Thursday, October 20, 2016

Progress Report Part Duex

So, I'm now 90% finished with the floor! HOoooRaAYYyy! This floor has been a test of will, patience, stamina, and grace. I have failed on all accounts, consequently, but my hard-headed and stubborn personality said "FIND A WAY DAMMIT!" so I did.

I know that this picture makes it look like the primer is dripping onto the floor, but it actually isn't. That's dried paint from when we primed the floor! After I finished most of the floor, I went around and taped the edge of the baseboard and painted a coat of primer over the gray floor paint that went down prior to the vinyl plank. One hour, and two skinned knees later, I'm ready to put the wall color over all of it and call that job done! 

I also had to sweep, vacuum, and sponge the walls to get the layers of dust off of them from all of the debris I kicked up when I was cleaning off the old floors. But the good news is, the walls didn't have to be repainted! I started bringing down a few things from the current place last night. Tomorrow is the beginning of the actual move, with all of the furniture being moved on Saturday. 

I have to thank everyone who has commented and sent emails about lighting solutions for the dining room. They've all been great, and you've given me a lot to investigate and think about. I agree with those of you who said moving the box is the primary winner. It's easiest, and keeps the look clean and crisp. Even if I wanted to spend the money though, I'm not sure that the construction of the building would allow for it. I do have someone scheduled to come and look at it on Saturday morning, who can tell me if they think it's possible, and how much it'd be! 

I was able to take some pictures of the space in the afternoon yesterday. Most of my photos are taken when it's dark out because I've been working on the space either late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. 

Hopefully you're getting a good idea of how much larger this place is than the old place, which to it's credit wasn't small - but it never had good flow. Onto some inspiration pics I've found, can you tell what's coming next!? 

Alright, I'm off to figure out how I'm gonna shove 10-days worth of work into 24-hours! Wish me luck! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Finish Line

If you've been following along, you know that I'm moving. You also know that I've had a nightmarish time getting the shell of the new place ready to move my things in. Progress is slow, but it's progress none-the-less, and this morning I can finally see the finish line. (I was going to say light at the end of the tunnel, but since saying that would likely mean that it's only another train freighting more disaster, I'll leave that one alone.)  I started using a construction adhesive on the back of the tiles and it seems to have worked like a charm so far. It takes much more time than I'd like for it to, but my hope is that it will save me the trouble of having to go back and glue planks down after I've moved in. 

The apartment started out looking like this: 

It's a good space, lots of room and big windows to let in a ton of light throughout the day. The dining room is a little dark, since there's a large tree in the back of the building that shades the afternoon sun. If you've been reading along, you already know that typically, the apartments are finished with cheap wall-to-wall low pile synthetic fiber carpet. I had them leave it in the bedrooms, but I just couldn't see myself enjoying living with it in the living and dining room. Thankfully they agreed to let me do what I wanted, but they sure as hell weren't gonna do any of the prep work! 

Tears, beers, and increasing fears about whether this was really a good idea ... I've got this: 

Much better, right? Granted, I've only just begun, but with the floor mostly finished I can start working on the "pretty" things, and prepping for the furniture to come in. 

The seagrass rugs are from Safavieh, (I got a pretty good deal on eBay) and the 10x14 fits the living room space perfectly. I started to play with the furniture arrangement this morning between laying planks and I think I have an idea of what I'm going to do with all of my things. The new Chinoiserie cabinet will be centered on the long wall you see here, which is the first wall you see when you come into the room. Blue and white porcelains will go on top, probably some art. 

Furniture gets moved on Saturday, so I have until then to finish the floor (only 14 square feet to go!), paint the baseboards, clean the walls, hang the curtain rods and the blinds, and then curtains (which I'm still not 100% sure about). 

Friday I'll cart my art, kitchen things, toiletries, clothing, and those sorts of sundries to the new place, and Saturday at noon, all hell will break loose! If you hear screaming or crying, it's likely coming from over here. 

In other news, however, let's talk about this terribly ugly light. (No offense if you're a fan.) I hate it, but a light in that room is woefully necessary. Because the light is centered to the room, and not to the actual flow of traffic (there's a door to the kitchen that makes putting a table directly under the light impossible) I'm going to have to do something that I really don't like ... swag the new fixture! Has anyone figured out a way to make this look good? In my head I just see this: 

Right? Am I right? Seriously - this could be my apartment after shot. Eeek! But really, is there a way to make them look less like that one? 

Even with a better fixture, and much nicer decor, I just can't get behind the look of it. If I were in a home I owned, I'd pay the $260 and have someone move the box over. That's not possible here though, because (1) I'm not paying to have electrical work done in a rental and (2) I have no idea how the place is wired, as there is another unit above me. I had thought about capping the light, so there was no hanging fixture, and using sconces on the wall instead, but there aren't enough outlets to make that work. 

So, I thought I'd bring it here. Maybe you'll have a suggestion? Between glue fumes, and sleepless nights - I'm running low on ideas! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Progress Report ...

Well, I've been working diligently to get things accomplished prior to the weekend when I'm supposed to be moving furniture into the new space. Working around furniture is SO difficult, that I really want to have the shell of the rooms complete before I move anything in. If you haven't read about the disaster that has set me so far back on this little project, read the post here.

Here's the before: 

Here's the during: 

Here's the terrible painted floors:

And here's where I am with it this morning: 

The living room area is 90% finished, and since the dining room is so much smaller, it won't take long to have that completed (hopefully this evening). What's left before I can get furniture into the space? 

Well ... 

Finishing the flooring, priming the baseboards, painting the baseboard, cleaning the walls - then touching up the walls with paint where needed, vacuum, sweep, mop, etc.. I'd like to hang the curtain rods and curtains in the living room, and the bamboo roman shades, curtain rod and curtains in the dining room. I need to switch out the terrible ceiling fixture in the dining room for one a little more suitable for my "look" and I obviously need to pick up all my weights, I mean design books, and get those into the bedroom. 

You know, just a few things! 
As Artie sings: "It's a hard-knock life ... for us"

I made some decisions and a purchase or two that I am pretty excited about. First, in the dining room, which currently looks like this: 

there's a generous amount of space between where the seagrass ends, and the wall where the window is centered. That'll be the perfect place for this: 

Ballard Designs sells this console table cloth so reasonably! I bought this for less than what it would cost to have my seamstress make one. It'll be the perfect place to style an impromptu bar on a rattan tray, or gather an assortment of my blue and white pieces with some orchids (which will love that window) and it'll cover up the unsightly but necessary radiator grate. 

Here's some beautiful inspiration:  

In his bedroom, William Rankin McLure Has this console table stacked with art, books, and orchids. I just love this. 

I've also decided that I will put my bookcases in my bedroom, across from the bed. This decision comes after some hesitation, but I think that it's the best place for the bookcases in this space, and since I don't have a ton of bedroom furniture anyway, it's a nice way to fill that space. 

So there's your progress report for the day. Hope you're having a good start to your week! I'll be back soon, hopefully with more beautiful photos. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disaster Zone

Oh my, oh my. What was supposed to be a lovely and exciting weekend of putting things together in the new apartment turned into an absolute nightmare.  Sure, I've been able to find positives throughout the experience, but it wasn't without a fair share of tears.

Let's start from the beginning. I decided that I didn't want to have carpet in the apartment, and asked that they not install it in the living and dining room. They agreed, and this is what I walked into:

Literally 60+ years of carpet pad residue, dirt, and God knows what else caked onto the subfloors. I thought that I had really gotten in over my head. At this point, I had the chance to say, "never mind, give me the carpet" but the head strong Artie said - "no, you can do this!" and I asked them to just leave extra pad for my rugs. This was the first of 100+ times throughout the weekend where I was wrong. 

They didn't leave extra pad. They padded the entire apartment with the padding up to the tack strips. It required my measuring and cutting for the rugs then pulling it all up leaving just the pad size that I needed. While it was a lot more work, I thought that having it tacked down was actually a really good thing. So, after taking 2 hours to do what should have only taken me 30 minutes, I started to clean up.

I'm not kidding you. This was so much worse than the pictures are showing you. It was awful, and took me an entire day to clean and scrape, and pull up nails and staples (some rusted from their original install 60 years ago). I wore a respirator, but I still feel like I have swallowed a bucket of sand. Finally though, it was all clean. Ready to apply the flooring. I decided to go with the hardwood look vinyl plank and not the paint ... until, the flooring wouldn't stick!!

I'm not kidding.

So, completely dejected I sat with my head in my hands. LITERALLY crying. I didn't know what to do. I decided that painting had to be the way to go, since I couldn't get the flooring to stick.

Here's where I have to take a very small moment to thank my friend, Brian. He called me during one of my crying spells and came over to help find a solution. With an extra set of hands, it made the process much faster! That's him painting the primer in the dining room. 

Two coats of primer later, I took Brian to the bar for a glass of wine, and then I came back Sunday morning to put down the color I had custom matched. White floors seemed too modern for this space. They felt out of place. So, I picked a color that I thought was a close match to Tara Shaw's dining room floors: 

They're not quite gray, not quite white. There was a beautiful in between that I found called "New Concrete" that on the color chart for the paint looked to be perfect. 

I hated it. Hated every stinking square inch of it. It was the color of a basement floor, and the apartment looked cold, and unwelcoming. Even I tiptoed on the floor trying to not get it dirty, but inevitably leaving behind foot prints. Not to mention, once I got the seagrass rugs down, it looked even worse. 

Granted, these photos are dark. I took them between cursing about the whole process with my iphone, but I think you get the point. It was just disappointing. Brian and I talked about painting the floors black, but I had reservations. There were no other options, though. I had resolved to go and get black paint today. Then Brian had a thought: "I wonder if the flooring will stick to the floors now that you've prepped them so nicely?" What could it possibly hurt? 

I'll be damned! It worked! Now, here it was nearly midnight. I looked terrible with my puffy cry baby eyes ...

But I was determined to make this work. (P.S., that photo was taken earlier in the afternoon after I realized that I hated the painted floor, but before I found out that the wood laminate would work. I think I had a bottle of champagne at brunch, by myself.)

I ran to the current apartment and picked up a few dozen interior design books to weigh the floor down. 

I went back down to the apartment this morning and it was a TOTAL success! I laid as much as I possibly could before work, and plan on trying to finish up tomorrow after work. Then I have to paint the baseboards, clean the walls, touch up the paint there, hang curtains, and we'll be back in business ... 4 days behind the schedule I wanted to keep. 

So what are the positives here? I said there were positives, didn't I? 

Firstly, I found a beautiful dining room table for the dining room: 

Isn't it beautiful!? I love this piece, so much! I also bought a rug for the bedroom: 

This is going down over the carpet that they provide in the apartments. Dealing with the floors in the living room and dining room was hell enough. 

I was able to move the rug, the table, and all of the other crap to the new apartment in my new car, which is also a blessing, and made the drama of the weekend much more manageable. (It has nice seats for crying.) So, unfortunately I had planned on teasing you with photos of the living and dining room completely floored, with curtains up, and a new light fixture in place, but life had other plans. I think we are back on track, and I should have some photos by the end of the week. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

A look back ...

As I move from this apartment, thoughtful about the decorating decisions that I want to make in the next place, I started looking back at the photos of the apartments I've lived in since leaving CDLV. Because CDLV was so dark, so moody, I took very little from that house with me. In fact, all I took was my blue and white porcelains, a couple of pieces of art, my design books, and my white sofa from the sunroom. It looked like this at CDLV:

It was a great sofa, I say was, because I no longer own it. A sale that I highly regret - which brings me to my first regret: ditching the white sofa. I honestly believe that you'll never regret having a sofa with a tailored white slipcover. Never. I should have kept mine, I regret selling it everyday. Anyhoo! I moved into my first space back in January of 2014. I was in love with the white walls and hardwood floors - finally a space that wasn't so gloomy.

The first thing to go in was the Swedish pine armoire, seagrass rugs, and zebra hide. Then, slowly, the other pieces started to fall in place. 

I bought two vintage club chairs at a thrift shop, and had them slipcovered in the same white as the sofa, along with nesting mirrored coffee tables, ottomans, a mirror, and had art by my friend, Dianne Ballard framed.

The room was filled with light, and people loved it! I entertained often, the space just worked. Other spaces from that apartment that you've likely not seen:

The dining room/library. All of the doors in this apartment were painted black. I love that look, and on these wood doors, it was just beautiful. 

A cowhide rug I've since sold on Craigslist, chairs I threw away! Yes - these went in the trash! I know, I know! A chandelier I left on the curb in Rochester (long story), and curtains that were ruined by Louna (the second French bulldog - yes, there are now two of them!). 

The main hallway with a gallery wall of botanicals, art, and brass bells on floating shelves I made. The sewing bench and French chair next to the lecturn are also gone, victims of my impulses and someone else's Craigslist score!

The bedroom - always sort of an afterthought I guess, with the antique Suzani blocking a window. I never did block out the window fully. This wasn't the original layout of that room. It had originally started with the bed on the opposite side, and when I moved the armoire into this room to accommodate chairs it got shifted. I actually wish that I had better pictures of this room, since it was, at one point, very pretty.

The opposite side of the room. Those chairs were a little DIY project I never truly loved. You're gonna see lots of "unstyled" photos in this post - so just overlook the mess and real-life stuff, like the fan sitting in the opposite chair, and Arlo's dog bed. Speaking of Arlo, that's why we had to move from this apartment, the community doesn't allow dogs. So, I went in search of something else.

We ended up with something VERY different. Now, for those of you who rent, you know that rents have gone up in nearly every market in the country. It's difficult to find nice places that are affordable. And before someone chimes in with the argument to buy, I get it, but it ain't happening! Not here, anyway. This apartment was much less charming. Wall-to-wall acrylic carpet was in every room, and I sweet talked the manager into letting me put down my own floor at my cost.

So I put the floor down, and I brought over the furniture, but it just didn't seem right. I know now that the armoire should have been placed on the wall where I put the sofa. I then could have flanked the armoire with the chairs, and had the sofa float in the room. It would have saved me thousands of dollars, and a lot of headache. But, you live, and you learn. I sold the chairs, and bought 4 bergere chairs that I had slipcovered. I made a giant ottoman and you know how that all turned out:

It was very pretty. Highly impractical though. I never entertained in this space. The chairs weren't comfortable, no one could find a good position to sit comfortably on the ottoman, and you can't very well stack 8 people on a sofa. I had turned the room into something that was pretty for photos, and that was about it.

So, I sold the giant ottoman. Then I sold the armoire, and the chairs! I had been inspired and bought a vintage bamboo set to replace the chairs, but then sold that too when I realized that once again, I bought "pretty" chairs instead of comfortable chairs.

The bookshelves were moved from the second bedroom, which I had initially set up to be a little reading room:

I wrapped the walls in burlap and trimmed them in red twill tape. It was a pretty space, but I never spent any time in there apart from grabbing clothes from the closet or the dresser. Eventually, I sold my sofa (again, my biggest regret) and bought an antique daybed thinking that would be a beautiful look in there. 

I told you these weren't gonna be pretty. Now, I know you're wondering, didn't he say he sold those chairs. Yes! I did. I actually sold the chairs and the ottoman to a friend who owns a design shop here, and she asked me to hold them for her. A month or so later she came to pick them up, and by that time, I realized that the daybed was a bad idea.

Once the daybed, and the chairs and ottoman were gone, I went into a panic. That's when I ended up with the Pottery Barn sofa.

I took the mirrored wall I made for behind the white sofa down, and I moved this mirror there instead. Oh, and yes, the antiqued mirror wall went in the trash, and this mirror was since sold. (If you had any questions about just how crazy I am ... this post is certainly going to clear that up! HA!) I struggled with chairs. I knew that I needed something comfortable. I was still loving bamboo so I ended up picking up these vintage Ficks Reed chairs at an antique shop:

Hows that for a design blog photo? All of that stuff ended up not working for me. Thankfully, I've always been able to sell things, so up they went, and off they would go to their new homes. While I wasn't in love with the new design, it finally DID have some sort of finished feeling just before I decided to move.

There were a few things that I loved about the space, firstly the art. I've always loved art, and I've collected some great pieces. I love my gallery walls, on both sides of the living room. I also love my new Savonarola chairs, the sunwashed Anatolian rug, and my French brass and glass table. The rest of it is sorta 'meh. (Shrug).

The new space is larger, and I knew that the current seagrass wouldn't fit. I sold it, and with it gone, the room felt really strange. On top of that, I finally bought a piece that I've been dying to have for well, forever. So I had to shift things around a little bit, even though I'm in the middle of moving!

Yep! There she be folks! I know you can see what I'm talking about peeking out behind the sofa and that French chair. I'm talking about the Chinoiserie Wedding Cabinet! Oh - I can't, I just can't. I don't even have words for how much I am in love with it. By far, my best purchase to date.

Ok, but back to the point. The new apartment is larger, so I knew my current seagrass wouldn't fit. I also had to have a second matching seagrass to go into the dining room that adjoins the living room. So I ordered new ones. That's when I started thinking about what to do with that floor! The new living room is 12x17; a small dining room adjoins it. The dining room is 8x13, and together they form a perfect T-shape. To avoid the price for custom rugs, I went with standard sizes, 10x14 in the living room, and 6x9 in the bedroom. If you're looking for rugs, check here:

With them down, there isn't much floor space around them. I've been struggling with whether to do white floors or to stick with the product I put down in the current apartment. I was 70% toward white until last night, when I realized that I was making decisions based purely on looks again, and not on function. With my dogs, will a white floor really stand up? How often am I going to be ashamed of having people over because the floors need to be retouched?  I'm now 70% leaning toward the floors I have now, which look good all the time and have worn like iron. I also am walking right into that living room (no foyer) with snow boots in the winter. Is it all that practical?

I grabbed the keys to the new place yesterday. Are you ready to see what it looks like? I am telling you now, don't rush to judge, but I definitely have a project on my hands! Here's that living room: 

It's definitely not an easy space to photograph, although, I didn't really pay much special attention to getting the angles right for interior design photography. The dining room space is directly off of this space, to the left: 

The current floor is filthy! This is typically not how someone would accept a unit, but because I asked them not to put carpet in these rooms, this is how I got them. It's amazing what years of dirt and dust from carpet schmutz can end up looking like, isn't it? 

The living room from the back of the dining room. Although this picture makes the living room ceiling look lower than the dining room, that's not the case. And those windows are HUGE! They let in so much wonderful light. 

And here's the view into the dining room from the living room. You can see the normal size windows in that room, as opposed to the super tall ones that are in the living room. Right after the new floors go down, and the seagrass is flat, that light fixture in the dining room is coming down. Yuck! 

What are my plans for the rest of the space? Well, you'll have to wait and see. And I'm not being cute because I know I don't want to share. I honestly don't have it all figured out yet because there are so many variables! Keep checking back for updates. I should have some good pics for you on Monday! Happy weekend all!