Thursday, December 31, 2009

Better Late Than Never

These are so long overdue it is embarrassing but here are some pictures of our apartment! They were taken at night and are admittedly poor quality so don't judge them too harshly!

This is our living room. Please note the TV is still on the floor. It will probably stay there.

A close- up of the mantle! This is before we decorated it for Christmas and then it caught on fire when our new Christmas candle got a little too....enthusiastic.

Our orange couch. I am always on a quest to find pillows but I haven't found the perfect set yet. The bench was supposed to stay in the kitchen but somehow it has found a permanent resting place as our 'coffee table'.  We still need a shallow shelf above the couch because the photos are too high. It bothers me every day.

This is our make-shift hallway table. It is missing several key components: a tray for keys, a mail organizer and an umbrella stand. I have also had 'paint the mirror' on my to-do list for the past 6 months.

This vase is made of paper! Cool!

This is our little tea shelf in the kitchen. Normally it also holds my brand-new tea cup as well but I guess I must've been using it when I took this.

That's it for now! More pictures of the kitchen and the bedrooms (well, only mine) to come!

Photos Courtesy of: Mia G for w*ink!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When life hands me lemons...

...I complain like hell, cry a little, and then order Indian food.

Monday morning I woke up in a great mood. It's my favorite time of year, this is a short work week, I get presents on Friday- how wonderful! Plus, Mariah Carey's Christmas Album was in my head. Score!

Hanna was not so happy. She had been up since 4am when our kitchen ceiling started leaking right outside her bedroom door. Though I called our landlord immediately, she failed to show up that day because she'd gone to a different apartment and, seeing no leak, left the building! I came home that night to find that the leak had caused the ceiling to collapse. There was a thick paste of plaster, dust, and rusty water all over the floor. I called my landlord again in a fit of rage and demanded that she come the next day.

By Tuesday morning, our floor had flooded and we now had 6 buckets quickly filling with dirty water. Our frigid apartment became truly freezing with the cold gusts of air that came in through the hole in the ceiling. Our landlord finally came to assess the situation. When Hanna arrived home that night, she found an even bigger hole- actually a 3x5 square- cut out of our ceiling, a pipe hanging down with one of our dishtowels used as a plug, sheet rock blocking our door, dust all over the kitchen, a giant dirty ladder in our kitchen and...a toilet that didn't work. Our landlord assured us it would all be fixed AFTER THE HOLIDAY.

Deep Breaths.

Hanna yelled. I cried. I yelled. Hanna cried. Lola got scared of the kitchen and hid under my bed.

Last night we bundled up in multiple layers, tried to ignore the party in the apartment above us even though the hole in our ceiling provided so little insulation it felt like we were hosting it ourselves, tried to clean and pack for the holidays and consoled ourselves with Indian food.

This morning I called our landlord again and demanded that someone come and complete all repairs before the end of the work day and she agreed to have someone there by 10:30am.

I am lucky enough to be heading home to CT after work today but poor Hanna must pick up her BF from the airport and then go home and face the prospect of yet another night of freezing temperatures and the threat of scary critters coming down from the ceiling.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that everything is good as new tonight, ok?

This has officially been the longest week ever and it is only Wednesday.

Old photo of Lola 'Loly' Die Katzen Courtesy of:   Hanna

UPDATE 12/31/09:   Here are some pictures of what our ceiling looked like so you all know the severity of our problem! Luckily, the ceiling was repaired by the time Hanna arrived home on Wednesday night- it was re-plastered but not repainted. Guess I'll take what I can get!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


If I did continue making plans for the apartment, I would probably *swoon* over this rug and how it would look in our entryway.

Image: 2Modern

I tried!

I haven't been too inspired lately, especially when it comes to decorating our apartment. There are several reasons:  I've been busy at work, I've been focusing a lot of attention to making elaborate hand-made gifts for my friends and I haven't had the money to buy some of the larger pieces the place needs like a TV stand and a table for the kitchen.

I think it's also time to admit that my enthusiasm has waned over the last few months because Hanna announced that she will be moving out when our lease is up in April. We put a lot of plans on hold due to financial constraints while Hanna settled in and now it feels pointless to invest so much time and energy and money in a place we might both vacate in three months time. Of course, there is the chance I will stay and find another roommate and that's why I probably shouldn't give up. I just don't feel as excited anymore. I feel like I made so many plans and then never got to bring them to fruition. As a result, our apartment still feels unfinished.  Tear.

One thing I can do while I figure things out is focus on my bedroom because I own everything and will take it with me no matter where I go. This headboard, for example, is enough to occupy my mind grapes for quite some time. It's easy to make on my own, the materials are inexpensive and it goes with everything. Best of all, I could attach it to my current bed frame so I don't have to buy a new bed!

Image: Design Esquire via AT: NY

Friday, November 20, 2009

Then I will REALLY watch too much TV...

Guys. Time for a poll:

Since my TV currently resides on the floor in front of the fireplace, should I buy the virtual flame dvd?

a) Woot!
b) Meh.
c) Eye-roll.

Please place your vote in the comments below.

Image: Rita Konig for The Moment

Monday, November 9, 2009

Generosity and whatnot.

It's a good thing I've created our new Gift Guide because there are a lot of things I want!  Ummmmm, I mean I want to give to others!

Take this pillow for example- it's simple yet fabulous and would look wonderful on my orange couch.

Also on other couches though.

Image: Pony Rider via Ill Seen, Ill Said


It's been a while (a whole two months) since I fell in love with a wallpaper but it's that time again so here goes....

I love it! I want to wallpaper a dressing room! It would make my skin glow! I would feel so glamorous! I would wear silk slippers! And a dressing gown! I could have amber-scented candles! And exotic flowers!

What's with me and gold today??

I blame {this is glamorous}

Image: Osborne & Little via {this is glamorous}


We had a very productive weekend in our apartment- we were finally able to install a new pendant lamp in the kitchen and we now have two new bookcases in the living room. As a result our apartment is suddenly flooded with (artificial) light AND my bedroom is less cluttered without giant stacks of books under my desk and lining the walls. Progress!!

This cozy corner, courtesy of Blafre Designs, is so sweet and girlish that I don't even mind that it's clearly a child's room. In fact, it's reminiscent of my own living room! (minus the child-size bed, of course) Our walls are a similar purple grey color and we scored a cute three-tiered faux chandelier on super sale from Urban Outfitters that is currently hanging in our front window. It does make me wish I had more white in the room because between the dark wood floors, bookshelves, tables and chairs, we have a lot of brown going on! I'm beginning to re-think my plans for some bright slipcovers for our armchair in favor lighter, more neutral tones.

Still working on the rug.....

Image: Blafre Designs via marion hearts

Things I Should Own....

Aaaaah I need more gold sequins in my life!!

Image: Vogue Paris via {this is glamorous}

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We call the hot one Kyle.

When I first moved to NY, I lived on the Upper West Side in a charming apartment with Helen. We like to refer to the place as 'Potato Chip Island' for reasons I will not explain here but if you get the reference, we can be best friends forever.

Potato Chip Island was a magical place. We didn't put a ton of thought into our design scheme- everything just fell into place since we both like lots of color. Our only decor-related project was a series of silhouettes we made one afternoon and then ingeniously pasted to the wall of our living room. It is the only wall decal that I have found acceptable in recent years and that's mostly because we made them ourselves.

The problem with decals is they usually look so cheap and easy. I saw some cherry blossom stickers recently at Ikea and threw up in my mouth. (Sorry Ikea, I usually love you) I am willing to make one exception to my decal hateration: These headboard decals by Blik:

They come in a variety of kicky colors and styles but this basic 'iron' frame is my favorite. Sure, they border on college dorm chic but I don't care. I think they'd look awesome in a guest bedroom or in the kind of apartment where you wind up using milk crates as nightstands and somehow they look cool and sort of industrial in a non-hipster way.

Images: Helen Rosner and Blik

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And also the coffee table.

This room is totally nutburgers but I *love* it.

Things I J'adore:
1) Stripped rug
2) Layering rugs
3) Distressed bust
4) Crystal chandelier
5) Crazy patterned chair/pillow combination
6) Ikea floor lamp
7) Giant stack of books in the corner
8) Massive ceramic head adorning the coffee table books

Things I J'hate:
1) The antlers and zebra print rug. They creep me out.

Image: AT: SF

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Best. Present. Ever.

Last night I received the best surprise from Hanna: The prettiest Le Creuset tea kettle in the world!

Let the hunt for pretty tea cups begin!

Image: Le Creuset

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is there a 12-step program for decorating?

My name is Mia and I have a problem: I am a procrastinator. Big time. I have so many plans, make so many lists and spend hours talking and thinking and writing about what I will do in our apartment but when it actually comes to doing it, well, I don't.

There are many reasons. Sometimes it comes down to funding, sometimes I run out of time, sometimes I'm just plain lazy. But there are other times when I simply have too many ideas for one specific space and I cannot decide on any one project. Take my bedroom wall for example. This is the longest uninterrupted wall in my room and it has no interesting furniture to showcase since my bed is pushed up against it and there is also chair in the corner that is usually supporting a giant pile of clothes that have yet to make it back into my closet (further evidence of procrastination). Here is a small sampling of ideas I have had for that wall over the last few months:

*Create fake stripes with colored masking tape
*Blow up and then frame a giant children's map of paris
*Hang a gallery of postcards and other small prints
*Paint a mural
*Spray paint neon doilies in the corners and then peel them off so just their outlines remain
*Install a long rail near the ceiling and then decorate with curtains so it looks like wallpaper
*Buy removable wallpaper
*Decide on a color and just paint the damn thing
*Make a collage using masking tape or push pins
*Hang up the stuff I have from my old apartment simply because I already own it and like it and it must go somewhere

How am I supposed to decide??? The fact of the matter is, I have to do something soon because a) it is driving me nuts and b) if I don't, it will stay empty until I move out and will become a giant source of shame and embarrassment.

I am thinking I might just put all options in a hat and then do whichever idea Hanna chooses. 

Then there's the rest of my apartment. We have bookshelves to buy, decorative shelves to hang, furniture to reupholster. My lists go on and on and I feel overwhelmed and anxious to feel more settled.  What's a girl to do? Should I put more effort into prioritizing and start checking off projects one by one? Should I set a deadline for the entire apartment? Tackle one room at a time?

Or do I simply need to be patient and assume that one day the place will magically come together even if that 'one day' is the week before we move out?

Image: Mary Kate McDevitt

Monday, September 21, 2009

A garden I could work with.

If I had a million dollars, this rug would be at the top of my list.

Image: Anthropologie


Ah Ikea. Even though you exhaust me, I still find delight in every excursion. This weekend Hanna and I braved the crowds at Ikea (a feat considering they are now offering their famous meatball lunch for a mere $.99!). After much discussion, several negotiations and one minor meltdown, we left with over a dozen picture frames for various parts of our apartment.* Most of them will be in Hanna's bedroom but several will wind up in the kitchen, giving that room a much-needed face-lift. The question is now what to put in them and where to put them?

We have a plan for the dark corner where our table currently resides: we will hang a white shelf I inherited from my parents' guest bedroom and then we will store all our tea tins and tea cups on it. Perhaps a few colorful tea towels as well. The other wall in that corner is still completely empty and I have been considering the idea of creating a gallery to bring some personality into the room.
I have always loved the idea of hanging a gallery of photos. My sophmore year of college, I covered one wall with 49 photos of old Hollywood movie stars in sheet protectors linked with paperclips. I had a lot of time on my hands. Unfortunately, the 49 pairs of eyes staring at me began to creep me out and I tore it down in a drunken rage one night. When I moved into the city, I began to collect postcards, photos, paper scraps and ribbons to frame and display in groups on my bedroom walls. Perhaps these two examples would be a logical next step. They look more organized, sleek and stylish. Plus, I would have an excuse to start a whole new collection! I also like how much space they take up. It's hard to know how to treat those long, uninterrupted walls! Our small kitchen wall wouldn't be such a huge undertaking, but it would be a challenge to decide on an appropriate theme. I'm thinking nothing involving eating or food or kitchens.


Images: AT: SF and Design*Sponge

*We also brought home a box of Princess Cakes = THE most delicious dessert you have ever had. Buy them. Eat them. Crave them. Repeat.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Double the Fun

Jenny from little green notebook and Pearl Sreet Interiors recently unveiled a to-die-for makeover of her daughter's bedroom. Bright florals, subtle chinoiserie and shades of retro reds and turquoises all make this cheerful room the perfect transition space from little girl to little lady.

I love that the room features coordinated florals but manages to avoid looking to matchy. The fabric on the headboards is so wonderful that I am inspired to track down a similar print for our living room armchair and I would love to copy her idea of continuing the print in the fabic throughout the room by transforming it into wall art.

Is it weird that I am sort of in love with the twin bed set up? Once you are out of college, it's pretty safe to say that most people graduate to full+ beds. Yet I love the idea of setting up a guest bedroom with two twin beds. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if we magically had some extra twin beds lying around or frequent younger guests. 

Images: little green notebook via oh happy day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is Brown the new Grey???

I am loving food writer Laura Santtini's attic apartment in London! The large scale of the rooms and furniture bring a certain old-school elegance to the space but touches of color and off-beat accessories add a touch of whimsy. I adore the mix of furniture styles and finishes and the different textures throughout each room. I don't know if it is the season or what but I am really into chocolate brown walls lately! They look so warm and inviting and effortlessly stylish.

Check out the full spread over at Living Etc and you too can drool over the different styles of each room!
PS. LOVE LOVE LOVE the white subway tile in the kitchen. It is infinitely nicer than the ugly peach painted trees in our kitchen! Sigh.

Images: Living Etc via AT: LA

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous.

Charming Wallpaper? Check.
Perfectly coordinated accent moulding? Check.
Adorable ligh fixtures? Check.
Ooodles of candy and goodies?  Check.

In short, Heaven.

Miette Confiserie in San Francisco. I love it.

Images: YumSugar via AT: SF

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's old is new again.

Doilies bring to mind fussy, floral furniture, porcelain figurines and the smell of potpourri. I used to see them arranged on tabletops and think they were more geriatric than genteel. In the golden era of my youth, when I was obsessed with my Samantha doll, Anne of Green Gables and petit fours, I might have figured out a way to incorporate them into my over-the-top style but ever since, I have been all about lacquer and lucite and jewel tones- none of which go very well with cream-colored lace.

Lately, I've had the strangest taste. I suddenly gravitate toward touches of gothic glamour and neon accents. When I found a packet of doilies at the dollar store a few weeks ago, I had the strongest urge to tape them all over my bedroom wall and then go crazy with some hot pink spray paint. This could still happen.

Am I having an identity crisis???

Perhaps I should tone it down a little with this ladylike rug from Anthropologie. It would match our walls and bring out the deep mahogany shades in our floors. I also like the scalloped edges, which would soften the sharp angles of our mantle, couch and (eventually) coffee table.

Don't tell my Nana though- I swore to her I would never have a doily in my house!

Image: Anthropologie via Oh Joy!

a new kind of camoflage.

Do you ever get annoyed when a door breaks up a perfectly good wall? I do. sometimes I just want to cover the long wall of our living room in a big, bold wallpaper but then my bedroom door takes up the last third of the wall and I can't bear to deal with the logistics of wallpapering around the door.

Hernan found an ingenious way to avoid this problem by covering the doors as well! This wall takes on a a less industrial look when the four doors are disguised with the bold tree-themed wallpaper. I love how the vertical lines of the trees echo the lines of the doors themselves and the simple color palette complements the style of the room, pulling the kitchen and living area together.

Image: Mompita via AT: LA

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

collage days

I love collages. I love how complicated they look. I love how easy they are to make. I love the instant texture, pattern and depth they add to a room. When I was in London, I covered one wall of my bedroom with a large collage of ticket stubs, postcards and random pictures of Cate Blanchett as a Russian ballerina in The Man Who Cried. (skip it.)

There's something sorta bad-ass about collage, don't you think?

I do.

Lately I've been thinking my bedroom is awfully boring. Granted, I still don't have curtains, there are crates of books taking over my desk area and I've placed wall art on only one wall. Nevertheless, I need something to balance out the girlishness of my room. Something darker. Something edgier. Something dramatic. I *was* thinking a crystal skull but perhaps a collage will do instead!

Images: The Benevolent Postcard Society and Apartment Therapy via Dress, Design & Decor


Photo Courtesy of: Variety

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tea parties every day??? Yes Please!

A few months ago I spent about three hours trying to put together a seemingly simply desk organizer from Ikea. It caused a lot of tension in my apartment. I laughed. I cried. I bled. I got bitter and resentful when Hanna suggested that I might need some help.

When I finally finished my project I picked up the drawers and discovered, to my dismay, that our dining room table had a bunch of small nail indentations in it. Apparently in my zeal to put it together I neglected to put down paper or cardboard to work on. Now our table is pock-marked and it is all my fault.

At the moment, we have it covered up by some adorable vinyl place mats that look like neon doilies. (I found them at Flirt in Park Slope along with a bunch of throw pillows that will probably make an appearance in my living room very soon.) They don't cover the whole table though and I'm thinking that I might spice things up with a sassy table cloth every now and then. Over at Design*Sponge, Kate Pruitt is featuring an easy DIY tablecloth with iron-on transfers and the result is absolutely BANANAS.

Check it out!

Image: Design*Sponge

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate: Not just for eating

Even though I rarely cook, I'm a sucker for a cute well-organized kitchen. I love exposed shelves and pretty dishes on display. I adore all the canisters and vases and containers involved in storing utensils and dry goods and finding an appropriate space for cookbooks and take-out menus. I could go on and on...

What I REALLY like are spaces that look really clean and efficient without sacrificing style and beauty.

This kitchen, featured on Apartment Therapy's sister site The Kitchn, is exactly what I am looking for- simple lines, crisp colors and very organized yet still comfortable and homey. I always forget how warm a deep chocolate brown looks; it's lovely against the cool white subway tiles. I am also loving the artwork, it really elevates the space and I guessing it also helps tie in the rest of the room.

We really need to work on our kitchen. It will never be as chic as this one since we are still cursed with the painted tiles (peach colored trees?? really??) and lack of adequate storage space. However, we have a ton of wall space and room to be creative with furniture and shelves and seating. We recently hung up a spectacular chalk board for displaying menus and recipes and random crude quotes but I'm thinking of painting for wallpapering one of the longer walls to bring some spice to the room as well.

Image: The Kitchn

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Jocelyn Warner!

Ten years after her initial debut, wallpaper extraordinaire Jocelyn Warner is returning to London's 100% Design fair this September and I am delighted to see her three new designs! A delicate, modern take on traditional floral prints, Warner's botanical motifs are wildly elegant, charming and original. Her Leaf and Peony designs have quickly made their way onto my favorites list and will likely be joined by her new Fern design.
As usual, all designs will be available in a variety of colourways that will make any room feel enchanting and stylish. I'm thinking the Fern in 'Chalk' would be particularly wonderful in my living room or, better yet, used in our kitchen to create a swank transition between the two rooms.

If you live in London, be sure to check out their booth at 100% Design! If you don't, visit their website where you can also find her swoon-worthy lampshades (Treetops is gorgeous!) and the rug to end all rugs, Bloom!

Photos Courtesy of: Jocelyn Warner

Friday, August 21, 2009


Am I watching too much Six Feet Under and Dexter? Listening to too much punk? Perhaps it's my infatuation with crystal skulls*... I am getting pretty morbid in my decor tastes! Nevertheless, I love this living room. It's rock and roll with a mix of unisex-cool. It makes me want to wear plaid and CK1.

***Love the shelves
****Love the black fireplace
******Love the round couch
****Love the giant skull and corresponding book-jacket nearby
***Hate the antlers!

Ps. Even though I hate Damien Hirst, if anyone ever bought me a crystal skull, I would love them forever. Hint, hint...

Image: Living Etc

Vogue Living

Anna Spiro, the genius behind the fantastically feminine blog Absolutely Beautiful Things, was featured in Vogue Living recently and I am drooling- literally salivating all over my desk. The wallpaper! The chandelier! The crazy baroque mirror! The bright white light! She has a brilliant eye for bold colors ( I adore her use of pink and red, natch.) (wait, did I just say 'natch'? Yes. Yes, I did.)

Check out the September/October issue of Australian Vogue Living here.


Hanna and I have a problem. Well actually, I have a problem. Hanna doesn't care so much. She's not nearly as neurotic as I am.

Our dvds are taking over our living room.

Ok, that's an exaggeration.

Most of our dvds are currently stacked in a semi-neat pile that is almost as tall as I am. Then there is a smaller stack against the bookshelf. There are more in a garment box under the side chair. A bunch of others are on my desk. There might also a pile leaning against the closet on top of a shoebox full of feathers.

What's a girl to do?

I hate the way dvds look. They take up a lot of space. They aren't aesthetically pleasing to me. They are hard to organize by color. Nicole over at Making it Lovely chronicled their dvd plight and came up with a simple solution: they hid them.

I like this.

Too bad we don't have room to devote whole cabinets to our growing DVD collection. That would be heavenly. So far here are my ideas:

1) Buy colorful boxes and store the dvds on the bottom shelf of both bookshelves so they look need and symmetrical and best of all: they will be hidden.
2) Give up and make space on our bookshelves.
3) Buy a tv stand with room to store or shelve the dvds to keep all our viewing pleasure in one place.
4) Thow away all the boxes and keep just the discs themselves organized by genre in pretty binders.

Thoughts????? Suggestions????? Words of Wisdom?????

Image: I Suwannee

Monday, August 17, 2009

The early bird...

Well it's August and you know what that means: time to start planning my birthday party!!

I know. My birthday isn't until November. I have plenty of time. But that doesn't mean I can't fantasize about the perfect party to commemorate turning.... ummmm oh crap. I forgot about the depressing aspects of birthdays...


There is nothing I love more than gathering all my friends together to drink, eat and discuss important world events (Rob and Kristin: together or just co-stars? Will Robert Downey Jr. be a good Lestat? Can the adorable Kristin Bell save the mess that is When in Rome?). And what better excuse for fun centerpieces and decadent decorations than a birthday party!?!?! 

I'm not sure where I would ever be able to pull this look off, but I love this long and low table featured on AT: LA today. Sitting on the floor gets a bit uncomfortable after a while but you could get the same look by making inexpensive napkins out of mismatching fabric scraps. 

My only question is how to fit a pinata into the mix...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guest Post: Book Obsession

So it's been a busy summer at the library and I haven't had much time to develop new obsessions, let alone post about them, but now things are calming down, which makes A Year of Mornings:3,191 Miles Apart the ideal obsession of the moment. Based on the visual blog of 2 women living on opposite coasts of America, this book shows a year of documented, beautifully composed, startlingly serendipitous moments of peace and serenity. I pour over this book and feel instantly calmer. Imagine how excited I was to visit the original blog and discover that soon they will be releasing a follow-up volume, Evenings.

Check out their gorgeous work!

-Mia C

Images: Maria Alexandra Vettese & Stephanie Congdon Barnes