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bedroom

IMG_1899HEY. HI. HELLO THERE! HOW ARE YOU? i know, no one wants to hear the story of the amateur blogger who got too busy with her day job and dropped off the face of the earth. but it’s true truth, really.  i know it’s been a while since you heard from me, but life got away from me, and i spent a few months living life out in the world instead of on the internet.

SO SUE ME.

that being said, a few VERY KIND strangers have commented that they’d like to hear more about the grand apartment, and when kind strangers ask for something, you must give it to them. so here i am, attempting to fill you in on the last few months, and promising, yet again, that i’m back for real. (yes, i’m aware that you haven’t heard a peep from me since december).

here’s some real talk: around the same time i moved into the grand apartment, i got promoted at work. i worked my ass off to get there, and i pushed hard for the promotion, and then i got it, and for a little while it was like, this is it? same shit, different title? then the new year rolled around. and we hired someone to work below me. and then we hired someone else. and guess what, you guys? MANAGING PEOPLE IS HARD! i know, i know, DUH, SARAH. but let’s just say i wasn’t exactly prepared for doing my workload and supervising someone else’s at the same time. so i spent the first few months of this year buried in the weeds, trying to keep my head above water (a new feeling for me, if i’m being totally honest. it takes a lot to bury me).

at the same time, i experienced a bit of renovation burnout. the apartment wasn’t (and isn’t), 100% done, but i was OVER IT. over with bugging contractors, over with dealing with the asshole who screwed up my countertops, over with handing off huge sums of money to people who rarely did things exactly right and/or in the timeline required of them.

IMG_1924so i took a break. i took some time, and i just LIVED. i didn’t order anything new. i didn’t put up my ceiling medallions. i didn’t seal my brick wall. i didn’t schedule the reinstallation of my f’ed up countertops. i just went about my life, and it felt good.

great, even. sometimes i forget that this entire process unfolded within a single year (and that the bulk of the hard work took place within mere months). GUYS, i was TIRED. physically, emotionally. so i did the very best thing a person can do when they are tired: i rested. i put my to do list on hold, and i just told myself it would all happen someday, maybe even someday soon. but it didn’t have to happen today.

IMG_1892and that revelation? it was so freeing. i am a person who thrives on the ‘go go go’ mentality. i prefer to be busy. i like when things aren’t just done, but done right. i like them to be done fast. sometimes, i can’t sleep until they are done. but that, folks, is a recipe for disaster. especially when you’re working a (somewhat stressful) full time job, juggling a gut renovation, trying to work out 6 days a week, volunteering on the side, and trying to have a social life in between. suffice it to say, i haven’t been on a date in a LONG ASS TIME.

so i gave myself some time to just be. to write if and when i felt like it (it turns out, i didn’t), to do projects when the opportunity arose (guess what? i still haven’t painted my door), and to just live my life, as T.I. says.

IMG_1949that’s where i’ve been. living. but i’m feeling ever so slightly rejuvenated, and inspired by the lovely strangers who have commented and said, “come back, we miss you!”

SO HERE I AM.  i have so many things i want to tell you! so many posts in my brain that i want to write. like the one about the 5 things i’d do differently if i did this again. or the one about the giant centipede that came crawling out of my exposed brick last week (and why that centipede means i need to SEAL.THAT.BRICK.ASAP). or the one about how my bedroom still doesn’t feel quite right.

IMG_1846starting is hard, but in the spirit of moving forward, i’m going to do just that: start. below, you’ll find a few snapshots of the grand apartment in its current iteration. it’s not 100% there yet (is it ever?), but it’s close. and it has finally, miraculously, started to feel like home.

if you’re still out there, world, thanks for sticking with me. thanks for reading, and for hearing me out. i love you, for reals, for ever (and ever and ever).

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well, folks, we are finally starting to truly get somewhere over on grand street, and with construction (kind of) coming to a close, it’s time to get serious about THE FUN STUFF, aka, the design. the living room and dining room plans, are, for the most part, pretty set – but the bedroom has been, up until recently, up in the air.

which is, in fact, quite a nice segue into how i want the bedroom to feel. see, the grand bedroom is, well, not so grand, especially now that i’ve carved out the entire front wall for a closet. so i need to do everything in my power to make it feel big, not small; spacious, not cramped.

the goal is for the bedroom to feel like one giant cloud, like i’m floating on air, wrapped in the warm cozy hug of this bon iver song i can’t stop listening to.

that means white walls (i’m going with benjamin moore’s “white”), white trim (benjamin moore’s “super white”), white bedding (i have these sheets and this duvet from pottery barn and i love them), and white curtains (i got these from ikea).

i’ve been particularly inspired by danielle moss’ minimalist chicago bedroom (pictured above), though i can’t go quite that kondo on the space (i have a lot of stuff). hence, my goal is to stick to white walls, bedding and curtains, and then add in some warm wood tones and brass to warm up the space.

you may remember this dresser that i found in the basement of my current building – i’m hoping it’ll fit in the back corner of the bedroom.

i’m planning on order two of these urban outfitters sconces (i had my eye on these from schoolhouse electric originally, and may splurge on them at some point, but for now, i need to go more budget-friendly), and spruce up my ikea curtains with these brass curtain rods from west elm.

white sheepskins from ikea will add an extra layer of coziness, and a white ceiling fan will (hopefully) disappear into the ceiling, but keep me cool at night.

and then there’s my bed.

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this one has spurred a lot of internal debate. one of the things i wanted most in the bedroom was a bigger, better bed. for the last 15 or so years, i’ve been sleeping on the full mattress i’ve had since i got upgraded to a “big girl bed”–aka, it’s high time for a new mattress. and given that i tend to sleep spread eagle (this tends to happen when you’ve been single for eternity and the only other creature that shares your bed is your cat), i have been dreaming of upgrading to a queen.

but beds are expensive. mattresses aren’t cheap. and i didn’t exactly build a new bed into my budget.

this is where my fairy godmother, also known as my friend cassie who works at wayfair, comes in. cassie swooped in and saved the day, budget-wise, hunting down numerous light fixtures i wanted from the interwebs, and gaving me her employee discount on them. this, in turn, saved me some serious dolla dolla bills. just enough dolla bills, in fact, for me to rationalize buying a new bed after all.

which turned into a new dilemma: what kind of bed did i want?! did i want a tufted, ladylike headboard like the one above (from alaina kaczmarski’s bedroom), or an antique-esque victorian wrought iron bed like the one below?

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interestingly, when i started hunting for inspiration images of the urban outfitters sconce, i found more than a few shots of the sconce next to–you guessed it–an antique wrought iron bed!

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so cozy, right? picture this with all white bedding, white sheepskins underfoot for chilly mornings, and soft ambient lighting.

IT’S POSITIVELY CLOUD-LIKE! to recap/for visual learners, here’s the plan:

39db8dc97067ec433b62ae5b15609cdbnow: which mattress to buy? i’m going “bed in a box” – so i need your thoughts on casper, tuft & needle, leesa, et al. HELP!

 

 

 

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remember that 2002 nelly song dilemma (feat. kelly rowland)? no? let me remind you.

“no matter what i do, all i think about is you…even when i’m with my boo, you know i’m crazy over you.” 

it was–and still is, if you ask me–a JAM. a slow jam, but a jam nonetheless. anyway, a nelly style dilemma is what i am having right now in regards to my bedroom sconces. every time i think i’ve found “my boo” i go crazy over another sconce! CHAMPAGNE PROBLEMS, people. but seriously, i am spoiled for choice (there are 9 TRILLION sconces in the world), and i can’t for the life of me find the sconce for me and my bed.

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why, you might be asking, does this matter now? i’m still in the construction phase. why am i worrying about lighting? well, as it turns out, there are two kinds of sconces: plug in and hardwired. hardwired means they are actually wired into the wall, early on in the process–which means that if i’m going this route, i have to choose their exact placement NOW (if i go for plug in, i have a little more time to decide). i haven’t 100% figured out my design plan for the bedroom yet (i want to wait until the closet is built out to see where things will fit/what will fit), and i’d also like to upgrade to a queen bed (but need to wait on my budget to decide). both of these things make choosing exact sconce locations now a wee bit complicated.

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so why would anyone in their right mind choose hardwired sconces? for starters, hardwired sconces tend to be cleaner (see above), a little more sophisticated (like these from pottery barn), and for the most part, tend to look a little more intentional. which, you know, they are, because you chose them ahead of time and MADE A PLAN as to where to put them (anyone who knows me knows I LOVE PLANS).

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that being said, plug ins have come a long way (i have been eyeing these pretty babies from schoolhouse electric, as seen above). it’s not all “you mama says you ugly” cords up in here. and, as a major benefit, plug ins offer way more flexibility. so long as you have an outlet relatively close, you can put them up whenever, wherever.

though my electrician assures me that i am “the boss” he’s also said multiple times that hardwired would be better, and if i can figure things out now, i should. but i just can’t decide! i want the flexibility to upgrade my bed and futz with the layout in the design phase, but i also have found many a hardwired sconce that i quite like.

so, where does that leave me? here are my top contenders are of now. they are TOTALLY different. the top is a sophisticated hardwired choice, the bottom is a younger, pop-ier plug-in option that comes in both white and brass. thoughts?!

 

 

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i’ve been watching HGTV for about 15 years now, and of all the things it’s taught me, the most important one is this: when you look at a home, you can’t fixate on the little things (paint, tile, lighting, furniture). you have to look at “the bones” of the place; ie, the moldings, the windows, the ceiling heights, the square footage. bones, for the most part, can’t be changed. but the little things can.

i can’t count how many times i’ve seen a woman on house hunters throw up her hands in disgust at a pink tiled bathroom, squealing, “ew. THIS TILE! this is SO NOT US.” at which point, the camera zooms in on the aforementioned pink tile, demonstrating to us viewers just how horrifyingly ugly it is.

here’s the thing, folks: pink tile is FIXABLE. as are puke green walls, or a bathtub so covered in rust that you can’t even tell it’s white.

which is what i had to tell myself the first time i walked into the grand apartment.

deep breaths. this is ugly, but it is fixable.

my broker, knowing my pinterest-heavy heart, had warned me that what i was about to see wasn’t going to be pretty.

“it needs a lot of work,” he said, “but it has potential.”

(this is a thing that brokers say to you when they want you to look past the fact that the electrical hasn’t been updated since 1936 and that the refrigerator has a sign on it that reads, “DO NOT OPEN. THIS MUST STAY CLOSED.”)

i first saw the grand apartment on a cold and windy night after work, and let me tell you, it is not smart to see a place that needs a gut renovation when it’s pitch black outside. see, darkness makes everything ugly look even uglier. daylight, by contrast, helps to smooth the rough edges; sunshine adds a sheen to even the worst 1970s linoleum.

i have to be honest, potential isn’t what i saw when i first walked in. i saw ugly, dated, and worst of all, SO dirty (a type A/OCD girl’s biggest fear). the cracks in the ceilings made them look like they could cave in at any moment. the only room with a true door was the bathroom, and the tile in there was gross enough to give me serious nightmares. the bedroom had no closet, the only lighting in the apartment came in the form of bulbs that dangled from the ceiling and could be turned on by yanking a piece of string, and the kitchen cabinets were straight out of an early 1900s tenement museum.

i tried to see the apartment like chip and joanna gaines would see it. i tried to channel the property brothers. but in my heart of hearts, all i felt was disappointment. disappointment that this ‘amazing lower east side 1BR’ was sort of a bust. disappointment that it would truly require a gut renovation. disappointment that the renovation would probably be out of my budget.

so i took a weekend and slept on it. and what do you know? as soon as my head hit the pillow, my brain turned into a pinterest EXPLOSION. my inner monologue was all, subway tile crystal doorknobs crown moulding tin ceilings and omg what about a farm sink i’ll need a lot of cabinetry and i wonder if i need a new kitchen aid mixer can i afford a smeg fridge how many burners do i need on the stove can i tear down the linen closet to open up the kitchen and create a breakfast bar how many types of penny tile are there how much does a clawfoot tub cost?

clearly, though my rational self was worried, deep down, i knew: just like my broker had said, this place had potential.

so i went back to see it again on a sunny day, and here is what i saw:

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standing in the living room, looking towards the entryway. that’s shitty linoleum you see beneath eric’s feet, but underneath it is relatively well-preserved hardwood from the 1930s, when this building was built. neat, right? if you look directly behind eric, you’ll see an ollllldy mc olderstein built in cabinet and drawer situation. there’s even a cutting board that pulls out of it! i don’t think i’ll be saving any of it, but it’s neat to think about all of the families that lived here over the years and stored their non-perishables on those shelves.

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standing in the living room looking at the entryway. when i first saw this archway, i was all, ‘awww, charm!’ except then my broker pointed out that it was fake, and we could bust it open to make a semi open-concept living/eating area. it’s hard to see in these photos, but i’m hoping to open the wall up to the right to add a breakfast bar, and maybe transform the space to see above into a giant (i use that term lightly, it’s manhattan.) hallway closet.

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the living room, as seen straight on from the entryway. it’s not enormous, but it’s workable, and it gets great light. i’m thinking i’ll refinish the floors in a darker, ebony-like stain (all the better to hide the imperfections) – but they’re original hardwoods, which makes my heart happy.

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the living room, as seen from the entryway, a little bit to the right. the floors can be restored, and i haven’t decided what to do with that odd trim. probably tear it down and add crown moulding on both the ceiling and the floor. as you can see, i’ve got space for a couch along that long wall, and hopefully, a little dining area at the right. the TV would go opposite the couch, and i might be able to squeeze a little extra seating along the windows. i wish i had the budget for a brand new sectional, but mama needs new electrical, so, current couch it is.

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the bedroom, which isn’t nearly as dark as it looks here. the unit is a corner apartment, which means it gets lots of eastern light. the paint on the walls in here (okay, on all the walls) is PEEL CITY, PARTY OF THREE. but my contractor has assured me we can remedy it by thinning, scraping, and removing all of the years and years of bad paint and replacing it with smooth, beautiful, any-color-i-choose paint. isn’t it nice that the previous owners left a dorm light for me? #blessed.

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the kitchen is definitely tied with the bathroom for “the worst room in the place.” that fridge literally has a sign on it that cautions you NOT TO OPEN IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. i have to wonder: are there body parts in there? am i about to be on an episode of SVU? regardless, it ain’t pretty. the stove is super old, but in a cute country kitchen type of way. i don’t think it’s safe to use; otherwise, i’d try and save it. some of the other units i saw online in this building had amazing giant farmhouse-style sinks in place. it looks like this kitchen had an “update” in the seventies and got that fugly looking thing you see at right. if anyone knows of anywhere to get a farmhouse sink (used!) in the NY metro area, HIT A SISTER UP.

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the bathroom is BAD. but it’s workable. it has space for a toilet, a pedestal sink, and a tub (clawfoot gods, can you hear me?). and there’s a window! the square footage in here is pretty tiny, so if i can afford it, this will be the one place where i splurge on tile. nothing like some marble hexagon business all up in your footsies, amiright? more than likely, i’ll end up with inexpensive, but classic: subway tile all around the tub, penny tile on the floor (white with black grout, maybe a black border), a pedestal or mounted sink, and a new toilet. just close your eyes and imagine a black clawfoot tub in here…ahhh, bliss.

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standing in the bedroom, eyeing the linen closet (which will likely be knocked out to open up the kitchen) and the little bathroom. how about that medicine cabinet, folks? rough, right? but again, you can see that in its heyday, this little bathroom served its purpose. cleared out and freshened up, it’ll be a little beauty.

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taking a look at the doorframe between the back hallway and the living room. it appears all of the doors in the apartment beyond the bathroom door were removed and discarded (whatever happened to privacy?), but you can see that the moulding was, at one point, really beautiful. it’s simple, but i’ll take simple over my 1950s BORING doors any day. this too may be going away to open up the kitchen…but i’ve got the same thing around the bathroom and bedroom doors, so it will get preserved someway, somehow.

SO. that’s the before. god, i LOVE a good makeover. let’s just hope that my “after” is so freaking spectacular that someone puts their hands over my eyes before i walk through the front door and says, “SARAH, ARE YOU READY TO SEE YOUR NEW HOUSE?!” i can’t wait to squeal with delight at my so fresh and so clean clean NEW HOME.