It started with the chairs.
In early July, the AIDSWalk committee convinced a few furniture dealers to donate four chairs for a fundraising raffle. Mind you, I work at a major international interiors and architecture firm, so we’re not talking a nice armchair for the den–we’re talking two tricked-out office chairs and a set of supercool lounge chairs. I bought six tickets and dropped them all in the lounge chair raffle; RocketMan instantly asked what we’d do with them if we won, but, really what were the chances?
A week later, our sun room looked like this:
Within an instant, we became the incredibly geeked owners of two Phillipe Starck-designed Kartell Eros chairs, retail between $400-$600 each, depending on which website you visit. They’re the coolest chairs I’ve ever owned, and I love me some chairs (this is one of my favorite coffee-table books: 1000 Chairs).
Before you keep reading, mind: I am NOT ungrateful. When my name was picked from the hat, they probably heard the squealing in Sacramento. The chairs are all shiny and sci-fi, and the swivel is as smooth as the molded plastic of the seat. RocketBaby spent several evenings being spun into delirium. On the downside, though–they take up about 16 square feet of floor space. We don’t really have an appropriate place for more sitting chairs. And, as RocketMan pointed out, they don’t exactly fit in our honey-wood cottage aesthetic, such as it is.
But Kartell Eros! I feel like they’re HEIRLOOM chairs, that forty years from now RocketBaby will be begging me to have just one for her new lunar module. I’m loathe to let them go, especially since, for all intents and purposes, they cost $25 each, and that means the universe personally gifted us with them. So we started looking at maybe getting a bigger storage space: one that could ostensibly serve as the fifth room of our apartment, as opposed to just an extra closet.
Then there was the vacation. Visiting actual houses with actual backyards and real-and-true laundry machines, and doors that close, and playing loud music without disturbing the baby–all of these things spoiled us for our return to San Francisco. I love our apartment, but suddenly the curtain in the hallway nursery seems like an awful inconvenience. I started poking around online for two-bedroom apartments. RocketMan began fantasizing about doing laundry three times a week. And a few nights ago, we had a serious discussion about whether more space would make us happier.
By the end of the conversation–which crossed the line into argument once or twice–I came to three conclusions: 1) having a door on the baby’s bedroom (one that is not made of plywood) would definitely make our lives easier, if not happier; 2) I really, really don’t want to spend half again as much money on a bigger place right now, especially when our current rent-controlled place meets most of our needs adequately; and 3) even if we find a two-bedroom, it could still be the same size as our current place, so why move at all?
So our solution (temporary though it might be): Push this apartment as far as it’ll go. We’ve done a lot with it, but we can do more. And if we hate what we end up doing, well, there’s the nuclear option of hitting the rental listings. My plan for Exceed Apartmental Expectations is as follows:
1) Get the bigger storage space. Paying an extra $60 a month is a lot less than $600, and we’ll have room for some of the changes listed below.
2) Pack up the books. We have at least 80 feet worth of shelving for books, most of which we don’t read on a regular basis. Pare down the books to two shelves, ship the rest to the storage space, when we get a place with a library, we can break them back out again.
3) Pack up the DVDs. We have most of our DVDs in binders, but three shelves’ worth of our favorites. We don’t need them to be visible anymore. Four shelves down to one.
4) Here’s the biggun: move the baby into the bedroom, and the bed into the sunroom. Here’s our current layout:
You might remember from awhile back, when I said the reason we didn’t want the nursery in the sunroom was because we wanted that extra space and privacy for us, and that’s true. But our needs have changed, and so we’re seriously thinking about making the leap to full two-bedroom status. If we move her into the bedroom, she’ll have a quiet space and a door. Moving our bed into the sunroom might be weird for guests, but as it is, we’re hardly inviting anyone over at night because her nursery is so close to the living room. We’ll have to move the computer somewhere–or get that laptop we’ve been talking about–and it’s likely we’ll have to keep our clothes in the bedroom. But having that extra aural privacy for her (and thus us in the evenings) could go a long, long way in making us less like slaves to rent control, and more like adults with a two-bedroom apartment.
We’ll see what happens on days like today, when RocketMan’s sleeping in late. But this all drives home my favorite part of renting: nothing’s ever permanent.