Tip #181: Daydream a little.
Five years ago tomorrow, James and I got our keys from a real estate broker and shared a pizza for Valentine’s Day dinner. We sat on the floor of our empty apartment, with a set of string lights reflecting on the otherwise empty hardwood floor. It was snowing. I was six months pregnant. We’d spend the next two weeks slowly moving boxes from one apartment to the next. We hired movers to carry the heaviest stuff. We huffed and puffed and got used to our climb to the very top floor while carrying everything else.
We couldn’t imagine exactly what we were getting ourselves into then—childless and mostly broke—but we knew we’d found a place where we could welcome a baby. Turns out, it’s been a place to welcome two babies.
Today we signed our lease for another year in this spot. People ask me all the time whether or not we’ll stay here. They ask if we’ll always live in the city. If we ever think we’ll buy a home. If we’ll live in a small space no matter what, compelled by principle and precedent. The truth is, who knows? Over the past five years, our space has grown with us—if not in square footage than at least in spirit. We’re always tweaking it—making sure it feels comfortable and usable and like it’s ours in spite of the fact that it’s decidedly not.
We’ve been shuffling furniture around lately. Some of you have noticed that our dining table is in a new spot—two tables, for now, pushed together to make a larger one—anchored against a wall instead of floating in space. Floating a bit is our bench, moved away from a wall and turned on its side. We’ve been marveling at how little changes have changed the flow of energy in the apartment. With the table in its new spot, the kitchen—usually dark and uninviting—somehow seems friendlier. The bench, little used in its old position, has become a regular spot for little ones lounging on dark mornings or reading stories after school. The kids’ table and chairs, now tucked in a corner next to our closet, has taken on a new kind of coziness and utility.
I love the capacity that one tiny apartment has to be transformed. When I’m feeling particularly daydreamy, I add images to my Pinterest boards and imagine beautiful glass vitrines separating bedroom from dining room or kitchen from dining room. When I’m feeling more practical, I wonder if bunk beds or trundles or something in between the two might be in our future and how they might change our space. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working to turn a daydream of a solution for our tiny kitchen counter into a reality. (Shelves, I’ve decided.)
Today I painted a new watercolor floor plan for anyone wondering how spaces flow together, or get kept apart, in our funky little spot. I added a view of how our apartment connects to our neighbors’ and to our hall, and made a note of the crate we keep outside our apartment door for shoes. (Perks of living on the very top floor, revealed.) Mostly, I can’t wait to see what a sketch like this might look like after another year. Here’s to tiny transformations.
What’s new in your worlds?