Monday, February 8, 2010
Real-Life TAA: Stacey in K-Town!
We here at Tiny-Ass Apartment (and by we I mean me, and possibly my cats) are very excited to bring you our first "Real-Life TAA" feature here on the site. I'm thrilled at the response I've gotten from my friends -- many seem just as enthusiastic about the idea as I am, and are eager to have their homes featured. Perhaps that's just because they're attention whores -- um, I mean, perhaps it's just because they want to help lil' ol' me out with this project. We begin our TAA tour in Koreatown in Los Angeles, in Stacey's 1920s studio. Stacey's one of those people I was lucky enough to meet through the friend of a friend; now we watch Lost together every week, and our bond was forged even stronger after a recent harrowing speed-dating experience.
Stacey's lived in her 600ish square foot apartment for two and a half years. She's taken a small apartment and a small budget and filled it to the brim with Stacey-ness. There's not a single corner that doesn't have some memento that speaks to her life, travels, or interests.
One of the many cool architectural features of Stacey's place is the nook where a Murphy bed used to be. She's nestled her full-sized bed into the recess, making for a cozy sleeping area. She also installed eyelet hooks into the frame of the nook, so that when she's entertaining a lot of people in her home, she can flip the mattress back up into the nook, and secure it with bungee cords stretched through the hooks and across the underside of the bed.
Stacey's walls are painted with Behr's Sage Green; above her bed is a photograph of the statue "Apollo and Daphne" by Bernini, and on the side is a concert poster for a Manu Chao show done by Ivan Minsloff. Not only is Ivan a personal friend of Stacey's, but she accompanied him to that very show.
Going up the wall, you reach her colorful Dia de Los Muertos banner, which went up for a Halloween party and never came back down again. You can also see the crossbeams on the ceiling, and the gorgeous moulding that ends each beam. On her shelves are framed pictures, her grandfather's Super-8 camera, handmade leatherbound journals from Italy, and wooden music boxes from Switzerland, where Stacey lived for the first few years of her life.
Stacey's lived in Italy as well. She took her first trip in high school, and fell in love with the town of Riomaggiore on the Ligurian Coast in northwest Italy. She's been back every time she's visited bella Italia, including during her college study abroad time in Rome. She took this panoramic picture of the Riomaggiore bay herself by clicking eleven pictures and turning slightly with each one, resulting in a view that's a little more than 180 degrees.
Stacey's an outstanding professional cook. The food she brings for our Lost nights or our "fraternity meetings" (several lady-friends and one man-friend decided to have a dinner party club we christened "Alpha Beta Yo Mama") is ah-mazing. In order to handle such a high-volume and high-quality production, Stacey had to get creative with her kitchen storage. The utensil rack on the side of the stove was made from scratch: she bought moulding from Home Depot, had it cut to order, painted it the same color as her kitchen walls (Behr's "Brick Red"), drilled small holes in the moulding to keep the pieces from splitting, then screwed in the hooks. Above her original-to-the-building stove is a "meat chart" she got at the flea market on Fairfax and Melrose. She says she likes it "because you can see what animal you're gonna eat!" I like it because it's a "meat chart." Heh heh heh.
The kitchen has been the most problematic area for Stacey. The cabinets are narrow, shallow, and the million coats of paint on them keep them from closing completely. The sink is also too shallow, and doesn't have a garbage disposal. Stacey's added a tile-top table to create additional workspace, and installed a mini-dishwasher in order to keep the dirty dishes she constantly generates from overwhelming her countertop. Her kitchen also has an old-school ice box. It's a metal-lined cabinet with a cubby underneath that was used to store ice. The ice would cool the metal of the cabinet to keep the inside cold enough to store food. She's converted it into a pantry, but it's still fascinating to get a glimpse into what life was like in that apartment when it was first built in 1929.
Finally, we get another blast from the past in the form of Stacey's vanity. It's another piece that's original to the building. Her building manager mentioned seeing it in the basement of the building and offered to let her bring it into her place. It now sits in the dressing area/closet space between the main room and her bathroom. The vanity lacked drawers, but Stacey covered the empty holes with the fabric from a broken purse. The trick works beautifully; I didn't even realize the fabric wasn't an original part of the vanity until she showed me! She also found a wicker stool on Craigslist and spray-painted it blue, so that she can sit and powder her nose at her vanity, just like a proper Roaring 20s flapper girl would.
Stacey's TAA takes vintage bones, wraps them in color, and adds the modern conveniences necessary for an LA gal to surround herself with good food and good friends. Nice work, Stace, and thanks for letting us take a look around!