Planning Pays Off: The Big Move

Design Diary

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If you've been following along with my Design Diary posts, you know that early on in the process of helping my friend Eleni move from Boston to NYC, I created an inspiration board for her new Upper East Side apartment.  And while doing so gave us something to shoot for in terms of the design, the reality was that she was going to need to take many of her existing pieces with her...

So, about a week before the move, I worked out a floor plan that incorporated almost all of her Boston furniture into her new place. The only pieces that didn't make the cut were two inexpensive bookcases, a wooden IKEA entertainment unit, and her Ektorp loveseat. The bookcases were set out on the curb two days before the move and disappeared within fifteen minutes. The loveseat was sold on Craigslist and picked up the night before the move. The entertainment unit (which was being replaced by an étagère unit in the new apartment) proved to be too big to make it down the stairs in one piece, so it was dismantled and left at the curb the day of the move. All other furniture was worked into the plan. The dimensions of some pieces are not ideal, but until Eleni has the money to replace them, they provide much needed function. 

The Kitchen

We decided to keep the refrigerator where it was, as all other locations and orientations just didn't utilize the space well. Her IKEA drop-leaf table is a tight fit, and we'd eventually like to replace it with either a custom-sized rectangular table or a small round one. (As of now, I'm entertaining the idea of making one of these for the space.) Her IKEA butcherblock topped cart juts out into the walkway (again, hardly ideal), so we'd like to replace it with something smaller soon. We discussed putting the table next to the refrigerator instead, but none of us liked how that would feel when you were sitting at it. We also liked having the cart closer to the counter area as an additional work surface.

The Bathroom

Storage options in the bathroom are somewhat limited. There's a decent sized medicine cabinet (a step up from Eleni's Boston apartment, which had none), but there isn't any storage under the sink. The walls are all completely marble, so hanging shelves isn't possible. We discussed the option of a very small freestanding unit for towels next to the the tub, or some sort of hanging storage on the back of the door, but Eleni didn't want things to feel too cluttered. Instead, we settled for a narrow basket on the back of the toilet to hold extra toilet paper and her hair dryer, and left it at that. Extra toiletries can be kept on the shelf in the living room closet, and a hanging sweater organizer in the same closet will become her linen storage.

The Living Room

With the gold étagère as an entertainment unit and a new sofa, this is the room that most reflects the beginning of a new design direction. For now, there's also an old Billy bookcase between the windows, a file cabinet for an end table, a wicker ottoman for extra seating, and a seen-better-days Ektorp ottoman for a coffee table. Ultimately, I'd like to replace the Billy bookcase with a small bar cabinet and a mirror, but for now, I've set up the middle shelf as a bar and left books on the rest. The file cabinet will eventually be eliminated, or replaced with one that fits in the living room closet. The wicker ottoman may become a small side chair, and the Ektorp ottoman will be replaced with a new coffee table as soon as possible. We'll also to add a rug to the room as soon as budget permits. (Note: We kept the door to the living room as it is because Eleni wants the option of providing privacy for sleepover guests.)  

Side note: Since the move, a hiccup has occurred in the sofa situation. Upon trying to deliver the sofa, it was determined that the it was an inch shy of being able to get through the front door of the apartment (the trouble being with rotating it in the hallway, not the size of Eleni's front door). Thankfully, it was not a custom order, and West Elm kindly took it back. As a result, Eleni has decided to go with the sectional instead (in the hopes that the smaller pieces will clear that necessary one inch). Fingers crossed! Until it arrives, she's sitting on uncomfortable, folding beach chairs...

The Bedroom

We decided to keep the bedroom where it was for the same reasons New Yorkers cited in the comments of my first floor plan post: it's removed from the street traffic noise and there's more privacy with a brick wall in front of the window. All and all, this room is pretty small. We put Eleni's short dresser by the door, her tall skinny one in the corner at the end of the bed (drawers facing the door), and a tiny table next to her bed as a nightstand.  I'd love to replace the dressers with nicer ones someday (they're both IKEA right now), but for the moment they work fairly well. Surprisingly, after Eleni's awesome purge in Boston, most of her clothes fit in her bedroom closet. The exceptions are: seasonal clothing (in bins under the bed), and coats (in the living room closet).

Aside from the movers arriving five hours late in NYC, and the fact that Eleni had to run off to an orientation at the hospital, the move from Boston to Manhattan went pretty smoothly. I gave up on having the movers place the boxes in the rooms where they went about halfway through the process, as the apartment filled up pretty quickly with boxes everywhere. However, thanks to our advance preparation of the apartment (cleaning, applying shelf paper) and our floor plan, it was fairly easy for the five of us to start organizing things once the movers left. Within a day and a half, we had almost everything unpacked and put away — leaving Eleni four days before starting her new job to get oriented.

Next time, I'll provide an update on the sofa situation and answer some of the questions that have come out of the comments on the Design Diary posts so far. (So, feel free to ask more!)

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(Image: Bethany Seawright)

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