the flat: part one

August 18, 2011

We’ve taken a lot of care with this move to make sure that our new space wasn’t filled with IKEA furniture.  It’s not that we don’t appreciate IKEA, It’s just that we practically lived next door to it for three years. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s great for when your just moving in and need some staples like hangers, curtains, etc. It’s horrible for breeding furniture in your house. I swear I would go to bed and wake up in the morning and the cabinet would breed with the bookshelf and a new hybrid cabinet bookshelf would be in the room. It happened in every room.  Soon after the finishes on the furniture would start to bubble or peel. We would swear to ourselves that we would just save up and get the piece of furniture we really wanted instead of constantly disposing of stuff we bought on a whim. Our old 550 sq foot apartment was jam-packed with horrible mismatched storage solutions. Our house was only made up of a series of walking paths between storage solutions.

When we finally decided to commit and move, we also decided not to bring any of the IKEA with us. We would’ve loved to keep our old sectional but it didn’t fit. Well, the bookshelf that houses all our records also came with us. We got rid of everything! We sold it all with the promise of investing in more non-disposable furniture.  I was so surprised at how easily we just let go of stuff.  It was a nice cleansing process. The cherry on top was that we made some decent cash! We scrimped and saved and purchased items thoughtfully. We were also very patient. With our diligence and our creativity we’ve begun the process of creating an ever-changing space that feels cheerful, creative, and more mindful. Our dining room and living room are pretty much done but will always be tinkered with.

For now, here are some before and after photos of the living and dining rooms. Maybe it will inspire some makeovers somewhere else out in internetland…maybe it won’t but we had lots of fun putting it all together!

In the dining room we put up floating picture ledges to create a wall of impermanent art. If there is one thing we’ve discovered about ourselves, it’s that we change things around a lot. Art is always being moved around. The walls in our last apartment can vouch for that! these shelves give us the opportunity to create multiple new installations. We don’t have much for it yet but now we can keep collecting more prints and interesting pieces without having to think about where to place them!

Before: Our old empty dining room. The rug is actually from IKEA and i love it!

After: Picture ledges on one side for revolving art, Modernica chair that moves around the house, and new curtains and rods.

DIY chalkboard project! This measures about 4 ft X 5 ft. It's pretty fun!

peter drew this moth. Still needs legs but looks so awesome!

We move the table under the chalkboard to create a roomier workspace. When we need to entertain or just want a more formal sitting area we bring it back to the middle.

To make this chalkboard, we simply had hard board (found in the paneling section) cut into our desired dimensions at Lowe’s. We created another chalkboard for the kitchen with the extra piece. It was about $6-$10 bucks. It comes in 4 ft X 8 ft pieces. Make sure you have a car that fits your cut pieces! Then we just painted it with chalkboard paint.  We did two coats over two days. Then we let it sit for four days. Then we primed it with the side of a piece of chalk. If you don’t do this the first thing you write or draw will be there forever. We bought chalk and an eraser at Michael’s. We hung this directly into the wall with 6 screws. We plan on adding some molding to the bottom to create a chalk rail. If you have carpet you’ll should be mindful that chalk creates a lot of dust that travels to the floor. until we create a rail, we’re just using white chalk.

My dad made the table and benches for me close to 9 or 10 years ago! I love this table.

In the living room we built our own love seat at The Sofa Company. This style is the Rupert. We had them add buttons on the pillows to make it look more mid-century. The bookshelf, rug, desk, curtains and curtain rods are all from West Elm.  The mini wing-back chair was from the clearance store that H.D. Buttercup used to have in Culver City.

Before: From the dining room in to the living room.

Before: View out of the front window.

After: Here she is all dressed up!

This image is from before we had our rug but it shows the style of the love seat a bit better.

After: We dressed up the patio a bit!

After: Our cool Olly Moss print from Peter's work!

We moved one of the benches out of the dining room to create more space.  We’re using it as a temporary coffee table. I think we need to sell more of our stuff off before we can buy one anytime soon! this works for now. I’m all about repurposing furniture before buying it.

The next rooms on the agenda are the bedroom and the guest room!

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