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A Love Letter to All of the Locations I Lived Earlier than

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Picture by Chelsey Werth

Editor’s Word: This publish, initially revealed in February of 2020, is likely one of the most beloved articles on witanddelight.com. At the moment we’re sharing it once more with a recent new addition: a love letter to the house on Otis Ave., pictured above.


My recollections sew the story of my life collectively in moments that I can scent, style, and expertise greater than I can narrate. They seem, most clearly, within the rooms by which they unfolded, within the houses I made for myself in my first fifteen years of “adulting.”

We communicate so much about making a house on this website, and generally the lives that unfold listed here are secondary to subjects like tile and sofas. The reality is, the textile on my first sofa is as vivid because the breakup that occurred atop these corduroy cushions. I can nonetheless keep in mind the primary time Joe walked into my creaky outdated condo and requested to make use of my lavatory. These rooms maintain the tales we preserve so long as our reminiscence serves us.

I believed it was excessive time I write a little bit love letter to all of the houses that led to the life I’ve constructed right this moment.

The primary few residences I lived in had been earlier than Instagram and earlier than Wit & Delight, and I’ve hardly any pictures from them. Under you’ll see glimpses of my decor decisions within the few pictures I do have, and glimpses of the life-style I led, too. I hope you benefit from the behind-the-scenes have a look at a youthful model of me.

To My First Condominium on Emerson and thirty second


Two twin mattresses, pushed collectively on the ground. Nightstands made up of empty plastic storage containers. The identical lunch prepped every day: iceberg lettuce, canned rooster, and fat-free dressing.

Life was measured, cautious, and damaging suddenly. I by no means missed a six-mile run at daybreak—rain, snow, or shine—fearing life was only a home of playing cards held upright by rituals and superstition. Most nights I spent alone caring for my roommate’s fats, imply cat, who couldn’t care much less if I used to be there or not. He knocked over my water glasses to ensure I knew it, too. 

First Apartment Bedroom
First Apartment Dining Room

I watched Intercourse and the Metropolis hoping I’d discover some type of clue as to what I used to be alleged to be doing with my life, as a result of it felt extra complicated than I’d anticipated. I bought mad that nobody warned me how misplaced I’d really feel.

I barely acknowledge the lady who lived right here. Along with her calorie counting and guidelines and rituals and timidness and worry of failing at life. She felt entitled to the comforts and safety of somebody who had but to look beneath her personal hood, to evaluate what was there and what wanted tending to. She humbled me and confirmed me persons are who they present you they’re, not who you maintain they’ll be. 

First Apartment Living Room

To the Get together Condominium on Lagoon and Knox


With a mattress held right down to the highest of my automotive and solely the arms of some sturdy associates, it took three journeys to gather all my issues. The one items of furnishings I introduced with had been a dresser and a pink classic stool. We moved within the day the bridge collapsed; a good friend (hoping to be one thing extra) introduced us a sizzling apple pie on a good hotter August day. 

We sat on the outdated wooden ground on our backs, tracing cracks within the ceiling, ingesting five-dollar bottles of wine in plastic cups. Numerous nights we met right here at this place. Extending our youth long gone our “due dates” with late nights and ingesting video games and taxi rides throughout city previous midnight. We hosted numerous events and after-hours and “grown-up” progressive dinners that deteriorated into packed kitchens, fueled by plastic baggage full of a blended assortment of low cost beer. 

This place wasn’t about design or decor or frivolities. It invited us to squeeze probably the most out of our freedom—the liberty that comes from proudly owning solely what you possibly can slot in your Volkswagen Passat. 

We hit quarter-century marks, watched Intercourse and the Metropolis in sweats marked with alma maters, and daydreamed about getting homes on the identical block so we may nonetheless see one another on the weekends even after the inevitable marriages and childbirths started to stretch our time collectively slowly aside.
This place wasn’t about design or decor or frivolities. It invited us to squeeze probably the most out of our freedom—the liberty that comes from proudly owning solely what you possibly can slot in your Volkswagen Passat. 

To My Damaged Down Palace on Holmes and Lake


With a hoop on my left hand, we started taking part in grown-up. It was the fanciest of locations I had lived, one we couldn’t afford. But I pushed with solely the strain somebody determined can muster, and squeezed you into our price range prefer it was the one sustenance wanted to outlive. Regardless of how superb, how shiny, or how new your finishes, the never-been-used granite counter tops and the brand new home equipment couldn’t include what was damaged in you. We will paint fairly photos and inform fairly tales, however they’ll nonetheless learn like lies in the event that they require an viewers to turn out to be true.

It was mild and exquisite and new issues arrived virtually each day. Cups and bowls and plates, all with the promise of a brand new life collectively, usually bathed and shined brightly within the solar as every day got here to an in depth. And but, I felt much less comfortable than I ever had felt earlier than. 

Regardless of how superb, how shiny, or how new your finishes, the never-been-used granite counter tops and the brand new home equipment couldn’t include what was damaged in you. We will paint fairly photos and inform fairly tales, however they’ll nonetheless learn like lies in the event that they require an viewers to turn out to be true.

You, my good grownup condo, confirmed me what I spent a lifetime operating from. I couldn’t want away or bury my relationship with myself. For in the event you can’t deal with your physique as a house price sustaining, price loving, how will you presumably know what it feels wish to be dwelling? Actually, really “at dwelling”?

You, my shiny new condo, taught me issues and appearances may by no means fill me up, the identical approach alcohol and work and love couldn’t bury what I’d should confront myself. You introduced out the worst in me, solely so I may cease pretending there wasn’t ache to face. 

I don’t stroll previous your doorways, even right this moment. I even considered leaving this tackle out of this assortment of recollections. However that wouldn’t erase you. Within the disappointment and complexity you introduced, there’s freedom in realizing I can’t be purchased. It may have been straightforward, to only stuff these emotions deep inside. However very similar to we can’t put the toothpaste again in its tube, a few of us can’t return to pretending we’re somebody we’re not.

To the Dwelling That Healed on Colfax and twenty fifth


A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Collin Hughes

I walked via the musty hallway into this crooked nook condo and knew I used to be dwelling. A closet for a kitchen, an condo made for one, it was a pinhole of sunshine at what was my all-time low. Little by little, I discovered my footing.

You had been the one place that didn’t choose—when family and friends and strangers heard tales and shot glances and apprehensive I’d misplaced my approach.

Right here, I roasted rooster late into the evening, discovered religion I may change via a loving dialogue fairly than a punishing one. I let go of my consuming dysfunction and embraced what it felt wish to be full—stuffed with actual meals, actual freedom, actual self-love. 

One thing about these plastered partitions, outdated and cracking from the load of numerous tenants, gave me power. I slowly opened up right into a model of myself that I do know right this moment. I wasn’t afraid to share an opinion, to talk up at work, to ask for what I wished.

I don’t suppose I’ve ever cried extra. Although there have been males and events and loads of folks to lose myself in, my mattress remained mine as I continued to prioritize my relationship with myself first.

living room decor kate arends wit & delight
Picture by Collin Hughes
A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Collin Hughes

One thing about these plastered partitions, outdated and cracking from the load of numerous tenants, gave me power. I slowly opened up right into a model of myself that I do know right this moment. I wasn’t afraid to share an opinion, to talk up at work, to ask for what I wished. I used to be okay with being an excessive amount of for some folks. A agency basis the place I wasn’t on the mercy of a stranger’s approval? Who knew freedom may style so candy. 

To a New Starting on 2nd and tenth


A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Melissa Oholendt for The Everygirl

The morning after we moved in, I woke late alone in our mattress. Joe had gone to get bagels and returned with an engagement ring. We sped towards marriage, excessive on endorphins and the sensation of familiarity that floods your coronary heart if you meet somebody who loves you regardless of all the things you’ve realized to hate about your self.

We sped towards marriage, excessive on endorphins and the sensation of familiarity that floods your coronary heart if you meet somebody who loves you regardless of all the things you’ve realized to hate about your self.

We merged lives and beds and kitchens and schedules. We gained weight and stayed up late and smoked pot and let ideas of saving for retirement and shopping for a home look ahead to after the excessive of affection discovered its regular footing in our day-to-day rhythm. We fought about issues so trivial we snigger about them now, and I attempt to consider this actually because I’m starting to neglect these quick years we had been simply you and me. 

A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Melissa Oholendt for The Everygirl
A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Melissa Oholendt for The Everygirl

I don’t keep in mind why we stated sure to a model new, shiny condo, which was so an identical to The Damaged Down Palace (right down to the selection of granite). I don’t suppose that’s shocking. Your newness wasn’t a novelty. Your sameness wasn’t nostalgia. In some ways, the selection to maneuver in with my second husband in a spot that so resembled the place my first broke down mirrored my hope that regardless of all that got here earlier than, you’ll be able to all the time present your self a recent begin, a brand new starting, a brand new chapter of a narrative when it comes time to show a web page. 

A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Melissa Oholendt for The Everygirl

To the Dwelling I Burnt Out in on Otis Ave.


Picture by Chelsey Werth

You had been the primary dwelling Joe and I purchased collectively. Wanting again now, this was the home the place I burnt out. We did a lot within the quick time we had been right here. We bought our first canine, Winnie, we had two children, we accomplished transforming initiatives, and I created a lot of my product traces for Wit & Delight. By the point we moved out in 2020, each of us simply wanted to cease all of the doing and breathe.

I’ve realized that numerous what I achieved right here didn’t fill me up as a lot as I believed it will and that was very scary to understand. I’m nonetheless grappling with that worry. Maybe it’s simply part of rising up… being okay with these empty areas. 

I misplaced a little bit of my spark for work throughout this time interval too. Lots of issues I used to take pleasure in turned actually heavy. I’ve realized that numerous what I achieved right here didn’t fill me up as a lot as I believed it will and that was very scary to understand. I’m nonetheless grappling with that worry. Maybe it’s simply part of rising up… being okay with these empty areas. 

A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Picture by Chelsey Werth
Picture by Colleen Eversman at 2ndtruth Images

When it comes to design updates, these had been among the massive issues we modified: We added a most important ground powder room, transformed the upstairs lavatory, transformed the whole basement, and transformed the kitchen… twice. These massive updates made such a distinction and made your rooms extra livable for our rising household. (I wrote about all of our design updates on this dwelling, and a way more nostalgic perspective on what it meant to stay right here, on this publish.)

Within the course of of reworking the kitchen, I stretched my design muscle groups so much. Throughout the primary transform, I didn’t second-guess something and through the second, I second-guessed all the things. I spotted the opinions of others had been actually impacting my sense of fashion. I didn’t have the boundaries in place to domesticate belief in my very own design selections. That may change after we moved to our present home.



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