April 5, 2013 by kholzhauer
I like to think I have fairly good taste. I’d like to think that one day my home will be clean and perfectly organized and thrown together in a way that looks just casual enough to be cozy and homey but just well curated enough to show up on apartment therapy or Martha Stewart or other crazy design blogs. Realistically, that’ll never be the case, but I can hope, right?
In its current state, my apartment may have a better chance of showing up on a failblog or an episode of hoarders than on the pages of a magazine. Why?
Well for one, my roommate and I share in a 1 bedroom+ den apartment that doesn’t quite fit all our stuff, as we both came from our own 1 bedroom apartments. Plus, we have different taste that we’ve done our best to combine. That, plus a kitchen that’s barely designed for one leads to some storage conundrums that we’ve temporarily solved with wire rack shelving from target. More utilitarian than pretty.
Second, Budget. I’m at the stage of my life where I can afford thrift store/curbside/IKEA furniture and not stuff that looks deliberately nice together. I’m good with that, It’s just hard to pull together a look when my furniture is of the “what the hell, I can afford it and it’ll work” variety, not the “this is an investment worth spending the money on/time refinishing.”
Third, I hate cleaning. ‘Nuff Said.
So where does that leave me? With a slightly overcrowded, slightly chaotic apartment that has some really good design “moments” (and yes, I hate that I just wrote that) in the midst of absolute chaos. Here are a few of my favorites, things that I want to build upon as I move on to bigger, better, more grownup apartments.
This is my coffee table. It’s an IKEA glass topped coffee table, and it’s really pretty plain looking, but once I realized that I could keep things between the glass and the wood, shit got festive. Triathlon cap? Check. Concert poster? Check. Menu from the best meal of my life? Check. Incredible photos I want to look at every day? Check. By getting creative with this now defunct IKEA EXPEDIT coffee table, I ended up with something cool. If you have it, or find a similar table, it’s totally worth a shot.
Also in my living room, on the mantle above the totally unnecessary gas fireplace (It’s LA, how much warmer does anyone need to be) I’ve got a pretty sweet display of photos of people and places I love. Check out my sister with the dogs, my mom and baby me, and Chicago, where I grew up. I also keep my weird collection of salt and pepper shakers up here. Most of them, monkeys and pufferfishes being the exception, don’t have salt and pepper in them, but the’re sculptural, a little weird, and really fun to look at. How did this collection start? I bought the pufferfishes. Someone saw them and assumed I was into animal salt and pepper shakers. They gave me the monkeys. Soon after came the donkeys, and so on and so forth. It’s not a bad collection to have. They make great souvenirs (the egg shaped, Gaudi inspired ones came home with me from Barcelona) that don’t take much suitcase space.
Next up, the kitchen. It’s a one person kitchen built way more for function than for looks. That doesn’t bother me. I’d rather have this functional kitchen, with it’s gas stove and ugly counter tops than a really fancy one that doesn’t flow well. My roommate and I can’t be in here at the same time and get anything done, but I can pump out a dinner for 30 pretty easily. The kitchen is largely pretty ugly, but I’m happy with what I did to this empty area above the stove. Keep in mind that it’s a rental so a backsplash/paint job isn’t really an option. This metal coffee sign, however, was an option and it went perfectly with my giant red dutch oven and my roommate’s kettle. Not much kitchen decor, but something. It helps that we’re both slightly addicted to caffeine. It also helps that the sign is made of metal, so it isn’t going to burst into flames when I inevitably start a fire. The string holding it up, on the other hand, might burn, but it’s butcher’s twine. It’s cheap. I can replace it.
Next, we have my bedroom (keeping in mind that I’m only featuring weird bits of decor that I’ve done (SO not stealing my roommate’s shit without her permission.) This is the scene on top of a bookcase in my room that doubles as a linen closet. The artwork is a gift from my sister. The peacock is a gift from my mom. The candle smells pretty damn good and cost 2 bucks in a target clearance bin. It’s a way to bring some color into a room that’s pretty black and white.
Also in the series of artwork my sister gave me is a skull (not pictured) and this Mexican wrestling mask. I figured it would look pretty good above the vanity. Now why a vanity? Well one day, after experimenting with makeup for about an hour (I’m shitty at doing makeup, more on that another time) I had to get my boyfriend to literally carry me off the sink in the bathroom. I always did my makeup at the bathroom sink and when I’d sit on/in the sink, I’d get stuck. He saved my ass and then helped me find this adorable and dirty cheap vanity online. It’s a good place to stash the makeup I barely wear, sunscreen, makeup brushes, hair crap, and my contacts. It also doubles as a computer desk most of the time. I don’t need much more room for a laptop, so It works out. One day I want to paint it a less princessy color and actually slap some knobs on it, but for now, it works, ribbon pull and all. Plus, it’s a really good place for my wrestling mask photos.
Also in my room, a lesson in decorating with everyday objects. And yes, that absolutely is a Pinterest-inspired piece of crayon art. And yes, I was drunk when making it. Thanks for asking. It’s amazing how well bourbon and blow dryers work together. My elementary school art teacher would be so proud. But anyway, the lesson here isn’t about drunk pinteresting. It’s about decorating with everyday things, be they that cheap strand of plastic pearls hanging off a painting or a pretty pair of shoes. I hang a lot of my jewelry as decorations. I also leave my prettier pairs of shoes out. There’s this lepoard pair, a pair with rhinestones, and a few other awesome and more unusual pairs scattered throughout my house. Now I wouldn’t just slap a pair of flip flops on a shelf and call it artistic, but shoes can be pretty. Just look at the Brian Atwood store in NY. It’s like a sexy footwear museum. Of course I can’t afford to breathe in that store, let alone shop in it, but damn, is it awesome.
Now there really isn’t any great way to spruce up an apartment bathroom. I can’t refinish the mirror, paint, change out the countertops, or change out the fixtures. Admittedly, I could have washed the mirror, but as I stated before, I’m not big on cleaning, and this is a blog about life, not a pinterest-style fantasy land where everything is always clean and everyone can afford 500 dollar shoes. I wish. Anyway, the decor in my bathroom consists of me de-mildewing the 1970′ shower, sweeping the floors, and having a neon pink tiger print bathmat. And this guy for a soap dispenser. Why him? I liked toy story. Plus, every morning when I go to wash up, I can imagine him saying “THE CLAW!” as I go in to grab some soap. Pardon the bathroom messiness. Love the little alien.
Well that’s about it for the home decor roundup. What are your tricks for making spaces that aren’t your own feel like home?