I Want That Wednesday: Bell Flush Mount Lamp

Why do rental apartments always have such terrible lighting fixtures? Well, I mean, I guess it’s because they probably buy the cheapest thing in bulk for all their units/buildings whether it’s hideous or not and never replace it. Maybe I’d have a bit more sympathy if I was the landlord, but I’m the tenant who has to look at these ugly ass “crystal” or “smoked glass” (some quite literally, like someone put too hot a bulb in there at some point) flush mount fixtures in my entry, kitchen, bedroom, etc.

I took it upon myself to swap out the light in the dining room (the perks of having an electrician as a father!). It’s almost definitely against the terms of my lease, but it makes such a huge difference. That’s a pendant light though, so it was much easier to find an appropriate replacement.

But as I prepare to paint my kitchen this weekend (it desperately needs it!), I keep looking at the two crappy flush mount fixtures and wondering if there’s any stylish alternatives out there. Enter CB2’s Bell Flush Mount Lamps:


I’ll let the description speak for itself:

minimal to the max. Oversized bell beams modern in a sculptural two-tone design by Studio 1A.M. Based in Chicago and Los Angeles, the designers were “inspired by organic and vintage-modern designs that achieve a soft but minimal and versatile aesthetic.” Bright white painted steel shade lights up overhead or on the wall with brass-painted interior that amplifies the glow. Light up the room with our cut-glass or vintage-style filament bulbs.

Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Bell Flush Mount Lamps, $60, CB2

(Image: CB2)

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.


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




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.


A New Oven, But…

Also, a new design problem. Can you spot it?

If I push the new oven all the way back, the utensil rack is too long! Womp womp.

I’m thrilled to have a new oven, even if it is the economy model. Who needs a timer? Pssh. But I’m not thrilled that the management company didn’t bother to paint over the smoke damage on the wall from the piece-of-crap oven that was there before—and probably had been since 1983!

Looks like I have a couple kitchen projects ahead of me…

Is it Better to Rent or Buy?

Buying a place is probably one of the single biggest decisions I’ll ever make. And it’s So. Damn. Complicated. Is buying as “good” of an idea now as it was in 2006 or 2011? Is property in my area overvalued? What’s the inventory available now say about the future market? Can HOA fees really push you over the edge? When’s the next property tax hike (inevitably) coming?

It’s hard to tell if the costs of owning—realtor (and lawyer and inspector) fees, mortgage interest, property tax, repairs, etc.—outweigh the financial benefits. Luckily, the New York Times has created a nifty little tool to help shed some light on the gray areas.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.18.55 PM

You fill in the details like home price, how long you plan to live there, closing costs, growth rate, homeowner’s insurance, etc. It even takes into account renting costs, like security deposit and renter’s insurance.

Then you arrive at Your Number: If you can rent a similar home for less than X, then renting is better.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.15.50 PMTurns out for me, it’s definitely a better idea to keep renting. But given that the number one reason why I want to buy is not for financial benefit but to have a new place to decorate… I think it’s pretty clear I’m not ready : )

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)…


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

Reblog: YOLO: The Renter’s Edition

I think Smokey Robinson put it best: I don’t know if I’m ready to give my rental a lifetime of devotion, but I second this Apartment Therapy article’s emotion…


Reblog: “Listen up folks, it’s 2013. I don’t know about you, but that number sounds scary high to me. Remember when we were all worried about Y2K and wondering if the new millennium officially started in 2000 or 2001? That was 13 years ago; babies born then are now teenagers! So what does that mean for you? It means YOLO (you only live once), so fix up your rental already.

Taking pride in your space is a foundation for having pride in yourself. Why would you spend so much of your time (especially your relaxation time) in a place where you don’t feel comfortable? That just sends the message that you don’t think you deserve to exist in a lovely environment, and you really, really DO…”

Read the rest of the article here.

(Image: Apartment Therapy)

Ready… set…

You know how I thought the Race to Wrigley went really well? Turns out that might not be the case – appears I’ve suffered a stress fracture in my foot. I don’t know that for sure, but it hurts like hell. I had it X-rayed (by an idiot savant, btw) and all appears normal, but I guess stress fractures don’t show up on X-rays anyway. It’s very mysterious though since I had no symptoms until Thursday night…

So anyway, since I spent most of the past three days observing R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and have nothing fun to report in Weekend Rewind, I’ll pass along an article (good find, Mom!) from the Tribune about about how quickly apartments are being snatched up in Chicago. Hopefully my foot will heal in time for the July listings in case I need to outrun the competition!

Apartment hunting in a tight market

By Sharon Stangenes, Special to Tribune Newspapers

When she returned to Chicago recently after several years absence, Rita Ciolek was surprised by how much renting had changed. Prices for downtown apartments had skyrocketed, incentives like one or two months’ free rent were gone and desirable units disappeared at warp speed.

Most units go within 24 to 48 hours,” said Ciolek, a 37-year-old tax accountant, who lost one apartment because she thought about it for 24 hours…

Click here to continue reading on