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Making a Home That is Not My Home Feel Homey

With all those photos of comfy, airy bedrooms I longed to lounge in, I think I made our little Budapest apartment feel unloved.  The truth is, it’s cute but it’s not home.  I’m in this weird in between place of not living here for a short enough time frame (say, two weeks) for the apartment to barely matter, nor am I here long enough to make it feel like “mine” (which I’ve decided would consist of refinishing the awesome herringbone floors, painting the walls bright white punctuated with really long, curtains in a bold, graphic pattern, adding a super tall wall of bookcases with a ladder . . . yes, I’ve made mood boards).

Luckily, we’re pretty easy to please and a few simple things made this temporary space feel like home.

Little Luxuries

The first thing we did to make the place feel homey, strangely, is something I’m too cheap to do at home: buy fresh flowers.  In the underground metro stations, elderly women sell small bunches of flowers for about $2.00, and we always buy a bunch when we pass through.  Other luxuries we’ve indulged in include buying handmade local soaps (bottom left) and eating way too much bread.  Baked goods are really inexpensive here, so the folks at both the neighborhood patisserie and both bakeries know us by name.  Mmmm, now I want some more french toast.  Although it’s not the same sans maple syrup . . .

Comfy Cozies

Because Mom and I both prefer table lamps and floor lamps to overhead
lighting, we fought over the one floor lamp.  So we trekked to Ikea and bought a little
$11.00 paper guy (dibs!).  He won’t win a beauty contest, but he sure
does make life better.  Add some tea lights plus a kettle that boils water fast as lightning and has a light up base, and now we’re bathing in glowly, comfy light.  With a hot mug of tea in hand to boot.

Actually, buying these inexpensive candle holders and tea lights was such a nice
idea, I might do it on shorter trips too!  Although they aren’t fancy
pants, I’m taking these candle holders home as a sweet reminder of every
day life in Budapest.


Makeshift Vignettes

Working with what we had (we found random bits and pieces under the sink, in drawers, etc), we did our best to accessorize.  Truthfully, most of our “accessories” are dishes, but that little bit of effort immediately made the place feel more like “ours” and less like a temporary rental.  We’ve also collected wild chestnuts to display in bowls – anything will do!

Practical Purchases

I hate buying stuff I will only use for a few months, but there were a few practical things that we did buy, in addition to the electric kettle, including something for my bum and something for my Mom!

While at Ikea, we drooled a little over these seat cushions.  A little secret: my bum picks everything.  We literally bought our car because my bum liked the seats.  Ditto for the sofa and chairs.  That’s also why this guy and I never got along.  Anyway, we picked up two cushions to make our dining table chairs a little more bum friendly.

With my bum happy, my Mom was next on the agenda.  Walking by a plush stand of towels, she couldn’t resist, so we bought some for ourselves.  The apartment came with some, but now we have fresh ones.  Also, with a trip this length, not only was unpacking necessary for us, but so was “settling in”.  That meant buying a toothbrush holder, soap dish for our fancy soap, and even hangers.  We picked up some sticky hooks to make life a little easier and tidier,
but they went crash.  I wish I’d gone with over door hooks instead! 

In any case, focusing not just on the pretty, but also the functional (I’m a little hook-nutty and tea-crazed at home) also made a big difference.

Reveling in What’s Different

Appreciating what I don’t have at home (the amazing views, the amazing food) makes what I do have at home (TV to watch New Girl, backyard for spray painting fun, etc) seem, at least for now, unimportant.  Although I would like to know what Jess is up to.  But, with views like this out my front door, window and stairwell?  I’ll get caught up on TV later.  (You can see more photos of beautiful Budapest here).

Okay, but someone tell me: is New Girl on now???



  1. Jae
    October 26, 2012 / 12:36 pm

    I've been buying fresh flowers monthly and it's such a lovely pick-me-up and treat! Also off topic, I was browsing through the latest Ballards and Pottery Barn catalogs and some of the abstract paintings made me think of you. I'll try to scan them in and share via FB or email or something.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 27, 2012 / 6:17 pm

      I think I might have to start getting fresh flowers when I'm home, because it is SUCH a nice pick-me-up! I'm happy to hear you're treating yourself!Oh gosh, that's so nice some of the paintings reminded you of me. I'm flattered! I'd love to see them and soak up some inspiration! I'm not on FB but I'd love an email: [email protected] (but only if you have the time).

  2. Carrie @DreamGreenDIY
    October 27, 2012 / 12:00 pm

    What lovely little touches!! I love the idea of buying bunches of fresh flowers…P.S. New Girl is still going strong!! You'll definitely have to get caught up when you come home =)

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 27, 2012 / 6:18 pm

      I am so happy the series was renewed but more than a little jealous of everyone watching it, haha!

  3. cred
    October 27, 2012 / 2:06 pm

    Absolutely agree about all those touches that make a temporary place homey- when I used to travel for work, I would often buy candles for my hotel room. Never thought about flowers but even those are perfect for a hotel stay. And love those chair pads- gonna have to see if IKEA has those in Canada, too. While I like the look of our ikea bentwood chairs, my bum is not happy with them."…something for my bum and something for my Mom!"- hahaha!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 27, 2012 / 6:20 pm

      So you buy candles for hotel rooms?? See, I was thinking this would be nice to start doing for shorter trips too. Happy to hear I'm not nutty and you do it too. Fresh flowers would be nice in a hotel, too – there are always extra glasses and vessels around. Haha! Happy that made you laugh. I was giggling as I typed the "something for my bum and Mom" bit, hoping someone else would too.

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