Five Days to Deadline

Still trying to figure out the art situation in the bathroom! So let’s change topics, shall we?

This weekend we are hosting our friends for a housewarming party (Saturday) and our family for a Father’s Day grill-out (Sunday) so we have a lot of things to get going before those two events! Nothing like a deadline for motivation. It was the story of college, right?

I have my priorities, and Doug has his priorities, so I had him write a little list while I was at work one day, that way I could see what he wanted to accomplish. It was a great exercise, having him put some thought into it (he isn’t usually as house-preoccupied as I am)  without influencing him so much. I, naturally, have a mile-long list in my head which is continuously growing. It was important to pick out a few important and doable tasks to conquer before our next big weekend. Here’s what he came up with:

  • Finish the curtains
  • Organize the spare bedroom
  • Put up several pieces of art
  • Paint the kitchen and dining room
  • Put up the pot /pan hanger in kitchen
  • Sell/give away headboard

As of right now, organize the spare bedroom and put up several pieces of art are complete! Last weekend we got some real work done in that area. The spare room’s floor is no longer a tripping hazard!

Hanging some art made a huge difference, too. We put up my antique advertisement prints in the bedroom, a couple vintage canvases in the dining room, and a few frames in the hallway. The total cost of giving our existing artwork new context? Zero dollars.

art over dresser

These used to live in the TV area, and it’s refreshing seeing them in a new context over our bedroom dresser.

Vintage Dining Room Art

These vintage scandinavian canvases came out of retirement and look right at home on our retro wood paneling!

Art in Hallway

A couple sentimental prints (aligned to the right) gives the hallway a bit of interest. In our last place they were part of a mini gallery wall in the bedroom. Also, check out our vintage doorbell! I love it.

Art to cover electric panel

Oh, and a huge frame to cover our enormous (almost two feet tall) electric panel.

Painting the kitchen and dining room will be a huge improvement, and we are going to give it our best shot to get it done by Saturday. I’m not sure if it’s realistic, but like I said there’s nothing like a deadline to get the rear in gear. I do plan on finishing up the living room curtains and am trying to think of strategies as to not get rid of the plywood headboard (I love it too much! Photo from the old place).

Point Blanket

Looking at this photo reminds me that we need lampshades, too! Gah!

Wish us luck!

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Inexpensive Fabric Wall Decor

On Wednesday, Libby asked to know a little bit more about what was going on behind my couch. I am more than happy to oblige!

The fabric panels behind the couch have been with me a long time. When I moved into my first apartment (with a roommate) in 2007, it was 100% furnished with leftovers from my parents’ guest room. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The coffee table was a deeply discounted floor model from the local IKEA. Can you believe I dug up an old photo of my first place?

Old, old, old living room

Isn’t it amazing how far digital camera technology has come in the past 6 years?
This looks like it was taken with a cell phone, but I assure you it was not. 

While at IKEA nabbing a cool coffee table for a cheap price, some yardage of fabric caught our eye in the textiles section. It was so long ago I can’t remember if we grabbed the remainder of the bolt or just a couple of yards. Anyway, this fabric was being discontinued and my mom and I thought the pastel color palette would really go with the blue-and-white striped couch and easy chair. Note: looks like my addiction to sales, discontinued items, and the “as is” section at IKEA is not a new thing! 

Back in the late 80s and/or early 90s, my mom actually stretched canvases as a side job. Or something like that (I was a baby so my memory is, understandably, not crystal clear).

She was happy to revive her skills and help me out by doing these!

Wall Hangings

I like how they can be flipped and rotated to create different designs (compare this arrangement to the first photo in the post).

These beautiful pieces really haven’t had a home until now. They were just what the room needed to balance out the height created by the sliding door and barfy vertical blinds. They help the “living” area look finished.  I was worried that Doug would think they were too feminine, so I didn’t press the issue–but when he saw them he actually really liked them!

This is an awesome, and like I said, inexpensive way to make some large-scale art for your living space. Large-scale art is often expensive but it can really make a good impact–I think I have achieved that here! You could even use a tablecloth or textile found at a thrift store, or pick of fabric at the local JoAnn’s. I can picture an awesome ikat fabric, or suzani, or otomi… it seems like geometric or “native” types of print work really, really well with this kind of project.

I like this particular fabric because it has an ikat motif (gray) a sakura motif (green) and a moroccan/arabic star technique (blue)! Of course, I didn’t know what the terms for these designs really were when I bought the fabric… you don’t have to like something just because it’s trendy–just pick something you are drawn to! It’s what I do and it seems to work out well.

Wall Hangings

Want to create your own wall hangings? Grab some stretcher bars or any old wooden frame and stretch your favorite fabric!

I don’t have a step-by-step DIY tutorial for you, but maybe watching this guy will help.

Faking a Sofa Table

Sometimes you have awkwardly large items you need to store, and no place to do so. In our case, two large speakers and two bar stools. Where to put them? One option is to get rid of them, but I really, really love these bar-height stools and look forward to using them in a future home, once we’ve moved on from our current apartment. The speakers will be cool when hooked up to a turntable someday (unfortunately, the turntable we have does not have any output capabilities except the speakers in its unit) so we’re holding on to those for the future as well.

That said, when you’re dealing with just over 800 square feet, every space must be maximized to its full potential. There is no spare bedroom, basement, or garage to hoard items in–which is quite the learning curve for my since the last place we lived had all three of those hoarding storage solutions.

I really (really, really, really) like the console table that John built to go behind the Petersik’s sofa in the living room over on Young House Love. It has a ton of hidden storage and adds a lot of dimension to the room. I thought perhaps I could take a clue from that and come up with some kind of storage/hiding place solution in our apartment! All it took was a little brainstorming and one pre-finished shelf board at Home Depot.

I love the look that a sofa table adds to a room. It gives the space much more dimension than just having the couch shoved up against the wall and in the corner.

The finished product:

The untrained eye would never guess what is going on behind the couch! It is a fantastic place to keep some of my more attractive (and more frequently thumbed-through) design books, a few pretty tchotchkes, and a much-needed lamp. It also provides an alternative place to put snacks and drinks while watching TV, since the coffee table is simply too dog-accessible.

And a peek behind the curtain:

The cloth runner (from Target) is up there for two reasons: a) it looks pretty, and b) the shelf board is a little shorter than I like so this hides that awkward fact pretty well.

If I ever get around to it, another shelf board slid on to the lower bar stool rungs will be a great addition for a little bit more concealed storage.

And a bonus shot, with a little explanation:

I realize I never showed the world the back of the couch cushions! When we purchased the gray microsuede for our upholstery, it was a remnant and about a yard short of the needed amount to cover all the cushions. We went ahead and selected an inexpensive contrasting canvas printed with french postmark stamps (I think?) to make up the difference. So far we have been able to arrange the furniture so that it remains hidden.

Now you know our (not so dirty) little secret! Have you ever gotten creative with something like this? I bet they do a lot of creative “faking it” for furniture on TV and movie sets, don’t you?