Monday, August 23, 2010

Gallery Wall: Part 2

I decided to take a rather scientific approach to this wall, and did some research (because thats what I'm good at). In my last post I showed some inspiration pictures that I found during my research. 

The first thing I did was gather all of the items that could potentially go on the wall- pictures, mirrors, candle holders, etc. I had a few things that needed some changes- a frame I already owned that needed to be painted, a picture in a silver frame that I wanted to  reframe, and some empty space I needed to fill. 

I started by painting the frame I already owned with my black latex glossy paint. I actually found this frame in the alley behind my apartment in Chicago, two years ago. I really liked it although I had no idea what I would do with it. I contemplated many different things- adding some screening to make it an earring holder, adding a mirror, framing my diploma (it was too small...) and ultimately just hanging it empty. The picture below is the best picture I have, I think. You can see, I am preparing to paint on my balcony! Painting outside is really nice.
This frame really did not want to be painted. Even with sanding and cleaning it off, the first coat of paint wasn't sticking well. So, I re-sanded (lightly) and did another coat, and then repeated the process again. In retrospect, I probably would have done better to use some sort of primer, but it was already too late when I decided that was the case.
Once I had that frame painted, I started putting together the layout. First I needed to decide where to start on this monster wall- in the center, or on the side. Pardon the horrible cell phone picture, but it didn't occur to me to take a picture of this with my camera.

The horrible cell phone picture helped me decide that I should start on the side, so I laid out all of my items on the floor in the arrangement I wanted on the wall.  I won't lie- I left it like this on the floor for a couple days, stepping over it many times a day to decide if I liked it.
Once I was satisfied, I used blue painters tape to put the entire arrangement on the wall. Again, I left it for a while to make sure I liked it. 

Once I decided it was what I wanted, I actually started putting nails in the wall to hang things.

OK, OK, enough. Here's the final result:

More about the mirror and picture frame I added later.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Livingroom: Gallery Wall

A daunting task in the decorating of my new apartment is the walls in the living room. Two of the three walls are very large, and uninterrupted. They come to a point in the center, which is 10 feet tall, the other sides are the normal 8 feet.
One of the two monstrous walls
What to do with this? I feared that any of the wall decorations I currently own would be dwarfed by the wall and just look ridiculous. So I needed to think of something else. Looking at how I'd arranged my plate collection on the wall at my old apartment (and possibly my new?? stay tuned) I decided that I should do a gallery style wall. What is a gallery style wall? Well, a wall with a lot of pictures or other items hung in a seemingly random way. Here are some pictures I have collected of particularly awesome gallery walls. (All taken from Design*Sponge.
I love how they all have a connecting theme, but each has its own feel. One has all black frames with black and white photography and art, another is silhouette themed, and the last one pictured is all artwork created by the owner's friends. Given what I own already or could easily modify, I decided that I would use all of my photos framed in black, my newly framed master's diploma, and scatter in some other things-- a mirror, an empty frame, a floating shelf with a painting, and the two sconces I had in my living room at the other apartment. 

Want to see how I went about designing and implementing the wall? Well stay tuned for my next post where I will explain the rest of the process.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Moving into this new apartment was the first time in which I actually had access to the apartment before the day I was scheduled to move in. This meant I could paint without having to maneuver around furniture! I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and paint my bedroom. Just as a reminder, here is what my bedroom looked like when I took possession of the apartment:

After being inspired by posts I had recently seen on other blogs, I had my color! The post that really sealed the deal was from Courtney on Courtney Out Loud. Courtney painted a wall in his living room seal grey, by Glidden. He then stenciled the wall, which looks AMAZING. However, I'm not sure I have the patience nor the skill to pull that off! So for now I have just gone with the seal grey. I got it at Home Depot (That's who carries Glidden, at least in this area.)
Above: Franklin enjoys the new color on the walls
I am really happy with the color itself and the way it looks in the room- I just need to do a little touch up/detail work at this point. As you can see, Franklin is enjoying it.
The light is kind of funky in these pictures, obviously I took them a little later than I should have. They'll have to work for now but perhaps I'll take some better ones soon.

Another thing I did, that you can see in the pictures, is put up some white curtains over the sliding glass door. I think they really add to the luxurious feel of the room.
The pictures point out to me a few things that are needed: A HEADBOARD!!, a chair for the desk, some other stuff for the walls. I'm sure an idea for the walls will come to me eventually. I'm enjoying taking my time arranging and decorating. As you can see, for now I've just been leaning things against the wall where I think they might eventually go.
Also, any suggestions about what I should do with that mirrored bookcase? Paint it white? stain it? Leave it as is?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Balcony Progress

I've lived in my new apartment for just over a week now. I have spent a significant amount of time setting things up (I'm all unpacked, just not all decorated) or thinking about how I would set things up, and also have done some shopping to get new stuff I needed!

I spent much of last weekend looking for a set of chairs and a table for the balcony. And I looked EVERYWHERE. Target, Walmart, Home Depots, Kmart, Ikea, another Target, Lowes, another Walmart, Big Lots...another Home Depot...we looked everywhere.
We ended up finding the perfect set at the second Home Depot! It's a black metal, cafe size and has two chairs. It was on sale, and I was able to use a coupon I had for 10% off from my "welcome to the neighborhood" package (because I changed my address with the post office.)
I finished off the table with some flowers, in a pot from Ikea, and two pillows I previously made and had on my couch.  I am very happy with the end result here, and have already spent some time with my computer sitting at the table. Once the humidity drops a little I am sure I will be spending lots of time out there reading, with my computer...eating...drinking coffee. Ahhh.
There are lights out on the balcony, but I would love to add a cool fixture of my own. I am still looking for a good outdoor light- perhaps a nice string of patio lights or even just some white "christmas" lights?

Just for completeness, I have some other pictures of the other side of the balcony to show you. Along with those mums for the table I got some bigger ones for each corner, and put them in similar white pots. I have also put the small little bench thing that I previously had in my living room outside, with a side table. The kitties really love sleeping on/under this bench, and it's another nice option for hanging out on the balcony.

And so you can see it all together- here is the best picture I could take of the whole balcony (ignore the cat brush in the middle there!).

I tried to get a picture of Franklin and Eleanor hanging out on the balcony, but of course, as soon as I appeared downstairs they were very excited.

So does the balcony look exactly as my mood board from a couple weeks ago? Not really. At least not yet. It's definitely a work in progress, and now that I have a really awesome table and chairs I can focus on the other seating (or wait until next year since its going to quickly get colder). I have at least created a very usable space by spending very little, and leaving lots of opportunity for more projects in the future!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Apartment Tour

Well, I have officially moved. Moving was awwwweeessommme. Actually, I still have a few things at the other apartment--like a fan (don't need that anymore--new place has central air), an ironing board (ha!) and some other random stuff. Also I need to do a final cleaning and then I can turn in my keys and I'm officially moved!

I spent Saturday painting my bedroom and moving boxes myself with my car, and Sunday I had movers to move the big stuff and anything else that was ready to go. My couch is a little bit bigger than others, and it would NOT fit in the door way, no matter how the movers tried to angle it. In the end, we tied straps to the couch and hoisted it up over the balcony railing on the second floor. I only wish I had enough time to snap a picture of my 8 foot long 3 feet wide purple couch suspended up one story.

Anyway, I thought I would share photos of the rest of my new pad. You've already seen the balcony, but here is the front door. I think this area might need some work- at least some sweeping, a rug and maybe a plant. 

Immediately inside the door is a set of stairs. Its a narrow space, so it was hard to take a good picture of, but this is the best I could do.

Right at the top of the stairs and to the left is the main living area, with a HUGE closet on the right.

Seriously, that closet could fit a twin sized bed. If I organize it well, it can be my guest room! The living space is all open, which I love. And, it poses new decorating challenges. I have never decorated an open space like this. You can tell that they intend for the smaller area on the left side of the picture to be the dinning area (see the light fixture on the ceiling? How cute would a chandelier look there??). On one hand, that seems like it would be cute, but on the other, maybe its too easy? Maybe there is a better spot for the table?

Above is another shot of the living space. The hallway leads to the bathroom, bedroom and LAUNDRY ROOM!

First my bedroom- there is a sliding glass door that leads out to the balcony here. There is another in the living room, but I don't seem to have a picture of it. The bedroom is reasonable large, and has an excellent closet with lots of potential.

The bathroom and laundry room really aren't that pretty to look at (yet), but here they are:

And now back to the kitchen-- the kitchen has a lot more of several key things than my past apartments- DRAWERS, CABINETS, and COUNTER SPACE. It also features a dish washer and a garbage disposal! 

I have already painted my bedroom and am doing my best to get all the boxes emptied out. I will post about my bedroom in the coming days, by the end of the week at least. This has been a very tiring project so far, I've been far too tired to blog!