Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the crib

Due to the fact that we will be sharing our bedroom with baby, we have opted for a "mini crib". Its just a little bit more apartment sized, but should comfortably sleep our child until he is about 24 months. Since we are going with the philosophy of staying put for now, the mini crib is really our only option. A conventional crib would have been too big. The difference between the two types is anywhere from 15-13 inches in length. Which in a small apartment, is quite substantial.

The layout of the bedroom will look a lot like the plan above. The bed will stay in the center. We will lose one of the two taller dressers we currently have, in favor of a longer, lower piece that will also function as a changing surface. The crib will be ever-so-conveniently placed next to my side of the bed. I will actually be able to stay in bed, and stick my fingers through the slats of the crib to give baby a reassuring pat on the head, or tickle of the toes! How is that for no-fuss parenting. No worries about having to sleepwalk my klutzy self down a long hall to the nursery!

This is the crib we will be purchasing within the next month from Target online. The Riley Mini Crib in white by Delta. Its nice and simple, but still allows for a crib skirt, which most of the other mini cribs did not. That being said, finding linens for mini cribs is quite the challenge. Target and Babies r Us had barely anything! I finally found some more options on Diapers.com, which will be a great source for sheets, but will be attempting to make my own bumper and skirt. I'll be using some of those cute Michael Miller fabrics I showed you in my previous post.

We can't wait to get the crib and get it set up, but first things first... finding an affordable storage unit for the things we will have to part with in order to fit it in!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

new mission

It's high time to nest and get the baby prepping underway in the apartment. Since it has been way too stressful to fantasize that we might live in a different place, or we might move back to Bremerton or we might just have a second bedroom for a nursery, we have decided to act as if we will be staying put. That makes me feel a little bit better, but now we have a major design and organizing challenge to face. The fact is that the two of us and the cats fit in here snugly, but contentedly, and that the baby will be no small addition.

The idea of this seemingly impossible task has really got my wheels spinning. This is a good thing, since I've been at a complete standstill for months on end. My goal now, is to prove that it can be done. A little family can live in the city in a one bedroom apartment with one closet and be happy, organized, and have a beautiful space. Breaking this feat down into doable projects, I will detail the process of sorting our belongings, creating storage where there was none, carving a nursery out of a corner in our bedroom, and making it all look good to boot.

The first thing on my list is to scrutinize every piece of furniture. Is it serving a purpose, could it be more useful, could we do better with something different?
Take for instance what I refer to as my work space. The pedestal table I scored last year at the Bainbridge Island Rotary Sale for $20.

It is a great table, no doubt. But, it just gets stacked upon, has no drawers for bills, and desk-y supplies, and it's not comfortable to sit at. The verdict: time to move it to storage. What I am looking for in its place is a real desk. I am thinking knee-hole with drawers on each side. I want used and I want it cheap. This does not mean I am willing to compromise on quality. As for looks, as long as it has good bones, I'll paint it if need be, and change out the hardware.

This is just an example of how I am looking at everything with fresh eyes in my attempt to streamline, declutter and make the place more baby friendly. Similar statements can be made about most pieces in the apartment right now. It just won't work to bring a baby home as things are right now, so we are are going to have to make some changes. And I am very much okay with that! It's good to finally have a project with some depth, vision and importance.

Totally off topic, and just to show you something fun and cute, here are some of the fabrics that will be used for the baby's crib bedding and the quilt that my mom is making. From Michael Miller's Lagoon collection, found on hawthornethreads.com:

Isn't this going to be a fantastic adventure!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

cleaning out the cobwebs

Okay. I admit it. Ever since we moved into our city dwelling, I have felt creatively stifled. The lack of freedom to paint, the absence of remodeling dreams, and the tightening of space almost choked out my desire to decorate. How sad is that? I thought I would become enlightened and inspired in this new place, when in fact, the exact opposite happened. I became blocked. Then, I became pregnant!

Honest to goodness, the first three months completely zapped my energy for anything but getting up and getting to work. Then, the weird, "this IS really happening" stage set in. And finally, now six months into it, I am experiencing a sort of personal awakening and renewal. Where this will lead, there is no telling, as I am about to encounter many, many unforeseen challenges.

With this new addition to the family, comes all sorts of new questions. Will we stay here in this apartment? Will we stay here in Seattle? Should we move back to our house in Bremerton? And my overwhelming urge to nest seriously conflicts with the reality that we have no nursery! How can a planner like me get prepared for my little baby boy with these questions unanswered?

Despite these major issues, I can still envision a nurturing, organized and cozy home for our baby to start his life in. Always, and forever, keeping in mind the important pieces: he will have all the love he needs, a place to sleep, and food to eat!

I'll try my best to track these changes and keep you posted on my design ideas and furniture finds as I make every effort to get ready for the challenges and good times ahead.

Friday, January 29, 2010

a vibrant outlook

Photo from bhg.com
Lately I have been drawn to a more neutral palette than my usual inclination toward deep, but cozy colors. However, I just finished reading a feature in February's Better Homes and Gardens, and I have fallen in love with the design sense of Elaine Griffin. Bold, earthy and contemporary but classic, Griffin somehow blends and balances trendy colors and patterns with a dose of timelessness.

Photo from bhg.com
The combination of rich orange and leaf green has got me wishing I could paint the walls of our new apartment.

I am sort of on a design book buying binge, so I think I'll add her book Design Rules to my shopping list. I have really enjoyed viewing her portfolio on her website, www.elainegriffin.com.

Since I can't paint, I guess I can get my color punches in the form of artwork, accessories and fabric. Maybe once I find those perfect bookcases, I could paint them a nice juicy color, like Benjamin Moore's Rumba Orange. Doesn't that just sound like a good time?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

still pining

A photo I took for a previous post on revamping my home office, inspired by this issue of domino.

Well, it has been almost a year to the date that domino magazine announced its untimely closure. Call me a freak, but I still miss it. I find myself leafing through year old issues, each month, opening them up as if they were just delivered to my doorstep. And I still find new things, and rooms to love. It's incredible how comprehensive each issue was in offering of the moment trends, great design ideas by great designers, and all of the sourcing in one place.

I googled domino magazine just the other day, to see if there might be any rumors about it resurfacing. I am sorry to report that I did not find even the slightest thread of gossip on that topic. I did find a couple of good resources though.

Flickr has a couple of groups that feature photographs from the magazine.
The Domino Magazine group also includes photos of rooms and things inspired by domino. The Domino Magazine Files only has photos from the magazine or of the covers.

You can buy back issues for as cheap as $3.59 to as much as $25 on amazon.com.

I really couldn't find much more, except for the old articles written about its closure. And what of domino's esteemed editor-in-chief, Deborah Needleman? What is she working on lately? She was quoted in a NY Times article by Maria Ricapito, about bar carts in December. Anything else?

I guess I'll just keep dreaming about its return. Until then, I'll do my usual perusing of the many great design blogs and reading the other design publications I get every month. Nothing can truly take its place though.

Please, if you are reading this, and you know anything different than what I have reported, let me know! I would love to be proved wrong. Viva la domino!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

hunting for a bookcase

I am on the prowl for the perfect bookcase. One with character, the right proportions and of good quality. It seems that this must be a lot to ask for, maybe even too much, especially when working within a budget. At this point, I have searched tirelessly online through craigslist and big box retailers, as well as hit up local consignment and antique shops. While I have found tons and tons of what I don't want, I have also found several pieces that might do the job, but aren't exactly what I want.

The Verona bookcase from World Market. I actually like a lot of things about this bookshelf. It is sophisticated, a little on the rustic side, at 15 inches deep, would provide a few extra precious inches than others of its kind. I like the warm medium wood tone, and I think that a pair of them would flank the buffet very beautifully. My only concern is with the quality. I have put together furniture from World Market before, and had great difficulty. At $199 each, I could afford two, and really make the most of that long wall in the dining room.

Ikea's Markor series comes in at an even better price for $169 each. I like its simple lines, and the dark wood finish would provide a nice foil for the white buffet, and honey toned dining furniture. Its dimensions are a little less deep than what I want, but I think I could still make them work. My hang up with this one: its IKEA and everybody buys Ikea. However, I could make it my own, by covering the back panels with a fun wallpaper or fabric, an idea I credit to my sister. This would also add a splash of color and pattern.

And this beast, is one that we found at Greenwood's Cobblestone Used Furniture. It's solid oak, except for a few of the shelves, which are plywood. It's also enormous. At 65 inches wide, it would just fit in the dining room. The issue with this piece is the lack of versatility. The shelves are a fixed width, very similar to the one bookcase we already have, and although we would be able to get it up the wide stairway in this apartment, who knows if it would fit in a different space. Our lease here only lasts nine more months, and I don't want to spend $400 on a piece that we can't take with us when we go.

As I have talked to friends about locating the perfect bookcase, I have learned that this is not an uncommon dilemma. It's just that I am probably taking it too seriously. I do feel though, that I am at a point where I don't just want to buy for looks, I want to buy for keeps. So I guess its good to be choosy. I will keep looking and keep you posted.

Monday, January 18, 2010

what's on etsy

I heart etsy. I wish that I had the time to create things to sell on etsy. For now, I will just ogle what others have the dedication and talent to craft. This is what I saw today. All of these handmade items come at great prices, and offer fun ways to liven up your interiors.

From Soap Studiooos in Brooklyn, the "Chair Pillow". An instant, cheeky punch for any bench or perhaps a desk chair... for just $35 plus shipping.

Mostly because in my new apartment, I am not allowed to paint the walls, I am drawn to the idea of the increasingly popular wall decal. Styleywalls has really sweet, but simple designs to choose from, and any of them would look great on my ginormous, blank living room wall.
Love Birds on Branch with Leaves $44.00.

I usually don't like candles that are pretending to be anything but candles, but look how cute these "Mad Men" inspired candles by Soy Chic Candles are. They are poured into cocktail glasses, and I have to admit, it would really add some sparkle to the bar during a martini party. Vodka on the rocks anyone? Only $8.

Lucy Snowe Photography had some beautiful color photography. Great compositions and interesting use of filters. I LOVE this Bird at the Beach print. Its small at 8x8, and its $25. I wish it was like 18x24, because I have the perfect frame for it!

I am looking forward to discovering more great accessories on etsy to decorate my new place with. I've got some specific art work and organizational items on am on the prowl for, and will let you know when I find them!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

paring down

Holy moly,we brought way too much stuff!

The last month and a half has been an insane whirlwind...no, more like a freaking tornado. We made the decision and finalized plans to move on December 8th. We found an amazing renter for our house on December 11th. We celebrated Christmas with a train trip to Chicago to see family on December 18th. We arrived home on December 28th and immediately packed up the entire house, in between work, a sinus infection and ruptured eardrums, and moved into Seattle five days later. We made it through, but it was, as I said, insane.

This move has been the ultimate lesson in downsizing, organizing and being prepared. None of which I was able to do successfully, due to the time table we had to work with. At the last minute, I held a "design grab" and had my girlfriends over to go through the bunches and bunches of stuff that was clinging to the shelves in the basement. They took lots of the good items, which was very helpful, but there was still SO much. On the day of the move friends and relatives were taking multiple trips to St. Vincent de Paul to donate items. Crazy!

I had packed as much as I could in the few days before we left. I labeled the boxes as thoroughly as possible. I carefully considered what I could live without. I gave things away, threw things away and boxed items for storage (my generous boss' basement). I laid out furniture using a floor plan tool on my iphone, so I could really decide what would fit in the new space. But we still brought too much.

Did I mention that we were moving from a three bedroom house with a full basement (and I mean FULL), to a ONE bedroom apartment with ONE closet? Even if I had had ample time to take on this downsizing, I think I still would have overestimated what the new place could hold. Its just such a huge undertaking, and one we have not done in about 5 years. In the past, most of our moves had been to larger places, so we just filled them up.

So this move was difficult. We are still sifting through things and will most likely take more items to storage. Its a great feeling though, this clearing of the decks and relearning how to live without so much stuff. Although this move is somewhat temporary, these lessons will be permanent. I think that this change is very, very good.

My preliminary floor plan for the living room... too much furniture and some of it was too big.

The dining room plan should pretty much work out. We still need to find bookcases to flank the buffet/dresser. This weekend's mission!