When I was in college, I lived with five other girls in a house off campus for two years and somehow our residence became known as the “Dollhouse”. There were houses with other names too – “The Cave”, “The Brothel”, to name a few. Ever since I’ve always had this need to name the place I live. I picked Treehouse for this apartment because I’m on the second floor with a great view of some trees out the living room window. I know I’ve shared pictures of the place early on but a major transformation has occurred and I’m finally (60 something days later…) settled. It took some professional experience to fly in from Indy and Atlanta…..
Last week you may have noticed that my running was a little off. And by a little I mean I didn’t run for an entire seven days. Not the best way to train for a half marathon PR but I had special guests in town and our mission was beyond exhausting. My mom and her mom descended on Austin last Sunday with one mission
I think it nearly did Nan Oat (grandma) in when she first caught glimpse of the place. I’m fairly certain I heard the word “hopeless” several times as she scoped my little space out. We discussed some options and I showed some very specific ideas I had from photos I found on Pinterest. The main objective (clearly necessary – check photo above) – bookshelves.
I didn’t want all the mudroom-esque stuff but I did like the look of the two tall bookcases with a seat in the middle. IKEA would solve that – put it on Monday’s agenda.
Next she thought a color scheme would be good to have an idea of so she and Momsie could shop while I was in class on Monday (no wasted time here!). I had a few ideas.
Nan Oat called this one the “nursery”….with a hint of “this will not do”.
I knew I wanted a lot of colors, I just wasn’t sure how I wanted them to all come together.
But first things first – IKEA.
Ikea is a gigantic furniture store – understatement. I don’t even know how to put it into words. But there are a few things you should consider before you set foot in their doors.
- Plan to spend several hours just browsing all of their floorplans.
- Do not go in hungry. (Even though there is a food court in the middle of the store, and at the end by checkout).
- Do not go in hungover, tired, cranky or alone.
- Make sure everyone in your party gets a cart – you won’t fill it with anything but it’s an excellent intimidation factor.
- Make sure everyone in your party wears the same color shirt – again, adding to the intimidation factor – IKEA is not for wimps!
IKEA took a total of 3 trips, 2 days and lots of time but you’ll see in a minute it was worth it! While we waited for the furniture to arrive we continued shopping, looking for the perfect combination of colors for the living space. I had trouble putting into words what I wanted but after Target, Pier 1, Pottery Barn, World Market, and Super Target we were again feeling “hopeless”. It was one of those things that I knew I would just know it when I saw it. And all of those usually quite reliable retailers had failed miserably.
Once the furniture arrived it was time to build. The thing about IKEA in Texas is that it turns into a confusion of the languages of English, Spanish and Swedish. And I think IKEA has realized what an international phenom they are so they just don’t print words in their construction instructions. It makes for a maddening experience.
Should be simple enough for a graduate student right? Well this one struggled. I’m so glad I had the help and watchful eye of Mama who apparently has some secret IKEA building workshop because she had no issues. By Wednesday night I was feeling quite defeated with just one more working day to go with my troops.
IKEA won in many ways – the time, frustration and sweat that went into the furniture pieces. The pain I’m still experiencing in my wrists (must’ve developed carpal tunnel from all the screws) and the mess the packaging leaves behind. Plus I felt beyond incompetent on more than one occasion but I just reminded myself that I’m an expert on gluconeogenesis, not making sure that you grab the short version of the shelf and not the long one that goes on the top……
All that remained were the colors. I decided on Thursday night while Nan Oat watched the debate, I would sneak to Bed, Bath and Beyond and that’s where I saw my color scheme come to life. I bought so many throw pillows the girl checking me out said “are these all for the same couch?” to which I had to explain that I like to buy, try and return. I wasn’t sure which colors would make the cut so I was taking them all. What, that’s not how you shop?
And finally, all the pieces came together.
It was a labor of love for sure and took up most of the time of the girls’ trip but we did manage to find some good food and tour around campus a little bit. I had fun hanging out as the three oldest girls of each of our generations and we managed to have some good laughs. Mama’s gotta come back soon though for a real Austin vacation. Big thanks to my troops, and to everyone who helped counsel me through the color choices via email. So I’m pleased to say I am ready for my first official visitors! I’ve got at least three lined up for February/early spring (and of course Mama and Pops will come for some fun instead of moving chores) – who else is interested?!
All that’s left now are the wall hangings…..my wrists need a little more recuperating before I wield a hammer!