Onward State Cribs: Armenara Plaza
Most of us spend our college years cohabiting with a roommate or three. Unless you’re one of the lucky students stationed in the luxurious Eastview Terrace, it’s likely that you share your house, apartment, or room with others. Having a living space all to yourself seems like far-fetched dream. But for Sarah Jordan, it’s a dream come true.
“It can be crazy expensive to live alone, definitely. I work a little harder so that I can pay for my own bills and part of the rent, then my parents help me with the rest of the rent,” she said. “But if you want to work more and put your money toward it, it ends up being about the same as some of the other two or three or four person places.”
Jordan moved into Armenara Plaza, the apartment complex above LionHeart Fitness, at the beginning of her junior year.
“There are usually two people in these,” Jordan said. “The girls before me who moved out said that this place is awesome, the location and the apartment are great, but it’s not meant for two people. I guess it got really crowded. They were ready to kill each other by the end of the year.”
The girls who moved out before her arrival sold Jordan a lot of their furniture, including a big black shelf to separate the main room into two separate areas, a bedroom and a living room, but she has personalized it so that now it feels like a real home — a home with a few particularly unique characteristics, the first of which is her colorful chalkboard wall.
Jordan is lucky enough to live in a building where the landlord doesn’t mind if she changes things around a bit, so long as it’s back to the original state by the time she vacates the property. Naturally, her first inclination was to paint herself a chalkboard wall.
“This chalkboard paint is only like ten bucks at Home Depot, and all you have to do is buy it and throw it on the wall,” she said. The wall has become something of a statement piece, and is decorated with artwork drawn by Jordan and her friends. She made sure to wrap Christmas lights around the perimeter of it to illuminate their creative masterpieces, and it worked — the chalkboard wall is definitely the first thing that catches your eye when you enter the apartment.
The next thing you’ll notice is a living room alive with the soft glow of candles, lamps, and (once again) string lights hung around the branches of an alive-and-kickin’ houseplant.
“The place actually looks coolest when all the lights are on and there’s just a tiny bit of sunlight,” she said. The room features a big comfy couch and lots of decorations that really personalize the place, like the ukelele next to the window, the sand in the shells on the shelf, and the “Tears for Fears” framed poster hanging on the wall.
Naturally, your eyes will be drawn to this black-lit artwork and the pink string lights brightening up this little study corner, along with some romantic candles and incense. When asked about where she got all of her unique decorations, Jordan said, “Thrift shops, lots of thrifting. Some of the stuff is real, like the sand in the shells are from different beaches I’ve been to, and the ukeleles are all mine — I play them. But I work at The Attic, so thrifting is the perfect way to find all of the trinkets and stuff. It’s kind of my passion, I love finding little weird things.”
Next comes the kitchen, decorated with posters and photographs and — most notably — a giant tapestry to dim the effects of the kitchen light’s harsh fluorescent glow. “Apple Tree, baby!” she said. “Apple Tree has the best and the cheapest tapestries, I think. The lighting looks cooler this way, and I’m just tryin’ to get good vibes, that’s what it’s all about.”
Of course, we saved the best for last. The créme de la créme of living alone in this adorable apartment? She gets this giant walk-in closet ALL TO HERSELF. Think about that the next time you’re trying to cram all of your sweaters onto a portable clothing rack because there’s not enough room in your actual closet.
Although it’s a pricier option for your parents to get on board with, there are some definite perks to living alone. “It’s so great to come home and just like, take off my bra, smoke a joint, make some eggs, whatever I want to do, and not have to worry about if anyone else cares,” Jordan said. “For me, it’s just really worth it to put the money into it. I’m happy to be here everyday, to wake up here — it’s so worth it.”
There you have it! You’ve now been dazzled by one of the most beautiful apartments in State College… at least, so far. Think you (or somebody you know) has a better looking dwelling for us to photograph and feature? Email me at [email protected] with a few snapshots and I’ll be the judge of that. My credentials? I watch a whole lot of HGTV.