on interior design (and barbies)

chesterfield sofa

not my apartment but i wish it was.


not my apartment but i wish it was, part II

sometimes, when i think about alternate careers for myself, i think that i could be happy as an interior designer. like most people in the pinterest age, i can spend hours scrolling through inspirational images, pinning selects from my favorite interior design blogs or paging through elle decor and martha stewart living. i watch enough hgtv that i could be considered a certifiable addict – you might as well check me into hgtv rehab (so long as there are 600 thread count egyptian cotton sheets on my hospital bed). but when i think back, i’ve been “designing” in my head since i was a little girl. as a child, i rearranged my room on the regular. i was always finding a new corner for my bed, a new bookshelf, a new way to angle my desk so that it caught the sunlight while i was doing my homework. i got endless amounts of pleasure out of repainting old furniture and picking out new bedding for my room (i still have the laura ashley sheet set that christened my “big girl bed” the day i went from a single bed to a full mattress).


not my apartment but i wish it was part III

but it goes beyond that. i know i’m not alone in saying i was obsessed with barbies. but i was really, truly obsessed with my dolls, way past the age when such a thing was considered cool or appropriate. i’m pretty sure i didn’t pack away my barbies until the sixth grade, at which point, even mentioning the word barbie was tantamount to wearing my underwear on the outside of my pants to school each day. note: i was never a particularly cool child, in any sense of the word.

my barbies were my solace. they were my friends when i couldn’t get any play dates, my confidantes when no one else would listen. they were aesthetically pleasing in a way i knew i’d never be. they could grow up in any family i assembled for them (not the “weird” one i was convinced i had, what with two lesbian mothers and an adopted sister – a hybrid, millennial family that people had yet to figure out how to handle). my barbies could spend their entire day in the swimming pool and then head back to the mansion and watch tv all day long if they wanted to. they could cut their hair into a pixie and still be pretty. they didn’t go to school, they went to the mall. they didn’t report into their parents – they were supervised by a pair of twin skippers (older sisters, of course).

the stories i made up for my barbies – well, let’s just say they were likely an indication that i might be a writer someday; they were blasphemous and overly imaginative and not at all realistic. i mean, let’s be honest: not many families are comprised of two sets of twin older sisters with deliciously sexy ken dolls as boyfriends, and a bevy of younger sisters (also with two sets of twins) who ran the house because their parents had died in a beyond tragic plane crash on their way to barbados.

beyond making up stories for my dolls, i decked their “house” out to the nines. my childhood playroom had an entire wall of built in shelving; i cleared out my other toys to ensure that the first two rows of shelves could be dedicated to the most palatial barbie house anyone had ever seen. with twelve rooms of varying sizes, my barbies had it made. i used wrapping paper and fabric to “wallpaper” the walls, and was constantly rearranging the furniture in each room, parking the convertible on the rug outside the house, setting up the inflatable swimming pool (with real water!) and ensuring that older and younger sisters were constantly battling over whose room got to keep the big wardrobe full of barbie couture.


hello, dream room.

how i wish i’d taken pictures of my barbie mansion. i may not have ended up an interior designer, but i do take great pride in decorating my own little new york abode – my very own barbie palace. i’m proud to say there’s a lot less hot pink in my current home than there was in the home i created for my barbies, but there’s still a bunch of pops of color here and there.

over the years, as i’ve cultivated my tastes and figured out what makes a house a home, i’ve realized how important design can be. of course, it’s a luxury – that goes without saying. but for those of us who do have the disposable income to decorate (and i’m a big believer in budget design; half of my furniture was bought 75% off on craigslist or found in the trash room in my building), there’s much to be said about creating your very own sanctuary. as a child, my barbies were my escape, and their “home” my sanctuary. now that i’m (reasonably and technically) an adult, i have the opportunity to create my very own sanctuary, to fill my apartment with things that make me smile when i walk through the door.


robert allen’s geometric velvet in magenta

all of which brings me to the exciting news that i’ve splurged on three new pillows for my living room couch (part of my 2013 living room makeover; you may recall that i’m planning on a new gallery wall as well) and i can’t wait for them to arrive. so i thought i’d show them to you, my dear readers (the few of you that there are).

i purchased two pillows in robert allen’s velvet geometric purple fabric (purchased on etsy from this seller) as well as a ivory mongolian throw pillow that i’ve been lusting after for months (literally, months – how pathetic am i?). mongolian fur has been all the rage in design for the past few years, but i’m hoping it doesn’t go away anytime soon. i’m all about faux (always faux) fur – it’s so cozy, isn’t it? i have a pottery barn faux fur blanket that i keep on the end of my bed in the winter months, and it literally calls my name the second i get home: “sarah, come snuggle with me! you don’t need a boyfriend, you’ve got me!”


my new white fluffy baby.

as if, PB blanket. i still need a boyfriend – but i do love you. i also love west elm’s mongolian pillows, but they’re exorbitantly expensive for a girl on a budget – which is why i was delighted to find this white one on etsy for just $25. SCORE.


lambswool desk chair. swoon.

want to see some other examples of mongolian lambswool coziness? i got you covered. whether you’re putting it on a stool, a desk chair, a pillow, a floor – there’s really nothing more snuggly. and let’s face it, all we want to do in our homes is snuggle, right? and watch reruns of revenge and law and order : SVU on repeat. what? that’s just me? you mean you don’t sit on your couch on friday nights catching up on the week’s DVR list and eating haagen dazs out of the carton? you losers.  but really – don’t you want that office below to be yours? don’t you just want to sleep in a pile of lambswool pillows? no? that’s just me again. well, fine. if you need me, i’ll be off talking to my barbies about the importance of mongolian lambswool in my living room.


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