Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Guess I'm a Grown Up

Andy Gilmore, 10-10-12 (rotated)

I've got the design bug again, big time. Starting fresh in a clean, empty apartment has been inspiring, and I'm feeling confident in the decor-direction our new home is headed. Right now I'm set up working in the kitchen, which has been a necessity in this tropically humid heat (thank you, lone ceiling fan!), but it also gives me a panoramic view of the main living area... and I want to work on it. All day, every day, until it is the exact thing that I (ahem, we) want.

I remember moving into my first apartment after college, with my dear friend, word wrangler, and blogger-in-crime, Kait. We didn't have much money (OK, I had no money at all, and she was on a very tight budget), so we had the typical hodge-podge of acquired Craigslist items and hand-me-down furniture. We couldn't afford to be picky. This meant that whatever large piece of artwork we could find for {super} cheap on Craigslist, love it or no, that's what we'd get to place over our couch. Whatever we could find that was comfortable to sit around on, we'd lug it home in my station wagon and do our best to set it up like we'd spent $500 on lounge chairs instead of just $75.

Considering our limitations, I think we did an admirable job.

I was taking a little Home Staging course at the time, which helped me discover the kind of design that reflects who I am and what I love. It's this course that made me realize my sensibilities are not in the "designer" realm; I do not consider myself skilled at all on that level. Rather, I think of myself as more of a "stager": I've learned to work with what I have in the space that I'm given.

Since then, I've learned so, so much. This is my 3rd apartment that I consider "mine," and the fun part is, I have a partner who shares my interest in making a home look beautiful. This time, I'm not stuck in an empty apartment where I'm desperate for basic necessities and therefore buy whatever cheap thing I can find that'll be "good enough until I can afford something better." Now, I'm able to invest some good chunks of money in quality pieces that I actually like.

No. Love.

That's not to say I don't buy things that are inexpensive. On the contrary, IKEA and I are still super tight (though I'm trying to avoid getting everything from there), and I'm not one to turn my nose up at free things or cease my daily shopping rounds on Craigslist.

The point is, I know what I want now. I know what I'm drawn to, and I'm willing to wait until I can get it, whether that means checking on Craigslist every day or saving up to invest in a quality piece. I won't buy art just to put on the wall, and I won't buy a piece of furniture just 'cause we need someplace to store our liquor.

Now that we've found an apartment that we intend to stay in for at least two years (if not more) is that we have time. There's no rush, and that's a pleasant feeling. For the first time, I'm not stressed out or embarrassed that my home doesn't look perfect. I'm not worried about what other people will think about me and my design choices.

I guess this is what it feels like to be a grown up.

I'll take it.

So what am I loving right now?

Bold prints, color, clean lines, wood, mid-century chairs, cozy furniture, giant libraries, outer space, geometric designs, plants, little vignettes, perfectly placed artwork, typography, anything with herringbone, and unusual combinations.

Before starting our move, I was already on the hunt for specific items that I knew for certain I wanted, eventually, to be part of my home. One of these big items is a round Mid-Century/Danish Modern dining table with four chairs. Pretty much this exact set from Apartment Therapy a while back. I've pretty much driven myself crazy by trying to figure out how and where I will acquire the perfect dining room.

Patience is a virtue. I think.

I've probably lost most of you by now, but if you're still with me, I'd love to hear about what you're coveting for your house. Or do you have absolutely no interest in any of this and think it's all boring bullshit?

I anxiously await your thoughts. In the meantime, here's a sexy-ass picture of the Orion Nebula that I have framed and will eventually hang above my office desk:


  1. Since I moved in with Zach and our roommates, I have been anxiously anticipating the day when Zach and I would get a place of our own. My impatience was intensified when our roommates decided they weren't comfortable with us getting a dog, so for the past six months, I have been planning every possible inch of every possible apartment we could possibly wind up in.

    Needless to say, I am DEVOURING your posts about "staging" your living space.

  2. Oh reeeeeeeeeeeally... home staging, eh? Next time you come over, I need your opinion on our living room! I have no idea what to do with it.

    PS - My garage misses you.

    1. Shane - Let's plan a weekend date! I'm really very close to you (Kim says about 35 minutes?) so it'd be no problem to work two days in a row if you have the time.

      PS. I just got a new teak table and chairs at a flea market and they need SERIOUS love. That's my next project. We have to go get supplies (de-greasers, steel wool cloth, teak oil, stain, some new screws, fabric for upholstery) but I figured it'd be great to bring the stuff over and maybe work on tandem projects! Plus, you still need to meet Jon and Ennis! :D

  3. Ah, patience. SO HARD. Sometimes being an adult is torture in the home-decorating/furnishing/finishing realm. I'm in an interesting situation right now in which I'm going to have to start editing my possessions in preparation for either trashing/selling/storing when we move abroad for an undefined period of time. This KILLS me, but I think it's really forcing me to hone my editing eye and, like you, choose and force myself to wait for pieces I really LOVE. Le sigh. Love :)