Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Russian Apartment Grand Tour: The Living Room

Since most of our families and friends will not be able to come visit us, and since they and others may be interested in what our furnished Russian apartment looks like, I thought I would do a series of posts giving you a grand tour of our lovely, little, sky-scraping, castle. The rooms will be in no particular order; I’m just going by whatever room is clean at the time. With four children, it’s almost impossible to keep the entire apartment clean all at once.

Today, I am showing you our living room.

Before (first four pictures taken June 2012)

This is probably my favorite room in the whole apartment. The room has changed a lot since we first moved in. We moved out a coffee table and brought in a desk, we added a couple of our own pictures that we brought with us from the States, and the television and carpet have been replaced.

When I first saw the pictures showing us this apartment, I was worried about having tan colored sofas with children in the apartment. However, when we arrived, I couldn’t help but be a little grossed out by how dingy the sofas were. But, then again, I didn’t have to worry about my children making the sofas dirty—we just had to make sure and not lick the sofas, and that would be easy enough. ;)

Russians seem all about using space efficiently. There are all sorts of storage “hidden” in this room. One section of the sofa is a hide-a-bed, though we never-ever planned to use it. Another section of the sofa has a drawer underneath, and the chaise lifts up for more storage space. Then, the curio cabinet has the drawers and lower cupboards. Since we didn’t bring many personal items with us, we haven’t needed all the extra storage space and many of them are still empty.

The curio cabinet is large and magnificent. I love it! It lights up inside, however we have not used that feature yet. With such limited packing space, we did not bring ANY knickknacks, so for the first little while the cabinet was empty. However, we filled it with pictures (the walls are cement, so it was just easier to put pictures in the cabinet than try to hang them a wall), and books (some of the Russian books we received here are displayed in the center. Then, we’ve added some Russian souvenirs.  We were assured by several people that it wouldn’t take long for us to fill the large cabinet, and they were correct. The center shelf with all the Russian books is probably a temporary display until we have something better to place there.

Our old television, though bigger than any we’ve had in the past, was completely outdated. IF we ever did turn it on, it took forever to warm up, the colors were terrible, and there was a dead spot right in the center of the screen, so usually someone on TV had a red spot in their face.  We replaced the television with a used LCD flatscreen that we purchased from some friends who moved over the summer.

The original rug (oh, the rug!) was disturbing to us from the very beginning. We could tell that at one time, when it was new, it was a gorgeous rug. It was a nice and very thick wool rug, the design was beautiful, and it was huge, filling up the whole room. We had never seen a rug so big! Unfortunately, it was filthy and completely disgusting! It was splattered with old, dried coffee stains, and, worst of all, there were dark urine stains everywhere. I’ve mentioned this before, but it was like there was either an old, incontinent dog or cat living here at one time. Yes, the rug repulsed us, and I NEVER laid baby William down on it, and these prejudices were before we knew that it was infested with wool eating moths underneath the couches. Once we found out about the moths, I didn’t even want to let the other children play on the rug. We sprayed it twice with toxic pesticide, which I absolutely hated doing, but the rug must have been too thick and dense and the moths were too stubborn and they’d always return. Grr!

Goodbye rug!  Haha!!

We tried to be patient about it, but we finally just couldn’t take it anymore. Besides, we were very worried about the moths spreading to the other wool rugs or to something wool that we owned (sadly, we found out this fall that they did get into Bruce’s wool coat and eat it over the summer). So, we contacted our landlord and requested a new living room rug, among a few other things. He consented and sent us to IKEA to choose what we wanted. One thing was for sure, we were getting something completely acrylic! We did not want to have to worry about those stupid moths anymore!

IKEA didn’t have any rugs anywhere close to as large as the original, but we didn’t mind that at all. We ended up buying two rugs that were supposed to sit side by side without noticing a seam, but I guess someone didn't know how to cut straight. Our seem isn’t too bad, though. Most people say that they wouldn’t have noticed the seam if I had not pointed it out. With the rug being smaller now, we also really like how there’s a nice walking path of wood flooring from the entryway to the hall in case the children come in with dirty shoes.

We got the rug replaced in June. We decided to roll up the old one ourselves because we thought we would do a cleaner job than the movers, and let me tell you, it was absolutely disgusting! Moth feces everywhere, and it didn’t want to just vacuum up. I had to physically get down and scrub it with the hand-broom brush. Yuck! It was unbelievable how much damage those tiny moths had done. I knew I would not be missing that rug!

Wool eating moths seem like very hearty creatures. There must have been some cocoons left behind in the curtains, because we would still find some every once in awhile. One did end up moving to the kid’s room, but I caught it right away, before it did much damage, and got rid of it without using the spray. The space of time between seeing the last moth and finding a new one has become bigger and bigger, but I’m not sure we’re completely out of the woods yet, because I squished one in the curtains just last week. I really hope we have gotten them all or that we will get them all!

Speaking of curtains, I love the big windows in this apartment. Unfortunately, only the bedroom window curtains allow you to open them up. Even though the curtains in the living room are sheer, sometimes I would still like to open them up to get more light during the winter. Oh, well.

After pics with the new rug, television, and a new-ish arrangement of the furniture

The rocking bear had to take permanent residence in the living room 
because Bruce would use it as a step stool in the bedroom.

There are 9 paintings in our apartment and the ones in our living room are our very favorites. I'm pretty sure they are all painted by Russians.

I love the autumn colors and the peaceful lake in this painting. 
 I’m told that this is how Russia looks outside of Moscow.

In this painting, we love the contrast how at the left side you see a poor, rustic village 
and then on the other side of the bush (center) there is a nice Russian church.

When we first moved here, I did not like this picture. In upstate New York we had plenty of long winters and I only knew how much worse winters would be in Moscow. Plus, we felt a little like our lives had been in “winter” for too long and we couldn’t quite receive the comforts and hope of “spring”. This painting was just a cold reminder of those things. However, I have come to love this painting. To me, it’s not just a picture of winter anymore, but so much more. The large patches of damp, brown grass among the snow looks like things are actually beginning to thaw and spring is on its way! So now I see this picture being about hope, and I love it!

Well, that’s it for the living room, I guess. I’m not sure which room will be next, but I’m sure it will be just as exciting for you!


  1. I'm loving this! I have enjoyed reading each post and seeing your adventures of everyday living there . (I'm not the best at commenting, but just wanted you to know - I love reading your blog to see the latest!) So glad you got rid of that rug!! Sounds like it was disgusting! I also have praying for you and hope things go well with the cyst. Thanks for all your posts. Miss ya and love ya Cuz!

  2. What a beautiful apartment. I have to admit that some if your descriptions of the moths, coupled with bias and ignorance, had me picturing something much smaller and less comfortable. I really love this living room and would be right at home either visiting or living there. Now I can't wait to see what other prejudices I am guilty of about your darling Russian home!

  3. Looks great! I love the design of these apartment homes. I especially like the concept of a double-purpose furniture; a sofa that has a bed underneath it. It's really very practical. I would probably have one just like it at my apartments in Siloam Springs Arkansas.

  4. Lovely. I actually think your living room was quite elegant! The colors....sigh.

    I'm glad you found a rug without little beasts in it, though. I hate infestations!!!!!