So the lease was finally signed after 4 weeks of horrible waiting and impatience (mostly my anger was pointed towards the utter lack of transparency in my relocation agent who I'll still not-so-kindly refer to as a "useless portal") and it was indeed to be Quirky in Stirling Court!
So, the great Spreckled Hen is to live over a ceramics cafe. What better place to roost than such digs as this?!
Anyway, true to form, and with the parents firmly behind me, the designing and planning of the apartment began once again. Just like with Oksa.
Oh yes, we were once again combining the beautiful combination of decades (over half a centennial!) worth of design, finance, and engineering experience to its maximum. Though this time, since much learning had happened from the last time, the emphasis would be on design instead of finance (since I'd had to live with the consequences of putting practicality before visuals), engineering time and effort instead of dealing with the learning curve (since we'd all been to London and it's a pain in the ass to get around here versus Helsinki), and finally, comfort over making due (chairs with backs, for the love of god!).
Yes, many beautiful lessons had been learned from Oksa, despite how well-planned that apartment had been, and many of those wonderful lessons would be poured into Quirky. Oh yes, so many lessons. This was going to be the crowning jewel of all of that experience, once again. Best foot forward, that's for damned sure.
So, let's study the first lesson learned:
Design instead of Finance
Not that I have any problem with being economical when it comes to finances, because certainly wasting money is not my MO (and still will not be), I realized with my last apartment that I put a lot of creed into practicality and sacrificed a lot of design in the process. What I mean by this was that although I created a very practical space for not a lot of cost (which is a fabulous achievement in it of itself), I didn't visually enjoy my space and when it came down to it, thought it could have been done even better. Things could have matched more, the quality of items could have been better and therefore more enjoyable. This time around, in other words, the balance of quality versus cost was going to be studied a lot harder.
Time and Effort versus Learning Curve
This one is pretty self explanatory. London isn't a new city to the three of us and because of that, we sort of know what's available here and also how expensive it is to get around. And how long it takes. And how little time we actually had. Though 6 weeks felt like an eternity in Helsinki it is like a snap in London. Bigger city, more bustling, less time for me to get settled as my job took off like a rocket (or more like, continued at its whip-cracking pace). No time to deal with the learning curve and significant new experiences - I needed to get with the program and get this business done fast. There would be no three trips to Ikea this time. There would be the one trip to Ikea where everything was bought. And maybe the second one if maybe those well-selected items for some reason didn't work. Nothing would be superfluous.
Comfort over Making Due
This one ties a lot to the first point. But basically I wanted to make my place as visually stunning as possible as well as comfortable. I'd not-so-surprisingly gotten even more obsessed with one of my favorite interior design blogs, Apartment Therapy, and it drove me to want my space to be the best it possibly could be - design and otherwise. It also focuses on practical, economical, and beautiful solutions. I could have it all, really. And I would.
The other, more real reason for this push was simply that I made a lot of mistakes with my last apartment that I just couldn't have foreseen without having lived through it - things like only having bar stools in my apartment as chairs. Great from a space-saving and economical point of view, horrible in actuality for things like hosting dinner parties, working from home, doing crafts. Painful back aches were enough to tell me that this was bullshit and something needed to be changed.
Another one was having more available table space so I could do more crafty creative things. Though I could do scrimshaw with a fair frequency given the furniture I had, the lighting was all wrong and so was the setup. I wanted to do more things, like painting and sewing and crafting of all kinds. You need a real surface for that, and I had none.
Lighting. Lighting is a huge thing for me and I want to be able to watch a movie, read a book, drink a mug of tea and feel completely relaxed. I completely failed to plan a lighting scheme for my last apartment and it fell apartment. I didn't have mood lighting. Real fail. This became especially apparent when I was in other people's apartments who did have those things and it was bliss. Pure bliss.
So, I had my work cut out for me. I was going to push my design probably to its limits. And I was looking forward to the challenge. I scoured the Ikea online catalog for days. With glee. Absolute glee.
But I'll get to that later.
Here is the floor plan, and here is what happened:
That's the apartment with the furniture I shipped from Helsinki. The plan was already beginning. What would change? Oh, so much. So much.
But that's for another entry.