I’ve lived in Pittsburgh (and the same apartment) for over a year. For the last, well, decade, I haven’t stayed in one place for more than twelve months. Finally, I’ve had time to settle in to my new place and begin to claim it as my own. My living room, dinning room, and kitchen were more or less done six months ago. (Mostly given to that the fact that my kitchen is smaller than a walk-in closet) But my bedroom has taken longer to come together. I wanted a simple, neutral pallets of whites and creams with a focus on texture. What ended up unfolding is far from that but no less awesome. Actually, probably way more fun to look at. I have images and color everywhere, yet somehow everything still seems comfortable and in order. It’s the perfect embodiment of my style: classic and neat but undoubtably sprinkled with color and pattern. The room has a way to go, but so far, it’s a pretty good start.
As of this week, I’ve been in Pittsburgh six months. I’ve fallen in love with the bridges, the coffee shops, and the parks. I even own a Steelers hat. But most of all, I’m crazy about my apartment. At first, I thought I wanted a space that felt mature, like a real house, and not a collection of furniture that relatives gave me. But then I realized two things, 1) I don’t want to spend money on new furniture and
2) a youthful, eclectic look really suits me better anyway. What my apartment turned into was a cozy hodgepodge of my favorite furniture and art (I try to stick to the mantra, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”), which I think so beautifully compliments the cathedral ceiling, wrought iron details, and even the mint-colored 60s tile in the bathroom.
My favorite elements are: my bike (the most expensive piece of wall art I own), the ugliest orange chair you’ve ever seen, my record player complete with my dad’s record collection (Ella Fitzgerald is currently serenading me as I write this), my 1960s Singer sewing machine, a vintage lamp, a Native American blanket, my aunt’s 70s shag rug (thanks, Aunt Jeanine!), and my coffee nook.
With my coffee bar nearly complete, I’ve moved on to decorating my sewing space. I moved it out of my second bedroom and into my living room; I was feeling cramped and isolated sewing in that small room! Now, my sewing table takes space near a wide window at the entrance of my apartment. For some (much needed) inspiration, I’ve put up a bulletin board and hung up my Venetian masks and some of my favorite hats nearby. My apartment is starting to look a lot like I first imagined it would: colorful, eclectic, and a bit like a hodge-podge of all the things I consider practical and beautiful.
By the way, Pinterest photos print out surprisingly well. I printed my most inspirational fashion/running/cycling images to create an inspiring collage for my sewing space. Beautiful imagery for less than $5? Yes, please!
In September, I drew up these plans to turn an empty nook in my dining room into an coffee bar (naturally). I was looking for cute hooks, shelving, a “coffee” sign, and a set of matching mugs. What I ended up creating was a chalkboard from an old picture (tutorial to follow soon!) that I will soon paint with an adorable coffee saying of my choosing. I added some red hooks and monogram mugs from Antrhopologie to bring the look together- not to mention Ball jars to hold my coffee grounds and sugar, a vintage-inspired cow cream holder, and a floral serving tray. Can’t wait for the coffee bar to come together completely! Next project…the bar cart. Now that’s going to be fun.
When you move in to a new space, especially one so drastically different from your old, it’s pretty overwhelming to begin the decorating process. To start decorating my new 70-year-old Tudor-style duplex in Pittsburgh (I moved from a clean-cut suburban apartment in Madison, WI), I began with images. Pinterest, of course, is probably the best place to collect visual inspiration. After spending some time browsing, I decided to narrow down my decorating plans into 4 sections:
1. My bedroom, bathroom, and closets- with a focus on organization
2. My living room- with a focus on comfort, displaying eclectic pieces of art and memorabilia, and entertainment (a bar cart included in my plans!)
3. My dinning room and kitchen- with a focus on my favorite moments, brunch and coffee, by creating a coffee bar and a bright and open eating area
4. My sewing room- with, well, a focus on sewing!
Not a bad start for a pretty overwhelming ordeal! My goal this week is to get up most of my wall art and begin to rearrange. Stay tuned as I start to put together my two favorite ideas, the bar cart and the coffee bar!
Now that I actually have a place that feels more like home than a one-bedroom dorm room, I thought I’d make an effort to decorate, even a little bit, for the holidays. I picked up this vase, a spider candle holder, and these festive placemats at the local Good Will for under $10. The beautiful dried corn was a gift from my friend who bought it at the Madison farmer’s market.
I’ve been putting most of my decorating efforts into my living room. I spend much of my time there or in the kitchen, and (given my lack of dining room) I plan on using the space for most of my entertaining. As a result, after only a month and a half, my living room has already gone through a transformation.
I framed a whole lot of art, bought new curtains, add splashes of much needed ivories through cushions and flowers, and finally bought light bulbs for my lamps (you’d be surprised how much that changes the atmosphere of a place!).
My future plans include painting my coffee table neon green (seriously, trust me on this), creating some more art for the space, and adding more bright colors through painted jars (DIY project courtesy of Pinterest, of course).