Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Big Move, Little Apartment Tour

It's been almost a month since I last updated, and I actually have several half-written posts that are pending (including a lengthy one about my trip to New York), but I am jumping this to the head of the line, because, well...

WE MOVED. Jonathan and I are officially residents of Orange, CA. After nine months of living with my parents to save money and plan the next chapter of our lives (with Jon as a full-time grad student and me as a work-from-home 20-something), we spent the weekend getting settled into our new apartment, and we're absolutely, out-of-our-minds exhausted. It's been a very long week.

Despite its many flaws, we love love love our apartment. I'm excited to have my own space to decorate again; a place that is filled with only our furniture, our trinkets, our books, and our food. I'm thrilled to have our books and DVDs finally out of boxes. They are the most beautiful artwork we own.

We'll be getting height extensions and an extra shelf or two sometime this week. Luckily, we have the space and the books/DVDs to fill it.

Our ceiling in the main living area slopes, and is approximately 15 feet high on one wall. We've discovered that it isn't easy to keep that room cool, but it makes for an open, light-filled room with loads of potential.

Also, Ennis seems pretty happy so far.

There's a lot of work to do, which is rather exciting. My mind is already racing with the kinds of lamps we can get to make a bigger impact in our living room; what sort of original art we can create to fill the rectangle of wall above the couch; how I will manage to find the perfect rug (i.e. huge, but still affordable); how to incorporate a functional bar area; whether we can find and install an over-sized pendant lamp to balance out the room...

All that will come, in time. Dreaming about it is lots of fun, though.

About a month ago, after coming down and taking some measurements, I had some fun playing around with the floor plan of the main living area. Some color/design elements not-withstanding, it's a pretty accurate look of what we're (okay, I'm) aiming for in terms of layout and aesthetic...

Luckily, we've already got a good foundation; we came to this apartment with most of the basic furniture necessities, so we're in no rush to buy/make a ton of new things. As I mentioned back when we found our apartment, we've got 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus a separate dining area; there is plenty of square footage to store rogue boxes with items that don't have homes. We're not going to be stuck spending loads of time in a room that isn't functional. Our second bedroom will be an office/guestroom. For now, though, save for a single bed, there isn't much going on in here but lots and lots of crap.

Plus, we need somewhere to store all our wine, beer, and booze until we can get a liquor cabinet!

We also have some great artwork (large and small), still lingering in closed boxes or leaning up against walls and furniture. I just can't bring myself to tackle that project yet. I've always been frustrated with empty walls, and in the past thrown up whatever I had when I just couldn't take it any more. My new plan is to practice patience; there is no rush; my walls can survive without color for a few weeks.

Eventually, I will be pulling out all of our favorite pieces and designate them to the appropriate rooms and walls. I'll keep you updated on what we decide, and in some cases, how we'll even manage it. (Does anyone have any tips on how to hang frames that are really, really heavy? I'm skeered.)

Our bedroom is actually one of my favorite places in the apartment. After several pint-sized bedrooms in my various Seattle apartments, it's strange to have an actual "master" bedroom and bathroom. There's so much space to walk around, but it still feels cozy and intimate.

Our kitchen is both small and big; we don't have a lot of counter to work with, but at the same time there is room to move around, come in and out; we can actually cook together comfortably, which is a nice change. Also, the white cabinets make it feel nice and bright.

And while the dining room has become my interim office, I'm excited to invest in some quality chairs and eventually a solid wood table. (I've been on the hunt for Danish/Mid-Century Modern dining chairs that don't cost $1000 for months—a seemingly impossible task. And what do you think... a round table, eventually?)

Until then, I'm happy to leave it a blank slate.

Then, there's our balcony. An actual outdoor area for us to call our own. It's not much yet (just a few plants that made the move with us from Livermore), but I cannot wait to put a stamp out here as well. I'm pretty sure it's going to involve some plant table building sessions with Shane.

Can you tell I'm a little excited to decorate?

Yes, it's true, the apartment doesn't look like much now, but even in all the chaos, we've set up little happy vignettes where we could—including this wonderful one with a Virgen de Guadalupe candle that I just had to buy in honor of my dearest friend, Jessie. (It will henceforth be known as my "hurricane light"... or maybe "earthquake light" would be more accurate since there have been three over 4.0 since I've been here?) And what's a better companion to Catholicism than R2-D2?

It's the little things.

Moving is a tough thing for me. I'm just not good at it. Part of it is because I'm a bossy control freak and horrible to be around. The other part is probably that in the last eight years, I've moved about 10 times. Aside from those summers in college where I returned to my parent's house for two months, this is the 10th place I've lived.

This time feels different. Baring something bad happening, this'll be the first apartment I've lived in where I'll likely be here for more than a year and a half. The knowledge that these 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, open living room, tiny dining room, and galley kitchen will be my home for the foreseeable future—not just an "okay place until I find something better"—makes me want to put the time, thought, and effort into creating exactly what we want.

It's a relief, and it's a nice change of pace for me.

If I'm productive/responsible/on top of things, I'll be tracking all the fun changes here. I mean, maybe, if you guys are really nice. Like I said, it's been a long week.


  1. Woo hoo! Lets build, lady! xoxo.

  2. I'll be nice, I swear! I want to see all kinds of updates, because I'm envious of your space and really excited to see what you have planned. So many options, and since I'm a big fan of hanging art (if my tiny apartment is any indication), I'd love to help out! Shannon and I could even be a helpful set of eyes on Labor Day weekend! =)

    If you keep up with updating your blog, maybe I'll get it together and make some updates on my own. I never DID do a post about MY new apartment. Not as interesting as yours, but hey! It's something!

    Very excited to have you down here, and to visit for the 2nd time on Saturday. Love you!

  3. I loved every room and the fun you are going to have decorating each and every one.I cannot wait to see it when it is all finished. I have to comment on the kitchen because I saw something on the stove that made me giddy with delight..!! LOVE that Le Cruset!!!!! :)

  4. I'm so excited for you to chronicle the decorating/design evolution of your already-lovely new space. I wish I could help you hang art (and make it with you, too) - I love playing with the sometimes-overwhelmingly-full-of-potential white space of walls! And like you said, it's the little things, so if you feel stuck, keep making small moments :) Yay!