And we have furniture!

Our furniture has arrived! (Remember when we bought it, three months ago? I know, neither do I).

But it finally arrived this morning and was pieced together and installed by this afternoon.

Without further ado:

Of course, in order for the nice delivery guys to hang up all the cabinets/shelves, I had to disconnect the TV from the digicorder and sound system. Now I have everything plugged back in except for one cable (for the sound) that I can’t figure out where it goes. Actually, I’m pretty sure I know where it goes, I just don’t know how to reach the back of the TV while it’s hanging on the wall.

I would say I could just wait for Joery to get home to figure it out, but he’s in Italy until Sunday for work. So it’s either figure it out or watch TV silently (though that could be a good way to practice my Dutch — as long as it’s subtitled).

Now all that’s left is to buy a rug for in front of the couch and a light for over the table and our living area/kitchen/dining room will be (more or less) complete!

Of course, there’s still the guest room, bedroom, terrace and walk-in closet to finish, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?


Six tips for furniture shopping

Joery and I finally purchased the last major pieces of furniture for our apartment this weekend. After many, many, many frustrating shopping trips, I believe I emerged from this experience with a bit of knowledge I’d like to share.

No more patio furniture in our dining room!

1. Never go shopping on an empty stomach.

Everyone knows not to do this when going grocery shopping, but it’s true for furniture shopping as well. Empty stomachs translate into snippy comments, “we-already-had-this-conversation” / “why can’t you FOCUS??” / “what the hell are you thinking? That is hideous” remarks, and a silent, angry boyfriend who’s driving home from a fruitless shopping adventure. Not fun for anyone.

2. Make sure you measure EVERYTHING.

Because that one thing that you forget to measure — how wide the television is, how far from the wall your cabinet should protrude, etc. — that space will be what stands in the way of a completed order or driving home with your tail between your legs and a measuring tape in your hands.

3. Ask questions. A lot of questions.

Does this type of material attract fingerprints? Do you drill the holes for the electrical outlets or do we have to do it ourselves? Do you mind if I try picking the coffee table up so we can see how easy it is to move? Even if the saleswoman thinks you are completely bonkers, she will smile and treat you as if you asked the most reasonable question in the world. At least our wonderful saleswoman did.

Which brings me to 4. If you’ve already visited the store, talk to the same salesperson.

They give you their card for a reason. If they’re busy, wait. It will save you the time it takes to explain the situation to someone else who doesn’t completely understand the problem, have them give you the wrong information, and give up (due to the hangry-ness problem presented in number 1) and drive home.

5. Hold out (if you can) for promotional events.

Not only did Joery and I get a glass of kava and piece of chocolate when we entered the store, we also got two tickets for a hot-air balloon ride (in lieu of a small discount on the furniture) and a coupon for a free breakfast, delivered to your home. Not too shabby. And now we can look at it as a small reward for the numerous failed shopping trips and fact that it’ll probably be over a year since we moved in before we get a proper table.

And lastly, 6. There’s no shame in haggling.

Sure, it’s a store that probably won’t drop their prices any lower than what they originally say. But if you ask, they may just throw in an extra one of those breakfast coupons.

So, in 10-12 weeks (the length of time between purchase and delivery), our apartment will pass through it’s thrown-together, lawn furniture-marked adolescence and, hopefully, mature into an adult space. And thanks to our wonderful saleswoman, Fadoua, who not only humored our testing the weight of the furniture, but also assisted us in re-arranging what we could to recreate our apartment’s “look”.

Couches and end tables and lamps, oh my!

At the beginning of June, my boyfriend and I finally moved into our first apartment (I say finally because the original move-in date was February, but the construction process took a bit longer than expected). Since we both have always lived in furnished places, we didn’t really have much to bring into the new place. It was a blank slate — literally. We got to design every little detail, from the color and type of kitchen cabinets to where the walls would go. This may seem like a wonderful opportunity — and I’m sure it was — but at many points in the journey I think both of us looked back and asked “What the hell were we thinking?”

Because when every little detail is up to you to decide, ANY and EVERY mistake is your fault (That shiny black counter top you thought would look so pretty in the bathroom? Attracts dust like a beast, not to mention the fingerprint smudges and hard water pools). Plus, my boyfriend and I have very different tastes (hence our French country guest toilet). For this reason — among others — some major style decisions have been postponed until previous decisions were realized. I think at one point in time, particularly when furniture shopping, we just got so frustrated that we finally said, “whatever, we’ll take that one” without really considering the room that we were building. We just found individual items that we thought were pretty/comfy/affordable/the right size and figured they would go together. And while I’m not saying they don’t, it became clear that we had begun painting ourselves into a smaller and smaller corner.

Therefore, we decided to actually move in, see what we had so far — and how we used it — and then pick up where we left off once we have a better idea of what it was we wanted. I think this saved our relationship. There are only so many times that you can tell a person that if a wall is 2 meters and 50 centimeters, a 3 meter couch would not look good. And yes, we had this conversation multiple times (until we finally found a couch that fit).

However, now that we’ve been living here for almost two months, we figured it’s time to start finishing the place. After all, there’s still no paint on the walls (the Spackle is not for aesthetic effect) and we still are missing major pieces of furniture (like lighting for the bedrooms, a dining room table and chairs, a media center, bookcases). Plus, our painter told us he can start this weekend, so we kind of had to make a decision.

So, our living room/dining room/kitchen (it’s all open) colors are going to be: light taupe, a bit darker taupe, and an aubergine accent wall. The taupe comes from our kitchen cabinets, which are a similar shade as the paint we’re using (we’re just going a step lighter for most of the walls and a step darker for the walls around the cabinets). And I just like aubergine.

Also, our couch (which we ordered in MAY) is finally going to be delivered at the end of next week. It’s been so long since we ordered it, I kind of forget what it looks like (another reason why we decided to put off buying the dining room/media stuff). I know it’s gray, I’m just hoping that it’ll look good against the taupe. But I am excited to not be sitting on these anymore:

The camo bean-bag chair actually is pretty comfortable.

Note: the glass wall is our “inner terrace.” We’re having a technical problem with it (when it rains, the water drains to the center and sits there rather than to the corner where the drain pipe is…and the company from whom we bought the place is refusing to fix it even though it’s clearly their responsibility…. I could go on, but that’s why it looks like a construction zone — it still is). You also can ignore the walls. Actually, just look at the floor, it’s the only thing in the photo that’s finished and isn’t it just oh-so-pretty?