master of my domain

I find myself missing my studio apartment. I lived there for two years, and I moved out just a little over two years ago.

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I don’t know why — why I miss it, that is. Maybe because it felt more like a bedroom with an attached kitchen then an actual apartment. Maybe because I did such a great job squeezing in such an incredible amount of furniture*. Maybe because it was my first apartment without a roomate. Maybe — quite possibly — because it was much easier to keep clean.

It was 347 square feet, a little under half the size of where I live now. There was only one actual wall – the other three were taken up by a closet, the bathroom, the kitchen, and a big sliding glass door. The sliding glass door was probably the best feature of the place — it would get really bright in the morning, and stay bright until dusk. It was impossible – even with the curtains drawn shut – to keep the place dark and uninviting.

Everything was so close to everything else that nothing could ever seem out of place. My half dresser was located right beside the door. My VCR and laserdisc player were on the same shelf as Catch-22 and several English anthologies. My DVD overflow was stacked on the floor next to the tv stand. There was no room in the closet for the vaccum cleaner so it was stuck … wherever. I had no pantry, so a wall-mounted shelf unit served as such — cat food, paper towels, cleaning supplies all proudly displayed in plain view. I wish I’d taken photos of the interior – it was a masterpiece of organization and clutter.

The cats never liked it. They didn’t really have a lot of room to run around. They spent their time under the futon, the bookshelves, the couch, during the day, between the glass doors and the blinds mewling at the squirrels, birds, and neighbors who ran by.

(I had a third cat for a while***, she was really a kitten — I kept meaning to find a name for her, and until I came up with the “perfect” name, I called her Callie (for Calico). That stuck, I told people I named her “Calipher” short for “Callie”. Yeah, see, that look on your face it the one I got all the time. She was a trip. She’d get hyper at three in the morning from sleeping under the futon and run along the sliding-glass door wall, under the couch and love seat. She’d make a right-hand turn at the kitchen and run under one of those cool stacking shelves** you used to get at IKEA. She’d make a hard right and run alongside the closet, then make another hard right at the door, jump on my computer desk, then jump at the bookshelf that served as a buffer between the desk and futon. She’d hesitate for half a second before making the leap, claws snapped into “attack position”, then land on me, and bounce off on another attack run as I woke with a start, often cursing. After the second or third run, I would have awoken to a sufficient degree that I could catch her upon landing and before she could run away, which the first time, literally frightened the piss out of her. That was fun.)

There were plenty of things I didn’t like about the place. Did I mention that it was small? And that I had it overflowing with furniture, books, and other assorted posessions? My closet was about to explode. I had no leg room under my computer desk because I used that space for storage. I’ve since acquired several more tables, an oak chest, another bookshelf, and a dining room table – and assorted chairs to accompany it — but I think I could probably fit everything into a studio again, if I wanted to.

I don’t like Henderson Webb, my current landlords. They made me give up Callie! I don’t like no dishwasher in my studio. I don’t like only one washer and one dryer for the use of all the residents of that building (fourteen apartments). You know what I do like? This. I could use that space underneath for the dining room table!

Sometimes I go to apartment search engines and look for cool studio floorplans. I think I like the idea of living in only one room – preferably, a slightly larger room. Doing that tonight I found this page,

From long experience in our own space-constrained apartment and many others, we’ve learned there are always solutions — the small, genius improvisations — that can make even the most modest of real estate lovable. Sure we drool over enormous designer lofts, but nothing inspires us more than the hand-made home, the stylish studio wedged into some urban crevice.

In fact, we’ve always suspected that, somewhere, there had to be one apartment that was so small and so cool we’d consider it the ultimate achievement in this category: the quintessential New York City apartment masterpiece.

My studio was neither a “quintessential New York City masterpiece” nor “wedged into some urban crevice.” But it was homey, and cozy, and it felt like an extension of me.

So is my current place … in that its where I live, and has my stuff. But I think someday I’d like to live in a studio again. A bigger one. With a dishwasher. And my own private laundry machine.

And something like this, overhead. For, y’know, the cats.

*TV stand, seven bookshelves of various types, a futon, couch, two loveseats, coffee table, sofa table, two dressers, a desk, half a dozen lamps, couple of fans, lots of boxes, two wall-mounted shelving units …

** They look sort of similar to this, except you could buy extensions to increase the height (you can actually see them here). I had enough of these shelves to block the kitchen, and then, forming an “L” with the other extensions, also block off the closet (forming a hallway to the bathroom).

*** I was only allowed two cats, so I had to find Callie a home. Luckily, I did, and the last time I saw her she was big and fat and content with her new feline friend.

For those of you curious – I did this real quick to illustrate the placement of my furniture. I think you can deduct what it supposed to be what – for example, a cheap POS desk from K-Mart served as a microwave cart in the kitchen.

0 thoughts on “master of my domain

  1. Argh! My neighbour had one of those loft beds — it was three feet away from my bedroom floor, and he could hear everything (EVERYTHING) that went on in my room! He’s creepy – I imagine him with a glass stuck to the floor sometimes to hear what I’m up to!