Today I have been in my Portland life 20 years. I've also lived in my lovely apartment for 20 years as well. When I was a kid, my family moved a lot. I never spent more than three years in a house and some years we moved multiple times, I suspect now, due to financial circumstances. I lived in an apartment in Eugene for 7 years and one in Virginia for 6 but 20 years is a record.
My apartment looked a lot different when I moved in. Shag carpet in the bedrooms and bath, turquoise walls, foil papers, old gold wool carpet in the living room, a green kitchen, a pink bathroom. Original linoleum from 1958 and a leaky terrace roof. Old metal windows that let cold in the winter and heat in the summer. But "it has great potential," my sister Kerry said when she phoned me in Pittsburgh and urged me to rent it sight unseen. It was near her in SE Portland and backyard neighbors to our friend Melanie.
I moved in June 1994 and didn't change much at first. I pulled up the shag off the bathroom floor and the landlord painted the walls white in the main rooms. After a short while, I got the bathroom painted and the the kitchen and took up the rest of the shag. I found it was just easier to do these things myself and not mention them to Gerry, the landlord. The new landlord replaced the windows, and recently replaced the terrace roof and put skylights in it.
In 2000, I took on a Zen Home project to make the place even more supportive of my life and I think in some ways that was far more than an apartment redo. It was me actively recreating my life. I got rid of all the carpet so the hardwoods could shine. I've slowly refinished and reupholstered. Put my own art on the walls. Created a peaceful place.
I love this apartment and hope to have another 20 years here.