April 13, 2023
We all buy things. It’s a fact of life — the obtaining of stuff is a natural biproduct of the modern world, so it’s fair to assume if you’re reading this, it’s because you, too, have gotten and want to continue accruing said things. It’s why hoarders exist, it’s how our economy persists, and it’s why Super Bowl commercials go for $6 mil a pop.
Still, at the risk of sounding too existential, “getting stuff” happens on a spectrum.
Sometimes you get stuff because you need it — The Inexorability of Underpants.
Sometimes we get stuff because we want it — A “Live Mas” Mentality; Formerly the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” Mindset.
Other times we get something because we can’t live without it — The Linus Larrabee Effect.
Then there’s the occasional “I bought it because it was on sale” — otherwise known as the “Purchase Price Provocation”, after which you are compelled to explain to others the type of deal you got on said stuff.
And finally, we buy things because we were served an ad on Instagram — The Luck of the Zuck.
Let’s focus on the purchases we really wanted to make within that spectrum — the one’s, that upon hitting the “place order” button, we felt not just an absence of remorse, but an exceeding sense of “THIS is why I work so hard to make money.” It’s these little “fulfillments of our workplace duties” that feel really good in the moment.
That said, on a low key but not overlooked note, the best “stuff” any of us get are the pieces that remind you of that good feeling time after time, especially later on down the road. It’s when those pants form to your body after 2 years of constant wear, or that jacket drapes just right after taking a beating, or those kicks feel the most comfy once you’ve given them a true walk about. On the home side, it could be a couch that’s only gotten better with every wine stain and cozy night in, that coffee table carrying a wonderful patina that feels uniquely yours, or even a paint color that you’ve seen evolve in the light of different seasons.
For us, we’re nearing 3 years in our current apartment, and it has us reminiscing on the different “stuff” we’ve gathered across our time in this space. We’ve felt all sorts of feelings, but mostly we’re happy with where things have ended up. We have a home we really live life in — a real “live hard, work hard, play hard” sorta environment for the Pages.
But beyond the stuff, we’ve been looking at the before’s, subsequent after’s, and favorite parts of it all. So, bear with us as we pontificate sentimentally on the transformations in our home and the individual pieces that make the “sum” so exciting for us.
The fireplace and parquet floors sold us on this specific room immediately. We walked into the apartment, and this space, filled with natural light, screamed of the potential for something cozy and charming. The first piece we chose for the living room was this chandelier, and it remains our favorite piece in the room (and potentially in the entire apartment). Anna’s dad came to town when we moved in to help us hang it. With it’s awkward size and how high it had to be held, it took 2-3 of us to wrangle it while he tussled with the pre-war electrical work. After the longest hour of our lives, we stepped back, sweating and laughing, and knew this piece would be one that we appreciate for a long time.
Now, whenever we turn it on or catch the morning light bouncing off of it, it reminds us of Anna’s dad and the memories we made that day. Sentimentally and practically, it’s the standout in this space!
Beyond that, a massive change we made was adding wall-molding to this room. It’s a subtle and easy way to add interest to your walls without overwhelming with decorations and photos. We talked all about the process here.
And finally, one part of this space we knew had to change right away was the closed door stealing away loads of natural light. The previous tenants has converted a nook in the apartment into additional storage. While we respect the convenience, we can’t stand for any lost light, especially in a space where we’d be spending so much time. So, we turned it into a mini office! We have both worked from home since we moved to NYC, so this was a great way to keep the natural light free while also making the space feel practical.
One of the first changes we made to this apartment when we moved in was adding peel and stick floor tile to cover this dark and generally uninteresting flooring. The result was literally the foundation for not only the moody green kitchen we fell in love with once upon a time, but also the current iteration of our makeshift dining room. Nearly three years on, the tile has held up extremely well and is very easy to replace in the high traffic areas. (We keep a few of both the white and black tile on hand in the event one needs to be replaced.)
The most recent major project in this space was adding this wallpaper mural inside of wall molding. This area is huge for us, since it acts as our dining room, occasionally our office, and is the entry into our kitchen. Having a corner that brings us joy and maximizes what little natural light makes its way into our kitchen is extremely important to us!
These two projects has become some of our favorites to look back on in a space that gets lots of use!
Some people are weary of patterns in small spaces for fear that it’ll feel too crowded or overwhelming… we are not those people. So, we decided to drench this space in prints to feel an overwhelming sense of Paris in spring, and we dig it — as we often cheekily remark in true Parisian form: “more is more”. This floral wallpaper from Gucci steals the show in this small, but well-spaced bathroom, and having tile running halfway up the wall helps balance the space quite nicely and avoid feeling too much like you’re using the bathroom in Jardin des Champs-Elysees. One con: the guy who hung our wallpaper did a terrible job, so it’s begun disintegrating at the seams.
The in-between not pictured here was the beige-y pink color we once chose for this room. While we loved the color, it actually did feel overwhelming in a small space. We’ll find a place for that Peige one day!
The other small piece we added to this room was a floating shelf above the toilet. It adds a nice touch of interest that breaks up the pattern a bit and adds function to boot.
Lastly, we got a few comments about not posting photos with the toilet seat up on Anna’s Instagram, and while we don’t mean to offend anyone, I can assure you these photos were taken with clean, flushed toilets.
Q: Are you renting?
Q: Your landlord lets you make all of these changes?
A: Yes. They actually follow us on Instagram and have been great to work with!
Q: I see you’ve hung a few chandeliers, is it okay/easy/renter-friendly to change light fixtures in an apartment?
A: The short answer is, it’s simple, but not necessarily easy.
Hanging a chandelier is very straightforward, and Nathan has changed all of our light fixtures (entryway, bedroom, bathroom, and nursery) except for the one Anna’s dad did when we first moved in. In most cases, everything will center around a couple of wires, which makes it fairly simple — just make sure you flip the switch on the breaker (or at the very least, turn the light off), and you should be able to figure it out with some quick googling.
That said, there can be some complications. For starters, we live in a pre-war building, and you never know what you’ll find when you drill into a wall or take off a light fixture. Some have been easy, with a clearly cut hole and wires clearly marked, while others have required some creative navigation. Beyond, some chandeliers are just heavy, and it’s really hard to navigate holding the light fixture, placing the medallion, connecting the wires, and then connecting everything — all while standing a ladder (oh, that reminds me, you probably need a ladder or pretty large stepping stool).
So, while it can be simple if you have the right tools and an extra person to support you, it can be very difficult to navigate the nuances of hanging a chandelier in an apartment. Our rec? If you don’t have the tools for the job, hire a taskrabbit or similar service to help you out! It’ll take them no time at all.