As the holidays roll around, and I look back at the year, and years past, I always think about how far I’ve come. Sometimes, I sit back and look at the little things that I take for granted, most recently, my apartment. I’m not only talking roof-over-my-head lucky, but how my husband and I turned it into what we will always look back on as, “Our first home,” making lasting memories for years to come.
Our cozy living room during the holidays
Our apartment is magical; magical in the sense that we truly found the perfect place to live. Great building, perfect location, and most importantly, ours. You see, it was really difficult going into looking for a place to live as we don’t work anywhere near each other – him in White Plains (Westchester County), and me in downtown Manhattan. As you probably know, when it comes to NYC real estate, a lousy work commute is a non-negotiable. Looking back, real estate platform, Urban Compass, would have come in super-handy, especially with the use of their Neighborhood Guides, to help find the perfect location!
It was just days before my lease was up, and the pressure was on me to find a place for us to live in Astoria. I was already living there, so it was easy for me to go to showings before work, as opposed to my husband, Steve, up in Westchester. The catch was, we had to make sure we were within a reasonable walking distance to the M60 bus, which would get him to the Metro North within minutes. Slim pickin’s, guys.
Or so I thought. The broker took me into the biggest apartment building on the block – complete with laundry, elevator, and, wait for it…about a three minute walk to the bus stop! The amazing price for the unit, and the convenience of it all, had me leaping at the opportunity for this to be my first home with my future husband!
Turning the apartment into a home wasn’t too hard. A few years earlier, we had found a mosaic table and chairs at some antique shop off the Bruckner Expressway, and impulsively bought it. I think I was still living with my parents at the time, so Steve took it with him for his apartment at Fordham where he was a Resident Director. Once I had my own place, I was able to use it, but the thought of bringing it into our first home was super exciting!
The mosaic table that really got around
The table became a theme-starter of our dining space, which we actually named, Staurie Cafe. “Staurie” is how we refer to ourselves: Laurie + Steve = Staurie. Yes, it’s a play off of the Bennifers and the Kimyes of the world, and extremely corny, but it’s all in good fun. We put up a bulletin board with the name printed on it, and plastered pics of ourselves all over it. Pics we’ve collected from vacations and parties, our engagement and wedding pics, and our numbers from the various runs we’ve done.
Staurie Cafe, complete with an epic caricature we had done at the San Diego Zoo!
Steve and I had it pretty easy decorating our dining space in comparison to the bedroom. He has more of a sleek, black, what I like to refer to as “Patrick Bateman-esque” type of taste, while I like a more girly, shabby/chic vibe. One way we were able to compromise on our differing tastes, was to include pictures of meaning. An engagement photo, wedding photo, and our vows arranged beautifully above our bed:
From left to right: engagement photo, wedding photo, vows
It was difficult for me to choose just a few things about our apartment that really make it a home, but it is these stories stand out most to me as these are memories that I look back on fondly, and items I look at with love.