Bachelor Apartment

A couple of months ago our son transitioned from living with roommates to living alone.  After searching for a few weeks, he found a small modified one bedroom apartment in a high rise.

Living with roommates, he did not own much furniture beyond a bed, a bookcase and an end table or two.  Luckily for him, his mother is a thrift store shopper and a wannabe interior decorator.  But first, I needed to know what he (my client) was picturing for the space.

 Below are some pictures of his new place on move in day.

The sofa had been in our family room for years.  We recently updated our basement family room and replaced the couch with a sectional.  I was glad to keep it in the family though.  It’s a Pottery Barn sleeper sofa and, still in pretty good shape.

A former balcony was enclosed to make another room, which he will use as a bedroom.

He was barely moved in when these bar stools popped up at my closest thrift store for $20 each.  I texted him to get his thumbs up on the purchase because I knew they would not last.

Here we are in process.

The two of us went on a shopping trip to our local Home Goods. We were hoping to find a rug and maybe a coffee table, some lamps.  There were several rugs that would work in here but we both liked this geometric blue-gray rug.  The table is just the right size for the space.  I enjoyed our shopping so much – we agreed on everything.  I was determined not to impose my aesthetic on him, but I loved what he chose.

But that slipcover is looking awfully old and faded.  It’s dragging the room down.

In the meanwhile we collaborated on the art and pictures.  I found some prints on Etsy and sent them to him to decide which he liked.   After downloading my purchases I went to Fedex Office for the print.  Then, son and I framed the print together using an Ikea frame.  The other photos are from pictures I took on previous beach vacations and framed using thrift store frames.   The large print was purchased from this shop on Etsy.   We were both glad to have an inexpensive project.

It was a shock to discover how expensive Pottery Barn slipcovers are!  The fabrics are beautiful and no doubt they are well made.  But you can buy a brand new sofa for what they cost.  I found this twill slipcover on Amazon for around $350.  That fit our budget.

It is not a perfect fit.  The sofa slipcover is quite snug.  The covers for the cushions are quite loose.  Later we might experiment by putting one of the cushion covers in the dryer to try and shrink it a little.  And yes, it’s white.   It’s what he wanted.

I kept in mind that this is a guy’s place.  He didn’t want a lot of knick-knacks around.

As you enter the apartment, this little niche is on your right.

The mirror is from Target – last one!  The table is from Home Goods.  Tray and vase are from Mom’s stash.

This cabinet used to be in our house and I used it as a bar too.  It’s a little narrow for this wall, but we are considering some options.

I think we will pause in our decorating for now.  He’s been here for three months.  As he goes forward he can notice how he uses the space and decide for himself what to add.  I do the same in my home.  I make a few changes and then live with it for awhile.

Of course I  loved being able to help.  I remember how daunting it was to set up my first place.  If only there had been blogs back then.

Basement Update-Sectional

The sectional for our basement living room was delivered last week.  We are completely pleased with it.  It fits the space well and is very comfortable.  Its the Luxora Bisque from the Ashley Home Store.  (This post is not sponsored)

I’m trying to decide if we need a coffee table.  I’m afraid a table will make it look cluttered.  What do you think?

Just to remind you what this area looked like before:

The blue sofa is the Pottery Barn Basic sleeper sofa.  It is a very comfortable sleeper.  I plan to buy a new slipcover (not from PB, though) and give the sofa to my son.  Anyway, you can tell from this picture that the sofa did not fill up the space very well.  So I added this hodge podge of chairs that had no other home.  The basement was a repository for old forlorn furniture.

I still love my new walls down here..  For more about this renovation go here.  They are so perfect I don’t want to put any nail holes in them.  I’m still figuring out the other side of this room.

I used to say that I didn’t want to spend money on the basement because we never came down here.  But now that it has been updated and painted I do want to spend time here.   Lesson learned:  you will want to use rooms that are fresh and pretty and inviting.

Do you have rooms full of tired old furniture?

Carpet Runner Fail

Carpet Runner Fail

Maybe the purpose of this blog is for me to make all the mistakes. Then, from a position of authority, I can warn you away from costly decorating errors. Read on for a cautionary tale of what to do and not do when you decide to carpet your stairs.  Mostly what not to do.

I have been planning to carpet the stairs to the basement for  years, but this project always took a back seat to other more prominent needs.  But, recently  I took down old paneling in the basement and saw the huge improvement there, which motivated me to  keep going.   I found a reliable and competent handyman who could do the job and I had some house guests coming.  The timing seemed fortuitous.  I’m all about timing.

I found this bright and jazzy runner at Wayfair.  Wayfair, as you probably know, has more selection than anyone has time to look at.  But I spent a weekend poring over all the choices. The runners that were predominately red really attracted me so I narrowed my search by color.  I kept going back to this red chevron and I still really like it.

So what’s the problem you ask?  Well, these stairs have a landing at the bottom, a turn to the left.  Landings require some piecing and  maneuvering and matching.  If only I had known that during those hours of looking at carpet runners.

It’s kind of funky isn’t it?  My first reaction was No, I didn’t just see that.  The installer did not consult with me about how this was to be done, not that I would have known.   I have tendency to leave workmen to do their jobs and not hover.  As he was showing me the completed work he explained why he had pieced it in this manner.  It boiled down to “not a lot of options”.

I think it looks better from this angle.  You do too, right?

At first I was thinking “rip it out and start over”.  But, honestly, I’ve gotten used to it.  And I still like this pattern.

Even with that issue, I am glad I finally installed carpet.  The stairs are  transitional space that prepare you for the next room.  Before it felt as if you were descending into a dungeon.   Now, the red color and the pattern give you a sense that you are entering a fun and playful space, one where you might want to spend some time.

I hardly even notice that weird fusion anymore.  Really, I don’t.

  But you might want to think about how your runner pattern will match up if you have a landing on your stairs.

Basement Living Room Update

Basement Living Room Update

Those who have been following me may remember that last fall I noticed a water issue in our basement bedroom.  Yes, water was definitely seeping into the walls and the carpet in this room.  We have had water issues in the basement before and have installed a waterproofing system where a company comes in and installs a french drain and a sump pump.  However, we added on to our home, including a basement bedroom, but we stupidly did not extend the waterproofing to this area.  We thought some of our outdoor landscaping would mitigate but it did not.

Anyway, we had the waterproofing company return and take care of the issue.  In so doing, they remove drywall.  So, when I had the drywall installers come, I had them do some long needed work in another part of my basement, the living room.  Previously I had old dated paneling in this area.

I have wanted to have that old paneling removed for so long.  Once I had the professionals in to take care of the bedroom I got an estimate for removing this paneling, extending the TV wall 4 feet and painting this entire room.  Mr. DB and I agreed the cost was  reasonable and we gave the go-ahead.

This is a picture of the wall that we extended 4 feet, enabling the TV to be centered across from the sofa.

This short wall forced the furniture placement to be crammed into one end of the room.  That just threw everything off and made me give up.  Side note:  This room has looked worse. Our young sons used this room for indoor soccer, baseball, wrestling, etc.  Once they grew up and left I tried to make it somewhat more presentable, albeit with cast-off furniture.  Half-measures never really work, do they?

Finally, with the new drywall and wall extension, I am making progress.

I found this TV stand at HomeGoods.

We also updated the lighting down here with more recessed lights.  Those two updates made it feel like an entirely new room.

I have ordered a sectional sofa for this space.

My decorating process is step by step.  Once the sectional comes in I can decide on a coffee table and art.

This is the last room in our house to be modernized.  Nineteen years ago we bought a ranch home built in 1960.  It had been updated somewhat in the 1970s.  But I am not really sorry that we couldn’t do a whole house renovation in one swoop.  Our sons had their indoor sports room; now we have a grown-up space.  All things in their time.

Progress in the Boho Bedroom

I just returned from spending a week in this guest bedroom at my daughter’s house.  I had a wonderful few days looking after my 7 month old granddaughter while her parents attended a wedding in the Caribbean.  We had a fun time and I took the opportunity to introduce her to Homegoods and TJ Maxx.  You can’t start too early on these things!

If you have been reading along you know this is the room where we want to add some warmth and coziness on a budget of $500.

This is where we started.

We had the basics, bed, nightstands, lamps.

Dressing up the bed just added little added personality right away.  Lilly already had the chambray sheets, which coordinate well with the color scheme of blues and blush pink that we are going with.  The pillowcases with the geometric designs are from Target, as are both throw pillows and the blush colored throw at the foot of the bed.

I was able to hang the art above the bed, by myself, during granddaughter’s nap time.  In the room the placement looks good, but here they seem a little high.  Read more about the beautiful, inexpensive artwork here.

The furniture is all a dark brown color that kind of dominates.  I looked for inexpensive nightstands but had no luck there.  Turning to my inspiration pictures gave me the idea of draping something over the headboard.   That gray throw on the headboard gives an upholstered effect to the bed, softening it in color and feel.  Right now it is just draped there, but if it is to remain I will sew the edges for a more tailored fit.

I could not decide what kind of lamps would fit with the boho vibe.  Did we want unique thrift store options?  Or more contemporary brass desk lamps?  But then I found these blush crystal lamps at Homegoods.  The color is right for  our color scheme.  Add that they had two and they were in budget and it was a no-brainer.

So this side of the room is looking good.

We still have some budget left for a few changes on the other side of the room.  But the room is already looking more inviting don’t you think?


Guest Bedroom Makeover

Post Holiday Doldrums:  it’s a thing.  I have been in the throws of a huge case of lassitude since January 2.  This lack of energy did allow me to read 4 books, which is fine, but not much else is getting accomplished.

I saw a way out of my funk when I was over at my daughter’s house a few days ago.   She and her husband moved into their new home about 10 months ago, then welcomed their first child a few months later.  With jobs and school and a new baby there has been no time or energy for fussing with their guest bedroom.

This is the furniture and curtains from their previous home.  It is a nice sized room, and the furniture is solid and functional.

We decided to set a budget of $500 for fixing up the room.  I can honestly remember a time when allotting $500 for a guest bedroom would have seemed frivolous and even wasteful.  But, we wanted to see how far we could go with this budget.  Since we have the furniture, it seems like we can do a lot.

These are my inspiration photos.  We are going for a boho, collected look that seems particularly appropriate for a guest bedroom.  Guest bedrooms are often repositories for our cast off furniture and decor, saving us from spending money on a room that is not in constant use.  But of course we don’t want it to look like a store room, so we need a plan to make it look cohesive and inviting.

I actually started off with Emily Henderson’s bedroom makeover (below), with most of the bedding and decor items from Target.  A lot of it is on sale and you may recognize a few odds and ends in our After photos.

I think the addition of pink in the throws gives a warmth and coziness that is so important in a bedroom.  I do like the pink paired with navy to contrast and keep it from looking too girly.

A few more photos of the room from a different point of view.

We intend to try and replace at least one of the nightstands if not both and find some lamps with a little more personality.  And of course we need some nice art above the bed.

Hopefully we will be able to find an affordable dresser that fits this space better.  That might be our most expensive item.  An alternative to a longer dresser is to add a chair or stool to the side of this dresser.

We are off to a good start.  I have purchased some bedding and new curtains which will make an immediate impact.

Meet me back here next week for a progress report!


I finally have an organized garage.  I cannot tell you how excited this makes me#getalife. 
If you are a real do it yourselfer you are probably snickering at this paltry amount of tools.  But even when you have only a few tools, which are mostly not power, you want to be able to find the one you are looking for.  You even want them organized on a pretty striped pegboard.
Below see how this area used to look.

The old kitchen cabinetry was left here by the previous owners.  In fact they left quite a bit of old cabinets that I have gotten rid of over the years. 
I decided to keep this one – I like the hidden storage that the doors provide.
As always, paint gave it a new life.  And priming it first was key to making it look so much better.  I also bought new handles for an update.
There was an old laminate countertop on the cabinet.  I washed it with TSP, then primed it and painted it with glossy black paint.  I finished it with two coats of polyurethane.  We will see how long it lasts.

I purchased this galvanized organizer and tray from Birch Lane.  I think you could get a similar effect with cans with the label removed and an enamel tray.
The perfect little stool for those hard to reach tools.
But that was just one area that needed organizing and fixing up.
Below is what the other side of the garage looked like.

We started with two piles:  keep and donate.  I loaded up the van and made several trips to the thrift store.
Next I drew up a plan on scrap paper for the items that were to be stored in the garage.  My categories were:  Christmas, sports/games, coolers, beach, camping gear.  By doing this planning I was able to buy only the shelving and tubs that I needed.

Tom and I went to The Container Store and bought 3 shelving units with 4 shelves each, plus two tubs (for the camping gear and the games, sports gear).
Having everything on the shelves makes it organized and easier to clean around.

The tool area always frustrated me.  Having to paw through this pile in order to find the rake or the shovel was so annoying.

Now I can immediately find what I am looking for.  I found this Rubbermaid tool caddy on Amazon.

There is still work to be done.  Did you notice that file cabinet in the middle of the garage?  It’s full of papers that my hoarder husband must read through first.  And those doors on the cabinet are hiding a few secrets.  But we are so far ahead of where I had even dared to dream.
It’s the simple things.

To read about my gardening area in the garage go here.

This is not a sponsored post.  I paid full price for everything mentioned.

Linking with Savvy Southern Style


Our garage had reached the point where it caused me stress every time I went in there.  The disorder, dirt and cobwebs, not to mention not being able to find anything, made me want to scream.
The previous owners of our home used old kitchen cabinets and the puniest shelves for their storage needs.  I have been gradually getting rid of both for years.  They made the garage look even more rundown and they weren’t functional for any of our stuff.
This past weekend I managed to cajole Tom into helping me get started on this project that has been nagging at me for years.

We have cinderblock walls in our garage, so mounting any wall systems or hooks is challenging.  The walls were old and stained and covered with cobwebs and dust.  Yuk!

We painted half of the garage.  And put up two shelving units that we bought at The Container Store.  Just painting made the space seem so much fresher and cleaner. And we also bought a few tubs for camping equipment and sports equipment.  It’s so nice having everything organized and stored and off the floor.

Those clean, freshly painted walls make me so happy.  We used paint we had left over from a renovation project, so no cost!

Still to come is the workbench area (I use the term loosely; we are not workbench people).  And more painting.  And more disposing of stuff.

But looking at the part that is done is very motivating.  Onward.