This post is part of Compass’s Starter Stories Project where they ask bloggers to share about their starter house/apartment/etc and what makes it home. Compass is a real estate platform that connects people who are searching for NYC apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste. I wish it were available for Miami because it definitely would have made looking for my last apartment a lot easier. If you’re looking for an apartment in NYC or just want to daydream, they’re definitely worth a visit.
Home is a funny thing concept sometimes. In the past 5 years I’ve lived in 9 different places; the longest I stayed in one place was for a year (my last apartment). Some of the places, the dorms especially, never felt like home. Sure I slept there, and that’s where all my stuff was, but when I talked about “home” it still mean my parent’s house. Most of the places took me a month or two before I considered them home and only my current place felt like home the first time I walked in.
I was very lucky. This house was in great condition and the person who lived here before me was clean so very little work was needed to get it move-in ready. The biggest thing that had to be done before I could move in was thoroughly cleaning the kitchen to make it safe for me to cook in with my food allergies (flour gets everywhere). There was no painting since I already liked the wall colors and no replacing carpet since it had already been done by the previous owner. Moving my stuff into the house and getting unpacked took about two weeks, though organizing it all has taken a lot longer. I’m still not done.
After living in the house for a bit I ended up replacing the master bathroom faucets because I had a hard time shutting them off completely. It was an annoyance that I would have had to put up with in any of the other places I had lived, but here I could change it. I like the way the new faucets look and really like that I don’t walk into the bathroom to find them dripping anymore.
Another thing that I could change here that I wasn’t able to anywhere else is the landscaping. When I moved in there were a bunch of overgrown bushes, weeds, and day lilies in the front garden. The trees were not pruned well (I kept getting hit in the face by branches) and everything looked messy. When we had nice weather I took some pruning shears to the trees and with my mom’s help we took everything, except the trees, out of the garden. This fall we put in roses and lavender. Once spring comes I hope to add more plants. I’m thinking an herb garden would be nice. It’ll be a work in progress for a while.
One of the most enjoyable things about moving into my current home has been furnishing and accessorizing it. Because I’ll be here for a while it’s worth my time to find things I actually like instead of just settling for things that will do what I need them to. This means that there are still a few pieces of furniture that I have yet to get, but the hunt is part of the fun. I have a thing for antiques so I’ve been going to a lot of estate sales. I find it’s easier to find nice affordable pieces this way, plus now my house is filled with a bunch of comfortable furniture that makes me smile when I look at it, and is older than me (how cool is that?).
The rest of my décor is rather eclectic. I tend to go for things that are functional AND pretty. One of the built-ins is filled with my Monmouth pottery, which I use regularly for baking so the easy access is as much of a bonus as is being able to see it. My houseplants are clustered around the windows so they get enough light and add a nice pop of green to the browns, tans, and creams that I tend to gravitate towards (I like earth tones). The other bits of color come from the books I’m reading and small antiques scattered around the house, which sounds messy but isn’t. There’s always a knitting project or two lying around which technically isn’t décor, but hey, they add color too.
I feel like this house reflects my tastes and preferences so much more than anywhere I’ve lived before. I have more control of my environment here, not just in how I’ve decorated it, but in the temperature I run the thermostat, and how quiet it is and a million other little things that given my health add up quickly. I’d gotten so used to restrictions in what I could have and what I could do that being in charge of the place I’m living is a bit freeing and I love it. Maybe that’s what makes this place feel like home, that it’s finally a place that I can make mine.