Style Inspiration: Living Spaces

Hey readers, long time no see 🙂

Despite being a little ill I’ve been busying myself with little bits and pieces but sadly, nothing blog worthy.

The biggest news I have is that I am attending BlogHer ’12 – a blogging conference at the biggest, swankiest Hilton Hotel in NYC – this week – and hope to come back full of pics and inspiration for you guys! One of the highlights is the big man himself – President Obama – is addressing the conference via LIVE video link tomorrow afternoon. I cannot wait. Yes I am a serious dag. I know.

In other news, I have been scouring the internet for inspiration as our blank canvas – despite having a skeleton of basic furniture, is still looking rather bare!

I’ve posted some inspiration below and am sporadically trawling the internet for great deals on huge mirrors, curtains, cushions, and art – let me know if you see anything that could help!

Loft apartment design by Nispel.

Love the fireplace in the image above as focal point and the use of light, neutral shades to keep the space open, with accent colours to add interest.

LOVE the huge mirror/fireplace combo in this image from DesignersCollaborativeNYC.com .

In the image above, the design really uses the vertical space without beating you over the head with too much detail. The oversized indoor plant works for me too! Again, breezy neutrals and pops of colour – the rug is beautiful – shame it would have butt-kiss chance in my home of staying that way!

Image from centralinteriordesign.com

These two toned, full-length curtains really maximise on the height of the ceiling and tie in beautifully with the colour of the sofa. No, I couldn’t do the exact same thing (choc brown stripes in a curtain.. umm. noooo) but I would love to replicate the sheer quality of the curtain and possibly have the fabric integrate some kind of detail in the “feature colour” I pick… BUT HOW DO I DECIDE ON JUST ONE COLOUR???? I’m your typical Gemini, so clearly a decision like that is never going to stick. I think I’ll keep colour to the accessories – cushions, vases, table cloth etc., so I can change them up as much as I like!

I am also telepathically sending out an intention to the universe that I would like grand, oversized objects to furnish the living area with. The first thing that came through was this excellent and almost the size of me black enamel lamp (sans shade) which WORKS! It was just sitting on the side of the road as my neighbour and I strolled up to the local hardware.

Stealing garbage from the Williamsburg Projects. That’s how I roll.

Positive – have a new lamp. Negative – have to find a shade. What the hell shade do you put on a black enamel lamp?

The h gets his monthly paycheck soon which means SHOPPING TIME.. Which means blogging time..

But now, I’m going to celebrate this stormy old NYC afternoon the way it was intended:

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What Happened? Destiny Vomited on my Moving Day

They say moving is in the top 5 most stressful experiences you can have in your life, up there with changing jobs, getting married (or divorced), someone dying…

I would have to say after yesterday that I wholeheartedly agree – however I want to add in acknowledgement of the distance moved and then insist that it’s irrelevant. As is the number of items. The amount of stress is directly proportionate to the common language skills of all parties and the likelihood that your movers are from a Russian crime syndicate keen on taking you (not just your furniture) on a ride.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

This was the list.

MOVING DAY:

– Order SUV town car for pick up at 4pm

– Go to owner of dining table‘s place, pay for and pick up table. Put in back of SUV.

– Go to owner of sofas’ place. Pay for sofa lounges then let her know to wait for movers at 7.

– Go to owner of coffee tables’ place. Pay for coffee tables then let her know to wait for movers at 7.30

– Go home. Assemble dining table and reading chair.

– Receive movers and aforementioned goods around 8pm

Here’s what actually happened.

Before I leave, I assemble the reading chair I’ve received. I’ll show you later.

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Yet another free ALLEN KEY! I call that lucky.

4pm. I ordered a town car SUV/van. Waited 5 minutes. Got a sedan. Called back. Told them I didn’t order a sedan, and that I needed a van (it wasnt just my body dysmorphia requiring a van.. I actually needed to pick up stuff). Waited another 10 minutes. Got an SUV.

4.16pm Judging by the growth of baby hairs on his chin, SUV driver is around 12 or 13 years old. Think to myself, I may die. Send out final tweet, just in case. Decide (thanks to Natalia) to call him Ramon. Go Ramon, Go!

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Ramon, you have a nice SUV, but does your mother know you’re not in school?

4.30pm Arrive at dining table residence. Ramon waits outside. Craigslist listing failed to mention table top has a corner missing, that looks like it’s been chewed by a zombie on bath salts. Not sure what to do and conscious of the time I agree to buy a completely different table for the same price.

4.36pm Load table into SUV with Ramon’s help. He is surprisingly strong for a 12 year old.

4.48pm Stuck in shocking traffic. Ramon is muttering into his earpiece. After my third attempt at striking up conversation I find out his name is Eduardo. I decide to stick to Ramon. GO, RAMON, GO!

5.05pm Arrive at the lovely Samantha’s house. She looks radiant with her clean hair and unwrinkled dress. By contrast, at this point my shorts are creased somewhere around my armpits and my tank top is feeling like it grew out of my sweat fungus. I pay her the balance for the sofas, thank her profusely, and run back to Ramon. GO, RAMON, GO!

5.20pm Arrive at the coffee table place. Ramon insists he won’t turn down the actual street because of the traffic. I run from the corner to the middle of the block, then buzz a somewhat dodgy looking doorbell to meet Craigslist person #3. Her name is Magdalia, which my tongue refuses to say. Not sure why. The coffee tables are just as lovely in person, but still loaded with her stuff. In a hurry to clear them off (thinking I am taking them with me) she whips her stereo (by the cord) into the air and catches it. Impressive. I tell her she doesn’t need to hurry – the movers won’t be by until 7pm. She tries to sell me two lamps and give me a microwave. I feel ill at the thought of dealing with any more items today.

5.25pm Back in the SUV, I sit back thinking “Now all I have to do is wait at home, in air conditioned comfort”. Ramon does his best to drive under the speed limit the whole way back. I wonder if what he was mumbling earlier was that he wanted to put me on minutes, rather than the flat fee. I kick myself for not clarifying it first. I imagine a $150 taxi fare. I try to calm myself down thinking about other things, which doesn’t work.

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All my colours bleed for you

5.35pm Stuck in traffic. Don’t these people have homes to go to? Oh.

5.45pm Get call from Russian movers whilst still in car. Call goes something like this – Him: “(unintelligible) We are outside. What apartment number?” Me: Who is this? What apartment are you at? You’re not booked until 7pm” Him: “(unintelligible) movers (unintelligible) (unintelligible)”, Me: “What. Street. Are. You. On? Are you at Union Street?” Him: “No, no, not Union Street”, Me (fearing they are at my house) “Are you at my house?” (looking back, I realise how dumb that was, but I was flustered, ok?) Him: “Yes yes we are at your house” Me: “WHAT? Where are you. What. Street. Are. You. On.” Him: “We are at blah blah avenue.” Me, guessing they mean the coffee table address: “Go to Apartment ONE R. FOR RABBIT.” He hangs up. I quickly call Craigslist #3 (Magdalia) and warn her they are outside. She croons in her soft, round accent it’s okay with her. I hang up. My phone then rings 4 times in the next 13 minutes. The conversation topics covered:

Him: “Who signs the contract? Your friend?” Me: “What contract? What does it say?” Him: “You need confirm start time” Me: “I know what time you started, you called me when you got there.” He hangs up. So rude, but I start to get used to it. I start cursing loudly in the back seat. Ramon shrinks into his captains chair which is looking larger and larger as he shrinks smaller and smaller. I resist the urge to stroke his hair to calm him down.

5.57pm THE VERY SHORTENED VERSION – more calls. Magdalia: “Um. These guys don’t seem to know where they’re going.” Me: “I emailed them an itinerary yesterday. Let me talk to them” Him: “You text it to me, on my phone”. My car pulls up to the curb. I text the addresses while trying to pay Ramon, who while I have been on the phone has pulled out the dining table (so strong!) and dumped it with the garbage bins on the side of the road. Ramon kindly only charges me $60 for 2 hours driving which I don’t blink at, after worrying about a $100+ fare. He leaves. Whilst texting I notice cars slowing down to inspect my dining table. I stand protectively in front of it, with its four legs under my arm, texting furiously trying not to lose my sunglasses in the bargain. He calls again “How many men you like?” Dumbfounded, I insist. TWO. One to punch and the other to drop kick. F%$K.

6.15pm Somehow get all items inside. Get to work putting dining table together.

6.17pm Send a facebook message to ask our lovely downstairs neighbours to borrow their screwdriver (again). They oblige. I meet them in the backyard. They listen to me complain generously, then (saved by the bell!) their burrito dinner arrives so we all go inside. I get back to work assembling the dining table on my own.

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All the holes have screws, and yet there are two screws left. Mocking me.

In typical Adriana fashion instead of waiting for someone to help me flip it, I attempt to flip it by myself. Realise my legs are around a foot too short for this task. Flip it anyway.

SHEER WILL PEOPLES.

6.25pm Receive call from first address to say that the movers still dont know where they’re going. Magdalia gets on the phone to transcribe the addresses into written form on an envelope to give to them. I apologise for the hassle, hang up, and suddenly understand why men punch walls.

6.36pm Receive text from second pick up address to say movers have arrived and left. At least they figured out that much.

6.56pm H arrives home. Start telling him adventures so far. He looks at dining table and looks back at me – that’s nothing like what we said. I die inwardly, thinking, if he doesn’t like this table, I might kill him with the table, then I will go into a female jail and become some huge woman’s bitch just to save myself from my teeth being punched in and I’m not sure I could really become sincerely attached to someone that butch but I really like having teeth. He says he likes it. I’m surprised, but relieved.

What we thought we were getting… IKEA Vika Amon Table Top in Birch

What we got. Also from IKEA, totally different. Now, I realise the chairs don’t match at all, but they will be painted, and shut up. Just, shut up.

7.04pm Shock at H’s reaction interrupted by arrival of mover. Small Russian of around 20 years arrives with contract for me to sign but carrying nothing. Contract has no charges on it apart from the agreed $55 per hour. I check start time and sign it. He says he will be back in one moment, has to call Boss.

7.07pm Russian returns, still no items. Contract now displays a total of $265 payable immediately. I almost fall over, then launch into explaining that there is no way I will pay that because it was not what is quoted. He says he doesn’t know what I was quoted, “but this is what cost.”

I will save you from reliving the next 45 minutes. Needless to say it involved alternating repetitions of the following exercises:

– me screaming at the young Russian man, pleading, reasoning, and then screaming some more

– me screaming on the phone to his boss who hangs up on me about 3 times, that’s when he’s not talking over me. (I did start out calmly by the way, but after being hung up on, then someone insists on talking over you, then threatens to sue you when you threaten to call the cops, you start getting shirty)

– Michael screaming at the young Russian and the boss, and me telling him to shut up (because I was doing a much better job, I assure you)

– young Russian insisting it’s not his fault, he gets paid $12 an hour. I feel bad.

8.02pm Finally Michael has the boss agree to take what we originally got quoted, but they are leaving everything on the sidewalk. FINE. Young Russian calls his boss, clearly gets torn a new one, hangs up then goes down stairs, red faced. I feel bad again.

8.05pm Michael asks the amazing downstairs neighbours to help bring our furniture up from the street.

8.18pm We all collapse on the sofas and I decide now is as good a time as any to open a cider. Realise we haven’t eaten. Order the penultimate moving food – Pizza. Except this time, it’s NY Pizza and it’s VODKA PIZZA and when it arrives half an hour later, it’s amazing.

Okay, okay so it’s not the whole story. I did also unpack, windex and assemble everything before bed and set it up so I could show you SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU GUYS? and while I am somewhat concerned I will be the target of a hit, sometime soon, I am glad that we didn’t back down.

Love, me.

PS – Mum – don’t worry – I’m being dramatic. And we’re in a security building.

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Reading nook – installments one and two. Note – cardboard box is not staying. Also note – chair that I assembled. Needs a big a$$ cushion. Will deal with soft furnishings some other time.

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WE GOT CHAIR. And table. Possibly the most exciting installment in our NYC lives so far.


The Saga Continues…

Today I am picking up furniture from 3 corners of Brooklyn, with 2 modes of transportation and a simple hope that everything will arrive and be executed correctly.

A vain prayer, but one I hope is heard.

Three coffee tables and the two sofas are being retrieved from their previous homes in Parkslope, but not before I make a grand entrance via SUV to drop off cash in payment for said items. If I can will my legs to move from this stool to make the journey. The movers will visit the lovely Samantha, and the elusive owner of the coffee tables, around 7pm this evening.

I’ll retrieve the dining table from Greenpoint on my way home.

This operation will not be possible without the compliance of both a willing SUV town car and the english comprehension skills of the movers.

I will post photos as soon as everything has arrived.

Pray for me, dear reader.


Furnishing the Void on the Sabbath

Today’s Sunday, the day I get serenaded by gospel from the backyard (sadly it’s somewhat quiet today), and also the one day this week I chose to rest or “do nothing”.

Those that know me well know that will never happen (it took hospital to render me immobile and offline for even a small period of time – I think I lasted 3 days) and besides, I outsourced the relaxing years ago – to the H, and he does a marvellous job at it.

Yep, he’s at his usual station, lying belly down on the bed watching some TV show on his MacBook.

But I am staying confined to the house because I am trying to conserve energy to “get well” so I thought today as good a day as ever to plan the furniture floorplan for our home.

As I’ve pottered around the space over the last – wow almost 2 weeks – I have imagined the things I need involuntarily – objects pop up as if ghosts around me – “ah, that’s what I need to put this cup on”, “oh, I would sit there while I take this call.” Actually that sounds far more benign than some of the things that have flashed through my head, but let’s pretend – it’s the Sabbath after all – that I am a lady of gentle temperament and discriminating tastes.

The Plan.

For those who missed it, here’s the floor plan.

I am toying around with two ideas. Firstly, to use the break out space between the kitchen and bedroom as a dining area. Like so:

Option A. Note how excellently I taped the floor in the shape of a table. The H doesn’t appreciate it but I did think it was rather clever.

And the other, to create a reading/writing nook. Pretty self-indulgent, which is why I actually didn’t really consider it at first, but thankfully H hates the idea of the dining table being in the way as he saunters from the kitchen to bedroom.

Ooh hello. Fancy a cup of tea in my reading nook? Oh yes please. Mm delightful. PS – The X marks the spot for a coffee table. The wall needs to be filled with shelves of amazing books and art.

The only problem with option two is it means a dining area needs to be created in the large, wonderfully open space, somehow, and mostly it seems it has to be by cornering out a “living space” with the two sofas, effectively splitting the space into two. I’m not 100% keen on this idea. In fact I was considering us never entertaining, just to avoid this situation. Seriously. But then realised we do need somewhere to eat dinner too. Plus I could use the table to write/sew/draw/accumulate bills and unopened mail.

More masterful masking tape skills. Memphis insisted on being in this photo, and the next one. He makes a cute model. Ignore the box – that would be a side table, ideally.

The dark side. Not really dark in real life but an irritating by-product of shooting into the window. You can see the mark up for the sofas on the left, to the right is the corner/wall the TV(?) will eventually go on.

In the spirit of compromise (actually so I can have it all including the reading nook I have always wanted as well as a sewing workbench I MEAN dining table) I am going to work with my concerns as a guideline to keep the space looking as open as possible. My eyes tell me:

– Don’t let the table compete with the sofas as they’re dark – I think something lighter in colour would be better than everything being dark (my favourite colour for furnishings but way too heavy looking). Not sure it needs to be white, though. I don’t want the space looking high-contrast, and modern, because it has the potential to look quite cold and empty

– Any shelves or bookcases etc that we get are going to need to be white, I think, to keep the walls from looking like they’re coming in

– The coffee table/s need to be glass to keep the smaller lounge space open visually

– I need to find some floor lamps so I can light the different areas individually rather than always using the overhead bulbs

– I also really want to change the curtains, I’ve tied them up so the dogs don’t touch them before I put them away and replace with something nicer. I also thought of extending the top rail right along the length of the wall to create the illusion of windows all the way across. May be a little ambitious, plus I would have to make/get made but I am tempted, I think it would look stunning.

– I need a freaking amazing reading chair for my reading nook!!!!

So I’m going to do some more writing now, then Pinning for inspiration later.. If you’re on Pinterest and want to look me up I’m right here. It’s nice to spend the day dreaming.

Later lovelies. X


The Slope, The Sofas – Success!

SO today was all about the sofa.

I wanted to get a sofa that H would like – because if he doesn’t he tends to lie in bed when he gets home and it’s kind of annoying.

In that “where’s my shirt – right there/can’t you ever wear shoes/gets on your nerves after years of living together/I may stab you to death with a teaspoon one day” kind of way.

So the dream is – really – to have a sofa area that will be a bit of a refuge from the storms of the day. Somewhere nice to rest. Somewhere maybe a bit like this?

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I found this inspiration on Pinterest but seeing as they never credited the source, I can’t cite it. Let it be known that I would if I could.

So i found a one year old leather sofa on Craigslist – actually 2 x sofas, and went to see the lovely Samantha who owns them all the way over in Parkslope – a rather attractive end of Brooklyn that has rather fancy schmancy stores.

I saw these things on the way:

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The interior of Jimmy’s town car SUV. Aussies – a town car is like a really clean, nice privately owned taxi that has a set price – the town car ride that cost me $16 today would have easily cost me $45 in Sydney.

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Buses going down a slope. There were four. I was too slow to turn my iPhone sideways.

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My first glimpse of the STATUE OF LIBERTY!!! Far left for those in the back.

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The Brooklyn Casket Co. Not sure I need to see again but liked the eeriness of the guy in the window.

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Beautiful, leafy Parkslope. Reminded me of Woollahra.

And finally, when I got to Samantha’s place, I saw these two beauties:

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Love me some LEATHER

They have a soft, deep seat that is pleasant to linger on. I didn’t but I did love the moment I spent on it awkwardly trying not to acknowledge the fact it was now up to my butt (does anyone else find that a bit weird? Oh, do I want it? Lets see what my butt has to say about it”) but that’s what the H asked for – for me to test it out.

For the record, Samantha was a rather lovely Irish girl, and nothing like Samantha from Sex and the City, though I suppose if she was a raging hornbag I probably wouldnt know.

Unless that invitation to have a cup of tea meant she wanted something more than just tea?

Gosh.


The blank canvas

Having arrived a full month ahead of me to start his job whilst I wrapped up hubby found us this little beauty in the gradually gentrifying (is that a word?) but still slightly grungy end of Williamsburg.

Yes, it’s a (how shall I say), lively end of the neighbourhood but we have a terrific newly renovated warehouse apartment with huge ceilings and a backyard so… whatever. I am also loving the baptist church two doors down that has serenaded me with gospel all day today. (Note – this task has been taken over by a female opera singer in another residence this evening. Loving it!)

This is what we’re starting with here kids.

The floorplan. As you can see there’s a large open space in the middle and stairs (top left) head down to our little garden/courtyard area. The square area in front of the balcony is where we look down on our lovely neighbour’s yard. We’re lucky, they’re lovely, or it could have been awkward!

Right now there is literally NO furniture in the main area. In the bedroom we have a bed – obviously essential and bought by hubby from IKEA before I got here. It’s not very exciting so I’m not going to show you.

The lofted ceilings and polished cement floors are beautiful, so I’m looking forward to decorating 🙂

The hardest thing to deal with right now is the absence of anywhere suitable to sit – especially to blog! Hubby is fine to lie in bed all day but I hate it. So I’ve been repurposing a few “found” items:

Excellent desk set up.. until your bottom goes numb

I think based on this predicament the first thing to do is buy some alternative seating. Sofa seems like an expensive and difficult decision to make first off so I decided to purchase some (padded) stools for the breakfast bar/counter you can see behind my fancy desk pictured above. I found these gorgeous stools on West Elm – and loved them – AND THEY WERE ON SALE. Put them in my shopping cart (thought I’d better ask hubby before buying) only to return an hour later and they were sold out 😦

NOTE TO SELF: Don’t ask husband’s permission. Just buy next time.

I decided, in desperation, to get these instead. They go against my primary philosophy in buying homewares (I find vinyl cheap and cheerful – I know it’s snobby) but thought at least the white wouldn’t add visual clutter to the beautiful open space.

Nova White Saddle Cushioned Seat 24-inch Barstools from overstock.com
Cheap but PADDED SEATS.

So that’s the first major furniture purchase done with. In 5-7 days we will have stools. Until then, my sore bottom says hello, goodbye, and thanks for stopping by.

Can I get an Amen, and a Hallelujah.