Big changes have been in the works around here… Drum roll please: I moved! To Brooklyn!!!
After 13 years in Manhattan, this was a big, big deal for me. I was so resistant to leaving that tiny island, but at the same time I felt the call of something new — so I finally took the leap across the river. So far I’m loving my new place, but before I start sharing all the goods on my new digs, I thought I’d dedicate one post to my last Manhattan home. I still feel so sentimental about Manhattan, and my last apartment really was an old-school New York gem from another era.
This is where I lived for the past couple of years; it was a studio in the East Village that I sublet from a friend. I was in the same one-block vicinity of the East Village for almost all of my 13 NYC years, except for a brief stint in the West Village. So, this spot was really my New York home. An imperfect home full of tourists, drunk NYU kids, passed-out bums on my stoop, major noise 24/7 and no space whatsoever — but also where I knew the people who owned the best home-cooking Ukrainian diner, where I often bumped into someone I knew wherever I went, and where I could get anything, literally anything, within a five-minute walk.
This apartment was a studio, a large(ish) rectangular main room with a separate kitchen. The main room held my bed, living room area, work area, books and clothes. The total size was about 380 square feet. Since it was a sublet, it was a mash-up of furniture that was already in the space combined with my own stuff. Ready to take a peek?
The windows looked out over the intersection of Second Avenue and 6th Street, with a view of the famous Block Drugs store. The apartment was just one flight up so you really got a birds-eye view of the street – I spent hours sitting in these windows people watching.
A couple of details. Some of my vintage knitting needles in a crystal vase, and a vintage paint-by-number horse.
To organize my jewelry, I used these great display cases. They were perfect because I could stack them to save space, and the glass tops allowed me to shuffle them around and see what was inside without having to open the lids.
There was a CD rack already installed in the apartment, and I repurposed it for books, which made it look like one of those cool skinny bookcases.
Not sure why I didn’t manage to clear the clutter is this shot – oops! Anyway, my “living room” was never quite complete but I always liked my clear coffee table and my cow rug. The coffee table (from CB2) was perfect for this area because it gave me a lot of surface space (since I tended to do a lot of work on the couch) without taking up visual space.
Another view of the pass-through.
Big-scale Blythe art I made to hang over the bed. Pillows were cast-off magazine props from my former office.
This corner was my teeny-tiny work space, crammed right in there behind the sofa and next to the bed. Glamorous, right? Part of me didn’t want to share this photo because it’s not very pretty, but I thought I’d go ahead and show what Manhattan living really is, honestly. Plus, when I think about it, I’m more than a little amazed (and kinda proud) that I made a lot of work in this little nook — including designing, sewing and writing my sewing book. Just goes to show that we really can accomplish a lot with very little sometimes. (I’m going to try to remember that.)
Whenever I’d remove something from a these shelves, Kitty would squeeze herself into the empty spot. It was her favorite thing to do and it always surprised me and cracked me up to find her perched among my craft supplies, always when I least expected it.
One of the projects I undertook in this space was sewing a slip cover for the sofa. In New York there is a very special phenomenon known as My Couch Is Stuck In My Apartment. In this case, the friend who sublet me this apartment purchased this sofa a while back, only to find upon delivery that the sofa wouldn’t fit through the apartment door. (This, sadly, happens a lot around these parts.) The solution is to call a couch doctor, who will rush to your building, cut your sofa into two pieces in the hallway while you hold back tears, move the pieces into the apartment, reassemble the sofa, and charge you a lot of money. (Crazy, right? That’s how we do.) So, that happened to this couch, and consequently the couch was pretty much stuck inside the apartment. To freshen things up, I made a slip cover for it. I got the whole body done and then never finished the cushions. So for my last several months in the apartment, I had a white slip-covered sofa with green cushions. D’oh!
Also, check out the floor – it was this very vintage gray and white tile with pink insets. Old school!
And finally, a couple before-and-after shots of my little kitchen. As you can see, it had a very impactful tile mosaic back splash which I like to think was made by some interesting East Village artist back in the 80′s. A cool piece of neighborhood history to be sure, but not exactly my style. (I’m convinced the same artist did the tile work in The Tile Bar around the block – if you’re ever in the area, check it out.)
My solution was to hang a piece of peg board over the mosaic, concealing the crazy tile and giving me lots of space to hang my pots. I also had the old brown door replaced, which really refreshed the room, and hung wallpaper inside the glass cabinet doors to conceal clutter.
I think it was pretty cute in the end! And goodness I love that wallpaper (it’s this one from Anthropologie). I still have a good bit of the roll left and hope to find a use for it in my new space.
This really is the end of an era, but change is good and I feel great about my move. I’ve been a busy little bee working on the new apartment and can’t wait to start sharing photos very soon.
So long, old apartment, and so long, Manhattan! Thanks for the memories!