Our New Apartment

Ta da! I am finally getting around to this.

Last year, Winston and I left sunny San Diego and returned to our Utah homestead to get our ducks in a row before taking on medical school.

We’d talked about buying our own place, but being so far from settling down (and not knowing which coast – or midwestern city – we’ll be holed up in next year) makes buying property a bit illogical. So, we opted to rent, and the rental gods beamed upon us. 

Our apartment is part of a big, coal black manor from the early 1910s that was renovated and transformed into a fourplex. We first moved into the main floor apartment, a one-bedroom with a famous antique fireplace and original wood floors (ugh, these floors). 

Now we’ve moved into the refurbished upstairs unit, a larger apartment with a huge loft, plenty of room for baby girl, a full dining area, and an enormous wrap-around balcony. In this unit, I’m working with much less kitchen space, which has been a challenge. Yet I am somehow transforming into a food minimalist (typed as I buy a 10 pound bag of kamut flour to support a hobby).  

See what we’ve done to the place:

Paint color on cabinets is Basil from Sherwin-Williams

Paint color on cabinets is Basil from Sherwin-Williams

So, does anyone else have a thing for kitchen appliances? And only the nice kind (porcelains, marbles, slate cheese boards – for crying out loud, I’m not even a great chef). I absolutely hate counter exposure and prefer to have my surfaces clean and empty. Leaving spices and spoons out for people to see is not my ideal, but sacrifices had to be made for this petite space. And I’m working on making the most of them.

Amber glass dispensers  ($12 for 2) on Amazon; my favorite dish cleaning tool,  white bamboo scrub brush  and soap dispenser ($12); a wooden platter from Target that I’ve never been able to find since (it’s my favorite food accessory), and my  long-handle French bread board  ($20), which I love so much, I can barely stand to use it.

Amber glass dispensers ($12 for 2) on Amazon; my favorite dish cleaning tool, white bamboo scrub brush and soap dispenser ($12); a wooden platter from Target that I’ve never been able to find since (it’s my favorite food accessory), and my long-handle French bread board ($20), which I love so much, I can barely stand to use it.

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This wood spice rack was a big win, in my opinion. The thought of putting my spices on the counter bummed me out, but now I kind of love it? I also nabbed this tall amber jar from the Magnolia collection at Target ($10), mainly to add colored glass to our already-colorful kitchen (stop by around noon, it’s a kaleidoscope). Of course, keeping the counter space pretty also means finding placeholders for my oil and vinegar, as well as putting all of my wooden spoons in a porcelain white pitcher. Surprise fact: I’m a low key, self-diagnosed aspiring florist. But I am exclusively loyal to this pitcher. Whoops.

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The first space you see when you walk into our place is our makeshift mudroom (mud-shelf?), which I’ve dressed up with a wood criss-cross hanging shelf I got for $13 and some thrifted wicker baskets. Apparently the wooden rack is made for coffee mugs. Who knew?

We’ve found moderately nice ways to conceal cleaning supplies, essential oils, toilet paper, and Winston’s extensive “shoe cleaning” collection. Because nobody takes the cleanliness of their shoes as seriously as Winston.

I’ve owned a couple straw hats through the years, but this  straw hat  from Nordstrom ($25) is by far the best; and my beautiful (but needs-to-be-steamed) modal  Wildbird  sling in Lava Gull.

I’ve owned a couple straw hats through the years, but this straw hat from Nordstrom ($25) is by far the best; and my beautiful (but needs-to-be-steamed) modal Wildbird sling in Lava Gull.

On the opposite side of the kitchen is our handy dandy industrial shelf, which has become the bonafide dish display. We got our shelf at Ikea for $100, but if I could get a do over, I’d probably nab something a bit taller (like this one, my dream replacement).

As you can see, there’s plenty of white porcelain to go around. I don’t stray too far. But do you think I can keep a crawling baby away from this breakable shelf? Help.

French fluted bowls : set of 6 in white for $24

French fluted bowls: set of 6 in white for $24

Those fluted French bowls are my absolute favorite. I fancifully eat organic rice cereal out of them each day. Pinky up and everything. The glass lidded jars which I keep my flour and sugar in are $25 apiece (another wedding registry score). Visitors almost always ask about them, though I’ve never been able to find them extraordinarily cheap.

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Our cozy living room is home to some of my favorite little pieces. First, our enormous suede sectional that we found in San Diego for $50. I hate to say it, but it’s been a really good couch. Secondhand score. Should I have fluffed my pillows before the picture was taken? Maybe. Pregnancy brain.

Our little tree is a gardenia, which is painfully dying right before our eyes. I have tried everything to keep it in mint condition – it even had fragrant white blooms in early June. I just don’t think it was cut out for the Utah heat. Any green thumbs want to take a stab at it? Help a girl out.

The French curtains were bought at Target. They’re short-length Threshold tie curtains in natural linen, although I couldn’t find a link for them, so try your hand at it.

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I somehow could not get a good shot of our bathroom, but all you need to know is: refurbished double-headed shower. Yes, wow, a miracle. In lieu, here’s a pretty picture of my soon-to-be cankles (kind of exciting). Also, these floor details.

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Our dining area is mostly a thrifted dreamland, with the table I grew up on from my home in Atlanta, some new wrought iron black chairs from Overstock ($194 for a set of four – the best price I’d seen after months of studious Pinterest searching). Our rug was given to us by Winston’s mom, and may be one of my favorite pieces we own. Gah, I wish I could knock on the original owner’s door and get the full history.

(History of the rug? Chill.)

This painting, as well, is one I did last year in oil. It took me years to buckle down on it, match the colors I wanted, and actually finish. And some days, I don’t even think it’s done. The man who framed it offered to buy it from me (flattering!), but I just couldn’t relax my grip.

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So, cool thing: we sleep in a massive third-floor loft (did you catch the spiral staircase?). But, sad thing: our 19th century French canopy bed from Restoration Hardware is only at half-mast in our tiny room. At full throttle, this bed is such a beauty. I mean, look at it.

Okay, boo hoo, it’s not that sad. Someday we’ll be able to fit our bed in again (you should have seen it in our teensy San Diego apartment, barely scraping the ceiling). For now, check out this super attic loft from all of my childhood dreams:

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And, of course, there’s the balcony:

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Apart from our massive closet and Baby Girl’s little corner, there you have it! We’re really starting to master the art of small space living. Between buying things that will last and minimizing my grocery list, it’s been a welcome challenge trying to fit two adults and a baby in here.

We’ll see how long that lasts.

My favorite things: