Monday, May 12, 2014

Home Living Herrington Style: Brooklyn Apartment Tour, Part 1

I'm so excited to finally be writing this post. Whew, it's been a long time coming, yeah?

First of all, the basics. Our apartment is about eight hundred square feet, which is a nice size for here. Honestly, I've really enjoyed downsizing and if we weren't having more children, I could see myself living in a space this size (with a bit of extra storage for pet carriers and car seats and such, like we have now). The apartment consists of the two large rooms (the living room and the room the kids share, which was designed to be the master bedroom- more on that later), a kitchen that is by New York standards pretty spacious, one bathroom, four closets and a room off the kitchen which was designed to be a tiny dining room, but serves our purposes as a half bedroom/office.  There are things that aren't ideal about the co-op, but space/storage isn't one of them!

When you walk in the door you can either turn to your left or go straight. If you turn left, the hallway has two small closets on the left and the bathroom on the right. At the end of the hallway is the children's room. More on that later, too! If you go straight you walk past another closet and directly into the kitchen. If you were to keep going straight you walk into some sliding doors that lead to the spare room. If you turn right you go into the living room.
[view from the kitchen]

[view from the door]

[if you turn left] 

I was thinking I'd just do the whole thing in one post since we live in a relatively small apartment, but I tend to get out of control with pictures (and words), so I decided to split it up. I think I'm going to do two parts-- the living spaces (living room and kitchen) and a few random things like closets today and then tomorrow I'll share the two bedrooms. Here we go...

I really love the kitchen. It's actually a lot nicer than our kitchen at home (prettier lighting, fancier counter tops, ect.). It's much smaller, but as I said, by city standards, is great. In a lot of apartments, the kitchen is basically a nook off the living room.

I've bought very few decorative things for the apartment (excepting the kids' room), but I love my "kitchen chalk" and I knew we wouldn't have a place for our big one from home. In retrospect, it would have looked really cute in the hallway, but whatever. I actually think I did a pretty good job deciding what to bring based on my limited knowledge of the actual apartment. 

The other night it was so warm. I kinda love this picture. We don't have the AC set up yet. Most people just use window units here and we have one, but we haven't started using it. 

If you were to ask me to name three things that were important to me decorating wise, I think one would be that I have to have a bright, cheery kitchen. I've seen pictures of powder blue and light aqua accented kitchens and kitchens with a lot of white or pale yellow and I LOVE those. But at this stage, I really like bright. Maybe I'm scared I'll outgrow it? I'd say my style tends toward funky anyway, but I think for some reason you can have a lot more freedom in a kitchen. And I think that's fun to take advantage of! 

I love the one glass cabinet door above the sink. 

I did have to figure out a place for my "quote quilt". And I started a new one! We thought about getting bar stools for this little table here, but decided against it. If we have company enough, we may. We're just trying not to buy things we won't use later. Also, I feel like stools, even really low profile ones, would take away from the clean, spacious look that really appeals to me. 

I put a few decorative things on top of the cabinet here. The painting is more visible than it looks here. 

Back at home, we painted a little dresser and it served as a place for my kitchen quote, the little magnetic board with memory verses and usually small seasonal decorations. In the drawers, I was able to put all of my resources for homeschooling. For some reason, I loved that table so much. It brought me a lot of satisfaction to change out the quote and decorations and in a season where we didn't have TOO much, it worked well for the purpose of command central for homeschooling. Well, I was DELIGHTED to find this little section of counter. We had to work hard at not junking it up with mail and keys and such, but it's been perfect and I'm still so pleased. It's the little things, y'all! Also...

I was able to fit all our homeschool stuff (plus a thin box of Christmas decorations and some construction paper) in the cabinet underneath. 

Actually, I was amazed at how much storage we have in the kitchen and I've enjoyed using it creatively =) Peyton and I packed a good bit of the kitchen stuff we knew we could do without (pots we had multiples of, ect) before he even left and at that time we had no idea how much space we'd have, so we were VERY discriminating. As in, I added the crock pot to a box at the eleventh hour. 

Another kitchen cabinet that contains some random toys I don't want to always have out like puzzles and games, play dough, instruments, and outside things like chalk. Also up there is another small box of Christmas things and Peyton's tools. 

I can barely reach it without a stool, but to save counter space we put the microwave on top of the fridge. That's also the battery to our tiny (only) vacuum cleaner. Moving on...

This is the view of the living room when you walk in.

I ended up changing up the chairs, though, to make it feel a little more tied in with the couch. 
I haven't mentioned it yet, but one draw back with this apartment is the lighting. Except in the kitchen and bathroom and one hall light, there's no overhead lighting. We only have two lamps in this room, but there's that big window that takes up almost a whole wall, so during the day it's really not a big deal. I took this picture around dusk, though, and you can tell how dim the room gets. It's actually really cozy, though. 

I need to get Peyton to put nails in so I can pull back the curtains. Also, the other day Graves pulled down the curtain rod (thankfully he wasn't hurt) and the things snapped off the ends. I think they're heinous, but our rods didn't fit such a huge window so we were just using ones that were left here. It'll be nice to get a new one next week! 

Again, the chairs are in a different configuration, but I love this little sititng area. These chairs and ottoman are some of my favorite things and the sale room Anthro lampshade seemed to fit nicely. I hung up a wedding picture, a funky cat print, a cute tin sign, and this piece of fabric art given to us by some missionary friends.

Here's the view from the other end of the room. The little table is from Ikea and since we don't have a kitchen or dinning room table, I needed something for the kids to eat on (we just sit on the couch and eat). It's really been AMAZING, especially given what we paid for it. Annie also uses it for her naptime crafting and I use it for school wit her. It's so easy to clean and I think it's cute for what it is. 

The armoire by the houndstooth chair is Peyton's closet. He's SUPER minimal, so there's a rod his clothes hang on and his shoes go at the bottom. There's a small shelf with his undershirts, socks, and boxers and then on the other side is the TV. There's also a small round basket by the armoire that he keeps his scarves and Winter hats and such in. 

We bought the bookcase on the other wall at Ikea when we moved because our bookcases at home are all huge and not worth the hassle of moving. It's pretty lightweight, but we knew we wanted something because we brought (I think) about six or seven boxes of books. Comfort items, y'all. I also decided to make the inside of the bookcase sort of NYC themed  and the top Southern themed. The City Walk cards, lego Empire State Building, wooden buildings, and book are all things that my mom gave Peyton over the years =) The painting on top is one we bought on the streets of New Orleans and all three of the dolls came from New Orleans as well. I love how that worked out. The fabric covered box at the top holds our favorite dvds, removed from cases and put in holders you can flip through. One of the shelves below the glass where you can't see contains all the toys and books that are more fragile and AP is allowed to play with while Graves naps. The box next the cabinet has some larger books that wouldn't fit on the shelves or were too heavy. 

Finally, the fourth wall has our sofa bed on it. This sort of couch is SO not my style- it's just to sleek and structured for my taste. I like a "fluffier", fuller couch. But I do think it lends itself really well to a city apartment and I think it will look great in Peyton's study down the line. Plus it's longer than our couch at home so he can lay down on it without his feet hanging off. And it fits on the wall perfectly. Also, it's a great bed! I really can't complain much. 
My brother in law painted the large picture of Fondren (an area in Jackson), a friend gave me the top piece, and the bottom piece is one of my favorite things- a sort of kitschy little mixed media patchwork of some cottage like houses. I was stressed about the pillows being a different color green than the lamp, but I think it looks okay as long as they both stay on the far end of the couch. 

I asked my mom at the last minute to check their storage unit for an end table and I'm so glad she did. It's sure nice to have something to put the lamp, Southerner's handbook, and picture of Mick and Bud on =) The box under it holds Peyton's laptop and iPad and anything he's currently reading. 

Just because I thought it might be interesting here are some pictures of it pulled out. I didn't bother to take any with my real camera, but I thought I'd share these Instagrams:
You can see the seamless transition in the first one and the second shows the awesome storage. You just pull it out and then the couch cushions you sit on become half of the matress with the other half, that was under them, now exposed. It's VERY comfortable!
[Oh, and as an aside- I had some one ask me why we chose to sleep in the communal space, rather than one of the bedrooms. Weeeellll.....I wanted the kids to have plenty of room for their toys and everything, so I knew from the beginning that they would be in the bigger bedroom if we were fortunate enough to find a two bedroom in our price range. For a variety of reasons- the extra storage, the additional sleeping accommodations for a guest, a place that I could put the computer and not have to baby proof for Graves, and a place just to find solace- I really wanted to find a two bedroom apartment. We realized almost immediately that if we opened the search to one and a half bedrooms (often advertised as two bedrooms) we'd have a lot more options (or in reality, we've have options). However, the spare room is tiny- it's eight by ten. It would be a squeeze to fit a double bed in there without ANY furniture or other stuff and that kind of defeated a few of the points (storage, computer, ect.), so we decided early to look into a pull out sofa. It's really worked amazingly well for us and I'm glad we didn't box ourselves in needlessly.]

Last up, closets/storage! 

I wanted to show the closets- NOT because I think our closets are super interesting but because when I was researching the move/downsize, it fascinated me to see the storage solutions people came up with. I'm sort of a junkie for organizational things (although, I'm not as organized as I'd like by a long shot!), so I wanted to share some of our systems! 

We have FOUR closets, which is almost unheard of in an apartment this size in NYC. There are two in one hallway, one in the other hallway, and one large one in the kids' room. As I said, Peyton also uses the armoire. 

This is our coat/cleaning/stroller closet. We have three strollers (an umbrella, single, and the double) in it as well as the ironing board, Shark, and as few brooms and mops (three) as I cold narrow it down to. This is where we keep most of our jackets and coats and on the top shelf we have Peyton's backpack and sleeping bag, some other bags, and the kids' harness things (baby leashes). I also love this closet because there's some extra hanging space, which we don't have anywhere else. I hang mine and the kids' clothes in there on the days we have to be somewhere early so that they're all "laid out" and sometimes if I change my clothes I'll hang them there until I get a chance to really put them up which is more of a hassle. 

This small hallway closet is really pretty little. It's my main closet, though- I keep all my tops and casual dresses  hanging in it and my sneakers and boots in a basket. There's another small basket on the bottom that has slips and tank tops and the top boxes have panties and bras, socks, and long sleeve solid t-shirts in them. I slapped the mirror on the door in it.  

This is our storage/linens closet. It's also where the cats eat and potty on the lowest level. I keep all our sheets, towels, and extra blankets in it. This is also where I keep medicine, diapers and wipes, cleaning and laundry supplies, and all the cat food and liter. The top shelf is basically storage and toiletries/batteries/light bulbs for later. 

I hung a shoe hanger AND a towel hanger in the bathroom. I had planned to put the shoes in another closet, but the doors are so tight, it wouldn't hang over the door and still close. 

Also in the bathroom are two laundry bags for our dirty clothes. I wish I had a more discrete place for them, but I just don't. Honestly, I feel good about it if all the dirty clothes are in them. 

This is the kids' closet. SO nice. As you can probably tell, about a third of it is my stuff. I hung my nicer coats and Sunday dresses in it (tops and casual dresses went in my main closet and jeans went in an under the bed box in the spare room). The kids have toys and shoes for later, plus some bows and such on top and lots of toys on the bottom. There's a tupperware box you can't see on the right and those on the left are holding the kids' off season clothes mostly. Clearly, a bunch of their toys fit inside it, including the comfy chair Annie was determined to bring. 

So, that's about half our our little place. Tomorrow I'll share the two bedrooms! 


Emily Hoff said...

I love it! So fun to get a tour. You've done a great job with the space. Our DC apartment is 700 square feet and I love it. We have more than enough space (only 2 people though). I hope that knowing that now will help me the rest of my life when I want to get "more."

Tacy said...

This is so cute! Thanks for sharing. :) :)

Leslie said...

I just love your space and how organized it is!!! So adorable!!! You've really made the best of it and it's cozy and inviting!