Making it our own

It’s been over two weeks since Marlon and I moved into our new apartment. Every day is an opportunity to chip away at the chaos with little tasks, like buying toilet roll holders, as well as big ones, like assembling the most complicated sofa bed ever (Ikea PS 2012, I’m looking at you).

Though the list of tasks seems endless, none of it feels like a chore. Instead, they feel like the movements of our small family squirming into place—a turn here, a wiggle there, until everything fits just right. It’ll take a while, but in the meantime, every day I see our home starting to take on the little personal touches that make it ours. It’s a subtle, but wonderful satisfaction.

I loved how the previous owners decorated the place, with clean lines, a spacious feeling and minimal clutter. But as much as we wanted to do the whole minimalist Scandinavian thing, color has made its place in our home. I can’t stop it; it’s in our personality.

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Books and art… can’t have a home without those. None of our paintings or prints are in their final place yet, though.

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By the way… Marlon painted these!

We’re reconfiguring some things, like the old crates that used to be a TV console and are now hallway storage…

Hallway storage from crates

and finding new places for others. For example, my desk used to be in the guest room, but now sits between the living and dining spaces. There’s more pressure on me to keep it neat!

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The previous owners’ minimalist chic has also made me cautious about rushing things and over-decorating. Marlon and I agreed to follow their lead and not fill up the house with too much, too soon.

So this time, I avoided “vignettes”—you know, those carefully styled piles/arrangements/tablescapes of cute, quirky objects (a.k.a. abubot) that interior magazines, stylists and bloggers just love. (Slow blogging week? Style a vignette, take a picture, and call it a day.) With much less living space, managing clutter is now a priority. Besides, I know all these little objects will pile up over time anyway—not to mention the clutter-generating power of the baby that’s on her way!

I allowed myself just one grouping of photos: vintage ones of my parents and grandparents, and a favorite family shot from my wedding day.

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I’m also “forced” (only in a good way) to see the beauty in everyday things that we love and actually use—like my glass flower vases…

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and Marlon’s favorite tools for grinding spices (he cooks with them a lot!). Hot drinks are a must in winter, so our double boiler teapot from Istanbul (nothing fancy, it was from the Turkish equivalent of a sari-sari store) sits on the stove hood, perpetually ready for action.

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What will make this house our home? I’m still figuring that one out, but I’m enjoying the process.

What about you? What makes your home truly your own?

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