On today’s House Hunters International we follow the Carlson family. This family of 4 is looking for a moderately spacious apartment in Basel, Switzerland that will accommodate not only 2 active young boys, but also guests!
The boys are enrolled in an international school in Aesch, which is 30 minutes to the south of the city. Since this is a temporary move, the Carlson are hoping for city living with minimal to no yard work that still allows lots of outdoor time for their boys. This will necessitate a park being nearby and since they won’t have a car, being close to a grocery and tram line will be extra important.
Our first contestant is an historic row house in the lovely hamlet of Munchenstein. (Sorry about the pictures. They are from the house listing on the internet and I tried to re-size them.)
Munchenstein is a suburb of Basel and is 15 minutes south of the city. It is also only 15 minutes away from the International school the boys will be attending. This house has 3 bedrooms, including a large master bedroom suite in the attic that includes a full bath. There is a second bath on the second floor with two mid-sized bedrooms, a small, but elegantly appointed kitchen, and a living room that walks out to a small garden, which the Carlsons would be responsible for tending. The garden features two small water gardens and a slate patio.
Outside the kitchen is room for a small table and features marble counters and flooring and a refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom. There is also off-street parking and a garage along with a cellar that has ample storage, a laundry room, and a bomb shelter (The Swiss: Neutral, but Prepared). The living room has the original hardwood flooring that could use restoration and the walls could use a coat of paint. But it is a goodly sized room and will be comfortable.
There is a park almost across the street and the neighbors are friendly. The tram is a 6 minute walk, as is the grocery store. and a market with other necessary shops. The neighborhood is very bike-friendly, but does have on a number of cars around.
Our second contestant is a charming little duplex in the heart of Paulisquarter in Basel. This is a true duplex as 2 families split the 4 floors of the house. This south-facing apartment is on the upper two stories and features wonderful views and tons of light. The families also share the basement and the laundry facilities in the basement. Each family has a private storage area in the basement next to the bomb shelter. There is an elevator as well as an option to take the stairs. The large cook’s kitchen is on the top floor and features a large refrigerator, marble counter tops, and a black tiled floor . The freezer is in the basement in the private storage area. The kitchen isn’t big enough for a table, but there is a large balcony where a cafe table and flower boxes can be situated.
The black tiled floor continues throughout the level and into the living room area. The living room is large enough to house the dining table and still have space for comfy furniture. There is also a large terrace/balcony off the back that has room for a table that seats 6-8. Spiral stairs take you down to the bedroom level and some gleaming hardwood floors. There are 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths on this level. There is a cute reading nook behind the stairs. At one end of the hall there are two medium to small bedrooms and a very large master suite at the other end. The master suite gets a ton of light and would also be wonderful as a family room/guest room combination. Using the master suite in this way means the boys will have to share a room. However, there is ample living and playing space in this extremely comfortable apartment.
Just two blocks up is a major park. Pick-up games of soccer abound as do playground equipment stations and ice cream sellers.
This particular park being this close means that the nearest grocery is a 5 minute tram ride or 15 minute walk away. And since this apartment is located in the heart of the city the commute to the boys school will be at least 30 minutes, if not 40 minutes long. However, the commute to work for Mr. Carlson will be about 10 minutes door-to-door.
Our third and final contestant is a quirky historic apartment in the heart of the Old Town. This apartment is covetously located just steps away from the Marktplatz – THE major shopping area in Basel. Guests will be lining up to stay with them!
The front door is right next to a toy store, which the kids love, and the building is home to other businesses. Not surprising given the strategic location. A series of stairs or an elevator take you to the front door and you are greeted by a fantastic view of the city the canal. The balcony and terracing of the different floors in the apartment take full advantage of the view and the wonderful natural light. There are windows and skylights every where. The cook’s kitchen over looks the view and features red granite counters, tons of storage, and new appliances. Around the corner are an ancient washer and dryer, but it belongs to the apartment and they don’t have to share.
A set of stairs leads down to the main living area and the French doors to the extremely large balcony. Another set of stairs takes you up to two good sized bedrooms with skylights and dormer windows. There is a roof-line sloop to the ceilings which make standing up in half of the room difficult for the parents. The boys, however, love it. A final set of narrow stairs lead up to a sunny loft with, again, lots of windows and skylights.
This apartment has loads of style and is a great location for someone wanting to experience the city. Not having a car is a bonus with this house and since the necessary tram stops right outside the building the commute to the school is only 30 minutes.
And which apartment did our family choose?
Will they choose (1) the Historic Row House with lots of room and a short commute to school?
Will they choose (2) the Charming Duplex next to a grand park?
Will they choose (3) the Quirky Apartment in the heart of Old Town Basel?
The landlord of apartment #2 has contacted the Carlson’s agent and offered to reduce the rent by 200 francs per month!
The landlord of the Munchenstein house has offered his wife’s translation skills to help them cope with the Swiss German language barrier.