makeunder my new apartment: step one

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time here on MML talking about business, purpose, and taking actions because that’s what I’ve been focusing on myself this summer. However, there is another important aspect of MML that hasn’t gotten as much attention: simplifying and tailoring our spaces to reflect our visions.

But, since I’m going to be moving in just three weeks, I’m now spending a lot of time thinking about my new space and what I want it to look like, feel like, and how it needs to function for me and Jess LC. Making under is also the root of MML and I’m going to spend the next several days explaining step by step how I put the makeunder process to work for myself. I hope that it is helpful in understanding how I think about making under and how you might want to incorporate similar principals in your own space and life. So without further delay, I bring you my vision for my new space.

Step One: Create a Vision

First, let’s talk about the transition…

In order to really understand the vision for the space, we really need to understand the transition that I’m making. One year ago I moved into my current apartment with my boyfriend and we consolidated our stuff to this single space. However, at this point in time, we are choosing to take a different path and continue our relationship as friends. Though this is the last thing I expected to happen twelve months ago, I accept this transition and have faith that it is for the best.

This also means that I recently got rid of many pieces of furniture and now need some pretty major items like a mattress, bed, bookshelves, and a tv, among others. It also means that I need to change my paradigm from one of “us” to “me.” I need to make these decision for myself, without compromise, without agreement. To many, this might seem obvious (and even ideal). I get to decide exactly what I want, no questions asked. But to be honest, after three and a half happy years making decisions together, this is more than a bit strange for me. I need to learn to embrace this new independence and look at it as empowering.

I need to also make sure I ask myself what I really want without waiting for a second opinion. This space is all about me being me. It is also a chance for me to discover who I am after such a long, deep, relationship. This is the first time I am single as an adult post-college.

So, after reflecting on the transition, a few things are clear about this makeunder:

  • I need to make sure I embrace my individual style and choose things that make me 100% happy.
  • I can take this opportunity as a chance to feel empowered. I get to call the shots and decide things that weren’t in my jurisdiction before (ie: television choice). I also get to decorate using things that weren’t agreed upon before like hot pink art for the bathroom.
  • I need to acquire a fair amount of new furniture and ‘stuff.’ Though most makeunders involve a lot of exfoliating, the nature of this move involves half of my belongings being taken away at the get-go. Opening up space for many new things going forward.

Now, let’s talk about what I want this space to feel like…

I will state right away that though I am moving within the building, with an identical floor plan and identical finishes, I want this space to feel very different from my current apartment. I don’t want to feel like I’m living in the carcass of an old relationship. A fresh start, a fresh space. I want this space to feel complete, because it is a reflection of me; I am complete just as I am, in or out of a serious relationship.

When I walk in the door, I want to feel cheerful, bright, and awake. For the space to emanate those feelings, I would like bright white bookshelves, crisp white paint, pops of color like coral, gold, and light blue. I want the furniture and accessories to be polished, chic, and pulled together. I want everything to have a place. I even want my closets to be beautiful and organized. I only want to own what I need, use, and love.

When I think about similar spaces that embody these traits, my inspiration automatically comes from Summer Thornton’s Lincoln Park home (photo credit).

To keep my space beautifully edited and consistent, I’m going to keep these ideas in mind as I identify what I exfoliate (step two) and what I make an intentional obsession (step three).

I also want the space to accommodate the following activities…

Going from a two bedroom apartment to a one bedroom apartment means I need to move my studio space from the second bedroom to the main living room. Though this is necessary, I want to make sure the living room does not feel like a studio at all times, it should serve the business functions when necessary but also be discrete. I can do this by using beautiful home goods as storage and by exfoliating unnecessary items ruthlessly. If something does not serve a purpose in order fulfillment or inventory, it does not need to be in the apartment. Using a rolling cart which can go in the closet at the end of the day will also help conceal items during off hours.

All in all, this is my chance to have a “single girl apartment in the city.” Though many take the opposite path and go from single apartment to shared, my path is a bit different. And I’m okay with that. I intend to take it all in stride and savor each decorating decision and embrace my femininity. (I even bought myself a housewarming gift: a coral, gold, and white candle which smells like flowers.)

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  1. Rose

    I love that you are taking this transition as an empowering opportunity. I went through a similar experience about 6 years ago. I left a long term serious relationship. Boy did I love my single girl status. I was alone, happy and free for about 3 years lol I took my time to get to know myself after being a couple for about 8 years. Although, I’m living with my current boyfriend that experience change my views of relationships and has made my new relationship easier, calmer and just the perfect fit for me. Good luck in this new adventure! Thanks for sharing with us your process and life in general!

  2. Jill

    What an exciting transition! I can’t wait to see it all come together… I just know it will be 100% fabulous!

  3. Natalie

    I’m excited to follow your progress on this, Jess. I’m hoping to get a down-sized place in October, and am looking forward to seeing what you do with your new space. I’m sure it’ll be fantastic!

  4. Jenny

    I can’t wait to see what you do with the new space. It really is an exciting time for you, I firmly believe that living on your own in a space you create is empowering. It’s good to know that you can do it all on your own. I’m quite a bit older than you, but you are light years ahead in your self awareness, you are an inspiration!

  5. Eva

    I am so excited to learn more about your new apt process! Love the colors and thanks for linking the pics to the Lincoln Park home. I’ve seen the living room picture before and loved the colors! Good luck! Oh and if you will be exfoliating stuff I hope you put it up for sale here!

  6. Arianna Belle

    I believe that our environments set the tone and serve as a backdrop for our lives. I love your inspirations and the color palette you decided on. Looks like you’re on your way to creating a space that will feel authentic and sing to your soul 🙂

  7. CB

    SUCH good ideas! Your new space will be terrific, I’m excited to hear more about the process!

  8. Niki

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with! I used to dream of having my own apartment to do whatever with 🙂

  9. Charlotta

    Hello and congratulations on a wonderful and inspiring post. I am new here so I have no history to the events that are now taking place but let me just say that what I have just read is the reflection of a strong, positive and courageous girl. What you are planning for yourself and your future is brilliant and I am absolutely certain you will land on your feat, on top of the mountain and the view from there will be magnificent.
    The future is exciting for you and will hold so many beautiful things.

    Best of luck – can’t wait to see and hear more..

    xx Charlotta

  10. Maureen

    Hi – I have been undertaking a similar process of living on my own again after the end of a long-term, live together relationship and I have really enjoyed how open you’ve been about your process. I have been trying to think of living by myself again in a similar vein – a chance to get some new things I’ve always wanted and to generally create a space that I love. Thanks for your thoughts and ideas and I can’t wait to hear more.

  11. Maggie Rose

    Your inspirations pictures and color palette are beautiful! As we’re approaching our one-year of living together I’m finally letting go of some of our duplicate items. Neither one of us wanted to lose “MY” table or “MY” coffee table. But since we’ve made it a year, I figure if something did go sour, I’d want to be in a position where you are now – to start fresh and make a new space all my own. I think your new home will be a lovely reflection of where you are in life right now. If you haven’t been on See Jane Work (.com), they have some beautiful office storage pieces that might have something you’re looking for that’s not too “officey”.

  12. The color scheme is really lovely…soothing and yet very alive and fresh. Balanced with whites, metals, and natural tones they will sing! 🙂

  13. Cathy Z.

    Hi Jess!

    This is Cathy from bschool. I found your post via Pinterest, where your lovely apt pictures are posted. I actually just moved from a two bedroom apt to a one bedroom myself, and are in the same process of figuring out how to fill this space and make it my own.

    I’ve been in my apartment for 3 weeks now but I’ve been planning my space for about two months. It feels so overwhelming between unpacking, decluttering, and decorating. I like your systematic approach to decorating your space and will adopt it for my own space planning. Your apartment looks LOVELY by the way. Very nice blog and jewelry line too. Good to see that you are doing well. Keep up the great work!


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