When we looked initially, and when I was searching online, I just couldn't find anything in our budget (which is laughable anyway here in Orange County) that fit what we were looking for.
So. We raised our budget. We'll just have to figure it out. But, just adding that extra 200-300/mo will make all the difference in the world. It means we'll be able to get everything we want except hardwood floors. One thing at a time :)
Anyway... want to see our top pick? These are photos of the unit we saw. We wouldn't necessarily have all the upgrades, and this model is obviously furnished.. But.. right now, this is what we're placing our bets on:
The floor plan (fyi, it's reversed in the unit we saw).
Below is the view from the front entry. The patio off the living room is big with storage space. And (at least in the unit we saw) overlooks a brook that runs throughout the entire property). And it has a gas fireplace! And vaulted ceilings! Out of all the places, this one felt the most like "home".
In the photo below, the small stairway leads up to the bathroom and bedroom. To the right of the stairs there is space for a desk and a hallway into the kitchen/laundry (yes, washer and dryer!) area.
Not shown above is the great little dining nook. It's a great size, and has a wall of windows again, overlooking the brook and the grounds.
So yes. That is our current top pick. We just have to see what is available and what the rates are when we're ready to move in, and go from there! It is so much fun looking. I was space planning all of them the moment I walked in the door...
Click through to see the the other three competitors..
All of the others have nice pools, workout rooms, and on-site laundry facilities. They are all still within 5 miles of both my office and the beach!
N U M B E R O N E
We like this one mostly because of the location and the amenities.. great huge pool and social areas, outdoor cinema nights, a theater room.. and while it's the smallest of the ones we looked at, it still has enough space for us. We like the closet set up and the open kitchen/living/patio space. No vaulted ceilings or fireplace, but some units even come with wall-mounted TVs already... And I could walk to work, grocery stores and restaurants and to trails for running/hiking.
N U M B E R T W O
This is probably my least favorite of the remaining three.. except, most of their units are literally on the water.. You'll see below. We could sit on our patio and dip our toes in the lake? pond? whatever it is. It feels very resort like, but the interior of the apartments are not as nice, and the floorplan is strange. The kitchen is really small, the living room is long and narrow, difficult to space plan (unless we use half of the room for an office area?. no fireplace, no vaulted ceilings, but the closets in the bedroom?! they span the entire wall (and it's a big wall. it's a big room).I could easily double my wardrobe... ;)