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!

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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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Design Inspiration: Brynn Olson Design Group

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Brynn Olson Design, a Chicago-based firm that an old co-worker introduced me to, just launched a new website, and I am loving these simple-yet-sophisticated residential spaces.

I think I like them so much because they’re completely do-able. There’s no crazy architectural elements, just fresh paint, clean lines and an attention to detail.

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Just a little eye candy for your Friday commute. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Finally! Living Room Reveal

I know I teased the new living room rug more than two weeks ago now… I’m sorry to leave you hanging for so long! My laptop has been on the fritz so it hasn’t been easy working on the blog from home, and I’ve been really busy at my 9-to-5, too, so I haven’t been able to sneak in much Urban Nesting time in the office.

Plus, it turned out not to be just a new rug, of course, so I needed a bit more time…

So here goes! This was the living room before, right after it was painted:

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During the rug back-and-forth…

DSC00909And finally, now!

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Thank you to everyone who chimed in on the rug choices! Your advice was much appreciated because it was no easy decision. As you can see, I ended up going with rug No. 3! I really wanted No. 7, but I couldn’t justify the cost when the bf has a cat that barfs just about every day… Gross.

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I’ll post a “Shop This Space” next week because I have new curtains now, too! That round tray on the coffee table was a thrift store score, but its paint job is a bit of a work in progress. More on that later.

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I’m absolutely smittten with the calm, cool vibe of the space, and I think the mood of the room will really be swayed by artwork. It’s still pretty bare in there right now. The three “prints” above the couch now are just drawings I made and threw up there so it didn’t look so bare at the Garden Party. I’m planning to replace them eventually, but art isn’t something I like to just buy to fill space—it’s expensive, so I want to love it with a capital L!

DSC01036So what to do you think about how the space is coming together? I hope you like it as much as I do—but I’m always open to suggestions!

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Spotted: Twin Mirrors

I was checking out this fab San Francisco apartment over on Refinery 29 the other day, and I happened to spot something familiar.

Their apartment:

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My apartment:

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Well, what do ya know? Mirror twins! I’d love to hear how this couple acquired their mirror because I scored mine on Craigslist for, I think, 35 bucks or something ridiculous. Someone else may think that’s a total ripoff, but I LOVE the shape of it. I figured even if I moved away from the antique gold/brass (what is this color exactly, anyway?) accents down the road, it’d be easy enough to salvage with a quick coat of spray paint.

So, what do you think: Who does it better?

(Click here to see more pics of this couple’s Mission District apartment partnered with some of their favorite DIY tips!)

Weekend Rewind: Gallery Wall Reversal

Monday’s are the worst, and since I’m taking a grad class that meets on Monday nights, they’re even more agonizing. So I apologize for my lack of Monday posts lately—there’s just not enough time in the day!

That’s what it felt like this weekend too. Run, bridal shower, bachelorette party, training, open houses, cleaning, reading… I packed A LOT in.

I’d never been to a bachelorette party before. Luckily, there were no strippers, penis straws or tiaras, and it was generally a low-key affair. I wish I had taken pics of our food at Quartino’s, where we started the night. Pizzas, bacon-wrapped dates, caprese salad, fondue… YUM. We ordered pasta, but we cancelled that part of the order because it was coming out last, and we were all already so full. The place is packed and loud (not somewhere to take Grandma), but I’d definitely go back. The prices were reasonable too, especially for River North.

Outside of all that other stuff, I also managed to fit in a few household projects. I still haven’t completely “recovered” from painting the living and dining rooms, but I did get a handful of things back up on the walls.

Before painting, I knew the gallery wall just wasn’t working for me. As much as I love all those beautiful mixed-and-matched gallery walls on Pinterest, mine just had too many colors, mediums, frame styles, etc. And this is after I’d already taken a few things down…

IMG_1111So I decided to get back to the basics. Five photographs. Five matching frames. Done.

DSC00870I think it’s a huge improvement. It’s just so much cleaner. Do I wish the images were a little bigger? Sure. But I think it works… for now : )

Speaking of, I used those 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips, and while I love that I don’t have to put nails into my freshly painted wall, I’m not sure I’m crazy about them. Hopefully they hold! Have you used these products? Love ’em, loathe ’em?

Design Inspiration: Scandi Inspired

A new issue of Adore is out! I don’t even remember how I first came across this online-only mag—it’s out of Australia, after all—but the most recent issue is stunning. (Did I mention that it’s free?) I’m a huge fan of the home feature, “Scandi Inspired,” which shows off the home of designer Michelle Halford. (She has a beautiful blog of her own, The Design Chaser, that’s worth checking out.)

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.45.29 PMI love that she so obviously has a vision and sticks with it. Anybody could tell that just by looking at the pictures, but she mentions it in the story too:

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.36.44 PM“I definitely have an overall vision, which is of a home that is white and bright, with clean lines and an elegant, pared-back aesthetic. Functionality is also really important, as is a home that grows with our family as we plan on being here a while. My sense of style can be seen in the finder details, such as the subtle addition of colour and texture, artworks, sentimental items and the mood board in my office.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.39.04 PMI guess I’m attracted to commitment as I still struggle to determine what my design style is. (I can’t be too hard on myself though; I have come a long way in a year or so!) But her repeating color scheme and lack of “stuff” certainly invokes a sense of calm.

Halford’s minimalist vision is especially refreshing at this time of year when everyone’s home seems to be chockablock with (often tacky) decorations, presents, kids, dirty dishes—you name it. I’m not saying I’m not guilty. Maybe I’ll steal that washi tape tree idea for next year…

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.37.54 PMClick here (and turn to page 91) to see more of Halford’s home in Adore!