January 21, 2014

Home Improvement, Part I

I made some little changes to the apartment this month which has made a huge aesthetic difference. It's kind of hard to update this apartment because it feels like a waste to tailor a place we're hoping to move from. My boyfriend and I live in kind of no man's land DC. There are literal brick and mortar homes surrounding us. It's unbelievable that it's actually considered a city. It makes the cost of our rent just feel offensive, especially because we live in a one room studio. We are two people in an apartment meant for one person. Ideally, we want to move to a one bedroom where there would be room for much more than we have right now but there's just no way we can plan for that right now. I'll see something I'd love to have in the apartment but I can't get it because we don't have the space. There is nowhere to store anything. We eat all of our meals at our coffee table which is also my vanity. Our coffee table will just have my hair straightener, my eyeshadow palettes, our remotes, salt and pepper shakers, a candle and bottle of ketchup on it all at once because there's no separation of space. We just don't have the room. We've pretty much reached the point where we can't buy more things. Not just furniture but anything. We're out of space for books, for kitchen appliances, for extra sheets, for shoes. That alone is a reason that redecorating can be next to impossible - we're at the point where everything has to be edited. Something has to go out before something goes in or else it's going to be an episode of Hoarders up in this bitch. Even that can be difficult. For example, there is a rug I want on Rugs USA right now:

 Rugs USA Overdyed Turquoise Rug

Currently, this rug is 70% with free shipping. These people will deliver a 5x8 rug to my apartment right now for 30% of its original price, right now. $134 for a hand dyed rug. That's not normal. I would be totally willing to straight up throw out one of our rugs to bring this rug into our apartment. I hate our rugs. Our rugs are in our apartment because they're better than just plain, bare parquet. But, if I buy this rug right now, this rug will be ruined. We're going to have to throw out our 'living room' rug as is when we move out because food is inevitably dropped on it. I spilled a full cup of coffee on it last week because the rug was under the breakfast table which was also serving as my vanity at the same time. I am just physically unable to get this new rug that I desperately want because we're living in this tiny apartment with the intent to leave it. We can't buy for this apartment because we don't plan on staying here but we can't buy for a new apartment because we don't have the room in our current place. Basically anything we buy for decor has to suit this one in one out policy from now on.

The best easy change to make was a duvet cover and some shams. Specifically, the West Elm Organic Cotton Pintuck Duvet Cover + Shams.

West Elm Organic Cotton Pintucked Duvet Sea Spray IKEA Klimt Canvas

I love this duvet. It makes the bed so snuggly. I just want to crawl underneath this duvet at all times and cocoon myself in it and sleep for days. I think my boyfriend and I both slept in incredibly late when we first used it because it was like sleeping on a cloud compared to our old bedding. Our old bedding was just this thick comforter that was black and the worst. It used to belong to my boyfriend and he loved it but I just couldn't with it anymore.

My boyfriend is obsessed with the color black. He got a new phone a couple of months ago, one of those customizable Motorola ones where you can pick the colors for the buttons and trim and everything, and his mom and I went to the Verizon store to pick it out for him. She was overwhelmed when she learned about all these color combinations and looked at me with these worried eyes and was like, "Vanessa, what colors is he going to want???" and I was like, "Black." "Okay, well I'm going to text him just to be sure..." "Liz, don't even bother texting him, he's going to say 'all black everything'" That was the conversation pretty much verbatim and my boyfriend texted exactly what I had predicted back, to the letter. If he gets anything, it has to be in black. Everything that he has contributed to our apartment decor is black. Black couch. Black coffee table. Black TV stand. Black IKEA Lack side table. Black Expedit shelving unit. Black dresser. Black desk with an enormous black computer and two giant, shiny black monitors. I have one of his old lamps sitting on my nightstand and it has a black shade. He would probably paint the walls black if he could. The black bedspread was just the limit for me. It just worked out so that all the furniture on the living room side of our studio is his or something he picked out. The bedroom side is exclusively made up of furniture I brought - bed, dresser, my makeup storage units and a nightstand - and it's literally all white. Black living room, white bedroom. It kind of helps to give the illusion of two separate spaces, honestly, which was making the black comforter worse. It was the focal point of the bedroom side and it was just dead, black space and bled into our living room, visually.

I had the West Elm duvet cover picked out since early summer. I liked how it was solid but still interesting with the pintucks adding both a sort of design and texture. I originally saw it in this color and fell crazy in love:

 West Elm Organic Cotton Pintuck Duvet + Shams in Sea Spray Steel Blue

That kind of steel blue is just one of my colors. My bedroom growing up was painted that color and I had it picked out for literal years before it was painted. It goes with everything. I hung so much stuff up on my bedroom walls and there was nothing that clashed with that paint color. I feel like that color is the one "masculine" thing I actually like, too, which makes it even better for decorating with. Then, I swear within like... a week of me seeing this duvet cover it sold out. Only in that color. It was stocked in twin sizes for a brief period of time and then poof. Gone. They keep the photo up but it's not available to buy anymore. It's a total fucking tease. I held out hope for a restock until Christmas time when I gave up and settled for the color Sea Spray instead.

 West Elm Organic Cotton Pintuck Duvet + Shams in Sea Spray

Now that I have it, I prefer it. I'm sure I'm going to want to paint our bedroom walls in a future rental that steel blue color so it would be a bit too overwhelming to have a duvet that matched exactly. The lighter, soft blue also brightens up our apartment sooooo much. It works with all the white furniture and makes the 'bedroom' look like an airy, soft, separate space. I also couldn't even believe how opaque the duvet itself was. I was gearing up to buy a whole new white blanket to put inside it but I was just so excited once I got it home that I quickly threw it over our thick black comforter. None of the black shows through. You can't even tell. That's a feat for such a light colored cotton duvet that's being put over this thick, plush, black blanket. The color is kind of a downside though. My boyfriend has the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I've ever known and eats things like little bowls of chocolate chips in bed. I have to keep a Tide pen in my nightstand now because he inevitably spills some and somehow grinds it into the duvet and I turn into a crazy woman. "You're getting CHOCOLATE on our brand new nice DUVET? DO YOU KNOW CHOCOLATE STAINS? IT DOES." In retrospect we were better off with a black bedspread but I just couldn't take it anymore. I'd rather be perpetually panicked over staining this beautiful cloud duvet than deal with this:


That was our bed when we first moved in and a joke. A big, mismatched joke. My life feels more put together with matching bedding. You know how just making your bed makes your whole room look and feel cleaner? It's that times 100 when you have pretty matching bedding on top of it. This is literally the same bed but with a duvet cover over that black bedspread and shams over two of the pillows and the clutter cleaned up. Dunzo.

 West Elm Organic Cotton Pintuck Duvet + Shams in Sea Spray

 It looks so much better, aside from that one small untucked portion at the bottom. I'm a slob, I guess.

I also finally finished the hanger project in the closet. I can barely stand how much better it looks.

 Closet makeover after black felt hangers

Look at that. Look how neat it looks. Just by hanging every single item on a matching hanger. I was able to hang even more of my boyfriends clothes than I could previously fit. He had a dresser drawer just crammed with clothes that wouldn't fit on the rack (also, by the way, he has 32 plaid button up shirts. Black and plaid. That's his color palette.). Enter sleek, black, felt hangers and it all fits. There's even a gap in the middle. It's out of control organized. This all happened on Saturday when I had browsed both a Nordstrom Rack and a Marshalls for these hangers. Nowhere to be found. I've been searching multiple Nordstrom Racks and TJ Maxx kinds of stores of a solid month looking for these hangers. They've all disappeared from stores, obviously, because I need them. So, after the hanger hunt I go to Costco and LO AND BEHOLD:

Costco black felt hangers
COSTCO was selling boxes of these hangers. BOXES. 35 per box. Guess the price. Just guess. I'll tell you - $8 each. WHAT. HOW. I've thought I've been getting a bargain when I pick them up $6/$7 for 10. I got 70 of these hangers for $16. The felt feels slightly rougher than the hangers I previously bought but who gives a shit, honestly. What difference does that make for that price? I couldn't believe it. My boyfriend and I were literally walking into Costco from the Marshalls we had gone into specifically to look for hangers and the literal first thing we see in Costco is boxes upon boxes of these hangers.

I feel like such a mom shopping in Costco but Costco is amazing. Like, it's just such a suburban married couple thing to do, to go to Costco on a Saturday together and say things like, "Babe, what's on the list? Do we have enough toilet paper?" or "Babe, can you BELIEVE the price of this Bisquick?" But Costco is just ridiculous. I feel like I'm being taken advantage of by not shopping at Costco for something, truly. I'd rather tetris an orange juice carton the size of a cannon into my fridge than get less for my money with a non bulk sized carton. The savings are bananas and then they have miracle finds like these hangers on top of it all. 70 black felt hangers for $16. You'd get literally 10 hangers for that price from somewhere like the container store. Costco is just out of their minds.

 Ikea Klimt Water Serpents II Canvas

Also, as a kind of footnote, how great is that Klimt canvas over the bed? It was about $40 from Ikea.  It's a section of Water Serpents II which I actually like better as a cropped stand alone piece. 


Art Nouveau is just so great to decorate your home with because its inherent purpose is to be decorative. That sentence sounds fucking stupid but there's not a ton of art that's simply art for art's sake. Klimt barely fits that mold himself because he was a symbolist, too, but his work is just some of the prettiest there is. That's my professional art history opinion. Klimt is very pretty to decorate with. Quote me on it.

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