2014: A Year in Review

Can you believe it’s 2015?! Last year just FLEW by, but when I go back and review all the posts from 2014, it really is amazing how much happened. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around and continue to offer your advice and words of encouragement – I love you all!

I’ll create a to-do list for 2015 tomorrow, but first let’s take a look back of some of the best posts of 2014:

DSC00473Most popular post: A step-by-step look at how to turn an IKEA Ribba frame into a bar tray garnered the most clicks this year – and it was even picked up by IKEA Hackers!

Most commented on post: Remember when y’all helped me pick out a new living room rug? Great job, by the way.

DSC01014Best before/after: I’m so happy I finally bit the bullet and gave my living room a navy accent wall like the ones I’d been admiring on Pinterest forever. Will I regret it when I move out and have to paint it back white? Only time will tell…

Still on my wish list: This may just be the year that I tackle my first upholstery project, so I better pick up “Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design” to prepare.

11Best trip: Sometimes the best trips are the ones that are last minute and random and cheap – that happened to be Kansas City for me this year.

Best purchase: I know this is a home design blog, but this Kipling tote has been a godsend this past year. The blogging fashionistas of the world certainly don’t have anything to worry about, but I know a good bag when I see one.

friendsgivingBest party: I finally pulled off a Friendsgiving this year! The place looked great, and I hope it’ll mark the begin of many dinner parties to come. I love hosting.

Greatest accomplishment: I trained and ran a friggin’ marathon. 26.2 miles. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever say that. Hell, I could barely run the 5 miles during soccer two-a-days in high school! It felt amazing.

DSC00683Best recipe: I just made this Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix for a New Year’s Eve party… so, so good – and ridiculously easy!

On My Mind: October Edition

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1. If you don’t mind an essay filled with expletives, you HAVE to read McSweeney’s “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.” I. AM. DYING.  Though I’m totally guilty of loving an ugly gourd or two myself.

2. Sticking with the season, someone wrote into Dear Prudence complaining about having to buy candy for less fortunate children that don’t even live in her super wealthy neighborhood… REALLY?! Prudence totally verbally slapped this person: “Stop being callous and miserly and go to Costco, you cheapskate, and get enough candy to fill the bags of the kids who come one day a year to marvel at how the 1 percent live.” Touché, Prudence. Touché.

3. Have you seen IKEA’s hilarious ad for it’s low-tech catalog? “Introducing the new 2015 IKEA catalog. It’s not a digital book. Or an e-book. It’s a book book.” lol. Check it out.

4. Tory Burch has a new line of watches, and I’m totally crushing on the small gold one. But $800 for a basic watch?! I guess that’s her thing though, which I fell for with the basic black flats… But three years later, they’re still going strong so I think it’s worth the $200 price tag. Quality over quantity!

5. And finally, I’m Kansas City-bound tonight and I’ve never been, so if you have suggestions on things to do, bartenders to visit or BBQ to eat, let me know! xoxo

 

IKEA 2015 Catalog Review

I know I’m a little late to the game here, but IKEA’s new catalog is out and… I have to say I’m a little underwhelmed. I haven’t bought much from the Swedish furniture giant since my college days, but their catalogs have always provided great inspiration for DIY projects and decor improvements.

It’s pretty sad that my favorite picture in a furniture catalog is this one:

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Though how could you not like that kid? Also, why don’t they make these hooded bath towels for adults? STANKA baby towel with hood, $8

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There were actually a couple things from the kids section that caught my eye. This two-shelf table in the foreground is a changing table. Spray paint that baby and add some contact or wrapping paper, and it can be a personalized, well, pretty much anything—bar “cart”, kitchen island, craft station, garden table, etc. I’m not sure exactly what purpose it’s serving here… SNIGLAR changing table, $30

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And it’s definitely the little girl in me that would love to have a fushia sofa someday! FRIHETEN corner sofa, $699

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But in adult world, this room is more me. Gray, polka dots and a pop of color. My favorite space in the catalog. REIDAR chair, $50; STENKLOVER duvet cover and pillowcases, $30; and more

How did you feel about the new catalog? What’s on your wishlist?

(Images: IKEA)

Shop This Space: Living Room

A few of you contacted me about sources for items in my revamped living room (more pictures here). Well, ask (nicely) and you shall receive…

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1. Curtains: Threshold Floral Grayson Grommet Window Panel in Gray, 54×95, $30/each, Target; Curtain Rod: Umbra Geo Cage Drapery Rod in Bronze, 66-120″, $33, Target

2. Sofa: Karlstad in Sivik Dark Gray, $399, IKEA; Legs: Karlstad Legs, $20, IKEA

3. Rug: Safavieh Cambridge, 6×9, $340, Overstock (wait for a sale, I paid less than $200); Coffee table: Era Rectangular Coffee Table, $499, Crate and Barrel (I purchased via Craigslist)

4. Accent wall: Hale Navy, about $40/gallon, Benjamin Moore

Pretty much everything else is vintage I’ve inherited or snagged on Craigslist, but if you have any questions, send them my way!

Design Inspiration: Pink and Gold Home Office

I’ve touted the merits of Adore before, but this latest issue really puts it over the top. Everything is so bright and cheery and beautiful!

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The theme is workspaces, which doesn’t usually interest me, but lately I’ve been dreaming of a home office (and a pink one at that!).

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This is blogger Monika Hibbs‘ home office. I’ve been lusting after those Kate Spade nesting boxes (I’m partial to the polka dots and stripes set), and I love that she DIY’d her coffee table and bookshelves from IKEA’s Vittsjo series. Chic and affordable. Who said it couldn’t be done? I think that’s why I like it so much. It’s gorgeous… and not completely out of reach.

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Even if you’re like me and don’t have room for an office, I still think you can still glean some inspiration from the fab spaces—office and otherwise—in the June/July issue. I swear I found something to love on every single page—even in the ads!

Flip through the entire issue here. And Adore editors, bring that new book of yours stateside, pretty please! I can only imagine the eye candy in there..A91Q9627 copy

I Want That Wednesday: Black and White Diamond Flats

I’m so happy to be able to show a little ankle (scan-da-lous!) again after all that polar vortexing. Yes, I’m using it as a verb. I think the cold killed some of my brain cells…

Anyway, If you haven’t noticed, pointy flats (D’orsay flats, if you will) are flippin’ everywhere. I’m trying to avoid buying super flat shoes (only because I know they’re terrible for your feet, and I’m trying to do everything I can to avoid injuring these puppies during marathon training), but these might just be too adorable to resist:

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Drool. They remind me of that Lappljung rug from IKEA that I’ve also seen everywhere.

The difference is that I’m not sure I’d have the guts to put this pattern 8×10 in my living room. But just a little hint of this pattern paired with, say, dark skinny jeans and maybe a hot pink blouse? Oo or a little black summer dress? Perfection.

Lucky Brand Women’s Abbee Flats, $60, Macy’s

(Images: Macy’s, A Beautiful Mess, Chelsea’s Garage, The Life Creative)

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.

IKEA Hack and Quiz

SUPER exciting news, guys: Urban Nesting is on IKEA Hackers!!! Remember the RIBBA frame that I turned into a bar tray a couple weeks ago? It’s featured on their landing page today!

IKEAHackersI don’t think I’ve ever been picked up by another blog so I’m thrilled! If you ended up here from IKEA Hackers and you do this “hack” (really it’s just more of, say, a reconfigure), please leave a comment or send pictures—I’d love to see how yours turned out. I’m thinking about making another one with a larger RIBBA for the living room. It’s just so cheap and customizable—two things that so rarely go together.

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Speaking of IKEA, I’m loving the “What’s Your Spring Style?” quiz they sponsored over on Lonny. I know I’ve been really into quizzes lately, but I’m not apologizing—I’m stressing over the painting I’m hoping to do in a few weeks! I’m dreaming about paint colors at night, and needless to say, I’m constantly looking for inspiration. But I think this quiz totally hit the nail on the head:

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I don’t know if I’ll be putting up a flag anytime soon (though I’m not opposed to it), but seersucker? Yes. Stripes? Yes. G&Ts? Please!

Now, who wants to go to Cape Cod with me?

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Before and After: Redecorated Kitchen

Rental kitchens are such a drag. Seriously. I mean if you can afford a place with stainless steel and granite as far as the eye can see, then good for you. But the rest of us are stuck with hideous faux maple cabinets and barely-working stoves.

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Look familiar? I’m not the only one with problem. I could paint, but it seems like a real pain to tape off a bunch of cabinets and appliances, so I decided to work with what I had.

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First thing I did was change out the lightbulbs. Even if they weren’t burned out, I swapped them out for a higher wattage (as bright as the fixture would allow). In rentals, lightbulbs are usually replaced (either by the management company or previous tenants) with whatever is on hand, so oftentimes you’re not getting as much light out of a fixture as you can. It may not seem like it in these pics, but it made a huge different for me, especially by the sink.

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Second, I took a look to see if I was missing out on any storage opportunities. Outside of the pantry, what you see is what I’ve got… so cabinet space is at a premium. I realized there was space above the cabinets that wasn’t being utilized so I set about finding a solution that was both decorative and functional. There’s loads of baskets out there, but it had to fit the width of the cabinet so that was the real challenge. I happened across these funky laminated cardboard boxes at IKEA, and they were a perfect fit.DSC00584

One of the things that annoys me most about my kitchen is that the oven is so old it’s handle doesn’t have an opening to hang towels from. But the oven isn’t really where you need towels anyway—the sink is. So since there was a big empty spot above the sink, I hung a Bygel rack to hang colorful kitchen towels from. I figure I can switch them out with different towels depending on my mood, the holiday, laundry day, etc. I hung another Bygel rack above the stove to hang utensils from. So handy! Plus, it reduces the clutter of a utensil holder from the counter space.

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And finally, I decided to have some fun. You’ve all seen people with EAT signs in the their kitchens; it’s been done 1,000 times. So I decided to do YUM because, well, why not? I bought the paper mache letters from Jo-Ann Fabrics, and spray painted them black.  It was super quick and easy.

The “new” kitchen isn’t great by any means—that’d take a lot more than a few boxes and some spray paint—but it’s certainly more fun. I’m still working on the other walls of the kitchen (the pantry majorly needs to be reorganized and it’d be great to find a butcher block/microwave stand all in one). I do have some vintage aprons in one spot, though I need to figure out a less hideous way to hang them. Perhaps another update to follow…

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DIY: Bar Tray from a RIBBA Frame

I am in love with the styled bar carts all over Pinterest. Who isn’t? But when you already have a full-on bar in your apartment, adding a bar cart is a bit overkill. My family already thinks I’m an alcoholic. (I swear I’m not, Aunt Tracy!) 

As much as I love my bar, I’d mostly neglected it as of late, and the middle display cabinet had become storage for knick-knacks I couldn’t find a place for. Exhibit A:

oldbarSo I decided to clean the whole thing out and use some of that Pinspiration to set up a vignette of my own.

The problem: $10 budget. The solution: Work with what you have! (The other problem is taking pictures of something that has a mirror behind it… don’t judge! These aren’t the best.)

DSC00475The common denominator in the bar cart pics I liked was a serving tray. It added visual interest to break up (metaphorically) a bunch of glassware. But not only was I limited on budget, I was also limited on size: It had to be less than 10 inches wide for it to fit in the cabinet and the glass door to still be able to close.

I looked and looked and the closest thing I could find at the right size was a bathroom tray. But it looked… well, like a bathroom tray.

So I got creative! How many of those trays do you think are actually used for serving people? Hardly any, right? They’re decorative. So I just needed something that resembled a tray. Who needs handles anyway?

I’ve been on a big organizing kick (more on that later), and so I just happened to also be cleaning out my closet, where I store a lot of (other) household things that are looking for a home or are seasonal. Low and behold, a RIBBA frame falls into my lap—quite literally. (Luckily, the glass didn’t break!) And it was the PERFECT size.

DSC00472Here’s how to make your own:

1. Remove everything from the frame, including the glass. (Sometimes they’re glued a bit in the corners so be careful! Some GooGone will remove any residue left over.) You can throw out the mat or reuse elsewhere.

2. Remove the arm from the backing (it’s just glued on), so all you’re left with is the thin piece of particle board. There will be two small holes, but nobody is ever going to see those anyway. Put the board, holes down, back in the frame.

3. Cut decorative paper to size and place on top of the board in the frame. Scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, a scrap of fabric, something cut out of a magazine—almost anything will work!

4. Place the glass on top of the paper/fabric. And ta-da! That’s it. You have yourself a customized serving tray in less than 10 minutes.

DSC00473Now, you could definitely get more involved than this. For instance, there’s little metal clasps around the outside of the frame that are used to hold the picture in and the back on. You could get a pair of pliers and remove those or flatten them. They’re generally pretty hard to see though once the board, paper and glass are all back in there.

I’d also suggest adding a few of those stick-on felt buffers (you usually put them on furniture legs so they don’t scratch up wood flooring) on the front of the frame for good measure.

DSC00480I already had all this stuff, so essentially the cost for me was free, but let’s say you had to buy everything: It’d still come out to under $10!

Frame, $4.99
Paper, $3.99 (we’ll pretend it’s fancy paper)

barnewLuckily, the RIBBA series comes in black and white, and a few different sizes so it should be easy to find a “tray” that works for you. (Not to mention the endless possibilities if you bring spray paint and/or washi tape into the mix.)

Have you done any projects with RIBBA frames?

IKEA Solution: Winter Linens Storage

I had a lapse in judgement this weekend. No, I didn’t have too many whiskeys or splurge on an expensive pair of shoes or quit my day job (thankfully).

I put away my fleece blanket. It’s mid-March, I thought. We’re in the final stretch.

And then I woke up this morning to this…

winterMarchThat’s about five more inches of snow. It brings Chicago’s snowfall total this winter to just under 80 inches. Eighty friggin’ inches, people! I should have known better.

But the good news is that I’ve discovered an awesome new storage solution for when/if I finally can store those heavy linens: IKEA’s Komplement Wire Basket.

DSC00390I spotted it when I was there on Saturday, and while I wasn’t exactly on the hunt for more under-the-bed storage, its perfection hit me as soon as I saw it. Funny how IKEA always seems to make you pick up things you don’t need… but I swear this was a solid investment. DSC00392It was a Last Chance item (which I think means they’re discontinuing it? Maybe they’re discontinuing this beige color, but who cares, nobody’s going to see it anyway), so it would’ve originally gone for $25, but I snagged it for $8. I’m seriously thinking about driving the 30-some-odd miles out there just to get another one for the other side of the bed. DSC00394

It fits perfectly under my no-frills full frame. It’s originally made to fit in one of the IKEA wardrobes, and it came with the equipment to install it to slide out, but I just pitched that part of it. It really fits a surprising amount of stuff. This is one heating blanket, one full set of sheets, plus a few extra pillowcases, and a full set of heavy-duty fleece sheets.

DSC00400What’s your trick to storing your winter linens?