Monday, May 6, 2013

The Anatomy of an Apartment Therapy Tour

This post is a week late, but I realized I never really wrote about the Apartment Therapy tour! Forgive the long-windedness, I know I don't usually do text-heavy posts. But since people have asked how this all came together, and then how it went, I wanted to give a rundown of the process, as well as my neuroses / some thoughts on living in your home and design blog culture in general.

Last Sunday, a photographer from Apartment Therapy (the lovely Carolyn Purnell) came to shoot my place. It was totally a bizarre, but wonderful, experience. 

Apartment Therapy first contacted me about four or five months ago, asking if I'd be willing to do a tour. I was supremely flattered, but just didn't feel like I had the kind of house that people would really want to see.  I politely declined, and passed on word about some friends that have a great home for them to feature instead. I just wanted to settle into my home a little bit more, because while I love it so, eight months just wasn't enough time to really make it feel like ours. Especially when everything you own is thrifted, it takes a while for things to start coming together, to hit a good stride.

A few months later, at the nudging of a few friends who were like "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?", I finally emailed Carolyn back. I was just resisting at that point because, honestly, I was afraid. I was afraid of putting my home out there, something so personal, to a crowd so critical. Like, every design choice might not be flaw-free, but its still my home. The aesthetics might not be revolutionary, but its a real, normal person apartment. But even though I was still nervous about putting everything out for public consumption, I was like, "You know what? Fuck it. I want some professional photos of our first place together, and I don't want fear to be the only thing holding me back from a cool opportunity."

The funny thing is, I thought I would kick into overdrive, stressing about the house a ton, trying to keep things perfect, buying new things, working day and night on projects. I even set aside a budget of $350 from my tax return to treat myself to all those home things I'd been wanting, all those projects to be done... and then I barely spent any of it. I spent $75 cleaning up our fucking disaster of a bathroom, then $15 on a new plant. That's it. Things I probably would have done anyways. Instead of stressing about keeping things perfect, I threw a big party for a friend's 30th, where we broke dishes and spilled wine, because that's what you do in a home. 

The weekend of, we did clean a lot, which was really our only prep. Andy and I are not naturally tidy people, and when you start looking at your house knowing thousands of people will see it, you realize just how not-tidy you are (for instance, door jams get fucking nasty from you touching them Around all of our doorknobs was a halo of smudgy black fingerprints.) Then I started checking the weather about once an hour (rain was in the forecast, and we needed good light for the shoot.) And finally, we ran to the grocery store to buy some $4 bouquets, just for one fancy touch.

Then the day arrived. Sure, I shoved some shit in closets, because when you live in an apartment and don't have a storage space or a basement, shit accumulates that just doesn't have a home (Andy's old boxes of tapes, my bags of clothes I never get around to donating, lamps I love but don't match any of our rooms anymore, elements to DIYs that haven't happened yet) I basically had my very own Monica Closet:

We debated moving and hiding some of the parts of our every day life, like Luce's crate, or Andy's bike that currently resides in our living room (you can see both here, the crate is next to the couch, and the bike by the guest room):

But ended up vetoing that because those things are a part of our lives. It wouldn't really be a tour of our place if we hid everything that we actually use and staged it like a model home. My favorite homes to see inside are ones that I can relate to, ones that look like people live in them, and are allowed to put their feet on the coffee table. I admit though, I did unplug the cable so that we wouldn't have an unsightly cord running through the middle of the house. Let me have some smoke and mirrors. 

So Carolyn came, and was impossibly sweet. Luce jumped all over her, licking her face, and not letting her take one shot without trying to be a part of the process somehow, and she was totally okay with it. We talked about past tours, how she is living my dream of getting to go into stranger's homes and look around, and how I wished there was some version of the Small Cool Contest, but for just like, normal people on normal budgets who aren't designers and don't own any $500 chairs. Broke Cool? I don't know man, I was doing a lot of nervous talking. I wasn't sure if I should talk to her a lot, or if that would distract her? Or if not talking was super awkward and cold? Again, she was cool with whatever, and I was a total weirdo.

Anyways, because this post just isn't long enough yet, after all was said and done, a few friends came over for lunch, because why not have people over when my house is at its cleanliness pinnacle? We shared a big meal, planned out the summer, and then, very embarrassingly, toasts were given. My friend Megan started with a congratulations, and Andy then thanked me for all my hard work and "for giving me a home for the first time since I moved away." Megan then started crying, but she does that a lot. This time I didn't blame her, I was getting a little misty too.

At the end of the day, I just kind of felt like this:

Very lucky, very tired, very loved. 

Exposed dog crates, stuff jammed into closets, and all.



  1. i'm so excited to see the tour, i seriously love your apartment

  2. Can't wait to see the pictures! Your apartment is definitely AT-worthy :)

  3. I actually started following your blog because of that picture of your living room a few posts back.

    Awesome post.

  4. So excited for your tour. This post made me smile.


  5. I really loved getting to see your home, and getting to meet you guys. It's totally AT-worthy, and I love even more how it totally feels lived in, loved, and personal. The pictures came out great. I've been meaning to send you that promised email, so I'll get on that sooner rather than later. Your home is beautiful!

  6. I really like the idea that AT is going to feature a real home, in all of its comfortable, functional imperfection. Some of their house tours are of such places, but too many are just too pretty/cool--as is much of the home blogging world. I began following your blog not because I think you've got awesome style (though I do really like your style) but because I like your approach to making a home. As exemplified in this post.

  7. Carolyn shot our home too! Loved her so much. She's so sweet and happy and adorable, right? Can't wait to see the tour on AT, congrats!

  8. Great post! It made me misty too.

    Congrats on being featured on AT, but also still knowing that the most awesome things in life are not $500 chairs but great companions (animal + human alike) and a place to call home :)

  9. Just wanted to say I found your blog a few days ago (via Lifehacker). I have stayed up way past my bed time in the ensuing day, reading every single post. Lovely! Such a beautiful home, and you write so well!

  10. Had a wonderful massage from the talented and knowledgeable Jacob! In our session, he showed that he really listened; I definitely felt better afterward. maroochydore physiotherapy

  11. Really nice one and a very good explanation with the help of photo over the tour of apartment.Thanks for such a wonderful article.
    Residential House for Sale

  12. Really nice one and a very good explanation with the help of photo over the tour of apartment.Thanks for such a wonderful article.
    Residential House for Sale


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