Our first apartment

16 July 2013

Welcome, welcome, friends! I’m finally ready to deliver on my promise of a tour of our first (and only) apartment!

John and I moved to North Carolina four years ago this week, fresh out of college. My Mom and I had visited the Triangle a few weeks prior to scout out apartments, and ended up signing a one-year contract for this one. Honestly? If you had told me we would still be there almost four years later, I would have been quite skeptical — I was MISERABLE and horribly homesick when we first moved, and began making plans almost immediately to move back to New England once our lease was up. Obviously things have changed since then (thankfully!).

Since we didn’t know how long we’d be living here, we chose not to make too many substantial decorating decisions. We only painted one room (a bathroom, of all things), and avoided purchasing investment pieces that might have not worked in the next place we lived. Over four years we did collect several larger pieces (a mattress, a sofa) and many smaller ones (mostly artwork); each was chosen based on how much we loved it and how much longevity we thought it had.

Let’s get started, shall we?

colorful apartment ideas

Couch: Macy’s | Bookshelf: Ikea | Pillow and frames: Target | Berry basket: Anthropologie | Cat: Calvin’s Paws :)

The bulk of our apartment was essentially one large room encompassing living room, dining room, and kitchen. We loved the openness, as well as the high ceilings. The top watercolor of the Blue Ridge Mountains was a gift from one of John’s sisters, and the piece below it was actually a letterpress card from Meredith that we framed!

black and white gallery wall

Chairs: DIY | X-bench: Target | White loveseat: Ikea | Trunk: Vintage

The trunk is one of my favorite pieces we own — it was transplanted from my Dad’s family’s cottage in Maine after the last burst of decluttering, and made it safely to NC via car and boat transportation!

wooden trunk coffee table


Wire card holder: Pressed Cotton | Letterpress states poster: Beauchamping | Planner: Emily Ley | Desk: Vintage

rainbow bookcase ideas

They say you can tell a lot about a person (or family) by looking at their bookshelf, and though I think that’s true, I’m not sure what you might surmise from looking at ours, with its poetry next to politics and economics next to etiquette. Perhaps just an appreciation of all the colors of the rainbow? :)


Our dining area was just behind the brown couch. The table is by far one of my favorite pieces we own — it was my college graduation present from my parents, it’s white-washed solid mahogany, and it expands to seat 10-12!! Pretty perfect for an apartment, no? The Windsor chairs were rescued from my best friend’s parents as they downsized (conveniently at the same time as we were moving!). I’d love to have them professionally sprayed one day.

The chart is from NOAA of the region of Maine where my family has a cottage; we had it professionally framed. My parents have always had one hanging in our house, so I wanted to continue the tradition!


A question: Do y’all keep your table set at all times?? Despite these photos, we most definitely do not, and I had never heard of such a thing before I moved down South — but it seems to be fairly common here. Thoughts? P.S. Wedding china!


Abe Lincoln print: Mary Kate McDevitt

Our kitchen was nice and large, and we loved how open it was to the rest of the apartment — great for entertaining! My extensive cake stand collection lined up on top of our cabinets :)


Duvet and blanket: L.L. Bean | Shams: HomeGoods | Lamp: HomeGoods | Lampshade: Target | Bedside tables: Ikea

Our bedroom was super simple — just the basics. The shams, which perfectly matched the other bedding, were a serendipitous find at HomeGoods.


No-sew curtains: DIY

A few notes here: I know the bench by the window is hard to see, but it’s covered in leopard fabric and was my very first upholstery project, in high school. I’ve been on the leopard bandwagon for awhile. I like to file the woven basket under the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” category: John had a penchant for leaving his pajamas on the floor instead of folding them, so I figured we might as well just toss our pajamas in the basket instead. Worked like a charm!

daily devotional

To finish, I wanted to share this neat little book with you. It’s a devotional that was published in 1904, and has been in my family since that time — there are handwritten notes throughout detailing certain days on which relatives died and were born. John and I have been reading from it most nights, and have been pleasantly surprised by how fresh-sounding and relevant it is!

I hope you enjoyed the tour, friends! I didn’t get around to photographing the two bathrooms or the guest bedroom/office, but rest assured pretty much all you missed was a gigantic explosion of tinsel due to my Etsy exploits.

We’re starting to get things settled in the house, and I look forward to sharing our new space as it comes together!! In the meantime, I have one more thing to share with you from our apartment — our very favorite thing about it. Check back later this week!

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July 16, 2013 12:16 pm

That devotional is such an awesome treasure! How fascinating to be able to look back at family history and still feel that the words are relevant today.

July 16, 2013 12:36 pm

I love that you have arranged your books by colour. My husband is an economist and I studied philosophy and then law, plus I love fiction, so we have a large and quite diverse library … I think you may have come up with a perfect way of organising it!

July 16, 2013 5:58 pm

I also love your rainbow book display! All my poor books are stashed away in boxes and under the bed while we search for a bookcase of nice quality, and even nicer on our budget. Are you pleased with the ikea bookcase? Is it worth the cheaper pricetag?

July 17, 2013 10:37 am

The NOAA chart is definitely a popular item: my brother, my dad, and I all have it! Can’t wait to see your new house!

July 17, 2013 10:23 pm

Looks great, my dear!

July 18, 2013 8:40 pm

@Ashley I am definitely pleased with the Ikea bookcase quality given the price (about $60, I think). Given how expensive solid wood bookcases can be, I’m happy with this one for now! One thing I was worried about with the lower quality was the shelves sagging from the weight of the books, but happily that hasn’t happened yet!

Mattye W
July 18, 2013 10:56 pm

I love your comment about people in the South always keeping their tables set! It’s definitely so true. One of my favorite memories of visiting my friend who is a Louisiana girl living in Dallas is her set table complete with her dinner napkins fluffed up in her goblets at each setting! As for us, we live in a loft that is just perfect for us, but we have to manage our space well because it is cozy! This means our dining room table (which has an amazing view of downtown Birmingham) also often serves as a desk. If that weren’t the case I would definitely keep it touched up with more than I do. I might not keep full place settings, but when I can I love to change out runners, place mats and centerpieces so that it always looks like you could sit right down and enjoy a meal with friends!

July 21, 2013 12:11 pm

LOVE those red chairs — perfect statement piece!

July 22, 2013 3:55 pm

I love seeing all the little details (and big ones, those chairs came out great!) that you’ve blogged about over the past few years! The whole apartment looks great. Definitely love that chest, even more because it’s a family piece. Those are the best.