Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $4,900.
Layouts count for a lot in the land of apartment living, but particularly so when there’s not a lot of space with which to work. This one-bath Mission studio advertises itself as “laid out like a junior one bedroom,” though where the lines between a studio, a junior one bedroom and just a tiny bedroom begin or end may be anybody’s guess. Here the photos prove particularly illustrative, as one image showing the larger space empty creates one effect—but a second photo of the same room, while furnished, gives off a different impression of the proportions. However you divide it, this place is $2,085/month. The ad says cats are “negotiable” but draws a line at dogs.
Compare that to a one-bath “cozy efficiency studio” in the Tenderloin, which places a small cul-de-sac for the bed right across from/in the kitchenette. It’s weird, but it does open up the rest of the room nicely, which matters when the entire place measures only 430 square feet. The ad also makes mention of a “breakfast nook,” though it’s not at all clear where that might be—perhaps the application of a little imagination is necessary. It’s $2,099/month (a “special price,” according to the sale pitch) and no pets allowed.
Similarly, a potential renter may ask what’s the difference between a one-bath “cottage,” like this one in Glen Park, and a studio anywhere else? Well, sometimes it’s a matter of semantics, but in this case the apartment is detached and freestanding, which allows for a deck, yard, and garden outside. This place is also listed as a one-bedroom apartment—thanks to the extra room in the back—but like the previous space, it’s hazy on how big and how closely tied to the rest of the home it must be to count as a full bedroom. Equally ambiguous is whether or not the apartment allows pets, but the $2,100/month price is at least solid.
This Richmond apartment is also billed as a “garden apartment,” but the photos do not, in fact, reveal said garden. Maybe it’s time to investigate further? In fact, that’s not the only thing that doesn’t add up here, as the headline dubs this another studio but the text of the ad reveal it to be a two-bed, one-bath apartment—which is a much better deal. “Recently spruced up for a new tenant” with “new insulation, new windows, new bathroom tile, fresh paint, and new carpet throughout” for $2,100/month. The catch? Only 350 square feet.
And finally, here’s a one-bed, one-bath apartment in Ingleside Heights that markets itself as “right in the center.” Right in the center of what, we may wonder? After all, this home is so far tucked into San Francisco’s southwestern corner that it’s nearly in Daly City. On the other hand, the ad points out that the apartment is “just steps from BART and Muni, and a quick drive to 280 and 101 freeways,” but the old “you can be downtown in minutes” line is a fib and doesn’t really fool anyone. This pad is $2,100/month; no word on pets.
Which rental would you choose?
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Glen Park cottage
Ingleside Heights apartment