Living in New York has made me obsessed with space-savers. If every piece of furniture I owned was like a mini-Transformer and turned into something else useful, or disappeared into the floor at the push of a button, I would be a happy girl. This is probably why I am so jazzed over the concept of Murphy beds and Murphy tables/desks. (FYI, Resource Furniture is a great place to start if you’re in the market for this kind of thing.)
On one hand, they’ve still got a cool wow-factor, like you’re living in the apartment of a super-swinging bachelor, and on the other hand, they’re just extremely practical. Apparently they’re having a moment right now, because I saw a great Murphy dining table in this month’s issue of Dwell, and then I spotted this clever fold-away craft table from Bubblewrapp’d.
Not only is this cute little table not taking up any extra space, but when it’s folded into the wall, it’s got an inspirational saying on it with vinyl lettering! So, literally, it’s a piece of art that you can use to help you create more art. Genius!
Interior designer Doug Meyer papered the walls in his NYC rental apartment — literally. As in, he and his brother/design partner Gene installed 2,398 sheets of 8½-by-11-inch paper everywhere for a dreamy, if dizzying, effect.
Photo: Floto + Warner
I especially admire this print-motif in the bedroom, which Gene explains was their twist on wallpaper dating from the 1400s. That early wallpaper was comprised of small squares of paper that had been printed with wood blocks, but even if Warhols existed back then, I kind of doubt anyone would have thought to add one to such a rainbow riot. It’s like Marilyn is starring in a new movie here: Some Like It Colorful. You have to see the rest of the wild “wallpaper” in Meyer’s apartment on New York Magazine‘s site. I swear, you’ll never look at your kids’ construction paper the same way again!
Decking out your first apartment or dorm room—albeit in college or after graduation—is one part thrilling and all parts stressballish. While making something totally your own is one of the biggest joys in life, trying to fill a space stylishly and functionally on a ramen-noodles-and-tap-water budget can quickly take all the fun out of it. Hell, I’m living proof; my first apartment sure was purdy but since I spent every penny on making it look cool, all I could afford to do is eat in it and stare at the walls. Saltines topped with free packets of mustard scored from Burger King to be exact.
|The same goes for a teency-weency dorm room; filling a space functionally and decoratively costs a pretty penny and tons of not-so-pretty sweat equity. If it’s your first time at the rodeo of MyFirstPlaces, you’ll quickly notice how quick a run for Windex, a lampshade and new pillowcases results in a receipt with a $230 total. With students shelling out $165 for a single textbook and recent graduates dropping $400 for a decent interview outfit, the money pit gets deeper and deeper; saving is a must. Sure, we all know about the magical wonders of flea markets in reference to keeping things original and on budget; however, there are some less-known tricks out there which may make putting that first place together a bit easier. For example: How do you dress up concrete walls? How do you use 100 square feet of living space as a bedroom, living room and media area? What alternatives are there for people who love wallpaper and paint but can’t change their walls? Lucky for you, I’m out of college eight years now and have some my-first-apartment-life-experience to share with you. Unfortunately, the ramen noodle eating still goes on for a few years—but hey—there’s no reason your place shouldn’t look great while you scarf those noodles down!
Vinyl decals, have they been done to death? Yes, oh heavens yes. (So have posters tacked to walls with balls of putty. Save yourself with my post on buying art online.) Vinyl decals are an absolutely brilliant solution to dressing up a temporary space, especially those where painting is prohibited and color choices are dictated by an establishment. The key is staying away from the ones everybody’s seen two-hundred times: chandeliers, the Keep Calm And Carry On thing, and last but not least, overscale damask. SNORE. Decals like this robot from blik are fun and graphic; certain styles made for kid’s rooms are still cool enough for young adults. No DIY skills? No problem. All you need to put these babies up is a burnisher and a steady hand.
I read this article on Sunday in the Telegraph, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
For 70 years, a Parisian flat was uninhabited, the rent faithfully paid. The owner, who moved to the South of France before World War II and never returned, died recently at age 91. When her estate managers opened the apartment, one said, “Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris’ 9th arrondissement was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900.”
The find that’s being touted in the news is the romantic Boldini painting of the owner’s actress grandmother, which sold at auction for 2.1 million pounds.
But I have to wonder…am I the only one who’d rather have the flat? I mean, look at it:
The whole story: Parisian flat containing €2.1 million painting lay untouched for 70 years
This week’s Style Jolt is inspired by my current apartment dilemma: the long, narrow living room. My main living area desperately needs privacy from the office space. Any one of these gorgeous room dividers could solve the problem. (I especially love the idea of bookcase dividers to showcase my constantly growing book collection.)
Both images from The Digital Panda
Sex and the City 2 hits screens this Thursday, May 27th, and it’s time to catch up with our favorite four girls, New York City, beautiful clothes and as always, the incredible shoes. Of course, we’re also dying to see the set design, so we snagged a sneak peek of Carrie and Big’s new apartment.
After two years of searching all over Manhattan, I bought a home! I’m so tangled in the red tape that I haven’t had time to think about actually LIVING there. It’s an old department store that was converted into a co-op: 800 square feet with 17-foot brick barrel ceilings. The previous owner drywalled the brick ceilings and walls and painted them an awful red faux finish. There’s an ugly staircase and salmon colored marble on every surface in the kitchen.
I thought living in my new space sans aesthetic improvements would be okay for the time being but now that I’m about to move in, I’ve had a change of heart. So I’ve prioritized: 2 cheap changes with a big impact.
First: The faux finish will be covered in a clean white paint to brighten and modernize the space. My second improvement is will surprise you…I want a swing. It’ll remind me not to take this so seriously. I’ve been consumed by the stress of buying, so the swing serves as a reminder that even though this new home is a huge responsibility, it’s first and foremost, HOME. So, What kind of swing do I choose?
This swing was on Apartment Therapy:
It reminds me of the swing we had at summer camp overlooking the lake.
How about this one? It reminds me of my backyard swing from my childhood home:
Ahhh, the Bubble Chair. A pricey modern classic. I love how it doesnt block the view:
The wicker hanging chair is a common option. It comes in many shapes and styles:
I love that these chairs look like they were made out of twigs and rope:
Which hanging chair do you think I should go with or are you totally opposed to my hanging chair idea all together?
Preparing for parenthood seems like a daunting task. I’m not a parent yet, so I can only speculate, but I’ve seen kids and I know people with kids. And I feel for hopeful new parents-to-be, with all the questions that must come along. Do we have what it takes to raise a healthy, happy little person who will someday contribute meaningfully to society? What’s a great name that won’t come back to haunt us 15 years from now? Will we surrender to the chicken nuggets-for-dinner-every-night debate? But in urban areas another more pressing question comes up quickly: where will we put this new little friend? Such is the topic in the House & Home section of today’s New York Times. Case in point:
For four years [Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan and husband Maxwell] shared a 265-square-foot, one-bedroom rental on Bedford Street in the West Village, an apartment so preposterously miniature it could fit neatly inside the foyer of many apartments uptown. They made it work for the two of them in part by jettisoning clothes, a television and a home office. “It never felt too small,” said Ms. Gillingham-Ryan, 31, a food writer. “It helps to keep your life well edited.”
No amount of editing, it seemed, would create enough room for a baby. But after looking at more than a dozen apartments, and weighing the benefits of more square footage against the burden of debt, they decided to stay on Bedford Street, where they pay $780 a month for rent. And they would renovate to accomplish the seemingly impossible: accommodate a baby.
So is this conundrum limited to downtown walk-ups or is making room for baby getting trickier in general? Or is the transition to parenthood easier in other areas of the country? (And I do mean from a decorating perspective only.) Let’s hear it.
In the meantime:
Before-and-Afters: Nursery Makeovers (HGTV)
Comparison Shop for Nursery Furniture and Accessories (Shopzilla)