December 15, 2014

home sweet home

I absolutely love seeing little sneak peaks into other people's homes, call me nosy, but there's just something so interesting about seeing how others have made their spaces their own. I've had the intention of sharing my space for a while, but I've always put it off hoping that things would become more complete and "share ready." I was contacted recently by Urban Compass about a project they've started called "Starter Stories." They've been sharing different people's starter homes, tips for creating a home, and information on how they found their places. Urban Compass is a website that helps connect people with homes/apartments in New York city based on their tastes and hobbies. You can find their neighborhood guide here where you can peruse different NYC neighborhoods and find information on what the culture of that area is like as well as what makes that specific area unique. I've always had this fantasy of living in New York (in a Brownstone of course!) so now I have a great resource in case that pipe dream ever comes true!

I've lived in my tiny little apartment for over a year now and it's amazing to me how quickly it felt like home when I moved in. I've never really had a place of my own before because I went from living with my parents, to moving to college, to moving to South Korea, to an intentional community house, to this little apartment inside of a residence hall. I guess I had my own place in South Korea, but it was smaller than a studio apartment inside of a high rise building and while it was comfortable, I knew that it was always for a short period of time which kept me from really nesting.

While this is technically "my own place" it's also technically not. You see, I'm a Resident's Director for freshman girls. I share my home with over 170 other girls, but I have my own self sufficient apartment on the first floor. I knew when I got this job that my life would be crazy so it was super important to me to have my personal space be calm, clean, and representative of who I am. It needed to be a place where I could recharge.

This is one of my favorite pieces in my house because there's all sorts of treasures on it!
I feel like I've been able to pull that off fairly well considering that I'm limited on the aesthetic changes that I can make to the apartment and also considering that I operate on a very strict budget (student loans are a doozy, am I right?). When I first moved into my apartment all I had (furniture wise) was a kitchen table, a mattress, a coffee table, and some second hand couches that had been gifted to me. The couches were in pretty bad condition and so one of the first things I did was start lurking on Craigslist to see if I could find anything I liked for a decent price. What I learned from that experience was that couches are crazy expensive and people have very different interpretations of the word vintage. I ended up finding this set that I liked for a decent price and purchased it right away. It's not my favorite pattern, but it's clean, the pieces are comfortable, and I got a screaming deal on them.

My best friend and I quickly scheduled a trip to Ikea and I began researching pieces I'd want. Ikea's website is awesome because you can put in which store you'll be purchasing from and they'll tell you exactly what aisle/section your goods are in. It helped me to not get overwhelmed by that giant Swedish Disneyland and to make sure that I kept within my budget.

One thing that I learned through this experience of creating a little home was that it doesn't happen overnight. You accumulate things, you find treasures, and you slowly add to your growing little nest. It's fun to look around this space and see different things that have been gifted to me or thrifted and be able to have a story to tell. There were pieces that I wanted in my home that were far outside of my budget (here's looking at you West Elm!) so I did my best to recreate them or find cheaper substitutes.

My favorite places to shop throughout this process have been local thrift stores like the DI, Savers, and Goodwill, Etsy, Ikea, and Target. If I had a billion dollars, I may have picked everything from Anthropologie, West Elm, and Pottery Barn, but I don't have that sort of income and I'm quite pleased with my budget friendly little abode. I've learned that a house is not made overnight, and while you can stuff your space full of beautiful things, that doesn't necessarily make a home. My favorite things about my home aren't necessarily the cute yellow barstools that I got for my birthday (although I do love them!), or the print of my favorite lyrics that I found on Etsy, but the people that have come through my home and created memories here. That's what I love most about my little starter home.
Blog design by Get Polished | Copyright Jess Novello 2016