Andrew headed back to school today, so this past week and weekend we scrambled to finish up some projects that I'll be sharing over the coming weeks. Today, I'm pumped to show you the before and after of our front porch! What was once a gnarly sight is much, much easier on the eyes now. We didn't do anything too major (we constantly have to remind ourselves that it's just a rental), but we went to town sanding and applying several coats of exterior paint. And by "we," I really mean "he." Andrew did 99% of the work as a gift to me, and I couldn't be more grateful. It's a vast improvement, don't ya think?
Colors can be downright confusing—especially if you're trying to recall exactly what "Sled," "Smokey Slate," and"Celery Ice" look like from memory. Don't you agree?! Well, we finally made the decision to cover our living room wall in vintage oil paintings, all based on a piece that my grandma painted of my dad when he was 6 years old. But in order to make sure they would all jibe, I knew I needed a way to recall the painting's colors (plus the wall color) while out shopping. It's not that I want everything to be matchy-matchy, but a little cohesion is necessary. So I hit Home Depot with the painting in tow to pick out swatches. You can imagine the weirdo looks I got from my fellow customers. It's for the sake of design, people! Once I was home, I double checked my colors before cutting them into a stack that I could hole punch and hang on a key ring. Note: It's helpful to cut the swatches so that the name/number remains, just in case you want to use the paint color for any reason later. I even toted my little swatch book with me to a massive outdoor flea market last Sunday (more on that later), and let me tell you, it made all the difference in the color world.
Sometimes I pick out wine at the store the same way I pick out horses at the racetrack. I fall for the good looking ones: ie, bottles with pretty labels and horses wearing my favorite colored silks. You might expect more from a Kentucky girl—but ain't nobody got time for that! And I know I'm not the only one who relies on this old trick. So you can imagine my delight when I was asked to host a tasting of a new wine that's comes in the most beautiful bottles around town. You might've spotted protea in your local Whole Foods, but if not, the wine comes from South Africa (where protea is their national flower). Their red, a perfectly rich and spicy blend, is 65 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, and 5 percent Shiraz, while their crisp, fruity white is a Chenin Blanc. After my girlfriends and I oohed and ahhed over the wine, I brought the bottles home to put them to good use. I first removed the labels so they could show off their cool graphic designs. Then I grouped several of them to create an arrangement for sunflowers, and filled a final one with olive oil and added a spout. Now my olive oil looks pretty enough to keep out on the table! The wine may be long gone, but I have a feeling these bottles will be hanging around for quite a while.
Remember my pencil business cards? It's not that I broke up with them, but there were times that they just didn't work for me. Like on a night out when I was carrying a clutch or when I ran out of the house with just my wallet and my phone. I needed some paper cards that weren't boring—and wouldn't break my budget. Well, I'm happy to say I found some pretty cute ones on Moo.com. They're designed to look like mini vintage notebooks, which is fitting for my line of work. And they offer 5 different designs, so I can give folks a choice when handing them out.
We didn't have much time to develop our paint palette. And by much, I mean like 3 days. That might be plenty of time for some people. Not so much me. I'm not the most decisive person in the world (just ask my dad, particularly when ordering food is involved), and paint is a big commitment. Sure, you can always paint over something. But we really really didn't want to rely on that. So one night a few weeks ago, we flipped through design books, scoured Pinterest for inspiration, and determined a few general colors for the rooms in our new place—all the while considering the colors of the stuff we already owned (I'd love to pitch some of our old stuff for all-new goodies, but that's just not possible when the cash flow is tight). Using $30 worth of sample cans, we painted patches to see how the colors would look on the walls. We checked them out in morning and afternoon light, and at times, went back to Home Depot for more. What did we decide on? Drumroll please.... Tada!! Here's our final palette! Although I'm a Benjamin Moore fan, we went with Behr No-VOC paint since it was easy and affordable. The yellow stickies indicate the colors, which include three pale hues and one dark blue gray (clockwise, from left to right: Reflecting Pool, Lavender Lace, Sage Gray, and Sled). I've always been drawn to using moody blues on the walls (to me, they work as as neutrals), and I'll be adding accent colors with furniture, fabric, and accessories.
Dear space, It's been a long time, my friend. I said goodbye to you when I went off to college, and we've done a bad job of staying in touch as adults (although Lord knows I tried, I really did!). So you can only imagine how thrilled I am to see you again. I know you come at a cost, ie imperfect walls, lopsided floors, and an exterior that makes this "the ugliest house on the block" (that's according to our landlord (!), so I'll have to agree). But we all know you can't judge a book by its cover. Without you, I've learned to organize, prioritize, and frequently toss stuff I don't need anymore. So here's hoping I can figure out what to do with you. My guess is that we're gonna get along just fine. xx, JCF
Here's the front living space. We fell hard for the big bay windows (which also helped us look past the wall problems below). The living room leads to the dining room through a set of French doors.Off of the dining room is a sweet, little room we're turning into an office. We love the sloped ceiling and awesome afternoon light this space gets.
The other room off of the dining room is the second bedroom. Although we didn't make this the master bedroom, I might love it more because of this arched shelving nook that I can't wait to decorate. The bathroom is standard, so there's not much we can do here—minus tossing that mauve curtain asap!The biggest perk of our bedroom is the fan, which feels like a luxury to me because I've never had one.Last but not least is the kitchen. Note the new appliances and ample cabinet space. Now we finally have enough room to store all of our wedding presents. Halle-freakin'-lujah!
This morning we met with our new landlord (the nicest guy ever, which is such a relief), and we made big plans for the apartment involving plaster, paint, new doors, and more. But before we jump ship from our tiny abode, I figured I ought to show some photos of it. I've been reluctant to do so for a variety of reasons, mostly because I'm not wild about the way I decorated it—minus the pretty corner of the main room that we use for dining, and the stripes we painted on our bedroom wall (cool but so freaking time-consuming). It's hard to believe that we spent three full days painting a place that we're leaving in less than a year. And I won't even go into the scuffles we had in the process. What a way to start a marriage, right? But we survived and moved on, as you do. In this place, I rearranged furniture to take blog photos, installed The Blank Wall Project, hosted house guests (yep, it was a squeeze), spent hours upon hours writing on the sofa, in the bed, at the table, and had girlfriends over for brunch and wine. Andrew studied his face off, and well, that's about it. And now our next adventure awaits! We couldn't be more ready.
It's time to select paint colors for our new place (it still hasn't sunk in that we're moving!), and you'd think that since I'm somewhat of a design junkie, I'd have the look of my next apartment all mapped out. Umm, that's a big, fat no. In fact, I feel all kinds of self-imposed pressure to make design choices that will be totally unique and dramatic while still being economical. We want our furniture to be able to transition to the new place, but we'll also need to incorporate new pieces. Do we keep the good ole Ikea pull-out sofa that's helpful for overnight guests, or sell it so we can buy a sofa with more personality? Should we keep the breakfast table we rehabbed (and still love!) even though we know it's small for the new dining room? Ok, ok...I'm getting ahead of myself. Paint, Jourdan, paint. So I'm mostly stuck on what color to paint the living room. White walls are obviously easier in the long run, look fresh, provide a blank slate for colorful furniture and accessories, etc. But I'm a color girl. Always have been. Lately, I've been drawn to that dark blue gray hue that makes wood floors and white trim really pop. Add in accents of orange, red, or yellow, and I think the combo will look rad. Or maybe I should layer different shades of blue? Check out these images I've gathered for inspiration. Do you think the dark color is too much of a risk, especially for the first room you see in a home? What if it's the only dark room in the house? Or should I go full steam ahead? I'm also loving the idea of a single thick strip of paint along one wall (see bottom left image). Please share your thoughts (no seriously, I'm desperate for feedback)!
I'm having a really tough time focusing on work today because I've got one thing on my mind: decorating our new apartment!!! Yes, we're moving. Again. Well, as soon as we officially sign the lease on our new place, which is just a few neighborhoods away from where we live now. It feels like just yesterday that we were packing up our stuff in Brooklyn and hauling it over to the Midwest. Collectively, Andrew and I have moved 12 times, including our first post-college move to New York. 12!!! This will be lucky number 13. I think means it's time to stop, at least until we buy a house. We pour our blood, sweat, and tears into these little rental properties only to jump ship after a year or two. The entire apartment search process is totally frustrating, soul-sucking, and just downright awful. But we're (hopefully) moving from a tiny one bedroom to a spacious two bedroom so that there's a room for guests and an office nook for Andrew. The walls need some major love, but if we've done it before, we can surely do it again!
There are crafters and there are crafters (I fall in the first, much less serious category). For years as an editor, I worked with people way more artistic and talented than me, and I always found inspiration in each person's vision, talent, and work ethic. Magda Sayeg is one such woman, although I was never fortunate enough to work with her. She's highlighted in this design-milk post today, and I just had to share these shots of her work, which is equal parts beautiful and rebellious. Saveg's color combos are bold, and she's made what's often thought of as an antiquated hobby feel so completely modern. I doubt I'll ever be a knitter, but people like her make me sure wish I had the patience to pick it up! PS: If you're loving the dressed-up statues, you'll love this too.