20 March 2010

Crazy Michelle's Apartment

Wow. Sorry it's been so long. Things have been racing madly on in this thing called life. I have no idea how I used to work 40+ hours a week. I'm finding it really tough this time around.

Anyway, so here's a story for you. I've been longing to have a place to make nice and my own for a long while now. I feel like I now know what nesting is. (Though I have no reason to nest.) I've wanted to get white curtains for forever now because that orangey glow in the morning just wasn't doing it for me. But I'm too much of a cheapskate. So I tried bleaching them. Yeah, that didn't work. Then, while I was at Aldi one day, I saw a shower curtain. Yeah. A shower curtain. And at first I thought, "That would be great for my someday-apartment." And then I thought, "Actually, that just might work for a curtain!" It was cheap. I bought it but didn't put it up.

Also, at IKEA with Jenny and Seppl, I found some really awesome material and Jenny and I made plans to make a new cover for my couch.

IKEA Black and White Floral Material

But I started out by looking for a new couch because I absolutely hate mine and if you sit on it, the cushions slide forward, which kind of defeats the purpose of a couch. On the Leipzig version of Craigslist (Das Schwarze Brett), I found a lot of couches, but they were all really ugly in my opinion. I knew exactly what I wanted--the white IKEA Hagalund sofabed (because I could then still have a place for guests to sleep)--so that made it difficult.

In February, I was getting really antsy in my apartment and I randomly looked at apartments while I was looking at couches. I saw one that was going to be available soon in my neighborhood (actually in the same street as Jenny and Seppl) and ended up emailing the current resident and going to visit. I took Seppl with me because I figure he knows about things like that. I actually really didn't expect anything of the visit. But I immediately fell in love with the apartment. It was cozy. Biana, the woman who lived there, had put in a antique-looking parquet floor with a crisscrossing pattern. She'd also pulled off that awful wallpaper that is everywhere in Germany and painted the walls lovely shades of beige and grey. There was a balcony that connected to the kitchen but that had a ceiling so it would be protected in the rain and from there you saw a huge backyard of a lot of apartment buildings--lots of green trees and such. And two windows looked out onto the balcony--the bathroom and the bedroom. The bathroom window was a large, happy looking window that would be perfect for star-gazing from the warm bath. Of course, I would put up a curtain for showering and such.

But I wasn't ready to make a commitment. First of all, the apartment was reasonably priced, but I'd have to find a roommate. And I'd also be paying a good 80 Euros more per month than in my apartment. I debated and debated and considered potential roommates. Two friends were against it and two friends/family members were for it, saying it would be good for my soul and I needed a change, etc. As soon as I finally decided to go for it, I emailed Bianca and found out that a couple had taken the apartment the day before.

Boohoo. I moped. Then I bought a rug on Schwarzes Brett that would go perfectly with the material I'd bought with Jenny. I also started looking at lots of other apartments and didn't really like any of them. One apartment didn't really have flooring, there were steps leading up to the shower and about a foot between the shower and the wall, meaning you'd have to squeeze through to get to the toilet, and only a heater you'd have to find wood for. Oh, and the lady was completely mystical and closed the door three times after I said I wanted to go. There was one apartment that was really nice, but the balcony was off one of the rooms, meaning a roommate and I couldn't share it that well.

There was one more apartment on my list and then I was going to look more casually as time went by. And then, something crazy happened. I had the best day I've had in a looooong time. I just woke up feeling great. And I'd never seen such beautiful weather in February! And even though something completely Amy Lawson-ish happened, I was simply glad to be alive. And it was on this day that Herr Henschel wrote me back and arranged for me to come see the apartment.

I looked at the bathroom and loved the roominess and flooring and the light and the tub and the mirror.

Bathroom Koenni 20

I liked the parquet flooring, though it wasn't as antique-looking. The room was high enough for my bunk bed (I brought a measuring tape with me) and the doors were nice. It was also great that the two rooms were the exact same size. Ideal for a roommate.

Room 1


The kitchen was okay, and he told me they were planning on building a balcony in the coming months.


The tram stop was right in front of the apartment building, so it could get a bit loud if the window were open, but that didn't concern me too much. I told him I couldn't think of any reason not to take the apartment, but I should still think about it probably.

Then, we went in the backyard. Wow. It was huge. And green. And it lead down to the Elster river, where there was a dock and a tree swing. Oh man. Can it get any better?

I told him I'd take it and spent the afternoon at Cospudener Lake (my very first time). In February (I know, right?).

But the next two weeks, I doubted.

Herr Henschel noticed. Probably because I asked him if I could move in a month later than I said. He called me and said he couldn't hold the apartment for forever, which I understand. But there is just so much uncertainty in my life. I'm hardly home anyway, I'd have to find a roommate which wouldn't necessarily solve my desire to have a quieter home, my job is still in the trial phase, who knows if I'll be moving away from Leipzig later this year, etc. And the reason that will make you shake your head: I found the most fabulous kitchen (you have to bring your own kitchen with you in Germany--and finding this one was hard, because most German furniture is really ugly). You can get an idea of what the fabulous Värde kitchen looked like here. But the problem was, it didn't work with the kitchen (the room).

Every day I made a different decision. The girl sold the kitchen to someone else for more money than I would have given. Then I realized that I could make my room a little more mine and that due to friends, the issue of having roommates (though very nice) was becoming more managable to me. So I canceled. And I didn't even get an answer from Herr Henschel. And I thought a lot about how great it would have been to go canoeing every summer evening from my backyard. Sigh.

But, something crazy happened again. I found my couch. And I bought it.

And so I implemented (implemented? I think I've been writing too many business documents) the couch, the rug, and the shower curtain. The result makes me very, very happy. It is lighter and more stylish and I can sit on the couch.

Room Redesign 2010

Compare with the old interior design here.

Now I'm just wondering if I'll ever make the couch cover because it might be a little much with the rug . . . what do you think?


  1. I had that same rug in my first apartment in Chicago. Remember?

  2. Erin Bradley here. I was there summer of 2008 working for Daniel Fingerle? Remember?

    Anyway, I think the couch cover will look awsome with the rug and you should make it! Good luck!

  3. It looks great! I would make throw pillows with the fabric. They would look great on the white couch.

  4. couch needs some pillows to tie it all together. for inspiration for your pillows be sure to incorporate some colours from the art work and rug.