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! 


  1. Love your style. Check out William M. McClure's IG. He has white painted floors!

  2. Sooo much buying and selling going on ! Must have been a very restless period in your life, yes ? So many changes .. .
    The new place must become your safe harbour and a more soothing place for your eyes .
    I mean ; it must be inspiring not tiring . Not wanting to change it every 2 weeks . Let it evolve gradually .
    Try to buy things you really love and hang on to , the " impulse " buying does not work even if you do sell it again .
    I wish you all the luck and happines in your new space . Go for it Artie . F

  3. Thank you for this! I emailed it to my family, as a sort of affirmation, I'm not the only one. You see, I followed along word for word, understanding every choice, the selling, the regret over the sofa, the Craig's list purchase, sales, the antiques, I get "it". Fickle as "they" come, whomever "they" are. I adore things for a while, grow bored, discover they don't function, or that my scheme was better in my head, and move along sending pieces out into the universe, up for adoption. I too have a regret, an antique French cane daybed. (sigh) The people who purchase furniture, and live with it for 20 years are more of a quandary to me than you. Can hardly wait to see where your imagination takes you -

  4. I'm with Anonymous... wishing you more clarity of vision for your new place. You certainly have no shortage of ideas - that's a plus! But it seems you are still working towards that necessary balance of form and function, and what truly "speaks" to you. (The Savonarola chairs may not be much more comfortable or functional than their predecessors - but they are beautiful!) I always advise my clients - a room must tell their "story" and be visually appealing, for sure; but if it doesn't function for their lifestyle, if it's a "velvet rope" space, one that makes them nervous or uncomfortable to have guests over or really "live in", it's not the ideal space for them.
    PS. LOVE the Chinoiserie cabinet - what a great piece!

  5. More pictures of Chinese wedding cabinet! I can see it coming together now!

  6. I find that the best, most satisfying purchases are often the ones I have to wait for. I understand you have regretted getting rid of some things, but it is SO much better than hanging on to too much "in case." Best to move on when something doesn't work for you. I think that living in a small space has taught me to focus on what is functional and beautiful and to get rid of things that do not meet both requirements. I think you are on this path! However, I also think that some of us who read these type of blogs find joy in rearranging and rethinking our living spaces in way that many people don't. Personally, my rearranging urge has lessened as I have become more satisfied with my things and cut out a lot of pieces that I did not love or that did not function, but I understand your interest in trying out new looks for your home. I will say, though, that if you don't find something both beautiful and functional, wait to see if you really want it-- you will always be able to find it again, even if it takes a while.

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  8. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, Artie! It seems that you use your home as a design lab. There's nothing wrong with change as long as you're not losing tons of money on expensive mistakes. I've read articles in which designers/decorators say that it is harder to decorate their homes than those of their clients. At least you realize when a piece is not working for you, and you're willing to let it go and move on rather than be unhappy with the mistake. Of course I don't know, but part of the problem may be that you are sometimes anxious for the whole thing to come together. I've been guilty of the same. No one loves a beautiful and visually pleasing home better than I, but I have learned that form must always follow function. At the end of the day, your home MUST be comfortable and functional for you and your guests. Your home is your haven, your sanctuary. So it just HAS to be both comfortable AND functional. Once you have those two things down pat, as talented as you are the beautiful part will come naturally! I can hardly wait to see what you do with your new place. I know it will be gorgeous! In closing I'll just say, what's up with teasing us with a peek at that wonderful chinoiserie wedding cabinet?! Give us more! Lol!

  9. I was curious about the wood flooring you used - was it hard wood or engineered? We're building a house and I'm looking for wood flooring that will hold up to dogs. Have you considered the new vinyl plank flooring? It looks great, has light color wood options, and is supposed to be tough as nails.

  10. Hi Antoinette,

    I used the vinyl plank. I love it! It help up so well, and looked great! Plus, it wasn't a huge investment into a rental.

  11. I am so excited for you and your new space! You are a true talent and you will make it great!


  13. I've just sold my table and 6 chairs. My husband claimed it was an albatross around our necks as the table top had thick glass and weighed a ton. At the time I thought it was so unique and different but between the coldness of it during the winter months and all the scratches on it I'm well rid of it. I too tend to buy for the pretty factor involved and then regret it afterwards.

    Your new place has those big beautiful 3 windows in the living which is always a win win situation. Looking forward to seeing how you make this apartment your own.

  14. Have to say this is one of the most fascinating posts I have read in many a moon! I love your attitude, your creativity, your ability to let go ~ and begin again. Can't wait to see what happens next!

  15. These captured photos are looks gorgeous .