Friday, August 9, 2013

My Always Evolving Project

I moved into my apartment last year April and it's not done and is constantly being redone. My poor husband and baby have to put up with me rearranging everything and I always want him to love what I've done. He's not great with change so by the time he likes something, I've decided to change it; It's a tough cycle for him. My apartment is my free zone to experiment with different lay outs, color combinations and materials. When you first move into a place it's hard to know how the space will be used and I found with myself that it took some time to find a good balance with my apartment after I was living in it. Maybe I'll start telling future clients that I'll do a better job if I move into their home for a short while.

So let's look at my place when we first moved in:

Entry ways are always the best way to showcase your style. Even if you don't have an actual entry way it's easy to create one. In the beginning mine was the picture above. A vase full of branches and multiple gold flower bowls. Two things could of been going on in my head; it was hard for me to decide between three of the same things so I just displayed all of them or I thought we would be sharing an apartment with other families so we would need a lot of space for keys.

This is the entry way now and I settled on one gold flower bowl and it's more than enough. The shell necklace I purchased on a trip home to Australia. I was told it was a tribal head piece but it could easily be shells sewn onto fabric. Either way I love it, and the orchid is perfect there, it brings in color and height.

I once got a sample of fabric that I loved and instead of using it I framed it.

The apartment isn't this dark, it's the lighting of this picture. The table, lamps and accessories are all great, but it feels very empty and that dorm-like window stands out like a sore thumb. A tip for my old self, if you're going to buy an awesome bronze mail stand, make sure you fill it up with mail instead of two pieces of paper bent over like that. I feel hopeless looking at that mail, it's so depressing.

The curtains do an amazing job at hiding that window and adding some layers. Those curtains are actually from Target, yes Target. Nate Berkus designed a home line for them and I got those for under $50. The grey works well against the woods and do you see how we've grown in the mail receiving department? It's now full of promise (and bills). I also added a small set of drawers to help hide the cords from the lamps because they just added to the depressing feeling.

We have a third room when you walk into the apartment, it's a really nice addition and I love the french doors. I don't love what I originally filled it up with. Using a room with french doors to store luggage is never a good idea- people can see it right when they walk in. The lamp was appealing to me at first because of the mid century shape of it but after I got home it started to look like a  soldiers helmet. The lay out of the room is not great, the couch at the end of the room is hard to get to through an over sized desk and wall of suitcases that makes you feel like you're at baggage claim.

Here's a shot of the room from the other side, it's just more helmet and a fake orchid that miraculously managed to die. Another helpful tip, don't place a bookshelf in front of a french door.

So I moved the room around, creating more floor space. The desk is now smaller and fits into that space by the door and only takes up a small portion of the room. I love the plants in the room, that room is full of windows so it's a great place to have plants. The rug and floor pillows make the room lounge-y and comfortable. Another great tip, Home Goods is always worth a try- that rug was $90 and it's so gorgeous and durable.

I wanted to add some excitement to the leopard and black pillows but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I went to Walmart and found the gold and silver material and took the fabric to a dressmaker to make the pillows and I'm very happy with the result. I should take all these good ideas and become a designer.

So this is a cute start to something that will later evolve into something that actually looks good. The first thing I've learnt since then is to get a rug that fits the size of the room. This purple rug looks like an over sized play mat, it actually makes this open space feel smaller. The nothingness on top of the couch obviously does nothing for the room (don't judge me I was waiting for the right thing- which is advice I would pass on) The pillows were ok for the first few days but then I started getting a lot of complaints about the amount of pillows on the couch. A tip, if the back of the couch is made up of pillows you probably don't need to add 'throw pillows.' That is a bad idea. And it's also a good idea to have extra seating for guests. When we would have guests over my husband and I would pretend we liked standing while watching a movie because it helped the blood flow.

So the framed print above the couch adds a tremendous amount to the room, it's always good to wait to find something great rather than a fill in. The throw and blue tray add some color to the room, and having extra seating definitely helps the room. I'm still not crazy about those white side tables, I'm in the process of getting new ones. 

The mirror is still there and just get better. Mirrors always add light and space to a room. That's one thing that hasn't changed yet.

This is the dining area with lots of potential. The gallery wall of black and white trees I still love. I took those while I was by Central Park once, although they're hanging a little too high and so is that art piece. Tip; if you need to tilt your neck up to see what's hanging up on the wall, don't bother because it's not worth it. The light fixture is not good at all but it's something that's not worth fixing while renting for a few years. 
The second picture is the other wall in the dining room. The painting is very sentimental to the family, and I love it so we put it up. The painting desperately needs a frame which I haven't done yet. When I hung the painting I decided to add a shelf and try channeling some Emily Henderson styling, but that blew up in my face. (For any Arrested Development fans, the Tobias quote "I just blew myself" seems appropriate.)

So the shelf was replaced by the this perfect book shelf. Someone I know was moving so I got lucky and bought it off her, I love it and I will eventually be putting books there. The shelves add so much more detail and interest to the room.

I don't know if this close up makes the shelves and styling look better or worse.

So to sum up my tips;
-fake orchids can die just like real orchids
-you never need three of exactly the same thing
-it's better not to have a rug than to have one that's too small
-Stay away from any floor lamps that have helmet tops
-luggage should be in a storage room or garage
-Don't underestimate the power of flea markets; those two black arm chairs were under $200

I haven't finished the bedrooms yet but when I do I will happily write a follow up post.