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I moved into my first studio apartment about nine months ago.  It has become my safe haven; I truly cannot imagine living with anyone else at this point in my life.  I look forward to coming home each day, wrapping myself in my robe, having complete control over the television, and appreciating the peacefulness that comes with living alone.  It’s incredibly small – just under 300 square feet – but perfect for me, with three big, beautiful bay windows overlooking Riverside Drive.

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It’s funny, everybody warns you about undertaking the financial hardship of paying rent for your own apartment in Manhattan; yet no one reminds you that the hardest, most expensive, and tedious part is making it a home.  Those three bay windows sported $1 Christmas Tree Shops curtains, some of which were thumb-tacked to the walls, for the first three months after I moved in.

My bathroom was the easiest project.  I had it figured out from the very moment I saw the place.  I’m a shameless Maxxinista; I found my shower curtains at HomeGoods, and the rest fell into place.  I even managed to perfectly use two Donna Karan curtains I inherited from a show I had worked on six months earlier (which I later found out were uber expensive at the time they were given to me).  

The kitchen was my biggest fear when I viewed the apartment.  The cabinets were crooked, the doors were half-unhinged and looked as if they hadn’t been painted since 1987.  Luckily, I was surprised with a full cabinet renovation upon moving in.  It was a serious miracle.

I initially considered putting my “living room” area in front of the bay windows.  I loved the idea of cozying up on my couch with the natural light beaming in from behind.  Aesthetically, it was not ideal to walk directly into my bedroom each day, so I switched it around and managed to progressively build a hanging wall to divide my apartment up.

There may be shortcuts to fill an empty room with things, but there are no loopholes to create the feeling of being home.  I still find myself looking to make improvements on my home each day.  But finally, for the first time since moving here, I have found the comfort and familiarity that comes with creating my very own place.  I think I’ll be staying here for quite a while.

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