Friday, May 11, 2012

The accidental collection

The local Goodwill happens to be great for a few things, and terrible for others. The furniture selection is almost entirely cheap crap, but the book selection has its share of gems. One other area where it shines is in pottery. And entirely on accident, I've got a little bit of a midcentury California pottery collection going on here.

It all started with this guy. I took one look at the handle and thought "that's old, that's interesting, I must buy it." And at $3, I would've been a fool not to. Hello, Bauer of Los Angeles pitcher circa 1930s, nice to meet you.

And then this guy showed up on a cart in that same goodwill. While the other patrons swarmed the shoes and bric a brac, none of them picked this guy up. I'm glad they didn't. Hello Roselane of Pasadena vase. I'm taking you home with me today.

This isn't something I set out to start collecting, but I'm going to start making more of an effort to buy them, now that I know what they are. It's a real connection to the history of where I'm living now, and that's kind of special.

Who else has accidentally started a collection?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wallpaper I can learn to love

I'm beginning to appreciate pattern. It's a slow process. When I dress myself, I can mix and match. And I have a lot of respect for those who can pull off really daring combinations in their attire. But I was always hesitant when putting it in my apartment. I have two accent pillows... that's it. And half the time they were hiding in my trunk because the futon was in bed mode.

The other reason was because introducing pattern on a big scale would require me getting special permission from the landlord to paint or put up wallpaper. Until now...

The company is Murals Your Way, the product is wallpaper that you can re-position (and remove!) without damaging the wall beneath. The landlord doesn't even have to know about it. It's like the Keyser Soze of wallpaper.

Hey, they do chevrons! Everyone loves a chevron. My favorite part is that they called this pattern "ziggy"
I was also taken in by the funky lines of Scribbles. Scrawl on, wallpaper.

I drifted towards the more vintage-y patterns like these.

 Cutouton, in yellow. It looks a little like fish, in a super-minimal Charley Harper kind of way.
 It's called Scratch Leaves, but in my mind it's flowers! On grey! I love grey!

They're a teensy bit on the expensive side, but so is normal wallpaper, I guess. Is wallpaper usually a kind of expensive option? What other renovations should I do without asking the landlord first?

Hat Tip to Design Milk

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shameless promotion

I sell things for money here.

Okay, self-promotion over. Moving on to friend promotion.

While not strictly interior design-y, two of my roommates freshman year started a business a couple years ago, making ties and pocket squares.

Really really cool ones.

They were interviewed by the website Individualism here. I can verify that the no-training marathon actually happened. They also did it after having stayed up the whole day so they were not well-rested when they began. The whole experience took 8 hours, including a 30 minute break where they talked with a homeless man about life.

The prize at stake was a dime. Which might not have been paid in the end.

But you can help them make up that lost dime by buying from them via their online store. I believe these ties will also fit most medium-to-large dogs, the heads of small children, and adult penguins.

Images (c) Rodolfo Ramirez, lovingly stolen because we totally lived together for a year and I go to his house like all the freaking time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Just my type of website

Lets talk about letters. Fonts. X-heights (that's a thing, right?)I like old-school text. Text like this:
Magnalite Roasterette
Back when people wrote in cursive
That's why I've been drooling over this lovely site: Vernacular Typography. From a time when people would choose bold and daring and funky typefaces for their businesses.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Put that record back on!

I know nothing about LPs. But I've gone out and bought a bunch of them for one reason and one reason only:
They're so pretty.

I can appreciate that being able to listen to the music actually does matter, and I'm trying to buy records that aren't totally beat up. And as it turns out, people who buy classical albums are pretty gentle with them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bad art bad art, what you gonna do?

This art print is in time out. He's been very naughty.

He used to be in the bar area, leaning up against my fridge. If anyone can see the problem of having a large and heavy unsecured thing sit above a bunch of glass, come forth and collect your prize, because you're clearly a lot smarter than me.

I was retrieving something from the fridge, and I knocked it over. There was that OHNO moment. Then there was the breaking glass sound. Full-on panic.
I was afraid I'd gone and broken any number of things on that "bar" area. Maybe even all of the things. So I guess I'm really lucky that I only lost one of these glasses.

Womp womp.

TGIF, readers: has anything in your house misbehaved recently?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What is this thing??!

I'm learning about antiques by trolling the goodwills in the area and looking up stuff on the internet with my phone. It's easy if there are words or marks on it. Ebay, alibris and have been useful in my hunts. And every once in a while, I have to go to google images with a series of nouns and adjectives. 'retro glass black gold sunburst' etc.

Every once in a while I get stumped. Things that I cannot find any information on. Like, I understand that if I can't find a certain pattern of glasses on the internet, that they're still drinking glasses so price them appropriately.

But what I am about to show you, I have no information on. It's swans on a black metal base with that protective velvety fabric on the bottom. It's about six and a quarter inches tall, nine inches long and 4 inches wide, and it's HEAVY - maybe around 10 pounds. It's also got screws on the top, so I'm thinking there's a top part to it, but I don't know what that part looks like.

Who else wants to join in my mystery hunt?


The swans even have tails

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Coming soon to an internet near you

First of all, a HUGE thank you to everybody who voted for me in the Small, Cool 2012 contest. I'm doing way better than I expected to do. Seriously, you all rock.

And now, onto the other cool part. The Etsy is coming soon, and here are some of the things you can expect to find in the store when it launches, only photographed better. I'm debating between calling the store "Shameless Money-grubbery" and "Nick's Rent Payment". Any other title suggestions you can come up with are always appreciated.

This is a... box. with a drawer. Okay, I have no clue what it is.

Perfect for syrup

80s nostalgia carafe

Pair of obscenely large ashtrays, made in Japan

Oval candle holder, silver colored, with box

Kitchen Scrapbook: unused and pretty cool.

Circa 1894 and 1902 respectively

Restaurant ware bowls dated Oct. 1976

1st edition kids books.

Tennis rackets from Japan, probably from early 1960s

Cookie jar attributed to McCoy
Set of 4 snowflake/Eskimo figure glasses

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dreamspaces 2

It's time for another edition of dreamspaces, where I point out a space that I think speaks to that subconscious experience you can only really get while dreaming.

You're walking down a long, curving hallway that seems to go on forever. You can't see where it ends, but you can feel yourself descending lower and lower into the earth. Even standing in the middle of the passageway, the cool of the stone walls on either side can be felt, like the walls are reaching out to touch you.

The space opens up into a large atrium, dotted with candles, and off in the distance down another long hallway, a great light.

This is the Memorial of the Victims of Communism in Estonia,  the winning proposal by Armin Valter and Joel Kopli. The driving factor behind the memorial's form was instilling senses of unease and an unending tension not unlike those experienced under communist rule.


Via ArchDaily

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's GO Time!

So my apartment is on Apartment Therapy now.

These are some cute puppies.
You cannot resist their cuteness. You are under their spell. Vote for me you must

Win or lose, I'm still getting a free book out of the deal. And I don't think I really want to win. But wouldn't it be cool if I did?


Friday, March 30, 2012

The bed conundrum

Apartment Therapy recently posted an article about ways to place furniture in small apartments.

Okay, "article" is a bit generous. It's ten pictures, a blurb describing the problem you want an answer to and an assertion that the answer is contained within those photos.

It isn't.

And that's not really their fault. The problem of furniture placement in a small apartment is that there are so many variations of the ways even a teensy apartment can be arranged. Is the kitchen a separate room? Are there weird nooks or built-ins? Where are the windows? Each possible permutation comes with unique challenges. And today, very general ideas for solving the bed conundrum.

Unless you're one of those crazy people who can stand sleeping on a twin mattress, a bed is going to occupy a lot of space in an apartment. In a small apartment, this is even more a concern; a queen size mattress is about 33 square feet, not including the space needed to get in and out.

Even though it can be close to 10% of your itty bitty apartment, having a bed is good. You're going to get a much better mattress than if you have a sleeper sofa or futon. You can even get one of those Swedish mattresses that's made out of astronauts.

With a studio apartment, you've got the immediate problem that your bed is going into the same room that you're having company over for. Arranging the furniture so you can both have a little privacy and fit everything in is important. Let's look at some ways to solve both of these dilemmas.

1. If there isn't a bedroom, make one.

The bed goes in the bedroom; hence the name. But in a studio, if the main room has generous enough dimensions, you can section off the area you want for your bed in a number of ways.

Melissa used hanging woven mats; they take up almost no floor space, they're cheap and they're hard to see through.

This solution is a mix of curtains and the good ol' expedit. Solves a lack of storage AND is a nifty room divider. Honestly one of my favorite pieces of ikea furniture out there.

2. No peeking!
An easy way to create a little bit of privacy that requires no DIY skill at all is to arrange your furniture so it isn't facing the bed. Yes, your guests can see there's a bed, but you've laid out the room in a way that discourages looking at it, so the message is the same.

In Jay's apartment, the sofa and chairs are perpendicular to the bed. Combined with the shelf "wall" there's a clear bed area that still is separate from the seating: Keeping your bed in a little nook like this can still keep it feeling private, even if it's open to the rest of the room.

Rae put her bed behind a folding screen, and the sofa faces away from it. Even without the screen, the bed still gets a little privacy.

3. Loft it!

Wanted the top bunk as a child? Of course you did, otherwise it's just like sleeping on a normal bed and where's the fun in that? Well, just like you can have cookies for dinner if you want, you can also put that bed over everything else. Here's a really creative DIY route, bed plus storage plus a nifty little overhang for the dressing table
I admit, I'm jealous

Jason made a version that's a little less extreme. A good choice if you don't quite have the ceiling height, and it still keeps things separate.

Tune in next time when I deal with a lack of storage.
All images via Apartment Therapy, linked accordingly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Small Cool 2012, Here I come!!

So I cleaned. I straightened, organized and put away. I made my bed back into a sofa. I didn't have a vacuum, but I cleaned the rug anyways. And I did my best to accessorize. So without further ado, here's my apartment.

Some of the rooms are so small that I had to take the photos through the doorways, and the kitchen photo feels a bit awkward. But I know I'm my own harshest critic, so I'm trying to stay positive about it all.

Going into the contest, I have a number of things I feel good about:
I'm proud of the way I'm using the space, and how I'm fitting so much into this small an apartment.
I'm proud of the way I've taken ownership and found solutions to things that I didn't like. (bye bye, vertical blinds!, see ya, ugly handles!)
I'm proud of most of the furniture: they are exactly the pieces I want and I see no reason to change them.
I'm proud of the art; posters I really like and a couple pieces I've done myself.

They aren't negatives, so here's the spin I'm putting onto it.
I want to work on the kitchen a little more. (ugly counter needs to be dealt with)
I want to find a better dining table and chairs; something a little more modern/not the ikea knockoff saarinen table. (it flexes when you put weight on it; if I had to do it over again, I'd buy a real authentic metal knockoff)
I want to work on the final little bits and pieces: teensy adjustments to things where the proportions aren't quite perfect, or that could have been ironed (cough sofa slipcover cough)

Not bad for 10 months. And a first apartment. And basically no budget after month four of living here.

Wish me luck!