Living through renovations is not fun. If anything can add stress to life it’s living with your life’s possessions all packed up into cardboard boxes with raw wood and materials scattered in varying degrees of disarray. Add to that getting ready to move out of your office of the past 8 years (more boxes) and you get the picture of my life this month. The good news is that this all has to be completed by the time I move out of my office on June 30. The stressful part is wondering if it will be. So far my contractors have been pretty good to their word. They arrive when they say will so perhaps this will all come together as planned.
Part of the stress I’ve been feeling comes from money issues. I decided to close my physical office outside of my home due to the rising overhead cost vs. income. I’ve had an office for the past 15 years. I always believed that it is important to separate work from leisure so an outside office was a good way to do that. It worked pretty well for about 13 of those years. But then the economy tanked and budgets got tighter and all of a sudden it was getting increasingly difficult to pay all of my overhead. So, the logical solution was to close the office and work from home. Everyone does it these days, right? Should be a no-brainer. Of course most people who have home offices have a separate room to call their office. I live in a tiny NYC one-bedroom apartment. Did I say it was TINY? So the challenge has been to create a living and working space in the same small room. Change is good, so they say.
Luckily I have a good friend who is an interior designer who has helped me to design the space to make the most of it. We’ll be adding a dropped ceiling in the kitchen for additional storage, a bar/counter between the kitchen and living room to serve as a place to eat as well as to hide a file cabinet and printer, and will be adding shelving for books. In an attempt to gain more space I got rid of my bulky wall unit, my over-sized coffee table and my round butcher block dining table. They seemed like good choices back in 1981 when I bought them but it is definitely time for a change. It’s amazing how much larger my apartment feels without the bulky furniture.
Next I needed to find more scaled down replacement furniture. The space where the dining table was will be my “office” area.
On Monday I rented a cargo van from U-Haul and with the help of my friend Joel we made a trip to the mecca of inexpensive well designed, functional furniture: IKEA! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/ I purchased a counter top for the kitchen and bar, side panel for the bar, a wall unit, a desk with a return and file-drawer unit, bookcase and shelving along with other counter tops that the contractor would use to build some other needed items, all for about $1500!
I left the Ikea furniture (still to be put together) in my storage unit (a NYC must have) at Manhattan Mini Storage and the rest we brought to my apartment for the carpenter to work his magic.
Tuesday the carpenter arrived and started to work. He was to first pull out my sink cabinet in the kitchen to patch up the walls so as to deny access to the mice that seem to like my apartment better than the spaces inside the building walls. There was a snag with the water pipes so a plumber had to be called in (an additional $150 unexpected expense), but by Wednesday evening I had a new counter top installed in the kitchen. Progress. Thursday, my desk was put together but now all the boxes are piled on top and around it so I can’t really say how it looks. Friday the painter came to take down the wallpaper in the kitchen. So far so good.
Next week the rest of the work will hopefully be completed and the following week the apartment gets painted. Now I need to decide on paint colors!
I’ve been so overwhelmed with all of this that I’ve had a hard time sleeping at night. My brain just doesn’t want to turn off when it’s time to sleep. So, I’m off to the country this weekend to add a little balance to my life, and to escape the boxes and construction-site decor of my apartment. Check back for my next installment after the weekend.