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!

Gallery

A Happy Home-iversary!

Aug. 1 came and went so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to celebrate my two-year home-iversary! I resigned my lease, so I’ll be in my current apartment for at least one more year (barring any major life changes). There was a bit of a rent hike, but it’s only an additional $20 a month—not something I’m excited about, but definitely not worth the expense (and hassle!) of a move. Plus, the consensus seems to be that my place is a steal for the amount of space and the neighborhood (Chicago’s North Center). I do love it!

Let’s take a look at how far it’s come:

Living room

Dining room

Bathroom

Kitchen

Bedroom

It’s not perfect. It never will be. Design is a constantly evolving process—and that’s exactly what makes it fun!

Outside of a few little things here and there, I’m VERY happy with the living room and dining room. But putting everything side-by-side here makes me realize that the kitchen and bathroom are kind of a different style than the rest of the apartment… Looks like I know where my next projects will be! Stay tuned.

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:

DSC00753

During the rug back-and-forth…

DSC00909And finally, now!

DSC01014

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.

DSC01052

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.

DSC01044

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!

You Pick: Living Room Rug

I’m having a really hard time deciding on a vision for the living room. I’ve never had such a bold wall to contend with! I’m certainly not regretting the paint job, but I feel like a need a colorful rug to bring some fun—and femininity—to the room. It’s a bit Don Draper right now. (Speaking of, anyone watching the current season? Snoozefest!)

A rug is a real commitment since it’s generally a pricey piece, but I think it’ll really set the tone for the room. I’d hate to make the wrong choice, so I’m enlisting your help!

For a refresher, here’s the living room:

The living room and dining room feed right into each other, so I’d like there to be some cohesion, but it doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. Here’s the dining room:

Originally, I wanted to go with a cream shag or flokati rug, but this is a high traffic area, and honestly I don’t think it’d stand a chance. The cat’s always in there. We eat in front of the TV all the time (though I’d really like to break this habit). This is where people hangout when they come over. I’d give it six months tops. Same goes with one of those super popular Beni Ourain-style rugs. Plus, I think I might fall out of love with it after awhile.

I want something fun but somewhat timeless (I hope to still like it in five years). Something bright since there’s already so much dark. Something with a hint of elegance but nothing traditional. And hopefully something that won’t break the bank but is quality (no Dhurries, please!). Is all that possible?

I’ve cobbled together some ideas. Which rug do you like? Or do you have a suggestion? Please, I’m all ears!

rugs1. Martha Stewart Chevron Leaves | 2. Surya Frontier 918 | 3. Safavieh Cambridge | 4. West Elm Ikat Links | 5. Savanna Ikat VE01 | 6. Savanna Ikat VE03 |
7. Surya Scion | 8. Martha Stewart Poppy Field

Before and After: Living Room

I didn’t want to show off the living room until it’s in a more complete state, but the people have spoken… and they want to see pictures ASAP. So here’s what it looked like before I moved in:

livingroomOrange. Woof.

My original plan was to paint the entire living room Whispering Spring (which is now in the dining room). But since it’s such a large room with a nice high ceiling, I decided to go with something more dramatic and on just one wall (well, a wall and the tiny sliver of wall that separates the two rooms).

I landed on Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. (Again, for those of you interested, I used the Ben series with an Eggshell finish, and it was about $40/gallon in Chicago.)

Hale NavySo before last weekend, this is what the living room looked like:

IMG_0908And for a little while it looked like this…

But now we’re here!DSC00753I am in LOVE with the color! (The landlords probably aren’t as thrilled…) It only took two coats to cover the white. I am definitely on board with buying more expensive, higher quality paint—in this case, you get what you pay for.

DSC00755I like the pink rug with the charcoal couch (it reminds me of this), but it doesn’t really fit with my vision for the living/dining space. Plus, it really clashes with my red Coca-Cola cooler that looks so fab against the navy. So I’m thinking about going for something lighter since the wall, couch and TV console are all dark colors. Those of you with experience: Is having a white or cream shag or flokati rug a terrible idea?

DSC00754Other things on the wish list: curtains, colorful throw pillows, wall art, new tray for the coffee table (that oval shape is just not working for me—perhaps a DIY RIBBA one?).

DSC00757Stay tuned and you can help me decide what’s next for the space. Leave me a comment if you have suggestions!

Weekend Sneak Peek: Moore To Come

I honestly think I’m going to have a hard time sleeping tonight. It’s not that I’m excited about Good Friday or the Easter Bunny’s visit (though that candy aisle at Target was harrrrd to walk past today)…

DSC00672

Me and BM are about to become good pals.

No, I’m finally taking the leap and painting! The original plan was to paint the living room, but now I’ve decided to paint the dining room and one wall in the living room. The landlord’s approved, the paint’s been bought, the holes have been patched and the ladder is on it’s way (thanks, dad!). There’s no turning back now…

Ah, naked walls!

Ah, naked walls!

Curious what colors I went with? Well, the dining room is going to be one of the colors I tested a couple weeks ago, and the living room will very soon have a dark accent wall. That’s all you can know for now : )

There’s so much to do, but hopefully I’ll have a great Before and After to show you early next week. Wish me luck! xoxo

Did You Know…

Crate & Barrel was started in Chicago? I had no idea! Thanks to my visit to the Chicago History Museum, here’s what I learned:

Gordon and Carole Segal opened the first Crate & Barrel store at 1510 N. Wells St., Chicago, with a mere $12,000. Their idea was simple: sell European table goods, purchased directly from small manufacturers, at a reasonable price. When they opened in 1962, the Segals had one sales associate and personally oversaw all aspects of the business from buying products to stocking shelves.

Crate & Barrel took its name from the packing crate and barrels used to display clean-lined European-style glasses and tableware. In contrast with other housewares stores, Crate & Barrel displayed its entire stock in bright architectural settings that showed the products to their best advantage, an approach that revolutionized retail display.

Crate & Barrel issued its first catalog in 1967. In addition to the company’s black-and-white boxes and bags, the catalog has served as Crate & Barrel’s chief advertising tool and as a vehicle to expose customers across the country to the company’s formula.

So there’s today’s history lesson. And here’s a few of my favorite items from their latest catalog (they’ve obviously expanded a bit from the tableware days!):

rochelle-sofaRochelle Sofa (comes in lots of great colors!), $2,499

bourne-bar-cabinetBourne Bar Cabinet, $999

aman-bed-linensAman Quilt, $159.95; Melrose Buffet Lamp, $179

(Images: crateandbarrel.com)