Saturday, August 9, 2008

my new apartment/twig by twig ground zero

is wonderful.

there are many listable qualities that make that the case, which i'll get to in a minute. but the main reason it's an amazing place is because i found it. it was the 59th apartment i saw.

i was thinking about this the other day, about how good things come to me, if they come to me at all. i am not, and have never been, what you might consider a lucky person. prestigious scholarships, spelling bees and sporting matches, the lottery: you name it, i've failed to win it. what i do have going for me, and what i've been lauding in college essays and despairing of, at times, in my private life since i was old enough to remember, is scrappiness.

i am a stubborn bitch; if i want something, reeeeeeally want it, i will find some way to have it. there are times when i wish i wasn't so immovable; the depth of my perseverance can be surprisingly limiting at times. but, like a heat seeking missile programmed to "good design," i seem to keep pointing myself in a direction and barreling off in search of grace.

so, the apartment - is 500 feet away from where i currently live! it's on a side street extremely close to harvard square (look up the corner of sumner road and irving terrace in cambridge, and prepare to be envious), in a U shaped building with a pretty grassy courtyard area. the building has 30 units, all one bedrooms; my windows look out on my zipcar lot.

the apartment has five main areas for decoration and design. this is all from memory because i haven't been back since the showing, but here they are:

1) the foyer. the first thing you see when you walk in, this is a small anteroom/receiving chamber whose walls hold the doors to the bathroom, bedroom and exterior hallway, along with the doorway into the living room. from what i remember, there are two wall areas on either side of the bathroom door, plus some nice divided wall space to either side of the exterior door (which sort of puts me in mind of the doors in antique schools, with the glass upper half and the number written in gold on it).

2) the bathroom: it's a beautiful bathroom! those small hexagonal bathroom floor tiles, large window, lots of space (it's a long rectangular room) that is built to accomodate the piece de resistance of the space: an antique soaking tub. i have had a hard time finding pictures of the exact style, but it is essentially a clawfoot tub without the clawfeet - same shape, but the tub sits directly on the floor. and LOTS of wall space outside the dedicated bathtub area, which has one of those oval suspended rails that means i can make floor to ceiling, super dramatic curtains that will wrap around the entire bathtub.

3) the bedroom: windows, soaring space behind the bed (this place has fairly high ceilings, which is really lovely), what seemed like way more closet space than i'll actually use, room for a queen size bed! for someone who has lived in studios for years now, i can't stress the importance of the fact that i, at 5 foot 10 and 22 years of age, am FINALLY going to have a bed that's tall enough for me to sprawl all over it. i always favored having large sitting furniture over large sleeping furniture (my red couch, therefore, is longer than my mattress), but now i can have my cake and eat it too!

4) the living room: it's a relatively small and cosy living room, which i'm okay with. it has funny dimensions and sort of cuts in and out at one point; i can't remember if that's because there's a built in bookshelf, or not. but there is more than enough room for a good desk with lots of storage above it on a wall (there's the teeniest indentation in the wall forming a suggested alcove, actually), and then leaving the rest of the room for seating and some book storage. i have my eye on so many things for this room: an antique hutch, a french provincial sectional, a set of pigeonholes for sitting on the desk even though i'm really almost sure i want wall-mounted storage for craft supplies and things... i will need a stud finder to make this space work!

5) the kitchen: the kitchen is vast. it's another long, rectangular space, with an exit down to the laundry room. right now it's set up as an eat-in kitchen, but i think i will put my settee there once i get it finished and reupholstered (it's at the end away from the bulk of the cooking fumes, plus i've always thought it would be nice to have a seat in the kitchen and now i can do that!) also, if i remember correctly, it has glass fronted cabinets that rise to almost ceiling height.

that, in a nutshell, is it. there are so many period details that i feel like it encourages an audacity that boxier, more contemporary designs might not support. i'm turning over color palettes, inspirations, feelings for each room. i want them all to feel welcoming, quirky, intelligent, fun.

i am leaning towards an updated funky schoolhouse feel for the foyer: coathooks, mirror, clock, entryway table (made of what? a telephone bench, a sewing cabinet, an old time radio?); a kind of decadent victorian lounge feel for the bathroom; sparse, comforting minimalism and large, simple shapes in the bedroom; a curio shoppe meets louisiana carnival vibe in the living room, and a soda shop/apothecary feeling in the kitchen.

the last thing about this apartment: i have no lease; it's tenancy at will. this means that this project is already changing and growing. i think this is still going to encompass all of my time in boston, which makes it a bit more mutable. i don't know when i'm leaving, and the indefinite nature of that will make it so much more of a challenge to think of this as a transient situation. i love my job, i don't know when i'll go to grad school, i am in love with this space... these are classic signs of city-nesting. my challenge is to do all that and still know when it's time to go.

buying a new camera; the photo guy at work tells me that my old one would cost more than it was worth to fix.


quaint handmade said...

hi - thanks for visiting our blog and your compliments regarding our cabinet!

unfortunately, i don't really know much about it other than it is vintage and we've never seen anything like it. your apartment sounds like it's going to be amazing - so much fun.

sorry i don't have more information.

adwoa said...

thanks! i have such high hopes for the space; the last time i bought furniture for myself, i was in school and massively stressed out, so i hit up a furniture warehouse and target. i made good design choices and had all my furniture in a couple of weeks, but there was always a little something missing in terms of quirkiness and personality. i filtered most of that back in with accessories over time, but this time i want to start from scratch and do it right!

quaint handmade said...

i gotcha'! have you gone to any vintage/thrift stores? there must be some wonderful shops in boston.

when we got married, my goal was to have just about everything vintage. it takes a little bit longer, but we have things that are unique and usually reasonably priced. hope you share photos on your blog. have fun!

Keyse said...

Your apt sounds amazing!!! Cant wait to see the pictures you will take with your new camera :)

adwoa said...

boston has great stores that i have, as yet, completely failed to explore! as i meet more people who are into vintage furniture, i'm hoping to pick up fabulous tips on where the places are to go.

keyse, thanks for stopping by! the photo guy at work says that if i can wait another month, there is a big photo convention coming up where new point and shoots will be announced, and i can get something amazing.

and every time he counsels patience, i kind of feel like whining 'but i can't wait!' when i go over there to measure in the first week of september, i may have to cave and get a disposable digital...