Category Archives: My Apartment

Curtains: Making the best decision for your budget.

Today as I hibernate indoors away from the 90º heat and ultra humidity I am working on my curtains.  One thing about being on a budget in designing your space is having to make sacrifices on the things you want, for the things you need.  As for now, I’m spending money on having my AC blasted while saving money on paying someone to sew my curtains.  Curtains can be extremely expensive, even if you’re doing it on your own.  One thing is for sure, I could not pay for someone to sew my drapes for me, but even the cost of all the materials needed, was a bit of a surprise to me.  I know I wouldn’t want anything pre-made from the catalogues because I wouldn’t say that my style isn’t cookie cutter.  So when coming up with curtain ideas, I first thought about the basic elements that I wanted the pattern to have.  Those elements include, being classic yet relevant for today, lots of movement, colorful, and whimsical and lastly, a larger repeat.  Next I picked through tears sheets and my design library.  That led me to an old Domino article that I had saved about chintz and floral fabrics, which I loved.

I also found a tear sheet I had saved from a Brunschwig & Fils Bird and Thistle advertisement.  This fabric fit the bill perfectly, but costing over $100 per yard, I knew I couldn’t afford it at full price.

So my first choice was to wait for it to go on sale, but after a few months of not seeing it on my favorite discount websites, I had to settle for something else.  I researched several companies and fabrics, ordered lots of swatches, as you can see below.  I ended up chosing the fabric on the top left of the below montage.

It’s from Calico Corners, the name is Darjeeling, It was $19.00 p/yard.  When I ordered it from the website I didn’t think I would like it, but the pattern and the colors coordinate perfectly in my livingroom.  It also has the closest resemblance to the Brunschwig fabric.  In long run, I think having to source out other options has given me a better result. It’s a good thought to take with you when shopping around in the future.  To have the best design I think you really have to do your research, and probably not jump on the first thing you like, because you may regret those purchases later.

The one concern I had in the beginning about making my curtains myself was, if I could do it or not.  To be honest it’s not hard, it just takes a lot of time and patience. I found a great post from the blog Design Sponge that was a major help in the sewing process.  If you’re interested in that post please click {here}.  I’m pretty sure I re-posted this article several months ago when I was still researching fabrics, but it doesn’t hurt to post it again!

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fourth floor walk up . . . for real

It’s hot now in New York, and Muggy and gross. My fourth floor apartment is especially hot, and muggy and gross.  It really doesn’t help that we’re the top floor, all the heat escapes from the roof in the winter and the sun bakes us in the summer.  Yesterday I sent the ‘ol boyfriend to Home Depot to buy us a ceiling fan. Yes, they’re ugly and sometime gross too, but they really do help, especially when you’re watching your budget, (and the environment) and you do not want to turn the AC on.  Last summer I found a beautiful solution to an ugly problem, with a price tag of $47.97 in New York City you can’t go wrong with this fan.  The simple white globe light is included (it does not look that yellow) and it is really easy to install.

To Order: HomeDepot.com

Well I wouldn’t quite call it beautiful, but the fan is unobtrusive to a room and it works well when you use it in a smallish room – my living room is 12′ x 12′ and my kitchen is 10′ x 12′.

Fan pictured in my living room:

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Welcome . . . . to my home.

A quality entrance is key in any place and even though a lot of New York apartments may seem too small, creating an entrance can actually enhance the size of the space.  When you create separate areas and break up the space by matter of use not only can your quaint little apartment feel more organized, but also more interesting and yes a tiny bit bigger.   I am actually trying to come up with a good concept for my entrance way.  Before photos will not be attached as of yet, so please use your imagination. It’s more like a wall to the left of the door that holds a calendar/organizer with an Ipod dock, a small cabinet for menus and the mail, and our keys.  You can see it from all rooms of the apartment except for the bathroom. It’s cluttered and boring and so UNINSPIRING!

A little while back I was in Barnes and Noble free-browsing the design books and found the Domino Book of Decorating.  I know, it came out forever ago but I never bought it because I saved all my Domino magazines and felt silly to be buying basically the same thing all over again (that is a neutered version.)  What is nice about this book is how it is organized.  There was a complete section on entryway ideas and it definitely inspired me to work on mine.  In the photograph below, I really enjoy the pattern and the shoe bin. We have a messy shoe bin now, but its not a bright blue like that! Can I see a bottle of spray paint in the future?

I also discovered this lovely installment from apartment therapy because they’re amazing, it’s 10 Different Ways to Organize and Entryway.  I have listed the way below, all taken from Apartment Therapy.

1 Cabinet and Mirror


2 Wall-Mounted for a Small Space ( This one is so cool! I just can’t even imagine where you could find such a thing? So convenient right?!


3 Alcove Bench

4 A Hallway Coat Rack ( I actually really the display case fixture for a jewelry store. I really like its look and the design of the two different legs. Oh and check out that boot rack! Its a great idea. I think I may have to steal that. It would be so easy to make, buy a few dowels of your choice in diameter  and a 4″ x 4″ peice of wood. Then cut and drill and viola! You have a cute and small boot rack. )

5 Use What You’ve Got (This entrance table is so cute, I love the paint job.  I also like how they leaned some images against the wall to make it a little more casual.  The large bowl looks like a stylish catch all, coin and keys bowl.)

• 6 A Table with Stools (This is a good idea for putting your shoes on, however I don’t know how much it would work in a small space, it definitely wouldn’t work in my place.)

•7 Trope l’Oeil (This is what I’m thinking about doing with my place, maybe an image of a city street that if you look at from another room would feel almost realistic.  I’m sure any environmental image/space would creative a feeling of depth and more size in the room.)

• Buit-in (Love built ins!!)

•9 Hooks and Cubbies (This photograph below is a great way to display your scarves, bags, coats, hats, etc. It also looks great empty.)

10 Organized Desk (Yum just love the colors in this image. The wallpaper is so dynamic.)

I personally think the best entryways have a punch, that includes either a strong color, pattern or even a quirky idea that adds appeal by way of its concept.  What am I thinking about doing? Well definitely an interesting color or wallpaper or even paint by number sort of a thing on the wall.  I’m not sure if I want to go all out and use my intense accent color of Tiffany Blue, or a richer yellow or even a dark grey.  the entryway is in the kitchen by the way so it needs to fit in with this color story. This view is what you basically see when you enter the apartment, if you look to your left you will see the area that I’m going to redo.  Please see below:

If you’re interested in any of the photos, all of them were found through http://www.apartmenttherapy.com, with the exception of the last one. photography taken and owned by Lauren Gries.

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Dreaming about my bedroom . . .

Beds and bedrooms that I dream about:

(found on Lonnymag.com)

Thank you Livingetc.com for the majority of these indulgences.

Here’s a rendering of what I’m picturing for my bedroom. Minus the finishing touches like the drapes and bedspread.

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Design Crisis

How come whenever I have a question about what to do in my apartment I can’t find any answers?  I have to super search for what I’m looking for. This time its what to do when you have a really long, narrow room. How do you incorporate your bed? below is my apartment’s floor plan. The layout is how it was when I moved in, which for a while worked.

Last night however, I decided I hated my bedroom and needed a change.  I moved my bed against the back wall, with the window.  I’m fighting the feng shui in every way possible, but really there’s nothing else I can do. I’ve tried them all.  I checked out a few images on Apartment therapy that showed a bed in front of a window and some I liked, others I did not. I was thinking about making the curtain go all the way across, but the one image that really bugged me was the one that had those curtains.

Yes:

No:

The empty room before my bf built the wall.

This moving my bed around has also made me think about how I do live in New York and a lot of time when you live in a small space you have to just give up what you ideally would want  your place to look like and actually do what looks best for your space.

Apartment Therapy: Bed In front of window

Apartment Therapy: Bed in front of window take 2

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Moving right along

The living room is finally coming along. I’m now deciding on fabrics and waiting for my lovely to finish building the “fire”place/TV cabinet.  Here are a few before and after photos, its still a work in progress but for now, this is how we’re living.

This wall is where our couch sits, I do not have a before image.

This is the wall with the windows on it. Before:

This photo was taken at night, so of course the ambience does not fee right, but here is the After:

Another picture with the sunlight coming in. After:

I really want to recover that chair, so I have spent the time photoshopping different colors onto the chair.  The three colors I chose at the D&D building are silk velvet, and I picked them so that they will work in both the living room (with both kinds of curtains that I have) and the bedroom.  I think for the chair I’m going to go with one of the blues and use the tangerine color as an accent pillow.


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Progress

I have included a few pictures of little details in my kitchen. Of course with these photos I can edit out the bad stuff. So I haven’t included an “after” photo of the the whole room. But here are a few of my favorite parts.
bienvenue

This is our welcome sign. I bought in Alsace when I was visiting my family this summer. The knobs I bought for our pantry at the Home Depot. They were only about $2.00. What a steal!

good dog

This is Wesley’s new water and food bowl.  I had been thinking about buying this cute bowl for a while but I wasn’t too excited that it was $15.00. But after thinking about it for 3 weeks I went back and bought two. They just work so well with our kitchen. The company who makes them is called Harry Barker and I bought them at Three Tiny Terriers pet boutique.

countertop

This is just a picture of our counter top. I decided one day after being inspired by John Derian, to decoupage my own stuff, the two containers are from Michael’s craft stores and the flowers are cut out from paper I bought at a local paper store.  The hot plate was a great find that was on sale at Anthropologie.

shelf

This shelf is a collaboration of finds and favorites. The shelf itself I grabbed from storage in my parents barn. I repainted with a sample can from Benjamin Moore, the color is called Overcast. The owls and letter mugs are from Anthropologie, the Zebra was a gift from my boyfriend. He found it in Berlin, Germany. The chinese containers are antiques that my mother gave me and the tray is a 19th century painted tray.

I hope my color scheme is coming through. Because I live in a rental, I have to keep the cabinets and countertops. The cabinets are that light oak wood, the counter is laminate in dark speckled grey and the back splash is white.  I have painted the walls a subtle yellow called Standhope Yellow from Benjamin Moore. (It was the closest find to Pale Hound (Farrow & Ball) that I could find.) The trim and french door is painted Overcast, a very light grey.  My accent color is that Tiffany-esq blue with black & white accessories.  I can’t wait to finish the roman shade and chairs. Those images will be coming soon, maybe when I have an image of the whole room.

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