In January, my husband, Hal, and I relocated from New York to central Florida to settle down closer to family. My parents graciously welcomed us into their home while we pursued jobs and got our ducks in a row before we could find an apartment. It was a wonderful, frustrating, patience-trying, lesson-learning four months’ wait before things finally fell into place. By the time we moved into our own apartment it felt like some magical dream come true. One huge perk of transitioning to Florida, is that for the same amount of rent we got about three times the space that we had in New York. Now that I have some space to work with, I can scratch that decorator’s itch and play. The Apartment Project series will focus on one room at a time as I decorate our new little home and attempt to overcome the challenges of apartment living.
We’ll start things off in the dining room. The first obstacle to overcome in moving into an apartment, is that sterile, “apartment white” paint color that is freshly slathered on every wall when you first move in. Our landlord allowed us to paint with the caveat that we had to repaint it “apartment white” before we moved out. Since it’s kind of a drag to paint and repaint, and it is not super cheap, we compromised by just painting the living and dining area to break up the white and help our main living spaces feel more cozy. We used Benjamin Moore’s Wedgewood Gray.
For years we had been living with a mishmash of hand-me-down, cheaply made, particle board furniture (what I like to refer to as “college style” living), so with this move we decided to start investing in quality furniture pieces that would stick with us for years to come. We purchased a modern farm-style table that seats six. It was important to us to invest in comfortable, upholstered dining chairs, because in our last place we hardly ever ate dinner at the table as a result of the painful, rod-in-your-back style chairs.
The two oil-paintings on the wall are original works by Mary Baker. Click on her name to check out her Facebook page, where she’s working on some exciting new digital art pieces. Her traditional oil paintings are a real treasure, and people usually mistake them for photographs at first glance.
Also displayed on the wall are some eclectic plates I had picked up from a thrift store in Brooklyn, a few postcards Hal had collected in Europe, and a fun nod to Shakespeare, our matchmaker. Hal and I were both actors, and it was through Hal’s production of As You Like It that we met. Shortly after we were married, we played Miranda and Ferdinand in The Tempest.
As a wedding gift we received four place settings of the wedding china we had picked out from Hal’s grandmother. Recently, I looked up that pattern to see if I could add more place settings to our collection, but that particular set had been discontinued. So I purchased white Strawberry Street plates from One Kings Lane, that can easily be layered in with the wedding china.
For a little something fun, I put up a chalkboard on the partition between the kitchen and dining room, where I like to write out the menu when we have guests over. Finally, nothing finishes a space off like a fresh bouquet of sunflowers.