How to Change Your Address with the USPS

How to Change Your Address with the USPS

Don’t forget to do this when you move!

Moving can be time-consuming and complicated. But filing a USPS change of address is quick and easy. It just might be the easiest part of your moving to-do list.

There are two different ways to complete your USPS change of address form. One is extremely affordable, and the other is free, so don’t let scammers convince you that you need to pay them a lot to handle this simple service for you.

You can fill out a USPS change of address form yourself in just a few minutes. Here’s how to do it.

USPS change of address form online

The quickest and easiest way to change your address is to file a USPS change of address form online. It takes just a few minutes and goes into effect almost immediately. All you need is a credit or debit card and a valid email address.

Once on the U.S. Postal Service website, filling out the USPS change of address form online is easy:

  • Choose whether your move affects you as an individual, your entire family or your business. You will also need to indicate if your move is temporary or permanent.
  • Enter your old and new address in their respective fields. If you have a P.O. Box, enter it in the street address field.
  • Then, select a mail forwarding date. It can’t be more than three months from your filing date, so plan accordingly.

You’ll begin to receive mail at your new address seven to 10 postal business days from your filing date or the moving date you indicated on your USPS change of address form, whichever comes first.

Note: Requests to change an address and forward mail from a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) to a new address cannot be processed, because these are private companies that operate outside of the Postal Service. You will have to go to the CMRA itself to file a change of address. You can, however, file a USPS Change of Address form to forward mail to one of these entities.

Does USPS charge for change of address?

There will be a one-time charge of $1.05 on your credit or debit card for filing a USPS change of address online. This charge is to verify your identity and ensure that you are the person instigating the change. Pre-paid cards and gift cards are not accepted.

If you prefer not to use a credit or debit card, you can file a paper USPS change of address request for free. Everything you need can be found at any post office and on the Postal Service website.

filling out document

Fill out a paper USPS change of address form

You can also go to any post office and request a Mover’s Guide packet, instead. Fill out PS Form 3575 inside the packet with your old and new address, type of move and mail forwarding date.

Hand it to the postal worker at the counter, or drop it into the mail slot before you leave. You can also fill it out at home, and send it out with your outgoing mail. No postage is required if the form is mailed within the United States.

Other mail forwarding options

If you’re moving out of the country, you’ll have to go to a post office to pick up a paper USPS change of address form. International mail forwarding can’t be requested online.

For short-term travel and business that requires trips to several different locations, Premium Forwarding Service Residential might be a better (but more expensive) choice. If your move falls somewhere in between temporary and permanent, learning how mail forwarding works can help you select the best option for your situation.

USPS address change confirmation

If you filed your USPS address change online, you’ll receive confirmation via email as soon as your request is processed. Make sure that you provide an accurate email address so you can check for the confirmation.

If you’ve filled out a paper copy of the USPS address change form at a post office, you will receive a Move Validation Letter (MVL) at your new address. This document confirms your move.

Welcome kit is on the way

The Postal Service will also mail a welcome kit to your new address. It includes helpful information for new residents, including contacts at the local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and voter registration office. It will also include a community guide featuring neighborhood facts, offers and coupons.

If you’ve filed your USPS address change online, you can access the coupons and information included in the paper version of the Mover’s Guide, as well. You can print the information, or opt to have the offers and updates sent to you via text message.

USPS truck

How long does USPS forward mail after a change of address?

Once you’ve filed your change of address request, the Postal Service will forward your mail to your new address after the moving date you indicated when you filled out the form. The length of this service depends on whether your address change was temporary or permanent. It also depends on the type of mail.

If you filed a temporary address change, your mail will be forwarded for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 364 days. Mail forwarding will cease on the date you specified on your USPS change of address form.

If you filed for permanent change of address, most mail will be forwarded to new addresses in the United States for 12 months. Periodicals like magazines and newsletters will only be forwarded for 60 days. Marketing mail will not be forwarded unless the mailer has requested it.

So, you’ll need to change your address with your contacts before the 60-day and 12-month forwarding periods expire. Make a list of the contacts to alert about your address change, and cross them out as you go.

Make your new address official

Moving can be hard. But filing a USPS change of address is easy. It’s a simple step that provides peace of mind throughout the moving process and ensures you get all your important mail.

Published at Thu, 09 Jul 2020 12:00:07 +0000

Tour the New Home of Ferm Living

Tour the New Home of Ferm Living

I’ve made no secret of my love for Scandinavian design. My trips to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Gothenburg last year only cemented my obsession. While the “Scandi” look has had a hold on interior design in U.S. (and particularly on Pinterest!) for a while now, I think there’s more nuisance then the look often gets credit for.

Scandi-modern isn’t just about minimalism, white walls, or bleached oak furniture. A line that embodies that nuisance, and that has also been one of my long-time favorites, is FermLIVING. Their mix of furniture, lighting, and accessories offers a mix of minimalism but also artful sophistication that really adds interest to a space. These pieces aren’t generic. Each one feels considered.

Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34

And now FermLiving has opened its first-ever store in Copenhagen. Situated on the ground floor of a restored 18th-century building, the sprawling shop and showroom feature the FermLiving collection in context for the first time. From living and dining spaces to the kitchen, home office, and even the backyard, there is something special for every corner of your home. I regularly scroll the FermLIVING website, but seeing their collection in context makes it so much easier to discover things you love.

The shop is also offering a collection of curated vintage curio and home decor books that is really really making me wish plane flights were safe right now. Scroll down for a virtual tour of the brand new Home of FermLIVING.

Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34 Tour the New Home of Ferm Living on Apartment34

For details about my travels to Scandinavia, CLICK HERE.

images courtesy of fermLIVING

Published at Mon, 29 Jun 2020 19:36:39 +0000

Everything You Need to Make Your Furniture Last Forever, According to Pros

Everything You Need to Make Your Furniture Last Forever, According to Pros

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

When you finally find that perfect piece of furniture that you’ve been hunting down for years, you might find yourself facing a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, you’re head over heels in love, so you probably want to use it every day. But on the other hand, you ideally want to make it last forever, so there’s a temptation to shroud it in plastic and take up a vigilant watch against pets, little ones, and even well-meaning visitors.

But that sort of vigilance can become a bit… shall we say, stressful. Thankfully, there’s another way to make your furniture last while also letting it get some use. We spoke to a group of pro refurbishers and seasoned DIYers who let us in on all their best tips and tricks for making furniture last forever. Whether you’re looking to erase a ding in a wooden dresser, re-upholster a favorite chair, refinish a rusty metal item, or banish a pesky wobble, these experts have the skills and tools to breathe new life into even your best-loved items. So here it is: everything you need to make your furniture last a really long time.

What you need for wood furniture

For Jodi Bond of @houseonasugarhill, a shellac-based primer is worth its weight in gold. “I always make sure to use a shellac-based primer when painting over raw wood to seal in any sap that might still be in the wood,” she says. “I learned this the hard way, and built a beautiful barn door out of pine wood that I painted it white. But I didn’t seal it properly, so over time, the sap started to seep through the wood and into my paint, creating yellow stains all over the beautiful painted door. Fortunately, I was able to prime right on top of the paint, and start over, so the door was saved.” Bond shares that her go-to primer for jobs like this one is the Zinsser B-I-N Ultimate Stain Blocker

Thriftys Retro has made a name for itself as an online boutique offering quirky, upcycled furniture and homewares, and its owner Kelly Sharp always makes sure to keep some Gorilla Wood Glue on hand. “It’s brilliant for repairing wooden furniture and broken handles or joints—it dries clear, so if you make a mistake, it can scrape off really easily once it’s dried,” she says. “Plus, a little bit of wood glue mixed with sawdust makes a fantastic wood filler, which can be used to mend holes and cracks in chairs.” She especially relies on the glue for worn wooden furniture that’s gained a bit of a wobble from widening drill holes. Just fill the hole with your DIY wood glue mixture and wait. “Once dry, the hole can be re-drilled so that the screw fits perfectly with no wobble,” she says.

Any time a piece of wood in Steven DeGennaro’s workshop at Dashner Design & Restoration seems destined for the dumpster, he has one last-ditch option to try. “Oxalic acid is great for removing black water stains from wood,” he says, noting that it’s sold in powder form as wood bleach. “Just mix it with some warm water, apply it to the stain and let it dry,” he says. DeGennaro notes that particularly stubborn stains sometimes require more than one application, and encourages eager DIYers to be sure to clean and neutralize any oxalic acid residue remaining on the wood before returning the piece to your home.

Another tool that DeGennaro can’t do without for his vintage furniture restoration business? A soldering iron, which he says is handy for steaming out small dents in wood. “First, apply a small amount of water to the dent and let the wood absorb the water,” he says. “Next, lay a damp rag over the dent. Touch the hot iron to the damp rag directly over the dent, but don’t hold the iron there for too long or you could scorch the wood. The steam will cause the wood fibers to swell back to their original shape.” If you don’t have a soldering iron, don’t worry—DeGennaro says that a regular clothes iron will work as well; he just prefers the soldering iron as it allows him to be more precise.

When it comes to stripping the finish off a piece of furniture, DeGennaro advises everyone not to overthink it. Before you shell out the cash for a chemical stripper, try using a regular old scraper. “Scraping is less messy than chemical stripping, makes no odor and can be cheaper than buying bottles of stripper,” he says. “I use an assortment of card scrapers and paint scrapers when removing finish from furniture—they work especially well on old lacquer and shellac finishes.” Just make sure you reach for a scraper that’s nice and sharp, he says, and you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be.

Drew Scott of @lonefoxhome is always embarking on some eye-catching new project, and he has his own technique for stripping down a wooden piece. “Sandpaper or an electric sander will be your best friend when working with wood,” he says. “Whether you’re sanding down a shiny finish, old paint, or a dark stain, you can prep your furniture piece for new life with fresh paint or finish.”

What you need for upholstered furniture

When asked about her favorite products for at-home upholstering, Sharp didn’t hesitate: “My go-to tool for repairing upholstered furniture is a trusty upholstery staple gun.” She notes that handheld versions are simple to use, and often cost around $25. “They make it easy to staple loose fabric back into place and to change the top fabric of a chair, stool or ottoman storage box.”

Also in Sharp’s upholstering arsenal? The immortal hot glue gun, which she’s found more uses for than you can shake a stick at. “A hot glue gun is my repair kit essential item,” she says. “It can be used to repair rips in upholstery fabric, add some funky patches, update the look of a chair by adding frills or tassels, and disguise rips or sagging with piping or patches — all applied with a hot glue gun.”

Like Sharp, Scott is also a vocal fan of the staple gun, but added another item that he uses alongside it. “I would have to say pliers and a staple gun are my top tools I grab from my bag when DIY-ing furniture,” he advises. And for anyone feeling intimidated right about now, he is quick to add: “Now when it comes to upholstery, I am no pro! However, you don’t need to be one. Grab a staple gun and stretch your fabric to make it fit, add some staples and repeat. And reach for the pliers anytime you need to remove old staples or stretch fabric into tight spots.”

Also relying on a one-two punch of upholstering magic is Brooke Christen, who shares images of her lovely home on @nestingwithgrace. “One way to make your sofa look and feel brand new again is by combining an upholstery cleaner with a fabric shaver.” (Christen swears by the BISSELL Little Green Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner for the former.) “Most people clean their upholstery or have it cleaned, but combining a nice clean with a lint shaver is an absolute game changer,” she says.

And speaking of lint shavers, Christen is a huge fan of how the powerful little devices are able to make such an impact. “Over time, our upholstered fabrics will begin to pill and show wear. The fabric shaver removes those pesky little fabric balls and restores a brand new finish! It’s amazing how much more life you can get out of your sofas and chairs with a few little tricks up your sleeve.”

What you need for metal furniture

When it comes to metal items, Sharp acknowledges that repairs are typically more difficult. But that doesn’t mean she shies away from those projects at Thriftys Retro. “Metal items are more difficult to repair, yes, but you can get UniBond Metal Repair Glue, which is a very strong adhesive,” she says. For best results, she recommends rubbing the breakage surface with sandpaper before applying the glue, to give it a little more to stick to. 

Sharp also recommends that you hold the item in place while it’s drying, which is where clamps come in. “Clamps are really useful for holding any repair in place while it dries,” she says. “They can be used to fix drawers, wobbly legs, broken rails, and snapped handles.” Or if you don’t have a clamp on hand, substitute a strap or belt, which can also hold the repaired item securely in place until it’s had time to dry.

Metal is a bit tricky not only to repair, but also to color match, so Scott tends to fall back on a classic. “Typically I always just resort to spraying metal to a matte black—Matte Farmhouse Black by Rustoleum has an amazing finish,” he says. But for projects where a matte black isn’t a fit, stunning as it is? “Matching a steel or a brass tone comes with its own challenges, so using a product like AMACO Rub ‘n Buff can also make the imperfections look intentional.”

Published at Sun, 05 Jul 2020 13:00:00 +0000

Four Best Shoe Storage Options for Small Apartments

Four Best Shoe Storage Options for Small Apartments

When you live in a small apartment, you can easily find yourself lacking enough storage space. Beyond just keeping dishes and produce organized in your kitchen and making room for a work-from-home setup, you might also encounter smaller storage concerns. Consider shoes as a prominent example: Not only can shoe storage options in small apartments be tough since shoes are mostly rigid and often dirty, but you probably have many different pairs of shoes to store too. Not to fret, though: With these four shoe storage options for small apartments, you can keep your shoes properly organized and your apartment navigable (and clean).

shoe storage options

1. Shoe bench

Apartment storage hacks can vastly expand the amount of storage space available to you while, in many cases, adding extra functionality to your apartment. A shoe bench is a perfect example: It can seat one or two people entering your apartment, give them an easy, quick place to remove their shoes, and provide immediate storage for their shoes. You can also easily move your shoe bench from your mudroom or entryway into your living room, dining room, or kitchen when you need more seating space for guests. 

Some shoe benches even include a hinged seat so you can store other small objects in the top of the bench. However, shoe benches tend to be small and limited in storage space, so some people may prefer giving up the extra seating provided for more shoe rack space.

2. Shoe rack

A shoe rack takes the storage concept of a shoe bench and amplifies it dramatically. Instead of one or two small rows of shoe storage under a seating area, you get several more rows – which also tend to be longer – for storing dozens of pairs of shoes. 

Whether you own many pairs of shoes or expect to regularly have large groups of friends over, you may find that a shoe rack will accommodate all your storage needs. However, if you think you might struggle to find the proper surface area for a shoe rack or would rather have storage options with seating, shoe racks may not be right for you.

3. Over-the-door shoe storage

An over-the-door rack tends to hang gently over the inside of a door, whether to your bedroom or your whole apartment. It usually includes individual slots into which you can place your shoes. While great for saving floor space, over-the-door shoe racks can be too narrow for bigger shoes such as boots, and for people with larger feet, shoes may protrude out far enough that the door won’t fully close. 

4. Closet shoe storage

Closet shoe storage is similar to over-the-door shoe storage in that it uses a hanging organizer, usually draped over a closet rod, to divide and store shoes vertically without occupying floor space. If you prefer to keep all your clothes, shoes included, out of sight behind closet doors, then closet shoe storage may be for you. However, the same slot narrowness issues and large foot size challenges can appear with closet shoe storage as well.

Which shoe storage options do you prefer for your small apartment? Sound off in the comments!

Published at Wed, 01 Jul 2020 12:47:48 +0000

Pros and Cons: Pets in an Apartment

Pros and Cons: Pets in an Apartment

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.

For some people, apartment life might not quite feel complete without a pet. That said, the responsibilities involved in pet ownership can be daunting – and that’s before you factor in the many unique considerations that come with apartment life. Below, we weigh the pros and cons of having pets in an apartment.

pets apartment

Pros of pets in an apartment

Less lonely

People who live alone in an apartment may experience loneliness, especially during times when it’s best to stay at home. Pets may help to counter loneliness since their companionship, though not human, can take on the role of a best friend. Additionally, if you live in a pet-friendly building with many other pet owners or regularly walk your dog, you may find yourself meeting and befriending other pet owners in your area. Even just noticing that other residents in your apartment building have pets can make it easier to befriend these neighbors if you too have a pet.

More entertainment

If you can’t get out of your apartment much but find yourself easily bored, a pet can provide plentiful entertainment. Playing with your pets can help you pass the time when your other usual apartment activities just aren’t doing the trick. Pets can be just as entertaining for any guests who visit you too.

Get out (or stay in) and exercise

Some studies have correlated pet ownership with longer life expectancy, and others have shown that dog owners get more exercise than people who don’t own dogs since dogs must be walked several times per day. Pet ownership may thus prove especially healthy for you if you struggle to make the time to exercise or just find exercising in your apartment annoying. Additionally, if your apartment building has pet-friendly amenities or an outdoor area where pets are welcome, you may find that your pet helps you explore these common areas – and befriend your neighbors – more easily.

Cons of pets in an apartment

Lack of space

Pets require exercise and entertainment, and both of these needs may be hard to provide in small apartments where you struggle to make space for yourself. If you find it challenging to get proper exercise in your apartment, then you might find it just as tough to get a heart-racing game of fetch going for your dog (especially a large dog) or provide your cat with enough space to go chasing after toy mice or yarn balls. And if your apartment lacks outdoor space, you may not have the option of letting your dog out quickly for a bathroom break instead of committing to a full-on walk. A lack of indoor space can also make storing pet supplies, toys, and food more difficult.

Challenges with apartment hunting

With a pet in tow, finding a new apartment can become significantly more challenging. Not nearly all landlords will allow pets, and those who do may also charge you an extra one-time pet fee or monthly additional pet rent. Additionally, if you need an apartment with access to pet amenities such as dog-washing stations, your apartment hunting options may prove limited (and likely more expensive).

More expenses and responsibility

Owning a pet means taking care of it, and taking care of your pet means not just feeding it and caring for it, but paying for food, toys, pet furniture, vet bills, and other pet expenses you wouldn’t otherwise have to worry about (plus, for cats, cat litter). If you travel for extended periods and don’t have roommates to watch over your pets, you may also need to pay someone to take care of them in your absence. And if your pets experience medical emergencies, paying for their healthcare can make an instant, large dent in your budget. 

Do you have pets in your apartment? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Published at Mon, 29 Jun 2020 15:01:16 +0000

NYC Sublet Listings in May and June Continue to Smash Records As Renters Look to Break their Apartment Leases

NYC Sublet Listings in May and June Continue to Smash Records As Renters Look to Break their Apartment Leases

In mid-May we reported a massive spike in new NYC sublet listings through the first two weeks of the month. Based on RentHop’s apartment listing data running through the end of May and the first week of June, we can now confirm that total sublet listings are continuing to accelerate and set new records.

Combined with data from other sources such as The New York Times, this sudden spike in sublet listings may be considered early evidence the city is witnessing an outflow of residents to the suburbs or other metropolitan areas, likely as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this report, we’ll analyze the recent uptrend in new sublet listings on RentHop and highlight their outsized distribution in wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan1.

Sublet Listings Break Records in May

May 2020 saw a more than 110% increase in total sublet listings as compared to the total sublet listings of the previous month (April 2020). By contrast, May 2019 actually saw a 4% decline in total sublet listings as compared to the total sublet listings in April 2019. By all measures, May 2020 saw the greatest acceleration in new sublet listings we have ever recorded on RentHop.

Sublet Listings Continue to Set Records through the First Week of June

While sublet totals in May 2020 were off the charts, all signs are pointing to June seeing similar record-setting numbers. On Friday, June 5th, for example, renters created more sublet listings than on any other day in RentHop’s 11-year history.

Just as May 2020 saw a massive upward deviation from the average number of daily sublet listings in pre-pandemic months, the first week of June 2020 has seen 60% more daily sublet listings than the average daily total in 2020. By contrast, June 2019 only saw a 6% upward deviation from the average number of daily sublet listings in 2019.

Wealthy Neighborhoods Seeing the Largest Spike in Sublet Listings

In May 2020, every NYC borough saw an acceleration in new sublet listings, however, wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 average than other neighborhoods. In Chelsea, for instance, the number of sublets in May was four times more than in April. Similarly, in West Village, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, the number doubled in the past month.

The neighborhoods with the most significant spikes in new sublets in May were Chelsea (533% above average), Theater District (467%), Astoria (467%), Williamsburg (381%), Yorkville (360%), Battery Park City (320%), West Village (282%), Greenpoint (267%), Greenwich Village (200%), and the Financial District (185%).

1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

Published at Tue, 09 Jun 2020 13:30:52 +0000

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life in New York City. The MTA system grapples with billions of dollars of deficits with historically low ridership, and many people, who once called New York City home, are now breaking their leases and leaving the epicenter due to concerns over a potential second wave, burden of high living costs amplified by unemployment, and changes in company remote working policies.

After a few painful weeks with severe declines in leasing activities and high vacancy, the NYC rental market seems to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. While still slow compared to previous years, the rental market has shown some signs of recovery in the past month, including more inventory hitting the market. In this report, we will analyze the current state of the rental market and offer some insights for people who are looking to move in the coming weeks.

For the First Time in Years, Rents Are Dropping

Calculated using thousands of listings advertised in the past 30 days (May 12 to June 11), the median 1BR rent in New York City currently sits at $2,645.3, down 1.3% from $2,681 during the same period in 2019. This downward pressure is largely caused by reduced demand and an increasing amount of rental concessions offered by landlords grappling with tenant retention and high vacancies. The anemic demand and competition for tenants are forcing some landlords to double their incentives, going from 1 month free to 2 months free on certain units and lease terms.

We are also seeing a growing number of no-fee apartments on the market, whether advertised by rental agents or directly by landlords. Prior to the pandemic, around 58% of the listings on RentHop were no-fee. This number has since increased to 64%.

For those who are staying in the city with expiring leases, now might be a good time to start your apartment search. We expect that the rental trends will continue as New York City struggles with unprecedented job losses, an outflow of residents, and the economic turmoil due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Inventory Flows Back In, Approaching the Pre-Pandemic Level

While April has historically been the beginning of busy real estate sales and rental seasons, the market has been flat this year. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and pause of real estate showings, the number of active listings on RentHop dropped dramatically within a week after the start of the stay-at-home order. By mid-April, the number of active listings on RentHop had lowered 20% to just around 20,000 on average each week.

Since then, inventory has been growing steadily. The number of active listings first peaked the week of May 4 to May 10 since COVID-19 and has generally been trending upward. This implies that inventory is now flowing back, and renters now have more options to choose from.

Renter Inquiries Recovered to the Pre-Pandemic Level

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus outbreak exerted downward pressure on the rental market in the city of New York. Daily inquiry count started dropping exponentially in early March, and by March 20, the day when the PAUSE order was announced, the daily renter inquiry count had fallen over 60% below the pre-pandemic daily average.

But things quickly started to turnaround by early April. This upward trend continued through May, with May 12 being 26% higher than the daily average prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. And while the recent BLM protests have had an impact on market activities, generally speaking, the number of renter inquiries is reaching the pre-pandemic level. We expect this upward trend to continue in the coming months, driven by pent-up demand as people who have held off moving are now restarting their apartment search process.

Leads, however, seem to be shifting from Manhattan to Brooklyn. As shown in the chart below, the top 5 most inquired neighborhoods last year were all Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen, FiDi, and the East Village. The rankings changed drastically this year. Four out of the top five neighborhoods are located in Brooklyn, and the fifth one is Astoria, Queens. This shift might be evidence that the city may be seeing an outflow of residents from Manhattan to more affordable and less populated neighborhoods in outer boroughs.

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 14:00:37 +0000

The Time is Now

The Time is Now

antiracism on apartment34

This site was started to celebrate what could be called life’s frivolities. Design, fashion, food, travel. Some would argue, and I am certainly among them, that these aspects of life and culture are, in fact, incredibly important components of self expression, mental health and wellbeing, connection, and community building. They are crucial parts of life’s joys.

But I have never explicitly acknowledged on this platform that my ability to focus on such frivolous things is in large part due to my privilege as a white person with means, who lives in a major city. I am housing and food secure. I have a higher education. I benefit from access, resources and status that is unearned. My privilege is made available to me simply because I am white.

In the two weeks since the murder of George Floyd, there has been a collective reckoning with the systemic and institutionalized racism that has terrorized Black communities in the United States for 400 years.

I have spent the last two weeks listening, reading, and recognizing my contribution to the system that continuously oppresses Black people and People of Color (POC) on a daily basis. My inaction is a failing.

But here I am. A white woman with this blog. This platform. With followers on social media. From this point forward, I will be taking conscious action to combat racism in all aspects. A part of this conscious action is embracing my responsibility to share my views publicly. It is my duty to engage in difficult and uncomfortable conversations with you because staying silent is complicity. Remaining silent does no good, only harm.

I suspect I will get feedback that politics should stay personal. You came to Apartment 34 for inspiration on what color to paint your living room, not to discuss politics. But the personal is always political. I’ve certainly never shied away from sharing my personal views here, but saying that a lifestyle blog “isn’t the place to discuss racism” is a luxury of white privilege. We, as white people, are able to compartmentalize different parts of ourselves because our existence is not questioned. It is not threatened on a daily basis. We can choose to not think about these issues. Black people enjoy no such luxury.

I am hopeful you will stay to have these challenging conversations with me.

I apologize to my Black followers and to the BIPOC community at large, as I have not publicly used this platform to do the work of an ally. That stops today. I am still working to unpack my own implicit biases and identify where I fail as an antiracism ally. But because I have this platform, because I am a citizen who lives in a country built on the back of institutionalized racism, and because I am a human who cares, I have a responsibility to not only be an ally, but also be an advocate. An open, active, loud advocate for antiracism. An open, active, loud advocate for Black people. An advocate for the disenfranchised. An advocate for all POC who face daily oppression. And this work doesn’t just happen one time. It’s not a single post. It’s not attending one protest, making one donation or taking one vote. This must be a consistent, ongoing, commitment to keep sharing, showing up, protesting, voting and applying pressure from all sides until justice is done.

As a brand, public platform and individual influencer (no matter how uncomfortable I am with that term), I am putting forth the following:

  • At Apartment 34, we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe.
  • Apartment 34 is an actively antiracist platform. To that end, we will not tolerate any racist comments or interactions in Apartment 34 owned spaces.
  • Apartment 34 will only work with partners who are also actively antiracist. Going forward, Apt34 will vet all potential partners to understand their hiring practices, their public stance on key issues and their philanthropic activities to actively lift up the Black community and other communities of color.
  • Apartment 34 will serve as a platform to amplify the work of Black designers, makers, artists and creatives not just now, not just occasionally, but on a regular and continual basis.
  • Apartment 34 will actively work to support Black-owned businesses through our purchasing power, links and work with freelancers.
  • Apartment 34 will work to keep the Creative industries accountable, to ensure that Black people have multiple seats at the table, that they are put in positions of leadership, that they are offered to share their expertise at conferences and on panels, and that their work is viewed within its own context, not only within the context of the white-dominant views of design work.

Finally, I still have a lot more personal work to do to examine how implicit racial bias shows up in my own life – a journey I am happy to share with you on the blog and on social media if you are interested (you can see all the resources I’ve shared to do saved on my Instagram Stories and this Google Doc is a list of incredible antiracism resources – I highly recommend you check it out) – but I’ve thought a lot about how Apartment 34 can make a tangible contribution in this moment, right now.

Here is what I’ve come up with:

If you’ve been following Black people on social media this week, or perhaps even had conversations with your own Black friends, you may have heard them say “do not ask me what you can do.” Or “stop asking me what you can do.” As a white person that can feel confusing as you’re just asking how to help, right? But in fact, by you asking, you’re putting all the onus back on the POC to educate you. You’re putting the work on them to dig up past traumas and explain them to you, when in fact, so many Black people have already so graciously, bravely and beautifully done that for all of us, in the form of amazing books about Black life in America.

So below I have compiled a nowhere-near-exhaustive list of Black literature, both fiction and non-fiction, that illuminate the Black experience. To qualify, I have read many, but not all of these titles so I cannot personally speak about each individual one. But I have added them all to my reading list – even the ones I’ve read many years ago. Because I need to have these stories etched into my mind and across my heart. I, as a white person, will never truly appreciate the Black experience because I cannot myself embody it, but I can do my utmost to be fully educated about it, to know Black stories so I can  empathize with the Black struggle to the best of my ability, and understand the history so I can be a better ally and advocate. We all can do this.

So you do not need to DM a black advocate on Instagram or text your Black friend. Simply pick up the work of these amazing Black authors (I have prioritized mostly women but there men too) who have given us an amazing gift with their words and stories.

While I encourage you to seek out Black-owned bookstores to purchase these books (here is a link to 124 Black-owned bookstores), all the links below are Amazon affiliate links. Amazon does offer access to those who cannot access a Black-owned bookstore in this moment in time. I will be donating 100% of any commission made from the purchase of a book listed below to The Conscious Kid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. As The Conscious Kid explains,

“To counter racist socialization, structural racism, and racial bias, experts recommend acknowledging and naming race and racism with children as early and as often as possible (Baron & Banaji; Derman-Sparks). Children’s books are one of the most effective and practical tools for initiating these critical conversations with children, and can also be used to model what it means to resist and disrupt oppression.”

All donations made to The Conscious Kid go to a dedicated fund for the organization to get children’s books from their list of “41 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance” into classrooms across the country.

A key step in ending institutionalized racism in our nation is teaching anti-racism to our children. It’s one of many many things we will need to do individually, and collectively, to begin to dismantle systemic racism once and for all.

100% commissions earned from the purchase of these books will go to The Conscious Kid.

image courtesy of ThirdLove

Published at Mon, 08 Jun 2020 22:58:23 +0000

This Home’s Gorgeous Entryway Isn’t the Only Room With Envy-Inducing Tiles

This Home’s Gorgeous Entryway Isn’t the Only Room With Envy-Inducing Tiles

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Name: Lesley Robb, partner, and two kids. With black rescue cat Mona from Omemee (Neil Young’s hometown).
Location: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Size: 2000 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

We moved to the small city of Peterborough four years ago from Toronto when we were transferred for work. My husband Kevin works for a local oat factory that makes the entire city smell like freshly baked cookies. It’s magical. After looking for months for a family home, we put an offer on our house over FaceTime—sight unseen in real life. Having moved a lot over the years, sometimes you just know. Our instincts were right. It’s the coziest house we’ve called home yet and Peterborough is a lovely and vibrant community. Year-round we can walk downtown for everything we need or we can easily find a trail that will take us on an outdoor adventure. Hiking and skiing are our favorite family activities here.

Our home was built in the early 1900s, but had some major renovations done by the previous owners before we moved in—including the big open kitchen. We’ve since added our own personality and renovated the entryway, two bathrooms, painted (and wallpapered) countless walls and we’re still finding projects all the time, inside and out.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is eclectic with touches of bohemian and Scandinavian elements (with lots of plants). We love mid-century furniture with clean lines, but like to layer in pops of color with textiles and collect art from our travels and local artists.

Inspiration: Our two loves—design and family. We are inspired by interior and graphic design, architecture, travel, and cities. I am a graphic designer and small business owner. Most importantly, we’re inspired by family living. Our goal is to make our space comfortable with room for real life. To wake up here or return home to a place that feels like a sanctuary is something we’re all grateful for. Especially over the past few months at home. 

Favorite Element: Natural light from all the windows and high ceilings. Our plants love the windows, too. Being surrounded by big trees makes our home feel like a secluded treehouse from spring to fall. Even during the cold winter months after the leaves have fallen, the sun shines in and the home still feels incredibly cozy. Oh! We LOVE our old radiators, too. They clank and make weird sounds, but the radiant heat is like a warm hug during the winter.

Biggest Challenge: Knowing when you’re done. There’s always a project with century homes. From structural to decor to general maintenance—it seems like the work is never done, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Proudest DIY: Our entryway. It’s a large space that welcomes everyone who steps through the front door. It used to be disorganized and messy with awkward shelves and benches. We simplified the space because seeing clutter as we walked into the house was stressful. We created a more dramatic (yet, welcoming) look with pared down storage—one basket per person, a shoe bench, and simple wall mounted coat rack. It wows, but welcomes guests and gives them a taste of what they’ll find throughout the home—plants, a thoughtful mix of old and new elements, lots of light, and tiles. 

Biggest Indulgence: Tiles, tiles, tiles. Throughout the house we have used modern tiles to add personality to our spaces. From the entryway to the bathrooms, it has been well worth the splurge to add color, pattern, and texture. We have tiled two showers floor to ceiling with white subway tiles mixed with smaller patterns (mini hexagon, penny tiles). Our one tip: don’t use white grout in a shower. We learned the hard way with a humid space and opted for gray the second time around. In our second bathroom we also invested in brass fixtures and it was well worth it.

Best Advice: If you can, live in your home or space for a while before committing to big changes. You might be surprised by the ways you do (or don’t) use a space. Take time to make changes slowly and intentionally. In our home, I was convinced our attic would be my home studio; but it really wasn’t for me. We’ve since turned it our into a bedroom and renovated the existing ensuite.

What’s your best home secret? Collect items that you absolutely love over time—from travels, antique/vintage markets, heirlooms, etc. If you don’t love it, it’s not worth bringing it into your home. Waiting to create a personal collection will truly allow your personality to come through in a space and tell your story. Also, shop small. A lot of the items we have in our home are big brands that were sourced through an independent retailer here in Peterborough called Burrow Home. The owner Megan has impeccable taste and helps us find exactly what we need.

Published at Tue, 23 Jun 2020 16:00:00 +0000

Home Tour: Old Hollywood Glamour Made New

Home Tour: Old Hollywood Glamour Made New

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I remember bookmarking Brigette Romanek’s house after I spied the climbing wall she built in her daughters’ room in Arch Digest. Thankfully, I never showed it to my son because I know that’s all he’d beg for till the end of time. While Brigette’s home is actually a piece of major Hollywood rock n’ roll history (apparently it was a recording studio at one point and every musician you could possibly name has once partied here), it’s the first place Romanek put her unique design perspective to work and it launched her business, Romanek Design Studio.

That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that this self-taught designer’s business is flourishing. In less than two years, Romanek has been name to the AD100 List and is currently juggling more than a dozen projects across residential, commercial and hospitality. She designed the first LA boutique for clothing brand The Great and Chef Ludo’s restaurant Petit Trois and even a home for Queen Bey and JayZ, among many other projects.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

But I’m particularly enamored with Brigette’s own abode. It’s another amazing example of how you don’t have to let your space’s architecture limit your style. You might think a house this grand has to be traditional, formal and stuffy. Instead, Romanek has created a perfect mix of vintage and contemporary design pieces – think Jean Royère, Apparatus Studio, Pierre Jeannert, Knoll, Faye Toogoode and more all mashed together with modern art and functional pieces that can really be lived in.

The sunroom is a beautiful bright space to enjoy breakfast.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34 

A relaxed sectional, vintage rug and Apparatus table lamp are a great mix of casual and elevated styles.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I also love how Romanek uses color in subtle, yet striking ways. Her book collection is the means to add vibrancy to this otherwise neutral library. The pops of blue and pink mimic the colors you see in the artwork dotted throughout the rest of the house.

Like the colorful vintage abstract painting serving as the focal point in her formal dining room.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

There’s an art to Romanek’s mixing that could end up jumbled and too disconnected in the wrong hands, but she does an amazing job connecting tones, lines and textures that pull disparate pieces together.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

But what I really love about Romanek is that she’s self-taught. Less than 7% of all interior design degrees are going to Black Americans, but Romanek did not let that stop her. Instead, she pursued a passion and champions constant learning and self-improvement. Too often women use a lack of experience or formal education hold them back from starting their own businesses – a concern that doesn’t seem to hinder men nearly as much. Brigette is a wonderful example of simply jumping in and trying – obviously to great success. This is a great article about her journey.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I’m certainly getting a ton of inspiration from this house – from wanting to add a more eclectic mix of art to This Old Victorian, coveting an impressive indoor tree and considering starting my own jumbo crystal collection!

I’m excited to watch where Romanek Design Studio goes from here.

For out entire Home Tour archive, CLICK HERE.

images by nicki sebastian for jenni kayne

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 15:50:13 +0000