Before and After: Bathroom Revamp

I decided to tackle one more project before year’s end: a revamp of the bathroom. I mentioned back in August that I woke up one day and decided I hated everything in there. Not sure where that came from, but I definitely think I’ve made some improvements.

Here’s what it looked like before:

IMG_1392Now, this is not a dramatic reveal – there’s still a lot I’d change, but you can only take a rental bathroom so far. (For instance, I am DYING to replace that mirror/light fixture, and I’d get rid of the checkered floor too.)

Here’s where I’ve landed for now:

DSC01981While I still need a few things (top of the list: a basket of some kind to put on top of the toliet), it already feels more spa-like, and I love that. The white shower curtain allows for more light to come through, and I bought these awesome new towels – Hotel Collection from Macy’s, if anyone is curious – that have made a huge difference.

But my absolute favorite part of the “new” bathroom is my gallery wall. I took a series of photographs in college in different barbershops around Bloomington, Ind., and I’ve always wanted to display them. I finally made it happen, and I couldn’t be happier! Plus, it meant I didn’t have to buy expensive artwork and could splurge on those towels I mentioned.

Maybe I’ll paint someday; there’s no doubt it could use it. I also attempted to recaulk part of the bathtub – turns out caulking is not my foray. I still have a lot to learn… I’ll save that for 2015!

On My Mind: December Edition

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1. In a similar vain to October’s “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers,” I’m loving The Concourse’s “2014 Hater’s Guide to The Williams-Sonoma Catalog.” I guess this is the third annual guide, but this is the first I’ve seen of it and it’s right on. So, so funny. Here’s a taste:

“You are safe from the outside world here. It’s just you, your $685 Vitamix blender (“No waste and plenty of extra fiber!”), and no possible way for city residents to access your neighborhood via public transit. While the world burns outside, you will be snug and secure with all your loved ones, talking about your times at Princeton (I assume all of you went to Princeton), breathing in the scents from a literal Dutch oven, and spooning out fresh cassoulet from one of your MANY Le Creuset cooking dishes. Isn’t life FABULOUS?!”

2. What TV shows are you guys watching right now? I feel like I need some fresh material for 2015. It doesn’t need to be anything new. I gave The Newsroom a try recently, and it didn’t hook me (despite my journalism background). I’m not into fantasy or sci-fi; I like comedies, but I’m in the mood for suspense. True Detective maybe? The Good Wife? Fargo?

3. One can never take too many design quizzes in my opinion. If you’re of similar mindset, here’s a new one for you from the folks over at Domaine Home. I think it might be the most accurate yet in terms of my decor style. You’ve seen my place. Do you agree with this?

California Eclectic: You love the combination of midcentury modern lines with organic pieces, ethnic textiles, and plenty of plant life. An expert at layering, you never met a brass accent piece or large-scale photograph you didn’t like.

4. I don’t normally talk about my personal life on the blog, but since it does affect my living situation I’ll go ahead and tell y’all that the boy and I broke up (a few months ago now). I won’t go into details, but if I have one piece of advice from this situation it’s that you should move your things out of your significant other’s place as soon as possible. Do not drag it out; it only makes things worse. Luckily, he didn’t have much in the way of furniture or home items, so I didn’t have to reconfigure the apartment or acquire anything new. However, I definitely still took some advice from Apartment Therapy’s 5 Redecorating Steps for the Recently Consciously Uncoupled. The best thing about this whole situation? I no longer have to put up with the cat from hell. Hallelujah!

5. I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas! This entire month, I’ve never felt like “I can’t wait for Christmas to be here already”—instead, it’s felt like the month has flown by. But now that I’m off work and spending time with the family and can see all the presents under the tree (my parents STILL haven’t realized that I’m an adult yet), I’m definitely ready. In true Peters family tradition, I’m watching SNL’s “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” to get in the spirit. Merry Christmas to all!

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A Last-Minute Christmas Wish List

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  1. “Be Dazzling” Scented Candle, $40, Kate Spade
  2. Buzzed Cocktail Napkin, $32, August Morgan
  3. Decorative Leopard Pillow Cover 18×18 (other sizes available), $42, MakingFabulous
  4. Osito 2 Jacket, $99, North Face
  5. Gilded Portable Charger, $40, Nasty Gal
  6. Dali Llama Mug, $12, Urban Outfitters
  7. Dry Gin,  $15 (200-milliliter bottle), Koval Distillery

(Images: 1. Kate Spade, 2. August Morgan, 3. Etsy, 4. North Face, 5. NastyGal, 6. Urban Outfitters, 7. Chicago magazine)

“New” Living Room Wall Art

I’m finally getting around to doing a couple small projects around the house, and one big thing on the list has always been to get some artwork up on the living room walls. I’m having a hard time figuring out what I want to put on navy accent wall (it’s such a beaut on its own!), and I’d quickly DIY’d some wall art for above the couch before a party – a temporary solution that’s now been up for months. Far too long. (It was inspired by this, but I just drew on some butcher paper instead of burlap.)

DSC01036Outside of indecisiveness, I’d also been running into a budget problem – as in I didn’t have one. This time of year money is tight! So I started brainstorming about what I could make or what I already had.

And it hit me: My postcard collection. When I studied abroad, I decided to start collecting postcards. (I didn’t have much room in my suitcase to take back anything else.) Since then, whenever I travel, I pick up postcards – not usually the cheesy skyline shots but something more artistic, and a lot of the postcards are prints of famous photographs that I like (I was a photo minor in college).

An individual postcard doesn’t make much of an impact on an expansive white wall like this, but there’s some power in numbers. Check it out:

DSC01887I didn’t have the money to buy frames for each one (that’s the goal down the road), but I also didn’t want to ruin the postcard by using some kind of adhesive on the back. I used clear photo corners, and they’re holding surprisingly well! I thought maybe they’d peel off, but this has been up a few weeks now, and I haven’t had to replace any of them yet.

DSC01903One of my favorite things about this is that as my collection grows so can the gallery. I can also easily swap them out whenever I feel like making a change.

DSC01895Ready to embrace your collection and show it off? Apartment Therapy has A LOT of thoughts (including this and this) that might help you take the leap. Let me know how you’re displaying your collections!

(Images: Please don’t judge too harshly. The sun hasn’t been out here in what feels like a month!)

Aside

I Want That Wednesday: Serial Notebook

You guys, please tell me you’ve all been listing to Serial. It’s. so. good.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s an NPR podcast, a spinoff of This American Life, where they tell one story over 12 weeks, with a new episode out each Thursday. (Only online, never actually broadcast on the radio.)

This “season,” Sarah Koenig, the reporter-turned-narrator, tells the story of Adnan Syed, a then-high school senior who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfiend, Hae Min Lee. Each episodes delves into a different topic surrounding the case, from Hae and Adnan’s breakup to inconsistencies in the investigation to Adnan’s alibi.

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It’s all kind of messed up really, but it makes for great storytelling. It absolutely appeals to the old-school reporter in me. Not only is it a type of long-form journalism, but it harkens back to the days when people used to crowd around the radio to listen to their favorite programs. In this world of instant gratification (think new shows being released all at once à la Netflix), it’s refreshing to me that people are excited for Thursday to come each week so they can listen to another part of this documentary.

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But tomorrow is the last episode! I’m so sad. (If you haven’t been listening but would like to start, you can catch up on all the episodes online.) Luckily, the podcast gained such popularity that enough donations came in to have a second season. Woohoo! I can’t wait to find out what the story will be.

If you would like to donate to Serial in a way – or just know a super fan that you still need to buy a Christmas gift for – NPR just released a Serial notebook in the This American Life Store! I want.

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Serial Notebook, $15, This American Life Store

(Images: SerialThis American Life)

Disclaimer: “I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. The products featured are never sponsored; they’re simply items I’ve come across that I’m crushing on and that I thought you might enjoy as well. Let me know if you love it/ hate it/ can’t get enough of it.

DIY: PVC Pipe Christmas Tree

Last year, I saw this fun tree made out of PVC pipe in Martha Stewart Living. I said something to my dad about making me one and then promptly forgot all about it… until he showed up at my apartment last week with a surprise!

I am OBSESSED with it! He even made an upgrade to Martha’s design by adding lights.

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It just happens to fit perfectly above my bar. (We tried the entryway bookshelf first, but it was too big.)

I filled with it ornaments I wasn’t using on my live tree, mostly a mishmash of vintage pieces that I’ve inherited over the years from my mom’s collection. But I’m excited to see how the tree evolves every year – and even as the season goes on.

What’s really fun is that it doesn’t even need to be an ornament to go “on” the tree – it can be memorabilia, knickknacks, maybe even food. The possibilities are pretty endless. Maybe I’ll have to throw a party at the end of November next year, and the idea would be that everyone has to bring one “ornament” for the tree!

DSC01859-textWant to build your own PVC tree? For a list of supplies and the step-by-step instructions, head over to Martha Stewart.

Gallery

It’s Beginning To Look…

DSC01703And smell a lot like Christmas on Belle Plaine! I went and bought a balsam (from the lot at Belmont and Wolcott, for those Chicagoans who are curious). The attendant was really nice and talked me into tying the tree to the roof of my Civic instead of putting it in the truck… luckily it didn’t fall mid-commute.

I’d never heard this before, but he told me to put boiling water in the tree stand and then the branches would fall faster. I tried it out, and I don’t know if it made the branches fall faster, but DAMN, my apartment spelled like an entire forest when I opened up my bedroom door the next morning! I’m complaining though; I love that smell.

DSC01722Good thing I didn’t go any bigger – I almost need more ornaments! I’m going to work on a new tree skirt too. This one is looking too rustic. And I obviously need to hide the extension cord better. It’s a bit of a work in progress.

Now, I just need to get shopping for some gifts to put under there…

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