Sunday, August 30, 2009

Living Better With Less... Dirt in the House

(come in go away mat, buy here)

It doesn't matter whether or not you wear shoes in the house, they're still coming in along with all the lovely things that have been picked up from the street. And you don't want that in your home and/or closet... Your choice; spend $3 at your local hardware store, $100 for a custom one, or any amount in between.

It's a no brainer, seriously - if you don't have one, get one now!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Apartment Progress... Bathroom Transformation

- installed 4 of the 5 shelves on back wall (cost: existing shelves $0, brackets $5, installation $30)
- put in new bath mats (cost: $20)
- installed towel, robe and misc hooks (cost: $12)
- styled/decorated (cost: $0 existing)

- install remaining shelf
- get curtain for shower stall
- repaint back wall; dark grey??
- repaint rest of walls white; there's a red hue now
- install mirror across from medicine cabinet
- replace medicine cabinet

When decorating I only like to do what is absolutely necessary, not only to save money, but time and energy. Normally I'd just leave the medicine cabinet but it's ugly and in bad shape; outside looks like it's been chewed and there's water damage on the inside. Since the vanity has plenty of storage room, I figured it would be less expensive to replace it with a mirror not another cabinet. Also I'll have better luck reusing a mirror than a cabinet if I move again. I picked up this one today from Yesterday's News for $45. I plan on painting it either high gloss white or an accent color like turquoise... still deciding.

Living Better With Less... Trying To Remember

A fun side effect of being neat and organized is being called a neat freak and obsessive compulsive. It used to annoy me (just a little) but the truth is I just prefer having my things work for me, not the other way around.

Take my skin care regimen. Products work best when used on a regular basis. I wash my face everyday with a gentle cleanser, use a scrub every three days, and a glycolic wash also every three days but not on the same days I use the scrub. After weeks of trying unsuccessfully to remember when to use something, I ended up either over or underusing one or the other. Simple solution; label the bottles so I don't have to remember.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Cutest Stuffed Animals Ever

(images courtesy of zooguu)

I had the pleasure of meeting the couple behind ZooGuu at a party the other night. Not only are they great, but when I saw their creations I freaked out! I'm not a gushy person especially over kid's stuff like stuffed animals but come on, LOOK at that little bunny! I hope my sister-in-law likes them as much as I do cause I'm definitely getting my soon-to-be-niece several...

Having Trouble Visualizing Paint Colors?

(images courtesy of Mochi Home)

Ask the guys at Mochi Home who help you 'picture your place' literally. Simply submit your pics and question and wait for them to give your room a virtual makeover. Genius!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Personal Favorite Buys

I wanted to share with you a few of the first things I purchased when I moved out on my own 10 years ago that have stayed with me til this day:

10 Piece Glass Bowl Set (similar to shown)
I love these bowls. Simple yet beautiful and so many sizes you cannot run out of uses for them. Used for prep; to hold pre-measured ingredients, serving; from my morning cereal, to chips and dip, and storage; a nice way to keep eggs, fruit and or nuts in the fridge.

Sooo much better than plastic containers, these can be used in the microwave and the fridge.

Canvas Storage Boxes (similar to shown)
I have yet to get a dresser (did you notice that in this or this previous apt tour?), the small boxes are perfect for bras and underwear and the large boxes (not shown) for off season clothes.

If You're Moving In The NYC Area Check Out 'Naked Apartments'...

There's a great new website that just launched that aims at making renting an apt that much easier. It's like but for real estate. You set up a personal profile anonymously and let brokers come to you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Reader's Questions: "When do I say no?"

(photo and interior by vicente wolf)

mri asks "When do I say no? I can't afford to put in a new ceiling, buy all new furniture, and install a new bathroom--but I'm getting well-meant advice from friends and family all telling me to. Whenever I say no, I get inundated with dire predictions of doom and regrets. The easiest thing to do is to just ignore everyone but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has that little voice in back of my mind going 'Are you SURE you don't want to do that?' (argh!!!)"

This is similar to mri's last question, but wanted to address it separately. I started this blog not only to counter all the bad advice out there, but the (conscious and subconscious) influencing of every aspect of our lives from what to wear, to eat, how to decorate, how to live. We need to stop listening to others and start listening to ourselves; organize, simplify, and create a space around YOUR life and how you want to live it.

Everyone has an opinion, so when taking advice think about who's giving it. Not to say your friend's and family's advice is bad, but is it good for YOU? Try at first not to take so much advice so you can learn to listen to yourself, but when you do, target people who's opinion on the subject you respect and is relevant to your lifestyle and taste (which most likely eliminated 95% of the people you know).

As far as figuring out what to do, planning is key. This guide* should help you separate out what you need to do versus the things you think you should do. Things you need to do are those things that will greatly impact how you function in the space.

*to get to the next step, click Newer Post at the lower left hand corner of the page

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reader's Questions: "How do you decide which design elements work for you?"

(interior by mario buatta, photo by gordon beall)

mri asks "What is a good way to decide which design elements are going to work for you? With all the design blogs and other media available on design it sometimes feels like there's too much information. I know a few people who tried to 'buy into' all the things that were touted online (i.e., mid-century modern is the ONLY way to go, no popcorn ceilings, concrete floors are desirable, paint everything white, etc.) and ended up being unhappy and uncomfortable. I am interested in design and usually have strong opinions (I use your "what don't I want" technique) but when I stare at the empty apartment I just can't decide. And I must be a mutant because although I am an artist, those inspiration boards and scrap books do nothing for me."

I'm going to give you a pretty simple answer. FYI, I look at home design very similar to the way I build my wardrobe. Never let trends dictate your taste. You should never 'buy into' anything. And never listen to someone who says that 'this' is the ONLY way to go.

No matter what you do, people will question it and/or have some opinion about it (have you seen some of the comments on my Apartment Therapy House Tours) but really, who cares? Learn to trust your eye and identify what you like. There is an infinite amount of things in the world, so your home should be a filled with a collection of YOUR favorite things.

The easiest way to design a space is to look at how you want to function in it. What do you have to store, and what do you want to do in your space; entertain, watch tv, play video games, read, do crafts, paint, exercise, cook. Look at your space through your desired lifestyle (how you want to live in it).

It's ok that an inspiration board doesn't work for you, nothing works for everyone. The question is, as an artist what is your creative process? And let me know if this helps!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Living Better with Less... Money for Flowers

I love using branches for decoration with and/or instead of flowers. They look great and last a lot longer. I cut these from a tree outside my window :)