Until recently, roommates looking for apartments in NYC would hire one of the numerous companies that build temporary, pressurized walls to put up a wall in an alcove or divide the living room, to create an extra “bedroom” that had a degree of privacy.
Most landlords and managing agents used to allow pressurized walls, even though they were against NYC building codes, because they know that unless roommates could share the apartment, neither one of them would be able to afford the rent on their own.
Due to a recent fire that killed several firemen, the city’s Buildings Department (and therefore, building management companies) began enforcing the codes more strictly, which meant that putting up a temporary wall took longer, and cost a lot more, to obtain the necessary approvals from the city. So what are roommates who aren’t about to hire an architect to draw blueprints to submit to the Buildings Department to do?
The answer for many is to use bookcases or dividing screens, like shoji screens, to solve the problem. True, they don’t offer nearly as much privacy as the temporary walls did, but they have the advantage of being 1) legal, 2) inexpensive, and 3) quick to install. When you’re looking for an apartment rental in NYC, you sometimes have to make compromises.
So as a public service to our readers, we’ve put together a few suggested sources of shoji screens. In another post, we’ll look at some bookcases that can serve as room dividers.
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