Thursday, April 24, 2014

Design Files

Will you look at this?  Now I had a pink room all the way through high school, but I have to say this puts mine to shame.  The three shades of coral (helped by the beautiful moldings)  combined with those perfect perfect blown glass lamps and the fabulous 70s dresser (read: flower knobs).  Wow.  Just wow.

Quick gripe though: gah, those nightstands. The pagoda tops with the inward-facing club feet?  Amazing.  That Pepto-Bismol paint color?  Not so much...and it could be so so good! Imagine them lilac, like below:

That would be killer here.  Otherwise A+ on this room!  And the peach storage bench?  I need that in my life, both because it is that great...simple, but great, and because I could use that storage for real.  

What's your favorite part of this room?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday: Quick Coffee Table Refresh

Good Morning Everybody!

Hope everyone's doing well so far this week!  I am surprised it's already Wednesday, but let's wait to see how I feel by Friday before I make any statements about how great things are going.  So a quick Work In Progress this week (better than none at all!) and I already have a few more projects in the works so the next few weeks should be good!

PS: I adopted two cats two weeks ago so I'm sorry I have been so distant but they are settling in so I think I shall be returning more often to the ole blog here.

So, as you may know, I got this Crate and Barrel coffee table off of CL for only $30!  WOO! But after living with it for a few months, I realized it just wasn't doing too much for me so I decided to give it a quick refresh with some paint last week.

(Forgive the mess: cats)

The bronze looks good, no?  And it had the unanticipated benefit of bringing out the orange of the rug!  And it's shiny, so there's that...

I am going to be painting in my apartment in the next few months so I am looking forward to that green in the rug coming out more when I paint the walls the same color.  It'll look bangin' with the orange/bronze and don't even get me started on the blue sideboard.  Future "before and afters" abound my friends!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some Good Advice

"one part how-to and two parts why-not"

Read this here and thought it's a pretty cool thing to think about, even beyond the DIY genre.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Design Files

Because this week has been a little too crazy for taste, I'm going to mix up the order on you (and just when I had sort of settled on a rhythm).  

So just in time for maybe spring (those of us in NYC are learning that apparently, you can never count of the first spring-like day), take a look-see at this beauty here.  I've had this kicking around for months and months and I am actually surprised it took me this long to post it for you, that's just how much I love it.  This image, originally (as far as I can tell) from Apartment Therapy is mighty nice.  That's how this room makes me feel!  I say things like "mighty" and "look-see."  First of all, tulips.  I just love fresh blooms of any sort, but a nice white tulip?  Perfection.

But now on to the good stuff.

Oh lord, those chenille chairs!  I grew up with chenille throws draped over my couches and damn, what a luxury it would be to have the whole dang thing upholstered in it!  Maybe one day, but definitely not today.  I imagine chenille is a pretty difficult upholstery fabric as far as upkeep goes.  Anybody have any experience?

After the sky blue chenille, I have to admit, the rest is just a wash.  A beautifully-curated, aesthetically pleasing wash, but c'mon, sky blue chenille!  I love how each of the art pieces pick up on the blue hues though and the pale blue walls offer a backdrop a touch warmer than stark white might be.  Don't believe me?  Imagine if the walls were the color of that flokati rug or the sofa?  A bit sterile, no?  Sky blue to the rescue.  

Speaking of the flokati rug, boy oh boy do I want one!  Can you just imagine how warm your little tootsies would be in the winter?  So good.  And the way things are looking today in New York, we might never get a spring so maybe this isn't such a bad investment.  But I imagine my rug would be filled with strands of hair and missing food particles pretty quickly.  Maybe when I become a grown-up... 

Monday, April 14, 2014

When is Stuff to Do Motivational and When does it Become Merely Anxiety-Inducing?

Around this time last year, I was speaking to a new friend and neighbor outlining all kinds of things I had on my to-do list at the moment.  At one point I said something to the effect of, "I just can't wait til I move so I can be settled and not have anything to do."  She laughed and chimed in that, move or not, I was the type of person who would always have something on the to do.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I have since realized that she is right and I am consistent and constant "do-er."

So when does the constant stream of things to do become overwhelming rather than keeping life appropriately busy?

For as long as I can remember I have been a list person.  Lists are the best.  I know this and say it publicly as fact.  Lists mean you won't forget anything and you have a feeling of even greater accomplishment when you get to see a former list all crossed out.  I start my week (often the Thursday or Friday before) by making a list of the coming week and include everything I know I have RSVP'd to or that I need to finish up.  I think this makes me feel secure, as I am often scatter-brained, knowing that I will accomplish everything I know needs to be completed.  These types of lists make me feel good.

But there are other types of lists that weigh at me, pulling energy from my psyche every time I glance at them.  These are the lists of projects I'd like to complete, debts I need to pay, etc. Basically lists that aren't immediately achievable.  These list wallow around for weeks (months) on end toying with my heart and sanity keeping me from feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing off the next thing.  I do make these lists because in the end I think it does help keep me on track, but I do not like them and I am trying to decide if they are, in fact, worth it.

But this post is not just about my literal lists.  I often take on more than I can chew and then have to handle the ramifications.  I'm sure none of you are silly enough to get caught in this trap...These are the metaphorical lists that rule my (our) head nooks and crannies when we'd like to be asleep at 2 AM, or those lame nagging things we need to think of before we drop everything to take a spontaneous weekend trip.  Namely, these are the things of adulthood and so far, I do not feel great about them.

But alas, that doesn't mean they'll end so I am trying to figure out how to make it work.  Namely, this week, I added to living and breathing things to my repertoire (no family, I did not have twins).  But these living things (spoiler alert: meow) are making my life a bit more complicated as far as scheduling goes.  I thought long and hard about this addition and while I know the good outweighs the bad, I am still feeling the gut-rumbling pangs of anxiety brewing in my belly.  What will happen when I'm away? How long can I leave them? What will they do to my couch when I'm not watching?  The last one is a very real fear but less important (truly).

While I thought of all these questions before I brought two animal carriers home, it has not stopped the anxiety.  I just signed up for things that could be around for the next two decades.  While it was easy to talk myself out of adoption with each of the above questions, I decided to really think where those feelings were coming from.  If "no" was coming from a place of true inability then that is something to be aware of.  But if "no" was coming from a place of unknown, as in, "I don't have to worry about those things now and thinking about them is so much more work than my current situation" then that's different.  Life will always be more work with a pet, with one job, with same old same old day in and day out.  But that'll get old pretty quickly.

So like so many of these posts, there is no happy ending here.  I have not become all-knowing after 5 days of cat ownership.  I do know that if I am consistently without plans or projects for too long, I become lazy and depressed and I am learning that weeks on end with no break in sight gives me headaches and makes me anxious enough to vomit.  Guess I'm going to have to figure out a middle...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday: List for the Future

So being gone all weekend I wasn't quite able to fit in a full project to share with y'all today.  My vision for Work in Progress Wednesday is not to have a completed project for you every week (that's a recipe for failure), but rather show you, literally, a work in progress (though a finished project is always a bonus!).  I've got things on the docket though so the coming Wednesdays are definitely looking ripe!  Here we go:

Upholstered Headboard
Island Top
Coffee Table Base
Rag Rug
Turkish Chair Restoration
Kitchen Cabinets
Closet Overhaul
Painting Walls

And this is all in my little 400sqft apartment!

I promise I'll get cracking on these post-haste to have a nice new project to share with you next week!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Well that Went Quickly

Welcome back Everyone!  I consider my first blog calendar week a success as I posted 3 whole days in a row!  You gotta start somewhere!  Let's see if I can keep up with this momentum.

So this weekend I went back to my childhood home to prepare it to be put on the market.  All of the feelings ensued....and I was really not prepared for it/them.  I kept thinking, it's no big deal and though I had known this was happening for literally years, I truly never had a second though about it.  But my open weeping on the train home assured me that, in fact, I was really quite unprepared for this emotionally.  And now I'm feeling all sorts of ways about passing time and moving on and general things that make me curl up in my bed and sob.  I will take that over public sobbing, but I would also be pleased with less crying altogether.

I am the first to admit that purging feels good.  Hunkering down this weekend to look at what I have accumulated and what I no longer need to hold onto was freeing and has reinforced my desire to simplify my life in my own teeny-tiny apartment here in New York.  But the end result, why I was doing the actual purging, is what hurts.  And it hurts all the way down to my core.  The house will sell and eventually (I think sooner rather than later) I will be heading back home one last time to fully clean my life out of there, but I am really just not sure if I am ready for that.  

My parents moved us into my home when I was only 3 weeks old so I have never known anything else.  And while there new home in Florida is wonderful, it is obviously just not the same.  As someone who has never experienced this type of loss, I feel incapable of handling all of the emotions that go along with it.  Any tips or advice from more experienced movers?  

From living in New York, I am well aware that moving sucks.  But this is a whole new realm beyond carrying far too many boxes up far too many stairs.  

How do you deal when the heaviest boxes are those filled with over two decades of memories?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday's Work in Progress: Honey Oak Hell

For my first Wednesday work in progress, I tackled a room that's been leaving me listless since I moved into my apartment 4 months ago.  The bathroom.  There really is not much to it.  This is NYC and I am not wealthy so my bathroom is pretty utilitarian.  See below:

It might look like I only showed my project instead of the whole bathroom, but there's really not much else there.  To the left of where I'm standing taking the photo is the toilet.  You see the shower curtain.  That's about it.  But this thing has got to be my least favorite aspect of the bathroom.  Top 2 of the apartment only falling second to my closet "situation." But that's for another Wednesday.

Let's just start this by saying that I truly, sincerely, from the deepest part of my being hate Honey Oak.  I do not understand it, I do not like it and if I could I would sledgehammer it wherever I saw it.  But alas, I am a renter and not a psychopath, so I have no sledgehammer.  So instead, I will paint it.  

See those paint drops, aren't they aesthetically pleasing?
You see, I have been on a painting kick lately.  Painting my bedroom, painting the kitchen, blah blah blah.  I'm all about paint.  But I'm also all about being lazy and also doing what I can to not piss off my landlady.  She's not very nice from my experience, but I'm young and naive and scared of the "permanence" that is paint.  I think by May I'll get over that.  But for now, I started slow with just this awful Honey Oak catastrophe.  These same cabinets are in my kitchen too...who knows what I'll do next week.

Well, other than the fact that Honey Oak makes me vomit in my mouth, it also does nothing for this little bland space.  Everything is some version of white or cream or light yellow and everything is the cheapest you could find from Home Depot (that mirror is mine, it was cheap (Mexico) but you aren't going to find anything that good in Home Depot).  The only drop of darkness in the whole place is the light gray floors so I decided to go in that direction and just try to moody the place up a bit.

So this project was super easy and quick (less than 12 hours!).  
I had some of my favorite gray paint lying around 
(I believe Deep Indigo from Benjamin Moore) and with maybe two feet of painter's tape and a screwdriver I was ready to go.

I removed the doors and my knobs (old old old faux bois knobs from Anthropologie) and painted them on the floor in my kitchen.  Just two quick coats on everything, let it all dry over night and I was done.  Easy peasy.  My favorite kind of project!  

And look at the difference; I love it!  I wish I could get rid of the yellow tiles, but my nerve for changing a rental doesn't extend that far.  For now, I'll settle for this little but profound change.  No more Honey Oak, no more (obvious) cheap Home Depot.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Craigslist Bible: 1st Edition

So it's no secret looking through my apartment or this very blog that I have a penchant, dare I even say a knack, for Craigslist (CL as I affectionately call it).  I love trolling CL, it's a like a blog that updates by the minute.  There is no better way to spend a rainy Saturday or a boring Monday-Friday than scrolling through the plethora of treasures that is your local Craigslist.

I read on FastCo. the other day about Curated Craigslist, an NYC-specific blog of just what it sounds like, a curated selection of thew immense NYC chapter of the site.  This is a cop out.  Plain and simple.  The best part of CL is taking your time to unearth the priceless gem you need to fit in your teeny-tiny apartment!  This shit isn't handed to you...and it shouldn't be.  More than half of my joy in refinishing pieces is telling my friends that I found it on CL and for how much (tacky, yes...but it's usually supa cheap so that makes it OK).  See below for what I mean:

Craigslist: $100 (plus a whole heap more for reupholstery)

Table: Craigslist $30, originally Crate&Barrel

Craigslist $40

Chair: Craigslist $125
Gray Nightstand that you can't see how cute it is: Craigslist $30
Indonesian Teak Carved Side Table to the right: Craigslist $10!

Sorry for the god-awful photos but my camera broke and I thought I'd save you all some Instagram-filtered iPhone shots today.  But as you can see, I love the CL!

Craigslist for me is the best way to make your design woes turn into design dreams.

Not enough space? Craigslist
Not enough money? Craigslist
Not enough time? Well if you do it right, Craigslist takes time but it's worth it!

In my next addition of Craigslist Bible, I will give you my own tried and true sleuthing techniques but until then, keep scrolling my friends (and searching, don't forget to use the search option)!