May 14, 2015

Starter Story | Mine & Justin's Apartment...

Recently I was inspired by the "Starter Stories" campaign that Compass -- Which is a technology-driven real estate platform that provides comprehensive brokerage services, combining exceptional agents with best-in-class technology to make the process of buying, selling, or renting a home intelligent and seamless -- has been running with other bloggers where each blogger has been talking about their first homes, how they've made it their own, etc. And since we just passed the two year anniversary of Justin and I moving into our first apartment together (May 5th), I thought it was excellent opportunity for me to share how that's been with all of you and how we've finally started to really put our personal touches on the apartment because we've decided that we are going to stay in it for a few more years (We've decided to travel before we buy ourselves a house), as well as break down of our actual place.
Here is a layout similar to our apartment (Leave a comment if you remember me sharing it back in the day in my "Adventures In Apartment Hunting" post)...
The Living Room
In reality our living room is actually a living room/dinning room area (If you peek into other people's apartments in our complex you'll see dinning room tables as you look through their doors) but we knew that splitting the room up that way wasn't something we wanted to do because we aren't the type to sit at a dining room table for dinner. So we decided to forgo a duel functioning room and just have a really big living room.

In deciding that we also decided that we didn't need or want a coffee table that we'd have to walk around or that would just collect random junk. We kept it clean and simple in the "designated living room" area with a La-Z-Boy recliner and matching reclining sofa, a black television stand to house Justin's 50" plasma TV, a catty corner computer desk and chair, an Ikea HEKTAR floor lamp, an Ikea RÅSKOG cart that we use as a bar cart and some wire baskets that house my record collection.
In the "dinning room" area is a Threshold™ Tufted Storage Ottoman Bench from Target that we use to store our shoes (We call it our Shoe-toman), three Ikea BILLY Bookshelves that we use display all of the thrifted odds and ends I've collected over the years, books, old family photos and so on (We thought of them as a good, non-permanent way of showing off the things that we love without putting holes in the walls because we didn't know how long we'd be staying in the apartment when we first moved in). As well as a secretary desk and a little metal wine rack.

In terms of artwork, for the first year and a half we had nothing up on the walls. It wasn't until recently that we decided to finally make the place our own with all of the artwork mentioned in my post RE: Picking Out Artwork + A Sherlock Inspired DIY. Which was an amazing addition because I really feel like people who come in really get a sense of our personalities when they see the kind of artwork we've chosen to display. And now that we know that we'll be staying there for a few more years I'm sure you'll be seeing more DIY artwork posts from me in the coming months.

The Hallway
From the living room we have the tiniest hallway that houses a ghost (Yes, I said ghost. We have a ghost. I've seen it, Justin who doesn't believe in ghosts has seen it, his father saw it every night he stayed in our apartment the weekend we got married, Nicole's 3-year-old son Jack has seen it, etc) and leads to our kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
We keep talking about putting artwork on the one empty wall but we haven't decided what exactly to put there.

The Kitchen
For an apartment I think we have a decent size kitchen (To be honest with all of you, our kitchen is bigger than the kitchen at my parents' house) which has stainless steal appliances, a nice amount of counter space and the pièce de résistance a washer and dryer unit.
In terms of decorating our kitchen, I knew from the minute we viewed the apartment that I wanted a ladder bookshelf in the corner of the kitchen to house all of my cookbooks and kitchen-ish related odds and ends. So I procured one and did just that. I also knew that I wanted to display old kitchen related signage because I absolutely love things with recipes on them (I actually have a cabinet filled with old pie plates with recipes on them that I want to hang on the wall in the kitchen of my future house) or quirky little sayings.
In terms of the print we have on the wall, we initially purchased that to go in our living room but we felt like it didn't really go with all of the other art. So we hung it in the kitchen next to my mini chalkboard that I wrote the definition of hangry on.

The Balcony
The balcony is a sweet little bonus area that Justin uses all the time in the warmer months (He likes to play his 3DS and/or PlayStation Vita out there). I don't tend to use it only because it doesn't get any real direct sunlight but if it did I'd use it more.

We have a set of teal Room Essentials™ Stack Sling Deep Chairs from Target out there and an accent table from Target that don't sell anymore (I'm not inserting a picture of it because you can see the back of the chair in the photo above and I really don't feel like cleaning it up to take pictures).

The Bathroom
Our bathroom isn't anything crazy or special. It's a decent size little bathroom with a bath fitter shower-tub combo thing.
We really haven't done anything in the bathroom in terms of decorating with the exception of me throwing a decorative glass platter on top of the toilet that houses a bowl with fancy soap, a big bottle of Philosophy Amazing Grace Firming Body Emulsion and some room sprays. As well as various Bath & Body Works candles that I change our depending on my mood on top of an existing glass shelf. I do really want to hang a cross stitch  picture that says "Please Don't Do Coke In The Bathroom" but Justin wont let me.

The Bedroom
Our bedroom is a nice size, it fits our queen size bed, a dresser with a 42" TV on top of it, as well as my card catalog that I store all of my makeup in and/or on top of.
My biggest complaint about our bedroom is there is this awkward built in, I guess headboard thingy that we cannot remove. As well as these weird built in floating cabinets on the wall where our bed is. Those two things make it hard to really decorate in there, so the room is really no frills.

In terms of storage we have it pretty good. We have a huge closet in our living room (I mean it's so big we have a beer fridge hidden in it, a mini Christmas tree and much much more). Two closets in our hallway; one that houses various outerwear and the other that has boardgames, cleaning supplies and so on, in it. We've got upper and lower cabinets in the kitchen. A linen closet across from our bathroom. Two mirrored closets in our bedroom as well as those weird built in cabinets on the wall above our bed that I mentioned above. So storage is not a problem in our lives.

But that being said, is lighting is kind of a problem -- I say kind of because we do like it dark but if you need to do something that requires a decent amount of light there isn't much. Specifically in our living room and bedroom. In each of those rooms there is only one built in source of light, a ceiling fan with a light in our bedroom and a light with a dimmer in the middle of the "dinning room" portion of our living room. So the lighting situation can be pretty bad in the evening and on cloudy days.

That all being said, I'd like to note that because the lighting isn't so great in the apartment that it was hard for me to get decent pictures. I feel like the pictures are okay, which just makes our apartment look okay. Which actually made me not want the apartment when we first started looking because the pictures posted on the real estate site were terrible, when in reality it's a pretty sweet little apartment. So let that be a lesson for those of you looking for apartments, the pictures don't always do the place justice. Go look at it in person.

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So yeah, that's my little apartment tour. Sorry I don't have every little angle of the apartment up. Every time I'd try to do that people would come over and mess something up and I honestly have so many other things to do that cleaning odd things up it's a life priority of mine -- Which is why I have a sign in my kitchen that says "My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy!" that I found while out thrifting.
But yeah, it's been an awesome two years here with Justin. I look forward to several more in this apartment. And I can't wait to add more of our own little touches around the place, which I definitely will be sharing with all of you when they happen.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Or if you wanna tell me about your starter story I'd love to hear it!

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