my home

Apartment Dealbreaker List

Few people would disagree that hunting for an apartment is the worst. I’m now on my eighth city apartment so I’m pretty opionionated about what’s important to me. The first thing I look for is something within my budget but after that my deal breaker list goes like this (in order of importance:)

1. Location: Must be in a fun location, with a fast commute. We don’t get out as much with kids so it is important to live in a fun neighborhood, the easier it is to go out the more you’ll do it.
2. Light: I lived in a cheap but dark apartment for three years and will never again. Natural light is higher on my list than a large apartment or laundry! My mood depends on it.

Click through for the rest of the list.


Apartment Pictures: Before and After!

A couple weeks ago Joanna shared some photos of our teeny 500 square foot apartment on A Cup of Jo. I have a lot more pictures and details about hunting for the apartment and renovations so this week I’m going to share some of them. I love a good before and after and this one was pretty crazy. When we signed the lease we agreed to manage the renovations ourselves and we spent two weeks (with the help of Paul’s parents) painting the whole apartment and hiring contractors to do floors etc. It was an exhausting project but we were thrilled with the results. (Just a warning there are some scary “before” pictures.)

Click through below to take a peek…



Last week my friend Jaimie Meares was in town and helped me finish decorating my apartment. I had gotten the main pieces into place last summer but felt like it still needed some art, plants, lighting and pillows before it was “done.” One thing I’ve learned about living in a small apartment is when you add art and furniture the space feels so much bigger. I can’t wait to share the photos of our teeny tiny place.

Living Room

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When people come in our apartment they usually comment how it looks bigger than 450 square feet. We hadn’t measured it since before we moved in so I decided to measure it again and we’ve been officially upgraded from 450 to 550 square feet! I measured the countertops too. Does that count as square footage? I don’t know. Somehow 550 sounds a whole lot better than 450 so I’m going with it. Even though this apartment is small it has a really good layout. Some apartments can feel so wasteful with space. For example we used to live in an apartment with an enormous bathroom (it was big enough to fit a queen size bed!) It was a luxury to have a bathroom that big but it was such a waste of space when we needed room so badly in other places like the nursery.

Here is a little peek of our new living room. I knew I wanted some art that was large and black and white and I fell in love with this “Beach Exercises” piece from that Jocelyn picked. It is quirky but I liked that it feels sort of subtle because it is black and white. The bookshelf is from World Market. The lamp is from IKEA and I am toying with painting it a color (maybe fluorescent?) The little white piece of artwork is by a friend Sunny Belliston Taylor and the large piece on the right is from the flea market.

Our rugs and the last few pieces of furniture that we shipped over from France get here this week. I’m excited to put them in the apartment so I can feel like it is officially “done.” I can’t wait to share pictures of the whole apartment.

Magnet Wall DIY

Moses has always had an obsession with letters and one day we found a giant magnet wall at a store and he was in heaven. So I always said as soon as they had their very own room (not in a closet) we would make one. The whole project was so easy and took less than 10 minutes. Both the kids love it and play with it all the time. It’s perfect for a playroom or a bedroom. I would love to do a giant wall like this.

Materials needed: One custom cut piece of sheet metal, nails, hammer, cardboard, lots of alphabet letters! (I got mine from here, I liked the font.)

After I decided where the wall was going to go I took exact measurements. Home Depot sells sheet metal in standard sizes but won’t cut it. So I looked up a sheet metal guy online and got a quote. He cut and delivered the sheet metal to me for $30. The sheet metal is actually quite sharp so be careful as you are working with it.

Step 1: Make Holes. Lay the sheet metal over the cardboard. Take a nail and hammer it into the sheet metal until a hole is created. Repeat on the corners and every few feet along the edges.
Step 2: Have someone hold the sheet metal up to the wall and starting at the bottom put a nail into the hole until it is flush against the wall. Move upwards making sure there are no gaps or holes between the wall and the sheet metal.
Step 3: Add the letters to create a  giant magnetic alphabet wall.

other sources: striped bedding from Ikea (discontinued), artwork by Paul, lights from Paris)