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On Furniture

My husband and I either sold or tossed all of our furniture before leaving San Francisco because we didn’t know what kind of space we’d have in NYC and most of our furniture were a hodgepodge of IKEA, Craigslist and various other hand-me-downs anyway that we deemed unworthy of the cross-country trek to Manhattan. That essentially left us with a blank canvas for furnishing our new apartment. Except, perhaps, when it came to the kitchen. Those who know me know that I love to cook and there was no way I’d part with my assemblage of kitchen accoutrements, cookbooks, et al. And so, for the first few weeks in our apartment, I’ve been able to prepare pretty elaborate meals that we’ve subsequently eaten sitting cross-legged on our apartment floor. Not exactly the stuff of gourmet dreams and totally cramming my aspirations of becoming a domestic goddess.

So, in a quest to better equip our place for some major dinner partying, we’ve spent every spare moment in the last few weeks exploring the various furniture options for apartment living in NYC. We first started off with blogs and furniture store catalogs for design inspiration such as Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, Room and Board, and IKEA, to name a few. We’ve then been all over lower and midtown Manhattan furniture stores as well as Brooklyn trying to identify the right additions to our home.

In the process, we’ve discovered quite a few things about ourselves, including the differences in our approaches to furnishing. I, for one, tend to value form over function, and considered it a huge personal victory when I managed to convince the hubs that a fiery, red bench would be the perfect addition to our dining table. Where we haven’t had as much luck is the couch. We’ve probably sat on over 100 at this point and haven’t quite found the one that we both love and willing to fork over the mucho dinero that a quality piece of furniture tends to command. I like straight lines and modern designs whereas the hubs prefers uber comfort and something you can just sink into after a hard day’s work. I don’t blame him, of course, but we’ve yet to meet that perfect couch that perfectly marries comfort and design.

The next issue we’ve had to tangle with is how much do we spend? We’ve both agreed that we’re old enough to want (and need) nice furniture and, be able to, to some extent, afford some nicer investments in furniture pieces. There are two major challenges with this desire to upgrade. The first is that we’re living in a much smaller apartment, a starter apartment, if you will, and we don’t necessarily want to invest in major furniture pieces such as the couch, dining table, etc., that are the right size but for a relatively temporary living situation. The second issue, and this one bugs me to no end, is the lack of a proper ventilation hood in our apartment, the result of which is a tiny, stinky, layer of grease over EVERYTHING anytime I cook at medium or higher temperatures over the stovetop. Since our kitchen is separated from our living room by a small kitchen island, i do, literally, mean EVERYTHING. Last night’s sauté can only smell so great for only so long. Somehow the thought of layers of home-cooked meals accumulating over our furniture, like the rings of age on timber to mark the passage of time, makes me queasy.

I’m sitting in our living room right now waiting for our delivery from IKEA to arrive as I’m writing this post. I feel badly for the guys who have to haul our boxes up several flights of stairs to reach our apartment, and wondering how much tip is appropriate. In the end, we ended up going with IKEA for a lot of our furniture because we just couldn’t bear the thought of splurging at Room and Board (a furniture store we LOVE) for pieces that might get ruined within a year. The couch still eludes us, though. Well, at least we have the red bench.

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