Monday, October 8, 2012

En Casa con Luke y Millie (At Home with Luke and Millie)

Last week, my mom requested some photos of our apartment, and though I'd had this on my to do list for a while now, it took her request to make me take a few pictures. I thought I'd share them here with the rest of our family and friends so that you all can picture where we are (and where you will come visit! You better!) We still have a few things that we'd like to find, like a couple of pictures or mirrors for the bare walls in our living room and dining room, throw pillows for the couch and a dresser or some type of additional clothing storage for our bedroom.

All in all, though, we are starting to feel settled and comfortable. It really is such a blessing that EY shipped all of our things for us.  Most of the Americans that we have met here came only with what they could fit in the allowable luggage limit for their flight and are living in furnished apartments without any of their special things.  After experiencing a furnished apartment for 6 months in Dallas, we were so excited to get our personal items back, and it really has made us feel much more comfortable and at home, which makes this whole experience much easier. Here are a few pictures and descriptions of the rooms in our apartment starting with the living room and walking back to the master bedroom.

We purchased most of the big items for this room (El Salon) in Madrid: Couch, coffee tale, bench and rug. The bench was the perfect solution because we didn't have a great spot for a chair, and all the ones we liked were incredibly expensive. It offers more seating and is the perfect height with the coffee table. Plus, the stripes make me happy.

Here we have our "entertainment center." The small turquoise chest we shipped from home and ended up working fine as a TV stand since our TV here is much smaller than at home. We usually have my laptop set up and connected to the TV so that we can indulge in our new addiction to the Breaking Bad series, and I can keep up with Parenthood. We hung the picture from Luke's birthday that I bought at El Rastro above the TV, and the wooden piece to the left of the TV is an old French baguette cabinet that Luke got me for my birthday. Our glass bottles in the center of the coffee table are from our trip to Nashville, but we're on the lookout to add a few Spanish bottles to our collection!

After looking at coffee tables that we loved but were far beyond our budget, I was so excited when we found this. It's not a true antique but looks old and rustic just like we like it. When we bought the table, it had 4 short legs on it that made it just a little too tall to be a coffee table, but we decided to buy it anyway with the hopes that we could take the legs off. Sure enough, as soon as it was delivered, I turned it on its side and went to work with a hammer. The legs popped right off and now it's the right height for our couch and bench. We bought the rug from a small shop run by an Afghanistani man and his Spanish wife. He is the nicest man and was so easy to work with. He let us take home two rugs since we couldn't make up our minds and gave us no hassle when I went to return the extra. In fact, he even made me a cup of green tea and talked to me for 30 minutes about his village in Afghanistan!

We brought our beloved trunk and Matthews frame from home. When we came across these American flag pillows in El Corte Ingles, you know we couldn't go home without them! God Bless America!
I think the kitchen (La Cocina) is my favorite room in our apartment. I love the tile, green wall and the fact that it is open to the living room and dining room, which is not common in Spain. In fact, they call this type of layout "Cocina Americana." They prefer to have a kitchen that completely closes off from the other rooms. My Spanish teacher, Jose, told me that it's because they like to keep the food smells in the kitchen. I guess American food smells better than Spanish food. :)

We have plenty of storage and modern appliances! However, the dishwasher is quite small and won't easily fit our dinner plates. I guess what they say about American plates (and portion sizes) significantly increasing in size over the past couple of decades is true!

The landlords left this little cart when they moved out. It's so simple, but I love it. I have all my spices and cutting board on the top shelf. Then I found these great glass containers that I bought to store flour, sugar, coffee, oats, brown rice, cous cous, lentils, etc. The bottom shelf is where we keep our stock of fruit and veggies.  The cart is situated right behind the cook-top, so it's really convenient to have all the spices within arm's reach.

We brought this green piece from home, and it was the perfect fit and match in our green kitchen.The additional storage is great, and it's nice to have some "junk" drawers where we can store mail, pens, pencils, etc. We bought the framed Parcheesi board in San Sebastian, Spain and found the old scale at El Rastro.
Here's our dining room (El Comedor), where we're still in need of some pictures to hang on the bare walls.  We brought everything in this room with us from Dallas.

We have a small bathroom (El Bano) right off of the living room and kitchen, which has been really nice for when we have guests over.  However, because of where the plumbing is in the building, the toilet has a motor to push the water in the direction that it needs to go. It makes some funny sounds to say the least. Don't be scared if it starts growling at you!

In our entry way (La Entrada), we found a nice spot for the long, yellow table that we brought from home. Then we found this shelf with hooks at an old antique shop near El Rastro for only about 30 euros (if I remember correctly), which is a good price considering how big it is. I always have a purse or bags with me when I come in the door, so I love having these hooks to hang them on instead of dropping them in the floor. We bought the yellow rug to go in front of the door, but we had to be creative with the positioning because the door won't open with it there. Notice all the locks on the door? We're definitely safe!

Here's the extra bedroom (El Dormitorio), which we currently use as a laundry room. The landlords also left this little table, which we put next to the laundry line so that I can use it as a folding table as soon as I take the clean clothing off the line. It also is a perfect match for the sweet canvas that Meg and Shelby made us.
Our three laundry lines hang between the window in our guestroom and the window in our bedroom. It's nice to have so much private space for drying, but don't drop anything! There's not an easy way to access the shaft so if something is dropped, it's most likely gone for good! I've already lost a hand towel that was wrapped up in a larger towel and fell out when I hung the towel on the line. That taught me the importance of giving everything a big shake before hanging it out the window!

Because we use the ironing board more than usual due to a lack of dryer, it's nice to have a spot where we can just keep it out all the time. I've also been working on a couple of crafty items so it's been nice to be able to spread those things out in this room.  With the cute green shutters in place of a normal door, we can just swing the doors shut and keep the clutter hidden.

This is our bedroom (El Dormitorio Principal) looking in from the master bath. We found two bedside tables at a tiny little shop right down the street from our house. After using boxes as side tables for a couple of months, I was super excited when we finally found these tables. We also bought the "headboard" at a spot near our apartment. Although it's not a true headboard, it's nice to have something on the wall over the bead. Here you can also see the window to the shaft. Our clothesline runs between here and the window in the guest room.

Our bedroom looking into the closet and hallway.  We still need to find a chest or dresser to provide some additional clothing storage, but we got lucky with a spacious closet and have been able to make do so far.
This is our master bathroom. We have a nice, big shower and of course, we love the tile here too! Like many of the Spanish apartments, there isn't much in the way of storage. I bought the three baskets under the sink to store our toiletries, and the basket to the left of the shower is where we store our clean towels. (Looks like I need to do laundry.)
The toilet nook complete with window to keep you entertained while taking care of business. :) We bought the wire basket to the left of the toilet at El Rastro. I believe they said it was an old milk jar basket, but it also works great as toilet paper storage. The large window opens all the way, but it will also vent open just at the top, which helps keep the bathroom from steaming up when the shower is in use. 

There you have it...a little glimpse into our piso nuevo.  We can't wait to share our home and this great new city with all of our loved ones!

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