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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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.

Pantone Announces 2015 Color of the Year

It’s that time of the year—no, not Christmas time, but time for a new Color of the Year! Pantone announced today that 2015’s Color of the Year is… drumroll, please…

Marsala.

Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_Marsala_Story_One_Top_ImageThe initial reaction hasn’t been very warm, but I actually really like Marsala. I think it’s earthly but sophisticated, a hard thing to find. You know I’m scared of color, so this is a nice compromise. An unboring neutral, if you will. It makes me think of Morocco (which is definitely on my bucket list). Plus, to be honest, I’m kind of into it for vain reasons: I’ve always looked good in scarlet.

For the record, the 2014 Color of the Year was Radiant Orchid, which I didn’t love from the get go. I’m more of a violet girl myself. Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_Marsala_Story_Three_Top_ImageWhat do you think of Marsala? Love it, like it, hate it?

(Images: Pantone)

Kitchen Revamp: A Work In Progress

A few weeks ago I gave y’all a sneak peek at the new kitchen paint job – however, prepare to be underwhelmed at the reveal. We painted a white kitchen… white. BUT, in person, it’s soooo much better! These pictures do not do it justice. There were nasty greasy hand prints from when the management company replaced my furnace and what looked like smoke stains behind the stove (thankfully, it’s been replaced since then!). And the paint itself was the same stuff that was used everywhere else in the apartment – chalky, cheap crap.

So here’s what it looked like before I moved in:

kitchenAnd here’s what it looked like after I gave it a bit of attention a few months ago:

DSC00584And here’s today:

kitchen_overviewI thought I was decluttering, but now it almost looks too sparse next to the previous pics. Well, it’s still a work in progress anyway. There is A LOT I’d like to do (those hideous beige outlets!), but of course there’s limits given that I’m a renter.

kitchen_window_commentThis kitchen is definitely lacking in the counter space category. That spot next to the fridge is pretty much it when I have my dish drying rack out on the little sliver of counter next to the sink. So one thing I bought to combat that is a magnetic knife rack – magnetic on both sides so it can hang on the fridge! While I can drill into my walls (as long as I fill the holes before I move out), a lot of renters can’t so is a great solution to eliminate the boxy knife block. Plus, it was less than $20!

kniferack_commentI so rarely use my microwave that I’ve considered getting rid of it, but I just can’t get myself to do it yet. (It’ll die one of these days – it’s a hand-me-down from a former roommate, so I can’t imagine it has much time left by this point.) But what would be ideal is if I could replace this makeshift microwave cart (really an iron outdoor table that I made a cushion for) with some kind of shelf that has a butcher block on top.  Bonus counter space!

YUMsign_commentThere’s plenty of that type of kitchen cart out there, but finding one that will 1. fit the microwave on the higher of the two shelves (so it can be plugged in when needed), 2. is wide enough to take up this wall space, and 3. still has a butcher-block top… not so easy to find. It maybe need to be a custom job (hint, hint, dad…). I’m thinking something like this (it has adjustable shelves) with a custom-cut butcher block top. That may be too cost prohibitive though, so I still need to do some research there.

vintage_apronsOther areas I tackled: cleaned out and wiped down the fridge; completely emptied the pantry and reorganized with the addition of storage tubs; went through the cabinets and donated items I no longer use; and re-hung my vintage aprons!

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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!

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Design Inspiration: Macy’s Wedding Display

I am not one of those people that has a secret Pinterest board of wedding ideas for a date (oh right, and fiancé) that I don’t have. Honestly, the more I hear from friends about everything that goes into planning weddings, the less excited I get about the whole thing.

But I happened to be near the wedding registry at Macy’s the other day – I was stopping in the home department to check out the exciting selection of bath mats, woohoo – and stumbled upon this cute fall wedding display:

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I have a strange attraction to warm colors used together. Like I would never think to mix pink, orange and red, but it totally works here. Plus, I’m a huge sucker for all those gold doilies…

Now how do you convince guests to only bring gifts wrapped to match the theme?

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Quoted: Jeffrey Alan Marks

787b0f7e01aaa6eaa7cc97c01f8b735c“We’re really into comfort. Not some abstract idea of what a comfortable room should be, but real comfort—the kind where you can happily drift off for an hour or two with your dog at your feet.”Decorator Jeffrey Alan Marks

JAM -  SF 3175-1024x819Editor’s note: Usually I illustrate these quotes with a hodgepodge of pictures, but I went with all of the designer’s own spaces this time because they really do look comfortable. Do you agree? Check out Jeffrey’s book for more eye candy and insight.

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(Images: Jeffery Alan Marks)