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.


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).




one of my “must haves” during my apartment search was the ever elusive “pre-war charm” — i wanted an apartment with history, an apartment where the walls told stories and the floors were worn with wear.

happily, i found that charm in the grand apartment. original door frames include some seriously intense molding, the bathroom door contained an old crystal doorknob (!!), and the floors were beautiful old thin oak.

and then, of course, i discovered the brick in my living room. you’d think i’d have been satisfied at that point, but no. i wanted MORE CHARM! so i asked my contractor to install crown molding on top of the kitchen cabinets and around the living room walls.


my next goal? to hang ceiling medallions around my three main lights in the living area (living, dining, entryway) to make those light fixtures (my splurgiest, coolest ones) truly pop. for example, how cool is the one above?! i love how it turns a (still very interesting) light fixture into a true statement. medallions are a little more baroque paris than pre-war NYC, but i still think they can work in my space (which is obviously a lot less impressive than the one above, on ALL levels).

here’s what i’m thinking (light fixtures have already been purchased, for dining area, living room and entryway, in that order).


the plan is to order them unfinished, then paint them to match the ceiling color. once they’re up and painted, you’ll never be able to tell they’re not original. and at under $50 a pop, they’re a relatively inexpensive way to add some serious D-R-A-M-A.



(the dining room design plan, so far)

luna pendant | cygnus pendant | capiz chandelier | work hard poster | bentwood chair | docksta table | sheepskin rug | hide rug | bar cart

so, if you are a regular reader around these parts (and by that i mean, my two friends who read this thing – i mean, i’m writing for posterity and personal shits and giggles, right?!), you may recall that yesterday, we talked about my dining room design plan, and took a look at a few spaces showcasing the ikea docksta table, which i currently own and will continue to own until i can afford the real thing.

as a totally untrained interior design addict, i find that gathering inspiration is the only way to begin even wrapping my head around what i like, and by extension, what i want my home to look like. i need to sort through image after image, put them all in a (digital) pile, and say, okay, looks like i have a whole loooot of white walls here, so, you know, i guess i like white walls. my home will never, ever look like a magazine, or even be bloggable, but a girl can dream, right?

generally, when it comes to inspiration, i start with my favorite blogs: style by emily henderson, elements of style by erin gates, and amber interiors by amber lewis. i’ve been reading these blogs since emily, erin and amber started writing them, and to say i have girl crushes on all three of them would be the understatement of the century.

i’m an emily henderson fan girl (i’ve applied to write for her three times. she has never responded to me. sad face.), and have been since her pre-design star days on HGTV. emily is like that cool, quirky girl in class who is never afraid to speak her mind or wear that weird shift dress. and i love her for it. her work always includes a lot of antique and vintage, and as a result, the spaces she designs feel immediately lived in. #goals



erin gates…what is there to say? she’s an amazing writer, she has a beautiful, emotional, incredible heart, and she’s an amazing designer. she melds her life stories with her design, and the results are always spectacular. i’d highly recommend her book, which i received for hanukkah last year and promptly read COVER TO COVER. her design work tends to fall a little too traditional for me – but then she’ll go and do an animal print stair runner in her home and i’m all *heart eyes*. i love you, erin.



amber lewis is a california based designer who is the EPITOME of cali cool. i am pretty sure that her work is the sole reason i want to paint my entire apartment bright white and go crazy on the kilim rugs. seriously, her spaces are TO DIE FOR, and each and every one of them is SO her. she has an incredibly unique eye, and while her look is decidedly west coast-ian, i am hoping to inject a little amber flava flavvvv into my east coast apartment. now, if only i could afford the amazing rugs she sources from turkey, morocco, and the like.



why tell you all this? because i think my design style falls squarely in the middle of all of these. i want a little bit quirky, a little bit neo-trad classic, a little bit california cool with ALL THE TEXTILES. blending these is going to be hard, but the dining room design plan above…it’s a start. the animal hide and the schoolhouse electric luna pendant? they’ve got amber written all over them (with some shibori throw pillows in for good measure, of course). the black thonet chairs? they seem right up erin’s alley. the sheepskin? something emily (and amber) would totally dig. i am hoping i can find a few vintage pieces to throw into the mix, a la emily, and keep the rest cool, clean, and simple – while still feeling comfortable and lived in. wish me luck!

next up: the living room.


as i wait for my mortgage loan to officially go through, and as i fill out what seems like an endless amount of paperwork to apply for the board, i have to ask myself: why did i think this would be fun?

OH WAIT, I REMEMBER. because it meant that, if i pinched my pennies and made some smart choices in the renovation, i could redecorate a little bit. ALL ON MY OWN. i have been pinteresting up a storm trying to figure out what to do with my dining area, which will actually just be a section of the living room (thanks, new york, for your ludicrous lack of space). since the apartment isn’t all that big, and from the entryway, both the living and dining areas will be visible, they need to be congruent spaces. i want them to feel separate, but the same.

there are a few ways i’m hoping to achieve this:

  • lighting: i’m going to go a bit more modern in the living room (with a serge mouille knockoff as the centerpiece; wish i could afford the real thing but there AIN’T NO WAY), so i want the dining space to feel, if not super modern, at least somewhat so.
  • rugs: a more neutral rug in the dining room (i’m eyeing a natural hide rug, but this will have to come later in the process, as those babies are EXPENSIVE) paired with either a) a natural jute rug layered with a vintage kilim or b) a moroccan shag rug in the living room.
  • the color scheme: i’m keeping the walls bright white. my current place is gray, and while i might go for a “warmer” white with a little more gray in it, i’m going to stay from color, at least for now. most of my furniture has a white and/or neutral base, and i’d like to keep it that way. i’ll bring in my pops of color via textiles, which are much more easily altered than wall colors are.

one thing i know i will be keeping, at least for now, is my ikea docksta table. oh, the beloved docksta. it’s an ikea favorite; i hope they never get rid of it. it’s a knockoff of the famous saarinen tulip table, which i adore but cannot afford. and dressed up with some nice chairs and good lighting, it’s actually quite wonderful. here it is styled a variety of ways.





it’s not fancy, but it gets the job done. and you can easily fit four chairs around it, six if you squeeze. as you can see from the shots above, it’s also a truly versatile piece. it goes with just about anything, chair-wise. i’m torn between my beloved bentwood chairs (love this modern black version from crate & barrel) and a slightly more comfortable wishbone style. right now, i have clear chiavari chairs, which i’ve loved, but am ready to let go of.

so, how does it all come together? that’s a post for another day, friends. most likely, it’s a post for tomorrow. i am slowly, painfully, very unsexily teaching myself verrrrry basic photoshop skills with the help of my friends here at the office, and I BE MAKIN’ SOME DESIGN PLANS! so stay tuned for that, because it’s going to be SA-WEEET.