Tuesday, October 25, 2016

UPDATED! Moving is a Drag!

*I took a few pics at lunch today, so I updated this post!*

I can't even begin to tell you how much of a struggle this move has been, primarily because of the delay caused by the floors. You see, the floors were only supposed to take a weekend to do, fast forward 14-days, and I'm still not done! All of the time that I spent putting down floors after work and between rehearsals (oh, I'm in another play, did I mention that?) was time I had hoped to use to pack up the other apartment. Once you factor in the time lost, the weather (it rained ALL WEEKEND LONG) and the fact that I got some sort of a head-cold during the clean up of the new place, it's a wonder that I'm even still standing.

I was so excited to see your comments, and read your emails about checking back often for progress. I thought I'd show you a little bit of the new space even though it's certainly not finished. Once we get there, I'll take the time to charge my camera and take some really great pics for you! But here we go:

The complex requires that the mini-blinds that they provide stay in the windows. However, they do allow you to hang whatever you'd like inside of your apartment so long as they are not visible from the street. So, I hung these matchstick roll up shades right over the blinds. I typically would go for bamboo roman shades (like I did in the last apartment) but this window is 102" long, and to get that span in a bamboo roman, I would have had to use 2 separate shades. This way I have one continuous line across the entire window, which I like. You'll also see that I took that curtain rod WAY out, about 16" from the edge of the window just to widen the visual a little more than it already was. 

My French brass tables are unfortunately not going to work in this space. They didn't quite work as I had intended them to anyhow, they're just too small, and the proportion is wrong for the space. So, I'm on the hunt for a new coffee table. Separate post about that coming soon. 

I pulled the same blinds over into the dining room, hanging them nearly at the ceiling like the living room to trick the eye into thinking that window is much taller than it really is. All of the art that was on the gallery wall in the living room of the old place, is now on the dining room wall here. 

A photo from packing up at the old place. Who knew I had accumulated so much blue and white. This was only half of it! The other half had already been taken down to the new place. Sheeeesh! How do you spell hoarder? Artie? Yes! Ok. Got it, moving on! 

Side note: like how I packed it? Clearly I excel at moving. 


This photo was probably taken at about 3am, the gallery wall all hung and a partial hoard of the blue and white porcelain still "packed". No Chinese ginger jars were harmed in the process of this move. I still need to hang a new light fixture. I'm mostly undecided about what to go there. I figure once I get the floors finished and all of the stuff moved over from the old place and sorted, I will tackle that project. 

The bedroom is filled with design books. You may remember that my bookcases are going in here. I actually really like the bookcase in there. I'm a nighttime reader. I've always had a stack of books by the bed, making notes, etc.. Having all of them in the bedroom just made a lot of sense to me, and happened to be one of the only places that I had for them in the new space. A win-win, I guess. Stay tuned for how that's working out!

I spent about 7-hours at the laundromat, laundering bedding. It's a nightmare when you've got to wash all this pretty stuff. Progress is lacking in here, but I will get it up and running soon. The bedskirt didn't make the move. What do they use as the deck for these things? Tissue Paper? 

And the living room. Now, I teased you all with the last post with a bunch of tufted stuff. Here's where I was going with that! Story to follow. I actually have to get that cushion to the upholsterer, so I can get a velvet cushion made in a camel/caramel/tobacco color. I ordered a leather chair on Saturday for the living room, and am working on picking out a new coffee table now. 

UPDATE: I ordered the coffee table! I'm upside down in love with it, which means I'll likely hate in and it will be on craigslist in 10-days. 

Alright, so this is part of the update. Literally, the way the living room and dining room look in real time, during my quick lunch break to walk Arlo and Louna around the block! The ottomans that I designed slipcovers for are in the dining room (I'm not sure I like this as a permanent solution, but for now, it's how it goes!

A somewhat better (at least closer) picture of the sofa. To the right of the sofa, I have a spindle gate leg table and Chinoiserie garden seat. I'm trying one other set of curtains later to see if I like them better than these. So many not quite whites in the room, and I'm not sure if I like them yet. 

Looking into the living room from the bedroom wing. Ha! You like that!? The bedroom wing. SheesH! This room gets incredible light. This angle makes me giddy about that new table. I'm gonna keep that one a secret til' it gets here. 

More of that sofa. This little French brass table will eventually part, in favor of something a bit lower, and more modern. I'll get a antique brass pharmacy lamp to help with the necessary light. 

Sorry for the lighting - again I'm quickly snapping pics from my phone. I'll get some better ones when I'm all finished with the set up. I have a call into the wholesale florist to see if they can order a fiddle fig for me. It'll go in that corner where the basket is. The fig will actually be planted IN the basket, but not that basket. 

If I gave you my to-do list, it'd make you dizzy! I'm not clear how I got so turned around and behind on this project, other than the fact that I simply have WAY too much going on in my life. Moving was probably not a good idea as far as practicality goes, but it's too late now! 

Before I leave you, here's a few notes to those of you who have asked: 
  1. The Chinoiserie cabinet is a new find. I haven't had it long, so don't worry - I'm not hiding things from you! I've got a pretty good story about finding it - so I'll share that with you soon! It involves a very long road trip with someone I literally can't say anything good about. Still, having this piece made it totally worth it. 
  2. The sofa is from Kravet, they call it the Medley Sofa. I was able to get a great deal on the showroom piece. It's upholstered in a silk/linen blend, and trimmed in antique brass nailheads. I love it as is, but I plan on having the velvet cushion made for options, and for peace of mind. White upholstered furniture isn't the smartest option when you've got little fur babies, but I couldn't pass this up! 
  3. A more comfortable upholstered chair (leather actually) has been ordered for the living room. I'm not 100% sure I'll like it, and because it was final sale I can't take it back. So it may end up in the bedroom, and the search for something else may ensue. 
I'm working on a post about what and who inspired this space coming up in the next couple of days. There'll be gorgeous photos of rooms that I love. Make sure to check back in for that, and then hopefully next Monday I will have some updated pictures of the apartment looking much better and more finished that it looks now! 

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.