Future kitchen. Needs work. #newhome

There’s no charming way of saying it, so I’ll just cut right to the chase – we bought an apartment. We’re now homeowners. Also, we now owe some bank a lot of money.

I feel as if I should punctuate each sentence above with an exclamation point, but it is still sinking in. There’s so much to think about and do before the move-in date. I don’t mean to sound blasé about the whole thing. Quite the contrary: we’re really excited. Proud that we did this ourselves, with our savings from way back, without any help. Excited that in the ever-popular Brooklyn that is becoming too hip for its own good, we found a neighborhood that we can afford, feel safe in, plant roots. Also a little scared that we just plunked down our entire savings on a home, and now it’s sink or swim. I’d like to think that Andrew and I are the swimming types.

After the closing appointment on Monday where we signed more documents than we knew existed and got our keys, and finally sat down to lunch around four o’clock that afternoon, Andrew and I realized that this might be the most adult thing we’ve done. Certainly, the most momentous thing we’ve done together. Yes, we got married, and neither he nor I want to diminish the significance of that day. But, somehow, buying a home together made me feel more married to Andrew than before – if that makes any sense.


Strange as it may seem, I find seemingly quotidian things more romantic than traditional ones. That day this past summer when I got home from the gym and Andrew pitted several pounds of sour cherries for me, because he knew how much I hated to pit them, I swooned. Seeing both of our names, side by side, on the apartment documents made my eyes well up: We are really doing this; we are really in it — together.

And what I also love is that we will need to do work on this apartment to make it ours, to make it better, to make it more beautiful. There are chips and cracks and things that need mending and fixing, starting with demolishing a quarter wall in the kitchen to make it bigger and more open. It’s not a perfect apartment, and I love it more for the imperfections is now has than if it came to us in pristine state. This way – we really get to make it ours. It will take some time and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay — good things are worth the wait and hard work.

We’ll have to design a sound saving plan, do a lot of work ourselves, figure out where we can save and splurge. We’ll have room for guests and parties and a tiny room we can use as a home office. And we’ll have a tiny terrace where we can have morning coffee in the summer, quiet weekend breakfasts, and hopefully grow some herbs, if I manage not to kill them all (my track record is not inspiring confidence).


We won’t be moving until around mid-December, and until then I have to finish testing one book, host Thanksgiving with our families, continue to work on another book, review and edit the second pass of the Forgione book (due to me tomorrow, I believe, just to name a few things.

We hope to do a little work in the kitchen before the move. God willing we can swing it financially since we have about three cents to play with here. The idea is to open the kitchen up a bit and make it more functional for all my work projects.

I’m considering documenting some of the renovations here on the blog, but would this be interesting or boring to you? Please be honest: This isn’t a decorating blog or a home improvement one, and I’m certainly no expert when it comes to lifestyle blogging (nor am I trying to be one). But if you think it might be helpful, let me know. We’ll be doing it on a shoestring budget. And if you have any practical tips or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Andrew and I are total novices at this – and we’ll take all the advice we can get.


  • Victoria (aka Zemfirka)

    Congrats to you and your husband Olga on new home-ownership! :) I think it would be awesome to hear how you are making things work, a lot of people do it on a “3-cent” budget, themselves, and over a period of time. We’ve completely re-done our kitchen when we purchased our house, IKEA was our friend for awhile there. We went there religiously every few days. So was Home Depot and Lowes. I’m sure you’ll know you are a homeowner when people start greeting you by your first name when you come to those type of stores. :) Best of luck!!!

  • Cathy

    Huge happy congratulations to you both. It is a big move, and a scary one, but it’s so nice to open the door and know it’s all yours (and the bank’s!) Remember honey, salt and bread should be the first things in your kitchen. #OldWivesTale

  • Adrienne

    Yay! Congratulations, you two! I was hoping you’d give us a peek at your new place after I saw the excited key photo :)

    I’d be interested to hear about your renovations, absolutely. I read your blog not just for the recipes but also for the writing and the stories, and everybody loves a look behind the curtain!

  • Elissa

    Congratulations! Would love to hear more about your home improvement adventures. Finding ways to make a new home truly yours can be so satisfying. Best of luck!

  • Daniel

    Congratulations on your purchase! Random thought that might help: If you submit a “change of address” form to the US Postal office, they mail you a packet of coupons to your new address…including a very useful “15% off your entire purchase” coupon for Lowes. I immediately did renovations when I bought my place, bought all my supplies at the same time and that coupon saved us a lot of money….

  • Gail

    There is something about putting both names on a legal document that really cements you as a couple. The first loan J & I got was on property in CT where we built a house. The day we closed on that loan, we took photos in the lawyers office with everyone involved, and the check, of course.

  • Julie

    Congratulations! We are closing on a new home–our second–next week and will be renovating our second kitchen. Here’s my 2 cents on your reno: I cook with high heat a lot and have “melted” the handles off of two over-the-stove microwaves. The glue starts to get loose and my highest BTU burner is right beneath the handle. This time, we are opting to get a vent and put a much smaller microwave on a shelf.

  • stacey ilyse

    Def show your renos!! Also, we have an IKEA kitchen and lOVE IT! If you want to see photos of our kitchen let me know – happy to share!

    Good luck and enjoy!

  • Sharon

    Not the whole apartment, but I think how you remodel the kitchen would be interesting for this blog. You can tell us how you can open up a small kitchen, cost and things you may find to make the kitchen easier/better for us who may want to make our kitchen more friendly and usable.

  • Alejandra

    Congratulations, Olga!! So happy for you. I would definitely be interested in reading about the renovations, decoration, etc. I love that stuff and would find a few posts interesting (especially if kitchen related!).

  • Ashley

    And I agree, it’s really the seemingly little things, like Andrew pitting all those cherries for you, that are the most touching and memorable.
    I’d love to hear about any choices you make in changing or personalizing your new home. I’m in a similar process myself and feel quite lost at times as to options, decisions, functionality, etc.
    Also, I follow an awesome blog called Young House Love that’s a lot of DIY design and remodel. They’re great at explaining and they’re awesome at doing things on a budget.

  • Whitney

    Congrats!!! My husband and I bought our first place at the beginning of the year and it has been a great experience. I would love to see you blog about the renovation process.

  • Gina

    I love reading about this milestone… perhaps especially since I am about to close on my first home tomorrow afternoon. Eek! Terrified and excited all at once!

  • olga

    Everyone – thank you for your wonderful wishes and lovely thoughts. I guess documenting is a strong vote. So, as we make progress, I’ll share it with you here. I worry I won’t do as much DIY as I’d like to given book deadlines and such. But maybe I’ll surprise myself!

    Gina – good luck to you on YOUR closing – this is good stuff.

  • Clarissa

    Congratulations!! I think it would be so interesting! I am in my first 5 business days after we made an agreement, and man there is so much to do! THe closing can’t come soon enough for me! Hopefully all stress will end then, right? Good luck in the next few months!

  • Lu H.

    Mazel Tov! I’ve just gutted and renewed my condo and I can give you 2 pieces of advice:
    1. Start watching HGTV and DIY to get ideas. Hang out at Home Depot an/or Lowes to find out how to do things. If you do the work yourselves, take it slow and measure twice to cut once.
    2. Don’t get overwhelmed. You can do it and if you just take as long as you need, you won’t feel rushed.

  • KJ


    I would love to see the renovations. I follow jewelry, decorating, and of course, food blogs. It will fit right in.

  • Harriet

    please document – would love to see your progress! We have a saying in New Zealand – DIY is in our DNA – but I guess it’s probably in everyone’s – to take somewhere and make it your home…. Our first house was an absolutely epic 17 year renovation project and now in a second home we thought we would be able to leave it as it was but no… the hammers come out, walls come down, ceilings get lifted.. renovations are great – especially when you do themselves!

  • olga

    david – thank you, and the funny thing is, in the time we started to look to the time we bid on this place and now – prices have gone up already and there’s nothing like this apt on the market. craziness!

    everyone else – thank you guys! I guess i’ll document it then. Maybe I’ll set up a link that’s just for home improvement so it’s all in one place?

  • minervasowl

    Congratulations, and good luck. We bought our house five years ago this month, and the fact that we even did it still seems overwhelming. The only piece of advice I can think of (and which I did not personally take, so I still have purple kitchen walls) is to do all painting before you move in. Oh yes, and whenever you can swing it, invest in quality. Pay a litttle more to do it once and not have to worry about it for a while, rather than saving a few dollars now to have to spend them again (and more) later.

    The superstores are all well and good, but if they still exist, check out the neightborhood hardware store. You can get good advice in a less … expansive environment.

    Also, be prepared for an onslaught of junk mail. I had gotten myself remove from most mailing lists prior to buying the house, but the town and the bank and the title company handed out or sold my information far and wide. Very little did I find useful.

    Would love to hear about the renovations, especially the kitchen, and the firsts — first meal, first complicated meal, first dinner party, first recipe testing adventure, and so on.

  • Alice

    I live in a small rural town in northern Florida. My parents were from New York. My father grew up in Brooklyn and my mother on Staten Island. I feel my roots are there. Please share everything with us so I can feel close to who I truly am.

  • Rick

    Congrats you guys! Take your time and try your hardest. You can overcome most mistakes and learn from them. Ive been making mistakes for almost 80yrs and I’m still going strong. Best of luck.

  • whimsy2

    Mazel tov! Absolutely yes! Do include us as you make your new apartment a home. I’m interested in just about anything you have to say!

  • Deirdre

    Congratulations. As some who has been there, I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing and abiding by your building’s rules, especially if it is a coop, and working with the management company. And find out if you need a permit before you take any walls down. Your coop board can make your life a nightmare if you break any rules. Good luck!

  • jennifer

    Hi! Yes, by all means, document the renovation and tell us all the exciting and funny stories about trying to cook in while you renovate your kitchen! :) Congrats on the purchase – how fun and exciting!! Jenn

  • Kate

    First, congrats! That is very exciting, and adult-ish, and scary!

    Second, yes, please document! I love to see what people do to, and in, their kitchens; How they personalize them to their needs,etc.

  • kickpleat

    Huge congratulations, Olga!! I too want to hear all about the process of making the place yours….especially the kitchen. We bought our first place last year (a 2 bedroom apartment) and while it was renovated it’s not our style, but we figure we can do things slowly over the years to make it ours. Anyway, how super exciting!!

  • Candice @ The Savory and The Beautiful

    Congrats!!! I can see how that can make you feel even more married–another seal on your commitment deal! I would love to see posts on your renovation process. My partner and I are also considering buying a home, so I’d love to learn from your budget friendly path! Best of luck on all the fixins.

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