This moment is strange and disconcerting for an endless list of reasons. One of which is that many of us have suddenly found ourselves away from home…for an indefinite amount of time. Our spaces have a profound impact on our daily lives—we’ve put so much effort into cultivating them. So, at a time when our sole instruction is to stay indoors, what does it mean to be away from the comforts of home? With that question in mind, three New Yorkers who’ve found themselves in different quarantine situations to hear how they’ve creating “home” wherever they are.
Bon Appétit Senior Food Editor
In early March, Molly Baz was on a family vacation in Palm Springs when the shelter-in-place order took effect. Instead of flying back to Brooklyn, she and her husband decided to seek out a local Airbnb. “Two weeks turned into two months,” says Molly. Recently, they relocated to a house in Los Angeles. “It’s unclear how long we’ll be here,” she says. “We’re just trying to take things one week at a time.” Molly has kept her signature jovial attitude through it all. “As cheesy as it sounds, wherever Ben [her husband] and Tuna [her famous weenie dog] are is home for me,” she says.
Yet adapting routines from pre-corona life has been a helpful grounding exercise. “I still wake up 30 minutes before my husband and get the coffeepot on. We still take our dog out for a ‘peeps and poops.’ We try to stay active and have been livestreaming workouts from our gym. And we get to sit down together for three meals a day, which feels special and normal all at the same time!” And not to fret, Molly is still making her morning smoothies, affectionately known around the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen as the Daily Smoo.
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well what do ya know! in a surprise to no one, @theselect7 caught me snackin’ on a cae sal. all week I’ll be sharing little snippets about my life and all of my fave things, so head on over and check it out!
A post shared by Molly Baz(@mollybaz) on Feb 26, 2020 at 8:21am PST
Molly in her Brooklyn apartment pre–COVID-19.
Naturally, the thing Molly misses most about her apartment is her pantry. “I’ve worked hard on that thing!” she says. “Years of cooking means years of pantry goods accrued! It’s mostly the condiments—the chili oils, mustards, pickles, spices, oils, and vinegars—that can’t be replaced in a temporary setting without breaking the bank.”
Digital creator and social media expert
Chrissy Rutherford had decided to leave her studio apartment for a one-bedroom once her lease ended. “However,” she says, “life had other plans in store.” Come April, she found herself headed back to her parents’ home in the suburbs of New York. But she’s grateful that her lease ended when it did. “I get a break from paying rent and an escape from the city,” she says. To more comfortably inhabit her childhood bedroom, some updates were necessary. Chrissy, an advocate for mental health, says, “Since I moved out, I’d never felt my best here.” The room, which had been turned into a guest room, “didn’t feel like a reflection of me.”
She began by clearing out everything except for the bed and dresser. She took her stashes of memorabilia and early-aughts magazines and stored them in the attic. She purchased all white bedding (a favorite “go-to”) and a round mirror (“perfect for creating content”). She finished off the new look by bringing in a bamboo chair found in the attic and a chinoiserie-style lamp from the living room. The final touch? “Adding a little plant life,” of course. And voilà, her bedroom transformed into a chic and minimal paradise. “It’s had a re-energizing effect on me,” says Chrissy.
The transition has been an adjustment. “I love being by myself, so I do miss the solitude,” admits Chrissy. But the perk of her parents’ Jamaican cooking has made the experience so worth it. “Sure, when I lived in the East Village, I could hit up Miss Lily’s, but it doesn’t hold a candle to my mom’s jerk chicken or my dad’s grilled snapper.”
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A post shared by Chrissy Rutherford(@chrissyford) on May 26, 2020 at 3:18pm PDT
Writer and creative consultant
Amelia Diamond was back in her hometown of San Francisco for a work trip, staying at her mom’s apartment. When the shelter-in-place order suddenly took effect, she moved into the home of her childhood best friend. There, she explains, “I could have more space and help my friend take care of her two kids.” For Amelia, just being in her hometown gives her a “natural, nostalgic, cozy feeling.” The joy and energy of her friend’s family also keeps her spirits high. Being around the kids requires so much attention, she says—“it’s like a more-stressful-but-extremely-happy exercise in mindfulness.” It also helps that Amelia’s mom is only a “CDC-approved, socially-distant-safe masked walk away.”
On a shelf next to her bed, Amelia keeps items that bring her comfort: “a letter from my boyfriend and a drawing he did for me, a vase with flowers from the backyard, and a big ol’ stick of Palmer’s cocoa butter.” Playing “Elsa and Prince” with the kids, FaceTiming with her boyfriend, eating her friend’s fresh-baked cookies, giving back to COVID relief causes, and sending postcards to pals have been among her favorite quarantine activities.
As lovely as her temporary home has been, it’s still hard for Amelia not to miss her real one. “Like every New Yorker, I’m mourning the city-that-was, while feeling so appreciative that I get to call it home,” she says. The owner of her building has been sending neighborhood updates and pictures of the blossoming trees—a reminder of what makes NYC so special. “I think the flowers will be gone by the time my boyfriend and I reunite at our apartment, but I don’t care. I will hug that tree when I see it.”
Feature Image: Instagram/ChrissyRutherford
This article was originally published on Architectural Digest