~chez kali~

November 28th, 2008

Nope, not the home of the Hindu goddess of death and destruction, just the new digs of Kim and Ali.
You asked, we listened, so here are some pictures.

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After nine months in a single room studio, a two bedroom flat feels positively rambly. It’s a big two-bedroom by my standards and it’s heaven. It’s also a little like having stepped through the looking glass: everything is the same as the old place–same weird metal shades, tiles, parquet floors, slightly textured walls–yet different, expanded.

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For one thing, it’s much more functional. While both places were obviously furnished by the same person (white couch anyone?), this apartment lacks the bachelor/hotel feeling of stark functionality. We made a trip to Ikea on our first weekend in the studio simply to to buy lamps (overhead lighting is the devil), a pot to cook in, a cutting board, an iron, that kind of thing.

A family of four lived in this two-bedroom apartment prior to us and what they left behind makes for a practical and cozy space, most significantly in the kitchen, where I now have multiple pans, a mini-cuisinart, and a lovely clay oven.

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I also have more kitchen counter and cupboard space than I can use, which is a first in my entire adult life (which has been spent in studios or in NY or both).

We have a guest bedroom–a whole room we don’t use–as NYers this is unfathomable. I thought it would be an office as well, but we’ve gotten in the habit of being around each other in the evenings and so moved the desk to the main room.

We are thrilled to have our own closets again. The place even comes with an extra storage space down the hall, which outside a few suitcases, is empty.

There is a terrace with a table and chairs for breakfast in summer, and room for a BBQ and a proper potted garden. There is a dining table that could seat eight in a pinch. There are two bathrooms. Most importantly, there is a bathtub, a really long bathtub. It feels abundant.

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When I returned to our Brooklyn apartment I was reminded what nesters we are and how nicely we have feathered our nest there. Besides being reunited with books, music, clothes, it was also lovely to reach for something and just have it be there. It is a comfortable, functional, cozy, aesthetically pleasing space. Loud as all get out, but well-appointed.

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What I like about being here is the experiment in not really caring about my aesthetic surroundings. I want it to be clean (enough) and functional and beyond that I don’t really see it. I “decorated” in a day, tacking some images up, hanging a lantern here and there. It’s kind of like a kid’s clubhouse in the way we’ve arranged whatever was around, shoved furniture about, added plants and candles, and called it ours. Maybe I should add a pirate flag.

Nothing about the space would normally recommend it to the kids who love wobbly wood floors, pressed tin ceilings, deep colored walls and fabrics, a lot of stuff (apparently), and hence, a little unavoidable dust. Our house in NY has personality, or personalities–maybe Quintin Crisp meets Isadora Duncan meets John Muir in a French Quarter bordello. Bird’s nests and booties.

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The space is airy, the light is good, the circular floor plan (the long oval shape of which gives enough privacy to almost feel like a two-story) I love. There is a liberated feeling in this house, in this town, in this country for us. We just take it in.

Of course, being perched, ready for flight, isn’t always the most soothing place to be. Home is an idea much in my mind these days. In a practical sense, we have none. Not really from Brooklyn anymore, haven’t been from Los Angeles (or Berlin) in a dogs age, don’t know even vaguely what the year will bring in terms of choosing what is next.

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There is much flux in the air, and what makes that tenable is knowing that Home is wherever I am, and that now that means Alfonso too. We are a family, we make it Home, no matter. (One day we’ll have a little furry quadruped again, but for now two is enough.) Ah, getting mushy…must be because:

Eight years ago today we had our first date. Tonight we celebrate.
Bonne weekend!

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