Love where you live

walking in Silver Lake

No matter where you live, it’s easy to daydream about someplace better.

Someplace bigger, or more charming or closer to the beach. It’s fun to fantasize, but there’s a nice sense of peace that comes with loving where you are now. And if you’re not currently loving where you live, you have the power to do little things to change that. And for me? It comes down to appreciating those little things.

I grew up in two separate households (and split my time between the two) as a kid, and the places I lived in college were of course temporary. Even during the three years I lived above my mom’s garage after college, I spent a lot of time back and forth between there and John’s house. As a result, I’m really good at living out of a suitcase.

orchid

Now that I’m living with John in a place where we plan to stay for at least a couple of years, it’s been both gratifying and overwhelming settling in and getting things in our apartment just the way we want them. There were the basics we needed to go out and buy—like dish towels, a full-length mirror, spoons to supplement our collection of exactly three, a plunger for the temperamental toilet and on and on. And then there were the battles of deep-cleaning every corner and ledge covered in sawdust from the new floors and clearing out the overgrown weeds in our tiny garden space.

Then finally: the fun stuff. Scoring an old side table to repurpose. Planting things in the newly cleared garden. Finding the perfect spot for an oddly shaped mirror. I’ve loved decorating and making the space ours. It’s so important to make wherever you live someplace you love, even if it’s only temporary. I wish I’d done that in every space I’ve lived.

curtains

There are still a lot of empty walls in this apartment. (Finding something you like enough to hang on your wall is hard—and often expensive.) Cleaning is an endless cycle in this dust-prone place. And staying clutter-free is tough in just a few hundred square feet. Oh, and never mind the fact that we’ve yet to finish repurposing that old side table I mentioned. There are plenty of other projects just like it waiting to be done. And I won’t lie: I’ve managed to kill a couple of plants in my attempts to become a quasi-green thumb.

succulents

It’s not perfectDesign*Sponge probably won’t be contacting me about a feature. But instead of lamenting the fact that it’s not photoshoot-ready, I’m doing everything in my power to make it lovable. In a lot of ways, it feels like home.

So what do I love about where I live?

I love that I’m within walking distance to Trader Joe’s and about half a dozen bars and restaurants.

I love that we’re nestled between two gorgeous hills with beautiful old homes (the kind I fantasize about) and secret stairs.

I love my ritual of lighting candles and turning on the party lights every night while John plays records and I blog.

I love the kickass breakfasts we eat several days a week.

breakfast

I love having curtains on the windows. And rugs on the floor. (I’m convinced both are key to making a place feel like home.)

I love being able to leave the door and windows open during the day.

I love listening to our neighbors’ weird conversations in the bathroom. (The walls in there are paper-thin.)

I love the hummingbirds who flit to and from the feeder outside the kitchen window—I call them my “hummingbuddies,” because they’re awesome.

hummingbird

hummingbird
And I love that it’s ours.

Do you love where you live? What do you love about it? (Or what could you start doing to make it more lovable?)

 

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Comments

  1. Living abroad for the past two years, I’ve often loved my city or location, but hardly ever my actual living space. Living in other peoples’ houses as boarders makes nesting hard.
    I’m moving back to my home country in a few months to settle down a bit more, and I’m so inspired by your post to find a place and make it my own, finally!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      There are a LOT of different kinds of living situations that I can imagine would make nesting difficult. I’m sure you’re looking forward to having your own place to make the way you like it. In the meantime, I hope you find some rituals or other small things that make you love your space more. 🙂

  2. I love this so much, and I completely agree.

  3. I just wrote a friend a letter about how I haven’t fully invested in where I’m living over the past three years, because it changes so often and I know it isn’t permanent. It’s been difficult to really settle/nest when I know that I’ll leave again in a year. I love this post though. One thing I’m working on to make my home more lovable is getting some decorative shelves for my room–all the better to hold my books and candles!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      That sounds perfect! Really, well-displayed books and candles are all it takes to make a place feel instantly cozy and homey. You still have a whole year left before you move—do it!

  4. This is an interesting topic. I love that you are growing to love this new home; that you’re curating and working to make it your own space. I’ve often struggled with making things “my own” because I’ve only ever lived at each of my residences, save for my parents’ home, for short periods of time. In college, I lived in a dorm for just under a year (there was barely enough space for two people in that room much less any decor we wanted to include); then for two years I lived in an apartment off campus, but they were weird about what you could do with the walls, so I didn’t have much room to make it my own; then I lived in another apartment off campus for a year, which I did little things here and there (completely obliterating their walls because I could [and because I didn’t know what I was doing]); and then finally I’m where I am now, which is a house I rent with my cousin. I’ve done little things here and there to make my room feel more personalized, but it’s nowhere near what I would like to do with it. Most of the time I just feel like I’m in limbo with where I live, because I don’t have the money or the clearance to repurpose a space into my own domain. With each new renter comes a new set of rules, and mine have always limited what I’m allowed to do decoratively. I also made some bad financial decisions last year that I’m trying to deal with now and it’s been tough trying to make up for past mistakes. I’m trying not feel stuck in my situation, but sometimes that’s exactly what it feels like. It is, of course, my own fault. And now I am definitely paying for it.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Money is an issue I completely get. My place isn’t exactly where I want it either, but right now, I’m just doing the little things I can afford. I probably won’t paint, and I can’t afford some of the things I’d like to do… but little things go a long way. I hope you’re able to transform your place into something you love and are proud of!

  5. Sure do! Funny, the rug and curtains are the only things missing in our place haha we have everything else except that. I’m working on gettin’ those in this year 🙂 For now we have all the other necessities to live and then some. I know what it’s like to live out of a suitcase or two 😛 Enjoy the new place, it’s definitely great to love where you live! I think the “who” matters as well 🙂 -Iva

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Rugs and curtains are also some of the more pain-in-the-ass elements of decorating, haha. Rugs are often expensive and curtains suck to hang. I’m just lucky I got my rugs for free from my mom. It’s hard to find rugs/curtains you really like, too! Good luck in your search. 🙂

  6. Suzanne Paton says:

    Cassie- What I have learned thus far as I cling to my remaining 40’s is—- the only constant -is change….. Less is more…… Roll with it……. As a renter and transient “resident of life” ….. I really appreciate how you are embracing you humble existence and making every nuance about your time and space special. I admire you !

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I admire YOU! <3 And thank you. Trying my hardest to "live in the now." Might as well since I have no idea what's coming next. 🙂

  7. I love this post! Way too often I find myself dreaming of moving somewhere else, to just get away from everything, but then I realize I live in the most perfect place I could live at this moment! So right now what I love about where I live is: The narrow streets, the climate, the cheap wine, the good food, living under two minutes away from shops, supermarket, restaurants, and being able to walk everywhere!

  8. This is an area where I’ve always felt like I’ve struggled and carried a lot of baggage… and I still do. I’m actively working on it, but I certainly do struggle.

    I was never encouraged to experiment with my own space when I was under my parents roof, and my few attempts to hang artwork and posters were mostly met with my mother’s shrill admonishments about chipping the paint and putting holes in the drywall. Even now, I get tense every time I hang something on the wall because of the holes that might get left when I move on… and since I’ve only ever rented, I’m always kinda battling the whole feeling of “This isn’t mine to make my own.”

    I’m doing better with hanging art and experimenting with moving things around, but it’s definitely an ongoing battle.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      It’s really too bad that some kids aren’t allowed to experiment with their spaces like that. When you’re little, you really only have a few square feet of your own. Keep fighting that battle, and hopefully it eventually won’t feel like a battle. You’re entitled to making your space a place you love!

  9. This is such a sweet post! I live at home and share a room with my sister. It’s not perfect. I do love having a roof over my head, having people to share my time with and family dinners. I hope to move out soon. The goal is to live on my own first and then move in with my boyfriend after that.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I can imagine you’re probably ready to move out and do your own thing, but I’m sure one day you’ll look back on the days of sharing a room with your sister fondly. 🙂 Good luck finding your own place soon!

  10. Another great post, Cassie! Even though my house is small I consider it my dream home because it is mine! I have a constant list of things I want to do to upgrade, to add to, to change, and like you savor those rituals I have when I come home. Is it great living in an awesome neighborhood? Once you live in a real community it’s hard to imagine how anybody lives anywhere else 🙂 Now, Where did you get that red bird feeder or did you make that yourself and how? LOVE it!! Glad to see your California move has gone so well!

  11. I completely agree! A lot of people hate my town because there’s “nothing to do,” but there is a ton to do if you just get creative. Plus, there are so many places around here that are beautiful… there’s a historic district with all kinds of cool, old houses, then there’s a part of town that feels like the country with winding hills and horses in pastures. It’s pretty sweet, but a lot of people just harp on the negative.

    There are going to be great things and bad things wherever you live, you just have to focus on the wonderful things.

    Your neighborhood seems amazing. I’m glad you found such a cool place!

  12. Hummingbuddies! This is such a great post and an awesome reminder to take stock of the things we’re grateful for in the life we’re currently living, even as we strive for growth and change!

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