Couch Shopping

It’s time to retire our couch. I’m currently sinking deep into the cushions, and the fabric on the armrest on Anthony’s side is starting to disintegrate. We had an Ikea couch that broke shortly after we moved into our house 5 years ago, then we bought this pink plaid one from a discount furniture place in Connecticut and loved it ever since. It’s definitely seen better days.

We need something substantial – comfy and sturdy, without being too boxy or modern. I really like a cute little antique settee or chaise in a crazy pattern, but we need something a lot more practical this time. We’re also considering a sectional, which would allow us to get rid of the love seat that we’re not in love with (ha ha) and make the whole room a big comfy couch.

I am starting to look around for options – here are the top contenders so far:

Blake Sofa from West Elm

Walton Sectional from West Elm

Portico Sofa from Crate and Barrel

Dual Sectional from CB2

Genoa Sofa from Overstock

Belgian Shelter Arm Sofa Chaise from Restoration Hardware

Sorenson Sofa from Restoration Hardware

Craft Room in Use

My favorite place in our house is my craft room/office. On days when I’m having trouble getting motivated, being in there really helps me focus and be inspired. I was tempted to pull out the extra supplies and boxes from work currently in progress, but I decided to show you what it actually looks like IN USE.

My desk is in one corner in front of my peg board. I try to put things back in their original places so I don’t spend too much time searching for bits and pieces in the middle of a project. On the wall right next to the window, I made a big bulletin board from pieces of foam insulation covered in colorful fabric. I have been using it to hang some samples of printed pieces, work in progress, tiny things I don’t want to lose, and some glitter letters I made for banners and gift tags.The crazy color and pattern combo might not be for everyone, but I sure love it!On the next wall, we have an old futon that I covered with an Ikea duvet. It is sometimes covered in clothes, shopping bags, boxes, and other junk, but I cleaned it off just for you! The room does double duty as a guest room when we have visitors, and sometimes Anthony comes and sits on it and hangs out with meThe bulk of my stuff is stored in this big Ikea Expedit unit on the next wall. I need to work on my fabric stash, which is just piled on top, but the white and pink bins are pretty organized, and I use the open shelves for samples, binders of my work, colored paper (in the blue and white boxes) and different types of white paper (in the open trays). The pink bins all have labels on the outside to remind me what’s inside them, and every once in a while I open them up and go through them so they don’t get too filled up with stuff I don’t use. The white bins are awesome and I got them from Target. Here’s the inside of the one that holds my extra ribbon.I am so lucky to have this space and the projects I get to work on in here! 

Bathroom Update

Anthony is off to Chicago for work this week, so I needed a project to keep myself busy while he’s gone. I have been wanting to make some updates to our bathroom for a while now, so this is a perfect time. I bought some Martha Stewart Paint in Azurite (a nice deep blue) when we moved into the apartment, and I also have some yellow chevron fabric that I bought a few months ago for curtains.

I found some great stuff online to add to my blue and yellow theme.

There are a ton of issues with the room that I have to fix before I start accessorizing, and I am working on some good ideas for art and some small plants.

Fabric-Backed Bookshelf

Right before Thanksgiving I bought a very basic bookcase from Target for the other end of our long hallway. Anthony has a ton of books, and we needed extra space to store them all. I didn’t want to leave it completely plain, so before I nailed on the back panel, I lined it with double-stick tape and covered it with fabric. I finished the bookshelf according to the instructions, nailing the back panel in place. The shelf looked great empty, but we realized that either the walls or floors are crooked. Sigh. That is the fun of living in an old building.I am working on getting the arrangement of books and pictures just right on the shelves, and I am also going to add some shims under the base to try and straighten it out a bit.

Easy Kitchen Curtains

It took me a while to decide on the kind of curtains I wanted to make for our kitchen. I finally made them yesterday after looking at tons of different pictures for inspiration, and I am pretty happy with the result.
I was kind of making it up as I went along, so I took pictures and wrote down the steps just in case I ever want to make them again. I started with 3 yards of Amy Butler Midwest Modern print, plus an equal amount of lining fabric. I used a little less than a yard for each window.

The window in the picture is 33″ wide (measured from the outside of the frame), so I added an inch for seam allowance and cut 34″ lengthwise and used the width of the fabric with just the selvedge trimmed off. Then I cut an equal size piece of lining fabric and pinned the 2 pieces together with the right sides facing.
Then I sewed down 3 sides (left, right and bottom), and turned it inside-out like a pillowcase. Once the piece was inside-out, I pressed the edges.
I sewed the edges again, just to make sure that the curtain would lay flat, then I decided to add some pleats to the bottom.
I folded over the bottom edge 3 inches and pressed the fold, then sewed 1 inch in to create a pleat.
Then I folded the fabric over again, 3 inches from the previous pleat, pressed and sewed 1 inch from the fold again.I repeated the pleating step again, and added a third one.

That was enough for me, so I finished up by creating a rod pocket on the top of the curtain and I was all done! I am definitely still a beginner at sewing, and this project could not have been easier.

The kitchen still needs some work, and I need to paint the window frames over the kitchen sink before I can hang the curtains.

Long Hallway

One of the things that is helping me feel settled in our new apartment is hanging pictures on the wall. Yesterday I finally got around to hanging our collection of original drawings from Sam Brown in our very long hallway.

Anthony and I have been joking that we get all of our exercise from walking up and down the hall, since our living room is at the front of the apartment, and the kitchen is at the back. Since I had seven framed drawings, I wanted to space them evenly on one side of the hall. I started by measuring the entire length of the hall (it came out to 35 feet), and then dividing by 8 since I had 7 pictures to hang. I ended up with 4.375, but rounded down to 4.25 in order to make it easier on myself.

I marked the wall with painters’ tape at regular intervals, 4.25 feet apart. You can see the tape and the shelves I put in the cabinet at one end of the hall in this picture.

Once I marked off the wall, I measured for the hooks 14 inches up from the moulding. I like to use picture hanging hooks whenever possible, as the little pins don’t need to go too far into the wall and cause much less damage than regular nails or screws.

Then I hung the frames, and it was done!
Since we spend so much time walking back and forth in this hall, it’s nice to have something good to look at. I still need to put something at the far end of the hall, and it looks like we’ll end up with a bookcase, since we have an overabundance of books in the house. I am going to start searching craigslist and thrift shops for something solid that I can paint a fun color. The carpet in the hall is an ugly brown industrial berber, so I may end up trying to find a runner to put over it as well.

Dining Room – Progress

I have spent some time getting our dining room put together over the past few days. I finally ordered fabric and made curtains for the 2 windows. Everything is very blue on this wall now, so I am going to make some colorful pillows for the 2 white armchairs.
Yesterday I hung some picture frames from our old house. I had more frames than pictures, so I filled some in with quotes that I like. Our building is very old, and it seems like the walls are made of concrete in some places. Since it is so hard to get nails in the wall, I used Command Adhesive strips to hang the frames. I’m thinking of adding floor lamps with interesting shades next to each of the white chairs.
One of the biggest differences between this apartment and our old house is the height of the ceilings. Even though the dining room has a drop ceiling, it is still much higher than our former dining room. I am having trouble getting the scale right with the tiny furniture from our old house, but in the meantime I really like the extra space. This oil painting on the opposite wall was a wedding gift, and I like the way it warms up the color in the room.
I finally framed and hung my Paul Ferney Cake Prints on the inside wall. I really like the way they look together and I am looking for a small table to put under the prints. It would be so fun to use for desserts during a party.
Now that the kitchen and dining room are in a good place, I am going to move on to getting my craft room organized.

Kitchen Progress!

The kitchen cabinets came out great and only took about 2 days of work and less than $100. There are a few more things I need to do in the kitchen before it is complete, but I wanted to share some pictures of my progress so far.
The girl at the paint store recommended Sherwin Williams Adhesion Primer, which did not require pre-sanding. It was fantastic, and saved me a ton of time and energy.

I had originally wanted to buy new hinges and knobs, but when I saw how expensive they were, I decided to give spray painting the existing ones with Krylon Metallic Spray Paint in Oil-Rubbed Bronze. They came out great and the spray-painting process was so easy, I decided to spray the old brown hood over the stove. It was a big improvement!

Yesterday I unpacked most of our kitchen boxes and put everything away. As I was working, I made a list of the things I need to do before the kitchen is perfect:

1. Find bright, cheery fabric for curtains.
2. Paint the window trim glossy white (and maybe the toe kicks too).
3. Add some removable wallpaper as the backsplash.

Floorplanner

We’re ready to move into the apartment, but the movers didn’t have a date until 9/6, so I have a lot of time to get everything ready and make sure I know where everything should go.

I used Floorplanner to create a floor plan and see how the furniture we have will fit into the space. Some of the rooms are a lot bigger than our old house, and some of the rooms are smaller. Here is the layout:

Once I had the measurements for the space, it was easy to draw the rooms. Floorplanner has standard-size furniture icons that I dropped into the layout and positioned where I wanted everything. As soon as I got all the furniture in place, I realized that there are a few things that we need to address:

1. The loooooooooong hallway without windows. We had it painted white on top and light gray on the bottom, since it could get pretty dark. I have several framed drawings from Exploding Dog, which I can space out down the wall. I still think I am going to need more art to keep things interesting and bright. I love these photo ledges from Ana White, but the hall may be too long to make it work.

2. Storage in the dining room. Our old dining area was tiny, so we only have a small table and 6 chairs, plus a 2 x 8 Expedit shelf from IKEA. I am going to start looking for some kind of cabinet like this one from Decor8, but I doubt I’ll be able to find one in my price change (which is about $0).

3. My office/craft room’s secret identity as a guest room. We need to keep our old futon in the office for when we have guests sleeping over. It’s not the nicest looking piece of furniture, but it is a necessity that I have to live with.

The first (and biggest) challenge that I am going to tackle is probably crazy. I am going to paint the really ugly laminate kitchen cabinets. I did a bunch of googling, and apparently it’s possible. I’m headed to Home Depot tomorrow to pick up the supplies, then I’m going to get to work. Fun!

Perfect Patterns

Our apartment is painted and ready for us to move in, but I am having a little trouble finding a mover to take our stuff out of storage and bring it up to the third floor in the next 2 weeks. I’m really anxious to get settled again, and there are several projects that I can’t wait to start.

The first thing that I will tackle are curtains. Our old house had nice wooden blinds on all of the windows, so we didn’t have to think bout curtains. This apartment has really tall old windows, and I am thinking of making curtains for every room. I spent some time today looking for fabric, and it seems like lots of sites are having great sales right now.

Here are some of my favorites so far:

1. Dwell Studio Sketch
2. Dwell Studio Gate
3. Amy Butler Daisy Chain Bouquet
4. Thom Felicia Citysquare
5. Premier Prints ZigZag
6. Amy Butler Daisy Chain Clematis
7. Robert Allen @ Home Binaria
8. Braemore Fioretto Sprout

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