FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

Moving

SPACES | SPRUNG FOR A NEW SOFA

SPACES, LIFELauren Caron4 Comments
Seattle Livingroom Design Board

Seattle Livingroom Design Board

In a recent conversation with my mother, we discussed the future of our apartment in New York and the topic of what's staying and what's going was the main focus. For the time being our plans are to keep the apartment in New York, at least for the remainder of 2016 for both myself and my parents to use as a pied-à-terre. I still have contracts in New York, and am continuing to accept more. Sometimes it's hard to say no to work, especially when it's fun! What all of this means though, is we will still have to keep some furniture in New York. Luckily, my parents has more furniture than they can fit in their home, so we will be able to bring pieces down from there for the apartment.

That is a whole other topic up for discussion... What pieces will we use to decorate the place with and quite frankly, I'm so curious about how it will look when my very traditional and eclectic mother gets her hands on it. The use will be changing slightly, so I'm looking forward to giving the space a real dining room moment, instead of our monstrous desk.

My current sleeper sofa | Photograph by: Claire Esparros for Homepolish © 2016

My current sleeper sofa | Photograph by: Claire Esparros for Homepolish © 2016

Back to this topic... We did decide that the sofa bed would be most useful if it remained in New York. That in turn gave me the excuse to buy a new sofa for my Seattle cottage. Days before this conversation, Anthropologie came out with their new furniture for 2016. The sofa I found and fell in love with was the Leonnelle Sofa. It's a softened version of a tuxedo style and the length is absolutely perfect for the cottage. It's still classic in silhouette but just different enough from our existing sofa that I won't have to worry about them competing if I were to ever pair them together in the same room someday - perchance I have a large enough home. It's not a sleeper, which is fine because we have a guest room in the house, but it is long enough for if someone needed to sleep on it for the evening.

Leonelle Sofa in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle Sofa in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle Sofa in Light Grey | Anthropologie

Leonelle Sofa in Light Grey | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Light Grey | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Light Grey | Anthropologie

I bounced back and forth between the creme color (which to me looks more like a light camel) and the light grey. In the end I went with my more conservative gut feeling and bought the light gray. I feel although both are neutrals, gray is slightly more modern and I think it will coordinate in more rooms than the camel. Also, I'm not entirely sure, based on only being able to see it online what the color actually looks like in creme. One thing Anthro could do (if you're reading....) is provide swatches to designers or at least the entire collection to stores for potential clients to view. I will admit, buying anything that big (in size and price tag) makes me a little squeamish, I'm especially a little nervous about buying a sofa and not having seen it in person first. 

It's not due to arrive at the house until early April, which is fine since I'm not going to even be there until mid to late April. It'll have be my welcome home gift for when I arrive! 

LIFE | Move Cross Country - How We're Doing So Far...

LIFELauren CaronComment
On our front stoop with the balloon Jack gave me for my birthday 

On our front stoop with the balloon Jack gave me for my birthday 

SO FAR SO GOOD...

If you have been following my feed or on the blog here, you would know that we moved from New York to Seattle, the day after Christmas! It has been a little over a week and I think we are finally starting to feel as settled as one would after having moved cross country.  Jack started his job yesterday, which is truly what our feeling of settled was hinging on.  The move was entirely because of this job opportunity.

After the first day, he’s confident about the career move and grateful that he took it.  This truly is an amazing opportunity for him in his industry, so I’m just happy it seems like it will all work out. We have a ton more to sort out in regards to me, especially since I’m not planning to move until mid May or June. I have a lot of work still in New York that I can’t leave immediately. I also have no idea how the Seattle design industry will accept me. Not to say that I’m completely out of the ordinary, but I have a specific skill set in a market that isn’t necessarily as relative in Seattle as it is in New York. I love the ability I have right now to switch from retail to residential on the daily. Either way, I’m remaining positive and looking forward to the challenges and the possibilities Seattle has for me.

For the time being I’m working remotely on my New York projects – trying to keep up with the New York time zone, and planning out the changes and improvements I can make on the rental house. Now that we have more concrete and positive feelings about his job, I can comfortably start thinking long term about the house. We decided that renting would be the best choice, considering that we don’t truly know how long we will be living in Seattle. Unlike New York City, the rest of the country’s real estate market is not projected to continue climbing. In Seattle, the buying prices are high, and if you’re not planning to stay longer than 5 years, you are advised not to buy.

Renting does mean that I can only make cosmetic changes to the house, however there are so many cosmetic details that you can do to a home to drastically improve it. I have a running list started, which I will get to soon.  For the right now, I thought I would discuss what are the first steps we made in settling in across the country. 

PRE-ORDER THE NECESSITIES

Special Delivery!

Special Delivery!

The two weeks before Christmas I spent a lot of time online buying from a list of necessities and having them shipped to the house. I believe I was the ONLY person in the country who wanted our goods to arrive the day after Christmas. There were a few mishaps with deliveries, some boxes were delivered before Christmas. Our landlords had warned us that they would also be out of town for the holiday. So we were biting our nails, thinking about how everything was just sitting in the Seattle rain getting ruined, or even worse, stolen (although 48 rolls stolen of toilet paper would mean someone else would need them a lot more than we).  Luckily, our maintenance man picked up the boxes and put them in the house.

I must mention that a few things did go right, our mattress was delivered the morning of our move, so we didn’t have to sleep directly on the floor. Also of the boxes we received included towels, sheets and a blanket!

The greatest annoyance of all the orders was the chair I purchased from One Kings Lane. I was forced to purchase the chair before a specific date, because the deal was going to expire, it didn't seem like it would be an issue since the estimated delivery time frame was 12/26 – 12/31. After I placed the order, the chair ended up shipping early, 14 days early to be exact. I spent several hours on the phone with Fed Ex, with no resolve. They would not put a 10 day vacation hold on the package for me. I called OKL and luckily, after 5 calls and 3 emails with them, they were able to get Fed Ex to hold the chair.

The day we were finally able to pick the chair up, we rented a U-Haul (more money spent there), brought the chair home to discover it was damaged (from the packing materials denting the foam of the arm – it would not go away after 24 hours of waiting also). That meant that we had to rent another vehicle to return the package to Fed Ex (more $$$), only to discover the boxed up chair wouldn’t fit through our door from the living room (had to un-box the damn thing, then re-box it outside – don’t ask me out we got it in the house in the first place), the box also didn’t fit into the SUV (un-box again, to then re-box at Fed Ex). When we finally brought it into the Fed Ex location, the entire staff complained that the giant box was back! Good riddance chair! 

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RESEARCH TRANSPORTATION OPPORTUNITIES

Since I’m not permanently moving here immediately, we decided that shipping the car out now would not make a lot of sense. We also took into consideration that our new town is a big city with public transportation and other amenities, like Uber, Lyft, Zip Car and Car 2 Go.

We did a little research upfront regarding how to get around, the easiest solution from the start has been to use Uber. However, Uber in Seattle is different from Uber in NYC. The biggest difference is that drivers in Seattle are not expected to accept tips. Uber does not provide the option through the app, so as a passenger you have to pay tip in cash. For passengers this no tip policy makes the service more affordable, but also a little uncomfortable when leaving the car. I’m just so used to tipping in NY, but I also never have cash on hand. I guess this no tip policy and Uber in general is causing unrest amongst the city. Seattle is trying to unionize rideshare services. Uber drivers after expenses are only making about $3/hour… you can read more about it [here].

The first company I looked into for accessible transportation was Zip Car, our neighbors in NYC use it and love it. So we thought we’d give it a chance. After doing the math, with the introductory rate of $15/first year as an occasional driver, we thought this would actually be the best solution.  With Zip Car, you don’t have to pay for gas and there aren’t any monthly premiums. There are also 3 Zip Car parking lots within ½ mile from our new home. We booked Zip Car to pick up our Ikea furniture and have also used it for errands. We are also considering Car 2 Go, since Zip Car does not have any one way driving at this time, but the best thing about Zip Car is the amount vehicles to choose from. 

LOCATE THE BEST NEIGHBORHOOD EATS

Oddfellows  Cafe | Not directly around the corner but a 12 min walk from the house.

Oddfellows  Cafe | Not directly around the corner but a 12 min walk from the house.

The first thing we did after opening the doors to our home and dropping our bags down was head over to our neighborhood strip. One thing I think us New Yorker's are good at is understanding what's important in regards to a new home in a new city. 1. Location 2. Location 3. The type of home it is & it's amenities. I have to thank the interweb for providing me with the opportunity to find this house. Without it, I have no idea how would have found such a great home. Specifically, I would like to thank Google Earth, I GE'ed the hell out of the neighborhood. I "drove" around the the front and back of the house, I went over to the main street and canvased the stores and restaurants, took a "drive" up to the park and scoped out the area houses. It was the closest I could come to this place without physically being there, so I'm really grateful I was able to do that. The restaurants around the corner from our house are great. We have two grocery stores, 5 coffee shops (a little excessive), upwards of 10 different good restaurants, a yoga studio, nail salon, a few banks, hardware store and a hospital! It's probably the most convenient neighborhood we've lived in ever. Even more than when we lived in the Upper East Side. I will admit though, that the one downside is Jack's commute. Which I did take into consideration, however I was waylaid by the subtle differences between the shuttles he is allowed to take. The one ConnectOR bus that is one block from our house (the one I was banking on) is not for vendors (Jack is technically a vendor in the division he is working), the Connect (no OR) that he can take is in South Lake Union...

BUY THE GLAMOUR NECESSITIES

10Things.jpg

Finally for the fun part! After moving in I realized immediately that there were certain items that one can not consider necessary on the survival front, but in regards to every day life, and for the sake of our sanity, are considered very important. I wouldn't say it's a stretch to call them necessary,  but to not be totally vain, I'll instead call them glamour necessities. Some of these items I knew I would need before moving, so I actually purchased them ahead of time, while others I thought I could do without for a short while. That is until reality struck and I realized all of our clothes are wrinkled, (not good for husband's first day of work) and I had no idea what the bottom half of my body looked like for the past 7 days.... 

  1. MOKA POT - Top of the list is coffee, I need good cup of coffee and I hate spending a lot of money on one from the cafe everyday. In order to get myself into the frame of mind to work, I have to pour myself a cup from my favorite coffee maker. 
  2. MONOGRAM MUG - This goes along with the top item. 
  3. A DRESSER - For the two of us. We just receive the hangers for the closet today, but this dresser was so necessary to get settled. Living out of suitcases is so temporary feeling.
  4. A SOFT + WARM BLANKET - Our house is really cold, and we're still adjusting to life out of an apartment in New York City. If you didn't know, NY requires that all apartments be heated and that the tenants do not have to pay for heat or hot water. In Seattle, that is not a requirement, and our heating is electric so we are trying to conserve our electric bill... also, the house is old and not well insulated.
  5. CLASSIC ENGLISH COMFORT - We aren't moving the sofa out here until I move permanently. So Jack needs something comfortable to sit on for the time being. It's also nice to have an english roll arm in any form. PS this is the same chair as the one we ordered from OKL, only $100 less.
  6. FLOOR LENGTH MIRROR - Let's just say I'm not comfortable with not knowing what I look like from top to bottom. I'm a stickler for proportions wen it comes to my outfits. 
  7. PATTERNED RUG - This rug is beautiful and adds warmth to the cold hardwood floors as well as warmth in regards to color. 
  8. SHOWER CAP - I don't wash my hair everyday, and I recently discovered this start up. I purchased two of these, one for NY apartment, and one for Seattle. 
  9. HAND STEAMER - This is so necessary. I rarely use an iron and this little steamer works on practically everything. This is the 4th one I've purchased. I even have one for my parents' home. 
  10. HANDSOME HOOKS - These were on sale in the store.  I'm hanging a bunch around the house for coats, odds and ends, etc. 

There you have it, maybe this post was a lot of words and not a lot of meat. Although, I think after our first week in Seattle, we're doing alright. I'm working on a few DIY projects that I'm planning to post about in the coming days. Did I ever mention how much I hate DIY? Well I do, but at this moment, money is a little tight so I'm going to persevere and re-do a few chairs along with other things around the house. Check back soon... Thanks for reading!

LIFE | Exciting News From Our Little Corner Of the World

LIFELauren Caron5 Comments

I have some exciting news that I'm finally feeling is right to share. We are moving to the west coast. In particular, the Pacific Northwest in Seattle!

Jack accepted a job offer for an opportunity he could not refuse. His start date is in January, which means next week he will be moving across the country. Only Jack to start, because my plans are to live bicoastal for a while. I have a few contracts here that I have to be available for within New York at least until May. Which is bittersweet. I am not excited about living apart from my husband for months at a time but I am also not entirely ready to leave NYC. So if we're being optimistic, its the best of both worlds, right?

Being able to keep one foot in New York, also makes everything a little more complicated. It's scary and daunting, imagining everything that has to happen. We probably will not be moving most of our furniture out until the spring, so I have to prioritize what items to purchase to make his life (and mine when I'm there) more comfortable, without wasting a ton of money. We also have to sort out where the dogs are going to live until I'm full time in Seattle and what we will do with our apartment next year. The plan is to NOT sell it, and I most likely will not rent it this year. We want to be flexible for the year, just in case we completely hate it out there. We also have to figure out the best way how, and when to get our car out there. 

Our little dream cottage

Our little dream cottage

The living room - look at those moldings!

The living room - look at those moldings!

One major item checked off the list is where we'll be living in Seattle for the next year. I found a home online and put down a deposit on it, sight unseen. A little wild, but a very kind family friend looked at it for us and advised us to go for it. I'm super excited about the possibility of living in a house. It's a real house. An itty bitty one, but real. And beautiful, built in 1901, a craftsman cottage, complete with a garage, off street parking, two bedrooms, a dining room and a white picket fence (they just put the fence up last week for us)! I mean, what a little dream come true. It even has the original moldings and a front porch and foyer. I'm dying to get myself out there to see it, (yes I haven't seen it in person yet!) and hug it! Or the front porch column at the very least. 

As for the business, we're planning to take that bicoastal as well. I have no idea what and who the clients in Seattle will be, but I'm imagining my work will be heavier on the residential projects and lighter on commercial. Although, maybe a company from New York with an extensive portfolio in creative and visual merchandising might be exactly what the city needs? 

In the coming weeks I'm planning to transition the blog as well. I'll have new content to start posting about, mostly regarding the design and decorating challenges I'll be experiencing as we transition our lives from an apartment in New York, to a house in Seattle. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to keep the title of Fourth Floor Walk Up, considering that we will not be living in a walk up or on the fourth floor any longer. As a matter of fact, our new home will only have a first floor. Since some blogs are so personal, they too change as our lives change, so I don't see that to be the worst thing imaginable. I have followed other blogs over the years that have changed their name and the transition was mostly seamless.

I hope you all can be as excited as we are about this crazy endeavor. I know I'm personally looking forward to new challenges and house projects. I'm already keeping myself up at night thinking about how I'm going to tackle the guest bedroom/office situation... more on that to come. 

If anyone has suggestions or recommendations for moving companies, car shippers, or anything pertaining to moving us to Seattle, that would be wonderful. Also, if anyone has any tips on stores, things to do, places to go, people to meet or whatever in the PNW, please send them my way. I'm all ears! And definitely looking to network!