Every traveler faces the inevitable question that will plague them as long as their journey globe trotting continues: should I finally settle down? For most, the question remains hidden in the shadows of their next planned trip, or gets put off by being able to retreat back to family’s house. Regardless of if you avoid it, ignore it, or just pretend like its not there, needing a place to call home is critical to human being’s productivity, and well-being. Especially if you’re a Cancer like me, who’s naturally bit extra hard with the homebody bug. Last February, Damon and I decided it was time to take our crap out of storage, and Uhaul it in to the cheapest, and most centrally located studio apartments we could find. The task was tough: find two vacant apartments at decent prices, hopefully in the same building. The good news was, we’d both be upgrading from whatever shitty living condition we were putting up with in New York City, and that in itself was a win.
While tough, not impossible. Leave it to me to tell Damon I “always had a feeling I’d live down this street,” to eventually go down this random street, call a random building, and find the gems we’d been scouring Craigslist, and WestSideRentals for over weeks. Three days after the cold call, we were both signing our very own leases, to our very own first solo apartments. With the added comfort that we’d only be four flights of stairs away from one another: college revamped.
Let’s be clear here, I did get the crappier apartment when it comes to lighting, space, and the fact I can sometimes hear my neighbors hacking loogies from the bathroom airshaft window. However, I also lucked out, because my rent is unbeatable. To make the place my own, I made it a personal project to put everything that makes me feel good in one place. A functional, and cozy place that I’ll always look forward to coming home to. Because another thing about traveling – coming home is usually the worst part. Unless you make your home your haven.
Let’s get into this.
Voila, the studio in all its splendor.
Because I’m a homebody, I need to welcome myself home every single time I walk through the front door with this chalkboard.
And for functionality’s sake, I keep hooks for things I can’t leave home without. This is seriously one of my greatest ideas. I’ll never have to wonder where my keys, jacket, or bags are. The shoe rack keeps the dirt out of the apartment – all good things.
Casa della Jo Jo is a strict no-shoe home, hence my little shoe rack. And, because I’m such a bag lady, the bag I’m currently using has a dedicated hook. The mirror is specifically to make sure I’m leaving without any crust or boogers – because you know, sometimes when you’re so comfortable, you just get carried away and end up looking busted beyond the bedroom.
I’m big on earthy tones, to be as close to nature as possible – tons of greens, browns, yellows, muted colors with wooden furniture.
This area is still a work in progress. The lights above the bed need to be changed to white, but you can tell I’m trying to make it work. The wicker chair (IKEA) with the shag-me fur was the first thing purchased. The electronic photo frame is one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten; it’s perfect for someone like me who can never have enough memories.
Clearly the plant on the left, and the dilapidated palm tree to the right are struggling a bit, but after all these trips, I’ve learned how to bring them back from the dead. Give me a few weeks! I made it a point to hang them on the wall, because I don’t have much counter space. For an extra earthy look, go for these wall mounts.
Nothing makes me feel more at home than picking a seat, and journaling the night away. I’m a huge journaler, and always take advantage of the quiet space to fill notebooks with all the noise in my brain. Here’s the map journal everyone always asks about.
This couch was a $200 steal from craigslist, considering the owner sold it to me new, and it was originally $800. A sweater blanket always makes your space a little extra cozy!
My pride and joy from Morocco. Yes, it only costs $1, but the best things in life are free, or close to it.
Another craigslist conquest – this bike was sold to me for $100, but was originally $800. The guy had just gone through a breakup and needed to get rid of the bike he gifted his girlfriend. One man’s pain is another woman’s pleasure. I did feel bad for the guy though. The plants are hung with these little plant hammocks.
Some books, bizarre board games, and questionable gnome dolls live on these floating shelves. All things that make me smile.
These creepy dolls are actually the only things I have from my Brazilian home. So while they may look extremely horrifying to you, the bring me nothing but happy memories of being so scared of them as a kid. Other fun things, Drunk Stoned or Stupid, Big Magic, and You Are a Badass.
The record player gets some good use, especially on those weekend evenings with a little red winnnnne.
This is my judge-free workspace. This white board keeps me sane. I’m currently writing this blog from this exact location at around 3:44 AM on a Friday night, fully aware of the fact I have to wake up for an appointment at 9AM. But who’s judging?
Vintage typewriter was a gift. It totally works, and I use it to write love letters to be sent across the country, all sealed with wax.
To make the bathroom a little cuter, I bought this sign.
With almost no storage in the bathroom, I had to buy this over the toilet shelving unit, and it changed the game.
The espresso machine might have been one of the best investments I’ve made for myself. The $4 a cup price for a latte just isn’t gonna work for me.