Right after I moved into Berrybrier I made a list of a ton of things I wanted to accomplish here! Now a ton of it has been completed and I’m really looking forward to sharing more and more of this with you as the weeks go by. I’m making a commitment to start posting weekly on Tuesdays at 10am and am hoping to catch you up to the latest happenings here at Berrybrier! I will occasionally be posting little posts like this on other days and will take weeks off for the occasional holiday or when I’m totally swamped. But truly, I’m trying to hold myself to posting every Tuesday!Continue reading “2019: Here We Go!”
So now that I’ve been at Berrybrier almost a month (oh my god, how?!), I’ve got a pretty good plan of what I’m going to do for the next several years! Boy, is there plenty of work to do, but I am only excited. Before I can do the fun stuff, there’s some big stuff that needs to be done by the professionals. Whoop! There goes my savings! Luckily, once these things are complete, I’ll be able to rent out the two upper bedrooms and start saving up for more fun projects.
Right now I kind of have a hand in every pot of honey around this house, trying to do a million things at once. There are tons of little things that needed to be updated around here before it’s truly livable. Once these more behind-the-scenes items are complete, I’ll get to dive into more of the showy stuff. But I thought I’d break things down for you – and for myself! – to see what’s going on right now and where things are headed.
- Trim back plants from street
and sidewalkto allow passage of pedestrians and cars parking Cut down bamboo Trim walnut tree
- Cut down palm tree
Turn soil Plant clover as a cover crop Cut back and remove berry bushes
- Move raised bed to side yard
- Beef up front porch column
- Replace lattice at porch with proper railing
- Remove railing from side of house
- Paint house!
- New roof and gutters
- New house numbers
- Line driveway with bricks
- Remove chain link fence
- Re-stain front door
- Add new door knocker
- Re-landscape front yard
- Add white picket fence
- Add front porch along entire front of house
- Turn existing porch into mud room
- Turn existing front window into new french doors
- Add coat rack
- Add hooks
- Add entry rug
- Switch existing light fixture for new flush mount
- Center light fixture on entry
- Add sconce?
- Add furniture I have already
- Cross fingers for roommates with furniture
- Buy furnishings (loveseat, chairs, cocktail table, ottomans, rug etc…)
- Remove stone from fireplace and build more traditional look
- Trim out opening to kitchen
- Build attractive wood storage
- Switch light fixture for new
- Center light fixture on fireplace
- Turn big window into french doors to new porch
Add existing furniture Remove terrifying glass and concrete block shelving system from closet
- Add functional storage to closet
- Add panels to existing closet door in interim
- Switch existing light fixture for new pendant over table
- Line walls with bookcases to create library dining space!
- Re-work closets and lower floor bedroom entry?
- Center light fixture
- Clean, clean, clean
- Sand existing cabinets
- Paint existing cabinets
- Scrape existing flaking sheet vinyl up to expose original hardwood floors and stair treads
- Purchase small butcher block table for next to stove
- Remove small full height cabinet
- Add my pantry china cabinet from the Duplex
- Paint pantry china cabinet
- Re-finish hardwood floors
- New lighting (cans? pendants? semi-flush mounts?)
- Remove cabinets on west side and replace with new
- Wire for stove and vent hood at south side window
- Plumb for sink beneath windows looking into backyard
- Add new cabinets at new sink location
- Remove door at stairs
- Add dormer on west side of house
- Rework stairs with new railing using height from dormer to eliminate dual landing
Replace toilet seat with new so it feels less disgusting in here Clean and pray the germs away
- Complete demo!
- New flooring!
- New fixtures!
- New layout!
- New vanity cabinet!
- New storage!
- Switch walls to make this bathroom the half bath and a full bath off the bedroom
Lower Floor Bedroom:
Add existing bedroom furniture Add curtain rod and curtains
- Clean and organize closet to make functional
- New light fixture
- Remove paper residue from wood floors
- Re-work entrance to room to be centered off dining room with his and hers closets
Powder Room (Off Lower Floor Bedroom):
- New toilet
- Secure sink to wall
- Remove VCT flooring
- Tile floors
- Add wall paneling
- Paint walls and ceiling
- Switch walls in bathrooms to make this a full bathroom and the one off the kitchen a powder room
- Paint walls
- Paint risers
- New hand rail
- New motion sensor or 3 way light switch
- New light fixture
- Add sconces?
- Add door where current eave access door is leading to north side dormer at top of stairs
- Raise ceiling height at bottom of stairs / kitchen with south side dormer
- Turn dual stair landing into single with extended ceiling height
- New light fixture
- Make closets more functional / attractive
- Add more outlets
- Strap hot water heater to concrete walls
- Vent dryer to exterior
- Clean washer and dryer
- Paint floors and walls
- New 200 amp electrical box
- Add storage
- New front loading washer and dryer (stacking?)
- Add laundry basket storage
- New stainless steel utility sink
- New lighting on single switch
- Add rug and shelving at laundry
- Upgrade furnace and oil tank to new gas
- Add outlets?
- Turn soil
- Plant clover as a cover crop
Move bricks from behind garage, evaluate if enough for patio Cut back and remove some berry bushes
- Cut back asparagus
Trim magnolia tree
- Build a brick patio beneath magnolia tree
Demo existing falling down fence
- Build new fence
Buy outdoor table and chairs Demolish deck roof
- Paint outdoor table and chairs
- Demolish deck
- Demolish chicken coop
- Build new chicken coop and run
- Plant raised bed vegetable garden
- Add shade garden beneath Magnolia
- Cultivate existing herb garden
- Add fire pit with adirondack chair seating
- Landscape yard
- Demolish existing garage
- Add large shed
- Add outdoor shower / tub?
Clean! Remove chemicals and toxic waste Remove junk and toss
- Organize existing nuts, bolts, screws, etc
- Organize with proper tool and wood storage
- Demolish garage, replace with large shed
Whew! That’s a lot I’m working on and a lot to do coming up! Somehow it feels like I haven’t done anything, yet I’ve been working my butt off. I think all the little things happen over time and most are still in progress so although I haven’t checked a lot off my list yet, there’s still a lot going on! Luckily, I have an amazing amount of help. My dad came up for two weeks, my mom has been here helping for a month, my cousins Mary and Ted have been incredibly kind, dedicating hours upon hours to slowly tame this garden! I am so thankful for all this help. I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of my family members. I am looking forward to whipping the main bathroom and kitchen into shape so I can finally feel moved-in. Right now I feel very guilty showing people into my bathroom. Somehow, I’ve grown accustomed to it, but boy, it is not hygienic! Luckily the big items will get ticked off the list in the next couple of months allowing me to go into the new year in a fresh, clean space! Can’t wait for y’all to come visit in 2018!
I have a goal and a plan and I’m ready for action! This is the final push to get the entry whipped into shape! I have a Galentine’s Day Party planned for all the ladies in my life the weekend of the 11th. My goal is to finally complete the entry way so I can decorate it up for the party! I have some cute heart ornaments that just need a place to be hung.
So, why is it the final push? Because I’ve been secretly working on this for months, slowly chipping away at the mess that this area was when we moved in! If you recall, it looked like this to start:
And when you first opened the front door you looked in at this:
Whew! What a hot mess it was when we arrived! The entry’s one redeeming feature (besides the coat closet) is the little nook right next to the door. This is a great place for us to stash all our shoes and jackets when we first come home. Of course… is started out as a whole lot of nothing!
Well, nothing, but an electrical panel, a light switch, and a heating vent. Lot’s of mechanical stuff going on in this spot! You may remember my original plan for this area. It included the following items, some of which are now complete:
Get seating for putting on/taking off shoes
sole or buffet for mail/purses
- Hang art/
- Paint back wall to hide electrical box better?
- Organize closet
Since October – when I came up with this plan of attack – I’ve been slowly getting ‘er done! First I got to work hanging a big old heavy mirror I got for free from work several years ago when it was delivered with a hefty scratch. I bought this 50 lb drywall anchor set from Home Depot for a few beans.
Once I marked my location (I was hanging the mirror high with the plan to eventually put a console table beneath it), hanging the mirror was really easy. I simply tapped the plastic anchor in with a nail first, then screwed it the remainder of the way into the wall.
The two other pieces in the kit – a screw and a picture holder, fit into one another, and were then screwed into the plastic piece. Easy as pie.
You know what was not easy? Lifting the heavy mirror up and hooking the wire onto the picture hook. Boy! That mirror was heavy! I enlisted the assistance of both my parents who happened to be visiting that weekend. By the time we hung the mirror, I’d also bought an ottoman! It was an impulse buy one morning on the bus. I only semi-regretted it after. And by semi-regretted I mean I realized it was definitely not my favorite option, but it was cheap. I looked it up to link to it in this post and found out it’s now available in cream! Ugh. Cream would have been a great option. Instead I ended up with the cherry red. When I bought it, the ottoman was only available in red or black leather. I have an intense dislike of black leather furniture unless it’s on task chairs, so I went with the red option. I may reupholster it with some extra fabric I got for free from work. We’ll see… For now, let’s concentrate on the positives of this ottoman. A) I got it for a heavily discounted price. B) It opens up and becomes a huge storage ottoman! C) It’s deep enough to provide seating space while still being tucked under a shallow table, so I don’t need to drag it out to open it.
Being quite the spend-it-all-at-once-er I also bought an indoor/outdoor rug at about the same time. I picked one that was made of polypropylene because it would hide the dirt and I could take it in the backyard and hose it off if it got really dirty. The rug itself is also heavily textured with the heathered dark parts of the rug being flatwoven and about 1/8″ below the height of the light part of the rug design. I wanted something that would make the silly transition between the sheet vinyl and LVT floors less obvious. The sheet vinyl part of the entry is 4′ x 7′ and rug I bought was 3′-9″ by 5′-8″ so it covers almost the entire entry area. Then on an IKEA trip I stumbled upon some welcome mats. Most of the mats at the store said “Welcome” in English, but I spotted one that said “Willkommen” which is the German translation. Being the Germanophile I am, I snapped it up instantly and stood over my cart like a mama dog protecting her babies. I took it home and paired it with the larger black and white rug for a modern look. Having this mat inside helps keep things even cleaner, especially since we do not have any outdoor overhang! Jacks was so excited about the rug, he even posed with it for Instagram (yes this was 3 months ago).
With the hanging of the mirror and the purchase of the rugs and ottoman, this entry had a completely different look and feel. Thank goodness! It wasn’t done yet – no there was lots left to do – but, progress had been made and the space was starting to feel like home. Plus I finally had a place to store my shoes (the ottoman!) and a place to sit while putting on my shoes (the ottoman!). No more hopping around on one foot like a clumsy flamingo!
Now that my clumsy flamingo days were over, I also wanted a place to hang my purse and any wet coats (have you heard that it rains here in Portland, OR?). I inherited some pretty reclaimed wood planks from a friend a while back. I pulled one out that looked to be about the right size; its gorgeously beat up and has some paint still staining it. I love old wood (wink wink! No, gross! Bad joke! I take it back.). Then I picked up some of these painted square tile hooks from World Market.
I laid them out on top of the wood plank on my dining table and spaced them out until they were even to the eye, before marking their location with a pen. Then I drilled shallow holes in the wood to allow for the screws.
I finished it off by screwing the hooks onto the board. (Is it just me or did that sound dirty too?)
I finished it off (oh my god, why does this sound so bad?!) by drilling holes at the middle of each end of the board and taking two 2″ screws to fasten it into the studs in the entry. The coatrack looks cute and holds my purse quite nicely!
Now, why stop there when there’s so much more to do in this room?! If you scroll all the way up to the first picture in this post, you’ll see a weird box on the wall. What is it? I have no idea. Why is it there? To annoy me. How do I fix it? Classic answer: a gallery wall.
Boom! A few pieces of art and now that box isn’t quite so obvious. Here is my map of England, a fun and funky art piece my Aunt Pat found, and a print I bought at a Museum in Milan. This entry has so many walls, I still need to add art to several spots! This is a good start though. Overall, I’m feeling good, because this entry is looking so much nicer!
A vast improvement over the before, I just have to say!
Oh! That before picture makes me realize another couple of quick updates. See that ugly carpet sticking out under the door? Ripped out. Goodbye gross! The cheap mirror on the closet door didn’t even last through the first week in the Duplex. There are some things I can’t change – the yellow brown moldings, the door, etc, but in a rental, sometimes you gotta take what you can get! What’s on the horizon for this space? Lot’s of final touches, but first, a custom console. You may have seen this sneakpeek pic on Instagram a few weeks ago when I was test fitting my furniture build:
I’m still working on the final touches of that piece, but the goal is to knock that out this week and begin accessorizing and putting more art up next weekend. Wish me luck!
Do you have anything you’re working on that has a fast approaching deadline? Does that make you panic? Or work harder? Or both?! Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
So we’ve been here in the Portland Duplex for a little while now and I wanted to show you all an update on how things stand. We’re starting to make progress in a few areas and anything is better than the chaos when we first moved in! Also this is a nice place to list the twenty million ideas I have, Young Houser Love’s “Listy McListerson” style! Since I know this house is not long term – I have no plans on being her longer than my year lease – there are many things I am very cautious about putting money toward. Basically, anything I can take with me? Sure, spend the green, anything more permanent? Not happening this year. Hopefully, my next home will be a much more permanent living situation! There are tons of updates anyone can accomplish in a rental though, so that’s what I’d set out to do!
– THE ENTRY –
A whole lot of nothing going on in here! I really haven’t started.
- Get seating for putting on/taking off shoes
- console or buffet for mail/purses
- Hang art and accessorize
- Paint back wall to hide electrical box better?
- Organize closet
- Shoe storage!
– The Long Hallway –
- Hang Art
- Add runner?
– The Powder Room –
Untouched as well since this room is currently playing host to the house’s newest member! Six month old kitten Jackson is using this room as his safehouse until his stitches heal from his neutering and he and Malary learn to settle their differences.
- Buy bath mat/rug
- Replace toilet seat
- Hang art
- Add plants
- Find nice hand towel
Soon there will be two cats photobombing all my pictures! Check out his little face in the meantime!
– The Kitchen –
Not a ton has changed in here. Those floors are impossible to keep clean so I’m looking into a runner which will hide some of the dirt I hope. We’ve still got all our pots and pans on the counter! Luckily the lovely china cabinet is helping store a lot of my things and frees up cabinet space! The stools were up for grabs when my new office moved from east to west Portland and I nabbed five for $20 beans each.
- Buy rug/runner
- Make use of back wall with vertical storage (I’ve been working on this guy and can’t wait to share)
Get stools for bar area
- Re plant something in that pot
– The Dining Room –
Things are looking a lot more lively in here now that I’ve added my furniture! The table is from my grandmother’s home, but it actually belonged to one of her tenants so there isn’t any sentimental value. The bookshelf was a surprise hand-me-down from my parents.
- Paint/stain/refinish table (the top isn’t sealed properly, and I’d love to update it, this looks like a fun option, but they also look really elegant stained if styled correctly)
- Paint bookshelf black to coordinate with china hutch
– The Living Room –
Things have kind of landed in here for now. I’m using my old trunk which used to live at the bottom of my bed as a coffee table in the living room at the moment. We don’t have a couch yet and when we do get one I’m not sure the scale of the trunk will work with it. We’re using the bench I got as a hand-me-down from my parents and these two chairs as seating in here for now and it’s working pretty well. The larger chair is my roommates over which I draped a large wall hanging I got at the Berlin flea market. The wood arm’ed one is something I got from work in Oakland about 8 months back. The vintage suitcases were my Oma’s, I’ve stacked them and stuck a tray on top which is working really well as a cute side table! The other side table is some of my cherry crates stacked together with another tray. Fred is living on the coffee table at this house right now. The floor lamp is a recent IKEA purchase (my roommate’s). The faux cowhide is free from work.
- Buy sofa
- Buy rug to layer beneath the faux-cow hide
- build larger coffee table?
- rewire green lamps for use on side tables
- rearrange entire area to work with the sofa?
- Hang art
– The Bonus Room –
This room has also pretty much just gotten a few pieces of furniture plopped down. The rug in here is awful truly awful. It might be original to the house. It’s covered in stains (some of them marker red) and sometimes smells a little bit! Our landlord said she wants to replace it with laminate flooring, but it hasn’t happened yet. The white drawer units were another item I picked up when my office moved. They were free and I napped 8 (they still sell them at IKEA for $79 each if you’re interested). I’ve got a couple in the garage, a couple in my bedroom closet, and these three in here are holding crafts supplies! It’s so nice to have them all sorted nicely. I’d love to bring a desk up here and make it a real craft room! The futon is also my roommates, I threw a couple of IKEA sheepskin pillows on top as well as a mudcloth I got at the Alameda Flea Market in the Bay Area before I moved.
- New flooring!
- Build shelves for over the weird counter
- Buy a nice plush rug
- Hang art
- Add desk
– My Bedroom –
Nothing great in here! My bed broke during the move so even though I’m on my own mattress and not the futon mattress, it’s still a mattress on the floor! Pieces from my old place all came with me, everything in here is still chaos! It took me way to long to go from the progress shot to the current shot too.
Remove curtains and hardware Hang new curtains(I’ll share this soon!)
- Build bed
- Style room
- Rearrange furniture
- Organize closets
- Layer a rug on top?
– The Bathroom –
Nothing really done it here.
- Style counter
- Add bathmats or runner
- Get Malary to use downstairs litter box
So there it is guys! Plans for the entire house. Very feasible plans and totally rental-friendly! I’m diving in, can’t wait for you to all follow along.
So before I talk all about my new home, the Duplex, I want to wrap up the one room I felt looked totally finished at the Berkeley Bungalow. No, it wasn’t my bedroom. It was the bathroom. The room that felt totally me. The room where the art was hung. Oh wait — you don’t remember the art being hung? Let me fill you in.
Remember how the bathroom looked when I first moved in? Gorgeous, but it needed a few finishing touches to bring it to life. Boy do I miss that house. The Duplex needs… let’s just say… a little more work. The Berkeley Bungalow’s bathroom got a shower curtain and plant stand with a peace lily to start.
The space worked. The litter box did the room no favors. Overall it was not a bad start. But let’s take a look at how things were right before I moved out…
Painting the plant stand was the first step towards creating a plan for the room. I decided to embrace the gold I’d accidentally incorporated with the Target shower curtain. I then later switched out the old vinyl shower curtain liners with some healthier, washable polyester ones. I searched for storage and ended up with some clear glass jars. Finally I added some plants and painted some IKEA pots to make the space a little bathroom jungle. The finishing touches involved adding art and a full length mirror!
I switched things up and moved my jewelry into the bedroom, freeing up one corner for yet another plant. Yay! This guy does well in low light and humid conditions. Perfect for a bathroom! The framed art above I bought in Milan in 2013 and popped into an IKEA frame. It’s Gerolamo Induno’s 1862 Forebodings. I really liked the piece in person and bought the print at the museum store. It depicts a girl sitting on a bed starting to either get ready for the day or ready for bed. It seemed fitting for the room where I do just that!
The other side of the room got a full length mirror from IKEA which I really wanted to paint gold (of course!), but never got around to it. A hanging IKEA planter from the towel rack incorporated yet another plant and I added a vintage 1950’s tourism poster of Berlin above the plant stand and towel rack to call this side of the space done!
This room was always bright and sunny. The natural daylight made even the toilet look cute. The plants I put on top might have helped a bit though too.
On the counters, I switched out the wooden soap holder for a red ceramic one I picked up for a few bucks at Target. The red tied into the red on the tub and added some contrast with the glass jars I’d bought at World Market.
The space finally came together and I was sad to leave it. The bathrooms at the Duplex leave much to be desired. But I’ve long since gotten used to the idea that the Berkeley Bungalow might be the nicest house I’ll ever live in. So instead of dwelling on the idea of cleaning my sheet vinyl floors again (do they ever get clean?!), I’ll just day dream of baths in this room. Heck! I’d pay rent just to live in this bathroom!
How’d I do on the list I made for this space? Pretty decent, I think!
Find the perfect glass storage jars Add a piece of furniture to place a glass of water or a book on when I take a bath New shower curtain Necklace holder Soap dish
- Moved it into my bedroom
Better jewelry storage, perhaps building an earring holder?? Add some plants in small pots on top of the toilet back Paint the plant stand gold to go with the shower curtain
- Somethings aren’t meant to be
find a better way to hide the kitty litter box Organize the vanity cabinet to better contain everything I hide away down there Hang art Even more plants?! Take so many bubble baths!
So, that there’s the end, folks. That’s the last Berkeley Bungalow post. Now we’re in Portland. Home of the endless options for delicious food. I’ll shock you with the comparison of this room to my new bathrooms and start listing ideas of how to spruce those guys up soon! Get ready for some to do lists and painting shenanigans!
Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you all had a lovely end of December and are looking forward to Thursday’s New Year’s Eve! I had an absolutely lovely Christmas this year. I spent Christmas Eve with my mother’s side and Christmas Day with my father’s side of the family. I truly couldn’t have enjoyed the holidays more than I did. Everything went pretty much perfectly! Hope everyone else was as pleased as I am! And if not, just drown yourself in eggnog and cookies to destress! That’s what the holiday’s are for anyways right? In celebration of the upcoming New Year, I thought I’d share some pictures of the living areas! Today I’m focusing on the befores and the challenges of the living-dining area; I’ll share the kitchen soon I promise!
We have a home with an open floor plan so the living room, dining room, and kitchen are all integrated into one L-shaped space. The kitchen is tucked into the shorter part of the L which designates it’s zone as more independent than other open floor plans might. I really like that when I’m in the kitchen there aren’t a ton of people circulating through the space. There are definite challenges to an open floor plan, but the longer I live here, the more I really enjoy it. Yes, when I have a party everyone is everywhere and I can’t hide a single mess (unless it fits into my closet!), but this means if I’m cooking or coordinating with stuff in the oven, I’m not completely isolated from my friends! In fact, today so many more people tend to gather in kitchens. The kitchen is the parlor of today. Everyone hangs out in the kitchen. They’re the new multi-purpose room! If your kitchen is more closed off from the living and dining spaces you can make a complete mess and no one will notice, but you also tend to not be able to socialize while you cook. There are positives and negatives to both for sure.
In our house the whole living/dining/kitchen space is a nice white color that is pretty perfect. It’s definitely not a cool white, but it’s not a yellow-y cream either. Our landlords should probably be professional paint color pickers. They always pick the cream of the crop (so pun-y!)! I walked into our house for the first time and didn’t want to paint a single room, which is pretty crazy considering how much I LOVE to paint. Seriously not kidding either. I love painting. I put on some good music and rock out. I get my clothing pretty covered in paint, but I am an expert at painting without using a drop cloth or anything. It’s a handy talent I put to use by basically forcing good friends to let me paint their interiors for them in exchange for tea and pizza. It’s a pretty good trade if you ask me! But anyways, the main areas of our home are white! Now, let’s get to more details, shall we?
First, you enter our home through the front door. Look at that gorgeous door! I love that I can see who’s outside without opening the whole thing. It’s such a hunk of a door too. That’s the kind of door all the lady doors inside want to have door babies with. They’re all standing in the hall gossiping about our hottie front door like, “Hey, come in here often?” But the front door isn’t so open to a relationship with all these interior doors. They’re just a bit hard to lock down, you know? I mean literally, though, very few of our interior doors have locks… Maybe I should apologize for subjecting you all to my brain just there. My brain thinks the doors are hitting on each other. It makes total sense in my head, I swear!
Wow, I am distracted. Who cares about the scandalous and secret lives of the doors when there are windows?! Next to the front door is a little window. Why? I have no idea, but it does let in a little more light! I’d love to stick a little table for keys, mail, shoes, and purses underneath that window. Right now all that gets dumped on the island. Which means it’s hard to find somewhere to prep food and eat. Minor tasks! Because all of our furniture is ridiculously large, it would need to be the perfect size table, probably custom. Luckily, for Christmas, I got a nice chop saw! So maybe I’ll work on this in the new year. It would be a fun little project and I can already imagine what it would look like… #dreamer
Next to the front door is the living area. We’ve squeezed an oversize couch, lounge chair, and love seat into the space. It’s crazy town, but it’s the furniture the three of us had! Most of it isn’t mine, but the large black loveseat does belong to me. It’s a hand-me-down from my Aunt Chrisy who used to keep it in her downstairs television room. Unfortunately the couch is a faux leather that is starting to disintegrate for some reason! Maybe the direct sunlight from these south facing windows is too much for it? Regardless, the loveseat needs some help.
This corner of the room is also in desperate need of some art! I have a ton of things I want to frame and last time I was at IKEA I picked up a few of their Ribba frames on sale. So hopefully I’ll get on this soon! Other than that, this area is pretty dang bland looking. It needs some flair, some fun, some cute throw pillows! Right now the pillows are just a chaotic mess of what we three already had and it makes me want to karate chop something. Like a pillow.
You can see Malary also has a favorite perch in this room too! She is there in the window literally every. single. time. I get home. It’s pretty adorable. I think it’s perfect for sunbathing during the day. This room gets a crazy amount of light! It’s so wonderful. During the morning the whole space glows and in the afternoon the light just pours in through the windows. It makes you want to curl up in the sun and take a nap. Or go outside and explore. It’s so lovely. Because we have a tall fence , the windows are very private too. You can’t see into the living room from the street or our neighbors’ houses. So, when the boys are gone, I can dance around in my underwear as much as I want. Which is always. #priorities
This particular pillow was a gift from one of the manufacturers I use frequently at work — HBF– after I interfaced with them about their new website design. It’s really cute, but the colors do not work for me and my home. Dreaming about how I can switch it up somehow. I wonder if using fabric dye would work…? The light gray color has to dye more quickly than the orange, right? Literally any other color would work. I think this would be the perfect winter project! It’s a contract fabric though, so it might dye weird. Still, worth a try, don’t you think?
On the sofa we have three black and white pillows that belong to my roommate. They are kind of old. I’m thinking about donating them back to his room. The black leatherette ones that came with the loveseat are always slipping down on it, so I think I may stick them here on the sofa and try to pair them with some other new ones with more pops of color. Green or rust would work well in the space! I also am totally obsessed with the fuzzy sheep skin ones at IKEA. The last pillow on the sofa is one I bought when I was traveling in Turkey in 2013. I actually bought it for and gifted it to my Oma and then inherited it when she passed away. I have a similar blue and white one somewhere, but it needs a fill. Also, I’m not sure it would work in the space… I may donate it to my parent’s newly renovated family room.
Here you can also see the dining area tucked ducked in the back of the room behind the loveseat. It barely fits. It’s kind of an awkward squeeze, but honestly, we almost never use the table! We all eat at the island. I use it to type at occasionally and for dinners when I have people over, but it’s definitely not used each day.
The fact that all our furniture is oversized and we still managed to squeeze it into the room without it looking too ridiculous is a amazing feat. Where is Ripley’s Believe It or Not? They need to put this in their next book. Because I am astounded! We have two bookcases, one oversized sofa, one oversized loveseat, one oversized lounge chair, two 30″ square side tables, a 30″x 48″ coffee table, a full dining room table, and six dining room chairs. I mean, the arms of the living room furniture are all overlapping, but still! Isn’t that crazy?!
It definitely seems a tad stuffed in here, but it’s not too bad. There is plenty of room when we have lots of people over! On Christmas Eve my sister, Uncle Scott, and five out of six cousins on my mother’s side came over! It was easy to have us all in the living room around the coffee table. We played some board games, because we’re hella cool like that. And yes, I am from NorCal! And yes, I reserve the right to say hella!
Our dining area functions as an extension of my library as well… Sorry boys! One of the bookcases is mine and is stuffed to the brim with my books. There is a huge assortment of genres, but I did reserve the top shelf for all of our cookbooks. The other bookcase is filled with my plants, but I actually don’t know which of the boys owns it. It was mostly empty when I moved in. The bookshelves could both use a little extra styling, but they’re not bad. The one on the left in the picture below needs to be tweaked a bit, but the one beneath the TV has color-blocked books which actually looks pretty nice. I want to switch the places of the bookcases, but I’d have to move the TV first. Not that that’s an issue. I really, really, really want to move that TV. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the house and I hate that!! Who wants to walk into someone’s house and see a huge black box first thing? NO ONE. The TV really should go on the wall opposite. It makes zero sense to have it hovering over the dining room table. I am trying to a) convince the boys of this, b) summon the stamina to move the TV myself, and c) artfully patch and paint the holes it leaves behind. So much for something simple, right? Plus hanging TVs can be dreadfully annoying!
Just to the right of the dining room table, next to our full-height, kitchen pantry cabinet, I have a stool with a plant on it. I may have a plant problem, but shut up, who cares? I love them! This stool is very special to me though. For most of my life, it sat in my Oma’s kitchen just to the left of the double swing door that led into her dining room. I used to sit on this chair while she cooked dinner. Or perch on it to help her bake. I remember her sitting on the stool while teaching me how to beat spätzle batter. It’s a memory of her, this little stool. It’s not particularly nice looking or valuable. In fact, it’s kind of broken. I don’t care at all. I love this stool. It reminds me of my Oma and her kitchen and all the warmth and love she provided in my life.
On top of the stool I have a plant in a basket planter from IKEA. This spider plant is one happy girl. It loves having this much room. It’s growing like CrAzY! This plant is also something from my Oma’s house. It used to sit in a much smaller pot hanging in her kitchen window, above her sink. I became obsessed with spider plants when I was little because of this plant. I just love the idea that the regenerate themselves and make a bunch of other little spider plants. I love baby spider plants! They’re adorable. You can see this guy has a whole bunch of them, ready to be plucked off and planted!
That’s the living spaces! Function has beat out form and style here, but hopefully with a few tweaks, we’ll get the space looking a bit better. And then with a few more furniture changes and TV moves this space will look pretty dang great! With bones like these, this house can’t really look bad anyways. It’s magical what some architectural details can do, right?
What do I have planned for this space? See below. 🙂
Living Room To Do List:
- Get rid of all our furniture and buy all new adorable furnishings. Hahhaha, yeah, right! A girl can dream though…
- Make/find a small mail/keys table for next to the front door.
- Cover the black loveseat to hide disintegrating faux leather.
- Get a handle on all the throws and blankets lying around.
- Frame and hang art.
- Dye HBF pillow a fun color? I did find some green fabric dye in my art supplies the other day…
- Buy new, fun pillows!
- Return black and white pillows to their owner’s bedroom.
- Move TV to opposite wall. Will need to coordinate with the boys on this one… I’ll need another set of hands at least!
- Switch places of bookshelves.
- Style bookshelves.
- Do something with the glass coffee and side tables so they look like they belong in here and less like outdoor furniture. I have something cool I picked up on the side of the road for this!
So much to do, but I love a good list! What’s your living room like? Pristine and styled? In need of major work? Ready for a few tweaks, but really pretty good? Let me know if you have any ideas for my space!
When you live with roommates your bedroom is an all-purpose everything space. It’s the room where you sleep, of course, but it’s also your (private) living space, your office, your studio, your library, your everything. It’s the one room where you can escape and be alone. Not that it’s something you need frequently, but if you’re anything like me, it’s just nice– upon occasion– to escape from everyone else. But also, sometimes you have to finish that email to your boss and your roommate is watching some sporting event on TV and throwing popcorn at you. And you need to get out of there. Sometimes that happens too! Hypothetically, of course! 😉
Regardless, one of the most difficult design challenges is a multi-purpose bedroom. And although I’ve talked about how my big bathroom and it’s lovely clawfoot tub sold me on this house, my bedroom was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
My bedroom is definitely on the smaller side. It’s much smaller than my childhood bedroom and pretty much every other bedroom I’ve ever had. The room comes in at about 9′ by 11′ which is, by no means, tiny. It only becomes slightly hard to work with when you have as many books as I do (ALL of the books!). Before I first moved in, I walked through the house with the boys and took a bunch of photos with my phone. I was looking at this empty slate:
This iPhone shot was of the first thing you saw when you walked into what is now my room. My iPhone decided to make the walls a terrible yellow color in this picture when they are really painted a soft, celery green (my phone is a terrible artist, truly, it has no idea what it’s doing). The mattress on the floor was my roommate’s and he planned on getting rid of it. I was actually glad it was there, because it allowed me to get some perspective on how my own bed would fit into the room. You’ll see there is only about two feet on either side of the mattress. The mattress takes up about three-fifths to two-thirds of the length of the room. So just over the majority of it.
When you turn around and faced the direction you just came from you saw the door to the closet on the left and the door to the rest of the house on the right. The door into the room opens to a mini-hallway, directly opposite to the bathroom door, the hall then opens up four feet later into the kitchen. It’s a perfect configuration, because you cannot see into my room or into the bathroom unless you are coming down the mini-hallway. And since the only things opening off the hallway are my bedroom, my bathroom, and the hall closet (which I’ve completely commandeered as my own), I can leave all the doors open and still have privacy. Being that Malary insists on having full access to wherever I am at all times, I pretty much always leave those doors wide open.
If you then turned once again, you got the same door to the rest of the house and the view out the second window in this room… which is of a ladder. Time for curtains!
Now, this room has only one shortcoming: it’s size. There are so many great things about it, I didn’t even care about that tiny issue (hahahhahaha so pun-ny!). The closet is huge and stretches back along the length of the room, holding all of my clothes so I don’t even need a dresser. And thank goodness for that, since there is no way I could fit a dresser into this room without losing the bookshelf. And #priorities, because that bookshelf is all I love in life. The house has wonderful wood floors and craftsman-style trim. The woodwork in the house is just gorgeous. I believe it’s fir, though I’m not positive. So many great things!
After I looked over my pictures and told the guys I’d move in, I immediately started thinking about how I’d fit my things into the space. For instance, unless I want my queen sized bed pushed up against a wall (something I abhor!), the bed would need to be on the wall beneath the high window, directly across from the entry door to the bedroom. Not ideal, but not a tragedy. My nightstands would have to be tiny to fit into the remaining space. What about the rest of my things? I had to place a desk and a bookshelf into the room as well. Lucky for me, it ended up being a perfect fit!
I moved in with the bed I’ve had since I was twelve years old. It’s from IKEA and I thought it was so amazing when I was in middle school… now I kind of hate it, which is why I built a wooden headboard for it. Now, you don’t even know the IKEA bed frame exists and I kind of love it. But then again, I might be getting a little bored of it… I have ideas, people, and they won’t go away! Anyways, this bed, plus old nightstands on short-term loan from my parents (gah! They already want them back!), plus my new trunk created this view when I walked into my room. Helloooo bedroom, may I sleep here tonight?
It’s pretty decent, okay looking. Far from terrible you might even say, if you were feeling generous. The nightstands are a bit too tall for the bed (unless I add a boxspring). But since I need to return the them to my parents, I’m on the hunt for new ones anyways. The bedding is boring at best. But look at that lovely patina-ed trunk! I love him so much! Currently, he is still empty, but that will change just as soon as I get a chance to actually organize some of my things and stop getting sick every two weeks. Give me a break winter!!! There are some nasty colds going around my office. I get paranoid about it now, ever since I got obsessed with Fear the Walking Dead earlier this year. Help!
My lamps I got for free while at my old job, they don’t actually work… yes I am the person with “decorative” lamps. That’s why they were free! I have big plans on re-wiring them. I also have big plans to replace them with something else and then use these elsewhere. Regardless of what I do, I have BIG plans! I do like the shape of these lamps though, it’s fun and different. Plus, I was looking for lamps online for a project at work the other day and I found these exact guys! They are Robert Abbey and I found them on on the Lamps Plus website retailing for about $250. I’d link to it, but I couldn’t find them again. Maybe they’ve since been discontinued? Pretty sweet deal considering I got them for free! In fact, I’m thinking about contacting the manufacturer and seeing if they have a warranty. The only piece that seems to be an issue is the dimmer. I can get lightbulbs to work for just a second, then they go out. So close! Dealing with these is definitely on my to-do list. Ignore the picture frame on the wall. It’s for experimental purposes on an existing nail left over from the previous resident. I need to hang my actual art still… along with about ten billion other things.
So that’s the view, the pretty view, when you walk into the room. The not so pretty view? My desk of chaos and doom. It’s become a catch all for everything I drop when I come into the room. And it holds all my office supplies. And random clothes I don’t feel like putting away. It’s another furniture piece I got from my parents and is barely holding itself together. When I moved here, I found out the desk is actually not connected to itself any more. It’s literally just a bunch of pieces all balancing on each other waiting for me to place something breakable and valuable on it so it can fall to the ground and shatter everything. It’s out to get me! Vengeance for moving it. Or something equally poetic.
I hung up six square bulletin boards above the desk with grand plans to make something wonderful and thoughtful and inspiring and chock full of memories. Instead I have a big ole pile of bleh. I need to work on that! The art piece was a birthday gift from my Aunt Pat and the lamp came from the dump pile after my Oma passed away. I still haven’t decided if I love it. It’s interesting, but it’s too big for that location. Maybe it should go live in the attic? But having task light when I’m working there is mighty helpful… Maybe something wall mounted? The desk could use some repair, organizing, a plant or two, and a ceramic animal. Oh, and a magic fairy to prevent me from every dropping random everythings on it each time I walk into the room. The desk fits this corner perfectly because you can sit at it and still have the closet door opened. Score! Somethings do work out in the end.
On the other side of the door to the room, some real magic happened. My bookshelf fit perfectly. Down to the quarter inch. Like the moving fairy came and blessed this space as the spot for storing books. It could not have been any tighter. I know design blogs have tried to convince the world that bookshelves are only supposed to have, like, three books per shelf and all, but you know what? That’s not my life. I LOVE books. I LOVE to read. I NEED ALL THE SHELVES. For books! Like they were intended to be used! In fact, some of those books are doubled up. The whole bookshelf does need some arranging. And I need to get the random pile of things to frame off the top of it, but at least I’m putting it to work! One definite item on the to-do list is getting that secured to the wall. Earthquake preparedness, y’all!
In front of it and the window sits one of my two parlor palms. The plant is pretty happy there. It looks nice and lush in real life. It makes me wiggle with happiness that I actually am able to keep something like this alive! Both the plant and the basket are from IKEA.
Here’s a wider shot so you can see how both of the spaces work together on either side of the door into the room.
Mini-in-bedroom-office on one side, library on the other. Entry door in the middle. I need more room. Or just more closets. That would be great. Another three closets please! Can you order closets on Amazon? If only… Eek! That reminds me I need to do more Christmas shopping! Has anyone actually finished that?
So that’s the beginning and the now of my bedroom. It’s got places to go with this room. Far places. It needs to evolve further and look better. Luckily, I’ve got a plan. I always have a plan. What’s exactly is on the checklist for this room? Take a look:
- New curtains
- New nightstands… Gotta return the loaners from my parents and get something a bit wider.
New beddingI ordered this from West Elm in all it’s colorful glory!
- Rug? Maybe… I kind of love the sheep skin, maybe layer a sisal beneath it?
- Straighten up and organize the desk area
- New desk lighting? Something wall-mounted would save much needed desk space…
- Create a fun, colorful, and inspiring bulletin board
- Organize my bookshelf
- Somehow fit even more book storage (Hi, my name is Laurel and I am book addict.)
- Secure the bookshelf to the wall so I am not crushed by books in the eminent San Francisco area earthquake.
- Integrate more plants! (Hi, my name is Laurel and I am also a house plant addict.)
- Frame and hang art on the walls. Picture frame rail? Gallery wall? Simple, single frame?
Re-wire or replace lampsI have new ones ready to go!
- Add bench by bed? Again a big maybe…
- Organize closet and laundry system
- Find place to store as of yet un-framed art
- Organize and store arts/crafts supplies better
- Fill up the trunk in an organized and useful manner!
So! Lots to do! Lots of plans! Lots of excitement! Heck, I love a list just as much as Young House Love and mine is not even one-quarter of the length of theirs! Maybe that’s why I love it? Regardless, lots of ideas! Now, who wants to help me paint and glue things? That desk is killing me!
Do you have a to-do list for the design of your spaces? Have a bedroom that needs a little help? Have furniture on loan from family member who are now asking for it back? Ahhhh, new nightstands where in the world are you???
I’m struggling to write at the moment, because I just watched the Walking Dead and now I am dead inside. One of my favorite characters died and I do not know how’ll I’ll keep watching without him. What will his wife do?And Rick (my least favorite character) isn’t in a great situation either!! The Walking Dead has never hesitated to kill off the most loved characters, which makes it a fantastic, heart breaking show. Bah! I can’t be the only one near tears, right?! Who else watches this??
Now the Walking Dead has absolutely nothing to do with today’s post. Literally nothing. Although, I do really want to go to Georgia. Wait no, that’s still sidetracking. What am I supposed to be writing about?! Oh yes… my bathroom.
So as much as I now love my roommates, their radiant personalities did not play a huge part in me choosing to live here over some of the other places I found on Craigslist. Why did I choose this place? The bathroom. Once I walked into the bathroom, I was sold on this place. It was really the bathtub. I have great memories of my Aunt Karolyn’s clawfoot bathtub at her house in Oakland near Glenview Elementary School. Her daughters– my cousins– were about the same age as my sister and I so we would go there all the time. Even as a kid, I loved houses and design, and I freakin’ loved that bathtub. My bathroom now? Clawfoot bathtub. Entire reason I signed that lease. I mean besides the fact that the house is near BART and my roommates are normal, clean people, and our home is beautiful. Whatever. That stuff does not compare to my bathtub! This is what my bathroom looked like when I first moved in.
And the the bathroom fixtures are Kohler! I love Kohler! The bathroom is all from the Kohler’s Antique Line. It’s very much a 1930’s throwback. They’re beautiful. The chrome bits on the end after the ceramic knobs were loose on a few when I moved in. I tightened them up easily by wrapping plastic wrap around some pliers. I want some rubber nose pliers, but when I asked one of the employees at Home Depot about them he looked very confused. It’s possible I made the existence of them up. Regardless, the plastic wrap worked just fine. Once I tightened them, the have not come loose again. I just love the “hot” and “cold” labels! It’s details like this that make our house so interesting. It really is a contemporary craftsman, elegantly straddling old and new design!
I’m lucky that the house is really beautiful. The craftsmanship is really well done. There was a lot of care taken when it was built 10 years ago. Anything I do to the house isn’t really changing it, but rather accentuating it. For now this blog is about taking a home from 75% to 100% done. That last 25%? All the itty bitty details. This is the storage and organizing and decorating. The things that make this place functional and beautifull! This is the part that takes the most time and can even seem unnecessary, but it really does complete the space.
Now the bathroom vanity is gorgeous, but it doesn’t have any drawers. Just one huge open space within the cabinet isn’t all that functional and means a lot of my things needed to live on the counter. When I first moved in, things just landed where I needed them the most, without much thought into how it all looked.
That means the soap went straight on the counter since I didn’t have a soap dish, necklaces went on the first rack-thing I saw at Target, and earrings stayed in the boxes I’d moved them in (in which they are tangled and impossible to find). My new Target towels looked good, but this one is dirty!
My bathroom looked pretty much like this — shower curtain-less, with things stuffed into the cabinet– for a few months before I could finally get around to tackling the first stage of the room. Some of this stage was new purchases to help with function, some of it was a matter of moving things around. I had gotten a dingy looking plant stand with a glass top from my last job. They were going to throw it away, but I liked the clean lines! A basic Target shower curtain helped helped hide the necessary plastic one behind it and pumped up the fun factor. After a few months, the room had much more personality.
The plant I plopped on plant stand came from my Oma’s house, just like Fred the Fish. I repotted it in this IKEA basket. I wished I’d picked up another matching basket for toilet paper to sit on the floor beneath it! Alas, the no longer sell the baskets! Arg! I’m bummed. Instead I usually stick a watering can there that I fill up in the shower when the water is getting hot before I get in. The plant on top really brings some life to the space, it’s thriving on the humidity too! Plus I washed my hand towel. Who’s proud? Me! Such an adult.
Over on the vanity, things changed less dramatically. I still haven’t found a great solution for my jewelry, but I did get a soap dish! The little things, right? This looks one billion times better than leaving it on the counter. Plus the counter stays shiny longer this way after I clean it.
The glass jars I bought at Cost Plus World Market. They were exactly what I hoped to find. How often does that happen?! I wanted something square with a thick, sturdy glass, and — most importantly– a rubber seal. I wanted the latter to prevent moisture and germs and what have you from getting into the jars. I don’t know how protective the rubber really is, but I wanted something that would theoretically seal the jars off.
The jars add so much functionality to the space! They store many of the big space stealers from my medicine cabinet. I use the jars for cotton pads which I use to remove eye make-up and put on toner; q-tips for the ears; and these little plastic flossers which I swear I’ll never buy again, because they add so much to the landfill and who actually flosses anyways? Just kidding I floss
every month, once a week, I mean, twice a day. Regardless, the jars fit into the previously unused corner of the wide vanity and allow me to fill the medicine cabinet with more important things, like Honest Beauty products. Ha!
Just for honesty sake, I do have to say, the kitty litter box lives in here too. It’s the only place for it in the house. I’m still brainstorming on a prettier way to hide it, but for now, it lives next to the toilet complete with the carpet sample I stole from work (spoiler: it doesn’t really work to prevent litter tracking…)
The room is definitely getting there though! It’s amazing what a few tweaks will do. What else do I have on my bathroom to-do list??
Find the perfect glass storage jars Add a piece of furniture to place a glass of water or a book on when I take a bath New shower curtain Necklace holder Soap dish
- Better jewelry storage, perhaps building an earring holder??
- Add some plants in small pots on top of the toilet back
- Paint the plant stand gold to go with the shower curtain
- find a better way to hide the kitty litter box
- Organize the vanity cabinet to better contain everything I hide away down there
- Hang art
- Even more plants?!
- Take so many bubble baths!
It’s not quite there yet, but it’s close! For now, I’m loving this look!
Have you been adding some functional touches to your home lately? Isn’t it great what that last little bit adds to the space? It’s like, “Wow, now that they’re not buried in the depths of the vanity cabinet, I can actually find my q-tips!” The little things in life!
P.S. If you’ve been watching the Walking Dead, tell me because I need to talk about it!!!