Settling In.

By: Jen Shoop

Though there is something unsettling about living amongst boxes, we are, in fact, settling into our new apartment. It feels as though the squiggly, unpaved path of the past few months has unfurled into a smooth road. Now, as always after a rough patch, I sit back and think: “Why was I so knotted up? It always works out in the end…”

I thought I’d share a couple of things we are planning to purchase for the apartment, though I should note that Mr. Magpie’s caution about purchasing anything prior to arrival was well-advised, as several of the items I’d been seriously eyeing would have proven frivolous in the face of more important purchases we had not even fathomed.

For example: our new dining room is far larger than our previous one and the lovely drop-leaf from Room&Board that fit so perfectly into the petite dimensions of our old apartment would look absolutely absurd in it. We need a larger table and new dining chairs — something I’d simply not considered because, after all, we own a dining table that is perfectly suitable! (No worries, though — we will push the drop-leaf up against a wall and use it as an occasional table, styled with books and artwork. I’ve seen friends — ahem, Alison — do this to chic effect.)

But Mr. Magpie and I are going to spend some time considering that purchase. There are so many directions we could go. I’m mildly considering more of a modern look there (though I tend toward the traditional) with perhaps a parson’s dining table and upholstered armchair-style dining chairs. But — ah. With small children, upholstered anything is a death wish. I have been especially inspired by the dining rooms designed by Amy Berry (seen above and below — I would die to one day work with her; she is my dream interior designer!). I like the way she mixes materials and even styles in her dining rooms, and am encouraged to try something a little more avant garde in a similar vein rather than purchasing a matching dining table and chair set.

Sammis Residence_for June 2017 Photographer: Sanchez, Manuel Hector Editor: Gowen, Zoe Art Director(s): Perino, Bob Photo Editor: Clayton, Jeanne

So, that will be a slow burn as Mr. Magpie and I tend to like to take our time to make big investments like that. And, in the meantime, we’ll just look like shrunken fools in that cavernous dining room hunched around our itty bitty dining table. But it works, for now.

Things that are higher on the tick-list:

+A second leaning bookcase to flank the TV in our living room. We had one in our old apartment and I simply love this affordable bookshelf — it is bright and modern-looking but does not block out any light. It also, at a glance, has the general appearance of maybe being built-in? I love it. Mr. Magpie went through the trouble of having his massive TV mounted to the wall and all the cords covered, and we also purchased a new set of sconces (<<now on sale!) for the wall, so — this will really tie everything together. (P.S. — the TV floats above this media console in the white, which we love!)

+A dog bed for Tilly. I shared a few options we were considering on this front here, and I ended up falling hard for that gingham Orvis style, especially since — as noted — Tilly loves to be “comfy-cozy” and curl up against a couch.

+A sleek trash can. In our home in Chicago, we had one of those drawers that pulls out to disguise our trash and recycling and — is this strange? — when I discovered our house had that amenity, I was bizarrely excited. I have no idea — but it marked something distinctive in my evolution into adulthood. We have not enjoyed that feature since, but this stylish trash can is a lot less of an eyesore than the majority I’ve seen out there.

+A proper bookcase for mini’s room. Because mini’s previous nursery was so small, we couldn’t have fit a full bookcase inside in addition to her glider, her dresser, and her crib. Instead, we made do with small bins of books. I am THRILLED to be able to unload all of those into a formal bookshelf and to repurpose the bins for toys.

+S&L dresser. (P.S. — today is the last day to score 20% off your purchase!) I am 90% sure we will order this but we did have a bit of a debate because our new bedroom has a walk-in closet with a ton of built-in shelving — and it goes all the way up to the high ceiling! I also have mini’s closet to take over. Still, I have always loved that S&L dresser and I think it would complete our bedroom. (We finally moved Mr. Magpie’s childhood cedar dresser into mini’s room! I feel liberated! Now I just need to upgrade the dresser with some fun new knobs. I had originally suggested these but I think they might be too at-odds with the dresser’s style.)

+A crib for micro’s room! Ah, I am so torn on what to do with this. I had originally thought I might go with the Jenny Lind $200 classic. I’ve seen it in many high-end nurseries and I love its timeless design. (Plus, it converts into a toddler bed!) However, at the midnight hour, I did some more recon on potential cribs and thought this would be amazing for his nursery. It’s a little out of the norm from my usual more traditional-leaning style, but something about its clean, masculine, mid-century vibe appeals. And then there’s this style with the cool caning detail, which is 100% my style, and I gravitated immediately towards it. Maybe it’s too similar to mini’s that it would look odd next to hers when we eventually put them in the same room? I don’t know! As I deliberate, micro is sleeping in a Nuna travel crib, as he’s outgrown his bassinet. (Too long!)

+Nursery rug. I had my heart set on this one but then once I assessed the various other pieces I was eyeing for the room, I decided it just wouldn’t all “hang together” well enough, as I am trying to anchor the room around this Leslee Mitchell Lionel train print, and including pops of navy and red elsewhere. The orange/shades of blue/safari vibe on the rug (though I adore it) just didn’t make sense. Instead, I am considering this one, which I love and can imagine repurposing easily when we convert his nursery into an office/guest room.

+A shower caddy for our master bathroom shower. This one gets rave reviews, and I’ve purchased enough OXO products to know that they tend to be exceptionally well-designed.

+Miele vacuumfinally!

And that’s all she wrote for now.

P.S. The anguish of the move is behind us, praise the Lord. And all those feelings of ambivalence in the midst of it have given way to relief and optimism. I love this new neighborhood.

P.P.S. In the category of random home purchases: just ordered some new dish soap. I have used Mrs. Meyers for a long while but Mr. Magpie has rightly pointed out that it’s a touch on the watery side. Intrigued by this brand…

P.P.P.S. Inexpensive ways to personalize your home and the weight of words.

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15 thoughts on “Settling In.

  1. Yes to Simplehuman! I held off on going that route for a little bit, owing to my annoyance at the custom trash bags, but then I bit the bullet and I’ve never been happier. 🙂 We have a composting program in our city so we actually go through trash bags fairly infrequently, anyway.

    You’ll have to keep us posted on the vacuum and Puracy soap! I’ve been a Mrs. Meyers devotee for years but am always curious about other (better?) brands.


    1. I hear you on the custom bags — actually we ended up using the Simple Human JUST for recyclables, using 1/2 for paper and 1/2 for glass/aluminum/etc, which is how NY sorts its recycling, and I find that I wind up just walking over to the bins and emptying the trash bags directly into the receptacle because the bags aren’t that dirty. Is that weird? Anyway, I feel like it will take us forever to get through a box of the custom bags!

      Boring talk. Why did I just write that? I don’t know. I’m on my second glass of wine with no dinner and oversharing apparently. HA!

      Puracy is my new jam — I’ve now converted to almost all of their products! I use their laundry detergent, baby products, and hand/dish soap! I went all in. But I like that it’s all clean and they’re gorgeously scented.


    2. Well, if it’s boring talk, then I’m boring, too! Hahaha. I don’t think it’s weird to reuse the bags if they’re just for recycling. You do you!

      Thanks for the tip on Puracy — going to try it out! xx

  2. I recently advised my college roommate – who just purchased her first house with her husband – to take their time buying furniture and decorating… advise I wish I’d been given (although, to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have taken it at the time).

    We purchased our house in October (3 years ago today, ha!) and decided to host Thanksgiving just a few short weeks later. In my perfectionist hurricane, I had the entire house outfitted in that time. A few purchases proved to be great, but the majority have been donated or sold as I figured out our style, the house, etc. So yes even though it’s sooo challenging sometimes, I am very much in camp “I’ll live in a bare room instead of buying something that might not be right.”

    1. Thanks for this reminder. Definitely gritting my teeth in anxious anticipation of having everything “settled” BUT. I am finding it a little easier now that most of the living room is clear and “set up” and can keep most of the boxes and mayhem to the dining room. We’ll just make do while we hunt for something we love.


  3. For my first son, I bought a Serena and Lily crib that I was obsessed with and for my second, I went with that exact Jenny Lind and honestly? There’s not a huge difference in the quality (albeit a huge difference in the price! ) The good news is that you really can’t go wrong, but looking at it through the splurge/save lens of decorating, I say go for the Jenny Lind and use the savings to splurge elsewhere!
    So happy you are loving your new home and love all of your picks!

  4. Decorating can be so much fun!
    We have a semi round Superhuman trash can and love it! Great choice

    I’m so glad you two are taking your time on the dining room. If I had bought my first set, I would have regretted it for years. (It was wood and glass and definitely not traditional). After months, we went traditional and have been so happy we didn’t pounce on the first thing we loved.

    Love the Ombre Diamond rug! Very pretty and you can’t go wrong with anything blue and white for your new home.

    As far as your crib for micro….they are all pretty. Since they will both be in the same room eventually, have you thought about getting minis crib for micro too? It might make “their” future room together be more cohesive and you could eventually set them apart with monogrammed booster pillows. Just a thought!

    Miele anything is a dream! Enjoy that nice addition.

    I’m sure it will all be gorgeous!

    1. Hi Cynthia! That’s such a good point on the crib. Maybe I’m overcomplicating and we should buy two of the same — so sharp! DUH. Going to take this back to Mr. Magpie for consideration. And thanks too for all the input on the other pieces — especially on the dining set. We have something that works (though it looks dumb) so let’s take our time and deliberate…


    1. Thanks Betsie! Got this message a few times over DM on Instagram, too! Agree — love the classic look. xx

    2. Agreed — we have been so happy with ours and you can’t beat the price! Also, we have the Simple Human trash can (actually found at TJ Maxx) and love it!

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