Friday, March 30, 2012

An explanation

1201 north was the address of our first home as children. Living at 1201 north we learned to imagine, to explore, to play, to share, to create, to use our minds, and to follow our hearts.  As adults, we want to harness the magic of 1201 north so that our homes and families always maintain a sense of fun, of comfort, of adventure, and of love.


Hello lovelies!   

I have always loved all things home—design, cooking, entertaining.  Okay, honestly.  There is a 1950s housewife inside of me screaming to be set free.  This is why I’m so excited to have two new projects to take on—working with my sister to transform both of our Brooklyn apartments into well-designed homes.

A Midwesterner at heart, I was truly shocked the first time I came to NY.  The noise, the cabs, the amount of people…I felt like I needed a padded room to recover.  When my husband (who was my fiancĂ© at the time) got transferred here for work, I “waited behind” (read: stalled) in Chicago while I finished up my job and he scoped out apartments.

For any of you familiar with the NYC rental market, you can imagine what a COMPLETE AND UTTER FREAKING NIGHTMARE it is to find an apartment that checks all the boxes in terms of design, space, rent, convenience, neighborhood, etc.  And by complete and utter freaking nightmare I mean it’s not possible.  Luckily, my sweet husband was able to find an apartment in a great part of Manhattan-- Battery Park City.  We settled in and were happy to be able to look out of (one) of our windows and see trees.  Despite the great neighborhood, the apartment was tiny, cookie cutter and carried a colossal rent.  Every month when we wrote the rent check a small piece of me died.

Fast forward to August 2011.  We received a letter from our management company letting us know that it was time to renew our lease for 2012 and that…wait for it….our rent had been increased by 20%.  No, no need to reread that.  TWENTY PERCENT.

After politely telling our management company to shove it that we wouldn’t be renewing for 2012, it dawned on us that we had one month to find a new apartment.  Cue panic.

BUT THEN. OH, BUT THEN.  I got the call from Sarah that she was moving to New York!  Cue panic (the good kind).  If there is anything that anyone knows about me, it is that Sarah is my other half.  The thought of living near her juuuuust about put me over the edge.  Once I began to breathe again, we commenced The Great Apartment Hunt of the Common Era. We quickly decided that we were both looking for the exact same things in our ideal apartments: charm, reasonable rent (I’m looking at you, Battery Park City. I’m looking. at. you.), close proximity to trains, lots of light, great neighborhood…the list went on and on.  After a little research, we realized that Brooklyn was where we wanted to be.

After a weekend of trekking through the heat, seeing 30 apartments and fighting with our husbands in front of each other (yep, that happened) we found two GREAT apartments.  This blog will chronicle our turning these rental apartments into homes that we can grow into with our families and build memories in together as a fearless foursome. We can’t wait to share our adventures in life and design with all of you!

A little more about us...

Age: 26
My story in fifty words or less: Chicago girl. Middle child. Family of five. Loves of my life. Went to Yale. Met a boy. Fell in love. Graduated. Taught third grade. Married boy.  Left teaching. Worked in business.  Sucked my soul. Quit. Going back to school.  Lucky. Loved. Happy.  
Occupation: Working on my Master's in Social Work
Lives in Brooklyn with: My sweet husband and the best. dog. ever.
Moved to NY in: 2009
Words that describe me: Quirky, tall, talkative, empathetic, pretty awesome.
Favorite piece of furniture in my house: Our vintage dresser/buffet (yep, bras in my dining room)
My design style: I don’t know the word for it, but I love a space that has lots of special touches but is still totally “liveable.”  I like yummy fabrics, nail heads, wood beams, marble, big tables, gold accessories, antique mirrors and anything gray.
What I love most about my sister, Sarah: That despite her toughness, she is one of the most sensitive, caring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. 

Age: 29
My story in 50 words or less: Midwest born and raised.  Left home for Stanford. Graduated and moved right back to Chicago. Left again for Penn. Adopted a badass Pekingese. Married my college crush. Moved back home again. Bought a house. Fixed it up. Found out I was pregnant. Moved to Brooklyn a week later. Love Brooklyn.
Occupation: transitioning from earning my PhD to being a stay-at-home mom!
Lives in Brooklyn with: my main men, Devin (my husband) and Bruce (my badass Peke)
Moved to Brooklyn in: 2011
Words that describe me: independent. creative. stubborn. smart. fun-loving. visual. harsh. big-picture. caring. chill. oblivious. happy. artistic. short-winded.
Favorite piece of furniture in my house: this amazing reclaimed wood table that my mom found at a flea market ages ago.  It’s a little too big to be a side table and a little too small to be a console table, but it’s perfectly quirky so it can serve as either.  It brings so much character into any room!
My design style: I like rooms that feel homey but styled.  I love vintage furniture, refinished or not, plush carpets over hardwood floors, neutral tones with pops of color, mirrors, nail heads, and original artwork.  I hate the term shabby-chic.  A room can be lived-in without being shabby.
What I love most about my sister, Julie: Her bright spirit.  Julie lights up whatever room she walks into with her infectious enthusiasm, her ridiculous sense of humor, her eye-opening insights, her creative mind, her selflessness, and her intellect. She’s just fun to be around.

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