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


Photograph by Chelsey Werth

Editor’s Be aware: This submit, initially revealed in February of 2020, is without doubt one of the most beloved articles on witanddelight.com. At the moment we’re sharing it once more with a contemporary 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 odor, style, and expertise greater than I can narrate. They seem, most clearly, within the rooms through which they unfolded, within the houses I made for myself in my first fifteen years of “adulting.”

We communicate rather a lot about making a house on this website, and typically the lives that unfold listed below 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 previous residence and requested to make use of my lavatory. These rooms maintain the tales we preserve so long as our reminiscence serves us.

I assumed it was excessive time I write just a little love letter to all of the houses that led to the life I’ve constructed right now.

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

To My First Condo 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 harmful . 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 verify 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 speculated to be doing with my life, as a result of it felt extra complicated than I’d anticipated. I acquired mad that nobody warned me how misplaced I’d really feel.

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

First Apartment Living Room

To the Get together Condo on Lagoon and Knox


With a mattress held all the way down to the highest of my automobile and solely the arms of some robust pals, it took three journeys to gather all my issues. The one items of furnishings I introduced with have been a dresser and a crimson classic stool. We moved within the day the bridge collapsed; a buddy (hoping to be one thing extra) introduced us a sizzling apple pie on a fair hotter August day. 

We sat on the previous wooden flooring on our backs, tracing cracks within the ceiling, consuming five-dollar bottles of wine in plastic cups. Numerous nights we met right here at this place. Extending our youth gone our “due dates” with late nights and consuming 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 crammed with 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 may 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 might 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 may slot in your Volkswagen Passat. 

To My Damaged Down Palace on Holmes and Lake


With a hoop on my left hand, we started enjoying 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. Irrespective 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 footage and inform fairly tales, however they’ll nonetheless learn like lies in the event that they require an viewers to change into true.

It was mild and delightful and new issues arrived nearly day by day. Cups and bowls and plates, all with the promise of a brand new life collectively, typically 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. 

Irrespective 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 footage and inform fairly tales, however they’ll nonetheless learn like lies in the event that they require an viewers to change into true.

You, my good grownup residence, confirmed me what I spent a lifetime operating from. I couldn’t want away or bury my relationship with myself. For for those who can not deal with your physique as a house value sustaining, value loving, how are you going to probably know what it feels prefer to be residence? Actually, really “at residence”?

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

I don’t stroll previous your doorways, even right now. I even thought of leaving this tackle out of this assortment of recollections. However that wouldn’t erase you. Within the disappointment and complexity you introduced, there may be freedom in realizing I can’t be purchased. It might have been simple, to only stuff these emotions deep inside. However very like we can not put the toothpaste again in its tube, a few of us can not 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
Photograph by Collin Hughes

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

You have been the one place that didn’t decide—when family and friends and strangers heard tales and shot glances and fearful I’d misplaced my method.

Right here, I roasted rooster late into the night time, discovered religion I might change by a loving dialogue moderately than a punishing one. I let go of my consuming dysfunction and embraced what it felt prefer to be full—filled with actual meals, actual freedom, actual self-love. 

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

I don’t assume I’ve ever cried extra. Although there have been males and events and loads of individuals 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
Photograph by Collin Hughes
A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Photograph by Collin Hughes

One thing about these plastered partitions, previous and cracking from the burden of numerous tenants, gave me energy. I slowly opened up right into a model of myself that I do know right now. 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 individuals. A agency basis the place I wasn’t on the mercy of a stranger’s approval? Who knew freedom might style so candy. 

To a New Starting on 2nd and tenth


A Love Letter to All the Places I Lived Before | Wit & Delight
Photograph 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 the whole lot 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 the whole lot 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 forward to after the excessive of affection discovered its regular footing in our day-to-day rhythm. We fought about issues so trivial we chortle about them now, and I attempt to think about this actually because I’m starting to overlook these quick years we have been simply you and me. 

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

I don’t keep in mind why we stated sure to a model new, shiny residence, which was so equivalent to The Damaged Down Palace (all the way down to the selection of granite). I don’t assume 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 possibly can all the time reward your self a contemporary 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
Photograph by Melissa Oholendt for The Everygirl

To the Dwelling I Burnt Out in on Otis Ave.


Photograph by Chelsey Werth

You have been the primary residence 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 have been right here. We acquired our first canine, Winnie, we had two youngsters, 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 quite a lot of what I achieved right here didn’t fill me up as a lot as I assumed it might and that was very scary to understand. I’m nonetheless grappling with that concern. 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. A number of issues I used to take pleasure in turned actually heavy. I’ve realized that quite a lot of what I achieved right here didn’t fill me up as a lot as I assumed it might and that was very scary to understand. I’m nonetheless grappling with that concern. 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
Photograph by Chelsey Werth
Photograph by Colleen Eversman at 2ndtruth Pictures

By way of design updates, these have been a number of the huge issues we modified: We added a primary flooring powder room, transformed the upstairs lavatory, transformed the complete basement, and transformed the kitchen… twice. These huge 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 residence, and a way more nostalgic perspective on what it meant to reside right here, on this submit.)

Within the course of of transforming the kitchen, I stretched my design muscle tissues rather a lot. Throughout the primary rework, I didn’t second-guess something and through the second, I second-guessed the whole lot. I spotted the opinions of others have been actually impacting my sense of favor. I didn’t have the boundaries in place to domesticate belief in my very own design selections. That may change once we moved to our present home.