Location: Fairborn, Ohio
Size/Type: Furnished 2-room efficiency apartment
Length of Residence: 1 year
My first and only year in the dorms of my university was a wholly unpleasant experience. So, despite the additional expense, I struck out on my own the following year and rented a furnished two-room efficiency, as it was called, in nearby Fairborn, Ohio. It wasn't very attractive and my next door neighbors had the loudest fights I've ever heard, but it was the first time an apartment was all mine so I loved it.
I happened to be in Ohio this spring and decided to see if I could find my old apartment one more time. I'm happy that I snapped photos of the outside of the building but I do wish I had some interior photos as well. In my mind's eye I can still see the green bedspread I used to cover the ugly sofa that came with the place. Sadly, I lived here 18 years and many moves ago (not to mention, pre-digital photography) so any interior photos I may have had are long gone.
What I loved about this home: Mainly, that it was all mine. Even though it was partially furnished with a fold out sofa and kitchen table, I made my mark on it by creating a refrigerator collage (covering the entire ancient, rusty fridge with magazine pages and photos) and upcycling found furniture. That's right, I was a DIY-er before DIY was cool! I remember my first DIY project for this apartment was covering an old TV cart with black and white checkerboard contact paper.
What changed when I moved on to my next home: Everything! After this small apartment, I moved to a one bedroom apartment with in-unit washer dryer and also took on a roommate (my first and last of one of those, too). That was also when I started DIYing in earnest, collecting old furniture and upcycling it to fit my stylish standards.
Best bit of advice for people moving into their first home: Patience, patience, patience. At the age of 19, I was so impatient to immediately have the home of my dreams that I was too hard on myself when i would look around at my meager little apartment. I'm still working on the patience bit, a dozen or so apartments later.
Images: Jason Loper