It’s a thing in New York to take something left on the side of the street if it interests you. There have been a few times where something has caught my eye, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually acted on it.
I was out shopping and thru all the discarded Christmas trees, I saw someone had thrown out two large fake trees (and a few other smaller fake plants). I’d been looking for a fake plant for awhile, having sworn off live plants when I moved to New York, but they’re kind of expensive!
(This is where there’d be a picture of the trees among the trash bags and other stuff, but I didn’t take a picture of that–sorry!)
Initially, I kept walking to finish my shopping, but also because literally taking someone’s trash on a very public street is weird and awkward! With some support from my brother (via text), I decided to head back and take a second look.
There were two similar tall trees, and I tried to quickly choose which one I thought was better while a man on the next stoop watched. Then I just grabbed one and started walking!
Of course, if it’s not captured in a Snapchat selfie, it didn’t happen 😉
For the final act of my craziness, I carried the plant 15 blocks to my apartment on a very windy night. The doorman laughed at me when I came in: “It’s bigger than you!”
A few sprays of Lysol to clean it up, and it was ready to move in. I’ll probably continue to play with the leaves to spread them out a bit (they have wires in them, so they’re easily malleable), but I’m already loving how much warmth it brings to an otherwise awkward and empty corner.
One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure! (And there are free things in New York!)
I hosted a housewarming party for myself a few weeks after moving in. I love to bake, so it’s no surprise that I wanted to make my signature dish: brownies.
On the walk thru before closing, we tested the outlets and burners, but I suppose we weren’t in the apartment long enough to try the oven or smell the faint whiff of gas.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I turn on the oven to bake the brownies, only to find that it isn’t getting hot. A quick peek in the broiler drawer below the oven reveals the lack of a pilot light as the cause. (The white stuff is just residue which was easily scraped off.)
It took an extended lighter and some courage, but I got the pilot light lit!
However, the oven still wasn’t working properly. And that’s when the perk of having a live-in super in your building pays off! He took a look the next afternoon and got it to work by manually lighting the gas radiating from the spreader bar (that thing going to the upper right corner of the pictures). Though he did caution me that’s just a temporary fix and the oven should be replaced soon.
Which I’ve already been thinking about… 🙂
Paint is an easy way to make a mark on your space and turn it into your own. I knew one of the first painting projects I wanted to tackle was painting the inside of the front door my favorite color: aqua. I stopped by Benjamin Moore to pick up some paint samples, and fell in love with their color Burbank Blue. I got a quart in high-gloss, and used about half on the door.
I also picked up some painting supplies at Lowe’s. First painting project means I needed to get all the basics, including a brush and roller.
One thing I did have on hand was painter’s tape. I taped around the door to protect the frame, locks, and knobs. (And yes, that’s my mezuzah hanging to the left of the door.)
One coat down! And it’s already made such a difference in the space.
The second coat went on even easier and needed less paint than the first. Then it was just a matter of removing the tape and letting it dry. It’s hard to get a good picture in the small room, but I tried.
Such a small change, but I love it!
I love the way curtains can turn a plain room into something special, so it was high on my list to hang some curtains in my new apartment. (Don’t mind all the excess stuff hanging on the window–it’ll all be taken down at some point.)
After looking around online, I decided on this curtain rod and rings from Bed Bath & Beyond (of course I used a 20% coupon :)). Like the reviews mentioned, the brass coloring on the rod and rings were pretty varied. I had to dig around and go to a second store to find rings in the same tone as the rod. The 66-120″ length comes in three pieces and with end caps, and the color isn’t consistent between them. It’s not quite so noticeable, but if it bothers me down the road, it’ll be easy enough to spray paint a uniform color.
Done! It was a bit difficult to install by myself into plaster with only an 18″ stool (I’m 5’2″ and the ceiling is almost 9′ tall), but I was determined! It adds so much color and personality to the room already.
The curtains were used in my last apartment, which were purchased here over two years ago. A few of the panels in direct sunlight had faded, but I used two where the fading was minimal and not noticeable.
I love shoes. I also have a lot of shoes. Neither of these things would surprise anyone that knows me. So it’s probably not surprising that one of the first things I did as I was unpacking was hang my over-the-door shoe rack. Once it was full of shoes, I made the unfortunate discovery that the door wouldn’t close–there was a rogue box in the way!
It didn’t appear to have a use anymore, but just to be sure, I asked the superintendent for my building about it. He said it’s very old, and I could easily remove it myself. So that became the very first homeowner’s project I did in my new apartment!
The inside of the box showed its age.
I had to clip a few external wires (going to another box on the outside of the closet I’ll deal with later), and then I just had to unscrew the screws in each corner. One screw was a toggle screw, so that required some heavy yanking, but I’ve bought it so I can break it!
No more box, and now a closet door that can close!