April 30, 2012
I like to think we live in a sweet-as-can-be neighborhood. It’s where city life meets quiet neighborhood. A little bit Boston, but technically Brookline. There are brownstones on one block, family homes with driveways and backyards on the next. The T runs directly to our apartment’s left, while an old stone church sits quietly on a grass lot to our right. There are restaurants, markets, convenient stores. Boutiques, coffee shops and nail salons.
But you know what’s even better? We live a square away from Kenmore and Fenway. So this is what we get to see on our morning strolls.
Now someone tell me about where you live. What things are in your neighborhood? What are your daily sights?
April 24, 2012
Growing up in Maine, my bedroom windows overlooked our front yard, the street, and one of our flower gardens. And in the summer, when I was allowed to fall asleep with my windows wide open, my dad would sit in bed with me for what felt like hours. We’d talk about my day and read books and stare out the window counting the stars. He’d point out constellations and we’d watch for neighbors walking by. We’d get real quiet as they passed our driveway, and be able to hear bits and pieces of their conversations. I’d fall asleep to the sound of squealing crickets and neighbors taking family walks. And each morning I’d wake to the sound of birds and the smell of fresh flowers.
I think I always thought that smell, the one that takes me back to those summer mornings was from my parents’ hydrangea plant. I think I would have bet my life on it, until last week when I brought home a few bouquets of hycinths. It’s clear as day, now. My entire apartment smells like my childhood summers. And I love it.
I have a small vase on my bedside table, and another on the boyfriend’s side of the bed. I have a glass in the bathroom, and one more in our living room office. I can smell them from the hallway and the second I walk through the front door and I don’t ever want these flowers to die! If I could wake up every morning to the smell of fresh hycinths, I would be one very, happy gal.
Do you guys have a similar story? A childhood memory that you can’t let go? Or a favorite flower with a special meaning?
February 29, 2012
Last week I revealed the newest addition to our apartment furniture: a solid, white corner desk from Ikea that now serves as our workstation. I absolutely love the way the white desk and bookshelf create a cozy home office in a corner of our living room, but the bookshelf has been looking pretty bare since we assembled the piece.
The pictures I shared before showed off our new, simple white lamp, a couple of fake potted plants, and a small bundle of fresh flowers. But clearly more work needs to be done. I want to add baskets to at least two of our bottom squares, our desk top needs some sort of organization tool, the wall above the work station needs art, and most importantly, the squares need filling!
So here’s where my head is at as far as filling the squares in our bookshelf. I like white ceramic pieces (can you tell I read Young House Love?). Busts, animals, bowls, vases. You name it, I like it. I also want plants! Green, green green. I love the way a small plant instantly brings life to a shelf. And books. Ideally colorfully bound books. I’m not a huge fan of framed pictures on bookshelves, but a framed piece of art, or simple print might make its way in.
Take a look at the bookshelves that are making me weak in the knees.
I’m hoping that by next week, our shelves will be looking this good. Lots of white, with bursts of color. A plant or two (or three) and an assortment of books. A couple of baskets to hide our junk, and a wall with a frame (or five). You guessed it! Another white framed gallery wall might be in our apartment’s near future.
Who’s excited? I’m excited, are you excited? Good. Stay tuned for after photos, and in the meantime send me your favorite desk / bookshelf decorating tips!
February 22, 2012
We have a home office, we have a home office, we have a home office that’s a desk and a bookshelf and a laptop workstation! I hinted at a IKEA purchase in an earlier post this week, but I didn’t tell you what we were purchasing.
So, I’ll rewind. Remember back in September when the boyf and I moved in together? I made a great long list of all of the major apartment projects that were needed before our one bedroom apartment felt like a home. We checked off a number of big ticket items in the fall, like painting the living room, painting the bathroom, creating a dining room and a cozy, bright living room.
Somewhat strategically, we left one big huge corner of our living room empty until after the holidays. It’s where we housed our Christmas tree during the holidays, and a queen size aerobed in the months since when we’ve had visitors. But our goal was always to turn the corner into a home office of sorts.
Finally this past weekend we took the plunge and drove to IKEA. We braved the crowds, and the warehouse, and the big, huge, boxes and returned home with a great, big, awesome white desk (and bookshelf). We ended up purchasing the Expedit workstation. It’s pretty bulky, but our living room corner can handle it’s dimensions, and it’s the style we had been eying since September.
We set up the workstation the same evening and (unlike the living room paint color fiasco), we have no regrets. We both absolutely love it, and having a “home office” has already proved incredibly useful.
Now, it’s just time to decorate that beast! There are 8 cubes in the Expedit bookshelf that we purchased, but only 4 are visible (the other 4 are tucked underneath the table top). Stay tuned to see how we fill the shelves, and decorate the wall above the desk!
November 4, 2011
Since we moved into our new apartment, we’ve made a lot of progress. There’s certainly still huge projects to tackle, like our entire bedroom, and a small ‘office’ but generally speaking, I’d say we’ve been busy getting cozy.
- We painted the living room, and then hated it.
- We added a new area rug, and a ton of amazing white throw pillows.
- After a few weeks of still hating the paint color, we repainted.
- We scored a huge piece of wall art from the town’s biggest yard sale.
- We also painted the bathroom the most gorgeous shade of blue
- And added an amazing almost shag but not really white, fluffy bath mat.
- We topped off the bathroom with a lobster boat print in a large, white matted frame.
- We even pieced together my favorite part of the apartment: our new entry way gallery wall!
What we didn’t tackle… was a dining ‘room.’ Our living room is pretty massive, so we’ve always had it in our heads that the space would serve as a living room, dining room and office. I’ve also had it in my head that there would be a round, pedestal table, painted white for our dining space.
Well, turns out pedestal tables are really, really expensive. And since I don’t have the patience to look on Craigslist every day, I went ahead and visited my good friend Bob. I found this bad boy in the Pit for $79. A dining room table, made of solid wood (something you can’t say about most things at Bob’s), that seats 6 comfortably. It came in a gorgeous espresso finish so without really thinking I bought it. In the back of the car it went!
We set it up immediately and added two circular, woven place mats that (I think) I snagged at Ikea awhile back. I have a few different sets of 4 and 6 place mats, for when we actually have guests, but in the mean time I like a table for two. I’ll eventually find a great vase or bowl for a centerpiece, but for now I like my tray, also most likely from Ikea. It’s holding a few of my favorite coffee table books, but they go back to the bookshelf during dinner, when I use the tray to carry dishes and bowls from the kitchen to dining table. It all works out.
By far, my favorite part of our dining ‘room’ is the rectangular framed print that we hung on the small side wall behind the head of the table. I bought the print from HomeGoods 3 years ago. Yup, 3 years ago. I saw the old skiiers and literally could not not purchase it. This picture… is my family. My grandparents and aunt and uncle’s home is filled with pictures, just like this. So the print could practically pass as a real photo from the family. I love, love, love it. And the dark frame actually goes nicely with the espresso wood and ties in the dark framed art over the couch. A welcome contrast to all the white in the living room.
So there you have it. Our new dining ‘room’, after it’s first few days. Noticeably missing are… well, chairs. And the old, wobbly tree in the back corner needs to be replaced by something new. I also plan to swap out the centerpiece like I mentioned before, and I’m considering installing a floating shelf on the long wall behind the table. So, more work to be had, but it’s definitely nice to have that corner of the room start to look alive.
November 3, 2011
Long live amazing gallery walls in apartment or home entry ways! I fell in love with the idea of building my own personal gallery a long time ago. They are beautiful, personal, easy to update and of course, visually intriguing. So, I recently started pinning annoying amounts of gallery walls on Pinterest for inspiration. Then my favorite blogging family over at Young House Love made it all the more simple by sharing this how to make your own gallery wall tutorial. Too easy to say no. So, I got to work.
I intentionally started with the smallest wall in our entry way. Didn’t want to overwhelm my newbie-wannabe-but-totally-haphazard DIY skills. I used all white frames because I love the clean, crisp look, but changed it up a bit with the size, shape and width of mat. I included a cute I <3 Maine print to honor our roots, a map of the MBTA to honor, well, our current roots, and a few extras to keep a whimsical and nostalgia inducing vibe. Like a Quotable Card about finding inner peace, and a family favorite black and white portrait of my late Nana. A colorful floral water color and an amazing hand painted owl add just the the right colors: red and marigold.
Oh yea, and I also caved to the boyfriend’s one and only request for our new apartment. I granted permission for the… mounted deer antlers, to enter and live… permanently in the apartment.
I know it’s just the beginning, but I’m pretty darn pleased with the outcome. Next I plan to tackle the opposite wall, which is rather large and in charge and equally intimidating. I have a lot of ideas for prints, photos and art to hang, but I’m short on white frames. So for now I’ll keep looking for inspiration, and hopefully soon I’ll stumble upon a wicked sale on frames!
November 2, 2011
After we painted our bathroom walls, it was time to accessorize and call it a day. We’re using my old white, quilted shower curtain that I just can’t get enough of, and hate it or love it, I wanted to go with the all white look. I read somewhere once that using as much white as possible in a bathroom will make you feel like you’re living at a spa, and heck, who doesn’t want to live at the spa?
So I wanted more white, white, white. The first fix was the swap out the old gun metal frame around our wall art with something… white. White mat, white frame.
Then it was bathmat time. In addition to white, I wanted texture. You can see down the hallway, into the bathroom from our front door way, so I didn’t want the whites to all blend together. Just like the white pillow cases, I thought texture would add dimension and contrast between the tub, shower curtain and bathmat. I had an image in my mind, but it was hard to find in the stores, so I shopped long and hard online. Despite everyone I know warning me against a white bathmat (all claiming it would get dirty, and be too hard to maintain), I ended up purchasing a few varieties online and waiting for them all to arrive.
My favorite ended up being the Simply Shabby Chic Cotton Ball bath rug. Weird name, amazing results. $25 and it’s far more fluffy than I imagined. It has also stayed surprisingly clean. It covers the area in front of both our shower and sink, so we both make an effort to drape it over the shower rod while we’re not showering, so our feet, and our visitors’ feet stay off the white when standing in front of the sink. It’s worked so far, and there’s always a washing machine, right?
Still to add include:
- a white vase with a bundle of white flowers and greens behind the towel next to our lonely cotton balls
- two white fluffy towels to the towel bar (just for show, since our towels hang in our bedroom)
- a white toilet seat cover (well, the jury is still out… something about this just skeeves me out)
Once those things are added, I’ll share an update. Hopefully with better pictures (took all of these late at night, boo).
October 26, 2011
Meet my massive, gorgeous, made of stone neighbor. I love waking up to the sun rising from behind the church, and saying my good nights to the dimly lit structure. When the fog rolls in, I feel like I’m living in a Halloween movie, and on Sundays I watch families come and go, children playing on the grass lawn. The best part is the beautiful sound of the Sunday bell tower.
Sure beats living above a loud, college bar like I did for the past two years.
October 20, 2011
I’ve always admired home owners and designers who can pull of festive and season appropriate decorations. The photos are everywhere. On everyone’s blog, on tumblr, on Pinterest. I however, suck at this. My parents brought me a pumpkin when they visited the apartment, and for a while it sat on my counter. It’s ugly, and tacky, and orange, and doesn’t match anything else in the place.
So I threw it in the trash. I immediately regretted the decision when I saw Emily’s golden painted pumpkins. Too bad.
I still wanted a way to bring something transitional into my apartment that just screamed fall. So far, I’ve landed on two things: owls and fall foliage colored flowers. How original, right? Apparently white ceramic owls are everywhere right now. I didn’t know that when I stumbled across this cute little guy on the clearance shelf at HomeGoods.
But after situating him in the entry way, strategically near the awesome hand painted owl above, I started seeing white ceramic owls, everywhere.
Fortunately I don’t mind the fact that my white ceramic owl is following a trend. I love him, and I love the trend. So I win. Now, for more fall decorations…
October 19, 2011
So apparently there is a lot to learn about keeping up a home. Like washing the bathroom more than once every 6 months, and always keeping extra batteries on hand for when the fire alarm battery dies in the middle of the night and the beeping is so annoying you want to scream, and well, apparently, washing your windows. Inside and outside. I know that I’m just renting this apartment, so it’s not nearly as much work as owning a house, and no – this isn’t the first time I’ve lived on my own (7 years and counting folks).
But no glimpse into adulthood would be complete without a ‘we’re here to lend a few extra hands’ visit from mom and dad. So… they spent a few days in Boston and helped around the apartment. Dad built out two new custom closets for me, and mom – well mom told me that every single window in our apartment was absolutely, beyond words disgusting. And that they needed to be cleaned. Immediately. Inside and out.
Okay, one quick look at the windows and I realized mom was right. As always. So while dad built out the new closets, mom and I popped out each window, one by one, and cleaned the heck out of them. It quickly became apparent that this is not anything the landlord, his cleaners, or the previous tenants have done – for years. While the pop out windows made the outside easy to access, this was a surprisingly long task.
Who knew being an adult meant cleaning the windows? And who knew it took so damn long?