Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who's Wearing What?

It's been a while since I've done a fashion post, so here we go. I was looking at weardrobe 100 a little while ago, which is a summary of 100 fashion bloggers and their top looks from 2009. I really liked the following picture, one of the few that I actually liked, and didn't even realize until a few days later the reason why. Turns out I have an outfit that I like to wear that is very very similar. I have a navy and white striped tunic sweater (white stripes are skinnier than the navy ones) that I wear with skinny jeans and a white blazer. Funny how that works. Boyfriend thinks it looks silly with the blazer over it, but here is instant affirmation that I do kinda know what I'm doing.

Side note: I've never had a lot of navy clothes, but the color is really growing on me. I think it will be my new neutral. Nautical chic just in time for spring (so I'm optimistic about the weather).

(Photo courtesy of weardrobe)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gallery Wall - Decisions, Decisions

So my weekend was mostly spent doing the work I actually get paid for, so I was unable to do any work on the apartment. But I have been thinking. I already know that I'm going to do some sort of gallery arrangement on this wall:


But now I have to decide how and what to actually do. I did some cruising around Apartment Therapy and the world wide web in general, and am no closer to deciding. For the most part, I think it will be my own photos that I will get printed, so I'm not too limited in how it will look. My Christmas present from boyfriend is not yet done, but when it is done, it will be a large (30" or so) square frame that is a collage photo of bright DC row houses with a gorgeous ginkgo tree in front. This may or may not end up on the gallery wall, depending on what I decide, as I mostly want smaller photos (8x10), and that would look funny I think. I also want to be able to mix it up a bit, trading photos in and out. With that said, here are some of my inspiration pictures:

Randomly placed framed artwork:

(Photo from Apartment Therapy)

Off-topic, but I love the wallpaper!
(Photo from Apartment Therapy)

Randomly sized artwork in a grid/geometric formation:

(Photo from Design Formula)

(Photo from Design Formula)

I like the black and white photos in all the same style frame.
(Photo from
Apartment Therapy)

Using artwork as a border is a great idea.

Identically sized artwork in a grid:

Even though the frames are all the same size, the photos are not identically sized. Nice way to add symmetry.
(Photo from Apartment Therapy)

I've loved this off-set design for quite a while, but it's one of those things that you do once and then never change. I don't deal well without change.
(Can't remember where I got this photo - if it was you, let me know so I can add the credit)

Picture ledges:

(Photo from Design Formula)
Pictures clipped on wire:

(Can't remember where I got this photo - if it was you, let me know so I can add the credit)

5.21.09 polaroid display 2_AT.09 polaroid display 2
(Photo from Apartment Therapy)

This is my favorite of the clipped art methods, I think. Adds a bit more of a framed look.
(Photo from
Apartment Therapy)

And that doesn't even touch on the issue of matching frames, what color the frames should be, should the photos be black and white, or color, or should the colors match my living room, and so on.

My summary of how I feel about them

Randomly placed framed artwork:

The more organic and free-flowing arrangements are easy to add to over time, but tend to look cluttered and take a lot of work to lay out in the beginning I think. This one is my least favorite, I think.

Randomly sized & identically sized artwork in a grid/geometric formation:

Being an engineer, I naturally gravitate towards the geometric layouts, but because I want to change it up frequently, I worry that that becomes too much hassle. It wouldn't be too bad if I always use 8x10 photos horizontally orientated though, I guess.

Picture ledges:

These are a good solution to changing things up, but I think they tend to look better with a smaller number of large pieces. Also there is danger in devolving into a Pottery Barn catalog layout.

Pictures clipped on wire:

This is what I'm currently leaning towards, as it's the least work, and it means I don't have to buy a bunch of frames, which can get pricey. Not to mention it's super easy to change photos in and out, and I don't have to worry about changing the horizontal placement of photos. I'm a little worried it might read as dorm room though, so I'm hesitant.

What do you all think?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Settling In, Week 3 - Living Room as Living Room, not Storage Unit

And I figured I could show off my living room, now that it's in an inhabitable state. Definitely not finished, but close enough for now. Someday I will do a post on the bookshelves, but for right now I'll just say that I scrapped multiple plans for elaborate, beautiful, handmade shelves and instead bought all three of these on Craigslist for $25. Can't beat it. A few projects which will be underway at some point in the not so distant future:

  • All paper boxes on the shelves will be covered with contact paper and/or removed from the shelves.
  • The green chairs will be re-upholstered. I'm actually thinking about having this professionally done, as the rear part of the backrests are wood, and it looks like something I could easily mess up. Not to mention I only paid $5 apiece for them, so I figure I can spend a little to make them perfect.
  • There will eventually be a gallery wall of photos and art on the wall above the couch.
  • Two tables are currently under construction for use as coffee tables (copper pipe bases with wood tops).
Those are the near-term projects, but rest assured, I have other ideas.





Settling In, Week 3 - The Loft Frame Reveal!

Without further ado, I give you the loft bed:



The view from above.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where were you a year ago?

Speaking of catalog browsing, I got a Pottery Barn catalog in the mail last week, and was surprised to come across this picture:


A little back story on the subject - A little over a year ago I ran across this bowl on the internet:


I remembered a pendant lampshade that I had once seen like that, and I immediately started searching for it. I couldn't find it myself, so I turned to Apartment Therapy, but even they couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I eventually ended up making it myself:



Oh well, I still like mine better, and it was a fraction of the cost.

Mirrored Wallpaper - the Jury is Still Out

So I was all set to upload the pictures of the loft bed, and even remembered my memory card today, but unfortunately forgot my memory card reader. So you will just have to wait another day.

In other news, a while ago I got a Brocade Home catalog and I really liked the mirrored wallpaper. Boyfriend thinks it's too much, and Apartment Therapy readers also aren't that big of fans. I think it might look nice if it wasn't a whole wall, maybe even framed, or just a stripe on the wall or something. I can totally see it being a DIY project using silver leaf and a stencil for a smaller area. What do you think?


(Photo courtesy of Brocade Home)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update on Clark

It's funny how I've been finding out how people are getting attached to my frogs almost as much as me, even though they've never met them. Well, I have some more news about Clark, who went missing when I first moved in. We had to move pretty much everything in the bedroom to make room for the loft assembly, and after moving the bed, I found that Clark had decided to hide in the one place that I would be guaranteed not to find him - deep under the bed, and I am sad to say that he didn't make it. I guess it's better to know what happened to him then to always wonder, but it was a very sad moment. Plans are being made for a memorial service where we will bury him next to the puddle at the cabin where he came from this spring.

Lewis has fattened up considerably since Clark has been gone, as Lewis was always a little bit stupider than Clark. Clark would immediately swoop down and start gobbling up the flies when feeding time came, but Lewis tends to dink around, and eventually come down and look at the flies for about 10 minutes, and then decide they might be tasty. Needless to say, not having competition has been good for him. His terrarium is coming along, so I will post pictures once Lewis is all moved in.

Settling In, Week 2 - Loft Construction Update

So I know you've all been waiting anxiously to find out what all we got done this weekend, so here goes. A successful trip to the Depot was followed by a lot of cutting (both wood and copper pipe) on Saturday at boyfriend's house, with a break on Sunday due to rain/tiredness. Monday we cut some more wood and hauled all the pieces (like an Ikea kit, essentially), down to my apartment and by 10:30 p.m., I had a loft bed!

Right now it's just the platform on legs and none of the bottom details are done. We need to close-in the storage locker, build the clothes shelves, assemble the rolling shelves and add trimwork to the whole thing. A side project I also started this weekend was assembling two small tables for in front of my couch which still need to be finished as well. I went a little overboard with copper pipe fun, so expect to see a lot of it in the future.

After I climbed up on the mattress after spending 2/3 of a long weekend working away, I realized I had not fully taken into account my dislike for heights, which boyfriend wasn't too pleased to hear. After going up and down the ladder a few times, I think I'll get adjusted though. After taking lots of pictures, I unfortunately forgot my memory card at home, so stay tuned for photos!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Settling In - Week 2, Loft Design

So tonight is the big night - heading to Home Depot to purchase materials to build the loft bed! After several arguments with boyfriend on the topic (we're both very opinionated on design and construction topics), we finally sat down in the room the night before I moved in and spent an hour laying out the design of the loft on the floor in masking tape. I think we came up with a great plan, and today are just finishing up making the materials list, and hopefully at least the basic structure will be completed this weekend (I love it when random holidays pop up, giving me an extra day).

If you click on the picture, you can probably read my notes a little better, but essentially the majority of it is an enclosed "storage locker" where I will store things like my headboard and footboard, extra tables, and so on. This will be accessible from the top (for large things like the headboard and footboard, and from the right side, where you can see a door. The left side has open shelving for clothes storage, which is opposite my closet doors, which is convenient for figuring out what to wear. My desk will go in the space in the middle, and on either side will be two shelving units on wheels, that aren't attached to the loft bed. This is important, as the righthand side shelves have to wheel out in order to access the storage locker door. Seeing as how the loft leaves about 20" of space on either side, that was the most difficult part to figure out (the access to the storage locker).

The bottom of the loft will be 5' high, which leaves about 3.75' above the mattresses, which is plenty of room to sit up in, which was important to me. And because everything under the front half of the loft is a separate piece of furniture, the loft will be cantilevered over that section, so hopefully that will make it look a little more airy and less like a solid box taking up the majority of my bedroom. Stay tuned for construction pictures!

loft dimensioned

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Neon Oriental Rugs? Maybe, Maybe Not

Since I have so many random and large projects going on with the new apartment right now, I've abandoned my new rug dreams. Although after heading to every big home improvement store that I could think of only to find they do not carry cotton rope, I did determine that Amazon will be my eventual resource for my cotton rope crocheted rug, whenever I get around to it.

But now it's time to add another idea to the rug ideas list. Apartment Therapy posted about these rugs, which have been given a new lease on life. Apparently what is done is the rug is neutralized to remove the original color and then over-dyed, in this case to vibrant neon colors. The examples given are not worth the hefty price tag, in my opinion, considering they still look a bit bedraggled, but I can definitely see giving it a go on a Craigslist or Goodwill purchase.






(Photos courtesy of ABC Home)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Settling In, Week 1 - Living Room Painted!

My original plans had been to paint two living room walls the day before moving in, so I didn't have to deal with all my stuff in the apartment, but due to my procrastination/busyness, I was unable to buy the paint until that day. That presented a problem, as the day before I moved in was New Years Day, and the hardware store was closed. So by the time I finally had a chance to catch a breath and think about painting it was Friday.

Because the room includes the entryway, the kitchen, and the living room, I figured I didn't want to paint all of the walls, but instead do two walls which are only in the living room a bold color. I used my rug as a starting point, which would be a golden yellow/caramel or rusty red color, and found some fabrics I loved at Jo-Anns when I was home over Christmas. The first fabric I found is a rusty-red background with gold, green, blue, and other colors in a abstract floral pattern. It was a bit pricey for curtains though, so I only got a couple of yards for pillows. I found some clearance fabric that is muted small stripes of three different colors of gold which would be perfect for the curtains, so I matched the wall paint to that fabric.

Onto the painting - I wanted to make sure I did a good job, so I carefully taped off all of the walls, except the ceiling because it is so tall and it made me nervous to get that high on the ladder. I had an edger wheelie tool, so I figured it would be ok.


It went pretty quickly, even having to do two coats. I did notice the next morning an odd patch on the wall where it didn't have quite the sheen of the rest of the wall. I eventually remembered that I had accidentally bumped the wall with my butt when coming down the ladder, so now I have a butt-print on my wall.


The color isn't quite as bright in real life, but it definitely is an impact wall. The curtains up are also not the final curtains, just the ones from my old apartment I put up for privacy. Right now it's looking a little like ketchup and mustard.


My fabulous taping job worked pretty well, if I do say so myself. It took almost as long to tape everything as it did to paint, but it was worth it. The ceiling edge is a little sloppy looking due to the edger tool, but I think I'm going to go back in with a tiny paintbrush and straighten it out.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Settling In, Week 1 - Storage Unit Mode

So I've been in the new apartment for a week now, so I figured I should actually put up some pictures of the new place. These pictures are from day 2 or 3, so it's gotten a little better since then, but not much. Unfortunately, the new apartment doesn't come with nearly as much storage space as the old apartment, and my two main pieces of storage furniture have yet to be built/bought.







So there you have it folks - stay tuned for more improvements and my huge list of projects to accomplish:

1) Paint living room walls (done!)
2) Make living room curtains (almost done)
3) Build shelving unit for living room Buy Billy bookshelves on Craigslist (long story, will get to this later)
4) Design loft bed/storage locker/work area (working on it)
5) Build loft bed/storage locker/work area
6) Figure out how in the world I want to decorate the bedroom (thinking blues)

and the list continues...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Apartment Blues

That is, blues in a good way. I haven't really thought at all about how I want my bedroom to look yet, as I have plenty lined up to do in the living room, but the wallpaper below is looking pretty tempting...

(Photo courtesy of Chris Everard via Department of the Interior)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Laura's Adventures in Moving

So the big move has been accomplished. Well, sorta. Still tying up loose ends (see post on the cable company.) Of course I decided to move on a day with wind gusts up to 49 mph, which made it great fun. But after 4 truckloads and 3 carloads (I have no idea how I fit all my stuff in a studio apartment, but I will be doing some paring down), my new apartment is full to the brim of boxes and random things strewn all over the place.

Sunday I had to go back and finish up some cleaning and wall-patching odds and ends and hand over the keys. As much as I love my new place, I did really like the old apartment, so it's sad in a way. I've always found it fun and exciting to move, just because I like change a lot, but this time is was really hard. I think mostly because my life is just super hectic at the moment and I had to fit in packing and dealing with moving at the same time as going home for Christmas for a week and working 60 hour weeks (at least), but at least the moving and the going home part are over for now.

So now I'm in the stage where all of my worldly possessions are strewn over my new apartment and I can't find anything, and there are boxes everywhere, and it's just generally chaos. To top it all off, somehow the top managed to come off of Lewis and Clark's terrarium my first night in the new place, and I managed to find Lewis in the morning, but Clark is lost in the wild that is my new apartment. It was a rough morning. I have torn apart everything I possibly could to find him, but I am afraid he is gone for good. RIP, my beautiful baby frog.


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