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April 2006

Our Apartment Therapy: Guest room remastered and Our kitchen gets her shelves.

Since last weekend I've done a little bit of work in the apartment while waiting for my copy of Apartment Therapy: The eight-step home cure to arrive. I figured I'd start with obvious things like fixing the disarray of our guestroom/office and do some basic decluttering.  The guestroom is where we put things when we can't find a place for them.   As I had mentioned in a previous entry, our apartment has no closet space whatsoever. Very typical for a Paris apartment.  The guestroom turned into an office, dressing area and a random storage space.  It became a room that I hated to enter because there was just so much stuff everywhere!  After buying a new computer, I quickly realized that if I'm going to want to comfortably use the computer I need to feel at ease in our guestroom/office because that was the only feasible place in our apartment to place the computer. 

View from the guest room door Julien's suits and dress shirts
My make shift vanity
Dorm room tv and futon

I assessed the room and listed things I disliked:

- The desk. It's too big for this room and the shape is weird.

- My husband's clothes. They don't belong in the guest room!

- My makeshift vanity. It doesn't belong in this room, either!

- The futon placement. When open, you can't move around the room at all.

The only thing I liked about the room is the kitsch wallpaper from the previous owners. It's too funny to take down.

Here's the layout before:

Guest Room/Office/Dressing Room Layout and changes to be made...

I made an executive decision to replace the wonky desk with a desk of a more conventional shape, say a rectangle? So, I moved out kitchen table into the guest room and made a communal desk for my husband and I.

A shared desk, is it possible?

And....it works! Sort of strange to have two people at a desk like this but it's fun and my husband and I are together when we have our geeky computer moments instead of one us in the living room and one in the office.  And yes, we have video chatted with each while sitting side by side. :)

Here's the new layout:

Office/Guest room remastered!

The flow of this room is much better now. We are push to the wall kind of people, as Ms. Jess at Fig and Plum can relate to this.  No choice, really... this room is just too small for anything else.

We sill have a little work to do in this room, we will install a shelving unit with a built lighting system to go above the desk. I'd also like to do a little decoupage and buy a glass sheet to place on top to bring a little more finish to the desk top.

I've started the process of decluttering our apartment.  This is a hard process for me because I am the daughter of a pack-rat and was taught that it's okay to keep EVERYTHING.   As I got older and more independant, I would do periodical purges of of personal things.  Most times in fits of psychotic cleaning rages (my husband can confirm this) in preparation for parties chez nous.  Remember my makeshift vanity?  Well, I decided to that the guestroom/office should be a neutral space in our apartment, that would be the only way to keep this room clean and prepared for guests.  That meant my husband's suits and my vanity had to go.  I decluttered my beauty products.  This was very hard for me. I'm very serious about skin care. I threw out anything that was older than a year or that I hadn't used in more than 6 months.  I threw out two 20 liter trashbags worth of beauty products, people! It's been nearly a week since I did it and I feel great.  All my body, hair and skin care products are in the bathroom (where they belong) and out of our guest room.  My husband's suits? They are in the hallway...awaiting a shiny new home in our bedroom. Soon, very soon...

Since these changes my copy of Apartment Therapy arrived and I read on the book blog that we're working on the kitchen.  Ça tombe bien...because Julien and I just did a little work in the kitchen as well. We've been busy little bees, n'est-ce pas? After a trip to Ikea to get some organizational ideas, we bought a few things to fix a few minor issues in our kitchen: the lack of counter space.  A few holes drilled et voila! My new cooking nook.

Little changes in the kitchen: Shelves!

My husband remarked that our kitchen finally looks habillé or dressed. Don't you agree?


The ebb and flow of time...

How great is it when you catch up with an old friend?  We've recently gotten a land line in our apartment. Never needed one before because we had cell phones but that limited us to only calling people we knew in France.  Great for the husband, not so great for me but I got used to it (how I got used to it, I don't know). When I arrived I had a total of ZERO friends in Paris, so my call lists on my phone consisted of calls made, received and missed all from my dear husband.  He did make an effort those first few months to call often even if he was just down the street so I didn't feel so alone. 

I just called an old friend and had one of those heart warming conversations where it's like we never stopped talking to each when in all reality the last time we talk/saw each other was nearly 4 years ago.  Busy lives in two different countries. We lost touch but didn't lose each other completely. 

It's funny how time plays tricks on my mind. Things that happened 13 years ago seem so clear like it just happened yesterday but I can't remember what Julien and I had for dinner last night.  Then there's time reminding you of an important date, you don't know how you remember it, you just know it like you know your first name.  And then there are times when you try to forget and you can't and your mind seems to beat around this moment until you accept that you are going to remember it.  I just can't keep up with the ebb and flow of time these days...

This is going to be a year I know I will remember. It will be a year of many firsts without my mother.  But I suspect as time passes things will get easier...  I sometimes fool myself into thinking that everything is just fine and then time reminds me.  I feel myself pause. My thoughts regroup. I breathe. And tell myself to live.  It's all still so hard.



Our apartment needs creative therapy!

As I'm exploring self improvement through creative therapy, I stopped and took a look around my apartment and realized that our apartment needs a little therapy, too.  We've been living here for two years and haven't done much to fix our digs up.  We hadn't intended to stay very long but not it seems like we'll be here for a little while longer so why not fix her up a bit to help pass the time and make it a more pleasant place to live.  Ms. Jess over at Fig and Plum recently told me about Apartment Therapy's group cure.  I, too, am wating for my Apartement Therapy book to arrive so I can start the eight step home cure.  I'm often lacking in ideas about arranging the apartment as you can see from the rough floor plan I just drew up.  We lack floor space.  Drawing straight lines are not my forté, y'all.  There will be a version 2 very soon.

Our floorplan: Draft 1
Click here for better viewing size.
Click photo for some explanation of the lay out.

Our apartment is strangely laid out.  It's long. Very long.  In all, it's 59 meter squared or 635 square feet.  But our hallway is 13 meters squared long (139 square feet).  The hallway runs the length of the apartment and it's technically the biggest space in our apartement. .  So, I guess I should start out with the things I like about our apartment.  It's quiet. There's a lot of light and the ceilings are very high. In our previous apartment I could almost touch the ceiling jumping, we felt very closed in.  The list of things that I don't like is much longer, so I'll just give you the short version:

- No bathtub
- No heater in the hallway. Hallway = Siberia most of the year.
- The bathroom and our bedroom are on opposite ends of the apartment.
- No closet space. (!)

The last one really threw me when we moved in.  I figured we'd be alright and get a few armories and I'd just get over the lack of closet space.  It's painful to get an armories when you have such little floor space, so we've contented ourselves to sharing one armorie which just doesn't work for two clothes horses like us!  You'll see in the guest room/office that J has a clothes rack with just his suits and dress shirts.  The guest room can be easily called our office, dressing room, vanity and Leo's bedroom and someday when we have our first child this will be their room too.

So, there you have it... this is chez nous. We're going to try to give our little apartment some love therapy so that we can all get along. First on my list, paint a wall in the living room green. Here's a color I'm thinking about...

Dream Green

and

Here's a shot of our livingroom today...

Our Livingroom