refurbishing 101

I found this $20 steal awhile back. I happened across it on Craigslist and negotiated the price down a whole $5! But here’s a little secret: I despise birch, and I think it looks especially cheap on Ikea-style furniture (sorry to any die-hard birch supporters out there!). When I bought it, I asked the man if he thought I could paint it and he said probably not (supposedly laminate is hard to paint). But I was determined to rid my apartment forever of this dismal color, so I began on an unwavering path toward furniture salvation.

Step 1) Hit up Sherwin Williams for advice (or just read this post)

Step 2) Purchase a sanding sponge and paint brush (several dollars each at Target), oil-based primer, and a quart of paint (fun fact: paint stores can color match using a special camera, so I took in one of the off-white shelves as a comparison)

Step 3) Set up something to catch paint (I used garbage bags that I had used as garment bags during my move)

Step 4) Sand the sides you plan to paint

Step 5) Spray on two layers of primer, waiting at least 2 hours between each coating

Step 6) Paint two or three layers, waiting at least 1 hour between each coating

Step 7) Admire your handiwork (most enjoyable while staring at it and sipping a Bud Light)

Remember to wash your paintbrush between use. I forgot to once and had dried flecks of paint everywhere.

And that is how I got from this:

ew

ick

To this: 

ooh

ahh

creative bookshelves

I love collecting dusty paperback books {Michael Crichton novels, books on current events, the occasional chick lit} and cookbooks with cheerful, mouth-watering covers…what better place to store them than creative bookshelves? Nothing will ever take the place of my Ikea 4×4 brown Expedit though {which is going to be a bear to move!}

the american (closet) dream

I realize I risk sounding vapid with this next question:

What girl doesn’t want an awe-inspiring closet, chock-full of multi-colored clothing, cute accessories, and a whole host of purse options?

Guilty as charged (even though I do prefer Target over Gucci).

And with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR closets in my new place, maybe I’ll be one step closer to achieving the American (closet) dream.

the moroccan pouf

Wondering what it is? The Moroccan pouf is a round leather embroidered ottoman.  “They’re also really versatile and can be used for seating, as a foot stool, as a small table, or just to look pretty! Just one pouf is a lovely touch for your living room or bedroom or you can go with multiples” (source).

The enduring and deeply philosophical debate drags on: is the pouf here to stay? In other news, I think the hair pouf (a la Lauren Conrad, not Snookie) should definitely stick around.

Back to the more international pouf. It’s cute, versatile, and comfy, so why not?

get ready for some design inspiration!

As I plan my new apartment, I’m seeking inspiration left and right, and I wanted to share it with you.

First of all, do you know about Pinterest? The website says, “Think of Pinterest as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and ‘follow’ collections created by people with great taste.”

An online inspiration board can’t take the place of my “flesh and blood” corkboard, but it sure can supplement it 🙂

On today’s edition of design inspiration, my favorite room in an apartment- the kitchen. This collection is colorful, functional (do you see the dresser refurbished as a kitchen island?), and (mostly) apartment-sized.

(click on the picture to go to my full Pinterest board of kitchens)

trays, trays everywhere

who doesn’t love trays?

they’re great to hold glasses and bottles for an at-home mini-bar.

they’re great to hold books and magazines on your bed.

they’re great to use for serving food and drinks to guests.

they’re great for serving afternoon tea.

they’re great in the bathroom or on a vanity for perfume bottles and make up.

they’re great for organizing office supplies.

they’re great for hold mail and keys.

they’re great for serving cristina breakfast in bed (anyone? anyone?)

a foyer?!

Did you see that? Look again.

Yes, I have a foyer. How grown up is that?! Not to mention both a linen closet and a hall closet.

And for a fraction of the cost of DC rent.

Although I plan to keep my current furniture and decor, I will need to buy more since I am almost doubling my space! Changes I’ll be making:

  • Photos for the hallway (maybe a Raleigh side and a DC side?)
  • Making good use of that awesome foyer
  • A revamped bathroom (I wonder the apartment policy on painting. My bathroom in high school was seafoam green with white accessories and I loved that)
  • A display of my Washington, DC and North Carolina coffee table photo books
  • So much amazing closet space!
  • Perhaps investing in a real dining room table (as opposed to the adorable white Ikea table I have now, which I still love but isn’t cut out for more than two people)
  • Establishing a home office space in the expansive living room area
  • Possibly a mini bar?!
I have countless other design ideas, so stay tuned for more blog posts featuring Pinterest images!

stumbled upon: links to good, fascinating, and just plain odd content

Cooking/Drinks

General

Savory

Sweet

Everyday Living

Incredibly Random

Harmonized Living is up!

Sorry for the delay in posting, long (but incredibly awesome day!) day promoting LivingSocial’s $1 Lunch Day! Yup, we gave thousands of DC residents lunch for just $1. THAT is winning!

Check out Harmonized Living’s first (real) post- Peppermint Green Daring Pairing!

Transition period

Soo I’ve officially moved to NC for the summer. It hasn’t exactly been a smooth transition- we have so much to do with the townhouse, so it’s been a bit chaotic and stressful. I have no doubt that in the next week we’ll feel more settled in and HAPPY.

On the plus side, I’ve interviewed with some great babysitting families, ran lots of important errands, been Bob the Builder (put together our furniture), signed up for Habitat for Humanity, got an apartment in DC, and joined the coolest gym.

My last few days in DC were great. On Cinco de Mayo my friend and I accidentally ended up on a huge boat on the Georgetown Harbor…again! I’ve decided that my first “grown up” investment will be a boat, because there is nothing like hanging out on a boat on a beautiful summer night.

I’m trying to think of ways to decorate my studio next year so I’ve been looking at pictures online. My inspiration:

I love looking at all of the rooms on ApartmentTherapy.com.

Clearly I’m ALL about the colors. I’m aiming for an eclectic but put-together look. Any advice?