At some point, after eight years of living in the same Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment, I accepted the fact that my semi-permanent status as a renter was perhaps more permanent than semi. Rents in Williamsburg continue to increase making it virtually impossible for me to find a similarly sized apartment on the same budget. In the eight years I’ve called this place home, my apartment has been painted and decorated and redecorated many times over. And if you had seen photos that appeared in online or in Design*Sponge book, you may have thought I had it all together. You may never have wondered about the kitchen. -Amy
Photography by de la Barra Photography
Confession time. For a long period (a.k.a my 20s), I became an expert at future living. I told myself that I would have pets when I had more space. I would have more people over to dinner, when I had a bigger kitchen. I would take that vacation when I had more time and money. I finally just got tired of waiting until tomorrow to be happy today. The first thing I did with my new found present living philosophy was get two kittens, and I slowly made other changes that have made me really happy today.
See my best decision after the jump
So back to that kitchen. It must have been put up in 1970, and then everyone tried to look the other way. But I couldn’t look the other way because the only wall on which my sofa would fit faced directly into the kitchen with its ugly, ugly wood veneer paneled cabinets. Usually when you live with something long enough, you stop seeing it. But I never stopped cringing every time I looked into that kitchen. I knew there was pretty much no way I could turn my tiny apartment kitchen into the Nancy Meyer kitchen of my dreams so I didn’t try to do anything. After all, my living situation was only semi-permanent.
So I tried not to let it bother me too much, but then one day, I realized that it did bother me. And no amount of pretending that it didn’t would change that. I wish I knew the secret for what changed. How I really achieved my “present living philosophy” Perhaps it was my 5-day a week yoga practice that taught me to live in the present (wishful thinking.) Or maybe it was the fact that in my 30s, I’ve learned not to settle (big life changes will teach you that). But for whatever reason, one day last fall, I got out my electric screwdriver and took the doors off all the cabinets. I went to the hardware store, and bought white paint and just attacked the cabinets. The project took over my entire living room. I didn’t want to pay for new hardware so I painted the existing hinges with black enamel paint. The amazing Matt Pierce, of Wood & Faulk, sent me strips of leather so that I could create cabinet pulls.
Then late one night, with a glass (ok, a bottle) of wine, I created the finishing touch. A collage refrigerator. I had taken a flash drive loaded with all my favorite photos of family and friends to Kinkos and printed them. At the time, I was living alone and yet this little project made me feel so connected to everyone I loved.
So my kitchen is still not a Nancy Meyer masterpiece, and I couldn’t do anything about the lack of counter space. If you look closely at my work, you can see paint drips, and I’d still like to do something about the floor, but when I look up from my sofa, I feel calm and happy. I’m glad I made the decision to really be in the present, not wish for some better future. I love my little apartment kitchen in Brooklyn.