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My Apartment

bedroommakeover

 

why hello print | mirror | pouf | task lamp | storage baskets | rug | campaign dresser | nightstand

 

i don’t know what it is about the month of september, but every time fall rolls around, i get this undeniable itch to redecorate. i want my home to change with the seasons, i want to start fresh, i want to throw out everything i own and start from scratch. now, i can’t afford to throw everything out and start from scratch (and honestly, even if i could, that would be incredibly wasteful and i’d never recommend it to anyone), i can put together a little mood board and start saving for a few pieces to redecorate.

i’ve been living in my little corner of new york city for five years now, and every so often, i splurge on a piece to make my space feel like home – but my bedroom has remained pretty much unchanged since i moved in. i’ve never regretted my moody gray walls, they make the space feel at once light and cozy, and i love my white bedding more than life itself. my bed is like a giant cloud, and i wouldn’t have it any other way. but my storage has seen better days. i’ve got two dresser in my room (oops, #clotheshorse): an antique chinoiserie style one that belonged to my grandma and that i’ll never get rid of (but it could use a good refinishing), and a cheap ikea piece i bought off craigslist and painted a pale pink. my nightstand is an antique i found in the basement of my building next to the trash cans (you wouldn’t believe the stuff people throw away in new york city!), and while it’s cute, it’s seen better days. i’ve also got a large leather armchair i found on the corner of 61st and 1st (bedbugs be damned) and hustled home that very afternoon a few years ago. my rug isn’t the right size for the space, and my TV is placed just a bit too high for late night movie watching.

all small things, sure – but the moral of the story is, my bedroom could use a little love. i’m a big believer in investing in your home (it’s a luxury to be able to do so, of course), because it’s the cornerstone of your life, and the place you come home to each night. give me the choice between an expensive handbag and an expensive piece of furniture and i’d pick the furniture any day. i’ve been super inspired by this room lately, and it’s got me craving a few splurges. i’d like to get a rug that actually fits my space, get some blinds that are a little bit nicer than my ikea curtains and shitty curtain rods, and maybe even get a mirror that isn’t the target version i found in the attic of our rented house senior year of college.

i mean, i’m 28 years old. i think i can get a real mirror, right? above are the items i’m thinking of. i’ll probably go for the rug first (a dash and albert striped beauty), then the mirror, some chic lighting from target, and some cheeky new art from etsy. those nightstands from serena and lily are to die for, but they’re pricey, and when i was home in massachusetts this past weekend, i snagged some old school mahogany side tables for an incredible $80 at an estate sale down the street. god bless suburbia, i tell you.

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KIMS-APT-ENTRY_046on tuesday night, i instagrammed this photo of my hotel room with the hashtag #realgrownup. i was on a trip for work in philadelphia, and was staying at a sheraton, in a room with a giant king size bed that i had all to myself. and as i took off my makeup, washing off the day, and changed out of my fancy ‘meet the clients for the first time’ dress into my leggings and sweatshirt, i had a little moment of “holy shit, i am a real grownup.”

i know it sounds silly. i am a real grownup in a lot of ways. for starters, i just turned 28, which is definitely real grownup territory. i have a good job where i make good money. i have a nice apartment that i pay for all on my own. in fact, i pay for everything i do all on my own: my vacations, my (expensive cult class) exercise habit, my many orders of takeout sushi and my shopping excursions. i am a decidedly separate entity from the family unit in which i grew up. the live i live is mine -though i share it with other people – it’s no one else’s.

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sure, i don’t have children, or a serious relationship (the latter i’d take right away, the former i want eventually), but beyond those missing pieces, i’m doing fairly well at being an adult (there were some serious roadbumps when i first graduated college). i am, for all intents and purposes, a legitimate, real, grownup.

that being said, i sometimes feel light years behind my peers, a lot of whom are in serious relationships, a few of whom are married, and most of whom seem to have it all figured out. and don’t even get me started on my imaginary peers – the legions of bloggers i follow who SERIOUSLY seem to have it all (i know that a blog isn’t real life, but you know what i mean).

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this is going to sound ridiculously superficial and shallow, but the one area where i do feel like a real grownup on the regular is my home. my apartment is my pride and joy. i moved into it during a time when i was really going through some shit (and that’s basically the understatement of the century), and for a while, i was convinced it would never feel like home. but almost five years later, i’m still there, and it’s more comfortable than i ever could have imagined. it is my sanctuary. i’ve poured a lot of time, and heart, and money, into it. and yet, not a penny i’ve spent on it feels wasted. the things i buy for my home, even the expensive ones, feel like the most worthy investments in the world.

which is why i fell head over heels for this ‘starter apartment’ (and i use that term insanely lightly; this woman clearly has moolah and resources many of us don’t) featured on one kings lane. it’s a one bedroom, and belongs to the eldest daughter of OKL founder susan feldman. like i said, girl has resources.

KIMS-APT-LIVING-RUG_787 KIMS-APT-LIVING-BARCART_243kim, the article states, had spent the past 5 years in a cramped roommate situation (we’ve all been there, thanks new york!), and this was her first real grownup home. she enlisted OKL stylist andrew to help her create a glamorous, modern place that she could call her own. the before pictures are nothing special, but the after shots are truly spectacular – proof that you can take a boring white box and turn it into something beautiful.

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i doubt that i’ll ever be able to afford the level of decor this apartment boasts (and even if i could, i’m not sure i could stomach those price tags), but the message of the piece – that you should buy what you love, and create a home that feels like it’s really YOURS – sits well with me. my apartment might not be as fancy schmancy as this one, and i might not yet have figured out my true decorating style (as OKL says, design is never done!), but it is MINE, and it looks and feels like me…

and that, my friends, is real grownup territory.

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last night, after a delicious dinner and a successful ikea furniture building session with my friend sophie, i mentioned that i had a tinder date scheduled for this week. i explained how i didn’t exactly have high hopes because a) tinder is for sex, and i’m kidding myself thinking it’ll ever result in anything real and b) my last tinder date went well (i thought), until the guy kept putting off our second date until i told him he could tell it to me straight, i could handle it. he never told me anything again. as in, stopped texting me completely. so, that was a success. not.

i’ve written on here before about how hard it is to date in new york. how most men aren’t even looking for anything serious. it’s like all the guys here spend their lives believing they’re living in one giant strip club: they can look, they can touch, they can do whatever they want, but at the end of the night, they never have to see the woman again. suffice it to say this is a frustrating dilemma for many of the women in this city.

but, as sophie so eloquently put it last night, “is it really the worst thing if my most terrible problem is that i’m single? is being single really so bad?”

the answer is split down the middle. 50% says yes, it is really so bad to be single in this city. we all (sophie and myself included) fear that we’ll die old and alone with our cats. that we’ll never find love in new york. that we’ll never find love anywhere. that online dating, and meeting men in bars, and talking to our crushes at work is futile. that we’ll be 37 and have kids on our own because we want them and we can’t bear to wait around the one any longer.

but the other side of the answer is this: that we can’t have it all, and what we do have is good. that, when you look at the whole pie, things are pretty spectacular. take myself, for instance. i have an apartment i have grown to love. i put lots of time and effort into designing it, and taking care of it, and as a result, it truly feels like home. i have a very good job – so good, in fact, that i was featured for my career on one of my favorite websites a few weeks ago. i make a decent amount of money. i have a few freelance gigs that i really enjoy. i have a cat i am positively obsessed with. my family is my rock, and my happy place. i have great friends. i’m slowly making new friends, thanks to things like bar method, and book club. i’m working actively on losing weight and getting in shape, and with my new addiction to soul cycle, i think i might just get there. i’m planning a trip to Nicaragua to visit my dear friend martha in december. it will be my first true vacation in five years, and i can’t wait.

in short, things are good. i am lucky. i have quite a bit to be thankful for. and when i subtract “i am single” from the equation, everything is amazing. it would do me well to try and remember that. because sophie’s right, really. it’s not the worst thing. it’s not the best thing, sure, but when you factor in all the other pieces of the puzzle, i could do a whole lot worse.

living room inspiration from alaina of live creating yourself and the everygirl

living room inspiration from alaina of live creating yourself and the everygirl

it seems my living room/dining area is a continual work in progress. which is, i suppose, what i love most about interior design. design is never really done. there’s always something else to purchase, a flea market find to remake, a new way to arrange your favorite pieces.

next week, our apartment will be getting repainted, courtesy of my landlord (!!) turns out that our apartment complex has a sweet deal that dictates that you can have your entire apartment repainted in a crisp coat of white (or color, if you can convince your painters on the DL) for free every 3 years. hallelujah, praise the design gods! our kitchen will look so much brighter with a fresh coat of paint, as will the hallways and bathrooms. since my bedroom and part of our living area are painted a light, soothing grey, we won’t be having the painters touch those walls – but the front wall (and largest, mind you) of our living room, will be getting some brand new white makeup, and i can’t wait.

my dining area as of last month - gallery wall is a work in progress

my dining area as of last month – gallery wall is a work in progress

this paint job has inspired a whole host of changes in the living area – which is, as in most new york apartments, the central spot of the place – including new side tables (i snagged these from target, and love them), new faux mongolian wool pillows i spotted on a whim last weekend at the tjmaxx near my hometown (SCORE!!!), and the ikea expedit unit i’ve been wanting for years, which will replace my old christmas tree shops (blech) “media stand” (made from the shittest fiberboard “wood” ever). i’m psyched to put the expedit together this weekend with the help of my roomie’s boyfriend (thanks, tom!), as it’ll provide a whole lot more storage space. perhaps i’ll even have space for a little minibar! i’ve been crushing on these glasses for a while now.

mirror over couch inspiration, courtesy of jenny komenda of the little green notebook

mirror over couch inspiration, courtesy of jenny komenda of the little green notebook

so while much of my furniture is being switched out, there are still a few items of importance to deal with. since i’m repainting the front wall, i can take down the shelves i’ve had above the TV since i moved in. they’re filled with little tcotchkes i picked up at chelsea flea, as well as some agate pieces, a candle or two…and while i love them, i think i’m ready for something different. i really am considering splurging on this cb2 mirror to bring even more light into the space (it gets very little natural light), and eventually, maybe this lucite coffee table (again, we need light in the space).  i also ordered my beloved for like ever poster a few months back, but have yet to hang it up.

the for like ever poster i will soon hang

the for like ever poster i will soon hang

so, here’s the question: do i put the tork mirror above the TV, or above the couch? i’m thinking the poster can go on the small side wall to the right of the couch, which is currently empty. the pop of hot pink will look nice against the grey walls. i’ve also got a small sunburst mirror i ordered from joss & main a while back to grapple with (it’s currently above the couch, but i’m not loving it there). i’m thinking the tork mirror may be a better fit for the space (inspired mostly by the image below).

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here’s a little mood board of all my pieces together. HELP! should i order the cb2 mirror? put it over the couch or over the expedit tv stand?

living room redo
periwinkle play
this past weekend, after a decidedly gluttonous brunch at the smith, i took a detour into ricky’s in hopes of finding the perfect hot pink polish for my toes. i found it in essie’s bottle service, and while browsing the fun summer shades, i also fell in love with a periwinkle shade: the sweetly-named lapiz of luxury. all week, while zoning out in meetings, i’ve been staring at my fingernails like a total ditz, falling in love with my nail color and wondering to myself why i don’t own more items in the blueish purple shade of periwinkle.
as a young girl, my bedroom was all periwinkle – white walls with periwinkle trim, a deep blue carpet that sank down softly beneath my feet when i sleepwalked by way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. then there was my delightfully girly laura ashley bedding, which was floral with hints of, you guessed it, periwinkle. i may have outgrown the ditsy florals and upgraded to white sheets that are slightly more sophisticated, but looking at the pieces above, i think my closet and periwinkle could be seriously good friends.

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there are certain design trends that appear and suddenly are everywhere: the “keep calm and carry on” motif, antlers of all shapes and sizes, mongolian wool pillows and lucite come to mind. it’s just like with fashion – things appear, they’re deemed cool and hip and interesting, and all of a sudden, you can’t trip over a chiavari chair without seeing them. such was certainly the case with the “for like ever” poster a few years ago. after appearing in domino in september 2006, this baby flew off the shelves, prompting the company to do a reprint. and then another reprint. and another, and another.

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suffice it to say, this poster has been around the block. it’s also been on my radar for some time, and i’m happy to say i’ve finally pulled the trigger and ordered it. this darling design will soon be residing opposite my gallery wall in my dining area. for like ever poster, come to mama.

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living in new york, you learn to make sacrifices when it comes to interior design and what you want in your home. you have to truly love something before you bring it home, because chances are, unless you kick another piece to the curb (literally), you won’t have space for it. apartment living requires you to deal with the fact that you probably have to store all your kitchen appliances atop your cabinets, where they’ll collect dust until you need to use them again. there’s only so much wall space, so you can’t go crazy with photos. often, you don’t have tons of natural light, so you have to make due with less than optimal lighting. extra seating? fuhgettaboutit. enormous bathrooms with walls of subway tile? sister, it ain’t gonna happen unless you’re a millionaire.

but someday, i hope to move out of the city, and into a house that i can tear down and rebuild and make into my perfect oasis. in my mind (and on my pinterest board), i call it my “someday home.” it’s where i file away all the ideas that won’t work with my 1950s parquet floors and my temporary walls – but that might just work in my someday home. you know, when i get there. these images below fit that bill.

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i’m in love with this stairwell, designed by emily henderson. the framed family photos, the contrast between dark and light, those incredible pendants. it’s not quite my style, per se – but i love the idea of pendants in a stairwell, and a gallery wall framing your walk up to bed.

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there is little i love more than classic subway tile in a bathroom. my current bathroom is “redone” in large rosey beige marble tile, and while i’m sure that some people find this form of marble very chic, i can’t stand it. we have a nice pedestal sink, and if i had the power to change it all out, i’d put penny tile on the floors, subway on the walls and as the shower surround, and hit up chelsea flea for a gorgeous gold gilded mirror like the one above. medicine cabinet be damned! someday.

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i don’t really want a home like this, per se – though i do love those thonet chairs and that giant bed. but let’s be real: those WINDOWS. i’d love to live in a loft space before i leave new york, if only to have windows like that. too bad williamsburg is so expensive now that it’s out-priced manhattan proper. this shot (as well as the one above) are of the wythe hotel, an uber-stylish space on the williamsburg waterfront.

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when it comes to new york kitchens, i’m actually quite lucky. i have granite countertops, and tile floors, and a good deal of cabinet space. the design isn’t really my style (i’d prefer white cabinets to oak, and brass handles to the little knobs i have), and of course, i’d ditch the white appliances for stainless ones – but i have a real kitchen, which, for many new yorkers, is something that hangs precariously out of reach. and thank god, because i do a hell of a lot of cooking. my little galley kitchen gets a LOT of love (and a weekly deep cleaning). when i first moved to new york, i splurged on a kitchen aid, and let me tell you, once you go stand mixer, you never go back. i love my kitchen aid THIS MUCH. but seeing alaina kaczmarski’s mint green one above has me rethinking my “white will go with everything” color choice. alas. hindsight is 20 20. maybe mint will be my accent in my next kitchen…

to see more of my “someday home” picks, check out my pinterest board.