it takes me forever to settle into a home. on one hand, if i know i’ll only live in a place for a couple months, i’m very quick to put up shelves and hang pictures in as practical and untroubled a manner as possible: cover the rough patches on the walls, ensure there’s a place for books near the bed, keep my clothes off the floor, make it look like someone lives there.
note that i write “someone lives there”, not “i live there”?
cuz really, for a place to be mine and really feel like it, i’ve got to stare at that blank wall above my bed for a good… oh, i don’t know, 5 months? in order to figure out what would fit perfectly. now that space features a lovely triad of framed photos from my collection of bicycle pics, but i’m not joking: i moved into this apartment in july, and the photos went up in december. they make me so happy, when i lay there and look up at them, or sit up leaning against the wall and see them reflected in the mirror across the room. i might have liked them just as much if i’d hung them in july, but i certainly wouldn’t have the same appreciation for the atmosphere they bring to my bedroom.
similarly: at the same time as i’m circulating emails in an attempt to find a subletter for when i go to australia, i’m finally finishing some house projects that have been ongoing since i moved in.
have i mentioned how huge my apartment is? it’s pretty big, especially for just one person. there’s a 16-foot-long wall in the living room, and from the day i first saw it, i have plotted to fill it with shelving. with $100 that i received from my parents for my birthday, i bought part of the roof of an old church hall that was being demolished, and had a couple carpenter friends run the boards through the planer at their shop (hurrah for carpenter friends!). these 1x8s are old douglas fir, dry and prone to splitting but handsome and still sturdy.
the vertical supports and the long horizontal pieces of the bookcase went up in august, and in september i put in lots of shelves at one end so that i could fill it from floor to ceiling with books. i wanted to do something interesting with the middle section, and finally, finally, finally! this past weekend, with special help from a special person and the loan of some drill bits from my neighbour, i put in short shelves floating on metal rods between the main horizontal supports:
i need more washers to finish it off, but still: i’m so excited about how beautiful and neat this looks. i love the combination of wood and metal, and the mix of old and new.
i can’t quite believe that i’m leaving in 11 weeks, and though i’m confident i’ll find a subletter, part of me doesn’t think i’ll be living in this apartment after i return in august… because opportunities arise, and times change, and i just don’t know. when i think about losing this space, i feel a little sad, because despite the length of time it has taken me to settle in, i’ve loved it very much. at the same time, these past months of attempting to make this apartment mine were also spent recovering from a breakup and figuring out what to do with my life. so, if i do end up living somewhere else, at least i can feel happy about having had such a nice home when i needed it most.