I once read in a design magazine that it is best to wait six months after moving into a new place before making any big changes. In this way, you’re able to get a better sense of the way the light streams (or doesn’t), the way the traffic flows in the space, how rooms are actually used, that sort of thing. This was ages before I had ever lived in a place of my own – pretty sure I was still in high school when I read this tip – so it was all abstract advice at the time.
When we first moved into this place, it was on a short-term lease which is what I wanted at the time. As the terms were drawing to a close, I requested and was granted a lengthy extension. Knowing we were going to be here for the next little while was an important conduit to settling as we have, and I credit the rapidity with which things fell into place with having lived here for just over six months and having a pretty clear idea of how we needed the space to work for us.
And work for us, it does. I’ve quickly become the kind of lady who vacuums the entire house as part of the nightly bedtime ritual, collecting the day’s dust and giving thanks for how perfectly functional and attractive our tiny apartment palace has turned out to be.
All in all, we acquired very little by way of this renovation. Mostly, it was a purging of what we didn’t need and a shuffling of what we already had with the addition of three extremely significant elements – the bookshelf and dresser in the kids’ room, and the workstation in mine. We replaced the rug we had under the bunkbeds with something that works much better and is so much prettier to look at, we hung a few strands of inexpensive lights, and we mounted a generic piece of peg board in the kitchen. Beyond that, most of what we spent went toward shelving in the garage which has paid for itself in spades if you ask me. I haven’t crunched the exact numbers, and frankly it doesn’t interest me, because all that really matters is that we had a shoestring budget to work with, we did not overspend, and even if we’d spent a million dollars I don’t think it could have turned out any better than it did. I’m over the moon, and can’t wait for the big kids – who’ve been with their dad for the past week – to finally get to see the end result.
On April 21, I started a project breakdown which I called “our tiny apartment reno” and I gave myself the end date of 6/30. Today, we are halfway through May and the things remaining on that list are either minor details (find a non-hideous kitchen mat), are things I’m not interested in purchasing online (frames), or tasks that require additional help. Basically, we’ve finished all we can and about six week ahead of schedule. Add to that the fact that the garage – which wasn’t originally factored into this project and had a separate deadline of it’s own, my birthday – is also done, more than two months prior to when I’d thought it’d be finished. Good stuff. Addicting stuff. I can totally see why flipping houses is a thing people do. It’s a little bit magic, and I look forward to doing it again.
Even more, though, I look forward to living into this space we’ve created, watching it transform with the seasons. I said to my husband last night that I’d spent the last several years thinking our time living on Eagle Street was going to be our good old days, but it turns out they are just getting started.