Finding Home in Fort Lauderdale

I used to have a house in Orlando. Well, not actually have… I rented. It had three bedrooms and a two car garage, a fenced-in backyard and some of the kindest neighbors you could ever ask for. I had a dog – a lovely 90-pound Rottweiler – and a boyfriend of five years. It was the real suburban dream.

And I gave it all up.

It was 2007, and I was 23-years old. Far too young to be “playing house,” and just realizing that the white picket fence scenario felt more like a death trap. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it just wasn’t for me.

This is when my international travel really took off. I applied to design schools, and moved to London to attend the prestigious Chelsea College of Art & Design. Not satisfied with just one overseas address, I then finished a second design degree in Paris. And I kept moving, kept traveling. I went as far as Melbourne, Australia to work with a boutique design firm there, and tried New Zealand on for size.

In the eight or so years since I first gave up that States-side permanent address, I’ve grown up. I’m now back on my home turf in Florida (a place I never thought I’d end up) and I’m putting down some roots. Or at least some semblance of a home base.

I can now officially say I have a home in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s a rental, of course. Wouldn’t want to go too crazy. My wandering ways haven’t abated – I just prefer to have a comfortable spot of my own at which to unpack from time to time. And to host any visitors who might be keen to check out my little corner of the world.

But first, a little tour.

home in fort lauderdale

The Vu New River apartment building sits right in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, on the New River. One direction looks towards the ocean, the other to the city. Not knocking the beach, but I chose the riverside view. Can you blame me?

But let’s step inside.

I must confess, I’ve had quite a bit of fun applying my design skills to my own space. It’s the first time since I graduated design school that I have been in the position to actually buy my own things – usually I’m in some foreign country, renting but not finding it worth the cost to invest in making the place my own. This place is a different story.

home in fort lauderdale

While most of what I am filling my new home with is new (and some on back order, such as the sofa…) there are elements with more history tucked away as well. I have the silver pieces I bought from the market on Portobello Road in London when I lived there. I have a piece of copper art – a girl with her horse – that was made special for me by my old horse trainer’s artist husband. My best friend who traveled to London with me made coasters out of photos of my old passport pages. I have my own workspace, and my favorite reading material is within easy reach.

home in fort lauderdale

home in fort lauderdale

home in fort lauderdale

home in fort lauderdale

And I have tokens of an even more personal nature. When my grandparents on my mother’s side passed (my dad’s parents are thankfully still with us), us grandkids were able to sort through their things and take anything that we held particularly dear. While there were memories connected to almost every object, we equally distributed everything among all of us. My plates in this apartment are from my grandparent’s kitchen, as is the silverware set. I have the ceramic umbrella holder that used to sit by their front door, it’s Chinese artwork suiting perfectly my love for travel. And I have the antiques mirror tray on which my grandmother used to keep her perfume, and where I now keep mine.

home in fort lauderdale

home in fort lauderdale

All these keepsakes are rooted in where I come from and where I’ve been. They turn this brand new apartment into my home.

And then of course there’s the view…

home in fort lauderdale

home in fort lauderdale

I spend hours out on my balcony, sipping tea in the mornings and wine in the evenings, watching the life of the river below. And while Fort Lauderdale is not Paris, or London or Melbourne, it has a vibe of its own. The beach is a short distance away, and everyone seems to travel by boat in the “Venice of America.” Las Olas Boulevard has some fantastic spots, and I can walk to all of it.

Overall, I must say I’m impressed with my first permanent address in the United States in almost eight years. It’s coming together, and the rest of the furniture isn’t that far off from arriving.

You never know, I might just end up staying here awhile. Cheers guys!

home in fort lauderdale

  • Your new place looks amazing! You can’t beat that view, but I absolutely love that rug and the hexagonal tables – and the passport coasters are genius!

    • Thank you so much Kristin!! I am having so much fun putting together my own place! The rug is from Surya, and the tables are from Regina Andrew. They go together like puzzle pieces, or can be divided up and placed around a room. Brilliant!!! And the coasters were the Christmas idea of my best friend – she scanned photos of my old passport pages and used modge podge to put them on ceramic tiles. So creative! 🙂

      • That’s brilliant! I might have to try that – some of the stamps and visas out there are too pretty to hide away!

        • That’s the thing! And by scanning them the original pages stay intact. The kiosk at Walgreens even had an option to scan a square image (must be the Instagram phenomenon lol) so no trimming was required. Too easy!

  • Oh my god, this place looks like something I would find in a catalog!!! Everything is so tidy and neat and organized—I love it!! You should design my place when I get it 😉 But also, I’m feeling the way you did a few years ago. I’ve been in one steady place so far since August 2014, and it’s been a bit rough. But my inner practical voice can’t really be ignored as much as it used to… I’m always worried whether a decision to take off and experience all the travel things I want to experience would negatively impact the life I would be coming back to… thoughts?

    • Thank you Michelle!! I’ve had so much fun putting it all together. 🙂 And that little travel bug is one demanding factor – I completely understand! I’ll have to be more selective about my travels now since I have a rent and all, but I still want to get out and see things. What sort of travel are you looking to do? Long-term, a year, indefinitely? Depending on what you really want, I’m sure you can make it happen on terms that you’re comfortable with. Shoot me an email at if you want to chat more about it! 🙂

  • Your new place looks lovely! Hope I get to see it when I go to FLL for TBEX in the fall! I know the feeling of having a permanent home as we wander. It’s really important to me. I just bought a place in DC and I am happy to have a permanent place to unpack…. and pack again!

    • Thanks so much Jessica!! Congratulations on buying you place too – exciting times all around! 🙂 I’m so looking forward to TBEX too. I’ve been to Alt Summit conference for creative bloggers, but this will be my first travel-related event. Very much looking forward to it and meeting you in person! 🙂

  • I loved getting a tour of your new place!! your view is amazing! And I completely agree… it’s having your more dear and sentimental items that turns a place into a home! I love that you now have pieces of your grandparents with you. Someday, when I’m ready to settle down, I’d like a home decorated with little things I’ve collected around the world. 🙂

    • Thank you Anna!! I have to say, it’s been absolutely fabulous to have a place to really unpack to lol. I wish I had picked up more tokens along my travels, but at the time they were always just one more thing to have to pack and carry around with me. Now when I go places though I’ll be keeping this apartment in mind. I’m sure your future home will be filled with all sorts of treasures! 🙂

  • I totally get it! I love having a home that is a collection of my travels in one… my own sanctuary and creative space that really reflects the personality and perspectives of my husband and I. There’s something to be said about having a balance of roots AND wandering adventure. Congrats on your beautiful space and what a view!

    • Thank you so much Mu-Hsien!! Yes, that’s exactly it… making your space reflects your lifestyle and interests, and creating an environment that both inspires and calms. The best of both worlds! 🙂

  • It’s an amazing feeling having a place that you plan on staying in for a while, but I’ve gotta say after buying this house it’s made my feet itchier than ever!!

    • It really is Dannielle!! Though I am still constantly perusing the travel sites for great deals on flights from Fort Lauderdale to wherever lol. Don’t think that travel itch every goes away completely! 🙂

  • Mike the Realtor

    Amazing apartment 🙂 Let me know when you’re ready to sell