Give me a dwelling, any dwelling, and I can turn it into a cozy home. Ask my husband and daughter. They’ll swear I’m a miracle worker when it comes to making the most of any amount of square footage.
Over the course of my marriage I have decorated, even redecorated, three apartments, one townhouse, one condo, and three houses. While I’m not a professional, hands-on experience has made me proficient at assembling my family’s living spaces in the long, blink of an eyelash.
Practice makes perfect. It really does.
My daughter’s current apartment is a great, open concept space. There’s even a small foyer leading into the living area. Happily, the wall between it and the kitchen was taken down before she moved in. If not for that, the cramped kitchen would have been claustrophobic, not to mention hot when the stove was in use.
As with most older buildings, the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment is lacking in kitchen storage space.
Above the stove, sink, and refrigerator are squat, boxy cupboards. The type usually reserved for the odd appliance…the rice cooker, the blender, the crockpot. Other than those, there are only 3 other cupboards to store food and dishes. Only one of these is of normal size. Another is narrow. The third while wider is awkwardly situated in a corner. Not much room towards the back for anything.
Having a dishwasher is amazing, although there’s a price to pay for that luxury. There’s only one drawer for cutlery…and nothing else.
While we awaited the arrival of the mover with my daughter’s furnishings, I spent a couple of sleepless nights imagining and re-imagining the use of the space in her apartment. It didn’t take long for me to concoct a brilliant floor plan. Forgive the braggadocio but there are few things for which I’ll take a bow. Decorating, of which I am passionate, is one of them.
Using my daughter’s large, black, glass front cupboard as a dividing wall off the foyer, and a 3 panel, bamboo, room divider facing the living room, we configured a pantry to store not only foodstuffs and miscellaneous kitchenware, but also items we couldn’t find room for elsewhere. With two collapsible shelving units purchased from The Container Store, we were in business.
Resolving the storage problem helped make the apartment more functional. When funds are limited and location is important, there’s always a way to make lemonade out of lemons.
Except for the house we currently own, none of our dwellings have been spacious. In every other home I have had to configure how best to accommodate all our family’s needs. Fortunately I’ve always been up to the challenge.
Watching young couples in the home-buying process on HGTV often drives me crazy. That they require everything from granite countertops to walk-in closets to hardwood floors is beyond my comprehension. Americans are most definitely guilty of getting everything they want…now! Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned ingenuity?
There are limited advantages to growing up poor, such as learning to make do. While no one opts for that, it’s a reality for lots of folks…
meticulous organizer is more accurate…….
ha, ha…at least you didn’t say “anal”… 🙂
Great post Hugmamma! When watching the young house hunters on HGTV, I have a great difficulty in listening their whining when the kitchen doesn’t have granite and/or stainless steel, or the walk-in closet is too small or the shower has “old-fashioned” sliding doors…and so on…and I’m wondering if they have ever had to live with less than “everything” they want.
It boggles my mind. I know my daughter won’t be that way when she buys her first place. She loved the first house she lived in…a 1500 square foot, Victorian farmhouse from the late 1800s. The stairwell that curved upwards to the second floor was like something out of a lighthouse. To get into the small attic, I had to put a stepladder in the tiny landing between the master bedroom and my daughter’s bedroom. What my daughter loved best was the third bedroom which was only accessible through her room. It was a storage room until she got older, and we made it her bedroom. Its charm lay in the fact that it was in the turret which fronted the house. The house we currently own is only the second house my daughter has lived in. It was built in the late 70s. We’ve had to do a lot of remodeling to make it more functional. And as you can guess, my daughter has lived in all manner of apartments during her 12 year career as a dancer. No. She definitely won’t be overly-picky.
It’s fun to figure out how space can be best used. Agree- those tv shows create a false sense of what space should look like – and often lack character. I’m not a good organizer– don’t open any drawers in my kitchen– your daughter is so lucky to have you to help her!
ha, ha. I’ve got spaces like that as well…closets, one room, the garage. I eventually get around to organizing them. Unfortunately, it’s a cyclical thing because when one space becomes uncluttered, another gets cluttered. Never ending… And yes, I’m sure my daughter would agree she’s lucky I can make less-than desirable apartments…functional and cozy.
Sadly, I’m the opposite of you.
We’ve all got talents at which we excel. You’re probably better at figuring out high-tech stuff…or even not so high-tech stuff. Me? Not so much.
Hugmamma, I’m impressed. 🙂 —Susan
As I said, I’ve had a lot of practice. It’s become second-nature at this point. Although I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do it for a living. The day-in, day-out of organizing would probably exhaust me. Once-in-awhile is fun. hugs…