Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Room by Room - The Bathrooms

We are lucky to have 2 bathrooms in the new apartment, but that also means needing to buy everything for a bathroom twice!

Master Bathroom:

The walls are painted a brownish-taupe and our color scheme of brown and purple actually grew out of needing to find a place to display my dried eucalyptus. We broke the bank at Bed, Bath and Beyond for all bathroom needs. They have a DKNY collection "Lilac Shadow" which gave us our toothbrush holder and rug. As much as I liked the rest of this collection, I could not justify spending $39 on a wastebasket when I could spend $7 on this Umbra one in brown.

Our towels came from Target. They are mysteriously named "Taupe Dusk". Sounds like a new TNT Drama.

Second Bathroom

The walls of the second bathroom are painted yellow and all of my towels that moved with me are blue and white. We stuck with the "bright" theme and found a geometric shower curtain in blue from Bed, Bath and Beyond. A canvas tote from Target holds washcloths and hand towels and a glass jar sitting on the sink is filled with cottonballs.

This bathroom contains the world's smallest linen closet, with a door only 12 inches wide. It gets the job done, however, by holding bath towels, extra supplies and our sheets. I take hotel bath products whenever I travel and finally have somewhere to keep them all! I bought two small baskets from World Market for one of the closet shelves and filled one with travel size shampoo/conditioner and the other with body wash and other bath products (mouthwash, toothpaste, floss, etc). Now we just need the houseguests!

One thing these bathrooms do not have is Artwork! Stay tuned. . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I went to the Wells St. Art Festival this past weekend and two booths in particular showcased art I wanted to share. We've still got a few empty walls in the apartment. . .

I loved this artist's paintings of women. While many of the pieces could be painted versions of photographs, this one, called "Practice," had just enough dramatization with the elongated dress to catch my eye. More information at

Obey the Kitty! One booth had inspired art with our furry friends as dictators. The site seems to be linked with cafepress so you can get your favorite piece on a t-shirt, totebag or bumper sticker! And remember: "You are either with the Golden Retriever, or against it!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Room by Room - "The Library"

Between the two of us, Bob and I have a lot of books and I've always liked highlighting them in my apartments. (some people collect unicorns or display hummel figures, I put all my focus - and money - into books and movies!)

We bought two Billy Bookcases from Ikea for $89 each in black-brown. I thought we'd have plenty of room on the shelves left over for knick knacks or more books yet to be bought, but they actually filled up pretty quickly! Also from Ikea are the white magazine filers on the bottom shelf for Bob's Architectural Digests and my Dominos (sadly out of print). Another one filled with Cooking Lights is in the kitchen alongside cookbooks.

Although this idea may get the boot the more books we acquire, I wanted to consolidate all of my framed family and friend photos into one area of the apartment rather than spread out on every available side table and shelf. We made one of the shelves of the bookcases smaller than the rest at eye level and layered the photos. My adorable neice Estella makes a cameo on the blog here!

Our black leather chair and ottoman was Bob's uncle's chair and the end table was an old one that we re-painted the color of our coffee table. The red circle rug for an accent was $9 from Ikea and I actually had the same one in my old apartment in my entryway.

The lamp is actually a thrift store find from Bob's family and the red lamp shade was $8 at Ikea. Are you seeing a trend with Ikea? I sure am!

The picture we have on the wall is from I love their selection of vintage movie posters. This one caught my eye, "The Big Knife." The poster came unframed for $25 and the frame was from Ikea for the same price! We experimented with the placement based on an already existing nail hole, but I think we are going to center it a bit more.

You might not be able to see the coasters sitting on the end table, but here is a close-up. At a friend's wedding each guest's place setting had a pair of photo-frame coasters with our name in one and the wedding date in another. I re-designed these by cutting up a picture of. . .

Can you guess what it is?

Gum! In Seattle there is a wall of gum near Pike Place Market that I had taken a close-up picture of. I think the coasters look kind of fun and abstract.

And so our Library/Reading Area is completed. How nice to have a relaxing place to read a book!

Room by Room - Introduction

Slowly but surely, the apartment is coming together. There may be a big credit card bill looming, but it is all coming together! My decorating budget broke down each item or area of the house we would be buying for and was much needed as it helped limit our spending on each individual item so that the costs as a whole did not surpass the amount I had saved for moving and decorating expenses. All intentions were towards being able to pay off the credit card each month and not accruing interest.

As we started looking at furniture, we found ways to adjust our budget. For example, our couch and dresser ended up being overbudget, but we decided to wait on buying a new bed for the master bedroom and are using my sister's dining table and chairs.

The entries under "Room by Room" will show how each finished room/area looks and what went into making it that way.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

" I Could Make That" - The Coffee Table

Coffee tables can get expensive. I once read that a coffee table is one of the first pieces of furniture you should look to save on and focus on finding at the thrift store or a garage sale or on the side of the road after a big move out day (August 15 to my fellow Badgers!). The one I owned was ready to fall apart and Bob's was way too big and tall so we figured we'd have to add a new coffee table to our expenses budget.

Unless. . .we saw Bob's coffee table in half, shorten it and paint it!

Here's what we started with: a square, black table with 4 removable glass inserts.

We (and, from here on out, though I say "we" you should assume I mean "Bob" because all I did was take pictures) borrowed my brother-in-law's sander and sanded all the black paint off:

Then we determined how high the seats of the couch we had ordered would be and cut the legs of the coffee table down. Our seats would be at 18" so we cut the legs to 15". Next step was sawing the coffee table in half!

After sanding down all edges, we bought a few L brackets and wood glue to attach the legs from the discarded side to the ends of the side we were keeping.

We put weight on the coffee table overnight to get the wood glue to harden and secure the legs. However, we finished the coffee table before our move and didn't let our movers know it needed to be carefully moved - because the L brackets are only on the interior two sides, the outside legs cannot withstand too much bending. One of our legs loosened during the move so we need to paint over where the paint line broke. If anyone has a better suggestion for making those legs stronger please let me know! We were hesitant to put any new screws through the legs based on the existing dowels that we had cut in half.

The fun part was picking out the paint color! Our walls in the new living room are blue and our couch is a light custard color. We went with Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint in Poppy Seed for a nice complement to the room. Behr Ultra is primer and paint in one so no need to buy primer. If you are doing a big job like the walls of your house you will see some savings using this paint!

And Voila. . .the finished product!

Shared on!

"I Could Make That" - Introduction

This blog series takes its name from the phrase Bob has been using since we started dating, ie. "You need a bookshelf? I could make that." In efforts to save money on furniture and keep our creative minds going, homemade or re-furbished items will be showcased.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Moving On Up - Tips For Packing

We are all moved in and I cannot emphasize enough how valuable hiring movers was. It took exactly 4 hours from arrival to departure, 1 trip. This left us with the rest of the day to start unpacking, go to Target for essential needs, start putting the bed back together, realize I lost 1 instrumental screw for the bed in the moving process, go to Ace hardware, finish the bed, have the bed's metal support bend when first laying down on it, put books under the support to hold it up. . .you know, the usual.

A few tips I learned from the movers:
  • Tape all drawers and cabinet doors down. I did this for a couple items but not all.
  • Plasma and LCD TVs are seen as "VIP" items by some moving companies. If I had told the company when I hired them over the phone that I had a plasma they might have charged me $50 for the extra wrapping and care.
  • 2 pieces to the bed railings? Tape them together to keep them together.
  • The more smaller boxes or bags you can fit into one large refrigerator box (as long as it isn't immovably heavy) the better.
  • And this one I knew and you could tell the movers appreciated it - pack books and DVDs in small boxes. The weight adds up quickly! We were told some movers will just shake their head and not move something so heavy.

Moving on Up - The Glass is More Than Half Full

Merging two people's stuff into one apartment is going to have its challenges. I tried my best to prevent moving unnecessary items by listing out ahead of time what we were bringing to the table. We each have a toaster? Okay, which one works better? 2 copies of The Italian Job on DVD? We'll keep the one with no scratches and a less beat up case.

One thing I did not fully anticipate was the number of glasses a person can accumulate over years of borrowing them from the dorm cafeteria (Lydia), inheriting them from relatives (Bob) and stealing them from bars (Lydia and Bob). The end result when I unpacked every box labeled "Kitchen: Glasses - Fragile"?
  • 10 red wine glasses
  • 8 white wine glasses
  • 4 stemless wine glasses
  • 4 dessert wine glasses
  • 5 juice glasses
  • 6 mugs
  • 17 pint glasses
  • 5 water glasses
  • 8 ice tea glasses
  • 10 pilsner glasses
  • 4 old fashioned glasses
  • 2 martini glasses
  • 3 shot glasses
  • 7 brandy snifters
  • 2 Duvel glasses
  • 8 teacups w/ saucers
  • and 4 of whatever this little thing is supposed to hold!
Whew! And we don't even own a Margarita set yet! We went through what we realistically need and packed the rest back up. The pint glasses seem to be the hardest to give up because there is a certain sentimental feeling with each bar or event we got them from. We decided to leave all 17 in the cupboard and when we do get that Margarita set the hard choices of which ones to get rid of will begin. . .