I started packing up my apartment today and got a little sentimental. I am moving out at the end of this month and it really is bittersweet. While I am excited to move on to the next chapter of my relationship with my sweet boyfriend, I have been reflecting on what this apartment means to me. I’ve been here in Oak Lawn since December 2010 and love this neighborhood… I believe it is a true Dallas treasure. My initial impression of Big D included images of sleek, new apartments with granite countertops and overpriced rent rates. But Oak Lawn is different… Prior to signing a lease near North Dallas, a friend told me to wait… She had to show me this one neighborhood before I signed anything. We drove around one beautiful fall Saturday in late 2010, to an area I had never explored… Most of the homes were apartments, duplexes and condos, perfect for a single 20-something who was preparing to live on her own for the first time in her life. There was so much character here… Beautifully manicured lawns, young folks walking their dogs, stained glass windows reminiscent of my hometown of St. Louis (specifically South City). It didn’t take long before I was sold and convinced I must find a place in this area. Several of the homes were ready to rent and displayed signs of availability posted in their front yards. My quick-thinking friend snapped pictures of each desirable unit and took down the corresponding phone numbers so I could inquire on each. Some rentable units were left unlocked, probably so owners didn’t have to be present to show them off, so we ventured into a couple, taking in their attractive features. Original hardwood floors, art deco bathroom designs and cozy fireplaces adorned most of these units. We were probably not supposed to just walk on in but I was just too impatient and had to see what these places had to offer. I was in love with this new and exciting part of town.
One of the complexes in the neighborhood only showed a sign for a condo available for sale. I looked anyway and quickly dismissed it due to the asking price… We didn’t bother to snap a photo of this one because I thought it to be too expensive. I was really looking to rent anyway and to buy would have been too much for me at the time. I went home that day with plenty of prospects and starting phoning the owners, setting up appointments to view the units. As the week went on, I continued my research of this neighborhood online and discovered a condo I didn’t notice on our route was for rent. There were no pictures of the unit online so I typically would have dismissed this, but the description was appealing: “One bedroom, one bath condo for rent in Oak Lawn neighborhood. Plenty of closet space in unit. Pet friendly.” While of course a friendly place for Fran to dwell was important to me, the idea of plenty of closet space won me over. I didn’t care if I slept in a tiny room as long as I had a place to store my massive wardrobe. I emailed the owner and set up an appointment to view the unit. The day before Thanksgiving I met him for a viewing and I was back at the condo complex my friend and I originally dismissed! Apparently the unit for sale was different from the unit for rent and the one I was viewing was right in my price range! I followed him into a courtyard that can only be described as a 1970s Melrose Place. We wandered into apartment 104 and I quickly saw its potential… Especially when he showed me not one, not two but three closets! Despite some small cosmetic flaws (knobs missing from bathroom vanity), I was sold. I filled out the paperwork that weekend, submitted it and was approved. Move in would be Saturday, December 11th. So excited about my new place, I proceeded to purchase cute furnishings that would make it a home. I frequented Pier 1, Homegoods and World Market for the next couple weeks, buying everything I would need to make it just right for the Fran-dog and me. Since I was starting from scratch, I also had to buy the not fun items as well: broom, mop, spatulas, flatware, etc, etc, etc… But it was all mine.
Move-in day was hectic but I got by with a little help from my friends… The best friends a new girl in town could ask for. With my sweet little team of friends, they helped me find a place, moved me in and put things together. I was even gifted a pink tool kit, because every girl needs tools that are pink. It was exhausting but things started to come together. I focused for the next couple days on getting unpacked and making sure all of my decorations and furnishings were just right. I was so motivated that I decided to have a house-warming/tacky sweater party the next weekend to show off my new place (it was close to Christmas). My friends gathered at my new home, and we celebrated my independence.
This apartment means so much to me… It signifies being in a new city and making it on my own… It reminds me of the sweet friends I’ve made here and how lucky I am to have them. I will always have many fond memories of this neighborhood and coming home to my own little piece of the city.