Tats and I used to rent a one-bedroom apartment about 2 miles down from where we live now. We lived there for about 1.5 years, and while it had nice amenities and was conveniently located, we were renting (at outrageous prices) and it didn’t quite feel like home. Something was lacking!
We talked about buying our first home together for some time and spent many weekends viewing open houses. My favorite time was when we checked out a one-bedroom in the Upper West Side and met with the real estate broker and another very rich-looking Middle Eastern couple. The broker asked us if we were there to view apartment 27B. And we said, yes, yes we believe so. He took us to the “1 bedroom apartment” that turned out to be a 4 bedroom penthouse with a kitchen the size of our entire apartment with hidden compartments (super cool) that started at $6 million. We looked at each other immediately, pretended to ask some questions about the maintenance fees, took an information sheet, and left. HAHA. Maybe someday? A girl can dream!
After nearly a year of looking, we stumbled upon a one-bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor of a quaint building near Central Park. It was not what you would call “ready to live in”; the kitchen emanated 1970′s groovy vibes, which I found creepy, and we wouldn’t have a door man anymore. On the plus side, the space had very high ceilings, tons of storage space, good “bones”, and was at a reasonable price (say WHAT?!) Overall, it seemed super promising, and after we left, we talked about it all weekend until we finally submitted our bid. After just a few days, we heard back and the seller accepted our bid!
After another SIX MONTHS (that’s right, SIX MONTHS) of bank approvals, multiple submissions of massive paperwork, back and forth with the broker, and the universally dreaded NYC co-op board interview, we finally signed our closing papers and moved the hell in.
It’s now been 7 months since that day. The first 2 months were spent on kitchen renovations, which Tats, Gizzy and our contractor worked very hard on to complete.
After that came the unpacking, organizing, and decorating. I have to admit, I naively thought the whole thing was going to be a fairly quick process, but OMG we just unpacked our LAST BOX.
It’s not a big space but it is perfect for the two of us + Gizzy. We managed to fit all of our stuff (through magic) in here and unlike many New Yorkers we use our small kitchen space every night. I thought I might share some photos with you in case you live a small apartment too and wanted to get some ideas on how we store everything. I’d also love to get some feedback from you too on how to improve our current set-up!
Let’s start from the entrance… when you open the front door, to the left you will see a triangle shelf where we we put our keys. The photographs are from Tats’ sister, who is a professional photographer in Tokyo. We also have a leather stool (looking to replace this with a slender entry-way desk) sitting directly below it where I put my purse. Directly across from that is a green basket where we put our unopened mail/ mail that needs to be sent out and where I hang my gym bag. This little set-up makes it super convenient for those mornings where I am in a rush and need all the essentials to be in one place.
Now let’s walk straight ahead into the bedroom!
Our duvet was in the washing machine when I took this photo, but it the colder months it is a beige and red duvet that matches the pillow you can kind of see in the photo. You may also notice two storage cases under the bed. We got these from the Container Store on sale for $14.99 each and they have these little wheels attached so they slide in and out easily.
There was a lot of debate around how we would arrange the furniture when we first moved in. We have two large chest of drawers, one very tall and one very wide. Originally I wanted to put the drawers next to each other, how we had in our old apartment, but it wouldn’t fit. Tats made a great suggestion to put the wide drawers behind the bed, to position the bed facing the window, and to place the tall drawers flush against the wall. Doing this was a stroke of genius, because this saved a ton of space and the wide drawers act as a convenient night stand.
On our “nightstand” is Gizzy’s bed, a mirror, and my “make-up” station. Here’s a closer look at the make-up station. I keep my frequently used perfumes, jewelry and make-up all in one easily accessible location so in the morning I don’t have to rummage. Having a few key stations in my morning routine is why I am able to wake up and be out the door in 10 minutes. SERIOUS.
Here is a closer look at Gizzy’s bed, which is a sheepskin throw. We bought him a bed from TJ Maxx (they really do sell everything) but he refused to sleep in it. Instead, he likes feeling “free” and sleeping above us so this arrangement was perfect for him.
Let’s move on! Here is a view of the entrance as you are leaving the bedroom. BTW the funky red and grey blocks covering the door are for sound-proofing (Gizzy’s meowing is NO JOKE).
After you exit the bedroom, to the left is our beloved kitchen! Here is our refrigerator covered with our favorite wedding photo-booth pictures. You can also check out our Michigan door mat. GO BLUE!!!!!!
We put a lot of time and thought into how we wanted our kitchen to look since we knew we would be spending a decent amount of time in there. We wanted something bright (my favorite color is coral and Tats likes orange and red) so after a lot of planning, we went with a red backsplash, glossy grey cupboards and “midnight” granite counters (sparkly!). It sounded crazy at first but it really pulled together nicely, don’t you think?
Here is a closer look at each corner. This is a Keurig we actually hardly ever use anymore since I stopped drinking coffee. Gotta get rid of it and open up some precious kitchen counter space!
Here is our circular sink, which was another “different” choice, as we were told by many, but again, I think it really works I keep three oils on my kitchen counter all time: grapeseed, olive, and peanut and oil.
I’m not going to show you the stove-top because as it turns out, I actually do have some shame (it is in need of a good cleaning). Instead, let’s check out the view of the living room from the kitchen.
Now, I don’t have the best camera nor do I have any camera skillZ, per se, so if it looks a little crooked and crazy, please ignore it. It is actually more spacious than our previous living room and is very cozy. I especially love the wooden brown shutters and white brick walls. You might have also noticed all the orange and red accents. Oh, and the handsome cat casually hanging out on the table.
Here’s a slightly better photo. Or is it??
Next, here is a look at a storage unit behind the red lamp where we keep umbrellas, scarfs, gloves, SPF, maps, etc. (basically, WHATEVER). On top of that I put a little French looking basket where I keep my books I’m currently reading. You might also notice my badly folded yoga mat.
We also have two paintings hanging above that area that we bought from Union Square Holiday Market. One is of a black cat and the other is of an alligator going to work. LOL.
To the left of that is a very, very tall shoe cabinet where we keep our ever-growing pile of shoes. Note that Gizzy cannot stand to be “ignored” for even a split-second and threw his body into every single picture.
Next to the shoe cabinet is our orange couch. Hanging directly above it are two pieces of art that hold a special place in both our hearts. The one on the left is a traditional Japanese screen print, a wedding gift from one of Tats’ oldest friends. To the right is a Vietnamese embroidery I bought when travelling through Vietnam. I love this embroidery for so many reasons, but that is a story for another time! We splurged on getting these framed, but it was well worth it.
Here is a picture of the storage beneath our coffee table. We keep a box where I file all of our wedding/ birthday/ Thanksgiving/ Christmas cards. Believe it or not, I read them often Next to it is a wooden basket where I keep a rotating collection of nail polishes based on my mood.
To the left of the couch is our bookshelf, with some favorite reads and cookbooks. Above it are the metal wedding table numbers that we got from Etsy for our wedding. I didn’t know what else to do with them besides stick them on top of our bookshelf, LOL.
Directly parallel from that is our work station. Our green desk is a flea market find from our college days in Ann Arbor, MI. The flowers are from our City Hall wedding (which we had 1 year before our ceremony!) and the Don Quixote painting is from the same Union Square Holiday Market. The chair we got from Nadeau, a furniture boutique in NYC.
Here is one last view of our kitchen from the living room
And finally, here is our bathroom. Pretty standard for a NYC bathroom, which incidentally I happen to like The weirdo waving back is moi!
Thanks for staying with me all the way till the end here, folks~ I really enjoyed writing this post, and I hope you got something out of it too.
Now I want ask you something: Do you also inhabit a small space? If so, do you any tips on how to improve our current set-up? We’ve only just finished and would LOVE any advice you might have
Have a wonderful weekend!
Lots of love,