A Former Retail Space Is Now a Funky, Book-Filled Apartment

A Former Retail Space Is Now a Funky, Book-Filled Apartment

(Image credit: Samantha Ladwig)

Name: Samantha Ladwig, my partner and our cat, Ingrid
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 3 months, renting

My partner, our cat, and I moved from Los Angeles last December. I had been working as a film cataloger at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for a few years, while freelance writing part time. I wanted to jump ship and freelance full time, so we saved up for a year and moved back to Seattle, with all 20-some plants in tow. However, Seattle is no longer the Seattle we remembered, so we moved across the Puget Sound to Port Townsend, an old Victorian town that was originally meant to be the Seattle of Washington when it was built in 1851. It's an artist community. My partner's family have all moved here over the last 10 years, so we decided to give the town a chance.

(Image credit: Samantha Ladwig)

Currently, my partner works at Good Story Paddle Boards with his brother, who is also the owner. As for me, I work from home, writing full time for various publications, as well as teaching writing at the local bookstore, Imprint Books. Our cat Ingrid, on the other hand, spends most of her time under the covers of our bed or eating.

(Image credit: Samantha Ladwig)

Our home is an 800-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment that we adore. We live in an 19th-century Victorian building on the main drag of Port Townsend, right on the waterfront. It's a huge difference from Los Angeles, in all the best ways, which is great because as reclusive bibliophiles who like fresh air and quiet, we had no quality of life in L.A. Our apartment features tall ceilings, exposed brick, original wood floors, quirky green walls, large windows with the original glass, and close to 1,000 books. We're big readers.

(Image credit: Samantha Ladwig)

We spent a lot of time whipping this place into shape. Originally, we found an apartment that didn't really fit our personality (I actually wrote about it for Apartment Therapy). But in June, we found this place and immediately knew that this was the apartment for us. Unfortunately, it was unbelievably dirty and just not well taken care of. We spent a two and a half weeks painting the entire thing (trim and walls), deep cleaning, and fixing all sorts of odds and ends that needed attention. It was like a cleansing process for us. After years of feeling down and out, it finally feels like things are falling into place. The work we put into the space made it feel more like our home and less like a pit stop, which is how our previous apartment felt.

(Image credit: Samantha Ladwig)

It's definitely funky. The apartment used to function as retail space so a lot of the walls are newer add-ons. Both bedroom walls—with doors—don't touch the ceiling.

(Image credit: Samantha Ladwig)

Oh, and it's important to note that 85 percent of our furniture is hand-me-down—either Craigslist buys, custom-built pieces from family members, or second-hand goods family members were getting rid of. Seriously, almost everything. We went from a 270-square-foot studio to an 800-square-foot apartment. We had nothing. Luckily, a lot of our family were moving to different spaces as well and were cleaning out storage units. We took it all. Nothing in our space matches, but that mismatched aesthetic in combination with out quirky old apartment somehow works.

Thanks, Samantha!

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