April showers bring May apartment searching

It has rained out the wazoo here in AL. Tornadoes and such.Β  I hope all that is past, because I am ready for continuous sunshine, my sofa to arrive, and the hunt for our next space!

Apartment searching in this neck of the woods isn’t easy. It’s hard to find everything on your list when you want to stay in a historic neighborhood (apartments from the 20s-30s).Β Β  It is especially hard when you want comfortable, attractive digs but don’t want to throw your money away on a pricey apartment. Remember, I want a house!

There is also a lovely up and coming neighborhood called Norwood on the other side of downtown. I wouldn’t dare live in an apartment there though. It’s still more…uh…and the bottom of the up than it is the coming. It fell to decline some many years ago. But my oh my are the houses grand. That’s my dream, to renovate a home from the 20s (30s would work too). Visit the neighborhood here.

There are several neighborhoods I plan to tackle: Forest Park, Highland Park, and Glen Iris. Don’t those sound like nice neighborhoods? Makes me think about Chicago or NYC… I don’t really know neighborhoods of other famous cities.

apt

This apartment is named Flanigan Flats and I am in love with its architecture both inside and out. And it’s in my price range. The down side: no dogs. Only cats. Can my chihuahua pass as a cat?

Tomorrow is May first and my lease is up July 1.Β  I am ready to start the hunt!

The necessities are:

  • dogs allowed
  • hardwood floors
  • dishwasher
  • washer and dryer or connections IN the unit
  • ample storage space (this is ridiculously hard to find in older apartments)
  • off-street parking
  • balcony (for a bit of personal outdoor space)
  • no children around (i hate the look of plastic toys cluttered outside someone’s door)
  • dining room
  • 2 bedrooms or 1 bedroom with enough space for an office area

Currently we live in an apartment that meets all this criteria except for outdoor space but we settled because it has a great sunroom (which is the “office”). Our second bedroom is wasted and filled with laundry room crap. So a second bedroom isn’t really necessary. That will help keep the price down.

I’ll be sure to snap pictures of each space so I can analyze and agonize over all of them here!

 

 

 

Inspiration

Here are images I’ve saved on Houzz. I really enjoy Houzz for gathering inspirational images and searching for products. They also have really good articles on decorating, furniture, well-groomed lawns, remodeling, etc. Check it out!

You will see a lot of red, pink and gold in these. I’ve saved these images for a number of reasons: palette, furniture, a coffee table, pictures on the wall (gallery style)…things like that!

houzz1

(1) I just adore this space. And look there’s a chesterfield! Love the colors (ahem, red and gold!)

houzz2

(2) There is something about a pink wall. I think the right pink could even live in a house where a non-pink loving man dwells. Again, the red and gold.

HOUZZ3

(3) Another chesterfield. I also like the giant deer hanging out by the fireplace. The Perfectly Imperfect House (Deborah Needleman) states something like no home is complete without an animal or two placed about the space. I love animals and am always looking to add new figurines to my growing collection. Don’t have anything this big…yet.

houzz5

(4) Red and gold. The height of the ceiling in this room is fantastic. Love natural light.

houzz6

(5) Isn’t that a neat side table? Also love the dresser and the hydrangeas. If I had a yard, I’d plant all sorts of flowers. I bet it feels great to grow them yourself and have freshly cut flowers for your table tops! Weeee. πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Color palette

So, I’m kind of obsessed with reds, pinks, and golds together. It can either be BOLD or oh so subdued and elegant (like lavender/pink and gold)

REDGOLD

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

I am also a huge fan of oodles of pictures and artwork on the wall, but I’ll save that for another post.

flow

The sofa (how many days until it is delivered? 26?) is a lovely wine and we already own the yellow velvet chair. Could tie in bits of gold with a large antique mirror and chunky gold frames for some artwork.

I am obsessed with antique mirrors. They (mirrors in general) open up a room. Bounce around light. All good things.

Then of course I would like pops of green from plants. Could address the red and gold combo with the painting of the boy and the oriental rug we have plus we have a red/burgundy chair. I think it’s a combo that most certainly can be done! I’m excited to see it come together. Wall colors could be anything from peach/light pink/orangey red/red/…endless possibilities!

 

 

Quick idear sketch

Okay, I can’t draw proportionately or in perspective…

photo

This is one idea of arranging the furniture (All of this currently owned or on its way minus a nice coffee table, a large antique mirror for the wall, fiddle fig and rubber tree (or some other house plant) plants and lots of art).

I was reading about focal points the other day and sadly it listed the tv. No. Never. I only have a 12-14 inch tv with BUILT-IN vcr. They don’t make them like that anymore! and it is definitely not the focal point of the room. I do believe the sofa and a wall of art would be a lovely focal point. I suppose it all depends on the shape of the room, too?

Currently, in this apt I am sitting in, this configuration would not be possible as french doors are on one end and a giant room opening (what do you call that?) is on the other. Seen here.

I also read that it is nice to get furniture off the walls. I agree but most of the time I’ve dwelled in small places and usually have to anchor most things to the wall. But the great things about chairs is they can go anywhere!

 

 

Tree today, stump table tomorrow.

You know, coming up with these cheeseball subject lines isn’t all that easy…

I first saw a stump side table at Restoration Hardware for $800+ and I immediately thought “hey, my dad could make that for free!”

tree

There’s my little stump hanging out over there on the left. I was supposed to retrieve it this past weekend but it didn’t work out.Β  A lot of diy stump side table tutorials are out there but today I found one I think I will follow. I like the bark left on much more than I do with it off.

stumps

Non-legged stumps are both Restoration Hardware (and currently on sale if you’re too lazy to make your own). All have the bark. It just looks more …hearty?…and beautiful left on.

So, plan to stick that in the newly evolving living room though I would choose more substantial legs.

Painted furniture

draw

When I started my job and we moved into the apt last July, I guess I thought I’d be making beaucoup money. I drew this thinking our dining room would be the center of many dinner parties. Pfft! We currently don’t even have a dinner table!!Β  I spend my money on shoes.

After the sofa,Β  a proper dining room table will be the next big purchase.

Anyway, what we do have is that blue buffet. Or what I would turn into a blue buffet. It was boyfriend’s childhood chest of drawers and I think it would work so well filled with table linens and candlestick holders.

tab

Currently it is a catch-all for our junk. You can see we never hung the art like I originally planned. Asian boy was given to me by an artist friend and I do so want to get him framed! That is another to-do high on the “grown-up space” list.

I’m not sure why I wanted to paint it blue, probably because blue is such a great color. Also, a popular color. If we keep the oriental rug (and why wouldn’t we?) and the living room is always near the dining room, the blue would be a color that could carry all through the space. Flow is important!

drawers

(1, 2)

When I picture the blue I want, I thought I was picturing cornflower blue. You know, that pretty non-blue non-navy blue from the crayola box? But when I googled such crayola cornflower blue, it was shown as a sky blue or as almost a lavender? I guess testing paint colors and gathering swatches is in order. 2 things that sounds tedious and boring to me! I want to pick the color, have it be right, and get to work! Nothing is that easy.

behr_blue

This is pretty close to what I was thinking, but I do not think this is furniture paint. I know nothing about paint. High-gloss, semi-gloss, matte (okay, I know what those words mean but in terms of what type of paint goes where I am clueless). I am tempted to go out and buy a box of crayons with the hopes my blue is still being made and take THAT to the paint store.

On to drawer knobs. I know I want green glass and I imagine I would be better off just finding these in store and not online. I wish I could find larger ones because they all seem to be so dainty.

I wonder how actual glass door knobs would look? Too big? Crazy? Yeah…

knobs

(1, 2, 3, 4)

This is a project I do believe could be conquered in a weekend! I keep pushing these projects off because I am not committed to the current space. But how long is one supposed to live like that? Always in this transitional period? If I have to live in apartments, I need one I can call home, not one that just holds my stuff until I buy a house!

“Your home should be a reflection of how you want to live right now and for the next phase of your life” – Martha Stewart

Fiddle fig, Fiddle fig let me in!

You know that self-fulfilling prophecy blah blah? Buy a red car, see a red car everywhere thing? If you look, you will find? Well, one day online I discovered fiddle fig trees.

And they are amazing. Now I see them everywhere. They pop up on so many interior design websites and are all over pinterest.

ff

(image source: 1, 2, 3) and here are even more lovely fiddle fig photos.

I decided to give one a try and ordered one off Amazon for dirt cheap. Cheaper than buying a full-growing one. Well, I think I’ve pretty much killed it. The apartment really doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight which these guys need. I’m good on the no watering thing. Thankfully they don’t require a whole lot of attention. But woe is me, my baby fig is dead.

fidfig

The top of my record player looks like plant cemetary. You can see it arrived with many green leaves (on left) but soon after all but one turned brown and I plucked them off. Now only one green leaf is left. I do not know what to do.

A few days ago, we were in Home Depot and I spotted fiddle figs for only $27. Like, are you kidding? Usually these are $100s at this size! I reallllly want to get one but then again I worry about the sunlight issue.

fig

But wouldn’t it look so great with the sofa (entry below)? Only 2ish months left at my current place. I think I can hold out!!

Sofa city, sweetheart.

I love furniture, especially sofas and chairs. For the longest time, I’d wanted a vintage sofa. Something french provincial or Victorian. We found a lovely antique sofa at the thrift store for $130. It was a dream come true. Then, we realized it wasn’t very comfortable. Straight up back is not something you want to rest on. It was also a blue brocade. Beautiful but not practical for our messy lives. Unlike most people who love a good deal or a roadside find, I wanted something brand new! Something that made me feel like a grown woman who owns a nice sofa.

So, I started the hunt. I wanted something elegant, eclectic and vintage looking. Whatever the heck that is!

Then, I purchased this design book (which I recommend you get. It is AMAZING). I suppose that’s when this sofa lust really jumpstarted. Inside, Needleman lists various types of sofas and the chesterfield was one.

needlemansofa

All of these sofas are dreamy, but the chesterfield caught my eye (illustrations by Virginia Johnson).

I was perusing the net and found a nice marriage of the English and the Chesterfield through Robin Bruce. It took 2 months before the local retailer in town could get one into the showroom.

donovan

It is very comfortable with down cushions and the back tufting. We figured this was as good as it gets and chose our fabric.

fabric

I really wanted a burgundy or red or some fun punchy color but it was not an available choice. So we settled for the lighter blue and yellow/green pillows and made plans to start saving thousands of dollars.

BUT THEN, I got a catalog from Bassett Furniture with a chesterfield on the front. I went to see it in store and it was fabulous. My only disappointment is the firm seat but WHATEVER.

sofa

Chose fabric and placed the order all in the same day. What a whirlwind. T minus 28 days and the sofa will be here!!!

I feel like this is the first step into transforming my space into a home I can be proud of. An adult space that suits my style!

A Current Affair

This how the apartment currently looks..

room

You can see we have some good pieces (rug, chairs, the bookcase/standy thing the tv is on, the start of an artwork collection, plants) but we need more! Or well, I do. I want a mature, yet fun, eclectic, warm, cushy, vintage, antiquey, mixed with modern space! So, this is the year I am going to accumulate beautiful pieces so I can start my next phase in life (ahem, turning 30) in comfort and style.

Your home should be a reflection of who you are and you should feel comfortable in it. I do not feel so comfortable in mine.Β  This is the evolution of a home.