Monday, January 4, 2010

end of the year projects

Every year I manage to save enough vacation days to take off between Christmas and New Year's Day. It's my little present to myself and I never really do much of anything except luxuriate in not having to go to work for a week. I feel like I was more productive this year than before. No pictures yet, but here's a round-up of what I accomplished.

Living Room
* Hung the questionable Picasso on my gallery wall
My dad had this small painting/charcoal/type thing that he said someone said was a Picasso. There's no signature and no reason to believe the story, but I like it anyway.

* Bought and hung curtains
Before my staycation I had scoured the Internet for curtains, both for ideas and for the actual product. Do I want solid or print? Silk? Velvet? Cotton? All I knew for sure was that I wanted more than just blinds and roman shades probably weren't going to cut it either.

All of a sudden, this sworn enemy of panels was determined to buy some for her house. I was definitely leaning towards a print when I saw these indigo velvet numbers at Urban Outfitters. Oooooooooh.

I was all set to buy them when my sister suggested we go to Ikea. Looking online, I saw that they too had navy velvet curtains - for a heck of a lot less. And they were way longer, which is nice because I wanted to hang the curtains as far up the wall as possible. Done. Alison bought the same curtains in green for her living room. Yeah, we do that a lot.

But Ikea's curtain rod selection was lacking. Nothing wider than 80ish inches? Seriously? My windows aren't even especially large, just two regular sized windows next to each other, but I need something in the 90's to cover them both. So I had to wait to actually hang them. In the meantime, I draped them on the brackets leftover from the previous owners to make sure I liked the color. And yes, yes I do.

Saturday afternoon Target run. Yay! They have long curtain rods! Boo! The ones with crystal finials stop at the 80's.

Why? I know things like this are designed for a bedroom, but my bedroom windows are just as wide as those in my living room. And they would have coordinated with my coat hooks. Whatevs. The world isn't really out to get me so I moved on and bought ones with large doorknoby type finials. Of course I can't find them online, but they're kinda like these except silver and the finials are round, not square.

Last night I actually hung the curtains. The actual rod hangs about 1" below my crown molding so the fabric goes all the way up. I extended the finials to 12" beyond the edge of the window molding (which means the fabric goes about 9" beyond). I still need to play with them a bit and figure out how to make the extendable rods not move when I open and close the curtains, both just for convenience and because I need to be able to firmly tug the curtains so they expose as much of the window as possible. I can't really have the rods go any wider because then I'll end up too close to my back door. Overall though, I'm very happy with the way they look.

I may need something lighter in the summer, though the velvet would help keep them heat out like it's keeping the cold out now. Hmmmmm....

*new TV
Apparently my friends have been talking about my TV behind its back. It's a 20" tube TV, a present from an ex-boyfriend but only 4 or 5 years old. It's fine. I do watch a lot of TV and movies, but I don't have cable and whatever, it works. But when a group of friends got together with the plan to buy me a large housewarming present, their first thought was a new TV. Really? But mine works! I'd much rather have a new stove or a mattress or supa cool rug or something. Seems silly to get a new TV.

Until one of these friends bought herself a new TV. She had a 26" flat-screen TV that she always thought was fine until HER friends cajoled her into getting a new one. Her husband rejoiced and with his influence, they are now the proud owners of a gorgeous 42" flat-screen. And so I inherited her old TV, which really is heads and shoulders better than my old one. The picture is more clear, the sound is better. And it looks so much cooler. Big fan. Only problem is that it looks awful on the small dresser I have been using as a TV stand.

So I brought in the white 2-shelf bookcase from the kitchen. It's the right color and height, though not substantial enough to balance the TV. I do think I found the right multi-use stand. Need to mull it over for a little longer before I actually make the purchase.

I now have the dresser in the spot where that crappy cart was (and the cart is floating in the middle of the room). I would like to get a nice, long Parsons type table for that spot. Maybe put a couple of footstools underneath? But that's probably a ways off.

Okay, no real projects here, but I did get some cool stuff for Christmas! I love making cupcakes, but it's such a pain to transport them. And then for display, I use my beat-up plate stand with the barely-fitting blue glass plates and it's not that pretty anymore.

So I asked for (and received! Thanks, Mommy!) a cupcake holder and carrier from Crate and Barrel. Love, love, love. Will be trying them out when I make cupcakes for my niece's 1st birthday this weekend.

I love getting kitchen stuff for Christmas. I usually buy stuff for myself throughout the year, but there's always a few items that I really want but seem unnecessary and a bit of a splurge. Like a cupcake holder. But it makes me so happy, it's a perfect Christmas present.

* finished painting 2nd end table
I bought two Ikea Rast mini-dressers a month or so ago. I painted one a purple-ish magenta (very similar to the color I'm using for the room headings in this blog). The other wouldn't fit with my Venus mirror, but my old nightstand is the same height so I'm reusing that.

This nightstand was originally in a hotel in NYC and my dad bought it from them when they closed/redecorated/something. It was black with a brass ring and had been his nightstand for forever. My sister and I took it back in 1999 to use as a TV stand in our first apartment together. It was perfect for the 13" TV :) When I got a new roommate with a proper TV and stand, I stripped the black off, painted it yellow and white and it became a nightstand again. I started not liking the yellow and white in my Adams Morgan apartment, but it roughly went so I never did anything about it.

During the big snow storm, though, I finally got around to painting it the same magenta and last week I finally got around to finishing it. I love the color with the brass knob and looked for similar rings to go on the Rast, but couldn't find any so I just went with cheap brass knobs that are very nice substitutes (and cheap enough so if I DO find rings, I won't cry over the expense).

* figured out color scheme
I went about this in the completely wrong manner and it's been frustrating, but ultimately satisfying.

I started with the pink bedspread. It's slightly too bubblegum, but that's part of what makes it a happy color.

Then I had this image of brass lamps and thought gray would contrast nicely with that so I went to Home Depot and picked out paint chips. Pale, pale inside-of-a-shell pink for the walls + trim + ceiling, magenta for the end tables, dark gray for sheets, duvet (which would be folded at the end of my bed) and curtains and then all of my brown wood furniture. No white at all in the room.  Elegant yet modern, reserved yet girlie.  Perfect, right?  Only problem was I couldn't find gray anywhere and then once I started finally seeing it in stores, it left me cold.

Then I saw a post on Apartment Therapy about bohemianish bedrooms and knew that's what I needed to do. Yes, I'm always drawn to crisp, cool bedrooms - blues, greens, clear yellows, but I have this pink bedspread and these magenta nightstands and the brass calling out to me and I had to go with it.

So when I was at Ikea, I bought a dark orange duvet cover. And immediately upon seeing it, I knew that I needed wood blinds for the room, but my sister wouldn't let me buy them. She doesn't understand that my impulses are almost always right and felt that I needed to make sure the orange was right first. I went along with her, but knew I was right.

And so at the same Target run where I bought rods for the living room, I picked up some bamboo blinds for my bedroom. I'm not 100% sure that they'll fit (and obviously I haven't hung them yet) so it's nice to see that there are greater size options online in case I need to exchange.

I'm very excited about all of this. I have no idea when I'll get around to painting the walls, but my bedroom is very close to being finished. And I like that it sort of decorated itself. Each purchase dictated the next instead of going along with a mood board. Very organic.

Up Next:
* outdoor furniture
* paint powder room
* paint dining table
* paint coffee table (?)
* paint living room end table (?)

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