Monthly Archives: July 2009

Making White Work

This week I spruced up the existing seaside theme of the sole bathroom in my house.  This tiny white space has proved to me that, with a little imagination and the right accents, white walls really can work well.

I got the impression that my landlord, proud of his beautifully renovated all-white bathroom, didn’t want it painted.  (He really, really likes white.  He even installed “personal assistance” bars instead of towel bars so that they would be all white.)  Therefore, I would have saved this room for last, except that a wonderful friend helped me decorate it as a thank-you present for letting her temporarily live with me.

Here’s a view into the ginormous bathroom from the hallway. I hope you can see the whole thing  – it’s so large it was hard to capture it in one photo! (Insert sarcasm here)

Bathroom Overview

Here’s a look at the tiny toilet nook.  I added some driftwood and adorned the basket with a starfish to further emphasize the seaside theme.  (Next I’d like to frame and hang a piece of beach art or a photo over that ugly and now defunct wall fan.)

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Close-up of my candle creation and seaside guest basket:

Bathroom Candles

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Here is the other half of this spacious room, as seen from the toilet/sink area:

Condo Bathroom

I eeked out a spot for bathroom storage and the dog’s water bowl (so easy to fill up quickly from the bathtub faucet) alongside the wall across from the bathtub:

Creating Storage Small Apartment Bathroom

I had a set of wind chimes but no place to hang them.  So, like any good DIYer, I found a way to repurpose them – shower curtain adornments!  They’ll tide me over until I find the right oceanic-themed shower curtain to replace my plain white one.

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With that I conclude the long and extensive tour of my gigantic, cavernous seaside bathroom! :)

Thrifty Fix: Clip It and Stick It

Clip it and stick it. . . to clip it and save it!

As part of my efforts to avoid the junk drawer that seems to inevitably sneak up on even the most meticulous of homemakers, I devised a quick and easy way to corral my coupons and save some precious space in the process.

I like my coupons near the kitchen, where I can grab them easily as I set out on a shopping expedition. Inspiration was born when I spied some fancy-schmancy adhesive file pockets at Target that adhere to your wall, desk, fridge, cabinet, or any other vertical surface. Then I spied the price tag. $9 for a pack of three? I think not.

Penny pincher that I am, I took a closer look for inspiration purposes, then motored home to create my own adhesive filing pockets. I crafted them out of decorative scrapbooking paper, smacked some double-sided tape to their backs, and tacked those suckers onto the inside of my kitchen cabinet doors to sort coupons.

And so, with a clip of the scissor and a stick of the tape, instant, free adhesive file pockets were born!

In a tiny rented kitchen like mine (with only ONE drawer!) it’s important to eek out every last inch of storage space without major construction efforts. I’m finding that the insides of kitchen cabinet doors are my sweet spot. What about you? Any other tips and tricks for making the most out of your kitchen real estate?

Boudoir Beautification: Exotic Escape

There’s nothing as sweet as the satisfaction that comes from transforming a dreary white room into a cozy space that feels like home. And the next best part? Well that, of course, is the sharing of the before-and-after shots!I set out to create an “exotic escape” in my bedroom with just a few small inspiration pieces. I had a beautiful antique oriental rug from my parents, a terracotta colored comforter set, two exotic candle lanterns, and a $3 painting from Goodwill. (Yes, this is at least the third time I’ve mentioned it in my blog; I’m thrilled with the price I paid!)

Here’s the depressing, apartment-white befores:

apartment white walls before

Now, without further ado, I present to you my cozy new boudoir:

After warming up the walls with a thick coat of earthy paint (custom-matched, supposedly, to my lighter colored throw pillows), I switched up the window treatments for a home made blind in a blue-based multicolor batik fabric. I wanted to add some contrasting colors to the walls while keeping the window area as open as possible. Therefore, I decided that a simple fabric blind would work better than the usual drapes. (Also, with pets it’s nice to have as few fabrics near hair-level as possible!)

I found the great little Moroccan hangning lantern at TJ Maxx for only $12. Sadly, there was only one. I’d like to hang lanterns across the beam on either side of the window, so I’ll have to order a few more from How awesome would a wall of ornate glowing, hanging lanterns be?

I had this big, somewhat ugly (ok, really ugly) mirror that was surely all the rage when my stylish grandma bought it in West Palm Beach in the 70’s. For sentimental reasons I decided to make it work by using it to anchor the wall over my dresser. And it does work! It really helps to open up the room, and reflect the light coming in from the window. Next to the mirror I hung my shadowboxes which, as I mentioned in this post, are my new favorite way to store and display jewelry.

Moving on to the other side of the room, which houses both the door to the hallway and the door to the closet:

I warmed that space up with the mirrored candle lanterns and a framed batik cloth art piece that I snagged at New Jersey’s Golden Nugget Flea Market for only $20!

On a whim I decided to paint the ceiling as well as the walls. And I’m glad I did – it really warms the room up to have the ceiling the same tone as the rest of the surfaces in the room.

Here my little helper is demonstrating how he loves to coat the quilt with his soft and shaggy white hair. (Note to self, and to others: When choosing pet-friendly and washable bed coverings, always spring for a duvet cover instead of a quilted blanket. My lovely sateen comforter from Target holds onto pet hair like it’s going outta style.) My little inspiration painting looks a bit sad in the corner, though. Any thoughts on where I should move it to, or how I can make it stand out better?

That concludes the peek at my weekend completion of phases 1 and 2 of my bedroom. Now what might phase 3 have in store? Well, if I ever finish my other rooms, I’d love to come back to this one and add a stenciled brown Moroccan border around the room, as well as maybe some hand-painted wall art. And as you can see, I didn’t end up building an upholstered headboard. I may do that down the road, but only if I can find a cheap second-hand, footed headboard to spiff up like Julia at Open Hand Living did. That way I won’t have to attach anything that major to the wall. What do you think; does it need the headboard?

To me my bedroom now epitomizes the magic that a little cash (I did this for under $200), some thrifty finds, and a lot of elbow grease can accomplish to transform a dreary rented space into a personal retreat.

The not-so-productive project weekend

This weekend I had a list. A big, long list. I had ten reasonable projects listed on said list. I planned to finish each and every one of them. And I planned to revel in the glory of my weekend completions by posting updates and photos right here all week long.

Sadly, I have nothing to share. A few key things delayed my progress:

  • Friday night I worked late, and spent hours collecting supplies at Michael’s, Home Depot, and multiple fabric stores for the aforementioned projects.
  • I got home and fought with my sewing machine for over an hour.
  • I woke up Saturday morning sick as a dog. My productivity flew right out the window.

Therefore, I had time to determine this one thing: There’s nothing more frustrating than laying around, exhausted, headache-y, and nauseous, staring at work just waiting to be done – and knowing you’re too incapacitated to do it. And knowing the clock is ticking down the hours until your weekend is over, and those two precious days of home improvement time are being squandered.

Sigh. At least I finished the bedroom on Sunday. I’ll have photos posted by tomorrow.