Finding our apartmentWe found our apartment on Craigslist, which despite all the "ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT?" comments we got did not bother us. It's how we found our last house, our car, and quite a lot of our furniture. We looked (online) at lots of places before we came to this one. Many of them had pools, gyms and other amenities, but they were either out of our price range or "fixed income" and we weren't sure what that would look like, since many of them were also clearly marketed to students. Our place is part of a four-plex, so there are only three other apartments, not a huge complex, which is nice. In the past we've sort of just hoped for the best in our homes, but this time we had a few things we were looking for: washer and dryer included, far enough from campus to not be in "party central" every single night, two bedrooms, and, if possible, two bathrooms. The latter one was my personal hope. While there were houses available in our price range, we decided pretty early in the hunt that we didn't really want to have to keep up with a yard. It didn't take THAT much time out of our lives, but with where we are in life, it was an added hassle. I'm looking forward to one day buying a house, something that could potentially happen while we're still here, but right now, it's pretty nice letting school and work be our priorities.
We had an apartment sort of lined up, but mailing our application to the landlord took a long time and someone got to it before we did. But this one happened to be on Craigslist on the day we got turned down for the first one, maybe two weeks before we moved. Carson called on it that day and by that afternoon, we had a lease. The other one was a top floor, which I didn't want, and looks to be in full sun (it's about five houses down, actually), with a driveway that's at the bottom of a hill. I'm not sure how we'd have gotten that huge moving van down there, and I'm betting that our bills would have been much higher for air, since right now our apartment is pretty much a cave. It's REALLY dark in here, but I think of all the money we're saving on keeping it cool and I don't care about having to turn on a light anytime I enter a room.
Okay, enough writing; PICTURES!
We'll begin with the exterior. It's not pretty but who cares?
And here's how it looks as you're coming up the stairs (the light is generally not on and the door typically stays closed).
And the view from our front door... I fixed our garbage can lid moments after taking this.
Here's our front door. This wreath hung unadorned on our last door and I never got around to doing anything to it so this little paper banner spices it up a little.
You enter in a little dark hallway with the guest bedroom to your immediate right, the pantry (WE HAVE A PANTRY) right next to that, and the water heater or something ugly next to that. To the left is the kitchen. Straight ahead is the living room/dining room combo, and the other two doors on the right are the laundry area and then our bedroom.
Most of the places we saw had these pass through areas in the kitchens, which I didn't really care for. Carson LOVED them though, which was good because there weren't many other options. It's grown on me a lot, and I think it will be great for setting food on, or just keeping tabs on what's going on in the living room.
This kitchen has so much more counter space than any place we've lived. It's almost overwhelming and I haven't measured but I'd be willing to bet that it tripled our counter space from the Cleveland place. There are more cabinets too, and since we have our great little pantry to put food in, we have even MORE space to put things. I really like the layout of this kitchen too. I think it was planned way better than our house's kitchen.
Across the hall is the guest bedroom/office/library. The bedroom set was my graduation gift from my parents and I'm happy to finally have it in my own house. It makes the guest room seem more like a functional room, whereas an air mattress on the floor with random bookshelves wasn't so welcoming. I like this little room.
Over the bed is a poster of colorful tickets that I found at IKEA in May, which Morgan graciously stored until I actually moved to Florida. It was always my plan to put it in this room, and I like it there. Also on the wall is a picture of Jesus that Carson loves. Over the desk is our message board, which we've never really used functionally but it works here. My craft stuff is in the closed cabinet, Carson's books are on the big shelves (he got rid of SO many of them when he was going through boxes - so proud) and the little white shelf holds our DVDs.
This house was advertised as having two master suites, which I didn't really get at first, but I guess it just means that both bathrooms are connected to the bedrooms. This one seems to be "hotel style" to me, since there isn't a door separating the bedroom from the sink part. The shower and toilet are in their own little space, and there's plenty of room under the sink for storing towels and extra toiletries.
The guest bathroom has what I like to call "country kitchen" wallpaper, which is fairly subtle for wallpaper and doesn't bother me too much (but I would rip it out in a heartbeat if we owned this place). We're using our old orange shower curtain in this bathroom, partially because when we moved in this was the only bathroom with a shower rod, and partially because after four years of living with it, I was tired of how dark and not my style it was. Sorry, guests.
The guest closet is its own special little thing. It's a big mess. For the last four years, we've had some form of extra storage, and with this place of course, that didn't happen. So to go from a full sized basement to a closet isn't THAT bad. It needs organization, but that will come (and you're not going to get a closer picture until that's done).
Along the same wall you walk in on is the laundry... area. I'm not sure if it's fair to call it a room because it's basically a closet with a washer and dryer in it. It's a far cry from the scary basement and really convenient to have it in the middle of everything. Our Christmas tree somehow fits next to the dryer, and as you can see, we've stored an exercise ball and coolers in addition to actual laundry stuff. Can I also say how great it is to have a shelf? In our scary basement, there wasn't a shelf, so I stored the detergent and dryer sheets on top of the washer, which was slanted toward the ground because everything was angled toward the drain. This is way better, and isn't likely to be as frozen in the winter.
Back out into the hallway, we come to the dining, and then living room. When I first walked inside the apartment, this space was the biggest disappointment to me. For some reason (probably seeing tons of pictures of different places, and then they all mashed into my head to form a new house), I thought that there would be a little dining room. Of course there isn't, and when I first walked in, I didn't think we were going to have enough room. I was soon convinced that I was wrong, and actually NOT having a separate room for the table was great because we were able to put the leaves in the table. I didn't even know we had leaves for the table until this point. We haven't eaten in here yet, as we prefer to eat on the couch, but we've done lots of studying and projects here.
The living room is part of the the dining room, but I wanted to make them seem separate. The couch turned the way it is helped with that, even thought it is still very open. Since it's dark in here, the mirror on the mantel was my favorite option, in hopes of reflecting some light. The gallery wall is fun, and I'm glad Mom and I spent hours (felt like hours) working on it. Before we moved, I decided that I wanted a dresser to go in the living room, and I'm glad that I did. It gives us space to put things like wrapping paper and chargers, and is another piece of living room furniture that fills the space but isn't overwhelming.
Just over the bar seemed like the perfect place to hang our "Bay" sign that we love. Over the couch are big pictures of us (it was going to be something neutral, like places we lived, but I have almost none that are portrait orientation), one from last year's visit to Old Sheldon Church and the other from a wedding we attended in Spokane in 2012 a week before we moved and never blogged about. The lamp is "new", from a thrift store. Everything else I think you'll recognize from our other homes, though isn't it funny to see things in a new space?
The door goes to our little porch, which gets no sun, but does allow you to be protected from rain. It's a great place to go outside and read because it's cool out there and really private (it faces some trees). We will likely invest in an outdoor chair or two for here, but we're fine dragging our dining room chairs out for now.
The sliding door on the porch goes to our room, and we really don't use it. It's sort of a hassle to move those blinds to go out there, and it's not like you can watch amazing sunsets or anything from there, so we just go around to the back door and treat this sliding door as a window (and this is also how light it gets in our room... yikes!).
Our room is a little bit strange because you go through the bathroom to get there. I imagine that if we have guests over this will be nice, so that we can close our door and let them use this one, but I think it's strange. Also, check out the wallpaper. It's special.
So you enter into the little sink area, which has the toilet and shower straight ahead, and the closet to the right. I leave the closet door open with my shoe holder (which I've owned since I first went to college for some reason).
The bathroom part of the bathroom is the lightest part of the whole apartment. It's the only place that doesn't have lots of dark wood or weird wallpaper and that's so nice. I found the shower curtain at Big Lots for $8. Somehow in planning to move I'd forgotten that two bathrooms meant double the bathroom stuff, like shower curtains. I've had the orange one for so long that this light colored one is great. The art on the wall is a painting by a Beaufort artist, Nancy Rhett. I felt a little bad about putting art of any kind in a bathroom, but the colors worked and it was nice and light.
Back in the entry bathroom, we have a couple of frames on the walls. Whoever lived here before put holes in the walls there, so I just stuck my own nails right where those were. Nice. I keep my tank tops on that over the door hanger, a Pinterest hack.
And here's our bedroom. It's also SUPER dark in here, even during the day. It's GREAT for taking naps or sleeping in, since additionally, it's really quiet.
In the past, our room was one of the last places where we hung things. Part of this is due to the fact that we don't have a headboard, and I don't own anything big enough to fill up a huge wall behind the bed. When we were making the gallery wall for the living room, making a little "collage" on the wall occurred to me, and I made my dad put nails in the right places there. We also hung a full-length mirror, our wedding vows, and the collage of wedding pictures that have previously hung in our dining and living rooms. It feels more like a room with things on the walls.
Forgive the curtains. I don't love that they are a foot off the ground (which you conveniently can't see) or that they are cream when everything is white, but you win some you lose some. They're hung on a piece of PVC pipe that we bought when Mom and Dad were here for a LOT less than we were seeing for a curtain rod.
The blue thing on the wall in this picture is a frame with our wedding vows written on it. I loved the idea, and still do, but can't seem to get it right, so a couple days after I took this picture, I replaced it with a new piece of art.
Now that we have my furniture from my room in South Carolina, we each have our own dresser! I'm using this one with a mirror over the top, and Carson is using the tall one. The one in our Cleveland house is the one that's out in the living room.
Whew. I knew that would be wordy and picture heavy, and I'm sorry that it is so that way, but I'm clearly not THAT sorry. Thanks for reading, or perhaps just looking at pictures, or perhaps scrolling past and saying "NEXT!" We like our little Florida home, despite its cave-like attributes.