Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before There is Order, There is First Chaos

I have excellent news to report. My favorite design inspiration, Apartment Therapy contacted me about posting a house tour of my apartment on their website. Of course I'm going to say yes, but I optimistically said one week was enough time to get all the miscellaneous projects that I wanted to complete done. So I carefully planned my week, figuring out all the projects and what needed to be done to accomplish them. Specifically, I wanted to sew curtains for my closets, finish my lampshade project, and build a box/light box thing to store my bike in, as it doesn't match my color scheme. So the date was set for Sunday, November 23.

Saturday - The first day was spent sewing my curtains. You would think that, being an engineer and all, I could convert from feet to inches, but no. I measured the width of the closet, 84 inches, and thought in my head, oh 6 feet. I went to the fabric store and bought plenty of fabric, even given my stupid conversion, but unfortunately that didn't carry over to my cutting the fabric out. They were almost complete before I realized that the curtains were each going to be 6 inches too skinny. Luckily there is a little bit of slack, so it didn't turn out terrible, but I learned to always double check my measurements AND conversions. Not only did I screw up the width of the curtains, I managed to make one an inch or so too long, which was really noticeable because of the border at the bottom that didn't line up. But after spending 5 hours making the darn things and finally getting them up, I gave up and saved fixing that for another day.

Sunday - This was the planning day. The idea was that if I planned everything out, I would be incredibly efficient and not waste any time. That was the idea anyway. I also did a little shopping and picked up some project supplies at Target.

Monday - I have no recollection of Monday. The entire week is kind of a blur and apparently Monday has just dropped out all together.

Tuesday - This was the Home Depot run day, to pick up all the bike box/light box supplies and any other miscellaneous things I needed. I had decided that my dining area screamed "I shop way too much at Ikea", so I thought I would paint my chairs. After sending boyfriend off to pick up all the box materials, I proceeded to the paint department to try to match the red color in my rug from a poorly lit picture on my camera. Needless to say, I spent the entire 2 hours we were at Home Depot wavering between varying shades of red. After picking it out, getting the wood, and also the epoxy needed to finish the lamp shade, we take off. After hauling the 4'x6' sheets of plywood into my apartment, I decide that the box idea is just ridiculous as the box would be ginormous (6'x6'x2'). You would think I would have thought about this previously, but no.

Wednesday - I had to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do instead of the bike box. I finally figured out a design for a room divider/screen that still incorporated the light box feature and was just barely possible given the wood I had bought. Once I got home, I engaged in some deep-cleaning. I have never scrubbed a bathroom tile floor with a toothbrush prior to this, and I never want to do it again.

Thursday - This was originally going to be the bike box construction day, but we figured that my neighbors wouldn't really appreciate us using a circular saw at night, so we had to save that for Saturday. Instead it was time to tackle the lampshade project. I had previously formed the lampshade from clay, which took several trial and error runs, and then baked it, which was an interesting project as I also had to bake the sharpie markers which were providing the shape of the lampshade. Unfortunately, oven-baked clay is a bit precarious, so boyfriend came up with the idea of using fiberglass cloth and epoxy to strengthen it, like what is used for auto-body repair. So we were able to get one side of the lamp fiberglassed and epoxied, but that meant I had to spend the night with the window wide-open, which is always fun in the middle of November. We also got the dining room chairs painted, and they looked fabulous.

Friday - The original plan was to take a break on Friday night. Instead I spent the evening staining the wood, which turned out a completely different color than I anticipated, as well as staining my feet, hands, arms, and any other extremities that happened to get in the way. While at work, I had also had an idea for an art project. Well, maybe boyfriend came up with's all running together now. Anyway, we had once seen these framed pictures which were basically a collage of many 4x6 photos joined together in a mish-mash fashion to make a big picture. So boyfriend suggested that the beautiful gingko trees that I had taken pictures of last weekend would match my apartment beautifully, if we did something like that and pinned them up on a bulletin board. So he raced home to catch the last of the evening light, only to discover that all the leaves were gone, as we had had massive winds that week. Darn. So photo idea number 2 was the Marylin Monroe mural that I have loved ever since I moved to DC, at the Woodley Park metro station. So boyfriend hopped on his bike and took a bazillion pictures of that. Getting them developed proved to be a bit difficult as well, as every photo developing machine in Columbia Heights happened to be on the fritz. So boyfriend wasn't able to come over and help with stuff for quite a while. We lay out all the pictures and decide that the final picture isn't quite big enough, and CVS did a crappy job printing them. Oh well, we'll worry about that tomorrow. We also fiberglassed and epoxied the other side of the lampshade.

Saturday - This is the big push, as everything had to be done by 10 am on Sunday. Unfortunately, boyfriend and I were walking in the Help the Homeless walkathon Saturday morning, so that took a bite out of our work time. We rushed back from the walkathon, went to Whole Foods to pick up some lunch and flowers (also took a large amount of time, due to my indecisiveness), and then back to my apartment. Lots of cutting ensued, as my room divider design wasn't exactly simple. I helped boyfriend out as much as possible while also cleaning and arranging and figuring out what to do with the picture board. We decided that we could crop the pictures more and get them printed again and that would make the overall picture bigger. So once that was done, I set out to make the actual pin-up board, utilizing a random piece of plywood, seeing as how I had a ton of it I wasn't using anymore. The final photo board turned out fantastic and was probably one of my favorite projects, despite it being such a last-minute thing. The lampshade was also my responsibility, as it needed to be sanded, covered in spackle, sanded again, and spray painted. At 4 am, we couldn't really think straight, despite the fact the apartment was still a mess, as seen in the pictures below. The screen / light box was essentially completed, with a few modifications and the light box part of it wasn't up and running, but it was good enough for the pictures, at least. A couple of hours of sleep and we were back up at 6:30 am to finish up cleaning and putting everything in place. Amazingly enough, it all came together and looked great for the pictures, although, I'm not going to lie, my bathtub was full of stuff I didn't want in the pictures, such as my dying red maple tree and exercise ball.

The pictures should be up on Apartment Therapy on December 4, but I will for sure let you all know when it is.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

wow, what a project! I can't wait to see the pictures!!!

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