All posts tagged: Bathroom

Going Rogue: A Story of Betrayal and Componibili.

First of all——PHEW, my first giveaway ever for Ferm Living Shop took in 734 comments! Lunacy! The winner was chosen at random and a big congratulations to Nancy M. is in order! Yay, Nancy!

Now, if you didn’t win the giveaway, maybe you are sad and bitterly disappointed? Maybe I was worried you would be sad so I had a chat with Ferm Living Shop about how sad you would be? Maybe Ferm Living Shop agreed you might be sad and a 10% off promo code was offered to soften the blow of being a poor, pathetic loser? That’s right: use the code MANHATTANNEST at checkout to get 10% off your order at Ferm Living Shop through Sunday, December 9th at 9 PM! This would be a good time to go ahead and buy that Remix Blanket you wanted before—the offer doesn’t last long!

Go ahead. You have my blessing. Treat yo’self. (just use MANHATTANNEST at check-out!)

Onto other matters. I’ll admit I had a bit more of an exciting post planned for today but——True Life: It’s Exam Week and I am Pooped. Like, more than pooped. Somewhere between dead and pooped.

So last week I was emailing back and forth with a reader named Alicia about the usual (fauxdenzas, wood, anchors, sofas) and she just had to mention that she was putting up an ad on Craigslist for two 3-tier white Kartell Componibili units for the price of one new one. They were only a couple years old, great condition——did I know anybody who might want them?

Um, hello Alicia. I want them. Duhzville. Gimme those Componibilis and we can talk fauxdenzas til my jaw detaches itself from my face.

Only problem? Convincing a certain someone who might also have an opinion on the matter. And I’m not talking about Linus, because he’d never be able to understand complex concepts like wonderful mod Italian plastic storage. He can’t even understand “sit.”

God, Linus is so stupid. But his love language is cuddles and that’s all I care about, so he’s perfect.

I’d been talking up a Componibili for the bathroom pretty much as long as we’ve lived in this apartment, and Max has always been ardently against them. He “doesn’t like plastic” (?) and doesn’t like the way they look (?) and some other hogwash that I probably would have remembered if I had been listening in the first place instead of worrying about my future?

So when this talk of Craigslist posts and Componibilis was happening, Max was at work. I tried to be considerate by sending him this series of text messages, which pretty much gives you an accurate picture of what it’s like to be in a relationship with me.

It pretty much went on like that, but you get the picture.

So I’m the devil, more or less. Whatever. True Life: I’m a Control Freak.

Obviously, the problem here is that if I had waited for a response, at least one of two things would have happened: by the time I could give the green light to the seller (a.k.a. Alicia), they’d be gone,* or Max would say no and I’d have to be both selfish and blatantly disobedient and disrespectful when I went and did it anyway.**

*maybe not that likely to happen so quickly, but work with me.
**very likely to happen very quickly.

Rock, meet Hard Place.

So, much like somebody who is mentally unbalanced and likes a good deal (not me, just somebody like that person), I think I was at the seller’s apartment in less than an hour and carrying Componibilis into our apartment like 10 minutes after Max came home from work. True Life: My Boyfriend Wanted to Kill Me.

He was not pleased, but I am pleased enough for the both of us. This thing is obviously good-looking and pretty adorable and it looks good in the bathroom. More importantly, it HOLDS THINGS. The bathroom’s ONLY storage is that big medicine cabinet. Don’t get it twisted, that thing is huge, but not huge enough to maintain this much beauty. For example, the blowdryer used to sit in the cabinet. Of course, it was too big for the cabinet, so it fell out ALL THE TIME, usually on my face, usually carrying a bunch of other stuff down with it. This went on for like a year and a half, so don’t even try to tell me I don’t know struggle.

The Componibili is great because it holds toilet paper, the blowdryer, and various other excess toiletries that used to sit in a box in our kitchen. It’s nice to have all the bathroom stuff IN the bathroom. Max is getting used to it?

FYI, the bathmat is a bamboo (I think) mat from Target. Another huge point of contention in the bathroom has been getting a bathmat——Max hates bathmats and thinks they’re dirty, vile things, and I don’t understand life without them? I’d be down for a normal bathmat, but eventually we had to settle on this wood thing and…it’s fine. I don’t really understand what function it holds, but I guess it’s nice that it’s there and that I don’t have to wash it all the time? I don’t know.

The soap pump is from West Elm and I love it. It’s soapstone, so it’s nice and substantial and the pump part is actually really nice and sturdy, which I like. I wish I felt the same way about the sink and the floor, but there isn’t a whole lot I can do about either of those.

But Componibili!! I’m so glad this dream came true and that it wasn’t the end of my relationship. You really can have your cake and eat it too, you know?

Sweet Victory, at Last.

One of life’s biggest hardships and greatest injustices over the last three years or so is that I’ve been stuck with the above setup for dispensing salt and pepper onto my food. I’m not a terribly fabulous chef, so I rely heavily on these two basic seasonings to render my meals edible, and I have long dreamt of a pairing that could do the job with a bit more panache. That salt shaker has a matching pepper shaker, and while they’re cute and vintage and cost me all of a couple dollars at Salvation Army, what am I supposed to do with pre-ground pepper? What do you take me for, some kind of goddamn animal? The little plastic “temporary” pepper grinder is way too small and has to be refilled constantly and just makes me generally sad with its apathy and mediocrity.

Walking through IKEA with my pal, Anna, we both totally plotzed over these new salt and pepper mills from the new ÄDELSTEN line of kitchen products. Made from black and white marble, the texture in real life is kind of super amazing (the lighter looking parts of the pepper mill will darken with use over time), and at 7 inches high and about 3 pounds each, they just feel nice to use. Like things that fancy people with fancy pepper would own. People who buy kosher organically-produced cage-free fair-traded artisanal salt and exotic gourmet free-range peppercorns raised on a diet of human breast milk and diamond dust. From Fiji.

The bottoms even double as cute little salt and pepper cellars, which is just all-around smart and adorable. I LOVE THEM. The whole line is beautiful, by the way, and includes probably the most amazing rolling pin I’ve ever seen that I was SO tempted to buy before realizing I’m about as likely to roll out some dough as I am to eat my own toes. Read: I’d have to be very hungry and out of hummus.

Of course, they were also $15 a pop, making them super cheap for the materials, design, and quality of construction. People talk smack about the quality of IKEA products all the time, but here’s the thing: their best stuff is really nice, and usually cheaper that their competitors’ worst stuff. They definitely make some crap that falls apart, too, but nobody’s forcing anyone to buy that. IKEA4LIFE.

Naturally, it just so happens that the very next day, Chandler was in town for the weekend and we took a little jaunt out to the Design Within Reach Annex store in Secaucus, where damaged goods and floor models go to die before people like me come along to buy them (my very damaged but mostly-fixable bubble lamp came from there, negotiated down to $65!). I know what you’re thinking: Daniel is the greatest host ever! “Here, come to Brooklyn for the weekend! We’ll spend an hour and a half driving to New Jersey and you can watch me shop!” I really know how to show people a good time.

I’ve been pining after these Muuto “Plus” salt and pepper mills designed by Norway Says for a couple years, but the $70 price tag for each one always stopped me from buying them. It always went like this:

Beautiful? Yes. Am I in a place in my life where I can justify spending $150 on salt and pepper mills? Fuck you, stupid.

But the price on this lone pepper mill was slashed in half and had no visible damage, so it kind of had to be. So what if I found perfect salt and pepper mills just the day before? I can use those for cooking, and this for eating? Like it can sit on the table and make me happy while the others sit five feet away on the counter? Sure. Why not. Let’s do this. You see my lack of options, here.

Also in the category of things I’ve wanted to happen finally happening, we found a shower curtain! Max had an idea that he wanted a black ticking stripe shower curtain to bring a sort of vintage old-school barbershop vibe to our bathroom. It wouldn’t have necessarily been my first choice (being a super-boring-white-linens-only type of asshole), but he had my support with the caveat that it be extra-long. “Go forth, my child,” I said. “Make your dreams come true. While you’re at it, work on mine too.” And it was so.

The problem was that our old shower curtain (plain white waffle, like $10 from Target) seemed awfully short once the bathroom was “done” and made the huge medicine cabinet look even more huge, towering above the curtain rod like it was. That the shower head spout is abnormally high in this bathroom wasn’t really helping matters since it was so visible above the shower curtain.

The new curtain was custom-made by Alison Daniel at the Modern Folk Shop on Etsy. The fabric is really nice and heavy, and the whole thing is really well constructed. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to just DIY an extra-long shower curtain, but it would need to be wider than a standard roll of fabric, meaning that a seam has to be sewn down the entire thing. And sewing a really neat 8-foot seam into a patterned fabric was just way more than my sewing skills are up for. I’m only human. This Alison Daniel lady is apparently more than human though, since her seam is perfect.

Of course, we still (still!) need to find a bathmat and I still (still!) need to finish re-caulking and I still (still!) need to fix up the super painty, inoperable bathroom window. The window thing feels the most pressing, since now it’s summer and the lack of bathroom ventilation will quickly go from being kind of irritating to kind of disgusting. That’s one of those projects that sounds easy and fun in my mind but I know will leave me crying and possibly regretful and shaken to my very core. Sounds like my kind of summer activity.

In other news, GUESS WHAT CAME IN THE MAIL YESTERDAY?!

This.

My prizes.

All my sweet prizes.

Apple Store Gift Cards. Big Money. It’s not everyday this happens. In fact, this has only happened once. And it was yesterday.

Oh yeah. Now I have no excuses to pull my shit together with this kitchen thing.**

**I might still have some excuses. Like fear.

The Bathroom

Full disclosure: this post has been a long time coming. A LONG time. I usually don’t hold out for too much time between doing projects and mustering the energy to post about them, but for some reason I lost all enthusiasm for posting about my bathroom back when I gave it the first round of love way back in the summer. I think I needed some emotional distance with this room before I could discuss it openly? Maybe it’s because there are still several things I need to deal with in there, so it still doesn’t feel finished?

Who am I kidding, nothing is ever finished. Ever. I will futz forever. Don’t tell Max.

In actuality, the bathroom was basically the first thing I tackled when I moved into this apartment. It’s a difficult room to photograph and, like most rental bathrooms, the amount of things I can easily and realistically change in there are few. Luckily, the more permanent fixtures are fairly plain an inoffensive, so I’m not overly fixated on wanting to change things that I can’t. I’m happy with how far it’s come thus far though, and maybe finally posting about it will light a necessary fire under my ass to get going on tying up some of the loose ends I’ve been avoiding.

I know, I have shocked and appalled you with my entirely unexpected and unprecedented decision to paint the walls black. I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself.

When I moved into this apartment, the bathroom was no exception to the horrible paint choices that the rest of the place endured sometime around the late 1990s, nor the subsequent 15 give-or-take years in which the tenants evidently owned multiple cats and gave up cleaning. The walls were painted a shade of lavender, one of those colors that’s supposed to be cheery and whimsical but only succeeds in making you feel like you’re taking a shit in a nursing home filled with broken dreams and unrealized ambitions. If I took shits. I don’t. I’m bionic.

Functionally, the biggest problem was a complete lack of storage, as there is no sink cabinet and the medicine cabinet was sized to accommodate only about three aspirin tablets and a travel-sized tube of toothpaste. Now, I wouldn’t say we’re overly vain or maintain complicated beauty regimens—I would classify our gorgeousness more as a natural occurrence than the product of extraordinary effort, if you must know. However, in the service of maintaining Max’s fancy hairdo and our general hygiene, we needed a bit more space to put the things that make achieving this goal possible. Out of necessity, I actually mounted those shelves (harvested from the bedroom) as a temporary measure until we could find something more permanent.

I toyed with the idea of some combination of vintage cabinet/mirror/shelving, but we really wanted to get this done and ultimately, for a bathroom, I can’t think of very much I’d really want out in the open. Enter the deliciously massive and endlessly reflective (the insides of both of those doors are mirrored, as is the back of the unit) GODMORGON medicine cabinet from IKEA. It is huge, it is wonderful, it holds everything. I will not show you the inside because I am ashamed that it is completely full.

Yes, in fact it does drive me crazy that the cabinet is not centered over the little stupid soap dish and toothbrush holder things. Yes, it does drive me crazy that those stupid things are not centered over the sink. I hope we can all get past it.

I will never get past it.

If you’re super observant, you’ll notice that the new medicine cabinet also covers the only outlet in the room, so I just cut a small  hole in back so we can still plug all our do-dads in and anything that needs to charge can just be stored completely out of sight.

The old light was that super basic fixture that all NYC landlords favor for everything. Ignore the fact that it looks like the ceiling once caught fire around it. I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical and benign explanation, like that the ceiling once caught fire around it.

I have to say, I’m pretty annoyingly smug about the new light fixture, which cost all of about $10 and 15 minutes to make. It’s just some leftover red cloth-wrapped cord I had from my bedside FRÄCK hack lights, a basic ceramic socket, and a plain ceiling canopy that I spray-painted high-gloss black (but left the little nuts brass). The bulb is a big round frosted 100 W incandescent, and that’s it! I also changed out the light switch for a dimmer, and the light this thing gives off is really nice and deceptively flattering, and instantly made the room cozier.

Not unlike the other doors in my apartment, the bathroom door had seen its share of use and abuse over the years, leaving both the door and the frame scarred from old shoddy hinge repairs and replacements. The door actually didn’t even close all the way, so I had to take the whole thing down and shave down the bottom. While I was at it, I used Morgan from The Brick House’s genius suggestion to use paint stir-sticks to fill in all the old hinge holes. Of course it worked, because it came from Morgan and she is made of magic.

I went back and forth on what kind of hinges to use, but ultimately just went with the same size that was already there (so I wouldn’t have to do more chiseling or thinking) in an oil-rubbed bronze finish. New brass hardware seemed too flashy and since the size of the hinge was already different than the other bedroom door, I just decided to keep things as inconspicuous as possible.

OMG, this picture terrifies me. Can you believe this is actually pretty flattering? Yeah, things were bad. Real bad. Let’s break it down.

Horrible grimy door/trim. Rusty nasty pipe. That fucking window. The black part at the top was insulating foam that somebody stuck in because the window is too gunked up from paint and grime to open or close, and I guess it got stuck open at the top. Note that the top pane of glass is inexplicably painted. More on that in a second. The only good thing here is the screen print on the wall, which our friend Shannon made and gave to us. It’s been moved into the bedroom now, don’t worry.

Even though there’s a towel bar in the room, it’s directly across from the shower, weirdly close to the side of the toilet, and hovers over the toilet paper roll, which is really odd when there’s actually towels hanging on it. Since I prefer to just hang my towels on hooks anyway because I am lazy like that, I mounted them to the door instead, which is significantly less awkward.

Aside from removing the foam and persuading the window to close, I still haven’t touched the window and instead hung an IKEA ENJE shade in front of it (reused and re-cut from my last apartment) so that I could more effectively ignore its heinousness. So far, I have done this well for a full 8 months, but I’m excited to try my hand at some window restoration and see if I can get the thing gliding open and closed like it’s not 120 years old. Out of the 6 windows in our apartment, this is one of two that are original (or super old, at least), and I want to take special care and attention with making them feel less betrayed by the world. In any case, stripping the paint off the glass will at least bring more light into the room.

How is the light with the dark paint, you ask? I KNOW these pictures aren’t very convincing (partly a function of the actual weather outside), but the dark paint definitely does not make the room feel small or dungeon-like, even though it’s on the walls and the ceiling! I promise! There’s still quite a lot of white going on with the wall tiles, and I think the dark walls actually make the walls recede, which makes the room feel more spacious and taller. Or something like that.

If you are dating Max (which, if you are, and you are not me, just know that I will find you and destroy everything you hold dear), you quickly learn that the boy sees penises in many everyday objects, which has begun to taint how I view the world. Not that I necessarily see penises in everyday objects, but that I now wonder if Max would. So it was with great care that I finally felt comfortable in purchasing these particular hooks for the bathroom door, specifically because they did not look like penises.

Luckily, when Max saw them, the first thing he said was that he liked them. Then he told me they looked like penises.

WHATEVER, THEY ARE BRASSY AND CLASSY AND OH-SO-VINTAGE AND OH-SO-$5.

Vintage paint-by-numbers tickle me, too. I sprayed them with a coat of matte varnish to prevent them from peeling in the moisture, which seems to be working perfectly.

I like my crappy sun faded amateur thrift store art. Deal.

I hate my supposedly lucky money tree plant thing. We’ve been together for about three years and it seems to thrive on neglect and bad vibes, because I do not like it and would very much like it to just die so I can replace it with another plant that I do like. Occasionally I’ll give in to guilt and give it a little water. I have some kind of caretaker complex I’m really trying to work through.

There are a few things I still want to deal with in here, including that I think we really need an extra-long shower curtain, mostly because they’re fancy and luxurious, but also because the super-tall medicine cabinet just feels weird towering over the standard curtain like that. It’s like it makes both things look ridiculous. I also really need to scrape and replace all the caulk, because no matter how much I clean it, it is still poorly applied and gross. And fix up that janky window. And find a good bathmat that we can both agree on, which I am anticipating will be one of the harder decision-making processes I’ve ever negotiated. Wish me luck.

DETAILS:

Walls/Ceiling- Benjamin Moore “Graphite,” Matte, Aura Bath & Spa formula, $40
Trim- Benjamin Moore “Super White,” Semi-gloss, already owned
Door- Benjamin Moore “Onyx,” Pearl finish, already owned
Medicine Cabinet: IKEA GODMORGON, $180
Window: IKEA ENJE shade, already owned
Hooks: Vintage, $10
Light Fixture: DIY, $10
Shower Curtain: Target, $10
Trashcan: Simple Human, already owned
Bathmat: IKEA SIGNE, $4 (did they stop making these? wtf.)
Plastic Deer Figurine- Vintage, $1
Paint By Numbers horses- Vintage, $10
Woman Portrait- Vintage, already owned
Plant- Fiery Depths of Hell, already owned

TOTAL: $265-ish.

OH YEAH. So you might already know that the Apartment Therapy Homie Awards are going on right now, but if you don’t, I just told you! I don’t honestly, truly, seriously care about my blog competing in any competition (especially against a few good friends!), but I saw that I’ve been nominated (thanks dudes!) and now I am shamelessly giving in to temptation to campaign ruthlessly for votes. Because there is nothing better than winning. NOTHING. GIVE ME PRIZES AND ACCOLADES. VOTE.

Think of all the fun things in the world. Now put them on the internet. Now make them into a single website about home design. Now turn that website into a blog. If that blog is called Manhattan Nest, you are a superior kind of human being and also my friend. VOTE.

So let’s win this mo’fo’ this year. You and me. Me and you. Mostly me. A little bit you, if you vote for me. No one likes to be on the wrong side of history. VOTE.

Do it for Mekko. She wants you to.

VOTE.

 

Black Doors!

There are moments in a relationship when you realize you’ve gone and found yourself a good thing. Max came home from work one day back in August to a sweltering apartment and my small, crouched figure slumped on the floor. The trouble was that somebody had stuffed wads of newsprint inside the walls that conceal our pocket doors, thereby blocking their ability to open all the way. Because this was during my it’s-hotter-than-hell-outside-fuck-it-I’m-a-nudist phase, I was unshowered and wearing only underwear. And maybe socks, for modesty’s sake. Strewn about on the floor surrounding me was a collection of our household items—a set of tongs, a broom handle, an umbrella I’d broken—and the pile of old newspapers I had slowly persuaded out of the walls over the course of what was, realistically, a several hour long effort. This is behavior that I have come to recognize as the norm for Single-Daniel, but is probably better avoided during the fragile first six months of a relationship. Yet there I sat, dirty and frustrated, reappropriating our spatula as a sort of primitive tool, much like an ape.

While alone it’s easier to focus exclusively on the task at hand, but the presence of another person inspires a sort of quick self-inspection, followed by an assessment, followed by shame. Alright, you might think, he’s seen me. Play it cool. Do you look ridiculous? Yes. Do you have a compelling reason? Certainly. And when he opens his mouth to say something like “What in the fuck are you doing down there?” you need to explain yourself. Hurriedly, you try to come up with a reason why the doors sticking out a couple of inches instead of receding nicely into the walls is a pressing problem riddled with threatening functional implications. Further, one that can only be addressed while sweaty, dirty, and mostly naked. You decide to bypass the accusatorial interrogation and just skip to the explanation.

“Some asshole past tenant stuffed about a million newspapers into our walls, and that’s why the pocket doors won’t open all the way, which looks all weird and is probably why they keep skipping off their tracks and I’ve been trying to fish them out but they’re really stuck and I lost track of time and I’m really sorry but I broke your umbrella.”

“Which newspaper?” he replied. And there it was. Not angered, nor shocked and appalled, nor even slightly surprised that he might come home to find me in such a state, there was something immensely comforting about his apathy.

“Oh, just a bunch of horse racing schedules and statistics and stuff, from the mid-70s. Nothing interesting.”

“Oh, bummer.”

And then I went back to sticking my arms into the wall and he told me about his day at work. And it was good.

Aside from what is now obvious (that Eugene Tombs was nesting in our apartment), all of our doors had an exciting laundry list of things wrong with them. The paint was chipping off the pocket doors. The bedroom and bathroom doors didn’t close. All the hardware had been painted over by careless landlords and tenants for years, and was not only ugly but also didn’t work. Poor doors. So abused.

When I first moved into this apartment, during the brief period that it was still technically just my apartment and I could be as big of an asswipe as I wanted to be, I told Max that I was going to paint all the doors black. I told other people this, too, all of whom expressed deep concern. “Really? Black? Like, black-black?” FUCK YES, BLACK. But let me just say:

Before:

After:

Yeah. They’re rad. I love my black doors. The color is Onyx by Benjamin Moore, in Pearl finish. It’s basically the perfect, perfect black. I want to live in a world of Benjamin Moore Onyx.

All the doors in the apartment (there are only three other ones, including the front door) are getting the Onyx treatment too, and I love it. Bedroom door before:

And AFTER!

I love them. Love them. You can tell me anything. Tell me they’re ugly. See if I care. I do not care. You know why? Because I love them.

LOVE.

My affection isn’t just a paint fetish thing, though. It’s also the hardware. I’m so happy with how the hardware turned out. Because it had been painted over so many, many times, it all had to be carefully cut and scraped and stripped away from the doors. Here’s a fancy close-up image I made by cropping a much wider image I had, because I took no proper before pictures. My blogging fanciness knows no bounds.

Stripping paint off stuff is one of those intensely tedious, endlessly satisfying tasks that just keeps you coming back for more. Once I got it all detached from the doors, I stuck it in a pot of boiling water (and a little dish soap), and let it simmer like a delicious hardware stew for a while. Like so:

No, I do not still cook food in that pot. Luckily, it was from a thrift store and I don’t feel too bad about it.

After a bunch of the paint has boiled off, it’s time to move this party to the sink, where you’ll scrub and pick at the stragglers while burning your hands through latex gloves beneath scalding running water. It’s fun! Let your kid do it, he/she will have a phenomenal time.

All kidding aside, it’s really kind of amazing to restore something like this—probably well over a century old—to an original, functioning condition. Hearing that door click! closed for the first time was super rewarding, and using the doorknob everyday feels like such an awesome privilege that I totally fucking deserve. 

Aside from that, I think we can all agree that the mix of the black door, the white trim, and the brass/pewter-y hardware is pretty dope. It’s all J.Crew-Men’s-Shop-Yale-Club-Old-New-England-Classic-Fancy up in here. All of those associations make perfect sense to me.

The pocket door hardware was slightly more challenging because it’s not actually very old, so the brass was super shiny and new and weird looking when I stripped the paint off them. I found something online that told me to wet them with vinegar and stick them in a hot oven for a few minutes, which would help age the brass. Usually I’m not a fan of trying to obtain faux-old finishes, but this was tiny and subtle and totally worked and I love them now.

Best for last? Okay. Best for last.

The bathroom door was a whole crazy mess of gloppy old paint and filthy and sadness.

Like, gag me with a spoon, as my father would say. But you know I’m all about that black porcelain knob.

Insert some boiling water, some taking the door off its hinges, sanding and sanding and sanding down the bottom so it would close, a few coats of paint later, and…

Here’s the outside. The wood handle makes my heart sing. I just rubbed on a couple coats of Danish oil after it dried out from the boiling and it’s so pretty.

On the inside of the door, under all the paint was this super cool lock. In case you can’t make it out, it reads: “New York City 1883 Make.” EIGHTEEN FUCKING EIGHTY THREE. That shit is old, and awesome. It had a petrified cockroach carcass inside of it. That’s history. I think it was painted black originally but the boiling took off all the paint and I ended up liking the raw metal, so I spray painted it with a matte clear coat protection so it wouldn’t rust in a steamy bathroom.

Wider angles to come, when I get my act together and photograph the bathroom. Things are looking a little different in there! (See what I did there? I love to play the tease.)

Settling In

In the last month and a half, I have been to:

1. Las Vegas
2. Chicago
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Buffalo
5. Washington, D.C. (again)
6. Pittsburgh

Oh yeah, I also moved. As you well know. And I’ve also had an abnormally heavy stream of house guests. And I’m getting on another plane tomorrow.

It’s been busy times around here, folks, what with all the planes, trains, and automobiles. All of these little jaunts have been fun, really, but between them all getting this apartment in order has been slow-goings at best.

First, this place had to go through an extensive cleansing process—to say that it was dirty would really be doing my hard work a disservice. Think filth. Think grime. Think… this monstrosity lurking beneath the stove.

When time is tight and the days are short, you switch into survival mode. The goal becomes not one of beautification, but instead a strained task, geared towards minimizing your houseguests’ impression that you’re a squatter.

Which is all to explain that not much has been done here. And everything’s looking a little crappy. Every room is bursting at the seams. There is so much to be done that my head spins, and yet nary a paint brush has hit the walls. It’s kind of intimidating, but really just annoying that I’ve technically been here a month and things still look like this. Let’s do a run-down, shall we?

This is my hot mess of a bedroom. The desk is covered in miscellany, I hung up the Calder litho on an existing screw left in the wall, and the upholstery on my bed needs some repairs after it had to be taken apart in the move.

This is the sorry state of the bathroom. The walls are still lavender. The medicine cabinet is packed. I had to move two existing shelves from the bedroom into the bathroom to replace that tiny ledge. Trust, all this is temporary.

The kitchen. Oh, the poor kitchen. It’s packed to the gills and crying out for more storage. I haven’t been able to get the oven to work, the refrigerator leaks, something’s wrong with the window. And it’s still super fug.

The living room looks the most moderately-okay. Taking down those weird little shelves between the windows and the horrifically dusty venetian blinds went a long way towards making me feel better, but the red paint and the stacks of art and the half-assed vignetting are making me crazy.

The only thing I’ve really accomplished are these milk-crate bookshelves, which I think we can all agree is a good example of what happens when DIY goes awry.In the right space, executed well, I can actually see some version of this looking pretty good. Not here. A coffee shop around the corner gives these crates away for free, so in a fit of omg-what-do-I-do-with-all-these-books, I grabbed nine of them (including the three in the kitchen) …

…and drilled some holes around the edges and stitched them together with kitchen twine.

Yeah, they’re glamorous. No, they’re not staying any longer than they have to.

I know I’m a whining, complaining disaster, but I’m actually loving living here—when I’ve actually been here. The neighborhood is great and the apartment has so much potential. I can’t wait to really get going.

For those of you wondering, I got my security deposit from my old apartment yesterday. They knocked off $100. I’m okay with that. 

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