Thursday, March 10, 2011

#ThTh: New Home Finally Arrives After 10 Years

You are pobably thinking: well what's that all about? It is a rather cryptic title for this post but it has much truth in it.

I moved into my apartment 10 years ago and it was very exciting to own my home after 15 years of renting. However, the place I was leaving had been my (rented) home for 13 years. There was something about the proportions, the light, the layout, that made it extremely comfortable and easy to live in. The proof of my contentment was that I had not changed the furniture around - or bought any new furniture - for many years. I was totally, and literally, at home in my surroundings.

Then I moved here, a two-bedroom apartment which later became a three-bedroom apartment when the whole building did an extension. I didn't really need the extra room but the economies of scale meant that I'd be stupid to turn down the opportunity to upgrade.

However, I have never known how to live in this space. Each room is slightly too small or too large for it's purpose. The living/dining room is just too narrow to include an office corner, my bedroom is enormous but I don't like to sleep in the same room as the computer, spare-room 1 has a tiny niche for a cramped work station, bedroom 2 is big - it could be mine or I could give it to DD when she finally moves out of my bed.

And I would like to throw out a large amount of my furniture and start from scratch. I was very grateful when my then boss gave me a sofa she no longer needed - it's so big that it severely restricts the best use of the living room. The dining table I was lucky enough to buy second hand and very cheaply from friends is also too wide for the dining room.

Is this Thank you Thursday? I hear you ask. I'm getting to it. I am going to thank Karen Jones for her fabulously romantic blog about her White House by the Sea - later. First, I have to say , that it depressed me when I looked at all my wooden (cheap melamine) bookcases. I wanted white too!

So here are the Thank yous. Thank you Karen for your tips on shabby chic. After I finished being depressed, I rearranged and decluttered. And, perhaps most important, I made a decision on the function of each room - after 10 years of constantly moving things around and never quite getting there. My place does not look as beautiful as yours as there is a limit to what you can do with cheap melamine - I don't expect Kirsty Allsop to do a series entitled: My MFI House.

Thank you S for the white bedside tables and chest of draws for DD's room - they look fabulous. (S recently bought a new apartment and the owner left a whole load of furniture.) Thank you David for coming out with your big car and helping me schlepp it all home - and up three flights of stairs with no lift. And thank you D for staying here with DD while we went to get the furniture.

So this is what I did.
1. Made spare-room 2 into DD's room with white furniture a la thewhiteapproach. It already had a white wardrobe and I had a blue bookcase (handed down from F, thank you F) in the hall. DD is so excited and keeps running into the room to tell me, "my room. No Mummy room." Just wait until I try and get her to sleep there :)

2. Made spare-room 1 into a proper study with all the brown bookcases, a brown-wood chest of drawers with a vanity mirror above it, pictures on the walls where there are spaces, and the desk in the middle (I've always wanted a desk that faces the room and not to have to sit staring at the wall.) There is still room  for the spare bed along one wall. The all-white walls ensure that the brown-wood furniture isn't too overpowering.

3. Decided to enjoy my big bedroom and vow not to clutter it up again once DD's things have been moved out. However, I may move a small armchair from the living-room in, which will make more space in the living-room for playing.

I would post pictures but, whilst the furniture is stylishly sitting in place, it is all empty - the books, etc... are still piled high on the beds. Maybe Silent Sunday will give me the motivation to finish the job over the weekend.

It is amazing how rearranging can be as good as a change. And the right positioning of furniture can actually give you the illusion of more space.


  1. oh! Rachel I am totally overwhelmed and touched by your Thankyou Thursday. It means an awful lot to know how much I have inspired you. But I NEED PHOTOGRAPHS : )
    Also you might be relieved to know that all the cupboards my husband has built in our home are made from MDF ! We too have to do everything on a very tight budgetx
    Thank you so much sweetie, keep smiling and enjoy your new space xx
    Can you DM me your address, I have a small gift to send you.

  2. Yes, photographs please, it all sounds great.
    I love your thank you Thuursdays. If I was more organised I'd join in.

  3. Karen J - so glad you like it. I realize that all photos are strategically taken to leave out any less than perfect stuff. However, even with careful aiming - my rooms don't look like yours.

    Please don't send me a gift - your blog is your gift and also reading mine is another gift. So thank you for both. (And I live in Israel so posting is expensive and unreliable :). But I do appreciate the thought.

    Keren D - welcome back to cyberspace, I've missed you. And Ok, I'll do photos for my Silent Sunday - on Sunday.

  4. Stop whining. Some of us single moms are condemned to a life of renting with no way to buy an apartment. And what will happen when we are no longer useful in the workforce- probably cast into the streets to die.

  5. Anonymous - Believe me, I am extremely grateful for my home and for my daughter. However, this is my blog and I write about the good and the not so good. I am aware that my 'good' will be seen by some lucky folk as pitiful and pathetic and, of course, my not so good will be seen by those less lucky, as enviable.