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!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Everybody panic!

Small, Cool 2012 starts Thursday.

           \\\( ºoº)///

\\\(ºoº )///

         \\\( ºoº)///

\\\(ºoº )///

\\\(ºoº)/// !!!!!!!

Okay, stop running around screaming Nick. You can do this. What's the plan?

Step 1.

Step 2. Last minute adjustments. Is that poster crooked? (it is) Are you going to move that art around? (hopefully). Are you going to attempt to style and vignette your place? (Like. A. Bawss.)

Step 3. Take photos. Loads of photos. During the day this time. That means you'll have to get up before noon. :(

Step 4. Share! There's a lot of stuff in my place that I haven't shown. Little updates here and there that I've done. Well you'll get to see them all in one ridiculously long post tomorrow. Go you.

Step 5. Ask nicely for votes.
It's because I don't have a cute dog or kids. Gotta get on that.

Clean All The Things via Hyperbole and a Half

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The other other kind of bohemian

The first kind of Bohemian:

I'm not 100% sure where it grounds itself in bohemianism, but it's catchy.

The second kind of bohemian: vagabonds, usually of an artistic variety, typically thought of as centered in Paris in the mid-late 19th century, who lead hard, miserable lives in the name of a lifestyle of art and freedom.

The third kind:

It's eclectic. So eclectic that it doesn't matter that the table is right at shoulder height if you're sitting in the theatre seats.

Characterized by the use and creative repurposing of antique materials. For example, that side table is made from the arc of the covenant.

It's um.... also nuts. You know when they're in the haunted abandoned insane asylum? This is what the walls of the craziest person's cell look like EVERY SINGLE TIME. In fairness, this kind of wall treatment is a great way to get houseguests to leave.

Red Skull wasn't afraid to get in touch with his feminine side.

Stolen with love from SF Girl By Bay
Images via:
Living Etc.
Gaelle Le Boulicaut
Living Etc.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

To carry us into the weekend...

Enjoy the poolside view over the weekend

Stolen with love from Desire to inspire ( I swear I don't take EVERYTHING from them but come on, look at that pool)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why I don't go clubbing

I'm not cool. I'm not hip. And I can't dance. Three reasons why I don't go clubbing. And now, reason four: a club in Vancouver called Ginger 62.

Okay, this one's pretty cool actually. See Nick, why are you so afraid? I tell myself

Well, it's a little... Daring? Garish? Satanic? But I think that's kind of how clubs are designed these days.

Like gazelle, the bar stools huddled together, hoping to keep enough distance between them and their predator, lurking just out of frame.

Voyeur... Exhibitionist... Um... which of these is the mens room? Or is this THAT kind of club?

I declare a thumb war
The bathroom is about to launch into a Ramones song
It's like the dating game for absurdly tall religious statuary.

Images lovingly stolen from Desire to Inspire

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fess up people.

Alright, who tried to hide Marcellus Wallace's soul in the bathroom?

Lovingly stolen from Desire to Inspire.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where does it go? Eating edition

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.

So where do you place furniture in a small space? That's the search engine optimized question I'm going to tackle weekly over the next time period of now until I get bored or distracted. But let's start with the dining areas.

Living alone? Easiest of all. You might not even need a dining area. If you're a bachelor, it's pretty much expected that every meal you eat will be done on the couch while watching TV. Maybe get a TV tray so you've got someplace to set your beer. But if you've got people to impress, you will need a real dining area.

Let's talk seating capacity for a moment. On average, you will need to be able to accommodate seating for the number of occupants in the apartment, plus two. Living alone plan for three, living with a roommate, plan for four, etc. And there's a very good reason for this. You can expect another couple may occasionally join you for dinner unannounced, and having seating and dining space for them means you're already prepared. However, if three or more friends conspire to dine at your residence unannounced, they are not your friends and therefore do not deserve to eat your food.

But what if I want to have more than two guests? How do I host a dinner party in my small apartment? Say, six to eight people, maybe even a dozen. Well, you should avoid having to do this if you don't have to. Tell your friends you have bedbugs or no indoor plumbing. And anyone who knows you have a small apartment, yet continues to demand that you host this dinner party is someone whose conversational skills will not add anything to your soiree.

In all seriousness however, plan in advance and use every flat surface you can (desks and kitchen counters work well) And try to only serve crudites and other foods that can be eaten while standing and conversing, or that you'd feel comfortable serving people on a sofa. (meatballs on a toothpick yay, big bowls of soup not so yay)

And now some answers to where a dining area should go. If at all possible, the dining zone should be close to the kitchen. Big surprise, I know. Here are two photos demonstrating this self-explanatory concept.
Look! It's right by the kitchen!

Those dining chairs are space-saving, but also hard to find and expensive. Bummer.

In this space, the eating zone is right by the windows. Another totally cool option.

What if the space right next to the kitchen isn't an option? Maybe maybe your space has a weird layout. Maybe that region of the apartment is haunted. Whatever the case may be, you're going to have to get a little more creative. And again, I'm sorry because those of you who have the least-useful layouts are the ones who need answers the most, but it's hard to address all the specific layout cases in one article. Here are two really basic ideas that might offer inspiration.
From Apartment Therapy's Small Cool 2011 contest

One option is to have a moveable kitchen island as a table. Moves out of the way for cooking, then flies back right where you need it.
Admit it, this is really cool

A tabletop that folds out from the wall is another popular space-saver. You can re-use the same chairs for different purposes. Plus you get to feel like you're in one of those cool camper vans

So to recap the eating zone placement here are my top 3 pointers:
1. For reasonable layouts, close proximity to the kitchen is generally good. Clearly something only an expert in table-placementology would know.
2. For more inconvenient layouts, 'eating area' does not necessarily mean 'dining table'. A flat, table-sized surface is all you need, and there are lots of creative ways to go about having that.
3. Even tiny apartments can accommodate large numbers of dining guests, but don't invite jerks to your dinner parties.

Photos stolen with love from:
Apartment Therapy (1, 2 and 3)
Apartment Therapy again (4)
Relax Shacks (5)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This is not my kitchen. This is so much cooler

Desire to inspire recently posted recent work from a house in Enmore by Sydney-based designer Matt Woods. The gallery has some sweet sweet tiles so its definitely worth checking out for that alone. But there's one really cool and subtle detail I just want to comment on.

From a distance, the cabinets look very modern and sleek. And then you notice that it's not a totally flat surface; it's individual strips of wood, almost like beadboard.

It's modern! It's traditional! It's... moditional.
Nope, I'll try again.
It's mradern.
That's no good either. One more time.
It's traditernal.

It's both.

Image stolen with love from Desire to Inspire

Monday, March 19, 2012

(Tiny) office space

So Nick, how'd the marathon go?
Ow. In a sort of freak accident I injured my knee at mile 7, had to stop at mile 16. Better luck next time.

In return for your patience while I spent the weekend preparing/injuring myself, here's another shot of my apartment: the office area. So it turns out I had juuuust enough space between the bookshelf and the front door to put a desk and chair. Which is nice, because the Ikea Expedit bookshelves are definitely deep enough to be double-sided. Yes, it's really close to the door when it opens, but that also makes it a nice little landing strip for grocery bags. I'm nothing if not efficient. It's also where I keep my keyboard, which I'm totally going to keep practicing, I swear.

The big reason I'm posting this is because I wanted to show off a poster I'd purchased months ago but never got around to posting on here; an Otl Aicher for the 1972 Munich Olympics. It's held in place with binder clips hung on nails, so if it's not perfectly level, I can adjust it without having to put in more holes in the wall.

I'm going to assume the rest of you had really fun weekends. What kept you busy?

Friday, March 16, 2012

More kitchen-y goodness

So I recently showed off re-covering the kitchen cabinets, now it's time to look at the other half of the kitchen. I know the bottom of the cabinet is cut off. This is with the camera literally pressed to the wall; I'm not kidding when I say its a small one.

Fridge is proudly displaying a poster by Aesthetic Apparatus, based out of my home state. Holler.
The shelf is host of a number of cookbooks and foodporn that I totally will make once I'm done with this marathon and can start eating normal people food again.
And of course, it's a teensy bar setup. It's twenty-doz; all the cool kids are doing it. I rarely make cocktails for myself, so it's really more of an excuse for showing off some old glasses I've picked up at the goodwill. Speaking of which...

This is where all the cool stuff lives. Let's break this photo down.
Back left: Two tall glasses with a cool square and sunburst pattern. 1950s? A little googling shows that a cocktail and double shot sized glass were also made in this pattern, but I have no clue who made them.

Back right: Four smallish glasses with a avocado green and gold pattern on them. I also have four matching larger glasses in the drawer of that cabinet. 1970s? I haven't been able to find a similar set on the internet, so yeah, let's go with the 1970s.

Foreground: Esquire magazine's complete guide to cocktails, drinks of all varieties and the histories thereof. It's from 1956 and after leafing through this book I discovered this era is not actually as classy as I had been lead to believe.

Up top here is the eventual home of one of them sweet kitchenaid mixers. In the meantime, a silver bowl currently holding bread lives here. Thanks to some vigorous googling I know the bowl is English silverplate, and I was able to narrow it down to one of two possible makers, the most recent of which ceased operations in 1932. I say one of two silverplaters because there's a little bit of a mystery going on, but that's a story for another time. Eventually, I'll get silver polish for it, or some way of addressing that really scary looking discoloration. That's not good is it?

In case you're wondering, the cheap green and white plastic drawer thingy is Snacktower. I put all the junk food up there so its inconvenient for me to get at it. I'm lazy so I usually choose to eat a yogurt instead.

So there you have it, dear readers. This is my current favorite part of my kitchen. What's the part of your kitchen you're most proud of?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Funnel of Love

Better Living Through Design posted about these funnels/scoops/containers designed by Roger Arquer for Royal VKB called "funnel friends". I'm rushing to get them, so now I can tackle all my... pouring things into, um, other things when I make...... food, I guess.

Okay you got me. I want them because when you line them up they look like duckies.

Image lovingly stolen from Better Living Through Design

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Possibly the cheapest kitchen renovation ever

I've hated my teensy kitchen pretty much since I've moved in. It was cramped, dimly-lit, and the cabinets and countertop were hideous. Some of these issues have already been addressed. The managers installed a new light, I re-arranged the fridge so I could open the oven door all the way, and I replaced the handles.

But this is my biggest accomplishment yet. It's probably the most dramatic impact yet, AND you'll never guess how much it cost.

So so so ugly. Yes, this is the entire kitchen. 42 square feet.

The cabinets were always a problem. They're the color of a used bandaid and have all the charm and warmth of a high school science lab. Adding to the difficulty, I'm in an apartment so anything I do has to be un-doable.

First, I measured the cabinets to see how much space I had to cover. This turned out to be about 30 square feet of cabinet doors. Ugly, ugly cabinet doors. How I hate it so.
Note the precision in the drawing. You can tell I was a fine arts minor.

Next, I bought this.

This is possibly the greatest thing ever, as far as redoing kitchen cabinet doors in a cheap way is concerned.

This is a roll of white board material with an adhesive backing. Measure, cut, peel and stick, and you've got a white board that can handle all kinds of markers. Even sharpies, for when you forget they're the permanent kind.

This is a job best suited for two people, or one idiot who has to do things the hard way just because. I think you can guess which one of those categories I'm putting myself into.

You will also need:
- a screwdriver or some other tool to remove the cabinet door handles and drawer pulls
-an xacto knife, or other really sharp and precise blade.
-maybe a tape measure if you're on of those people that likes to measure things. I'm not. The motto around casa teensy is "Measure once, manage to ruin things in myriad ways regardless, so the measuring part is really not going to make that much of a difference"
-a tool for removing the air bubbles. I used my NPR membership card, but like a rubber squeegee is probably the best tool.

If you're smart, you'll roll the whiteboard out to something slightly larger than the size of the cabinet door you're doing, and cut it on the ground so you don't have to deal with the roll when you're trying to get the size right for the upper cabinets. I did it the stupid way, but it still turned out pretty good.

It's a little hard to work with if you're doing it by yourself. With two people, one can hold it in the correct place so it doesn't slide around, and the other can peel the backing off at the beginning. If you're all by your lonesome, you get to be the sheet holder and the sticker unpeeler. If you don't get the roll adhered at the correct angle, you can always unpeel what you've done and try again.

As you peel and stick the whiteboard to the cabinet, try and keep the roll as taut as possible. try and smooth out any creases and air bubbles as you adhere the whiteboard. You can get into a really efficient 'unpeel and smooth' motion pretty quickly.
"Unpeel, smooth and attempt to take photo while balanced precariously on counter" is not a recommended motion.

Done with that? Great! now here comes the first annoying and fiddly part. Try and smooth out as many of the bubbles as you can with whatever tool you've got for the task. A credit card is fine, but it's a little bit too flexible and a little too narrow to be ideal. This is something you can do after each cabinet, or you can do it once all the cabinets are covered.

You don't see the bubble? Exactly.

Then you get to move on to the next fiddly bit. With your sharp and precise blade, run it around the cabinet edge and cut off any of the extra material. It's just a bit too stiff to want to hold the 90 degree bend onto being the edges of the door. Again, this can be done at the end of each cabinet, or when all the cabinets are done. But always do the smoothing out first because there will be a teensy bit of movement in the whiteboard material and you don't want to have to do more cutting once.
Many recommend using an xacto knife with the proper stick thing it goes into. I couldn't find mine so I just held the blade. Again, not recommended.

I swear I didn't change the white balance to make it look like I did work.

And voila! One brighter and more modern kitchen. This is a really easy way to redo an apartment kitchen. And it's cheap too. The roll cost less than $30, shipping included. Obviously if you have a normal-sized kitchen one roll isn't going to be enough, but most kitchens should be under $100.

So there you have it: "new" cabinets for super cheap. The only thing left to do is decide what to do about that fake granite countertop.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bold, daring, and crazy

Nature can be a great inspiration, a jumping off point for furniture designers. One example can be seen in this shelf by designer Floris Wubben. The shelf is a juxtaposition of the strong, solid, and earthy tree forming the side of the shelf, and the light and airy white web-like material forming the shelves. So what's the inspiration behind the shelf? 

A tree fungus.


Image lovingly stolen from Design Milk.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Glass Log Jammin'

Why must you taunt me, Design Milk? Whyyyyy?

A lot of the stuff I've commented on from there is pretty avant-garde (my code word for 'just plain weird')
And this one seemed no different. They recently posted about a set of glass logs created in a collaboration between Jeff Benroth and Dewitt Design Studios. I took one look and thought "Why would I want logs cast from glass"?


That's quite nice, actually. I want them now.

What do you mean it's a limited edition of 50?! Only like... 8 people can have that cool fake fireplace-y thing now. And none of them will be me. Come on all ye pottery barns and crates and barrels, get copyin'.

Images stolen with love from Design Milk

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book 'em, Danno

My new hobby is scouring the local goodwill for valuable things, smartphone with internet in hand. It's part of a slow process where I'm learning a little bit here and there about silver plated tableware, glass... thingies and books. Lots and lots of books, but this bad boy is the cream of the crop.

*cue angelic choir*
The Natural House, 1st. ed. BAM I keep it in a place of prominence on the ol' bookshelf-room divider. I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to keep it, but for the time being I'm glad I have it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March Madness

Greetings readers one and all! I've been bad. Very, very bad. No treat.
I've made changes to Casa Teensy and I haven't kept you all in the loop. Nothing super dramatic, but just enough to keep things interesting. The plan to get the apartment ready in time for the Apartment Therapy contest is still a GO! So these last 3-4 weeks, I'll be ramping up the posts, and doing more things. Here's the progress so far, with the things I've accomplished so far scratched out and the new additions added in bold.

- Hang some sort of art print. The room needs one more pop of color.
- Consider getting matching towels.
- New wastebasket Because the teensy one I have for the whole apartment is just too small for the task

The Main room:
- Hang art
I did it! Expect to see three pretty cool posters
- Refinish dining chairs. Sell other set of chairs. Maybe get new ones?
In progress. I finally have the right chemicals to tackle this bad boy. Let's see if I can strip a chair without giving myself chemical burns
- Consider painting the folding chair some sort of fun color.
- Consider making a cover for the heater that I refuse to use.

The Kitchen:
-Add some accessories to the bar.
-New Stove! They did it! I can bake things now!
- Cover beige cabinets with removable white vinyl.
- Find way to cover the ugly countertop with... something. Probably metal. This one is only if I get the job I've got a phone interview for on Monday. Wish me luck!

Other projects:
- Etsy??!! Looking into selling some cool vintage things I've rescued. Or just sharing them with all of you. I have no clue how this whole e-commerce thing works.
- The Marathon. I've been training for the LA Marathon, it's in 2 weeks. Will I have photos of that? Maybe. On the plus side, I'm getting good at jogging for hours at a time.

This is an exciting time here at Casa Teensy, I'll be sure to share the results with all of you. Fingers crossed I get that job; that will make the rest of these so much easier.