Though the stars had retired and the sun had officially staked possession of the day ahead, the apartment remained dim. Ash liked it that way. Fragments of light continued their efforts at conquering his living room, each racing its neighbour in vain endeavours at domination. He was used to this, and rest assured in his trusty fortress, protected on the outside with shields of haphazard, overgrown ivy, and shadows from its tall turrets. The building rose from the foundations like a haunted house, by night, a symphony of creaks and moans and things going bump in the night; by day, a voiceless misfit casting long shadows across the otherwise exuberant street outside.
- Description of my building (an excerpt from the story I’m currently working on)
And so I have made the move to my giant, sprawling, thoroughly creepy new home. It’s a building that’s captivated me for as long as I can remember after moving to this city, in the heart of the recently declared Greatest Neighbourhood in Canada. It houses the oldest copper cage elevator in the country, an inner courtyard with light wells, glass-canopied walkways and bridges, and twisting staircases that mislead their visitors, taking them to nothingness. Voices from elsewhere in the building are carried perfectly through the strangely designed ventilation system and faint music from bygone eras can be heard through ceilings. Some of my belongings seem to have picked up strange powers over the course of my move and have transformed into mediums; voices in another language can be heard through electronic devices even with the power off. Footsteps can be heard in bordering hallways, and doors are seen to open and close with the force of an invisible hand. It’s the setting for the novel the Professor and I are working on, and it’s as deliciously sinister as I’d hoped.
The first two weeks were a little difficult – I’d moved in mid-month, and though some of the departing occupants had moved into their new homes personally, most of their belongings remained until this week. This meant I had to live out of boxes for a little while, but it kind of worked out because it forced me to get all the painting and renovating out of the way before settling my stuff in. First stop: my bedroom. One of what could theoretically be five bedrooms, it had enormous windows, hardwood floors, a huge walk-in closet, and solid cement walls through which you could hear absolutely nothing. It was painted a bit of a dismal brown, and I’d had my heart set on fashioning a rather more dreamy, modern, romantic space with deep turquoise walls, a canopy bed draped in sheer organza and fairy lights, empty white picture frames hung above my writing corner, and vines adorning doorways. I started painting the day I moved in – while the bedroom was still half-full of someone else’s furniture, and with no thought as to what my layout would be. It was kind of funny in its Jekyll and Hyde stage, but a week later, it had been transformed, and I’ve never had a room I love more. Coming home to an evening without plans used to terrify me, but now I’m excited to delve into my retreat, read under Christmas lights or write under vintage frames I like to imagine have seen all sorts of things over the years. And best of all, the Professor is no longer on the other end of a telephone call a twenty-minute walk away.
Forgive the crappy quality of the pics – haven’t found the box the camera is packed away in yet His room is equally huge, housing a bed, writing corner, oversized antique trunk coffee table, sofas and flat screen television, and I love spending time in there just as much as I do in mine. It has a thoroughly vintage feel, with walls the colour of coffee-stained pages, old postcards atop the mantle, various antiques and skeleton keys on the walls, and it’s perfect. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having two bedrooms initially, but I’m over the moon we do now. I’m a light sleeper, sometimes he has to stay up late to write (or because of sickness), but there’s something lovely about being only separated by a single wall, and being able to crawl into one or the other at night. Each night we’ll read ghost stories either by candlelight or fairylight, and it’s wonderful.
There are two living rooms, both incredibly large, one bordered by a sun room overlooking the Village. I remember when we first started dating spending evenings in that room looking up at thunderstorms and then making a mad dash outside to run around in them. Over the next few weeks we’re going to convert it into a Space Room – yep, an entire room painted navy with constellations on the ceiling and lights strung from wall to wall, with a life-size TARDIS and fully operational telescope calling it home. I don’t think a room could be any more perfect. The living room has dark wooden panelling on the walls and huge bay windows; a fireplace over which hangs a mantlepiece and a large, antique clock. The second living room is just as enormous, and after spending hours on hands and knees scrubbing the floors to a sparkle, we painted the upper part of the wood-panelled walls a rich, deep claret. Attached to the kitchen is an entire room-sized pantry, and there’s even a “maid’s quarters” which we’re using for storing bikes and decorations and all the other stuff I haven’t organised yet.
Now all that’s left is to find a third flatmate, and we’ll be set! After some of the royal winners I’ve lived with in the past, we really want to find someone nice, conscientious, and above all, normal – we’re hoping to get someone in for June or July, but until then we’re just enjoying have such an opulent, character-filled, wonderfully creepy space all to ourselves. Fancy moving in with us or know someone who might be interested? Let me show you around!