our living situation

So one of the major changes I've gone through lately is my location. Gabriel and I moved from Denver, Colorado, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I grew up in Charlotte, NC, and lived in Chapel Hill for school and then a couple of years beyond that. I haven't lived in NC for 5 years, and now I'm back. Right now we're living in the guest suite at my mom's house, as our more permanent place is finished.

This house has a detached 3-car garage with an unfinished apartment overtop. The apartment is being finished (as I write this!) and once it's done, we'll have a 900-sqft, 2br place to land. And by "land" I mean "climb the 18 stairs to get to," since it's on the second story. We have all sorts of good ideas about how to safety-ize the place, my favorite being having a Dutch door at the top of the stairs. Who doesn't love Dutch doors? They remind me of Mr. Ed. Anybody else have that random, weird association?

Finishing an apartment is no joke. The square footage was predetermined (because of the garage) and the place was framed when we took possession, but basically we are starting from there. It was framed to be this glorious one-bedroom place with a giant bedroom and an ENORMOUS closet; we wanted 2 bedrooms, so the layout had to be tweaked. There were windows already put in, which we had to work around (and that made some decisions a little tricky). But now it's reframed, the plumbing has been moved, appliances bought, and some major decisions have been made. I think the contractor said it'll be next week? that the sheetrock goes up, and then it'll start to look like an actual place where people can live. But boy oh boy are there lots of decisions to make! 

Let's be clear: I am not the one paying for the construction. With that in mind, my mom and her husband are taking my thoughts "under advisement" as they make their decisions about how their money will be spent finishing the apartment on their property. The apartment ultimately needs to be income-generating, so the primary concern is using materials that will appeal to a wide range of people and will hold up for a long time. These aren't my decisions to make, which is kind of a relief for me and maybe a source of tension (on occasion) with them - because they want me to feel involved and included (and not repulsed by my home), but my wish list is not the priority. Really, I get the easy part - showing pictures of what I like, and then living there when it's all said and done. So when I talk about making decisions about my apartment, I am not the one making decisions and it's only "my" apartment because I'll be the tenant.

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