The decision to move to a larger city after leaving Charleston was one I made a long time ago. I’ve always preferred big cities. I like being able to use public transportation instead of having a car, I love having access to many museums and galleries, and I enjoy hearing many languages spoken as I make my way through the hustle and bustle of downtown. As I searched for a job, I concentrated on NYC, DC, Chicago, and LA. DC won the race and I am glad to be here. Starting over is always scary, but I’m enjoying the challenge.
As I spent a few days in May packing my things, I knew that, regardless of which city I moved to, I would end up affording a smaller apartment than I had in Charleston. With this in mind, I seriously purged my belongings and decided to leave all of my furniture behind in South Carolina. I own a lot of books. Even after my major purge, I still have more than 500 books in my collection. I know this because I assign them each a catalog number that I put on a bookplate in the book. I keep a list of my catalog in a series of spreadsheets, organized by general category (art & architecture, biographies, etc.). I don’t even keep all the books I read, just the ones I would like to re-read, or would like to have available to lend to my friends. As I searched for an apartment in DC, I was looking for a place with enough wall space for me to be able to install enough bookcases for my books (also acknowledging that I will add to my collection). I settled on the Columbia Heights neighborhood, a neighborhood that was mostly Hispanic for most of the second half of the 1900’s and into the early 2000’s. Gentrification is changing the area, but I still find tías selling watermelon and mango slices on the street and families with babies that look like me, brown hair and big brown eyes.
This is the apartment I found. I chose it because it has a great bank of windows facing the street, which lets in a lot of natural light during the day. The window sill is a great spot for my orchids. The kitchen is tiny, it makes me smile it’s so itty bitty. I don’t do much cooking, so it’s fine for me. The main studio space is approximately 250 square feet (there’s a walk-through closet to the bathroom and the tiny kitchen space, so the apartment is a little more than 350 sq feet overall). Other than the full-size bed that I had delivered when I moved in last week, there is no other furniture…yet. I will be bringing a drafting table from my old apartment, otherwise I have a blank slate. I’m excited to hunt for vintage pieces to create a home from this little space, and to build some new shelves to accommodate my books. I love a good challenge!
Let’s see what this blank canvas becomes!