My Apartment

by Lisa Lombardi in

As sad it feels to admit this, my apartment is a huge part of my life. Some people snowboard, some people knit, some people do trapeze ballet. I repair, renovate, and decorate. 

I moved into my current place more than a year ago, when my best friend/former roommate decided to get married and be a grown-up and live with her husband instead of me. As of this month, it's the first place I've lived for more than a year since I graduated from high school. And I fully intend on making it feel like home.

Since my roommates and I signed our lease last September, I've had a hand in fixing up nearly every room in the apartment (with varying results), and even though it's nowhere near "pages of Elle Decor"- or even "Apartment Therapy house tour"- worthy, it's come a looooooong way.

Let's revisit: the year is 2013. I have been living in the guest bedroom of my roommate's husband's volleyball friend for close to a month. I'm no pack rat, but even my modest belongings are taking up valuable real estate, leaving me to pick around boxes and small pieces of furniture on the way to and from the bed — which, may I add, is actually my mattress perched on top of the guest bed's. Because otherwise I'd have even less floor space. For weeks, I sleep, Princess and the Pea-style, and trawl Craigslist for people who need another roommate.

(This whole roommate interview process is probably the closest I'll ever get to being on a reality dating show. In a way, the rejection is even more embarrassing. Asking for love is a hefty request. Me? I just wanted someone to split utility bills with and help take out the trash. The fact that I was turned down after every single "roommate interview" that I went on was a pretty big blow to the ego.)

BUT. In a turn of serendipity that is otherwise foreign to my life, I find out that two former co-workers of my former — (okay, it's Adrienne. Her name is Adrienne. She is important and will likely be mentioned a lot more. So, Adrienne. Remember that.) Adrienne's old co-workers, Nathan and Andy, are thinking of getting a place together. Nathan's current living situation is ridiculously cheap and he's been there for years, paying rent month to month; Andy is crashing with his family at the moment, down toward the Cape. Neither has a pressing need to move any time soon, and to be honest, neither really has the proactive mindset to put such a plan into motion. So, I do what any normal, respectful person does: I invite myself into their roommate dream team and proceed to bombard them with apartment listings until we find a place.

This place. And oh, what a place it was.

Lovely wood floors, just re-finished. Built-in china cabinet. Curved living room wall with large windows facing the street. Original woodwork and all those little details that let you know you aren't in a cookie-cutter apartment complex. Not too bad, eh?

But the kitchen. Dear Lord, the kitchen. 

That thing hanging down at the bottom of the fridge is the rubber seal that goes along the door. Nathan tried to fix it with some super glue, but it's back to hanging free, again.

Terrible photo, but please note the random blue on the side of the hastily added sink and counters.

I can forgive the fact that this room was obviously not originally designed to be a kitchen. I can even forgive the warped countertop that is...some sort of vinyl?...and is separating from the chipboard that it's covering. But I refuse to excuse that blue. That hideous blue that can only be  called "sky blue" if it's the sky in a creepy clown mural. I should add, also, that I've found this blue in numerous random places around the rest of the apartment: in Nathan's closet, underneath layers of paint on the door knobs and hardware, painted on a random panel above the kitchen defies reason.

And then this pink in the pantry. It makes me think that, at one point, my apartment was done up entirely in a combination of that blue, this pink, and the gross, yellow-ish beige that currently covers the kitchen walls. Puke.

That countertop, by the way, is contact paper covered in a thick sheet of clear vinyl that has been attached to the surface of the built-in with a couple dozen poorly placed staples. The vinyl was ribbed and loose in a lot of places and had errant crumbs trapped underneath.

I don't have any pictures of my roommates' bedrooms, because I'm not quite that much of a creeper. Nor do I have any before shots of either of the balconies, because I was initially consumed by interior projects and then it was winter and I try to leave my bed as little as possible from December to the end of February. So I leave you with these two gems that were here when we arrived:

First, this poem that was ominously taped to the wall of my room.


And, on a lighter note, there was also this.

I have so many questions. Did the previous owners have a cat-themed decorating scheme? (Unlikely. I think the previous tenants were a bunch of college guys.) What kind of person would own this clock? More importantly, why did they choose to leave it behind, like a precious, abandoned child??

So, yeah. This is what we willingly signed up for. It gets better, I promise.