From a House to an Apartment: Our New Space and Why We Downgraded

 Looking from the patio into the living room/kitchen and front door

Looking from the patio into the living room/kitchen and front door

NOTE: Let's just be honest here - the pics of my apartment are terrible. It wasn't until I was standing in my apartment, in a totally different city, that I realized I'd left my camera at home. We hadn't moved yet, I was just here to pick up the keys, and was left with my shitty iPhone 6S camera phone to take pictures. But that's life and all the afters will be nice - promise!

I think I’m doing life backwards. I bought my first, and only, house when I was 24 years old, and in May, at the age of 35, I sold it. From there, Dylan and I signed a boatload of paperwork and became the proud new renters of a 1,200 square foot apartment. Which is bigger than the 923 square foot house, I should note. 

I guess when I think about it I’ve always done life a little backwards, that is if you subscribe to the belief that life must evolve along a certain timeline. I don’t. Thank god. Because I would have been voted off that island long ago. 

When I bought my house it was a big deal. I was 24, it was a steal, and all my apartment dwelling friends wanted to come over to hang at my place. I was smart and I bought an inexpensive and small home, and my mortgage was actually cheaper than my apartment rent. It was the perfect place for lil ol’ me, then I got Wrigley, my black lab, and over 3 years ago when Dylan and I started dating it became very clear, very fast, that I had outgrown my first home. 

New Apartment Kitchen

With our marriage coming up (December of this year!), Dylan and I knew that we needed to get a new place. Not just for space, but also because it would be ours together. Our plan was, if I ended up getting a job in the city we were living in we’d buy a new home. If I ended up getting a job in a new city we would rent; something we were actually really excited about. 

If it came to moving and renting, our purpose for renting was that we want to live right downtown where we can walk to restaurants, coffee shops, bars, shops, and also we want to make sure that our new city is where we wanted to plant those roots of buying, and we want to be able explore the neighborhoods around to decide where exactly we want to buy. Oh, and not having to mow, shovel, and fix shit when it breaks was also a bit of a draw after 11+ years of home owning.

As soon as I accepted the job in Des Moines we were off to look for that perfect apartment, and after two days of touring places, the very last place we saw was ‘it’. It had the location we wanted, the space we wanted, and was in our price range. We filled out our lease applications before we left and 10 hours later we received confirmation that we had a new home. 

 Looking down the hall. From here you can see our bedroom straight ahead and the guest bath to the right. Not pictured in the guest bedroom/office which is to the left; straight across from the guest bathroom.

Looking down the hall. From here you can see our bedroom straight ahead and the guest bath to the right. Not pictured in the guest bedroom/office which is to the left; straight across from the guest bathroom.

So here are the basics of our apartment:

  • 1,200 square feet of space
  • They say it has a ‘chef’s kitchen’, but it’s really a big ass island that fits 4-6 chairs
  • Two bedrooms
  • Two bathrooms
  • A patio/balcony
  • One walk in closet and one “regular” closet
  • A big storage room with our washer and dryer
  • On-site gym
  • On-site parking garage (with a monthly fee, of course)
  • Free bike storage

PACKING & UNPACKING (AKA: HOW DO WE HAVE SO MUCH SHIT?!)

We officially had our new space and we were off to pack up our house. And guys, I was in purging heaven. I love getting rid of shit, and Dylan famously would always say to me “how do you still have stuff to get rid of?! This house is so tiny, where is it coming from?!” But anyone who has moved knows that the stuff JUST KEEPS COMING. Like, I guesstimated to the movers that I was going to have 35 boxes. Lololololololol, yeah. More like 60 boxes. And we took a good 10-12 carloads of stuff to Goodwill. 

And wouldn’t you know, as we unpacked in our new space we ended up taking another 8 boxes of stuff to the Goodwill here in Des Moines and I already have another box started for a second trip, and plans to go through my closet one more time. 

FURNITURE (AND THAT TIME I ACCIDENTALLY SOLD OUR BED FRAME)

There was a lot of furniture I was looking to upgrade, so moving was the perfect opportunity to sell what we didn’t want and not have to haul it to a new city (and up to a 5th floor apartment). In fact, I got so excited to get rid of my old bed that I sold the whole thing - headboard, footboard and..frame. Oops. I needed to keep the frame for our mattress, but thankfully frames are pretty cheap. 

 Peek into our empty master bedroom. Total size is 11x19.

Peek into our empty master bedroom. Total size is 11x19.

Here is what we're purchasing new:

  • We sold our king bed headboard/footboard and are purchasing a new headboard
  • Plug in wall sconces for our bedroom (and possibly the guest bedroom)
  • A new guest bed (our old bed was just a full mattress, but we're treating our guests right with a brand new queen bed)
  • Bar stools for our big island
  • Console table for the entryway
  • A new area rug for the living room 
  • A new chaise lounge chair for more seating in our living room

I've already picked some things out and ordered them, and others I'm scouring the internet comparing styles and prices, looking for that right item. I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite items as I begin decorating, and also revealing room before and afters. 

I'm excited to start down my own design journey and if you have any tips, tricks or favorite websites I'd love to know about them!

Always,
Heather