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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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


J’Accuse! A General Introduction to Being, in Brooklyn.

The creation of an identity is intrinsically artificial – we only need to look at the artful construction of self-presentation to see this grand production made vivid in a gesture, a manner of dress, or a way of thinking. All cues that can be learned, modified, honed to perfection for the absolute achievement – in successfully manipulating ones life into a spectrum of acceptable experience – for the self and inevitably for others.

It’s a distasteful thing, to think of your own self as something you pieced together consciously – as if this could not possibly be authentic. As if it’s a departure from your naturally born being – that pink, bleating organism that opened eyes upon the world and just was.

Yet the necessity of the construction is – to me – evident in the process of day to day life. That elemental forging of a being through one’s assimilated experiences and choices – perhaps in the misguided pursuit of happiness – cannot be cast aside to reveal Ground Zero. That in itself is a duck and weave from the reality of the very nature of being.

No, I didn’t take LSD today. But I digress.

Two mind-altering things did happen.

Firstly, being a Saturday (and a rare opportunity to wander New York together) the H and I decided to venture into W’burg proper – more accurately into hipsterville. Arriving early on a Saturday had two advantages – firstly that it was not busy (though most shops had barely opened), and secondly that the atmosphere hadn’t yet rustled up the anticipated 40 or so degrees that had been forecast.

Summertime on the Avenue

The first scenario involved an uninterested and hirsute roadside bookseller who just happened to have two books on sale by authors I had been thinking about over the past two days. Both female writers whose work I admire, in charming editions that were $5 a piece. Of course I bought them. And have already started to re-devour each. I can already feel the words of these women infecting my consciousness, as all good literature does, and I love it.

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Model muses: Anais Nin, Gertrude Stein

The second was a run in with a second-hand store owner whose store I admittedly browsed at length whilst stealing glances of various items, mentally stashing them into potential holes in our unfurnished home. Let’s just call it the Junk Store. In half an hour of un-airconditioned wandering I found 3 items in the entire store – a shed filled with piles and piles of rubbish. This must be the most satisfying part of all – the feeling that I edited my way through thousands of lifetimes of knick knacks and memorabilia. Discarded, salvaged, priced to sell.

Approaching the cash-register happily, I then placed each item amongst the refuse that had been previously collected on the counter. A dour faced woman eyed me suspiciously, then glanced at the first item.

“I’m not selling you this,” she says.

“Pardon? I don’t understand?”

“You changed the sticker. I know what this is meant to cost. I just priced it myself.”

As happens with all my brushes with authority, I quickly examine my conscience for a memory of having done something wrong.

“But I just picked it up off that shelf – that one there – and I didn’t do anything to it.” My pitch is starting to rise and falter slightly, panicking because unlike the guilty, I haven’t a response prepared. I check my sweaty hands, front and back, to see if somehow maybe a price sticker has rolled off onto them?

“Listen, lady, that’s what you all say. You walk up here and you say innocently, “I didn’t change the sticker, I swear”, but I know what it should cost – I just put the price on.”

By now I’m exasperated – even feeling a little teary – and not wanting to let this carrion of a woman reduce me to a scene I take a breath.

“Look, I didn’t do anything. What is it supposed to cost then – I will pay whatever it’s supposed to be. I just want to buy it.” Deep breath.

“No, I’m not selling it to you. That’s our policy. If you change the sticker, I won’t sell it to you.” She sets it aside, amongst the detritus, and starts ringing up the other items on the cash register as I consider telling her where to stick them. But I really want the item in question now – it’s a matter of principle, of clearing my name…

I take one more breath, and finally retort “Why don’t you check the cameras then. I have a clear conscience, so you can say whatever you like. I didn’t do anything wrong. And you know, I understand your position, but I really don’t appreciate being accused of something I haven’t done.” I stare her down.

She looks back at me. “Alright, alright, I believe you, that’s why I’m selling it to you.”

Incredulous, I watch as she totals the tally – $13 – and starts to wrap each item in newspaper. Finally she wraps the item in question. I hand over a $20, mentally scanning for something satisfying to say to this woman who is doing exactly what I wanted her to do anyway, what she should be doing because I haven’t done anything wrong, but no words come.

She hands me my change, and a plastic bag emblazoned with repeating red “Thank You”s that’s filled with newspaper and junk and saying nothing nothing! what a loser! I walk out of the store to find the H in a pink mist of frustration.

It occurs to me on the way home how hilarious this is, but not before I have enjoyed stewing in a funk of a mood that matches the weather for obnoxiousness.

Why so hilarious?

Not because I realise that I shouldn’t really give two flying ones what she thought of me when I knew I’d done nothing wrong. When I knew the person that I am wouldn’t bother doing something like that. Because from a tender age the thought of shoplifting leaves me with a telltale blush of shame over my face and chest.

Hilarious, my dear readers, because The Incident was over this:

Awesome paperweight of a horse’s arse. That I fought for with my honour, people. MY HONOUR.

And that…. is that. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to feel like an arse, it might as well be over one.

X

For those interested, these were the other two items. One day I’ll have a surface to display them on.

Milkglass ashtray with studs and scalloping. Gorgeous. Not to be used as an ashtray.

Memphis checked and approved this purchase – bud vase – no chips or scratches. $3.99. Score!


A guilty secret and my public confession

Aaaah guilt. Something as a Catholic x Church of England-er who lived in sin before getting married to a Jewish man I am well versed in. I have a freaking Phd in it. (well, not really but here’s a fun fact – I did study religion at university for two semesters. guiltily)

What religion doesn’t tell you about guilt is that some of the best things you’ll ever do will feel really amazingly good, and then you’ll feel a bit rubbish about them because you’re meant to. This is precisely the reason why I needed to write this post, because I have to confess, and everyone knows once you confess you are absolved of all sin (refer to previously mentioned inherent Catholicism even if it’s not adequately adopted – let’s not talk about the remorseful part for now.)

Soooooooooo, I have a confession to make.

Forgive me, oh for I have sinned.

There is something beautiful online I have been eyeing for some time now. In stolen moments I glance at it, admiring its form, fantasising about the deliciousness of holding it in my hands. Every time I think about it, it brings me so much pleasure imagining how it would feel. Sometimes warm, always hard and smooth.

My love, today when I admired you, you were 50% off – so I told you to come on over.

The guilty pleasure:

They won’t be easy to hide, but why would you want to hide them? Curious Deciduous Salad Plates from Anthropologie.

I bought the puffin and the duck plates. They’re everything he will hate in a salad plate – everything he hates in my taste – whimsical, old fashioned, mismatched. But they were 50% off, and I figure at under $40 including shipping I am entitled to one pretty thing in my life.

Oh the beautifully arranged side salads I will serve on you my darlings. I may even lick you clean a few times – just don’t tell the H.

I thought they’d be pretty either mismatched with other whimsical patterned things, or as featured entree plates served atop the plain modern ones I know we’re going to end up compromising with.

Sigh.

I refuse to feel guilty about something this beautiful. REFUSE!

Oh I’m so going to hell. Can I take them with me?


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.