will open at FitzWilliam Square in Dublin 2 in March but with shared common living spaces to allow residents to socialise together. The concept has been compared to “Friends” style living for the modern age, in keeping with the style of adults sharing in stylish city centre brownstone apartments in New York as portrayed in the hugely popular 1990’s comedy which is now having all its episodes relisted on Netflix.

Co-Living schemes have already kicked off in London, Paris and New York and tend to attract self sufficient young professionals in tech and arts industries who live light without large amounts of possessions like cars and furniture.

For the most part residents share with one or two other people in a private apartment within the stylishly finished and furnished building containing cooking and washing spaces. They then have access to much bigger and more comfortable indoor common recreation and relaxation spaces where they can mix with other residents outside of their own spaces. This often includes a big communal kitchen and dining space for those who want to socialise, cook and eat or work at tables.

However those interested in Co-Living need to apply to be interviewed to gauge suitability. The Node Living model determines which people get to share the building and a big emphasis is placed on matching people together as well as pairing off those who will share rooms under model. the Each co-living house has its own “curator” who is in charge of answering queries and organising the property.

Node Living is an international company with a penchant for picking landmark buildings of character in upmarket city areas in New York, London, Toronto and other world capitals.

Photo: Node Living Facebook
Photo: Node Living Facebook

In Brooklyn, New York the company rents out accommodation at $2,800 (€2,500) for a one-bedroom, $3,000 (€2,500) for a two-bedroom, to $3,750 for a three-bedroom. The concept is based on the fact that such arrangements, which include upmarket designer furniture in the common areas, all bills, wifi and access to a residents lounge, deck and roof garden, is signficantly cheaper than standard co-living in smaller houses which might not be in prime locations.

Aside from this, the Node Living model purports to be about providing people with an instant “community” of associates and friends, which it claims is particularly beneficial to those who have moved to a strange city for work purposes and have no contacts or social networks in place.

The Node Living building on FitzWilliam Square is a multi storey Georgian building and it will also likely include its own outdoor communal garden for barbecues and summer evenings.

The Node Living organisation says “Our communities are comprised of creatives, tech-savvies, and entrepreneurs who are shaping the world we live in.”

Photo: Node Living Facebook
Photo: Node Living Facebook

However its representatives would not be drawn on how much the Dublin accommodation will cost or under what contract conditions residents will be expected to live under. In reality the Co-Living model is not unlike guesthouses or “digs” of old in which Irish professionals lived in Dublin and in London in the 1950’s and 1960’s, renting a room each, sharing common areas and hosted by a “Bean and Tí” or landlady.

Co-living has taken off in a big way in London where millennials priced out of traditional housing are opting to rent smaller apartments in big developments. Investors have been pouring money into the models akin to modern student blocks for adults. The Collective, a company which develops such schemes in the UK has spent more than STG£1bn on microflats with shared amenities including one building in West London which has more than 546 people living across ten floors. According to a recent report on the scheme, the average age of a resident is 28 and they earn the equivalent of just over €35,000 per annum.

Photo: Node Living Facebook
Photo: Node Living Facebook

Dublin, with its housing crisis and chronic shortage of affordable accommodation for young professionals, is seen as a prime target for such international developers and more buildings like this one can be expected in the future.

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