It's a chilly, windy Friday in New York City today and I'm feeling a little under the weather. It's one of those days when I would have gladly chopped off my right arm in exchange for a day spent in bed with a hot mug of tea and It Happened One Night. Often when I am drinking tea at home I like to use my favorite tea cup and saucer which was a gift and just feels fancier and more decadent than my pink 'I heart Lipgloss' mug. Grace over at Design*Sponge featured this reusable mug earlier today and it feels like a happy medium. Plus, it's more fashionable than the chrome version I travel with in the morning.
Can you tell I've become a little kitchen-obsessed? Sorry. I'll probably be on to bathrooms or hallways in about five minutes. I saw Ellie Somerville's kitchen in Lonny a few months ago and it's been stuck in the back of my mind ever since. I adore how simple yet glamorous her kitchen is and though you can't see much of the actual 'kitchen' part, I have a feeling it boasts some seriously cool accessories. What I love about it is that it looks like an actual room and not just the utilitarian walkway that mine is currently. The wallpaper is adhered with renter-friendly double sided tape and the bar is actually a nightstand from Ikea. I've seen it in the store before and never really cared for it but I am loving it in this room!
One last note: I wish my floors were that clean and smooth! No sharp nails sticking out or crooked floorboards, how fancy!
Check out the June/July 2010 issue online to see the rest of Somerville's cheerful apartment here in the city!
My kitchen is woefully under-accessorized. I don't know how I've let that happen. I guess it's because I spend so little time in it. It's mostly like a hallway between my living room and bathroom. It's where I store my liquor and cereal. It's where I keep my mail. It is not where I spend hours slaving over the stove or lovingly preparing meals for my nearest and dearest. In fact, I think my nearest and dearest would probably freak out if I told them I was going to cook for them. They'd think I was trying to poison them. Which I would never do. Duh.
I don't have pretty salt & pepper shakers or a fancy butter dish or even a coveted teapot. Although I do have a pretty awesome teakettle. Here are some finds from Anthropologie (and one from Jonathan Adler) that I've been salivating over for the last ten minutes:
Everybody knows I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with bookshelves. This dates all the way back to..well I don't actually know. But I'm sure I was very young and it was probably very amusing.
We currently have two tall bookshelves in our living room and in my bedroom I have a pile on my nightstand (not for decorative effect) as well as on my desk and lining both windowsills. It's probably time to get rid of some of this clutter. Lately I have been considering hanging wall-shelves above my desk and these fun shelves from Fusca Design are much better than the boring Ikea ones I had in mind. Aren't they awesome? Shouldn't I own them?
Now girls. I am perfectly capable of suspending my disbelief on so many levels when it comes to Gossip Girl. Chuck working in a French bisto? Yeah right, but okay if it means he will keep dressing like an extra from Les Miserables. Georgina's fake DNA test? Fine. Just get her crazy ass outta there! Don't even get me started on the whole 'Gossip Girl Applies to College' debacle of 2008.
But I draw the line when it comes to interiors.
Blair supposedly hired a decorator (who worked with Dorota) to transform a room connected to Blair's room that we have never seen before into a sand-colored, faux-glamorous lair for Serena. I suspect they used her hair color as inspiration. At first I was distracted by the absurd butterfly decal that looks as if it is missing a mirror in the middle but then I realized: Serena has no bedside tables?!?! Oh hell no! I do NOT buy that!
You're telling me, Mr. Set Decorator, that Serena doesn't need somewhere to place her La Mer nightcream or whatever? No tray full of costume jewelry? No ludicrously expensive floral arrangements to scent her sheets? I mean, obviously she won't need a pile of books on it unless they are purely for show and I won't point out all the naughty things she would realistically keep in there but how hard is it to give the room more furniture than a bed and a bench to throw a blanket on! Come on people! I expect more from you! You are the people that gave us Blair's delightful Marie-Antoinette-inspired room back in 2007! Did you waste all your time on the Van der Woodsen/Humphrey penthouse suite? Did the huge Prada sign zap all your creativity and common sense?
Not cool, designers. Not cool.
Please invite me to the set and I would be glad to set things straight in exchange for some of Blair's clothes.
It is not fair that this chair exists in the world I don't own it. I would like to buy an apartment, paint the walls black and the trim white and then put this chair in the room and sit in it for the rest of my life.
Dessert of the Week is back! Mainly, because it will be nice to be able to store a few recipes on this sucker. I adore muffins. I would eat them everyday if they didn't lead to actual muffin top* and all sorts of arterial distress. ( I mean really, who can eat a blueberry muffin without first slathering it in butter?) The problem with muffins is that it is actually hard to find a good muffin in my life. Everywhere I go, they are usually too dry, too bland or too buttery. I just want one that is just right! Apparently, I am the Goldilocks of muffintown. Wait a minute, that sounds dirty. Whatever.
I think the logical answer is to suck it up and make my own. This recipe, featured on Saveur, sounds delicious and not that difficult to make. And I do so like Concord Grapes! Perhaps if I baked them over the weekend I could eat them all week for breakfast. That is, unless I go nuts and eat them all in two days which is far more likely.
It was exceptionally difficult to drag myself out of bed this morning. My four hours of sleep weren't enough to convince me to put on a work-appropriate outfit or motivate me to open the fridge to grab breakfast. As a result, I am short skirted and full of donuts. Even on the worst days, I am usually pretty awake by the time I leave my apartment. Not so this morning! I was so tired I somehow managed to slip on a pile of sugar someone had spilled on the stairs. Not cool neighbhoors, not cool! No matter how nice I try to make our apartment, there is still always random garbage in the hallway or the smell of smoke escaping people's doors. Ah, the joys of living in a city.
I wish the stairs in our building looked more like this lovely staircase from Dan Ducha's portfolio. So cheerful and clean. I love how crisp the deep orange looks with the bright white. I've never been an orange fan, I find the boldness of it slightly offensive- even orange Starbursts bother me- but I am slowly coming around ever since I acquired my free orange couch. I think it's even growing on me. Suddenly I've found myself drawn more and more to orange and grey palettes and I keep finding orange accessories for other parts of my apartment. I probably wouldn't be so tired right now if I were confronted with this staircase everyday instead of ours, which is dirty and creaks a lot.
Come to think of it since no one seems to notice giant piles of baking supplies in our hallway, I bet I could totally paint our stairs any color I want and no one would care! Hot Damn!
When I first found my apartment, I had some serious doubts. There are no closets. The appliances are really old and the floors had some pretty noticeable nails sticking out. Also, the bathroom was (and still is) in serious need of new grout. However there was one feature of the apartment that was almost a deal-breaker for me: the back splash in the kitchen. I have documented my hatred of these tiles on several occasions but it finally caught up with me over the summer when I realized that I simply could not go another day looking at bathroom tiles in my kitchen.
What is a girl to do when she doesn't own the place and therefore cannot replace said tiles? She covers them up! I investigated several ideas. Victoria of sfgirlbybay had a wonderful idea that involved covering her back splash with a laminate and I'd seen several versions of Tile Tattoos that I liked but which sadly didn't fit the abnormal size of ours. I had just about given up when it dawned on me: I should make my own! Cue Amazon.com.
Five minutes and about $20 later, I was the soon-to-be owner of two dozen sheets of blue and white vinyl.
One extremely hot day this past August, I set to work. Now, I probably should have planned this more but a girl has her limits and I had reached mine. I half-measured a few sheets and started cutting and applying, doing my best to smooth out any air pockets along the way.
It turns out, vinyl isn't as clingy during a heat wave so they started falling down about five minutes after I applied them. I can't even begin to describe the miniature tantrum I threw. Hey, it was a really hot day.
After: Better! But still a work in progress...
Long story short, I wound up resorting to good old packing tape to keep it all up. It doesn't look as clean and neat nor as professional as I would like and you can still see a bit of the old tiles peaking out from the side of the fridge because I ran out of vinyl but overall, I'm pretty happy with the result. At least I don't have to look at boats and trees and ships while I heat up tomato soup anymore!
(This is hanging in my living room. Jealous? Yes. Yes, you are.)
I've been obsessing over the artwork in my apartment lately. I rearranged and swapped out some photos above the couch a few months ago but I feel dissatisfied with the scale of the wall. Scale is something I give a lot of thought to and one aspect of home decorating that I feel is usually overlooked or blatantly ignored. Nothing annoys me more than a tiny picture on a big wall. The thing about scale is you really have to have a feel for the space and a lot of times, the wall will call for something really big and I find that people, myself included, are hesitant to make such a bold statement with artwork. It's so much easier to use a bunch of smaller prints and frames so you can change them with the seasons or your mood. They always add a sense of abundance, which automatically makes your space look more sophisticated, even if the frames are like fifty cents each at Ikea.
Every bedroom I have lived in since I was 10 involved some type of gallery-style collage of random postcards, photographs, ticket stubs, ribbons and prints which were in matching frames. They usually took over an entire wall. My current configuration is a low key map of greenwich village noting all the french restaurants paired with some black and white photographs of Tina Fey dressed up as a playboy bunny and a mouseketeer. I know- strange- but it works.
Lately I have been thinking about landscapes. I've never been into them very much- probably because I don't really like The Nature. But I've been seeing them around on many a fashionable home design blog so maybe I should give them another chance. Maybe I am missing out on the opportunity to add some pastoral calm to my otherwise hectic urban existence. It might be a nice sense of contrast. Four years ago everyone I knew had some kind of cityscape on their walls, as if they couldn't just walk out their door and see it for real. In a very Carrie Bradshaw way, I can't help but wonder- are landscapes the new cityscapes?
There are two ways to translate this idea into something awesome and amazing:
1) Start a collection of vintage landscapes and fill an entire wall with them, like a bunch of little windows with views of fields and forests instead of the airshaft outside my building or the naked guy across the street.
2) Aquire photographs that actually look like real windows! This intrigues me. I begged my sister, who is a pretty good photographer, to make some for me but she said no. Jerk.
Friends, what are your thoughts on the matter? Do I need to ignore my miniature chair collection for a while and concentrate on miniature landscapes? Do I attack Etsy with a vengeance and bombard my roommate with nutburger decisions like: mountains vs. tundra? Or do I just calm myself down and do the resourceful, fiscally responsible thing and recycle some of my old artwork that is currently hiding underneath my bed?
Don't you just love this bedroom??? I love the mix of warm and cool tones and the playful sense of style at work here. The mismatching tables are still similarly shaped and the wall art manages to find a balance between more traditional framed prints and random unframed pieces. Speaking of frames, check out the awesome yellow bed frame! So cheerful and decidedly un-fussy without sacrificing sophistication. It encourages me to incorporate more turquoise and yellow into our living room- the wall color is almost an exact match of our own!
Now if only I could find that ridiculously cool lamp...
I hate good taste. It’s the worst thing that can happen to a creative person. – Helmut Newton
Things I like: flowers, stripes, sequins, glitter, bunnies, those weird pom-poms on all my grandmother's curtains, expensive candles, inexpensive candies, shelter magazines, TV, wallpaper, costumes, old-school socialites, proper etiquette, grapefruit, stationery, champagne, art museums, subway tile, lots of pillows and anything metallic.
Also I like interior design. A LOT. Since I tend to bore most of my friends with my opinions on everything from wallpaper to wall art, I'm posting them all here! Questions? Comments? Presents?