Oh, I loved this apartment! It was strange, in a lot of ways, and I don't think I appreciated it until I moved into a "real," "normal" (boring, square) apartment. I tried to draw the floor plan on the computer once and couldn't, because not only walls weeeeird lengths (8 ft, 7.13 inches, for example, I don't think tape measures had actually been invented in 1900, maybe they were still measuring with their feet?) but not one corner was at a right angle.
It was essentially the back of the ground floor of a family home, in a Real House in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. And by Real House I'm talking garden, front porch, back deck, a yard... Not something you think exists inside city limits. The upstairs, where the (seriously fantastic) family lived, had been renovated by the previous owner, an architect, and was amazing. Their daughter's room was literally hidden behind built-in bookshelves under the stairs. They also had chickens who lived outside my bedroom window. Maybe one day I'll do a post about it if they give me permission.
I accessed my apartment through this alley, around a shockingly uneven twisty staircase that I hit my head on every time I wore heels. It made moving super fun.
Oh look! Moving day! (All photos courtesy of an iphone 3GS, thankyouverymuch)
Did I mention that this was a preschool before I moved in? I was still finding crayons under everything a year later Also that I didn't own any furniture and slept on a deflating air mattress for about a month? Also that that air conditioner left as soon as I started paying for electricity? In August? Good times.
But look! A porch swing! Totally worth it.
So I bought some furniture and planned out a color scheme...
Let us, for a moment, note some terrible decisions. One: not doing something wider for the bookshelf. (maybe a console?) Totally could have enhanced the drama of the arch instead of making it all awkward. Two: that terrible overstock.com rug purchase. Seriously I think it was like $60 for a 5x8. Balding polyester in a terrible pattern. Made my feet itch and impossible to clean. Whaaaat was I thinking, you ask? No idea. Horribly embarrassed that I waited until the day I moved to stick it on the curb.
Look! I have a bed! And a truly impressive amount of pillows. Don't worry, I didn't actually style it like this. Not that crazy.
The bedroom was super dark, largely because this was the view. (The chickens lived to the right of this window, for reference.) It was also huge, but I never found a layout that maximized the space, and didn't like to spend time in there because it's so dark.
It got really nice morning light through the closet though, so I never put a door on even through the closet was originally a mud-room addition and not insulated. (who cares, walk in closet!!! So worth having chilly clothes.) Also, check out those old floors! So pretty, so hard to clean.
The living room on an especially un-styled day. Here's the story behind that sofa. It was $75 off craigslist. I picked it up out of some lady's barn in Western Mass and it is literally the most comfortable piece of furniture on earth. Over 100 years old, all-down. Re-upholstered (and re-stuffed) in the 1950s. I have had plans to re-upholster it in a warm grey linen for about a year and a half now but am largely terrified and not that confident in my sewing skills. So it still looks like that. But it's like snuggling with a cloud so I'm really not complaining.
And that mirror! It was HUGE. Floor to ceiling, original to the house as far as I know. I actually found this super old wallpaper behind it when I was cleaning, so maybe it used to be installed elsewhere?
I had to put the sofa in front of it, so every morning I would stand on my coffee table to see my outfit. It I was wearing heels, my hair would get stuck in the crystal chandelier.
What? Your apartment doesn't have one? Weird.
Yes, the ceiling leaked and the bathroom had weird blue tile and the commute was horribly unpredictable (evil Q train) and one confused hen liked to cock-a-doodle-doo in the mornings, and the floors weren't even and the dishwasher sounded like a freight train... all things I liked to complain about while I lived there. But the light, and the architectural detail, and the neighborhood (I'll write more about it soon), and the garden and the wonderful family who owned the house and lived upstairs more than made up for it. Despite my rash of poor design choices (and generally terrible photography), I feel so lucky to have had the unique experience of living in this wonderful, historical place for over a year.