As of this December, I have officially taken residence in the historic pizza capital of the universe: New Haven, Connecticut. After a hectic twelve months of non-stop change and an on-the-go schedule, I'm really glad to be wrapping up 2016 feeling settled in a place of my own. Of course, the only way to feel at home in a new location is to make it home. Because Ive got the place to myself (aside from my cat, Roger, who doesn't seem to have much of an opinion from a decorative standpoint, believe it or not), I had total freedom to design the apartment's two tiny rooms as I wished. My vision for my first apartment was a combination of minimalistic, bright, and cozy. Scroll down to see photos of the semi-final product.
What made me fall in love with this apartment in the first place, besides its prime location downtown, is its natural light. Thanks to four giant windows, sunshine pours into the kitchen and living room throughout most of the day. I often find Roger (my sweet, little gargoyle pictured above) sprawled out on the warm carpet soaking up the afternoon sun.
You won't find any IKEA in this apartment!!! I've slowly collected the majority of my furniture—this beautiful dark-wooded side table included—from various consignment stores over the last couple years. A few of my favorite shops on the shoreline are The Madison Stock Exchange, the Old Saybrook Cedar Chest, and Consign and Design in Branford, CT. The great thing about second-hand furniture stores is the fact that the turnover is super fast! So there are guaranteed to be new items every time I stop in.
The kitchen table and four chairs photographed above are another second-hand set. Purchased for about $50 total, this little piece not only fit perfectly within my two-room apartment, but also within my budget. While I couldn't be happier with how the table looks in this part of the room, what really gets me are the window treatments. Although I knew I couldn't live above a bumpin' tequila bar without ensuring some privacy, it pained me to think about obstructing the windows' natural light with heavy blinds. I compromised with sheer yellow curtains from Target, which illuminate with sunlight during the day and somehow manage to make the room appear even brighter. Maintaining my minimalistic yet cozy theme, I decorated the space with dried hydrangeas from my parents' garden and one of Claude Monet's Haystacks prints hanging above.
Strictly for decorative purposes, I chose to repaint and adorn a ladder belonging to my brother's old bunk bed. After rescuing it from the depths of my parents' basement, I gave the ladder three coats of white paint over the course of two or three days. Once it had fully dried, I then rubbed different areas of the ladder with sandpaper in order to deliberately give it a rather worn, distressed look. Now in the corner of my new living room, it’s decorated with battery powered string lights, an air plant, and a little tablecloth my mom had gotten for me in Spain earlier this year. Not only was this a fun project, but I definitely feel as though it gives my new space some character.
...Further exhibiting said character are the ceramic drawer knobs I had picked up in Udaipur, India last April. Pleased to get out of the hot sun one afternoon, I had sat on the floor of a street-side shop and sifted through an enormous box of colorful handles. I walked away with 32 uniquely embellished knobs for around $6—two more than I needed in order to revive my tired, old bedside tables and chest of drawers. My bedside tables are with me in my new apartment and I love both the way they look as well as the wonderful memories they evoke.
Coffee table books and cacti gardens. Can an apartment really be complete without either of these items? And come to think of it, I lied—you will find just a hint of IKEA in my apartment because that's actually where I bought the cacti. But I just love the way they look in the center of the living room. Beside the planter in the photograph above is a book called The Great LIFE Photographers, which is an incredibly captivating anthology of LIFE magazine's best work. Compiled of hundreds of mesmerizing photos, this is the perfect book to have on display for guests to flip through while they're waiting for me to finish getting ready...(which is always).