my, where has the time gone?

Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was writing the “Goodbye, 2013” post.  I posted a couple times after that and next thing I know here I am at May, 2016!! WTF!

So what have I been up to? Let’s see. After the writing desk redo I just got super lazy and also didn’t have any notable projects going on. 2015 came and our property manager told us that they wouldn’t be renewing our lease. I knew that day was coming! The high rise we lived in is a condominium, but after the housing crash they had trouble selling and allowed some people to rent. We knew all along that if the market picked back up, we’d be out on the street.

Knowing that we were going to probably move to the ‘burbs, we thought it would be a good time to spend a year in a crappy, cheap apartment near where we want to live to get a feel for the commute and the area before we committed.  Moving from the Edgecliff sure was a sad day. In winter 2006 I left my parents’ house in the suburbs and moved downtown. Since then, I generally stayed in or close to the city center. I absolutely loved living at the Edgecliff and near Eden Park, but was constantly stir crazy. I wanted a place with a yard and garage and outdoor area, and some separation from the neighbors.

The day we packed up and moved to the world’s most uninspiring apartment complex in the ‘burbs was rough. It was the first time I was moving somewhere that didn’t feel like an improvement over the last place – instead, it was a temporary move that was strictly utilitarian. We spent 2015 saving even more than we had been before, with an eye on buying a house in 2016. When I have a goal in mind I get tunnel vision and hyper-focused. So, with that goal in mind came a whole lot of spending nothing, doing nothing, and being bored. 2015 was at once one of the most dull and most useful years of my life. It served its purpose well but boy, was it BORING!!! It’s amazing what you can do when you resign yourself to utter boredom for 12 months. I already knew this, though – I went to law school.

I dreamed about owning my own house since I was a little kid. On labor day weekend we went to an open house, as we had been doing all of 2015. Here’s a tip for you: when you buy a house you should know what you want. You will only know what you want if you’ve spent months or years ACTUALLY GOING TO LOOK at houses when you’re not in a position to buy.  There are things I thought I loved or hated or had to have or didn’t want, and over the course of a couple years I figured out what things “stuck” for me as priorities/dealbreakers and which things were passing fads in my mind. Had I been in a position to buy before I really understood all that about myself, I most surely would have experienced some buyer’s remorse. And no, looking online just isn’t the same – you have to go experience houses in person to really get a feel for them.

So we go to this open house in September at this house that just went on the market. It was as perfect as I could have imagined, and my husband loved it, too. We walked out with mental notes of all the things we loved about it, and in the driveway we agreed that it was our house, but no matter, because it would surely be sold by January.

I had a “favorites” list on Realtor.com and every day I refreshed it with nervous energy, waiting to scroll down to this house and see the little red and white “pending” box in the upper left corner. It never came…the price went down….and down…still nothing. In fact, no houses really moved much at all from October to January. So long story short, January came, we had saved to our comfort level, got pre-approved and got our house.

February 26th was closing day. It was a Friday. Closing took 15 minutes. I thought I would cry like Miss America but I didn’t – I was more stunned/shocked than anything. Walking into the house for the first time without an inspector or realtor or other relative stranger with us was an amazing feeling!!

IMG_2524_Snow House.jpg

So I’m back – I think – assuming I don’t get lazy again. This place was pretty turnkey but I’d still like to document the changes we’ve made or plan to make! I feel like we’ve done so much already. It sure has kept us busy for a house that doesn’t need any work, and I like it that way!

the bedroom is (sort of) finished!!

After lots of planning (here), I think the bedroom is finished for the most part.  We still have a couple things to do, but overall I am pretty happy with it. I may get a second West Elm rug for the other side of the bed…we need something over the television…we need hardware for all the furniture, and we maybe need something else for the window…maybe?  What do you think?  I would put curtains on the windows, but the radiator is right below it.  I REALLY hate short curtains.  We added those faux wood blinds from Lowe’s (great quality for the price, BTW), but that alone seems unfinished.  I also think that valances look pretty cheesy, although I imagine valances come in many shapes and styles where maybe I’m just not thinking about it enough.  If anybody has any ideas, please, let me know!!  I am at a loss. We also need some accessories – more photos, etc., but we can figure that out eventually!

Source List:

  • Bed, dresser and nightstands: Ikea Malm
  • Cabinets: Ikea Besta
  • Cabinet Doors: Ikea Vara
  • Mirrow: Ikea Mongstad
  • Bedding: duvet – West Elm Pintuck; coverlet – Target Home; pillows – Target Patio collection
  • Rugs: larger one is West Elm Kite Kilim rug and others are from Ikea
  • Blinds: Lowe’s Basic Blindz Faux Wood 2″ Plantation Blinds

 

 

the process of bedroom planning….sketchup, pinterest and kuler

Hello, everyone!  This week we are moving to a new place!  Right now we live on the first floor of a duplex built in 1880, but we are moving to a mid-century modern style high rise built in 1966.  A lot of our furniture is pretty modern, but with the move, I think we’re moving a bit more in the modern direction overall – it just suits the space better and will be a nice change of pace.  I am back to my old habit of pre-planning the space in Google Sketchup, starting with the bedroom:

Right now I have a wrought-iron look, higher bed and about four dressers in the bedroom.  We’ve realized that we’re not drawer people.  They never get used! We’ve decided we’re shelf people and hanger people, and are taking this self-realization to the new apartment by putting 3 of the dressers in storage, and making better use of the shelves and the increase in closet space.  Isn’t it funny how it took 29 years of my life and four dressers to realize no amount of drawers are going to make me more organized??! On the other hand, the more shelves I have and the more hanger space I have, the more things get organized. Duly noted.

With that said, that leaves us with 3 black-brown Ikea besta bookshelves we use for storage of shoes, bags, and other small items and a black-brown ikea Malm dresser.

Since we’re definitely using all of those, we are going to swap out the current bed for a more modern Ikea Malm bed as well.  (Sidenote: I know….we have A LOT of Ikea…oh well! We’re renters, and until we own, no reason to spend more money on furniture! Since my living space changes every couple of years, my tastes tend to change at the same pace.  As long as that’s occurring, I have no problem on cheaping out and trying different things! )

We have some black and white artwork, the orange Ikea Mongstad mirror, a green pintuck duvet from West Elm, and as accent pillows on the bed, I have two outdoor pillows from Target that are the “Southwestern Tan Orange Geometric” print.  It’s sort of a southwestern-ikat.

My boyfriend liked the Mongstad mirror in orange when we got it about a year and a half ago.  I would’ve personally gone for the easier-to-match with stuff black-brown color.  Recently Pantone named “tangerine tango” (i.e. reddish orange) the 2012 Pantone Color of the Year….this is pretty much the color of our mirror, and a color I certainly have noticed popping up a lot more recently.  Oddly enough, I also noticed in my Pinterest boards a trend with earthy-tones (reddish/orange, green..) combined with black, white, and brown.  Here are a few that I noticed that to me had a similar feel in color palette:

I really liked this last photo – it is from West Elm, and the combination of grey/green, white, black/brown, and orangey, southwestern print with a modern style to it really reminded me a lot of the type of combination I was envisioning.  I wanted to pull it all into a color palette to view together.  Enter the FREE color palette-making tool, Adobe Kuler.  This free online program from Adobe is really handy.  You can create color palettes in a number of different ways. I opted for the photo-upload function (I uploaded the one above) and from this photo, the color palette was automatically created.  Once I created it, I replaced the very light orange from the picture with my brighter Mongstad mirror orange, and voila!  I have the color palette that I am 90% sure will be the basis of our bedroom:

The sixth color is white, but unfortunately Kuler only lets you combine a maximum of five colors.  So that’s where I’m at with the bedroom! The floors are parquet…We still need to figure out a table lamp/rug/curtain combination as well, but I think I’ve gotten as far as I can with a mix of what I own and modern technology!!!  I’m going to wait until we get all moved in to finish it up.  Isn’t it amazing how much you can do these days with free programs?!?!

end table before and after…finally!


Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!!  So, I finally completed a project that I have been wanting to finish for YEARS.  Life and indecisiveness got in the way I guess.  Also, I don’t have a covered outdoor area to use for fume-y paint projects, so every time the weather is rainy (or looks like it might be), or is too hold or too cold, I can’t paint outside.  You’d be surprised how rare it is to have a definite nice/mild/paint-friendly day to do projects outdoors in Ohio!

Enough excuses for that – the project is a re-paint of an end table my parents bought when they first got married.  This end table was part of a set with another end table and a coffee table, but unfortunately this one table is all that is left at this point. They got the tables at a Sears furniture outlet way back in 1970 – I do not know if there’s a particular style or pattern name associated with it, but I do love the diamond pattern on the drawer.  When they got them, they were missing the tops – glass, marble, whatever they were supposed to be – and so my parents made do with a couple of ill-fitting scraps of too-tall, unattractive marble.

I don’t think these tables survived the 70’s, because as long as I can remember, they sat in the back of our basement, dusty and unused.  When I moved out in 2006, I took the one remaining table with me and resolved to salvage it. Forgive the crappy before picture – it’s all I got.

The top of the table was pretty worn, and the real wood frame and plastic drawer didn’t look the best together.  The brass hardware is cool, too, although it was very tarnished and dirty.  After a whole lot of scrubbing, I decided it would be best to paint the table and the hardware, and figure out something for the tabletop.  I used Rustoleum oil-base enamel in high-gloss black.  I did one coat, sanded with a very find sanding block, and did one more coat.  I can only recommend a very good paint brush for this paint – the foam brush made bubbles, and the cheap brush left bristles in the paint.  Not good! After that, I coated it with one coat of Min-Wax Wipe-On Poly(urethane) and it was good to go!

I also spent a very long time scrubbing the hardware, and while it did get 90% clean, it just wasn’t quite as bright and shiny as I wanted it to be.  I used a spray can of Rustoleum  metal primer and one coat of Rustoleum metallic gold paint on the handles and that seemed to work pretty well.

My biggest problem was figuring out what to do with the tabletop.  I knew I could get another piece of more attractive marble cut, but at 2′ by 2′ I didn’t want to pay that much.  Then I thought about glass, but that didn’t solve what I would do about the fact that you could see into the drawer.  I thought about doing a frosted glass, but that didn’t really fit the style of my living room or the table.  Finally, I decided it would be best to get some sort of patterned paper or fabric to put underneath the glass.  I searched far and wide on fabric and wallpaper websites for a good pattern.  A did see a lot of wallpaper patterns that fit the bill, but they were all sold by the roll, and at at least $80 a roll or higher, that wouldn’t work for my cheap table re-do.  Finally I found a pattern at Premier Prints.

The pattern I decided on is Barber in Black and Gypsy Blue.  I wanted a high contrast pattern at a scale that fit with the table and the room (many fabrics patterns I liked were too small in scale).  This pattern was perfect.  It had the high contrast black and white, and the grey-blue on the parrot matched perfectly with the blue in my living room.  I am also a huge fan of birds (I have two), so it really sold me.

I needed a way to attach the fabric, and that was the toughest thing to figure out.  I got a piece of glass from the local glass shop for $24, and had a remaining 1/2″ or so in depth so that the glass would be flush with the table top rim.  I couldn’t find a piece of plywood at the hardware store – every piece was either just a little too thin or too thick.  I thought about using foam core board (I could since the glass itself was appropriate for holding the weight of whatever was on the table by itself), but I was worried that the foam core might sag over time.  Before I could give that a try, my boyfriend suggested using alumalite.  We got a scrap piece from his dad’s sign shop – it is like foamcore – except instead of two posterboards and foam, its two thin pieces of aluminum with corrugated plastic in the middle.  The right thickness and very sturdy.

I trimmed the fabric and attached it to the alumalite with Krylon Easy-Tack Repositionable Spray Adhesive.  Since I needed just enough tack to keep the fabric smooth on the panel, I went with the lowest-tack adhesive I could find.  I want to be able to pull this fabric off in the future and change things up should my decor change.

So that’s that! It took me over a year to do what should have been MAYBE two days’ worth of work.  The paint and poly for everything was less than $30 total (and I have used it on some other projects too), the fabric was $10 for one yard, and the glass was $25.  So, the table cost me no more than $65 total.

The Great Bedroom Organization of 2011….ties and whatnot

Ok, for such a large amount of organizing needing to be done in that room, this is quite the miniscule project to start with – but I don’t care.  These are the bf’s ties – stored on a hanger (and also, on the coat rack)….

Fancy, huh? Among many other things, the tie situation was not ideal for me – and I really had no clue what form of storage is acceptable for ties, except for one of those super ridiculous rotating tie contraptions you get from the Sharper Image or Brookstone (also not ideal).  Saturday we were at the Nordstrom Rack and the bf finds a tie for the wedding.  The tie table was full of ties packaged like this….

So, long story short, what’s good enough for Nordstrom is good enough for me – enter Target drawer organizers….

…I also took an idea I saw in an Ikea Pax wardrobe on Sunday and got another one for the belts…

Where exactly these organizers will go – in drawers, in the closet, in the cabinets we just bought – is yet to be seen.  So thats it for now…there will be more to come!

The Great Bedroom Organization of 2011….part 1

So as I have mentioned before, my boyfriend and I share an approximately 800 s.f., one bedroom apartment – along with a dog and two birds. I moved in a couple years ago, and with the storage in the basement, I had more than enough space for just myself. I really love the apartment, and so when the bf and I were going to move in together, we decided to stay there, even with the lack of space.  There are not a lot of options in our small neighborhood anyway, and we didn’t want to leave.   The downside of this is that we both have a lot of stuff.  We kept the kitchen, bathroom, and living room free from clutter, but the consequence is that the 15′ by 15′ bedroom is packed to the brim with crap.

The other day, I was looking through my photographs, and I was appalled at how clean and uncluttered the bedroom was pre-bf.  I would show you the “now” shots – but they’re far too embarrassing at the moment.  Here is what my bedroom DID look like when it was just me….

So that was then….now we’ve got two more dressers, another bird, and a whole lotta other stuff. While having this summer “off” from classes, I will be posting my many small projects I do in an attempt to get the bedroom under control…

THE COLORS OF LAS VEGAS

I enjoyed my first trip to Las Vegas, although I couldn’t say that it is my style.  It was definitely sensory overload.  We stayed at the Flamingo in a newly renovated suite.  I did love the mid-century modern style.  We also saw the new Cosmopolitan.  The digital display and feathered-chandeliers in the Bond bar were really cool, as was “The Chandelier”, a multi-story bar ensconced in a giant chandelier of over 2-million crystals. I don’t think the overall look and feel of Las Vegas is something to aspire to in decorating and design in general, but there are certainly cues you can take away and shrink down to one millionth of the scale and excess to use in your own space.  I kind of want a hot pink bathroom after staying at the Flamingo!

The shopping was awesome – our feet hurt after about the fourth hour or so.  We spent Friday night at the Voodoo Lounge, a nightclub at the rooftop of Rio.  I wore a slinky, super form-fitting, brightly colored dress that I would never wear, well, just about anywhere else. Being in a place like Las Vegas you have to play the part, right? It was a good time, but it’s back to reality now…have a great week and Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

~A night time shot of our hotel, the Flamingo Las Vegas~

~ Me at a slot machine at the Flamingo ~

~ A photo of a room at the Flamingo similar to ours ~

~ Some of the features of our hotel room ~

~ My friend Sarah and me at the Voodoo Lounge ~

~ Multi-story Louis Vuitton at CityCenter ~

~ Entrance to the Cosmopolitan ~

~ Bond at the Cosmopolitan ~

~ The Chandelier at the Cosmopolitan ~

~ The Chandelier.  So many crystals! ~

~ Me at the Cosmopolitan ~

~ A blackjack table at the Cosmopolitan ~