Our First Place

Believe me, we don’t like to think about this. You’re family, so you know the details… this place had a world of problems and gave us plenty of heartache which I won’t go into here. BUT we also spent our first 4 years together here. And happily together, I might add! As we’re approaching our 5 year anniversary (crazy!), I’ve been thinking about pulling this post together so that we might remember where we started and maybe even to provide some tips on living small and making a successful start together. 10 years ago I moved here to be with my love:


Ah, here we are – this condo building where Jacob had winningly purchased a basement one bedroom. I can’t even use the term “lower level” for this gem. It was a basement. And it was teeny tiny ringing in at 487 square feet. There are RV’s bigger than this and I actually think that this may qualify as a “tiny” home??¬† I guess that put us ahead of the game on that trend. ūüôā Of course I modeled the whole place, as I do with everything and just 9 months after we met, made a plan to get rid of nearly everything Jacob owned, sell all of my furniture too, and prep this place to accommodate two.

Before I really get into it let me explain why I got rid of everything we each had. Big commitment, right? We could have easily tried to live here together and not make any changes to the things Jake owned at the time like dressers, etc. Why bother with all the expense! Well, the happy ending of that story would have been a condo filled with clutter, not enough storage and messes everywhere which would have agitated both of us, making us fight and causing us to be unhappy. Who knows if our relationship would have lasted through those stressful emotions. So for the sake of you and your significant others happiness make a fresh start together! You’ll thank me.


The main entry was the door at the bottom of the image with a hallway leading to the one bedroom and then basically into the condo. Not a lot of room for either furniture or options. Thankfully we have an IKEA an hours drive away and I was already pretty familiar with CraigsList so was able to create something livable. I don’t have photos from every angle and there were a few iterations in some areas, but basically this is what we did to fit in here together. Oh! I forget, we also had a storage unit filled with the off-season items (remember that Jake??), but on the daily here’s where we lived.


The alcove next to the closet was thankfully big enough for a queen bed and allowed us to use the sill from the one window well as a nightstand for a lamp etc. Knowing the closets were tiny and we’d need every square inch for storage, I bought the tallest bed risers (something like this)¬† I could find and hiked that beauty up so high I literally had to crawl my way up into it. To hide all of that I had to find an extra tall bed skirt and kept the room light with all white bedding. Along the left wall we placed a bench that also had internal storage. Opposite this wall we purchased two identical tall¬†dressers from Ikea so we each had drawer storage.

Jacob did have a coffee and end table set that we kept, as well as his ginormous rear projection TV and his sofa, which I loathed for the record.



These pictures are probably from the 2nd or 3rd time we tried to sell the place and we finally did get a new couch we bought off my sister in year 4, but we lived with this monster most of the time. We placed two additional storage ottomans for throw blankets and dvds, etc along the wall and they could also be extra seating. The secret to a successful relationship is storage, clearly.


The kitchen actually had nice cabinets and granite counter tops and we added some under-cabinet lighting to brighten up dark corners. When it needed it, we replaced the refrigerator with a cost-effective black version (was white previously) and that mixed well with the other stainless appliance. Thank goodness this place had a dishwasher!


After a few attempts at a table and getting tired of eating off our laps on the couch, I found this small pub table and chair set off craigslist and added an inexpensive plug-in sconce and shade from Ikea over the table. If those cold tile floors could talk… Ugh. Moving on..


The last corner of the condo – that far back corner gave us a chance at some additional storage. We went through shelving units, cabinets, hooks for coats, etc and eventually created a little nook for a desk set up. Behind that the golf clubs were also stored, of course. Jake didn’t have as many pairs of golf shoes then. ūüėČ

Well, that’s the grand tour! I know, hard to believe you’ve seen all of it already, huh? LOTS of tears through the years over the troubles this place gave us but also a lot of fun memories too. Chinese food Fridays, Wii game nights, and bringing Birdie home with us! I found this video from 2008 when we had just gotten her.


There’s always room to practice chipping!

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Life After Downton Abbey

If you’re anything like me than you really loved watching¬†Downton Abbey! I mean, who didn’t?? I so enjoyed the visits and glimpses of history as much as the sharp wit and humor of the Dowager. Julian Fellowes really did an amazing job writing such a beloved show and making you love or hate each character. ¬†But what do we do now that Lady Edith has found happiness and Mary has somewhat come to grips with her as a sister??

Maybe it’s old news, but I wanted to tell you that Amazon Prime has another show by Julian Fellowes that he’s written in the spirit of Downton. It’s called Doctor Thorne and is free to watch with a Prime membership. There are only four episodes so it’s not as big a commitment as Downton, but they were really well done.¬†Here’s the trailer from Amazon:

I really liked the writing and am found myself favoring characters straightaway. Julian has a little chat with the viewer before and after the episode and it’s so interesting¬†to hear from the creator’s perspective! A¬†little taste of Downton again! If you watch or have watched it, let me know what you think!

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Watch or Listen

While I’m working I like to have some music or the radio playing in the background.¬† I find it soothing and it keeps me going.¬† I’ve got an Amazon Prime membership and have found documentaries are great to listen to while I work, especially when I have a lot of drafting-heavy projects in my lap.¬† Ted Talks, of course, are always a great listen and I enjoy a number of those.

Over the weekend, I discovered The New Yorker Presents on Amazon Prime and can’t wait for more episodes already.¬† Each is about 30 minutes long, but are a compilation of stories, their infamous cartoons, insights and each is just told really really well.

I especially enjoyed episode three and the conversation with artist Marina Abramovic. In episode two the profile of young bull riders and The Death and Life of Atlantic City which was also just unique and interesting.  If you have a membership, I think they are worth a few minutes to see/hear something different and experience a new perspective.

Enjoy your day and a very special “Happy Birthday!” to my wonderful mother!¬† xox

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