the evolution of a 100 sq ft living room

My style inspiration changes constantly. I want a scandi neutral space, then I want a bohemian, bright and luscious one. Mostly, I’m somewhere in the middle, because no way will I be able to survive without color, but there comes a point when I need to cool it, and opt for clean, white walls, and simple, hardwood floors.

We just moved apartments in Brooklyn – same neighborhood, but a little more space. I should mention, having a baby was involved, and the deciding factor when our living room became baby central (see below).  We moved into Carroll Gardens apartment in 2015 as newlyweds, then transitioned to living again with our previous roommate (hence the ridiculous two sofas for football Sunday), to getting pregnant, living alone and realizing our sofa pre-2012 was full of flame retardant chemicals (insert increased levels of hormones + new parent freak out), to living with a newborn, to living with a (gasp) soon-to-be toddler who has taken over our lives, souls, and everything in between.

So without further ado,  in chronological order, the transformation of our living room:

winter/spring 2015 – the early years (I’m not happy about the two sofa squish either, but like I said, football Sunday > my need for open space (or, choose your battles).

 

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fall 2016 – Bye, roommate, hello prego nesting + beautiful, hardwood floors

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fall 2016 + two days – fuck, baby research + said prego hormones decided that spending more money ala one salary was fiiiineeee for a new + safe sofa.

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fall 2016 + two weeks – ah, that baby glider/recliner is actually pretty big. Nesting for the win. The glider is from Monte in Canada. Best. purchase. ever.

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the nesting was intense.

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Ok, so this isn’t in the living room, but right?! How good (and clean!) did this place look with the help of all my hormones!!??

winter 2016 – ok fine, having a baby does change the scandi vs boho decision being my biggest dilemma.

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insert: a tired husband and baby. also insert: our attempt at plastic-free lasting 2 months.

summer 2017 – yea, it’s definitely time to move

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she crawled under that barrier in about t-minus 2 mins.

Next stop: that new two bedroom + two living room (Brooklyn, is this real life?!) apartment.

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dreaming big in tiny spaces

We’re going big with this tiny studio. It’s maybe, maybe, 300 sqft? It’s in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, and simply put, this spot my friend Tyler found is, perfect. I won’t even start with how great a deal all these items cost us. Here’s a sneak peak. Until more…

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That spare ‘room’ — is it an office or a guest room?

It’s actually both. At least in a teeny NYC apartment it is. Here’s how you make it work:

  1. Find a small desk (2’x4′ is drastically smaller than anything 5′ long. And it helps not overwhelm. I love this CB2 one.
  2. Light colors furniture makes it feel bigger
  3. Not everything needs to be wood! Get some metal in there. Scared? Make it clean white.
  4. Mirrors make everything feel bigger! And clear glass is clean and spacious. (Urban Outfitters has a relatively fair priced living section where you can find one)
  5. A beautiful day bed also serves as a sofa, takes up less space, and no longer has to be a weird trundle. (Though yeah, those are pretty great, too). I’m loving this West Elm bed in walnut.
  6. And a beautiful Turkish fabric pillow? That makes everything better. (ala Etsy)

Guest Room : Office

Mathilde & Jason’s Space

My friend Mathilde lives in a gorgeous home in Williamsburg. She and her husband have the top two floors — the upper level being used as a massive office and spare room. Their living room has so much potential – beautiful wide panel flooring, a maintained brick wall, bright, big windows. The space is great, and allows for a dining area and living room.

Like so many of us, Mathilde is on a budget! So most of her furniture came from Craig’s List, Housing Works, and the likes. She also has a great collection of art work, but isn’t sure exactly how to present it.

While we didn’t get a before pic (of course!), the space felt a little backwards – their large dining table was in front of the windows, and the sofa and red chaise were spread out. Because of the office upstairs, it was important that we make her living room feel private and spacious, and utilize the sunlight to the best of our ability. So we rearranged a bit. With a $500 budget (we only spent $450!), we went to Target and bought a couple basics — a foot rest, a couple lamps, a side table, an entertainment center (actually, the same one we used in Jenna’s space), light bulbs, and a hammer and nails. We also went to the nearby hardware store and nursery and bought — you know it — succulents! And some cute, eclectic pots. Check out what we did. A quick revamp, space changer, and now it totally feels personal, private, bright, and uses the space perfectly!

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Can  you BELIEVE that side table is from Target? What a deal, and it’s quite good quality for the price we paid! I personally like that the top moves up and down, which made matching it to fit the sofa height quite easy. Same with the lamp — great lamp, neutral but authentic feeling. For those of us that don’t have a massive budget, Target is SO great, especially their Threshold brand.

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Mathilde had this great large wood coffee table, and topped it with a bright and cheerful teal cloth. It was a perfect pop of color, and I loved the square shape of the table… breaks up the monotony of everything being rectangular in a space.

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And how great is this buffet/book shelf? We rearranged the books and photos, and tidied it up. Doing this changed the piece from a tool that organized books into a piece of decor — that’s high functioning.

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For next steps, we’re looking for a neutral, perhaps lightly patterned, rug. We think that’ll pull it all together.  In addition, we’re working on the dining space (not shown), and a bar station Mathilde has envisioned. Until then!

Jenna’s NEW Place

It’s been a while since my last post. Mostly because I’ve been traveling without a laptop. But even more mostly because I’ve been living out of a suitcase for four months. Just getting back, I’ve officially moved to New York, where my little one bedroom apartment is hiding in a storage unit. More on that soon. In the meantime, my friend Jenna, who’s row house mini-reno I shared with you here (or literally two posts below, oops), has moved! Typical of DC properties and rentals.  No worries though, because she found a sweet two bedroom apartment in a renovated funeral parlor. Creepy, perhaps. But whoever did the redesign left the exposed brick, old brick stains, wooden beams, and molding. I love this person.

After just recently updating her old space, Jenna was a bit bummed to move, but turns out everything we purchased and set up went even better in the new place. Check out her space,  and see how she did. I for one was incredibly impressed.

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photo 1Brilliant and so rad. The girls turned the TV stand into a glassware cabinet and liquor stand. Looks so great at the end of the bar, and I love the pop of the color surrounding the hues of brown.

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The girls didn’t actually need to buy anything, either. Jenna had this Ikea bookshelf in her room, and simply turned it into an entertainment center. Love the record display, too.

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Unfortunately, they had to get rid of the second sofa, but this set up still looks warm, inviting and heaps comfortable. Check out that BEAUTIFUL West Elm coffee table that hadn’t arrived before I left the last time. Also good to see that sofa cover has kept it’s color and shape.

Nice job, Jenna. Love seeing how we can adapt and make our furniture and belongings work wherever we live.

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A friend of mine moved into a gorgeous row house about a year or two ago, and after a roommate (and furniture!) moved out, she decided it was time to get a few things to furnish and decorate her home. The row house is BEAUTIFUL. Original molding and hardwood floors. Bay windows. A dining room and living space that’s open. Exposed brick. I could keep going…

Her budget was around $1500 for round 1. She wanted to update her sofa, add some small pieces, and make the living area and dining room a bit more communal and warm. Host brunches and groups, and make the place perfect for her and her new roommates.

Here are a few before pics:

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We upgraded the green Ikea sofa by purchasing a new slipcover online. It’s now a velvet, light grey — Comfortable, neutral, but unique with its texture. We found a great overstuffed leather chair in cognac. A new updated entertainment center in teal blue. We will drill holes in the back to add all the cabled equipment. The rug was on sale at World Market, and the bench was from (ahem) Tar-get! We found a few bric-a-bracs and pillows throughout the adventure, and will continue adding pieces as we find them.

In the dining area, we found six eclectic, wooden chairs at her nearby flea market that will be washed white during round two, but for now, they’re great. The recycled wine glass candle holders were actually made by me from a previous DIY project, and some serving dishes and tea towels for the dining table were found at World Market.

Here’s how it looks

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We have a coffee table waiting to be delivered, frames and curtains that need to be hung, chairs that need to be painted… but this is an excellent start and already the space feels warmer, comfortable and cheerful.

Stay tuned for round two.