Apartment Update: Living Room

It has been two month since I moved into my tiny new apartment.  While the last several weeks have been an exhausting mix of moving, furniture assembly, organization and more trips to Target than I expected, it’s been so fun turning this space into my home. I told you all that I was going to learn some tricks from an interior designer, but that didn’t work out so I’m going it alone. I was disappointed at first, but it’s made for more of an adventure. I can now also claim that I did this all by myself, and I’m really happy and proud of the (nearly) finished product.  To add to the challenge, I am working on a very tight budget. All this is not to say that I don’t have a lot more to do, but here’s an update on all that I have been up to.

You all remember the before shot of the main room:

Empty Apartment

Empty Apartment

And here is the after:

living room

Please remember I didn’t really have any furniture (I sold it all when I moved from NYC to Boston). I showed up on Beacon Hill with the wing chair, ottoman and piano bench that I upholstered, but that’s about it. As a result, I was able to build the entire room (one of the two in the apartment) around those items, specifically my beloved chair. I focused on navy, white and pink for the room.

The table and chairs in my kitchen came from my grandmother’s house (by way of my aunt’s basement). Thankfully the table is the perfect size for the small kitchen, but has two additional leaves embedded in the table I can use for dinner parties.

living room 2

I had been dreaming of a navy velvet sofa (Did you know that Jonathan Adler has a line at JC Penney?), but decided to go neutral because this isn’t my “forever home,” and who knows where I will be (or with whom) in a year or two. I fell in love with the brass nail heads of the Vaughn sofa from Boston Interiors, and the price was right. The folks at Boston Interiors were so nice and left me along to waffle between a few styles for nearly and hour while entertaining my fellow shoppers by face-timing with my mother throughout the showroom.

With that purchase made, I was able to have fun with the rug. I picked this trellis pattern in navy and white. I was this close to choosing a chevron pattern for the floor, but I think chevron’s moment in the trendy sun is just about over.  Instead, I picked a chevron pillow. I figured it was less of an commitment. I’m pairing that with a Kim Salmela pillow that ties in the trellis of the rug, with an ethnic print (reminiscent of the ikat of my upholstered bench) with pink welting in a shade close to that on my chair and ottoman. It was my own personal design hat-trick.

The wing chair has been in constant use since I moved in, and it really needed a companion in the form of a little end table. I found this brass one at Home Goods, but you can find similar one at Create & Barrel. I love brass, and because of the sofa’s nail heads I decided to overlook the mirrored top. Not in love with that part of it, but flowers help soften the look for me.

wing chair

I own some lovely pieces of art, but nothing large scale enough to work above the couch, so I decided to try a gallery wall made up of some of the items I love most (prints, photos of dear friends, a map of London, a favorite New Yorker cover, a pen and ink by my talented brother, and an original Loose Parts cartoon that’s an inside family joke) plus two small sun mirror to add some much-needed texture.

My gallery wall

My gallery wall

I went through the entire process by cutting out newspaper to the specifications of my frames, hung them on the wall, and then stared at it from different spots in the room for an hour or so to make sure I liked the arrangement.  Putting the whole wall together took more time than I expected, but I’m pretty happy with the end product. I’m looking for one more item with some texture for the upper left corner. If you have a suggestion please send it my way!

I’ve held off having an official housewarming party because I want the space to be “done” before I have people over. In the past I’ve offered advice to friends who are decorating to cut themselves some slack, don’t rush the decorating process, and take time to see how they use the space before committing. I haven’t been able to take that advice to heart. I’ve been stressed about the shade of blue on a pillow, and a back ordered coffee table sent me into a tailspin (speaking of which, I now think I’ll be getting this Lucite one from CB2 so that it visually disappears into the room).

I seem to be projecting a lot of my feelings about myself onto my apartment. I only want my friends—and you—to see it when it was finished and perfect! I finally did have two girlfriends over for wine a week ago, and I was prepared to explain why this or that was not complete, or when the patio furniture is arriving (next week, just in time for summer), but I didn’t need to explain the state of my apartment to them. They loved it—the work in progress that it is—just as they love me (also a work in progress).  When will I learn?

Next week the apartment tour continues in my bedroom where my craftiness was pushed to its limits.  Stay tuned.

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9 thoughts on “Apartment Update: Living Room

  1. It looks fantastic Emily! I love that chair and ottoman so I think using them as the base was an excellent choice!

  2. Pingback: Apartment Update: Bedroom (& Brimfield) | The Great Wide Open

  3. Pingback: I Lost my Voice (And Found it Again) | The Great Wide Open

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