Throughout my childhood, I lived in 5 different places within the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. The final move (which took place the summer before I began 6th grade) landed us in the small Indiana town that I would proceed to consider my hometown and permanent residence throughout middle school, high school, and even my college years.
Because of all the moving and house hunting my family did when I was between the ages of 3 and 10, I probably grew up far more interested in housing architecture and home decor than the average child. In college, people tended to think it was pretty weird when I revealed how much fun I have looking at the aisles of light fixtures, floor tiles, kitchen counter-tops, or varying styles of bathtubs and toilets you can find at places like Home Depot or Lowe's. I blame my parents for taking us along as we built one of our houses and/or searched for the perfect home every time we moved.
Now that I'm out of college, married, and a mother, none of what I just described seems very odd anymore. I am so looking forward to the day when Michael's career allows us to "settle" a bit more and search for or build our first house. In the meantime, however, I have the pleasure of traveling around to different parts of the country and scoping out all kinds of different apartments. Due to how quickly we tend to move (because of my husband's job) we haven't been able to look at apartments in person before our two most recent moves. Thankfully there's such a thing as the internet - which helped us find our place in Florida and here in Pennsylvania sight unseen (I don't mind this at all for apartments - but I have great respect for people like Dwija who choose to do this with a house!).
Where am I going with all of this?
In short, I get really excited about choosing apartments and discovering what they have to offer our little family. My experiences living in no less than 6 apartments in the past 5 years have helped me better understand what things I am looking for (and NOT looking for) in a more permanent future home. For this reason, I decided to document the various apartments we've lived in since beginning our married lives in 2012.
Without further ado, here is our current place in the suburbs of Philadelphia!
ENTRANCE & KITCHEN
This apartment has a very small entryway with a little coat closet on the left. Just beyond the closet you'll find the door to Gabriel's bedroom - but if you move forward you will find yourself in the main living space with the kitchen immediately on your right.
|Ignore the empty stroller box waiting to be taken to the trash. That big closet contains our washer & dryer.|
|Favorite features: tray ceiling, step down into the room, ceiling fan, and variable lighting|
|The door at the edge of the dining room & living room leads to the guest bathroom.|
|These doors lead to the master bedroom.|
|That balcony porch is the largest I've ever had in any apartment. Just trust me - it's huge.|
MASTER BEDROOM & BATH
|Oh, look! The living room. That other door is our closet - and although it's big, it's not Florida closet big, so...no pictures.|
|The rosary hanging on the wall was my Grammie's.|
|This bathroom doesn't beat Ann Arbor in the "tiny-with-no-elbow-room" department, nor does it beat Florida in the "I can't believe how huge and pretty this is" department. It's a pretty normal bathroom in every aspect.|
|As seen when entering from the dining room.|
|Inquisitive baby not included.|
SECOND (GABRIEL'S) BEDROOM
|This bedroom actually connects to the guest bathroom. This view is the room upon entering from the bathroom. The main bedroom door can be found on the left - just beyond the dresser.|
|Someday we'll get some decorations on this wall. Assuming we live here long enough for that to be worthwhile.|
|That's our boy's closet...and that's our boy being a little explorer.|
|This captures the two entrances - from the guest bathroom and the main entrance (you can see the kitchen across the hall there).|
|This one photo of details on Gabriel's dresser encapsulates most of what you probably need to know about our family.|
FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE FEATURES
Let's begin with the favorites:
- Lighting. We have ample overhead lighting everywhere but the bedrooms (where we have our own lamps). The dining room and living room both have variable lighting which is rarely found in apartments!
- Layout. As soon as we moved in we kept marveling at how much this apartment felt somewhat like a house. The bedrooms are on opposite ends with Gabriel's room being far away from the living room (which is great if you have a baby you don't want to wake). The use of space is efficient and nice for hosting friends.
- Living Room. This room is sunken down one step below the rest of the apartment (which gives Gabriel good practice in "stair climbing" without being able to hurt himself much). It has a ceiling fan, overhead lighting, and variable lighting. The built in shelves are the perfect size for our TV.
- White counter-tops. Seriously. Why? They're in the kitchen and both bathrooms. So hard to keep looking nice.
- Small kitchen with little (reachable!) cabinet or counter space. Mind you, it's better than our tiny, L-shaped kitchen in Ann Arbor. However, it has the tiniest pantry of all our apartments, little cabinet space (meaning we have to put our plates and lots of kitchen items on the shelves above the washer and dryer), and even less usable counter space.
- Doors. Gabriel's room, the guest bathroom, and the master bedroom all have these fancy-looking double doors (which equal the width of one normal door)...which are terrible for having small children. Even when they're locked our baby can easily push them open because of the way they meet in the middle.
- Carpeted dining room. We've had this in all of our apartments - but now that we have a baby that eats at the table I realize how awful this truly is.
That's it! Overall, we love this apartment. The size is very similar to our roomy place in Florida and even though our kitchen and master bathroom are noticeably smaller, the layout is much more "homey" and better conducive to family life.