Other occupants: Husband Sean, son Jasper and dog Kali
Lives in: Alabama
What makes your home offbeat? Truly, the building itself does nothing for us. We moved into this particular complex because it’s near the university that Sean attends, and we both wanted to be able to bike to most of the places we go. However, since we’ve lived here for a while, we’ve done a few things to make it more “us” (painting the walls BLUE! and yellow was a huge plus for me).
One of the more unique aspects of our home is that SO much of our furniture, belongings, and even clothing is recycled/refurbished or vintage. This is a HUGE thing to us, a mega-important philosophy.
- When we first moved in, Sean found this beaten up dresser by the dumpster. He inspected it (no bugs! no major damage!) and brought it home. He stripped, sanded, cleaned, and painted it (we refer to the color as “Dumbledore purple”), changed out a few of the handles, and now it’s in our living room.
- He found both of our computer chairs outside of people’s homes (at different times).
- His work desk was in a pile of stuff being thrown away at a school.
- A lot of our decorations are old posters — we found a SWEET Albert Einstein on a bike poster that hangs over our piano. I also rustled up a set of liner notes from the White Album to go over our couch.
- Our couch is a futon we found at a thrift store for $75 (SCORE)
- The rocking chair we have (my absolute favorite thing in the house, I think) was at a vintage shop in Portland. Sean carried it 10 blocks since we didn’t have a car! It now has super cute teeth marks from Jasper’s manic teething spurts.
What are the biggest home decor/occupational challenges you’ve faced, and how did you solve them? Some of our biggest challenges have more to do with the maintenance of the apartment in general — we can’t even go on our deck right now because one of the columns disintegrated in the recent snowstorm we had.
Another problem we’ve run into is that Sean’s style is VERY minimalist, and my style is VERY flea market chic, to be nice about it. We both prefer living in an apartment because we don’t want to have permanent ties to this city, so for now he’s ok with me sort of putting things up all over the place. I think once we move from here we’ll probably run into a few more challenges, but… we’ll see what happens then. 😉
What’s your favorite feature of your home? My favorite piece of furniture is the rocking chair I mentioned — we’ve had it since Jasper came home from the hospital, and it’s priceless to me. I always wanted a rocking chair instead of a glider, and Sean surprised me by carrying it 10 blocks (in the rain!) to bring it home. It’s a place of peace and comfort — Jasper nursed there, and we still rock him to sleep in it. I’m incredibly emotionally attached!
I also really like my work desk. It’s a HUGE wreck most of the time and probably the bane of Sean’s existence, but I feel like it’s so ME, just all over the place.
I love our books and book shelves. There aren’t enough book shelves and we’re always running out of space, but I love how objects appear to be haphazardly arranged on the shelf, when in fact the arrangement makes a whole lot of sense (subject-wise and spatially).
ALSO: part of our apartment is slowly turning into a children’s museum of sorts — Sean and I hand-painted a solar system mobile that hangs in the living room, and as I wrote on Offbeat Mama, we have educational posters all around the room and down the hallway at Jasper’s eye level.
We’re very music obsessed. I love our record player (a gift from Sean’s mom), and I love that we actually LISTEN to the records we own — they aren’t just decoration.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? That you really can like where you live — even if it’s small, and even if it’s in a city you’re not especially fond of. Also, you can totally reconcile kid space with adult space, and the two can live harmoniously together.
What’s your grandest plan for the space? I’d love to be able to separate the living room somehow. It’s a GIGANTIC room, easily the biggest in the apartment, and it’s awkward. One side is cozy and warm, and the other side is… not so much.
What’s your best advice for other offbeat dwellers? You can totally rock apartments! So many people I know think a family = house ownership. I’m not sure who decided that choosing a house is the next required step after having a kid, but we didn’t buy it.
Any stuff or services you want to recommend?