Is this the way to live, is it wrong to want more?…*

*Lyrics from Feist‘s Undiscovered First from her ablum Metals. The video I picked was from the Black Cab Sessions recording, and I chose it for a few reasons: (1) because I always like to showcase an alternate recording to the album version when I can; (2) because they all look like they had tons of fun working in a moving vehicle (and bonus points for it being in an English cab); and, (3) because if Feist can not only perform, but also shine in a tiny, teeny space, then I have no excuse, have I?

There's the new place! We're above a new restaurant - a sausage and beer place - so quiet, it's not. But, hey, at least there'll be sausage and beer!

The first thing you do when you downsize – and in this case we not only downsized, but also downgraded – is to compare what you had with what you now have. In our case, we’re going from a home that we spent the last few years lovingly renovating to a state of comfort and luxury, to a rental unit that has seen its fair share of occupants (and coats of glossy, pale yellow-ish paint) over the years. The contrast, to put it mildly, is stark.

From marble, heated floors in the bathroom, with new toilets, fixtures and fittings to an almost original bathroom (similar to the maid’s bath that we tore out and turned into a master bath), most likely installed in the turn of the last century. From a double wall-oven and a 36″ cooktop to an apartment sized 20″ range. With no dishwasher in sight. And about 30″ of counterspace. Total. From 4 bedrooms to one designated “sleeping area” that’s smaller than the smallest bedroom in the house. From a living room that can easily host a dozen people to one that we had to struggle to find a sofa to fit into. I know, I know: poor me. But, really, this is what we’re working with. Tiny, old, and not ours. But you know I couldn’t leave it the way it came, right? (I mean, that’s like following a recipe to the letter, or not crossing the street when there are no cars coming for miles.)

So, in order to homey up the space a bit, and to make it feel less like a huge step back, we decided we’d invest in paint (among other things – I’ll get to that in a bit). The landlord said we could, and we didn’t check with him on paint colors: we just went for it. (The hidden extra cost on the paint is that we have to put the apartment back the way we found it when we leave.) We also didn’t sample out anything. We just, well, went for it. We established a budget, and made a list of priorities for what we felt we must have to make our life feel as normal (to us) as possible, and tried to make it happen as quickly as we could. (Part of the need for speed had to do with Jeff’s office – once he moved his main computer to his Brooklyn office space he committed to being down here during the work week, and with a deadline on a project looming, we needed the apartment to feel as comfortable as possible, as quickly as we could.)

Of course, we did mock-ups (Jeff refused to not have at least a little bit of visual help), and I did a measured drawing where I could move little paper shapes around to see how the furniture would lay out.  And I went to showrooms/retail stores to see what I could see in person before ordering things online (though, Jeff mostly could not go with me, which was only fair since he found the apartment without me). But, as I said in the first post about this pied-à-terre, we’re doing things bolder, and faster than usual. This may only be a few months (versus years) of occasional use, and we need it to feel as good as it can as fast as we can.

Anywhichwho, the pictures. That’s really what you’re all here for, right? Alright, on with it. Enjoy! xoxo

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