I love sharing my home. More importantly, I love being in my home.
I remember my first house – a small remodeled trailer with a living room addition built on the back. I had a big kitchen with a sliding door out onto a large deck. I had a dining room, and a living room with a wood burning stove that I learned to keep going all night – a worthy skill. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and a washer and dryer in the back hall (something I would later look back on and realize I was rich). I paid $250/month for this palace, because it was in rural Virginia and I rented it from my best friend’s father.
My next house was 30 miles away, closer to where I worked. It was a beautiful two story townhouse. The first floor had huge windows on three sides because it was an end unit, and comprised living room, small dining room and kitchen with a huge pantry. I cajoled my mother out of her pretty red chintz loveseat, thus beginning my love affair with red in the living room. I cooked meals here that I shared with another best friend (the one who would later introduce me to an old friend of hers, the Monkey I’d later move in with and marry). This home had a backyard area, and I bought a firebowl and had late night parties all summer long with friends and wine.
After a stay in my grandmother’s home, while I attended photography school, I moved into the home of my friend, where we were happy roommates till that previously-mentioned introduction that led to me moving to DC to live with the Monkey. I did rent an apartment, but so much of my time was spent at his that home migrated, and ultimately officially blended into his. Home, during that period, was a kind of limbo where the Monkey and I negotiated taste, habits, space, arrangement and the amount of art any given wall should support while also negotiating the thrills and agonies of true love.
We moved from the first apartment we shared in Alexandria, to a basement apartment in Adams Morgan – a home we try to forget because the landlord living above us was a weeknight party animal with no discernible humanity – but a home we also remember as a place we struggled through a miserable winter together, watching entire seasons of The Office, playing Fable, and hiding out at Tryst when the house got too dark and small. It’s also the home where the Monkey and I got engaged – well, the park at the end the street is the actual spot, on a cold, snowy winter solstice night.
We fled that place to the home we share now, our first married home, a 10th floor apartment . The logistics were complicated – we had lived together in about 1100 square feet of space. For the first move we condensed to 800, and for the second, to 695. But that 695 is not counting the balcony we got out of the deal, a large outdoor space all our own overlooking Mt. Pleasant, Rock Creek Park, and a view of the National Cathedral. After our Memorial Day wedding, we spent the summer recovering our sanity on that balcony, drinking wine and watching the sunsets.
In the fall, I realized our house was a giant pile of crap. Not the apartment, but the inside of it – piles and piles of our crap covering up what was supposed to be a really nice place. Something had to be done! I cannot overstate the saving graces of ApartmentTherapy.com, the book Apartment Therapy (by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan), and the Fall Cure – an online-supported 8 week “course” in saving the life of your home.
Since a picture is worth at least several hundred words, I post a few pictures for your viewing pleasure – a full set of before and after pics are here. The upshot of this all is that I am proud of my home and we’ve worked hard together to make it ours. So, please come in.