September 12th, 2017 marks our one year anniversary living in Oregon. I have so many emotions accompanied by so few words; it's hard to wrap my mind around the impact this move has had on us. A year ago, my parents, my cat, and my U-haul-towing Subaru met up with my then boyfriend, now fiancé(!!!) and his sweet mother after three days on the road. Not to sound cliché, but having your parents move you into your first apartment as a couple feels very "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman."
Kyndl and my dad enjoying some Jack in the Box on their move-in lunch break.
I remember our first night on our own—I felt like I barely knew Kyndl and I wanted to move back in with my parents, get an easy babysitting job, and spend all day in my childhood bedroom. The moment our parents left our unfamiliar new home, we both started weeping. Like, weeping. We slept on an air mattress because our bed hadn't arrived from Amazon yet. We watched 22 Jump Street on a laptop and pretended we weren't homesick. The first week was spent dancing around our big scary emotions and saying to each other, "can you believe we live here?". Everyone says this, but it's totally true: moving in together feels like playing house. Still waiting for that feeling to subside.
In previous blog posts I've touched on my feelings towards this apartment: it is extremely functional, within our price range, and in a good location. It has laundry and a dishwasher. There's always available parking. The kitchen is freshly renovated, the carpet is new... I really can't complain, it has everything on our list. Apartments are just kinda limiting. We can't paint, can't change out hardware, can't mount the giant herb garden wall of my dreams onto the exterior siding, there are no floor-to-ceiling windows...has Instagram set anyone else's #homegoals unrealistically high? Like, I look at my current apartment, the home my man and I have tailored perfectly to our liking, and I'm like, "eh, it needs 10' ceilings and marble counters to really wow me."
Point being, it's tough to make a low-budget apartment feel fancy, but what we've done with the place in just a year makes my heart sing.
Money is certainly not flowing for us, so most of this apartment has been thrifted or extreme coupon-ed. I consider myself to be a bit of a Craigslist savant; I have an unhealthy amount of fun scavenging around the surrounding towns' pages for unnecessary goodies. On more than one occasion I've driven a few hours for my perfect find. I even drove up to Portland for a $20 Modkat litter box...crazy cat lady, I get it.
I think it's really important to document the spaces we live in. I have a vague image in my mind of my parents' first place together solely based on stories they've told me, and I so wish I could have seen every little nook and cranny. Nothing takes me back faster than an old photo of my parents' house; so much has changed and I forget all of the painfully 90's details until I come across an Easter album featuring dandelion window valances and my kindergarten artwork taped all over the cabinets.
For this blog post I dug up a few grainy iPhone photos from my college dorm and old apartments to share with you. These pictures are only 2-5 years old, and already I've forgotten all of the funny little details I put into each space. I wonder how many jars of Mod Podge the average sorority girl purchases in her lifetime.
Click on the photos below to see each space:
2012: My college dorm. I have no idea why the second picture exists or who I thought I was wearing that outfit, but I feel like putting a face to this room setup is important. I was a different person then, OK?
2013: This was my first apartment, but it was one of those mega structures right next to campus with a pool, tanning beds, a gym, fully furnished, etc. Basically a really fancy dorm. I remember my dad telling me to cherish this time because it was the nicest apartment I would ever live in, and he was right. The banner above my bed was actually my old Lilly Pulitzer planner from the year before that I cut into triangles. So Pinteresty.
2014: Kyndl and I met here. This was a little house that could have been super cute if there weren't 3 cats and a dog and 4 lazy college girls living in it. There was a fireplace, hardwood floors, and pretty windows. My mom refurbished an old vanity and reupholstered a chair from my grandma when I moved in here and I loved how my room turned out.
2015: This place was a glimpse into actual adult apartments. It was my first place off campus, a high-rise in the heart of downtown Lexington. We had a doorman which felt very fancy. I bought my first real plants here! Unfortunately, they died two weeks after I bought them. I'm better now.
I've come a long way from DIY canvas art and upcycled Lilly Pulitzer planners, but there are tiny glimpses of my current style in these vignettes. I've never been one to shy away from patterns and textures, though I'm glad I've stopped putting those obviously fake flower bunches from Hobby Lobby in glitter mason jars and made my way into actual plant care. There are quite a few pieces in each place that carry over into the next, and some even made their way out to Oregon with us.
You'll notice an overwhelming amount of my stuff in this new place, but I promise everything I bring in here is discussed with my man before I purchase! I really wanted this place to reflect both of us, so I love involving Kyndl in the process. The only things he brought from college are a TV and the gorgeous Black Forest painting above our bed.
That painting was a gift from his sweet grandma, it's a series she does for all of her friends and family—even my parents have one now! She also painted the one above our dining table (another gift from another one of his grandmas...we are spoiled) and gave it to us before our move. She's such a talented and giving person, I love having them in our home. I actually remember the Black Forest painting from Kyndl's second college apartment; I was very impressed that a 19 year old boy had framed artwork in his room. I was also impressed that he had an air freshener in his car, so I guess my standards have been raised a little. Anyway, let's get to the photos!
The rug was a game changer. It was on the rug flipper at Pottery Barn the first few months I worked there, and my coworkers initially called it "Grover" for its Sesame Street-like color scheme, but it eventually became known as "the Andrea" by one of my managers after I professed my love for it. It originally retailed for $999 before getting discontinued, after which the floor sample went on clearance for $303, plus my 40% employee discount, plus $25 in Pottery Barn rewards. Grand total of $156.80!
The side table was thrifted, and the lamp and mirror are from previous apartments. I painted this cabinet and the side table in the 2016 picture a beautiful emerald, and the picture frames a more kelly green. Those frames are also from a previous apartment, with €2 prints I found in Berlin while studying abroad. They're cute, but I've already begun switching them out to prints Kyndl and I find together. I already had the green paint, so this was kind of an on-a-whim project.
The gallery wall is a work in progress, and I love it that way. I want to fill it with special pieces, and I want to take my time with it. Right now there's a photo of my parents, an illustration I made of Kyndl and I, a painting of the IKEA monkey by an old friend and super talented artist, a photo from a disposable camera we brought on our anniversary trip, and postcards we bought from a street artist when we went to Seattle on Christmas Day. Sweet memories and special people. I'm happy with our selections thus far, and I'm excited to watch this baby grow.
Kyndl loves our bedroom. It's simple and cozy, an easy place to rest your head at night. Right now I'm the only one with a proper nightstand, he uses a kitchen stool until we decide to spend unnecessary money on another one. All of the drapes in our apartment are 96" long, mounted 2" below the top of our 8' ceilings. They make our windows look much bigger, and the flax colored linen brightens our whole space.
Yes, we have a TV in our bedroom. No cable in here, though. It's exclusively for movie nights in bed with snacks and lots of cuddles. I would argue that this actually improves our relationship. This topic is debated in the first Sex and the City movie, and for once in my life I was #teamBig.
And finally, our office. I've promised to post photos of this room so many times, but it never really feels done. I love every piece in the room, but the room itself is too small for all that we do in it. This is my office, Kyndl's office, Kyndl's closet, and our cat's litter box. I plan on making a macrame wall hanging for the window in this room, hopefully tying the space together.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know the story of this rug. It was a Craigslist find, only an hour drive this time. The woman I picked it up from told me the backstory: she lived in San Francisco in the 70s and bought it from an Egyptian street vendor for her nursery. There is still a tag on the back, it's handloomed in Egypt and definitely worth more than the $50 I got it for! The bookshelf is another special piece; it was a gift from my uncle, a truly gifted woodworker. Our apartment is filled with pieces from talented people we love, and that's what makes it feel like home.
This is certainly the lengthiest blog post I've ever written, but that's what happens when you don't post one for 6 months! I hope this inspires everyone to take pictures of their place. And if anyone has any pictures of their old apartments, PLEASE leave a comment below and show them to me!