Sunday, July 31, 2011

My new biggest fan

And by biggest, I mean the exact opposite of biggest.

Here's the whole backstory. The air conditioner in my apartment isn't working because the outlet it would plug in to isn't working. (I mean, it's only been 2 months since I reported the problem, so it's not like the management isn't doing their job or anything)
So to avoid heatstroke, my girl friend lent me her fan. The only place where there was room for it? The kitchen counter.

A ridiculous setup, but an effective one.

Today I was at target, when I came across a fan that's a lot more suited to my living arrangement. Small enough to fit in my room divider/bookshelf. I hope it's also powerful enough, because August can get painfully warm in LA.

How are y'all beating the heat? (and for my readers in the Southern Hemisphere, are y'all looking forward to the summer months?)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you

Hi readers!
This is one of those things that I've always wondered about. When you're not blogging, what do you do? I'll go first:

Hi, I'm Nick. When I'm not blogging, my real job is working for a PR firm. I also go to a handful of open mics from time to time.

What about you?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The vandals took the handles

I'd selected a winner for the kitchen handles, only to discover that the hardware store would have to re-order the ones I wanted. So in 'a few weeks', y'all will find out which one won. I know, the suspense is killing me too.

But I did take one major breakthrough.

It opens all the way! Kudos to Amber Von Felts for giving me the idea. And all I had to do was turn the fridge sideways. This actually opened up a little more space in the kitchen, which I put to good use.

A little more kitchen storage space. It's from Modernica and it's in quite good condition. Right now it's slated for cookbook storage, with maybe a wine rack on top. Because all the 2 buck chuck I drink deserves a wine rack.

But there it is. I'm... done buying furniture. It's all where it needs to be. It's nice to know I can actually focus on enjoying my apartment now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Suddenly a dining room appears.

Far off into the mists, a hazy figure slowly takes shape. It is.... my dining "room". I needed three elements to create the dining space:
1. an arc lamp
2. a table, and
3. some chairs.

Boy was I prolific. Three days. Bam Bam and Bam. Checkmarks on all three. I was originally going to parcel these out as separate posts, but that's lame. Y'all are busy and have lots to do. Instead, you get one mega post.

Here's the whole space.

The arc lamp is apparently a pretty nice model. Purchased because the store In Mode has a horrible returns policy and the original buyer was willing to take a loss to get the lamp out of her loft. This initial buyer had a copy of Hotel Lachapelle so I'm assuming she has very good taste.

The table is the ikea imitation Saarinen table. It looks good, but you can tell it's plastic. It flexes when I lean into it.

The chairs I bought today. They looked really old and were being sold at a ridiculously low price. I did some research after buying them: Ethan Allen from 1980/1981. So nowhere near as old as I'd expected, but still a solid buy. Just need a little oil and some elbow grease.

Here's the rub. The ikea table came with four other chairs.

That makes a total of 10 chairs in a studio apartment. It's not an addiction, I swear. I have plans to sell the ikea chairs as soon as I have a little downtime. I also have no real loyalty to the Ethan Allen chairs either. They're pieces I'm sitting on until I can find something I like better. (pun very much intended)

But there it is: a mostly finished dining room. Next step? Kitchen!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting a handle on things

I once wrote that I hated the handles in my kitchen and bathroom. Well, yesterday I decided to do something about it. Unusually close to where I live is an antique hardware store, full of goodies from all over the last century, plus some new stuff too. Ugly old handle in hand, I walked over there and walked back with three sample handles that I might use to replace the existing hardware. (Don't worry, I'm keeping the old ones around so come moving-out day I won't have a lot of explaining to do to the landlord)

Handle 1: Aluminium. Basic. Cheap, too.

Handle 2: A little more of a retro feel. Only downside is they might be one handle short of the number I need.

Handle 3: The largest of the bunch. Very modern, very substantial to hold. Also kind of expensive.

Here's all 3 in comparison.

I sort of already know my favorite of the three, but I'd really like to know what your thoughts are.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Or, I actually did a DIY project that turned out alright.
Some of you might have wondered what this image meant:

Well, it was part of an art project I'd been hoping to produce.

I came across a seller offering 4 identical Sealtest Ice Cream signs on ebay. Ebay's probably the best place to look for multiples like these, and they were reasonably priced, with an opening bid of about 10 bucks plus shipping. Not a shameless plug, but the seller I bought from was CJBeez, so probably a good seller to check out.

I got my canvas and spray glue from Blick. The canvas is their Studio line, lightweight and suitable for mounting light things like paper.

This is the spray glue I used. Re-positionable, so it's not a huge deal if you don't quite place the image right on the first try.

Here's how it looked as I was laying out the image. Really, the final art project looks basically exactly like it.
One thing I had to do was measure equidistant from each side so it was centered. And it was going to be a really messy number like not quite 1 3/16ths inches. Then I saw that it was also 3cm. Winner: metric system.

Here's the final piece

Cost breakdown:
4 old advertising signs: 17.23
Canvas and spray glue: 31.40
Total: 48.63

Which is a decent price to pay for a 24x36 piece of art. Plus, I now have a mostly-full can of spray glue I can use for other things.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hey, where did the desk go?

The part of my apartment that isn't the living room was home to my desk. But here's what it looks like now:

So where did the desk go? I've been toying with the layout of the apartment a bit, trying to find a way to fit in both a workspace and an eating space. After more measuring than anything else I've ever done in my life (and this includes a treehouse I helped build) I came up with this:

Instinctively it makes sense to have the workspace near the bookshelf that I keep some work-spacy things in. The entrance isn't nearly as grand as it was before, but all things considered it's not bad at all. Here's the current layout:

Look at all that space for a dining table and chairs. It's massive! I get a whole 31.2ish square feet!

Kudos to, because I can make a single floor plan for free.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bring it on, Cranberry Juice

Living room: completed enough for now. I needed a rug, and boy did I luck out.

I came across an ad on craigslist for 20 Flor tiles, at way below retail. I wasn't 100% sure how large a rug I needed, so this seemed like a good way to compromise. I also got way more than I needed. Which means I can spill things on the rug and still be in good shape.

One downside of Flor tiles is that because they're in sections, it's harder to reposition them if you're not quite happy with the placement. How many times did I have to reposition them? Four. If I were a more clever man, I'd have measured and marked out where the rug was supposed to go. I go by instinct and my gut instead, and my gut really resented having to move each tile as I tried to find a suitable arrangement.

Shot from the opposite angle partially because I wanted to show off the other side of the room, partially because I didn't feel like making the bed.

Here's another shot of the trunk. It's all covered in Fedex labels. Kind of makes you wonder what used to be in it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hello Coffee Table

Earlier photos of the living room showed off the lumpy green suitcase that I'd been using to store bed linens or the sofa slipcover. Well, the suitcase is no more. I've upgraded to something a little more legitimate, with a little more character and a lot more flat surface area.

Thanks to the magic of craigslist, I got this "table" for pretty darn cheap. It's a teensy bit too small if I want to fit everything inside it, but it's scaled to the space. This is the living area in 'bedroom' mode. When it comes time to shift it to 'living room' mode, the transformation only takes about 5 minutes.

Some plants mixed in with my fake Krenit bowls. We'll see if my apartment gets enough light to actually sustain life, or if I've got to invest in plants of the plastic variety.

Not bad for a busy weekend. Next on the agenda is a rug and some supplies for the super secret DIY project.

Getting the details down

Slowly slowly, bit by bit. Today was a really intense day, but I'm really pleased with how the apartment is coming along. Tomorrow is when I get the trunk for my excess linens, and some plants for a little something living and green.
In the meantime, I'm hammering out some minor details for smaller things to tackle.

On the left, the cup on my desk that used to hold all my pencils and pens. On the right, the new cup, snagged on clearance at target. I think the new one's a teensy bit more professional looking.

Art thingy I picked up from the goodwill near my house for a dollar. It needs a little super glue surgery to be perfect again. If I can successfully operate, it'll be a funky little thing to go on the walls. If I can't fix it, then I have a nifty frame I can use instead. I can't lose.

I think both of these projects combined cost me about 2 dollars. They don't make a massive difference in terms of the overall appeal, but they're there to add in that last extra bit. There's a couple other things I spruced up, but those are for another time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kitchen of drabness

In addition to being rather small, the decor of my kitchen is a bit on the dull side.

(picture 1: dullness)
I also have a microwave in this kitchen. Due to the fact that I have maybe five square feet of countertop, a microwave was going to take up a lot of that space. But I have an under-the-sink outlet, so...

 Here it is, hiding.

There isn't too much I can do about it, but task #1 is changing out those handles for something a little nicer and more modern. They're kind of a weird size, (I think 3 and 3/4" between centers) but hopefully the shop near me can point me in the right direction.

Anyone else ever have to put appliances in weird places?