Saturday, December 15, 2007

Places in my neighborhood: Cafe Grumpy's

So I am a coffee fiend, particularily esspresso. I gave it up mostly when I got pregnant, but I just couldn't give up my morning fix. One of my first missions when moving to Greenpoint was to find coffee!!!!!! Yes I could make it at home, save myself money, but the walk to get coffee is part of my morning ritual. I've been doing it almost every morning for more than 10 years now, and without it I feel like my days don't go quite right.
My wonderful downstairs neighbor pointed me to Cafe Grumpy, and I love it. It's not exactly on the corner (it's a ten minute walk, brisk, nice) but I don't mind, their espresso is strong, it reminds me of the coffee from Heine Brother's in my hometown, Louisville. The baby likes it too, and the art is nice, interesting, I want to buy some.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bathroom: Before (sort-of)

So in typical me fashion I started the bathroom 2 days before the baby and I left for New Orleans and, of course, could not finish it. So we came back yesterday to a bit of a mess, but hopefully I can finish it this weekend. I also finally emptied out my camera and realized I had not taken before pictures of the bathroom--though I had a gazillion of the rest of the apartment. So these are pictures about halfway through the process, i.e. after a coat of primer. half of a first coat, some spackle and caulk, removing the broken medicine cabinet, and cleaning up the mold left by the previous tenants. Your not getting the really dirty and yellowing color of the 80s drop ceiling, but please note the hideous floor-tile, the crumbling tub surround, and the florescent light (which does not work, it just flickers, there is an electrician coming to fix that.) The walls are actually 1970s wood paneling, with wallpaper on the bottom, all of which has been painted several times (probably an improvement over the original.) I would love to gut this and start over, but alas it is a rental and my little renovating heart will have to live with some paint and wallpaper magic....I might have to replace the sink down the road though. I could live with the peeling enamel, or the crumbling pressboard cabinet held closed by a screw, or the fact that it is only 30" high (or as my husband calls it "dick-height") but all 3 is just beyond my ability to overlook. Besides I really want to try this grey-water flush system, (thanks However, such an ambitious (and expensive) project will have to wait until I am at least done with the painting and have some bookshelves.
We are leaving again on Tuesday for a 3 state holiday tour; hopefully I can finish the painting at least and post some more photos.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Empty Apartment

We are finally out of my apartment. These are pictures of what, empty at least, looks like such a huge space. I left behind some things for my subletter. It is her first apartment in New York; I hope she loves it. I worked so hard on the space, I've redesigned it so many times for different times in my life. There it is, sad and lonely, with empty shelves, the shelves that were the first thing I ever built by myself, and the beautiful Osbourne & Little wallpaper that I craved, but then found in every decorating magazine, after I hung it.....Well it is done, and it is silly to be so maudlin about an apartment I never really loved anyway.
I'll post the before pictures of my new apartment soon....I don't really know exactly where I am going with this blog, but I think I want it to be about discovering my new neighborhood, and about creating a home for my family. I'm off to paint the really gross bathroom...hopefully I can get a coat on the walls before the baby wakes up.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Paint on the Walls...finally

I finally finished painting a room!!!!
My husband and son are asleep, and I am so exhausted I can barely see straight, but after a rather horrendous week, culminating in an ER visit last night to reattach the baby's pinky finger (a story I don't have the energy for right now) I just couldn't go to bed without finishing something!!!
Tomorrow I'll clean-up and begin to notice touch-ups that are needed and all the little imperfections, but for tonight I just want to exhault in the finished project.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Place, New Life?

After nearly 15 years as Manhattanites, my boyfriend and I are taking our 14 month old son, 2 cats, and all of our possessions to Brooklyn. Through a friend we have rented a floor-through apartment on the top floor of an old Victorian in Greenpoint. The apartment is a bit run down, but that's just how I like them. If it were too pristine I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I'm getting ready to start painting, and then, if all goes well, we should be sleeping there by the end of next week.
After spending the last year and a half squished into my old 380 sq ft, 5th-floor walk-up I am overjoyed at the thought of 1000+/- glorious square-feet, but still it gives me pause. This is a huge change and I'm actually giving up my apartment to make it. My apartment is not exactly beloved, but it is the dependable, steady friend that I can always count on to be there. I found it, 9 years ago, after a break-up when I desperately needed a place. It has its problems (shower in the kitchen, floors so beat-up that I have used duct-tape to close the gaps) but it has a spacious living room, flooded with light, and in Manhattan where space and light barely exist for under $3000/month I've always been grateful. It is also where we brought our son, his first home. Right now I see all of the problems with the place, but I know years into our future it will always hold a rosy glow of perfection in my memory, forever seen through the lens of happiness that our baby has brought us. Even if he has to walk in a 10 foot circle this apartment is where he took his first steps, staggering from his father to me, just a few steps at first, and then, so suddenly, from room to room, as if he had always known how.
I know that holding on to this place would be ridiculously sentimental, but part of me is terrified. Will this new place be a home, when I am in need will it be there, patiently waiting for me, welcoming me, promising that in this city, where sometimes you get your ass-kicked so hard just trying to make it, I will always have shelter?