Monday, August 26, 2013

Apartment Therapy Style Cure: Painting a Lamp

As part of the Apartment Therapy Style Cure, I'm trying to make our office a little bit brighter and more colorful. One thing I've been meaning to do forever is to make over this lamp that I have been hating ever since I bought it. It was originally in our bedroom, until I got these cute matching lamps. Then it got relocated to the office as my desk lamp and it's been sitting in lamp limbo (lampbo?) ever since. Here's the best photo I have of it:

It's fine, but it doesn't match anything. The shade is too busy, but I like the lines of the black base. First, I repurposed that lampshade for now onto this floor lamp (that's also on its way out the door)...

This'll have to go soon....
Since I've been trying to get more pops of color in the office space, I decided to bring out my trusty ol' spray paint and brighten up that lamp base. First, a coat of primer after using painters tape & plastic to cover up the electrical parts...

Then two coats of spray yellow gloss enamel...

...swapped the lampshade with the floor lamp and voila! Bright pop of color to match our newly lined bookcases. I'm looking for a pure white (rather than off white) drum shade to go with it, but for now, this'll do.

I like lamp.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Apartment Therapy Style Cure Week 3: Organization Porn

For those of you who've been charting my Style Cure progress, I really have been doing the Apartment Therapy Style Cure these past few weeks, but I haven't had much time to blog about it due to auditions (And some juicy ones too! Nashville, Revolution, Anger Management...I can't complain). These weeks have been filled with assignments like "Shop til you drop!" and "Toss and organize." Easier said than done, especially when I'm focused on other stuff. I've slowly been slogging through all of these tasks, with limitations, of course -- we don't actually have enough space in our office to possibly get all the storage we would actually want in here. The room quadruples as two busy people's home offices, line dry laundry hanging space, and a guest room. So, while I would like to get as much feng shui flow in here, the reality is I only gots a 121 square feet. What's a girl to do?

Well, downsize and organize.

After my (failed) floor planning stint, I decided that moving the furniture around would be impossible, given the space we have. So I've made do with small improvements--with ginormous results.

For example, I just slogged through four years of old sides (scripts) from auditions and organized them into these adorbs notebooks from Target:

It's always hard for me to throw out's like a little memento of all the characters I get to transform into. It was actually kind of fun, looking back on all the weird and cool things I've auditioned for--indie movies that never got made, TV pilots that turned into huge successes (Revolution, Lost, Chicago Fire), and scenes I ran in class that frustrated the hell outta me at the time but now I look back and see right through it. By the way, turns out old sides make for a pretty comfy cat bed:

Remember this awesome leaning tower of paper-za?

I know, I know.
I finally sorted through my boxes of acting postcards, head shots, mailing labels, envelopes, and every possible size of printer paper, and sprung for this cool drawer organizer from Ikea, which doubles as a printer stand and cuts the floor space needed in half. It's aptly named "Alex."

I'm the man of your dreams.
Aah! Doesn't that feel soooo much better? As for our crazy overstuffed bookcases...

Heart. Attack.
God, it gives me agita just to look at this photo. It's. Got. To. Go. Really. I mean, the orange jersey from Key & Peele? The Gummo poster? (As cool as those are, they don't necessarily need to be on display.) The hanging laundry? The book cases? I painted that wall a dark dove gray hoping we could contrast it with some cool white furniture, but it's mainly been obscured by these black Billy Ikea bookcases. I really would've liked to switch these out for white ones, but for now, these will have to do the trick until we move into a house. I considered painting them, but the thought of dragging them outside and having to lay them on their sides sounded like a huge pain. So I settled on making them a little cheerier.

Made a weekend trip to my fave place Paper Source and found me some bright, cheery patterned paper and lined the backs.

Once I put these up altogether, I didn't love the pattern so much anymore. It's more floral and dowdy than I want. But I figured most would be covered up anyway by the books, and hey, it was only $21. I didn't worry too much about lining up the pattern since I knew books would be there:

Used some horizontal stacking and some objects like this vase to break up the lines. I love seeing all the colors of the book spines side by side.

Then I took those gattdam miles and miles of DVDs and Blu-rays clogging up our bookshelves and finally shelled out for their own little condo, using this unused corner:

That one's still in progress, as you can see. But I'm learning now. The key to success is storage, storage, storage! I'm pretty sure that's what the real punch line to that "How do you get to Carnegie Hall" joke is.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Apartment Therapy Style Cure: Pinpointing Your Style

By Maira Kalman
Day 1 of Apartment Therapy's style cure was to take this design quiz to help you zone in on your style as you begin to redesign a room in your home (see my post on Day 6 here). I don't think I have much consistency when it comes to style, but here are my answers.

1. List your favorites in each category:

Actor: Johnny Depp, Daniel Day Louis, Joseph Gordon Levitt [As an actor, I find this question incredibly difficult. I don't have a favorite actor or actress...only people I really enjoy watching on screen. Then again, I like watching Adam Sandler on screen, but I wouldn't say he's one of my favorites. That said, here are people I find highly entertaining to watch.]

Actress: Cate Blanchett, Vera Farmiga, Meryl Streep, Maggie Cheung, Kate Winslett, Edie Falco, Kristen Wiig [same goes for this category]

Artist: Henri Matisse, Maira Kalman, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall

Writer: JD Salinger, Arundhati Roy, Pablo Neruda, Junot Diaz, Lois Ann Yamanaka, Roald Dahl

Music: [I can't possibly even begin to answer this question.]

Restaurant: Supper, Cafe Orlin, Babbo (NYC); _____? (LA)

Automobile: Fred Flinstonemobile

Movie or Television Show: Movie: Annie Hall, In the Mood for Love, Lust/Caution, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Mad Men, The Wire, Game of Thrones [If you haven't seen Umbrellas of Cherbourg, watch it. Not only is Catherine Deneuve, like, my goal in life, but also, the set design and costumes make me want to move to 1960s Paris, stat.]

Clothing (pieces, designers or stores): Marc Jacobs, Celine, Isabel Marant, Madewell, Opening Ceremony, pretty much Alexa Chung's whole closet.

Furniture (pieces, designers or stores): HD Buttercup, Design Within Reach, Milo Baughman, Eero Saarinen, Charles & Ray Eames, Anthropologie

Drooooool....saarinen's tulip chairs & table.
2. Choose three words to describe your personal style: Airy, simple, modern.

3. Think back over all the homes you’ve lived in, both as a child and an adult. Which
rooms would you choose as your favorites and how would you describe them?

My childhood living room -- flocked velvet green wallpaper, a bay window, breezy white curtains that hid my cat Mee Mee-- it was ethereal, peaceful, and safe.

Can't find a photo of the living room, but this is Mee Mee.
The kitchen in our next house-- it was bright, cheery, decorated with personal pieces, and always the heart of the house and center of activity.

Also not the kitchen...but I loved this one too.
My first apartment on my own, the living room -- I finally had the space to decorate however I wanted. It was open, airy, white, bright-- girly and had a vintage French feel, with wide-board wooden floors and a white brick (faux) fireplace.

4. Whom do you consider a role model? My mother.

What three adjectives describe the qualities that you admire in this person?

Sense, kindness, and laid-backness.

5. Every home has areas that are “just right”. Which three spots or things in your
home do you feel are beautiful and feel proud of, right now, as is:

-The area by our fireplace.
-The view from our bedroom into the garden.
-The dining nook's liquor bar.

6. A month from now, at the end of the Style Cure, how would you like your friends
to describe your home?

A magical clearing in a forest. Where productivity happens.

Funny. When I started this questionnaire I thought it was all random stuff, but now looking through some of the images I've posted, I've begun to see some recurring themes and motifs. Everything is sort of nature-ish and bright and slightly girly, with lots of light and curved or etched lines. Gasp! Do I have a style?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Apartment Therapy Style Cure: Week 1

It's been a year since I said I was going to tackle our office/2nd bedroom as a remodeling project, but man, it's been really easy to put it off. Auditions, visitors, weddings, birthdays, vacations...and little by little, the room is slowly becoming a crapatorium of Stuff-We-Don't-Know-Where-Else-To-Put.

Well, leave it to Apartment Therapy (and a visit from my mother) to shame me into action . Enough is enough. I'm embarking on the day-to-day group-remodeling task, called the Style Cure, where readers all across the country band together and remodel one room of their choosing in their home. Mob-motivation, call it.

Previous tasks have included sitting in your room for ten minutes and taking "before photos," or drawing inspiration from other sites, magazines, showrooms, etc. So far, so good. But today's is to draw a floor plan for your room, which has pulled me into the rabbit's hole of online floor-planning sites. And what a f*!#@%ed up maze that rabbit has dug.

While I'm sure more tech-savvy people have been able to get the hang of some of these online design programs, I'm about ready to pull my hair out having just spent over an hour on two of them. I mean, seriously. I have a master's degree. I can program HTML by hand and I went to a top 4 school. Shouldn't this stuff be intuitive?

Apparently not, for me. I clicked on Apartment Therapy's list of links for online digital floorplanning programs. I chose one with a nifty name and came to this site: 

I mean, did I time travel back to 1999 and open up a World Wide Web Page on Netscape 2.0? Thanks, but no thanks. Not about to download that hot viral mess to my computer.

Choice two. Autodesk Homestyler one had a nice website and it was at the top of the list, so I tried it out.

All went smoothly...until I started to put in the "furniture." My biggest obstacle with designing our office is knowing how I can rearrange all our bulky furniture and possibly fit it into a very teeny room that's only 11.6 x 11.7. So I was excited when I got to start putting "stuff" in the room. But lo and behold...the large majority of the furniture choices you can upload into your floor plan on Autodesk aren't custom you're stuck with whatever size they give you...unless you own one of the specific couches they have on there-- the Dwell Studio line, the Italia B&B line, etc. I mean, what are the chances I own that couch? Plus, the few couch choices that do say "custom available" only give you specific sizes to choose from rather than a field for you to enter. So if I choose "generic loveseat," it only comes in 46", 49", or 52", for example. But what if my couch is 43"? Those three inches means a world of difference to someone who only has an 11.6 x 11.7 room to work with! What kind of sense does it make for a program that's meant to help you redesign and reimagine a space, inch by inch, to not allow you to custom size your furniture to their actual dimensions in that space?

Spent some time trying to figure it out, looking on help message boards, and finding nothing. Enough was enough. Moving on to another site. Looking through the Style Cure page's comments, I found some people had used another site, The user design wasn't as nice as Autodesk's, but then again it seemed you could actually custom size furniture. Genius.

Yes, that's all my furniture piled to the side as I tried to figure out how to custom change the walls. Those thick black squares in the upper right corner? The default thickness of walls!
All went well...for a few minutes. Of course, for the life of me, I could not figure out why, when I create a room that's 11'5" x 11'5", the thickness of the wall is included in that measurement. So, you see that thick black line that denotes the wall? For some reason, it creates a default wall of 10"--which, for some ungodly reason, allows you to also put furniture in that space. Like, in the wall. And you can only reduce the thickness of the wall down to a minimum of 2 inches. How does this make any sense? Those 2 inches are cutting into my measurements.

Not only that, it's not exactly easy to map out your room to their dimensions. Rather than have fields where you can enter in the length of the walls, you have to drag a line and draw it out. For some reason, once I have my windows, doors, and closets in there, even though they are specified to the inch, they do not actually fit on the walls I've drawn, which are supposed to be to size of 11.6 x 11.7.

So I say, screw it. I'm spending way too much time trying to figure out how to use these damn tools and not enough time rethinking the room. So back to basics. Took me 5 minutes, and while it's not visually that accurate, I can do the math myself and trust my own brain.