Almost every day, Anna and I exclaim over how much we love our home and neighborhood. Granted, we gushed the same way over our Park Slope and Lower East Side homes. So either we have excellent NYC real estate luck, or we’re just very easily pleased.
Since moving in last June, we’ve made a few updates that have made our home an even more enjoyable, cozy space.
In the New York Times real estate section, where they follow people on their apartment hunts, people will be quoted as saying things like, “There aren’t windows in the living room, kitchen or bedrooms, but you can’t have everything after all!”
Well, sunlight is not something to be sacrificed in our book. We are lucky enough to have great big windows in every single room — even the bathroom! Therefore, Anna was very reluctant to hang curtains anywhere. I didn’t want heavy, dark window coverings either, but I thought some thin curtains would make the room more cozy.
We finally compromised on these simple white curtains.And they don’t hinder the afternoon sunlight at all. Side note: When choosing a kitty, we think it’s very important to match your cat to your couch. She’s going to be spending a lot of time there so might as well have it be aesthetically pleasing. Or maybe match your couch to your kitten … whichever one comes first. This crochet blanket is somewhat of a miracle blanket. Mom made it for Grandma back in the day to keep her lap toasty. It’s more than 20 years old and yet it looks brand-new. Mom can’t remember exactly when she made it, but considering we’re 24 and I’m fairly certain Mom wasn’t crocheting with triplet babies running around, it’s definitely closer to 30 years old. It’s also amazingly warm for a blanket full of holes. OK, sorry. Just one more! Anna and I waste about five minutes every morning and night reminding each other how stinkin’ cute Lola is and squeezing her until she runs away.
2. Candy Bowls
Pretty straightforward: seasonal candy is essential for a happy, healthy home. (Brooklyn Bridge piece courtesy of our artwork fairy godmother, Mary Beth.)
3. Colorful Dishes
Another obvious one, but why have white dishes when you can have rainbow dishes? Makes drying dishes a work of art.
4. Year-Round Door Decoration Without the storage space for seasonal wreaths and door decorations, Anna picked up this cheery card to add some personality to our door year round.
5. Seating Space > Bookcase
Growing up in a home with multiple bookcases in every single room, chucking our own bookcase recently felt a bit scandalous.
We had a tall skinny bookcase in the corner across from the couch, but it never felt right. The minute Anna convinced me it should go, I wanted it out of the house right away. So we gave it away to a nice girl on Craigslist and added a burnt orange chair in its place. The “artwork” behind it is just a piece of vintage fabric I framed. A gold floor lamp completed the corner.
^^This is before I allowed Anna to start turning on our heat (since we have to pay for it).
7. Window Mirror
He took an old window frame and added a little ledge and glass. Aunt Susan painted it yellow and then Molly drove it all the way to New York from Missouri. As you can see, a lot of people were involved in brightening up our dining nook. And for that we’re very grateful!
It’s definitely not something you can find at IKEA and it’s perfect for last-minute checks before heading out the door. We added this Guatalaman weaver woman Dad brought back from his visit and this Day of the Dead skull for a bit more color during the Halloween season. However, Lola kept stealing the little worry doll babies and tossing them around the house. Anna found it creepy when she woke up one morning and found a little doll slid face-down underneath her bedroom door.
So we had to move the dolls to a higher shelf that Lola couldn’t reach. We’ll have great fun changing up the little decorations on the ledge throughout the seasons.
If you’ve ever slept over at Molly’s house you know that she can make a truly cozy bed with her floral sheets and homemade quilts. With the street sounds of Astoria coming through a cracked window, you’ll never have a better sleep. (No sarcasm here; you’re extra grateful for bed when you can hear the taxi men chatting outside). So I finally picked up some pink rose sheets that Molly would surely approve of. I also get the sound of school children at recess coming through my window, but that’s not as nice when you’re sleeping during the day.
9. Coffee Table Activities
At all of Anna’s editing jobs, she’s gotten free things at work from various publicists. Makeup and nail polish came from her earlier internships. But now that she’s at a health-focused website she brings home things like cookbooks, granola bars made out of cricket flour (never got the courage to eat that one), and coloring books! Coloring books are apparently the latest trend for adults.
They’re supposed to be good for your mental health because they’re relaxing, almost like mediation. We really do enjoy coloring in the book, but I don’t think it has helped our mental health. We spend half the time bickering over who’s going outside the lines and then there’s the whole cramped fingers issue.
10. Shiny New Faucets
The amazing thing about renting is that whenever a pesky issue like a leaky faucet pops up, you have a super to fix it! So when our faucet and toilet started leaking, it took only a few text messages to have them replaced (the faucet) and fixed (the toilet).
Honestly, I almost pity the poor homeowners. After watching the super for a bit I was tempted to ask if he’d take me as his apprentice on my days off. Like most people (New Yorkers?), I’m sorely lacking in my plumbing and general handyman skills.
12. Postcard ArtAnna and I added postcards to our plain white bedroom doors. My “shhh-ing” vintage girl is a much more subtle and pleasant way of saying, “Do Not Disturb,” don’t ya think? 13. And Lastly, Flowers! Because flowers are always a good idea.