Introducing My New Apartment!

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Living Room

You know, I wasn’t sure if this was the right time to reveal my apartment to the world. Originally, I wanted to wait until I got art on the walls, decorated it more, and had a completely staged apartment to reveal.

Then I remembered that you guys always enjoy seeing the process of things, the nitty-gritty, the aspects that aren’t 100% certain. You could see the place as it improves changes over time — and you would probably have a lot of suggestions for me!

Welcome to my place.

It’s a floor-through apartment in a brownstone on a quiet, tree-lined street in Hamilton Heights, the upper northwest corner of Harlem, in New York City.

Privacy can be a tricky thing to figure out when you live a public life. I’ve decided to be private about exactly where I live, even taking care never to so much as snap from my street. I’ve also decided to keep what I pay in rent private.

I will say, however, that Hamilton Heights is one of the best value neighborhoods in New York City. There are plenty of renovated, one-bedroom apartments with dishwasher and laundry in the building, often with elevators, for $1800 per month. And for New York City, that is a hell of a deal, especially once you consider that this neighborhood is on the express train and three stops from Times Square.

As for living in Harlem, it’s been two months and I am still so thrilled to be here! Moving here was absolutely the right decision, and I’m enjoying exploring this incredible neighborhood.

Living Room

Meet the Living/Dining Room

I love this room, and it’s where I spend most of my waking hours, either working or lounging. The couch was the first piece of furniture I bought — who can resist a big purple couch?

Pink rug

At first I had a gray patterned rug from West Elm that has since been discontinued, but then I found this fuchsia rug on One Kings Lane and FELL IN LOVE. It reminded me of something from a Wes Anderson film!

It would make a complete difference in my color scheme, but it was early enough that I could afford to make the switch. With the hot pink and purple, I want to add some teal accents to further pump up the room!

I’m thinking of putting the gray rug in my bedroom.

Dining Room

I want to have friends over for dinner on a regular basis, so it was a priority for me to get a dining table that could seat four.

This is the table with the leaf inserted — it can get a bit smaller. And you can’t tell in the photo, but the table is placed beneath the overhead light in the living room.

Living Room

The whole room gets plenty of light throughout the day thanks to those three large windows!

Living Room/Dining Room Next Steps

I need art! Absolutely nothing is on the walls yet. I’ve bought some art recently, but none of it is framed yet — that’s the next priority!

For the four years I lived in Boston, I only hung one item on the wall: my diploma. That’s it. Part of me always knew that I was going to go travel, and it wouldn’t make sense to buy anything temporary.

Now? I’m here for the long haul. Let’s get some ART.

Whatever hangs above the couch will probably be the biggest focal point in the apartment. Here are three pieces I’m considering right now:

Product_NER24210_Image_1

This amazing, carefree shot (taken in Croatia, which I love!) by photographer Natalie Obradavich on One Kings Lane.

map-of-the-world-ksc-prints

A funky map blending ancient and modern by artist Jbjart on Society6.

Dubrovnik Skyline

Or it could be this photo that I took of Dubrovnik two years ago. It’s always been one of my favorites.

What do you think? Which one would you choose?

I need a media cabinet or other kind of display for the TV. I’m thinking of using the bar cart for this purpose for now.

I need a desk, especially since I work at home. I thought of getting a mini desk — I love this one from West Elm — but now I’m thinking it would be smarter to get a treadmill with a desk attachment. Honestly, that would make such a difference in how sedentary I am. Though I hate how it would look. It’s something to think about.

That said, it’s a lower priority because I can work from my dining room table.

I’ll eventually need shades for the living room. The shade I got for the bedroom, which I adore, comes in a million different sizes.

A bookcase would be nice. I’ve gone mostly digital with my book collection, but it would be good for photos of family and friends in addition to the books I still own.

Kitchen

Meet the Kitchen

Jake: “He was so rich, he had a whole room in his house just to eat in.”

Gina: “You mean like a dining room?”

Jake: “Yeah, but in Manhattan.”

Gina: “Oh, dang.”

–Brooklyn Nine-Nine

One thing about Manhattan — kitchens are tiny. And if you have a detached dining room that doesn’t serve as a bedroom, then you’re definitely rich!

Kitchen

To my great shock when I arrived, my kitchen has exactly one drawer. And it’s tiny.

Because of that, I’ve had to get creative with storage. Lots of stuff is going in cabinets.

Kitchen

What really sold me on this apartment? The washer! I have been LOVING IT. It’s amazing just being able to do laundry when you need to, not to make a whole event out of it.

Kitchen

My favorite place in the kitchen is my coffee and tea nook. I have several cups of each per day. (Dentists love me!)

Interestingly, though, I filled up my sugar bowl right away and haven’t touched it in the two months since I’ve been living here. I prefer my coffee black and I drink plain herbal tea — that sugar is just for guests!

Kitchen

Little things give me such joy — like having a nook for my olive oil, salt, and pasta. (And now, currently, a bottle of red wine waiting to be opened when Dylan gets here Wednesday!)

Kitchen Next Steps

The kitchen is mostly done. Although I have a giant blank wall on the other side, I’m not sure I want to fill it with art just yet — or even at all. This one might be good to keep empty.

I’d like to buy a rice cooker (recommended by Kristin after I told her that I mess up quinoa almost every time I make it).

I’d also like to get an immersion blender for soup-making, but now that we’re getting into spring, I may hold off until soup weather returns (yes, Jodi, I know all weather is soup weather!).

Bedroom

Meet the Bedroom

I planned on having an all-white-and-gold bedroom. Then I got there and realized that it was far too one-dimensional. And while all-white bedding makes me feel like I’m sleeping in a giant marshmallow, I was surprised at how uncomfortable I felt waking up with all plain bright white walls.

So I’m now planning on having a neutral palette — white, ivory, cream, gray, gold, silver. Multi-dimensional, and feeling like a comfy place to crash on a rainy day. Coziness and relaxation are priorities.

The bedroom is pretty small, but it’s big enough to be able to get out on both sides of the bed.

Bedroom Curtain

My favorite thing in the bedroom? It’s actually my shade! It has no cord and you can raise and lower it with one finger.

Installing it was beyond my ability, so I hired someone from Taskrabbit to do it. I plan on getting more shades like this for the three windows in the living room.

Bedroom

To the left of the bed is an area for shelving. There used to be a huge metal grid to the left of the shelves, but I took it out so I could fit a dresser. Previous tenants hung a curtain over the whole area, but I plan to buy a screen to discreetly hide the shelving on the right.

Top of Dresser

At the moment, the dresser is at the ideal height for my 5’4″ self to do my makeup! That caddy, a Christmas gift from Mom, holds my day-to-day cosmetics.

Bedroom Closet

A glimpse of my closet. I rarely deviate from my clothing palette. Black, black and white, bright blue, bright pink, purple, and the occasional bit of teal or gold.

Bedroom Next Steps

I need art! I’d love to have a gallery wall on the large blank wall. I’ve already bought one piece that needs to be framed:

holding-on-to-love-prints

This beautiful photo is by artist Chelsea Victoria on Society6. I love the gray/gold/champagne color palette, I love its dreamy feeling, I love anything with hearts, and I love how it feels like New York. This photo is probably the best example of the color palette I eventually want for the bedroom.

I need more pillows and shams so that the bed looks made.

I’d like to get better sheets eventually. I went with microfiber sheets for now because they were cheap and had great reviews on Amazon…but they’re kind of weird. They’re super soft and comfy, but they pill easily and you can tell they’re not as high quality as good cotton.

I definitely need a folding screen to hide the shelving. I’m thinking something white and gold, or maybe just plain white. The selection out there isn’t great, so I’m on the lookout.

I need a jewelry box. And possibly also an earring tree.

I’d also like a long case for all my sunglasses to put on top of my dresser. My dad and I talked about him making me one! (My dad is basically Ron Swanson, only he lost his mustache in the mid-90s.)

Bathroom

Meet the Bathroom

When I first saw the bathroom, I loved the idea of it being in all black and white — but the walls were brown. Luckily, my landlady mentioned that the whole apartment needed to be painted, so I asked if she could paint the bathroom walls and the bedroom pure white. I’d have to pay for the paint, she told me, but it was no problem at all!

The bathroom is in great condition, but it isn’t renovated like many other Hamilton Heights places — so there are quirks. There is exactly one towel rack, which doesn’t make sense — don’t you need hand towels and at least one body towel?

Bathroom

The tiles feel very New York!

Bathroom

There’s also a huge shelf carved out of the shower wall, with more than enough room for all my toiletries (and several other people’s if need be).

Blue Bathroom Towels

I wanted only one pop of color — something bright and electric. These towels fit the bill!

Hallway to Bathroom

The hallway to the bathroom is the first thing you see when you walk in. I love that it’s on the complete opposite side of the living room — you don’t have to worry about people hearing while you pee! (Or poop. When you gotta go, you gotta go.)

  • Shower curtain: Room Essentials
  • Towels: Ralph Lauren in St. Tropez Blue (possibly discontinued?)

Bathroom Next Steps

Art, art, art. I’ve bought two large prints that need to be framed, then hung side by side on the big wall:

bear-3-printsbear-2-prints

This one and this one are the work of artist Jenny Liz Rome on Society6.

I have room for two more, one vertical and one horizontal. I really like this Bangkok map:

il_fullxfull.860074581_7zq2

This is the work of The Map Collection on Etsy.

And for the horizontal one, I’m leaning toward this one:

Copenhagen

This is the Superkilen in Copenhagen, a photo that I took last summer.

I need to buy an over-the-door hanger for multiple towels. Probably today, as I have my first guest coming Wednesday!

And a matching blue bathmat would be nice with the towels. I’ll see if I can track one down.

Elephant on Bar Cart

How I Saved Money on my Purchases

It looks like this was all a giant splurge, but this was all carefully planned over a long period of time. I was furnishing this place completely from scratch, as I had given all of my old furniture to my sister five years ago, and I started saving for furniture months in advance.

I spent months saving furnishings that I liked to private boards on Pinterest. As soon as I found the apartment in January, I began carefully choosing items that would fit and look good and watched carefully for any item to go on sale. I lucked out because January is a big month for furniture sales, so I made purchases early and arranged for them to be delivered once I moved in.

Yes, West Elm is expensive — but every single item I bought from there was on sale plus an extra discount added. You should never pay full price for anything from West Elm — it’s too easy to get multiple discounts, especially if you’re patient and can wait for a sale.

If you want to buy something from West Elm, I suggest you get on their mailing list and open every email they send you. They have constant sales and send out frequent coupons for 15% off, 20% off, and free shipping (non-furniture). I recommend creating a wishlist and double-checking it every time you get a coupon in your inbox.

The last time I got a 20% off coupon from West Elm, I went to my wishlist and saw that the dresser I wanted had been reduced by 30% already! With the 20% coupon on top of it I saved almost 50% off the sticker price!

I did the same thing with Anthropologie, signing up for emails, and bought the coasters as soon as a 15% off coupon came along (they send out coupons far less often and it took about six weeks).

You’ll have to pay full price at One Kings Lane. They never do sales.

I chose to invest in quality furniture, but virtually everything else was sourced on the cheap via Target, Amazon, and Homegoods.

Living Room

On Gratitude

I am humbled and grateful every single day that I’m able to live in a wonderful place like this. It took me a long time to get here and it was borne out of hard work, challenging times, and a good amount of luck that carried me forward.

I practice gratitude on what feels like an hourly basis. Just sitting on the couch with a mug of tea, or making a new recipe at the stove, or even something ridiculous like opening a closet and hanging my coat on a hanger instead of leaving it on the back of a chair — it fills me with so much happiness, my heart feels like it’s bursting.

I’m a different person now. I still love to travel, but now it’s important to me to have somewhere comforting to return to at the end of a trip. I think I’ve found that place.

What do you think? Any suggestions? How should I decorate?

Some of the links in this piece (only Amazon links, to be honest) are affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. These payments help reduce the ever-increasing costs of running this site, and I appreciate you being here today!

Also, special thanks to the many friends who helped me in my decorating so far!

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120 thoughts on “Introducing My New Apartment!”

  1. It’s looking great, Kate. I LOVE the sofa.

    I’m in the same place as you right now – after being on the road for coming up to two years I’ve decided I’m really longing to settle again.

    I hope you continue to enjoy your new home 🙂

  2. Looks great! I love decorating but I hate spending money on it — it would be so fun to do an entire place at once! For the living room I’d do the Croatia print because it has the blues that would look nice with your sofa and rug — or maybe even a whole wall of mixed art/mirrors. Those Jenny Liz Rome pieces are gorgeous. I’ve been wanting a charcoal piece for a long time, so much so that I’ve started researching doing my own. And that photo you took in Copenhagen stood out to me when you first showed it. I’d consider printing that large and hanging it somewhere even more prominent — it has great energy for the kitchen! I love my gray/cream bedroom, and it looks great when I add a dash of color like a turquoise scarf hanging over a wooden screen or a small vase of pink flowers. Oh, and the immersion blender is worth the investment — make sure you get one with a metal (not plastic) immersion piece so it doesn’t melt in hot liquids.

    I think your spam catcher will block me if I post a link, but you could consider doing a HUGE art piece as well. I did a giant print of a hand-drawn map of Paris from the 1700’s in my kitchen — it covers nearly an entire wall — and it’s the first thing people comment on when they come over. They’ll stare at it forever because it’s so detailed. If you search “Domestiphobia wall map” you’ll find it. And this makes me realize I never posted finished shots of my kitchen… looks great now that there’s a cool cast iron chandelier hanging over the island cart!

    1. Thanks for the tips!

      That is such a cool statement map! I love it! There was a giant gray Paris metro map that I found on etsy and loved, but that was back when I was going to do purple and gray for the living room — I don’t think it has enough to match the pink rug now.

      Thanks for the immersion blender tip — hadn’t thought of that!

      And FYI — if you want to post a link in the future, that’s fine. But if you post two or more, it automatically gets spammed.

  3. My favorite is the water shot taken in Croatia. There’s something so compelling about it. I also love maps and the map is a lovely choice. 🙂 My top pick is the water one, though.

    1. Hi Kate, i’m from croatia so i wote for the two croatian fotos! Maybe the one with the water on it, although Dubrovnik is also beuatiful! !

  4. Hey Kate!

    My advice would me to print up some of the photos you’ve taken that are your favorites. I’m sure you have some great ones that would remind you of your awesome travels. I especially like the idea of getting them printed on canvas. You’re making me long for my old, cozy apartment in Berkeley.

    1. Thanks, Megan! I plan on putting up a few, but not TOO many — I don’t want the apartment to turn into a Shrine to Me, a.k.a. Look At All The Places I’ve Been. I’d rather have the work of other artists take central stage and a few photos by me appearing here and there.

  5. LOVE the bathroom! That tile is so retro! And I’m a sucker for black and white with a pop of color. Personally I like the map for the living room but I could have maps everywhere lol

  6. I work from home, too, and have problems with being sedentary when I’m not on a shoot. I got a FitBit that reminds me to get up and move every hour, so I take a break, make a cup of tea, take out the recycling, etc. throughout the day.

    Instead of a treadmill desk, I’d recommend a standing one. You could build a custom dropleaf into your wall and close it when you have company. I can attest that a standing desk makes gives your legs a workout and isn’t as much of an eyesore as a treadmill desk!

    Lastly- I know you are swaying more towards art, but another source of light in your living room would make a big difference. Target.com has some great lights and H&M just launched their home line with some cheaper options!

    1. have to agree–I have a treadmill desk but I find if I really have to concentrate (writing something, reading something in depth, not just skimming,etc.) I can’t do that effectively and walk. It’s fine for a 10-15 minute burst of exercise while you catch up on email, wait on hold, wait out a boring conference call you don’t have to contribute much to, but I use it as a very expensive and ugly standing desk more often than not!

    2. You guys sure are persuasive when it comes to standing desks! 😉 I think that’s what I’ll end up doing.

      Yes, I definitely need a lamp for that corner of the living room. It gets pretty dark at night and a lamp could make a big difference.

  7. I love your new apartment Kate – and since space is limited in NYC I would stick to the dining table as workplace.

    For the blender- get a Vitamix for some fab buddha bowls, fruit sorbets (frozen fruits and coconut water – fab for hot summers) and they can heat soups aswell!

  8. So Mike has a treadmill desk and we are actually getting rid of it just 6 months later. Partially b/c of the baby, partially b/c it takes up too much space and partially b/c he just doesn’t use it enough to justify it. I would suggest just getting a standing desk. It makes a pretty big difference, actually takes up less space than a regular desk and you will probably use it more. Mike jerry-rigged his own from IKEA and could probably tell you how if you’re interested.
    Also I vote the colorful map for the living room! So pretty.

    1. That is a great point. After seeing everyone’s comments here, I’m leaning toward a standing desk now. Probably in a few months. It’s STILL healthy — anything that can help you avoid sitting is a good thing!

  9. Love it! Having lived in New York for a long time I know how tricky real estate is so I think you struck gold. And a washer??? How envious I am! And I also love your marshmallow bedroom, fitting a double bed and have space on both sides is a treat!

  10. For bedding, you should absolutely invest in good-quality sheets – and I do mean “invest.” Good percale or flannel sheeting is worth every dime, and should last more than long enough to justify the expense. I get all my bedding from LL Bean (no, not a paid endorsement!). Watch their website for sales; you won’t be sorry!

  11. love it!!!
    of the 3 pix, i think the one on top
    (you figured i’d say that though, right? lol)
    not feeling the map the same way so many others are…

  12. Obsessed with the Copenhagen photo. And I really love that table in your living room. Tres chic! Girl you need to invest on a 400 thread-count bed sheet cover. You won’t regret it. The one thing I would change though is your bedside table lamp. I think it’s too big for that table. You need a cuter, slimmer one. And you can move this one to your living room.

    I’m still decorating our apartment and it still makes me so happy even after 3 years! Enjoy decorating!

  13. I love the rug and the sofa! It reminds me of the big one from Friends, it looks cozy! About the arts on the wall I would suggest to print a lot of your picture, you are an amazing photografer and your walls can be a reminder of what you’ve been through, all the way you made to get in that house… But I love the house so far!

  14. What a fantastic apartment…and I adore that Copenhagen photo and your tea area! I always like adding fresh flowers from time to time when my white walls are a little too boring (as I have yet to hang things up three months after moving in ?).

  15. LOVE IT! Also – Jealous. The place looks like a palace – I paid $1700 for a teeensy studio in a walk-up on 74th and 2nd for 7 years.
    I really like the color scheme, the pops of brightness. I am surprised, however, that you arent tempted to plaster your walls with all your amazing travel photos, the best of the best. That what I’d do 😀

    1. Thanks so much! Eh, honestly, with a photographer’s eye, you get so CRITICAL about your past work and wishing you’d done it differently! I only feel at peace about a few photos, like that Dubrovnik photo.

  16. Hi Kate,

    How nice you got to furnish it from scratch – such fun!

    I love the girl floating in Croatia – it will be a reminder to keep leaving NYC for water like that! And the Turquoise color in the painting helps to open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word. It presents as a friendly and happy color enjoying life!

  17. Love this post! So brave of you to expose your living quarters. You do need art! As a visual artist myself I have more art than wall space and while I do love your chosen prints, consider getting a large canvas and throwing some random acrylic paint in a way that is abstract, choosing complementary colours. It’ll be fun and unique and a good conversation piece. Or you could create it when all your friends get together at your first housewarming! Just a thought, with your artistic eye in photography I bet you’d be good at it. And PS. Bed bath beyond sells 400+ count Egyptian cotton sheets on sale, I have my ser for 8 years now, travelled with me to Germany and back, not a rip!

  18. Your apartment is looking amazing so far! I am totally loving that tile in the bathroom and the curtain you chose to go with it! (I’m a huge fan of black and white.) And I have to freak out about your Pinot Noir mug!! Classic! Can’t wait for the new season in just a few days! 🙂
    Idea for your bedroom: What about a gold framed mirror for above the dresser? Might be helpful for doing makeup, etc, and I think it would look really lovely with the colors you’re going for!
    I’m a lover of maps, myself, so I’ve got to put my vote out there for the map in the living room! Seems to suit you well and I think it would really tie in nicely with the colors you’ve got going on, including the teal you discussed.
    I think I saw someone mention a standing desk, rather than treadmill. I second that suggestion! I used to have a standing setup at my job and it really made such a difference in my energy and movement throughout the day. Plus, you’ve always got the table or couch to flop down at if/when you get tired or lazy! The only thing I’ll say about that is if you’re working at a laptop, you’ll want to switch heights and positions often so your arms and neck don’t get sore!
    Looking great! Keep us posted on your progress!

    Anna

    1. Thank you so much, Anna! I love all your suggestions. A standing desk seems to be the way to go.

      I have looked at mirrors (especially on One Kings Lane — SUCH nice stuff!) but unfortunately, the ones I like don’t look very good horizontal, and I can’t find anywhere in my bedroom that would fit them vertically. They may need to be relegated to the hallway.

  19. You apartment looks beautiful! Everything looks stylish but homey and not overdone. I love the shower curtain!! We had those exact blinds in our Airbnb apartment over Montreal over the summer. Very easy to get up and down but didn’t give us enough darkness with kids, probably not a problem for you though. 😉 Oh and the Tituss mug is everything!

  20. Everything looks great, and I’m sure it’s a nice feeling to have such a cute, cozy home base! I love the purple couch, the rug, all of the art. I had to laugh, because I also have The Secret Language of Birthdays book, which I have had for years. Pretty cool! 😉

  21. The Croatia picture will definitely tie in the teal colors! 🙂

    Also, if you’re sticking with the neutral, gold, white palette for the bedroom, I would check out the foiled art on Minted! I have a gold foiled map of London in my living room currently, and I love the way it looks!

  22. Kate, first things first, that photo of yours from Copenhagen needs to be framed!!! It’s absolutely stunning! Growing up in NYC, I have always loved living in Brooklyn before but now that I’ve gotten older, the commute from Brooklyn to where I work in that giant hospital on 165th & Broadway in Washington Heights is starting to kill me so I have been looking to move closer to work – preferably Harlem/Hamilton Heights area. You definitely get more bang for your buck up there – bigger space and close to my favorite express train, the D! Been looking at a few places around your neighborhood, and I’ve gotta say, I’m highly impressed with your apartment find with the washer!! I so need that right now!

    Second, some suggestions around your neighborhood as I happen to hang out there a lot after work:
    -$5 yoga classes at Brahman Yoga on 145 bw Broadway and Amsterdam – the most heavenly yoga studio around
    -Brunch at The Edge right there on Edgecombe and 140 (or 141st?)
    -Manhattanville Coffee shop – cozy coffeeshop with the communal table and fast wifi!

    I have also been so obsessed with West Elm’s mid-century furniture collection in white with a few Pins on my board, and looking at your photos, they do look really nice! Enjoy your place and welcome to NYC!
    If I happen to see you around the neighborhood, I’ll make sure to say hello! 🙂

    1. Wow, thank you, Antoinette! I wasn’t familiar with those cafes but I’ve been trying to psych myself up for $5 yoga soon! Good luck with your search. There are some really nice places around here. And I’m sure you’d save a ton over Brooklyn!

  23. Very nice apartment! I’m wondering what direction you see the blog taking now that you’re settled in New York? If I’m not mistaken, I believe you said that would focus on more U.S. travel, but as an American myself, I much more look forward to reading posts with international coverage. But it is also so nice to read how happy you are with your new life!

    1. Thanks, Anna! No worries — I will ABSOLUTELY continue traveling internationally, just not quite as often as before. I’m going back to South Africa in July and I am hoping to have an epic adventure in August. For now, being in NYC gives me much easier access to US destinations!

  24. Love the light bright feel and all your colors! Purple pink black white!!
    Did you try the sofa in front of the windows facing your dining area? Then the TV would not conflict with window light . I would put your TV , shelves at that end of the room where you have the sofa now. Have fun!

  25. Love it all. I am so pleasantly surprised to hear of your neighborhood being so nice. it’s been years since I lived in NY and it seems the neighborhood has undergone some great changes.
    Your apartment is some comfy and appealing. It was revealing to hear your thoughts on settling down a little. I remember feeling the same at some point in my life and could really relate. I envy you at this point in your life and love to read your experience of life’s normal and everyday stuff.
    FYI…if it was me Id put the Map picture over the sofa because I like the continuity of color it makes with rest of the decor. But of course, it’s not me, it’s you – so your choice would probably be more appropriate. And that is a LARGE kitchen for a NYC apartment. Love it all.

  26. Hi Kate! I’ve been reading for about a year and I think I’ve only commented once before, but I wanted to let you know two things: 1. I LOVE the new place! Thanks for sharing your journey with us, and I’m so happy that you have found the perfect (or as close as you can get to it!) place to call home. 2. I wanted to recommend a rice cooker to you! Tatung is a Taiwanese company that makes some of the best rice cookers in the world. My best friend growing up’s father still has his from when he was a bachelor in Taiwan (over 30 years and still going strong!), and when I lived there, my mother’s best friend gave me one as a gift. She let me know that people often get that kind (super large and in charge!) as wedding gifts so she wanted to give it to me early. 🙂

    Here’s a link to the one I have: http://www.amazon.com/TATUNG-TAC-06KN-UL-Stainless-Cooker/dp/B004FTMQMC/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1460430604&sr=8-7&keywords=tatung+cooker

    It’s not a single-function appliance either, I use it to steam dumplings, buns, re-heat foods, and you can do much more apparently! The manual comes with some recipes and use suggestions. They have other models that are less of an investment but the stainless steel pot is the gold standard in my family. No risk of coatings flaking off.

    If you don’t want to spend as much money on such an appliance (especially might not be worth it if you won’t use it very often!) Zojirushi also makes good value products.

    Good luck furnishing the rest of your new place. Looking forward to more of your posts! (And btw I swear I’m not a Tatung spokesperson, just a happy customer.) 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, April! I’m so excited to see this! I took a look and I could totally see myself buying one in the future. Not just yet, but perhaps in a few months. I love the story, too!

  27. I love the look of that map for your living room. The colours are great, and I think it would be a great focal point! Also, your shower curtain is fantastic!

  28. I love reading your blog for the travel tips, but this post I can SO relate to. I spent the last year and change living out of a suitcase (nothing compared to your five years, but still) and now that I’m settled in a great home in Amman, I so understand “practicing gratitude” just drinking coffee at my kitchen table, with curtains on the windows that I picked out, having dishes that match, having an actual closet, etc. I love traveling and still love living abroad, but it feels so good to have a home base again. Congrats on your lovely new place!

  29. Annelie Joubert le Grange

    Congratulations on your lovely, cozy new roosting place. Absolutely adore the funky purple couch! Just shoot me, but I was wondering why you positioned that against the short wall while you have that lovely long wall? Placing it there should make it really comes to it’s right. The booze trolly can hold a reading lamp next to the couch with interesting bits & books. And you can pull up the single striped chair in the corner and throw a nice textured pink & purple throw over, and your guest can sit facing you, while you swan on the couch haha. With the lovely Croatia print on the wall behind the couch, and you are ready to go. You can place a big decorative plate on the Dining table that pick up the blue/green hues of the photo and same with your 3 blinds, and the place will pop. A true happy, funky Kate’s Salon! I am so happy for you. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you for your lovely ideas, Annelie! I have thought of having the couch against that wall — but I don’t like the TV *not* being against the wall. So have the couch in the open, then the TV against the wall? I’m just not sure! And a decorative plate is a great idea. Thanks again.

  30. What a cute place you have! I love how it reflects all your travels.
    West Elm is my favorite store ever. Their mid century designs are awesome. I don’t regret a single penny I spent furnishing my home from there!! I’ve learnt it’s way better to spent more on things you love and keep them for a whole lot longer.

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