By Caitlin Kelly
It’s that time again, kids!
We live, work, eat, dine and bathe in a one-bedroom apartment, so our place gets a LOT of wear and tear!
And that’s without kids or pets.
And I’ve been in the same apartment since June 1989, so cosmetic upgrades are ongoing.
a small repair to the bathroom wall
repainting the balcony metalwork
cleaning some grout mold in the shower stall
adding a small picture light to the portrait of my great grandmother, hung on a wall with little light
a new portable lamp to help me read since it’s (DAMN) dark by 5pm now
We finally had our dining chairs recovered, from a butter yellow linen to a cool white pattern with a bit of sheen. Such a nice difference!
To get ready for fall and winter, here’s some of what we’re doing, (and maybe some suggestions for your home?)
While away for two weeks, we got the sofa cushion covers dry cleaned and did a long overdue vacuuming beneath the seat cushions.
Now taking inventory of all our china, glassware, serveware, cooking pots and pans, replacing and ditching as needed.
Taking a lint roller to every sofa cushion and arms and back; and cloth bed headboard…all of which are dust collectors and easily overlooked.
Our living room gallery wall, a mix of our photos, photos we have been given or collected
and a few posters.
Tossing as many unread books as I can stand to lose
Doing a clean rinse of the dishwasher
Removing as much indoor clutter as possible
Making sure we have plenty of candles (votives, tapers) for the dinner table as it gets dark so early
Also consider some safety issues easily forgotten like:
— dusting every light-bulb and lampshade, making sure you have enough light to read easily with shorter, darker days ahead
— is your fire extinguisher still working?
— smoke detector?
— carbon monoxide detector?
— shower mat?
— bathtub grab bar(s); love this one that doesn’t demand installation in the wall; a friend has one
Also, it’s a good time to replace things that get a lot of daily use, like:
— burned oven mitts
— worn wooden spoons
— bed linens/towels
— tired/old/flavorless spices
— shower mat
— shower curtain
— kettle or coffeemaker
Things to make life cozier:
— a lovely teapot and selection of teas and maybe even a tea cosy
— pretty cloth napkins/tablecloth
— a throw rug beside your bed
— fresh shams
— a vintage decanter
— some new bakeware; a muffin pan, bundt pan, tart tins
— a pair of colorful throw pillows for your sofa
I’m really glad we live in such a lovely home, the subject of much devoted care to cleaning, maintenance and upgrades.
I spent my childhood in boarding school and summer camp, (at home in Grades 6 and 7), and I have no doubt that so many years in shared spaces not of my own design has helped make me a bit obsessive!
I also studied for a few years at the New York School of Interior Design and learned a lot about how to make a place, even a small-ish one, beautiful, functional and welcoming.
I use many different resources:
For fabrics, basics from Ballard Designs, Calico Corners and amazing stuff (often $$$) from Svensk Tenn in Stockholm and Fabrics and Papers in England.
One of my favorite fabric sources is in (!) London, England, The Cloth Shop, who happily mailed me yardage I chose online. They have gorgeous linens and chenille at reasonable prices; one of their chenilles covers our homemade headboard, now 5.5 years old, it’s unfaded and fresh.
I don’t use Etsy or EBay but there are lots of bargains there, and so many online places from Joss & Main to Perigold to FirstDibs to Wayfair, plus all the big stores. Consignment and thrift shops and antique shops and flea markets can offer some amazing bargains.
We love Farrow & Ball paint (yes, expensive but we find it worth the price) and I splurge a few times a year on custom-made linens like curtains, tablecloths and throw pillows, all of which add warmth, silence, comfort and color.