the d*s apt project: ac speaks
[i felt it was only fair to let you hear the other half of this process, so as to fully expose the mistakes i've been making and the full extend of our fixer upper decorating dilemma. so, without editing- ac's take on the project. thanks, ac!]
"it's actually quite difficult to know where to begin writing about our apartment search process because it feels like we've been "moving out" for the past year. fortunately, it looks like we may get the "moving in" process down to a mere few months. one day, in the future, i'm looking forward to actually just "living somewhere."
onwards. grace and i do have quite different styles (to hear her tell it, it's simple: she has style, whereas i have none. i kid.) - she mentioned that she was looking for apartments with period details, molding, and what is commonly refered to as "character" or "history." i actually tend to prefer apartments that seem brand new (clean wall lines, logical space structures, semi-reasonably spaced doorways, etc.). mostly, older places just seem dirtier to me on first look. now anyone who knows me may find this funny because (it has been said) that i can be something of a slob - so why should i care if i'm moving into a dirty place if i'm just going to filth it up anyway? i don't know. i just like knowing that the filth is mine, or at least, my fault. who wants to clean up someone else's mess?
and believe me, on first glance this apartment was a definite "fixer-upper." while it had lots of space, and lots of rooms (any amount of space or rooms is "lots" when you've been living in a tiny one-room studio...), i was not thrilled with living in a railroad - mostly because i like doors (clean lines of separation between rooms). the location (center slope), and the giant bedroom were, to my mind, the obvious draws. but besides that, I couldn't see what she loved about it. it was dirty, the walls were in terrible shape, the floors are absurdly uneven, and the colors on the walls were horrible - and this is from a person who rarely cares about the colors on the walls. fortunately, grace excels at visualizing the potential of spaces. we talked through potential arrangements, and i started warming to the space. after sleeping on it, i knew that with some work, this could be the kind of apartment we could really turn into a home. Now for the dirt:
1. The move: Grace wisely decided that we should have the apartment professionally deep-cleaned top to bottom, and painted (discussion of the wisdom of this aspect to follow) before we moved in. Not much to say about the cleaning other than that the woman grace hired apparently seemed to resent the idea that she should have to do it all by herself. also, the place to my eyes always seemed sort of dirty regardless of actual dirt, so i frankly had a hard time noticicing the difference.
2. The painting: If you happen to be dating the writer/editor of a well-read design blog who tells you: "don't worry, i'll take care of all the painting before we move into our new place - everything will be fine," DON'T BELIEVE THEM. Not only was she disappointed with the colors she chose (out of magazines and without testing them on the walls), but she complicated the matter by claiming to "love" many of the colors at first, before the reality of the situation eventually sunk in. She hated the colors. I didn't really like them either. This led to a lengthy (and tragically obsolete) conversation about the wisdom of painting the walls before furnishing a room. I was of the mind that this made no sense. Grace was squarely in the opposite camp. Much debate and discussion ensued. It was decided that we were of two fundamentally different mindsets. Days later, grace ruefully told me that she'd been watching some interior designers discussing the subject on tv and the consensus was with my camp. woo hoo!
my victory dance was cut short by the need to repaint the kitchen from its far too-dark blue. the color - some sort of cranberry red. we made it as far as one coat before we knew that it probably wasn't going to work. as it stood, it was an awful purpley mix of grossness that no one should have to look at.
take three: an oatmeal cream-type color that brightened the room and our moods immensely. one casualty: ms. jackson stepping in the paint and leaving little creamy kitty footprints everywhere - she enjoyed no part of having her feet washed out in the sink. i am happy with it but have now read, along with all of you, that grace is now having doubts. as far as i'm concerned, i say: tie a paintbrush to ms. jackson's tail and let her repaint it.
the only other room to experience a repaint so far has been the bedroom, which is so far incomplete - mostly because we haven't gotten around to finishing it. it has gone from some ridiculously bright blue (which would have been more appropriate on a popsicle) to a more muted blue color which the jury is still out on. it's definitely an improvement, but i'm not convinced it's the final color."
[ac will be posting as the process goes on about painting, furniture, mistakes and any additional casualties of the apartment redecoration. thanks, ac!]