Today marks 3 weeks in the apartment. Some days, it feels like things are coming along well, and others it feels like I’m spinning my wheels and running out of places to look for the remaining pieces we need.

Having always been a top performer at school and work, feeling inefficient or unproductive is strange and uncomfortable. I’m still struggling a little with balance; trying to figure out a new routine that encompasses working out, cooking, tidying, beautifying, reading, relaxing, decorating, financial planning and productivity without having any pre-determined schedule is a challenge. We’ve learned that San Diego days are shorter than London summer days, and find ourselves struggling to get up before 7, even when we’ve been sleeping since 10:30pm. I’m trying to get back in the habit of a 6, or even 6:30am, wake up so I can start my day properly (which includes going to the gym, showering, preparing Mark’s lunch and cooking & eating breakfast before he leaves for work at 8:30).

I also haven’t been reading much. I’ve only ready half a book I bought before leaving London (!). I haven’t spent much time ‘chilling’ at home, as I’m typically tidying, ironing, cooking or on the computer researching and/or emailing. If I’m out shopping, I want to get as much ‘work’ done as possible – especially with driving around being a time suck itself – so I’m reluctant to take a break. When I had an office job, I had a solid hour to read during my lunch break. Now, since I don’t usually take a lunch break (though I learned my lesson on this one after nearly fainting in Lowe’s last Monday – oops. Now I bring snacks when I’m planning to be on the go all day), I don’t have any obvious reading time. I took a few hours for pool-side lounging last week, but quickly learned that’s not really the ideal place for reading unless you want weird tan lines (blah blah, middle class problems, blah blah); I guess I need to do one or the other or figure out how to make time for both.

To be fair, I always anticipated structuring my day was going to be my biggest challenge. I mean, when you’re a housewife, how many challenges do you really have anyway? 🙂 I’m still reminding myself this is my new life, not just a project. Not having every task completed and every square inch of the apartment fully furnished and decorated rightthissecond doesn’t mean I’m failing. So, to reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the last 3 weeks, here is our progress in photos:




Not much left to do in here. Being big advocates of home-cooked food, this was the first room we really stocked and I’m not one for decorative bits taking up useful counter workspace. The only stand-outs on the purchase list are a cork board to be bought and hung above the trash can and a coffee grinder (which we’ve avoided so far by having Starbucks grind our beans when they’re purchased).

Dining Room




We’re still a little uncertain about the mirror height; it’s positioned at eye level, but I wonder about lowering it a few inches to position it between the light fixture and table. We have 10′ ceilings, so from other angles (like in the living room), it is well positioned to the scale of the room (especially with that empty corner, where we plan to put something like this wine tower), but it looks off when standing at/around the dinner table.  We also need a vase or plant in the middle of the table to balance out the verticale scale.

Living Room




Despite a fair amount of progress, this room still feels like it needs the most work. Ignore the spare dining chair we’re currently using as a place holder for the 2 chairs (pictured below), which we’re waiting to arrive from West Elm (ETA is not until October !). We need to find an accent table to live in the ‘corner’ created between the sofa and chairs, as our existing end table will sit between the 2 chairs. Once our shipment arrives, the currently empty bookshelf will be full of CDs, and we’ll re-hang our collection of white square frames above the sofa (exactly like it was in the flat, but with different fillers). The wall to the right of the sliding glass door will house our Play-and-Display vinyl mounts (we have 4 en route, and will buy at least 2 more to fill the wall) along with Mark’s guitars and guitar stands.

We also have a big space to fill to the right of the telly. We want a big (4 or 5′ wide) bookcase for the rest of our vinyls, books, magazines and other bits. We’d really like something ‘industrial chic’, using steel and reclaimed wood to tie in our reclaimed wood coffee table. Unfortunately the industrial look is oh-so-hot right now, so a bookcase of that size (or buying 2 ‘normal’ width bookcases) is easily $2k (plus tax and delivery, of course). We’re evaluating other options, including having something built by an Etsy craftsman or the rustic, but not industrial bookcase below. It’s the right width (4 1/2′ exactly), but not as tall as we’d like (though making a display with decorative pieces and some of the vinyl box sets on top of it would solve that issue) and we’re on the fence about the doors (and have considered just removing and storing them if we don’t love them).


Master Bedroom




The bedroom already feels very livable, but we still need a few completion pieces – notably a mirror above the dresser (we’d like something with a rectangular woven frame like this one from West Elm that’s a little too deep), a full length mirror (which’ll probably live on the angled wall between my nightstand and the patio door), curtains, a desktop computer (we’re holding out for the new iMacs, which we hope will be released this month; currently the laptop is living on the desk), and baskets for the bottom shelf of the nightstand (we’d like a woven mix of dark and blonde). We’ll be hanging the canvas print (pictured below) above the bed when it arrives from England and ordered a gray union flag cushion cover (also pictured below) for the bed so Mark never feels too homesick 🙂


Master Bathroom



Little change here, though the addition of towels and floor mats has certainly made it more functional! Like the kitchen, I prefer minimal clutter in the bathroom. We plan to hang large white square frames with woven matting (to match the bedroom lamp shades) and non-personal photos (ie floral or architecture prints – I get weirded out about having pictures of people in a bathroom) above each of the towel bars. I’d also like a decorative drum or stool for the corner next to the scale, where we can rest extra towels (though it’s more for form than function).

The closet currently has very little organizational structure, though still living on two suitcases worth of clothes and shoes, it’s not an issue. Eventually, there will be more baskets or tubs and a shoe rack (because I’m crazy and don’t like shoes resting on the carpet).

Guest Bedroom





Unfortunately C&B only had one lamp in stock, so we’re waiting for the second to be delivered next week. We’re yet to find curtains, more decorative pillows (something tying in the turquoise and purple together would be ideal), a mirror for above the dresser (we’re thinking something round that blends in the gold from the dresser hardware and sheets), and a decorative piece or basket to live next to the dresser. We’ll be hanging the artwork from our UK shipment (pictured below, previously in our kitchen) above the bed when it arrives. We’ve hidden all the large boxes that don’t fit in the hall cupboard in the closet, but thankfully there’s still plenty of space and the storage isn’t obvious from the room.

Guest Bathroom



Nothing left to do here, other than adding some additional toiletries (though the essentials – hand soap, toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner and hangover meds are ready to go) and another non-personal print above the towel bar.





Much to our surprise, the patio is nearly done. We’ll get a couple more lanterns and an outdoor lamp for the main/larger patio area. The grill we ordered yesterday should arrive next week, so we’ll be able to stop carting all our stuff down to the community-supplied grills when we want steak and corn-on-the-cob. It will likely be positioned against the concrete wall in the middle of the two arches. Cushions for the smaller patio set should arrive today, as should the matching ottoman. We’d also like an outdoor rug for the area and may need some plants or shelves to fill the space.



  1. […] The new hardware has improved the look and feel of the bathroom, but it still distinctly lacks artwork. I found some nice espresso frames with burlap mats, which will compliment the bedroom furniture and lamps and will tie the  whole room together. I’m waiting to make any more decorative purchases until Thursday when the West Elm designer will be visiting. They offer a free design service, so their Design Consultant will be coming by (along with the General Manager, who I’ve befriended with my numerous trips to the shop) to help plan and style the space now we have all our furniture picked out (we ultimately ordered both the library cabinet and wine tower we were considering from C&B last week). […]

  2. […] several changes having been made since my last full apartment progress photo post, I thought I’d take a few photos to show where we’ve gotten to having been here for 6 […]

  3. […] of sorts. I think it all goes back to my need to find balance and structure, which I realized and commented about just 3 weeks in to our new life here in So […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: