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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

long post about where i lay my head at night

I've got a few new readers now, so I thought I'd give a little history to catch some of you up.

My husband and I moved our family of six to Manhattan in November of 2009. We were living in suburbia, when life hit us up side the head. My husband Rod was offered a job at a wonderful non-profit here in the city. We put our house up for sale, loaded a truck and left the mountains of Colorado behind in our rear-view mirror. People either think we are crazy or adventurous. I tend to think we are somewhere in the middle.

We've been married 20 years and were living in a 5000 square foot home. You know, 5 bedrooms, home office, media room...your typical suburban trappings. We had to Downsize with a capital "D" when we moved to New York City. Getting rid of things was quite cathartic for me. Not a whole lot of mourning over things. Our entire family was willing to embrace leaving things behind and moving into a 1200 square foot apartment on the Upper East Side. It has been a bit challenging, but living in the city has been incredible. It truly is a wonderful place to live. This blog documents our ups and downs and my search to find the perfect New York cupcake.

I've done a few things to the bedroom since I posted the first pics back in the fall. We painted the wall behind the bed. By "we" I mean my husband Rod painted to wall. The color is Sweet Bluette from Benjamin Moore. But I'll be changing it again, because it is not quite the color I was going for. I need something a little paler.

I also thought I'd give a little description of some items in the room. Everything I kept for our apartment had to be essential to living in the space. No room for a piano anymore. But the things I did keep, still have quite a bit of meaning to me. I've also gotten some questions as to where I found certain items. I'll do my best to fill you in! You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

The Keep Calm and Carry On is a reproduction of a poster printed by the British goverment during WWII. I found mine here.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had to downsize from a King bed to a Queen when we moved to the city. I found the headboard for a steal on My linens are part of the Hudson Park Collection from Nordstroms.

I've had this mirrored chest for years. I think I bought it at Bombay Company. I am not a fan of bedroom "sets." I know some people are, but I never have been. I'm just not a matchy-matchy kind of girl. The lamp base is from Target. (I'd like to take a moment and express my sadness that we do not have a Target in the city. I am suffering withdrawls.) The lamp shade is from Pottery Barn. And the artwork was a gift from my parents. It's a guardian angel.

I love unique art-especially if it is vintage. I found the relief map of Africa over 10 years ago in a thrift shop. It's dated 1893. The asian silk painting was bought when we went to China to adopt our daughter Lily. The little black table anchors that tiny wall and has a tin french chalet on top of an antique Bible I picked up in London about 20 years ago. Baskets are underneath for storing bills and other paperwork.

We went almost 18 years without a dresser in our Master Bedroom. We finally bought this one from Crate and Barrel a few years back. The artwork to the left of the dresser is a painting done my my sweet, southern Grandmother. She is in her late 80s now and I love having a reminder of her in our New York apartment.

The long wooden table has quite a bit of history. It has been repurposed many times. It was the very first piece of furniture Rod and I bought for our first house. It was our kitchen table. Later it became a desk for our son's room. Then it was cut down into a coffee table. In Colorado, Rod sliced it in half and added new legs to make a sofa table. Here in New York it makes a great desk and display table in our bedroom. I just can't seem to part with it and keep finding new ways to keep it around.

The vintage bottles with silver, soldered charms were made by me. The glass canister holds sand from a family beach vacation. Lamp was bought about 15 years ago from Ballards Design. The curtains are also from Ballards. The artwork over the leather chair are silk paintings my mother bought when we lived in Germany. They are over 40 years old now and are still in their original frames. Some of my jewelry is gathered in an old silver bowl that rests on my windowsill. And the little frames hold pictures of my children. The pictures are about 7 years old, but for some reason I don't want to change them out.

If you hung in there for this entire post, congratulations to you! You do not have ADD. Thanks for taking a look and I'd love to know what you think.


Just Mom said...

I love the way you downsized and kept mostly those things that have true meaning for you. What a wonderful lesson for your children, too.
I've often wondered what I would be able to do without and was pleasantly surprised to find that the only possessions that I'm attached to are my wedding ring, my journals and my scrapbooks. OK, maybe my computer too. :-D

btw ... I gasped when I read you don't have a Target nearby.

ItchyBits said...

Love how you display your stuff - really makes the space click. I also like how you have a collection of furniture rather than a matching set. I bet you are missing your nice big closet too? I had a bigger closet in my rental unit than I do in the house I purchased. Have never gotten over that. Lots of Targets in NJ!!

serendipitylovesnewyork said...

Thanks for the reply, I've added a little link to you on my blog!! If I had your view in the apartment i would never leave it!! Your apartment is stunning, well done on fitting you all in it x

Kissed by an Angel said...

Hi I just popped by to say hello via serendipitylovesnewyork!! Well, what an adventure you've had!! That was a HUGE downsize!! you have the most gorgeous bedroom though!!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm a new reader and I love this post and your detailed descriptions. What an exciting adventure to move to NYC! I've recently downsized from a five-bedroom home and it definitely feels good to get rid of stuff. I still need to eliminate things, but it's all good. I am really enjoying your blog! I'm in Michigan. :-)


Sohailah said...

Just lovely. I also love Target and am a HUGE fan of getting rid of things - my house could probably be a lot better "looking", but it's hard for me to justify buying lots of things - I think it scares me, to be honest...

Shana said...

I have a question. Not because I'm nosy, but because I am also in the process of Downsizing and have yet to figure out how I am going to live without a home office (I work full time, half of that time from home). Your computer in your bedroom is very unobtrusive, but with my computer I also have a router and giant laser printer and scanner and... you get the picture. Do you have a printer stashed somewhere? How are you hiding the "worky" parts? : )

Teresa said...

I absolutely LOVE the map of Africa...what a treasure! I truly enjoy your style and loved hearing the story behind each piece. Thanks for sharing! Fun post!

.Kate. said...

I found you through Katie Mohr, if you are wondering why one of your new readers is a stranger :). I am fascinated by NYC and I think it is pretty cool that you guys were able to make such a huge change with what seems to be a pretty smooth transition. I hope everything is going well for your family so far.

I love what you've done with the space! The rooms all look so open and light and airy. It's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Wow, very inspiring! I found you through We made a similar move almost 2 years ago: from Arlington VA to the Upper East Side with 3 kids.

I wrote a blog about our adventures, and then started a new one called Frugal Mama , more about saving money while raising kids than about living in the city. But, as I'm sure you know, living here certainly forces us to stretch our imagination in terms of making it all work!

I can't believe what a huge downsize you made. And what an amazing attitude you have. It's very refreshing. Even though I love the city, I gripe sometimes about how difficult it is here.

I love your vintage style. (And cupcakes too.) It would be fun to meet up sometime.

p.s. Your blog title is genius.

Ashley Mutschler said...

I stumbled onto your blog a few months ago after they featured your apartment on Apartment Therapy and I've been hooked every since!

First of all, I love your conservation of space-it's simply genius. We just bought our first house and it's not a TON of square footage, but I like to think we could live there for a long time with any number of kids.

Your adore your style and your aesthetic. Classic with a twist of vintage... I love how clean it all looks.

Also, my daughter's name is Lily too...

Tarina said...

I love it, your apartment is not only beautiful but has so much meaning! I'm not matchy-matchy either and thanks for sharing!

AnastasiaSpeaks said...

Thank you for letting us in your home. Such lovely things and memories.

Katherine said...

I am just green with envy over your New York adventures, though I know there are some challenging moments in which you have to remind yourself to take a deep breath. I live in Atlanta, and it is not city enough for me! I want density and public transit, not to mention fellow citizens who care about those two key components to the making of a vibrant city! I have been loving your blog since your first posts back in the fall. Judging by all the comments, you have quite the fan base. Thanks for the joy you bring to my daily email/news/facebook/blog surfing ritual. PS_my favorite part of your apartment is the repurposed table in your bedroom. I love the juxtaposition of the collectibles against the view of the city's "collection" of skyscrapers popping up everywhere.

Shana said...

I just found your blog! I love how you display things with meaning. It is very tasteful! I really like the pillow and that cuff bracelet is fabulous :) Thanks for sharing!

Michelle said...

HI Shana- Regarding your question about my computer work area. First of all let me tell you that I fought hard not to have a computer in the bedroom. I'm not a fan of it at all, but there was literally no other place to put it. I like my set up and tried to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Rod brought a printer stand in and I nixed that idea immediately. So as of now, the printer is sitting on a vintage metal box. I've also used baskets to hide the cords. I'm actually searching for a large wicker basket (with an attachable lid) that I can turn on it's side and hide the printer in completely.

MarytheKay said...

Just found your blog today... And I have to say I LOVE your apartment!! Gorgeous, and so wonderfully decorated and organized. So, have you found the perfect NY cupcake yet? Oh, how I'd like to come help you try a few. :-) I use a Magnolia bakery recipe for my cupcakes sometimes...have you been there yet?

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