Apartments for Rent in Dorchester, MA: Schoolhouse At Lower Mills

apartments for rent dorchester ma

Introducing a new approach to smart living, minutes from downtown Boston in the vibrant village of Lower Mills. The Schoolhouse at Lower Mills brings high style and urban inspired design to the head of the class, at an incredible price. Live here and enjoy a community alive with new friends, great restaurants, eclectic art galleries and a lively shopping scene. Schoolhouse offers an ideal location for an active lifestyle, with bike paths, kayaking and hiking just steps from your new home.


Meet the New Gypsies: Horses, Wagons, and Facebook

Meet the New Gypsies

-From Daily Mail (@DMAILnews)-

So your mom stops by your apartment—you know—”just to say hi,” and you clearly haven’t cleaned up anything. You know as soon as she walks in, she’s going to unleash the classic cliche, “Were you raised in a barn?!” Now likely weren’t raised in a barn, but if you were a 21st Century Gypsy, you could at least say you were raised in a horse-drawn caravan.

Like a group of vintage amish hippies, fashion photographer Iian McKell has captured the life of these new gypsies in a series of powerful images and published them in a new book.

The Daily Mail article shares a splendid collection of these bizarre and intriguing moments in the life of a modern-day gypsy. I don’t know how you gauge whether or not a photograph is great or not, but for me, it’s all about emotion. As I scrolled through and saw each photo, I got more and more sucked-in to this mysterious lifestyle I never really knew existed. The imagery is romanticizing. Every color, texture, and facial expression is like a question you may never get the answer to, but for some reason, that’s okay. It’s the idea of pure freedom and true living that feeds our envy.

I’m not sure if this adds to the intrigue or slightly deters from it, but these “tribes” of gypsies are also fully connected. They use laptops, internet, and even Facebook. I’m sure there’s more about this in McKell’s book, “The New Gypsies.”

What do you think of the photos? What kind of emotions do they give you? Does it surprise you to know that they travel like pioneers, but are as social media savvy as Apple fanboys?

As part of, our ultimate goal is to help you find an apartment for rent. Along the way, we’ll try and bring you cool stories of lifestyles, cultures, recipes, DIYs, and scholarships as often as we can find them. We hope you’ll enjoy our stuff, and we hope you’ll let us know what you want to see. Let us know in the comments, and check out our Facebook and Twitter profiles on the right side of our blog page.



writer, Mckay Stevens




Mckay Stevens is a writer for He loves the Utah Jazz and new TV Shows. Follow him on Twitter @smckays.

Apartment Painting Ideas

Are you living in an apartment where painting is allowed? If so, congratulations. You are part of the lucky few who have that freedom.
Now that you have that freedom, it’s time to figure out what to paint, and how. Here are some things to consider when getting ready to paint your apartment.

Some colors open up a room, while others make the room feel restricted and small. Bolder and darker colors will make the rooms look and feel smaller, while lighter colors open up the room. Use the bold colors on furniture and decor to accent the room. You can also save a large chunk of money by painting just one wall of a room, which makes itself the accent of the room. Then head to Target and buy some stylish looking art piece, hang it on that accent wall, and you’ll be the artsiest guy/gal around. The opposite gender will then consider you “mysterious” and/or “deep,” so you’ll become that much more interesting.

You could also throw caution to the wind and be totally creative. Take my friend for example. She’s a graphic designer and decided to apply her designing madness to their new apartment. This photo shows the result of her genius. Of course, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to do this, just make sure you have 4 or 5 opinions about your idea and your color scheme before you invest.

Here’s a list of colors and some words to describe what kinds of feelings or ideas they evoke: (summarized from Color Wheel Pro. Detailed descriptions through the link.)
Red: fire, blood, passion, intense, emotional
Orange: energy of red, happiness of yellow. Joy, sunshine, enthusiasm, creativity
Yellow: sunshine, joy, energy, spontaneous
Green: nature, growth, harmony, freshness, safety, money
Blue: depth, stability, truth, wisdom, intelligence, faith, heaven
Purple: stability of blue, energy of red, royalty, mystery, magic, romance, most preferred color by children
White: light, goodness, innocence, purity, perfection, cleanliness
Black: power, elegance, death, evil, formality, mystery

So now maybe you’ve chosen your color scheme. That’s most of the battle. It’s time to choose which paint to buy, and how much of it.
If you’re trying to pinch pennies, your gut reaction to paint prices might be to just buy the cheapest brand and make it work. I’ve seen first hand the results of this type of choice. Cheaper brands of paint are more watery. They require much more paint to actually get the job done. More expensive brands will use less coats over the same area. You’ll be using at least twice as much paint by going with the cheap brands, so it may end up costing you the same in the long run anyway. My recommendation is to just take the hit right up front and pay the extra cash for the higher quality paint.

Here’s a nifty idea I heard about recently: it’s called Idea Paint. Idea Paint turns your wall into a dry erase board. It really is a great little product. And fortunately, the home paint prices are quite realistic. Jump on over there and check out their great idea.

The last and perhaps most important thing to reiterate here is the benefit of approaching friends and family and saying “I need some painting apartment ideas” or just show them the ideas you have. If you get several opinions, watch to see what everyone agrees on. That will usually indicate that it will be equally as common if you were to expand your survey. If they differ completely on some aspects, then it’s more than likely just a difference of opinion, so that doesn’t matter. You can do what you want, and you’ll be great.

So good luck, and happy painting. Let us know how it goes, and post some pics of your finished product to our Facebook page. Share your ingenuity with the world.

Making Your Apartment the Entertainment HQ

If you’re anything like me, you’ve always been the guy who doesn’t have it all. In fact, you typically have lived right next door to the guy who literally does have it all. Of course, this makes it easy on game days. You never have to prep your place for the masses or worry about buying excessive amounts of processed goodness, but sometimes you want to be the the guy who preps his place for the masses and buys excessive amounts of processed goodness. The true dilemma is that the other guy always has the sweet setup. He’s got the 3,000 inch flat screen on one wall, and the projector on the other. He’s got surround sound that always seems to be perfectly balanced to the noise created by the party-goers. He has the world’s largest bean bag that just happens to be the most comfortable thing on the planet. He has a steady attendance for Halo Night, and to top it all off, he’s probably trying to steal your girlfriend.

Today I want you to come with me on a journey to find the awesome. We’re going to create an addicting living room design that will make your apartment the entertainment hub of the neighborhood. Buckle up.



Wouldn’t it be great to have an entire wall dedicated to an entertainment center? This one is massive and it keeps the messy cubbies and shelves behind closed doors. It also is big enough to store all of your various game consoles and their unsightly power cords and cables. At $660, however, it might be a bit out of range.


I really like the idea of this entertainment center setup. You get space and style for just over $200. Besides, it can hold movies, games, and consoles.


Take advantage of the boxes of junk you likely have stowed away. Get a couple of these, move your stuff into those drawers, cover it with a solid color table cloth or curtain, and put your TV on top. You’ll have to be careful with this one though, as these stands can only hold so much. Try finding a board you can lay across the top, which will provide the central support you’ll need. You also might want to stack some boxes or other sturdy objects behind and around it just to keep it secure, and to give you a bit more real estate on top.



Nothing says audio like Bose. I doubt I’ll ever understand how they get so much boom out of such small space. So if I got to pick my own dream surround sound setup, it would likely be this. You’ll also notice that it’s got a little adapter to plug in your mobile iDevice and jam to your new favorite Kanye beat in full surround. Oh sweet goodness. Too bad I’m sooner to actually go to Narnia than afford this fancy fellow.


Getting a surround sound system will still put you back a modest chunk of change no matter what. This Sony 5.1 Channel Blu-Ray System might be a great mid-range option. And at $350, it’s much more in the realm of possibility, no Narnia trips necessary.


In this land of Cheapy Cheaperton, the phrase “factory refurbished” will likely become your best friend. If it’s factory refurbished, it should have some sort of guarantee from the factory itself that it won’t implode three days after you install it. Take this RCA setup for example. You will still get a significant boost of audio, but you don’t have to spend a silly amount of cash on it.



Xbox 360. with Kinect. Playstation 3. Wii. All three will give you a wide variety of entertainment. You can use your PS3 as your blu-ray player, your Xbox as your media center, and your Wii (and Kinect) as your party fun, outside of the regular Call of Duty and Halo usage you will normally have. Xbox: $300, w/ Kinect $450. PS3: $300. Wii: $150 (includes Mario Kart Wii w/ steering wheel) Total: $900 w/ no games or extra controllers.


1) Skip the Wii and get the Xbox 360 with Kinect. They’ve got some great games that are also fun for groups. $450 before games and controllers. 2) Get a PS3 for some great game titles and a blu-ray player. Then add Playstation Move for the social experience. $400 before games and controllers.


The great benefit to the Wii right now is that the original console is only $150. There’s still a whole lot of fun to be had with an original console, and it’s cheaper. It also has Netflix built in, so you can enjoy that as well. $150 before games and multiple controllers.



Sharp AQUOS 60 inch flat screen. $2069. In my dreams.


LG 42 inch. $800. Looks pretty.


RCA 46 inch. $500. Not a bad price for such a large tele.

If you’re curious, follow this link to do your own TV comparison at
So here you have some college apartment ideas for your best home entertainment setup. Dive into these things and in no time your apartment will be the center of all-things-awesome.

Need Help Finding an Apartment?

Any basic search will show that most people are very frustrated with their apartment-hunting experience. It’s difficult to find the right place, and it just feels so tedious and inconvenient much of the time. We at Vacancy would like to help ease your pain. Below are some thoughts that will help you find an apartment and lose the headache.

1. Be Prepared BEFORE You Start Your Search.

You need to know what you’re looking for before you begin your search. This will actually take some sit-down time with a pen and paper. You might think you’ll “just know” what you want when you are searching for an apartment, but you’ll surprise yourself once you start listing your needs and wants on paper.

2. Proximity to What You Want

Think about things that you would like that aren’t necessarily going to show up in search results, such as proximity to schools, parks, recreation centers, shopping malls, etc. Decide which of these things is most important to you, and write it down. This may require an extra search and a little extra time, but you’ll be able to narrow your search much more efficiently if you remember to include the uncommon criteria on your list.
Another thing that might not be immediately known is public transportation. If you are moving out to go to school, there’s a possibility that you won’t have a car, or you won’t want to drive a car if you’re going to the big city. You’ll need to do some extra searching and discover where the public transportation would pick you up, and how much it would be for a pass to ride the system. There is a strong likelihood that you can get a special student rate on a bus/train pass.

3. Dealbreakers

Another aspect of being prepared BEFORE you start is knowing what you absolutely will not do. Some will call those “dealbreakers.” Make sure you are absolutely clear in your own mind about what you will not do. Write it down. Then, if you see it, you can move past it knowing that it’s a dealbreaker. Of course, as you list your dealbreakers, you’ll need to identify why a certain thing is a dealbreaker and if it really should be. If you’re just being persnickety, you may want to take it off your dealbreaker list.

4. Go Beyond the Apartment Finder Website.

Using an apartment finder is a great idea. It can help you find apartments quickly. However, when it comes time to narrow your options, you’ll want to go beyond the search engine. Dig up some facts about the area you are considering. The internet is a wonderful resource; Don’t limit yourself to one simple search. Search multiple sites, then go find out more about the place. If you are looking at an apartment complex, you may be able to find some reviews on a Google or Google Maps search. That will give you more insight into the location you’re exploring. One big discovery you might be able to make is if people feel safe where they are. If there are no comments, take it as a good sign. People tend to get more passionate about things they disapprove of. They’ll make more of a point to share their piece if they’ve had a bad experience.

5. Go See the Apartment!

If at all possible, take a drive out to the neighborhood. Just cruise for a bit and get a feel for the place. Your gut will tell you more than a search engine ever could. Park by your potential place and walk around a bit. Don’t be a creeper, just take a brief stroll in the open. Trying to look inconspicuous has a funny way of making one look… conspicuous. If you can, meet up with the landlord or the management. Ask them a few questions. You don’t have to save that until you know that you want the place. They don’t like vacant apartments, so they’ll be extra nice to you. And maybe they have one of those “might-be-from-last-halloween” bowls of candy on their desk. Could be your Lucky Day.

You might also want to check out our other post, 3 Things to Know Before Signing an Apartment Contract.”
So, if you needed help finding apartments, these tips should help. And, as always, if you’ve got some other methods that have helped you in the past, post them in the comments below.

9 Tips for Making the Most of Small Spaces

1. TV Stand

Turn your TV stand or coffee table into storage. If you put together some plastic bins or drawers, you can cover them so that nobody will be the wiser. That will free up quite a bit of visible space, helping you to feel less cluttered. You can find these bins at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or any other place like it. Be creative in finding some covers for new storage/TV stand.

2. Travel Case

A simple bathroom solution would be to get a multi-use travel case, like this one from StrongMoms and hang it from the door. There are several pockets and containers in this little case. We keep small bottles, such as nail polish in the bottom pocket, then fill the center pocket with nail clippers, tweezers, etc.

3. Cinderblocks

Raise your bed with something very sturdy, like cinderblocks or hard plastic storage crates. Doing so will allow you to place a whole lot of stuff underneath. It makes for a convenient, easy-t0-hide storage area. You might be able to stow a nightstand under there, which will free up quite a bit of bedroom space. In fact, you could even eliminate a dresser by putting some bins or drawers with clothes under the bed. That’s nice.

4. Closet

If you do have a dresser that’s driving you crazy, you might like to see if it fits in the closet. That might seem strange, but if you can actually get your dresser in the closet, imagine all that extra space.

5. Shelves

You might need extra permission for this, but it might be useful to hang up some shelves around the apartment. This will help keep things off the floor, and that always helps keep the place clean.

6. Laundry

Get a laundry bag you can hang up. Hang it up on the wall. That will give you some floor space and will keep your clothes from gathering that musty scent.

7. Plastic Drawers

Buy some small plastic drawers that you can keep in the kitchen and the bathroom. For all that stuff that inevitably ends up living on the countertop, get some small drawers and just put everything in there.

8. Shoe Basket

When you need your shoes, they seem to be missing. When you don’t need your shoes, they seem to be right in the walkway. Try getting a basket that you can put by the front door or by your bedroom door. Get into the habit of dropping your shoes in there every single time you walk in the door. It will be nice not to have shoes scattered everywhere.

9. Odds & Ends

There are really weird things that don’t exactly fit in drawers or closets and that fall off of hangers too easily. Belts, scarves, and ties can be so annoying. Use a plastic over-the-door hanger. They have about ten knobs to give you plenty of space to hang up all those loose items.

Applying these principles of storage for small spaces should make your life feel much less cluttered and burdensome. Again, if you have your own suggestions or ideas, share them with us in the comment section below. And, as always, get down with your social self with any or many of the buttons around.

Your Outdoor and Indoor Apartment Garden

Apartment living is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Finding ways to make everything work just right for you is a unique and fun challenge. When we’re talking about apartment gardens, there’s an even greater potential for ingenuity. We’ll use today’s post as a chance to examine some of the best options you’ll have for creating some great gardens at your apartment.

Let’s start with compost. (How’s that for an attention-getter?) Planet Green has a list of 75 things you can compost, and you probably didn’t know it. The list they’ve compiled is amazing. Print that off and hang it up somewhere near the sink and/or garbage can. We’ve started collecting many of these things at home and I’ve learned that it gets easier to remember over time. So be patient, because soon enough you’ll be thinking about compost more than you ever wanted to. Having plenty of compost will be quite helpful in raising good apartment plants. It’s pretty amazing, all of the things you can hang onto. Just think of it as a coin collection, only gross.

Another important item to think about with apartment plants is what kind of space you have and how to best use it. If you’ve got a small yard area attached to your apartment, you might want to consider building a raised garden bed, which would be completely independent from your rental property.

The image on the right (from shows a raised garden bed on legs. This may be your best option. You can avoid a number of problems by having a raised bed garden on legs. No critters will be able to burrow into your strawberries, your back pain will be significantly lessened, and it will be quite a bit easier to handle when it comes time to move. You have all the benefits of a garden without the threat of permanent changes to your property that may end up coming out of your deposit.

The materials are listed through the above link. Make sure you use sturdy lumber, as your gardens will be subject to whatever your particular climate has to offer. The entire project should cost you less than $200, but will be well worth it if you can yield some hard-earned fruits (and veggies). Check out for more tips on your apartment garden.

What about all of you who don’t have any yard space to work with? Do not worry my friends, there is still hope for your little garden. The catch on this is that you won’t be able to have the same type of harvest that you might if you had some outdoor space.

The first thing to do is find the right location in your apartment for some plant life. It will need to be a spot that gets plenty of sunlight, and somewhere that gets regular foot traffic so you won’t forget to nourish the vulnerable little sprouts.

When it comes time to decide which seeds to get, you’ll want to consult the resident know-it-all (the internet) on what plants will be best suited for you. We’ll include some links to help you find what you’re looking for. You also may want to consult with the professionals at the garden shop.

Planet Green has a simple little intro to this process that should be helpful.
iVillage has also posted their top 10 indoor plants. And don’t worry if you can’t pronounce some of those names. Just jot down a few that you’re interested in and take the paper with you to the shop. It will be easier on you and the employee.

How Stuff Works from Discovery has posted a very convenient and useful “Vegetable Spacing Guide” so you can keep your greens out of each other’s personal bubble.

These tips and links should help you get your feet wet (and a bit dirty) as you begin this process of gardening in your apartment. And, as always, please share your insights below. We don’t pretend to know everything, and we know that many of you already have been doing things like this, so please, share what has worked for you.

Also, be a pal and use any of the several social media buttons here to share this goodness with your friends.

Finding the Best Dog for Apartment Living

We absolutely love our dogs. They are lovable, cute, loyal, fun, and many of us just have to have them. However, if you’re renting, getting and keeping a dog can be quite a chore. In this post, we’ll cover some of the most important things to consider when searching for the best dog for apartment living.


When paying rent, the last thing most people want to do is add another several hundred dollars on top of a deposit, rent, utilities, laundry facilities, parking costs, and more. You will likely have to pay extra pet rent, but if you search in the right places, there are plenty of adorable little pups to find for affordable prices.
The Humane Society is a great source for finding the perfect pet that won’t break the bank. A simple Google search “Humane Society of San Diego” (or whatever your state/city may be) will help you find the results you are looking for. They have dozens of potential heart-thieves.
When considering the cost of the dog up front, you must also recognize the cost of care will always be more than buying the pet in the first place.


A common perception among apartment-dwellers is that small dogs are best. While the size of the dog compared with square feet of your apartment would support this notion, you still have to be careful to identify which breeds will be the most ideal, after taking size into consideration.
A huge advantage to small dogs is the amount of food they eat. As a kid, I was raised along side a Saint Bernard/Golden Retriever mix. His name was Rambo, and he could have eaten a horse (or me) if we let him. I never once considered the amount of money my parents must have spent for his dog food. With smaller dogs, however, one large bag lasts for several months, or small bags that must be replaced more frequently, but are easier to store.
All dogs love attention. In some form or another, they need to be loved. Some need to be cuddled and petted on your lap, while others just have to escape the house and go running or play fetch. While all dogs should get exercise, it can be more important to some than it is to others. You’ll want to consider this part of your lifestyle as well. Ask a professional when looking into this.
Also consider the amount of clean-up you may have to do. Some dogs shed once a season or so. While this is usually the time when owners go crazy, there are things you can do to avoid or manage the situation.
Finding a short-haired dog will usually prevent seasonal insanity. Chihuahuas are spunky little dogs who also happen to be very common in many humane society locations. They are quite loyal to one person, and peaking energy could be a lot to handle, but they are a great pet if you don’t have time to go running every single day and you hate the idea of organic shag carpet all over your apartment.


Remember that there are plenty of wonderful dogs available to you through sites like the Humane Society or local listings. Many times these animals are orphaned not because of anything of their doing, rather financial duress or other hard times befall the family of caretakers. My widowed grandmother just recently found a great little chihuahua who was well trained and gives her the love and attention she needs while others can’t be around.
Many people might suggest a specific breed for you and your apartment, and they could very well be right. With the information here, you should be able to make your own decision, using the professional caretakers as a strong reference.
Decide which elements of a pet are most important for you. Decide which things you simply cannot and will not put up with. Create a list of those things and keep them with you as you search for your future best friend. This is the best way to find good dogs for apartment living.
Good luck!


A Quick Overview of Renter’s Insurance

A quick word on Renter’s Insurance:

Talking and worrying about renter’s insurance is entirely uncommon. There are typically so many other things to worry about that renter’s insurance doesn’t even make a blip on the radar. In fact, it’s possible that many people don’t even know that renter’s insurance exists or is even a good idea.

What is renter’s insurance?

Renter’s insurance is just that, insurance for renters. Most insurance providers have renter’s options available. This insurance covers everything you have in your apartment.

Why should I get renter’s insurance?

Renter’s insurance is what protects your assets and yourself from liability. Your landlord or management may have insurance, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it covers you or anything you own.

What does renter’s insurance cover?

When you think of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the first thing you think of is usually protection against natural disasters. While your insurance will probably cover you in case of these disasters, it is definitely not the only thing. Say your dog Fufu decides to gnaw on the delivery man. Say you get robbed. Renter’s insurance is going to be a mighty fine investment at that point.

Who offers renter’s insurance?

Most insurance companies will offer this insurance. You can even get online and toy with some insurance estimators, like this one from State Farm. You may also like to take a look at a relatively new program, called Resident Insure.

How do I get started?

Start by creating a list of your valuable assets. Then you’ll know how much coverage you’ll need to get. It will save you some time when it comes time to talk to the insurance agent.

The Very Best Music for Your Apartment Life


Nothing quite compares to the experiences had during apartment living. While at times some negative feelings are attached to this phase of life, we at Vacancy believe that there are some really great ways to have fun and positive experiences while living in your apartment. Music is a powerful catalyst for these great experiences. Allow us to suggest some great music and music sites for the many aspects of your apartment lifestyle. Enjoy!

Moving In or Out

Hauling boxes, packing and unpacking, organizing, cleaning, and delegating are all essential steps to the moving process. This can be stressful, boring, exhausting, exciting, frustrating, or any combination of them all. It can really help to have some quality tunes to improve the mood.

Stressed or Frustrated?

Try “Esp [Deep Relaxation Mix] Radio” on
Try Radiohead, Mum, or ISAN
Try Imogen Heap

Bored or Exhausted?

Try Kaiser Chiefs
Try “Daft Punk Radio” on Pandora
Try Star Trek: Music from the Motion Picture (or others, like the Bourne Series)

Noisy Roomies/Neighbors

If your roommates or neighbors are anything like mine were, you spend many nights trying to get to bed while others are determined to master the expert level drums of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ on Rock Band. What’s a poor fellow to do?
Try Regina Spektor
Try Nickel Creek
Try Mum, Radiohead
Try Mat Kearney
Try The Postal Service (not USPS)

Sick and Tired of What You’ve Got

I am now at a point where at time I’ll opt for silence over listening to the same stuff I’ve had for years. I’d go buy more music, but who has extra money for that kind of thing anymore? Fortunately for all of us, we have ye old wise interwebs. There are plenty of places to find the very best music without piracy or paying. It’s true.
Try (great way to find new artists you’ll love)
Try (like Pandora, only you select every song you listen to, and you can listen to any song as many times as you would like)
Try iTunes Radio (you can actually select various radio stations from all over straight from iTunes. Nobody will charge you any money for it either.


Try “Daft Punk Radio” on
Try “Instrumental Hip Hop Radio” on
Try The Almost
Try 80s and 90s Songs. Seriously, any one will do.
Try Cake
Try Timbaland’s Shock Value album, Instrumental Version
Try Linkin Park

Public Transportation

Because some music was just made for headphones and travel.
Try Snow Patrol
Try The Postal Service
Try Death Cab for Cutie
Try Sufjan Stevens
Try The Notwist

This should be a plentiful offering of apartment music. What helps you? What kinds of music do you love to listen to in different situations? What helps you? Enlighten us in the comments below. And share the love by clicking the + Share button.