A few months ago, I bought a space in Harlem, soon to be home of ‘the improvised life’s new LABORATORY, in which to experiment with all sorts of ideas for home and daily living.
I had scoured New York City real estate listings for YEARS, traipsing from space to space in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan weighing the pros and cons of neighborhoods, commutes, space-for-the-money – a huge list – until I finally said YES to modest space with very good bones. It was a lucky find, fitting a VERY limited budget AND having the essentials I’d been looking for: proximity to great transportation, a real neighborhood, good security, and most important of all, a wonderful view that could never be obstructed. The architecture is nothing to speak of and the apartment itself needed serious work.
It has become a lesson in seeing through the superficial to the bones beneath, and envisioning possibilities.
Over the past couple of months I have been doing a basic renovation, packing as many good ideas as possible into the design, while working with a limited budget, documenting it along the way.
It is rich with stories and lessons, from demolition to drywall, to lighting and flooring, to the challenges and mindset of managing a renovation, decision paralysis, and making mistakes.
When I think back to the initial vision of it, it may have started with this early post…a dream house of a Marseille penthouse….
Although there are many projects yet to be done, ‘the improvised life’ and I will be moving there this week. We’ve got to take a week or so off to get ourselves settled (it is AMAZING how much a move entails) and will be up and running soon with a ton of new material, much of it happening right there in Harlem.
Related posts: ellen silverman’s ‘spare beauty: the cuban kitchen’
improvised kitchens, for surviving a renovation (and other of life’s surprises)
lydia wills’ apartment: before + after + in between
before + after: lydia’s kitchen renovation