a simpler sound.

2013: T-minus 12 days to HOME-A-GEDDON!

I've been out of pocket for TWO months now, and it feels like just a blip on the calendar, even though so much has happened!  

Since my last post, I

...traveled to Germany to visit family
...with a side trip to Paris [posts on my travels to follow]
...traveled to New York for work
...helped good friends move into their new, beautiful home
...with some design consultation and business planning on the side
...AND raised a completely adorable puppy named Watson [he's a handful, but a lovable one!]

What's preoccupied my time more than anything else has been the process of designing an entirely new house [well not exactly, but pretty darn close].  

From initial conception, to architectural plans, to re-designing [again and again and then one more time], to permitting [and praying], to slowly packing away the house, to scouting and purchasing plumbing, lighting, tile, furniture, floors, fabrics, to...

12 days [or maybe a few days sooner!] from now, the contractor and his crew will set up camp to: demolish, rebuild, add on, and [hopefully!] finish my house.  The planned completion date is sometime in June [fingers and toes and legs and arms crossed that we stick to this deadline!]. That's FOUR months of mayhem!

One of my favorite places in the world will be completely transformed, nearly doubling the size of my house! I don't think I've been more excited and engrossed [and terrified!] by anything quite so much as this project. I know things will get worse before they get better, but it will absolutely be worth it in the end.

Stay tuned...

Meet my attic.

I never had an attic growing up in New York, but was always intrigued by them.  I so badly wanted to have one, so that I could have a secret hiding place; a little spot all to my own, where I could stash my favorite things. Basically, I was looking for a tree house, but being in New York where having a tree was even more rare, the dream of an attic would suffice.

I never got that attic [I did have a pretty deep closet that I treated as such], so when I was house hunting here in Atlanta four years ago, one of the first places I thought to look was in the attic.  The neighborhoods I was focused on were made up of old craftsman bungalows from the 20s and 30s, so an attic was a guaranteed perk. I always pictured attics to be cozy; a space where you could just manage to crawl in and sit curled up next to a window, peering out at the rest of the world. And most of the houses I visited had fairly small attics, or at least ones where you could barely stand up straight without bumping your head.  

When I came to this house [the home I now live in], I was shocked when I made my way up the rickety ladder staircase.  This attic was cavernous.  With the exception of a few areas of pitched roof, the ceilings were even higher than the first floor! The previous owner had put down some plywood flooring in parts, so you could essentially walk around the entire attic, which spanned the entire space of the first floor.  I immediately saw the potential this space held, and that along with the size of the kitchen [every other house had an incredibly tiny kitchen- and this house had one nearly twice the size of any other, something essential to an avid cook] had me sold on this house. 

The passage into the attic is a little precarious: a 'staircase' unfolds from the ceiling, but after some finagling of the ladder joints, you can fairly easily climb your way into the attic space. 

For it being an unfinished space with minimal windows, there's quite a bit of light up here.  I would imagine if windows were situated on all four walls, the space would be infinitely brighter.  

The nook with this small window is the front face of my house, and the perfect spot for that reading nook I always dreamed of.  Plus, it's got the perfect bird's eye view of everything happening on my street.  

Here you can see where the fireplace chimney continues from the first floor.  This would such a great feature to have exposed if [and when?!] I renovate this space.  You can also see an area boarded up where I would imagine a window used to be. When I look at my house from the outside, the siding completely covers this area, so I had no idea a window ever existed until I made my way up here. This is the highest peak of the roof, and here you can see how the ceilings just soar, probably close to 20 feet at its apex. 

I love warm tones of the wood in this space.  I don't think there's a way of keeping that exposed, since in order for it to be usable and livable, it needs insulation [something sorely lacking in this attic!] so for now, I can pretend I'm in my own personal log cabin when I'm up here.  Right now, all it's used for is storage for luggage and a few other things, but I can picture this becoming so much more.  The previous owner actually left some rough design plans for this attic space, and they turned it into a massive master bedroom and bathroom, with an extra office or bedroom space.  That would be a huge transformation, so for now, a girl can dream...

New York in Black and White.

I walked into my hotel room, and this is what I found.  Just breathtaking.
I just returned from a work trip to New York. I grew up here, so every time I return, I get such a sense of nostalgia for this great city.  I go through phases where I think I'll sell everything I have and figure out how to make my way back there. It's so beautiful and exciting and there's just no end to what you can do, see, eat, and explore.

The view from my hotel room was unbelievable.  Normally, I get a lovely [ahem, sarcasm]  view of the building directly across the street, where the most I can see is what the apartment across the way is watching on TV [I've actually watched Jeopardy through someone else's apartment window once- "Alex, I'll take Unknowingly Creepy Tendencies for $300"].

This time, we stayed on the 32nd floor of the Affinia Dumont in Murray Hill, and somehow, every building around was lower than ours, so we had a direct view of the Chrysler Building [which I find to be the most architecturally beautiful and classic buildings in Manhattan or anywhere for that matter], along with a view of the east river to my right and the Bank of America tower to my left [I actually didn't know the name of this building until I wrote this- this is currently the second tallest building in New York, after the Empire State].

As I was writing this post, I was horrified to hear that there was a shooting this morning right by the Empire State Building.  I literally just passed on this street everyday for nearly a week, so it was surreal to see the chaos happening on TV this morning. Despite moments like these, I actually feel completely safe in New York [even safer than I do in Atlanta at times] so I hate when moments like this happen, since it gives people the wrong idea about this amazing city.  

More to post about my trip to New York [including my perfect night in Little Italy!], but here are a few pictures to help give you an idea of why I love NYC so much...

The view of the Chrysler at night, taken from my hotel room.
One of my most favorite views of New York.  I love seeing the New Yorker sign juxtaposed to the Empire State Building.
This place brings back such good memories of me and my grandmother.  In the summers, we would take the bus from my neighborhood in Queens over to Macy's, and we would walk together, arm in arm, admiring all the pretty things.  I miss that so much.

Just a random parking sign, but I loved the detail of the bricks next to the big, graphic letters.

A Turquoise Horse in Italy.

The title speaks for itself.  Last summer, we spent a day in Verona, Italy, wandering through the cobbled side streets, admiring all the distinguished, old architecture.  While we were busy "getting lost," I was photographing some old doors and windows when I stumbled upon this sculpture of a horse, painted in the brightest turquoise. It was set in this little alcove between two alley ways.  It was such a beautiful piece of art, that was so hidden, I wondered if anyone else had seen it before [aside from the residents of the building behind it.]

I've always loved horses [though I was never a trained rider or anything] and find them to be one of the most beautiful animals, and this one flooded in a pop of color definitely put a smile on my face. 

Windows of Verona.

I'm just getting back from being away for two weeks [Aruba to Alaska- I'm planning on covering all the A's this month...not really, but wouldn't that be amazing?!], so this post has absolutely nothing to do with what's currently going on in my life.  It'll likely take me a few days to catch up on posts. I have so much to share about my trips this year!

Last summer, I spent a night in Verona, Italy [of Romeo & Juliet fame] and fell in love with the architecture.  I loved the stories that were told through the windows of Verona.  Each window has its own story, its own color, grit, character, texture, history.  Shakespearean romances aside, the windows of Verona were purely romantic.