Apartment Progress: The Closet Is The Only Finished Room

Hello! So we moved into our apartment in July and I absolutely love it. I've been making "improvements" lately. You be the judge if they are actually improvements. Or if it looks like a demented emo preteen stole Mom's credit card.

For some reason, I am mainly focusing on the closet area. It seems more manageable. And the stakes are lower than the living room. The rest of the apartment is unchanged. Here's what I've done so far, and perhaps that is enough.


I've loved Keith Haring since high school, and I've always wanted to use wall decals. Better use wall decals before I turn 30, I thought. Thus, I bring you my closet door. Cartoon dogs, I love it! I got the idea of somehow decorating the closet door from the Dos Family house tour in Design Sponge. Their space is the coolest! This is pretty crazy, but not as crazy as their jumping tiger-emblazoned pocket door. 

I bought Blik's decals and they were pretty easy to apply. If you screw up, it can be remedied. But read the instructions first. Not sure why I didn't do that. The videos are a good place to start. 

I emailed a pic to my friend Debie and she wrote: "Your new closet is crazy but I love it!!!  The top two dogs are barking at each other but the third row of dogs look like they're barking at a common enemy." 

So I put the dogs up while Joe was out of town for the weekend. I wish I could've seen his face when he saw it, but i was behind him. "Oh my God," he said. "Are there more?" Haha, no that's it. They are confined to the closet. 



I bought some basic, burlap-inspired Bed, Bath & Beyond curtains to shield our messy closets from prying eyes, and I went on a bender at the Container Store. Would you believe I carried all these boxes (and more) home on the Metro?


The Frida Kahlo poster from my last apartment is now in the bathroom, and I bought some Jonathan Adler hand towels. I really want a headboard, but channeled that energy into $$ bath towels instead. They had cute little hooks, and I was sold.

Joe said, "Those look like some towels a baby would throw up on." Me: blank stare. I recently showed him a fancy new blinged-out forest green peplum top I bought, and he said, "That looks like a really nice Christmas sweater," which threw me into a fit of despair. But, he was not wrong about the sweater.

I will have the last laugh though, because in case you haven't noticed, everything I've been buying is pink. Poor Joe. I ended up getting the amazing floral sheets I picked out for Racked! They totally match an existing dress I have, to the extent that I'd say one of these companies might have a lawsuit on their hands. 


Will keep you updated should I move out of the closet in my decorating efforts. xoxox

New Apartment: Before Pics

I promised I would post pictures of our new space, and now I'm making good on that promise. Please keep in mind, these are before pictures. Before. That's why it is so messy and haphazard. Yes, that's why. Hopefully it will get better.


When you enter the apartment, the "gear wall" greets you. It's basically a particle board wall and then different hooks and baskets that can be rearranged. I don't know why the management company considers this such a big selling point for the apartment, but they do. Of course, Joe actually does have mountain climbing "gear" but I'm not sure if that's what they had in mind. "Here is our gear wall," I told my friend Haerah when she came to check out our apartment. "Ahh," she said. "It's a really nice stuff board."

Stuff board, gear wall, same difference. The question is, can it be made pretty? I will say it is convenient.



The closet is similar. I loved the concept, and it's pretty spacious. There is storage above the two bars. Joe and I need to work on sharing this space though, since I want to hog it all. Check out those sexy acrylic CB2 bar stools. I got them via Craigslist last weekend from a couple who bought them to stage their home to sell it. So they are practically new. They'll hang out in the closet until I can muster up the funds to buy the matching table.


The kitchen is on the wall with the door, and comes with open shelving and tomato red accent paint. It's pretty cute! I hung up my  Instax photos via the Fred Flare Birds on Wire set that Joe's sister gave me for Christmas. I think I'm going to do a black and white theme in the kitchen area. My plates are ugly, but the glasses are mismatched (all the wine glasses have winery logos), so I don't think I should put them in the open shelves. What do people put in open shelves? Purely decorative items or things they use a lot so they can be lazy and not open doors?


The TV is along the same wall as the kitchen. A coffee table is acting as a makeshift entertainment unit. I don't think there is anywhere else to put the bookshelves, but I'm not sure what should go above the TV and between the bookshelves in terms of wall art. Maybe a gallery wall. Would that look dorky?


Speaking of looking dorky, here is a chair directly in front of a couch. Ha. Our apartment is small and this works for the moment. The orange couch has a place of honor. There's a very Japanese-looking glass wall that can slide back and forth to separate the bedroom from the living room. Here you can see where the kitchen table is currently, not a lot of space for that either. BTW I got a new Air Macbook. That's the reason why I can't afford any furniture. I almost started sobbing when the guy rang my credit card, which is not a normal reaction. But I do love it so far.  When I walked into the Apple store, I thought it smelled like body odor. Maybe it was from the geniuses, or maybe it was the customers' flop sweat when their credit cards are charged.

Oh yeah, and that cool little round grey table is new. I got it at the very inspiring H Street mod vintage furniture store, Hunted House. I was convince to buy it by the proprietor who told me that the coffee table would look at home in Roger's office on Mad Men. Sold! 

He probably says that to everyone. No matter. It is the perfect size and I think it's going to look groovy. 


The bed is squished up against two walls, which doesn't look great, but there's so much more space for my dresser this way. I think it desperately needs a headboard. Remember last time I tried to buy a headboard and gave up? Why are they so expensive?

There are a few interesting other touches, but I'll save them for another day. God willing, it won't still look like this in a year!

Modern Apartment Door Numbers

A new management company took over an apartment down the street from me, and watching the renovations, I thought of something...


If an apartment building switches over to new numbers in a Helvetica font or similar, I bet you that they raise the rent. That's an amenity. Yuppie urban class-A apartment dwellers can't get enough of sans serif.

Design Manifest's Dream Loft

My newest home design blog obsession is Philadelphia interior designer Naomi Stein's Design Manifest. After seeing her amazing loft in Design Sponge, I read back pages and pages in her blog. I think she is so talented. That blue wall with the pink desk in her loft is the best!  Naomi's whole aesthetic is like that, an unexpected mix of girly/preppy/boho. I don't know how I can ever decorate my home, I can't choose between this or clean lines and Mid Century Mod (as seen via another home design blog fav, Manhattan Nest).

I'll just live vicariously through Naomi for now. Luckily for me, she's working on renovating her new cottage now, and I can't wait to see the end result.

[Previously in Home Design Crushes: 47 Park Avenue]


Weekend in Review: Picasso, Bacon and Chevron

Hello there!  How was the weekend?  Hope it was fantastic, and that your Monday wasn't half bad either.

I didn't do much of importance but in the best possible way.  I spent my halfday on Friday at the National Gallery of Art.  I wanted to see the "Picasso's Drawings" exhibit before it closes on May 6, and I highly recommend you do the same.  It's thrilling to see all the different styles Picasso tried out in his early career, starting from his first known work at age 9.  Age 9!  That's like our elementary school art classes when we were drawing houses with chimney stacks and swirly smoke. 

While I was there, I also took a walk through the "I Spy: Photography and Theatre of the Street."  If you are all interested by cities and urban life, this is worth a trip.  I found Bruce Davidson's "Subway" series which captures the horror of the NYC subway system in 1980 so intriguing, because visiting New York now, it's almost impossible to imagine that things could've been that bad, and equally unbelievable that in the span of 20-odd years things turned back around.  The subway cars in Davidson's photos are just absolutely covered in graffiti.  That level of disrepair and neglect is shocking to see.

Remember the bulletin board conundrum in my last post?  I realized I had some white paint, and in the spirit of the white bulletin board in that post, I tried that technique but with chevrons.  I bought some painter's tape and taped them off after reading this chevron-how to.  Good thing this project was practically free, because it didn't turn out so great.  The white paint is splotchy because I'm an uber lazy painter, the tape peeled off some of the cork in places, and in other places the paint leaked under the tape.  Maybe it you are more careful than me it would work.  I need to stop crafting and just buy things.  I don't have the art expertise to make it look good.  But eh, I covered up the problem areas with postcards and Instax photos and Instagram hides a multitude of sins.


I also tried to cook a bit - I made chicken salad and started Joy's Brown Sugar Bacon Biscuits.  I just made the bacon for now, will make the biscuits later...  Joe told me I had to blog about the bacon, guess he liked it.  It was pretty yummy!  My roommate Christine just went vegetarian (she started a fun blog about her journey!), and she snapped this less than appetizing picture, but I promise it was good.  I don't think it tempted her too much though...


47 Park Avenue and Bulletin Board Decision

Over the past two months, I've been following the steady progress of the most amazingly gorgeous home renovation blog, 47 Park Avenue.  The writer/designer/owner doesn't include much text, but the images are so beautiful they'll practically knock you over.

I love how dramatic everything is, with the dark walls and saturated colors, but it's still whimsical and fun.  It's been interesting to see the blogger gradually add furniture, fixtures and decor.  Just when I think it's looking perfectly finished, bam, he'll throw up a stuffed zebra head on the wall.  You definitely have to check out the whole blog, but here are some of my favorite rooms from the home.


OK, so this is about the only thing I can replicate from his home on my particular (read: miniscule) budget - a black corkboard!  This desk layout is sick.


All images from 47 Park Avenue

My mom forced me to clean out my room a few months ago. (My room at my parents' house is just as it was when I was in high school. Completely untouched and authentic.  Sort of like the Julia Child kitchen at the Smithsonian.  It's as though a preteen Adele could walk in at any moment and start playing with a Tamagotchi).  But I realized I could recycle my old high school corkboard at my new apartment.  Here it is:


Gosh, it's embarrassing to even put my photo next to the previous ones, ha. So that's what we're working with at the moment.  The room has all white Ikea furniture, if you can imagine that.  So if I paint the corkboard black, will it be too much, like a scary black hole in the all-white galaxy of my room?

Should I pick something more colorful or use white stripes, like these pretty corkboards here?