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Will Work for Books

I sort of kind of feel like all I ever talk about anymore on this here blog is our apartment, but to be fair, it is the most exciting thing we’ve got going on in our lives right now. I hope all these posts with photos and updates of our little valley pad aren’t beginning to bore you, because really all I want to do is make you happy, but I’m sort of like a freshman in love with a senior and all I can do is gush and gush and gush and gush and write run-on sentences. One day soon I’ll be totally over it, I’ll have moved on to college boys – er – something more interesting than an apartment – and you won’t have to hear about it anymore. But until then….

Family Room Update!


We went to Ikea this weekend and, honestly? That place is the devil. We had a budget we swore we would stick to, and while nothing over $15 went into our cart, we still ended up going over our budget by a hundred bones. Yikes. Shopping isn’t super fun for me because I tend to feel hideously guilty over my purchases, even when my purchases are shelves I’ve been dying to get and fifty cent glasses so we don’t have to drink water out of coffee mugs anymore.

Speaking of shelves, I’m not really sure how I feel about them. They remind me a little too much of the shelves I had in my first college apartment, so I can’t help but feel like they lend an unwanted dorm-room flavor to the living room I had hoped would have a more library-like feel. Here’s the room from a different angle:


Also, I’m not sold on the shelf arrangements. I really wanted the shelves to contain only books, but I am clean out of books. The ones that are up there now I stole off of the bookcase by Mike’s easel, which worked out because now he has space for all his paint supplies and he doesn’t have to keep them on the floor anymore. Score = Everyone wins!


Here’s his little painting corner next to the fireplace. Where I lean my bicycle. I mean, why not? We still haven’t purchased logs for the damn thing, so why not use it for something? (Clearly, we still haven’t figured out where to keep my bicycle either. Sad face.)

I’m not entirely sold on those shelf arrangements either, but they’ll have to do for now. Also, man, I wish we could paint the walls. We actually got permission to paint, but decided not to because it’s a lot of work to put into a rental and we’d rather save the time/money/energy for a place we purchase. I have to keep telling myself that. This is a rental. When we own we’ll have so much more freedom to make it look exactly how we want it to. In the mean time, at least the family room no longer looks like this. Or this. Or this. Improvements! Small ones, but still.

There is still a lot I want to do in here. On my wish list? A table that will fit behind the futon for plants. And more books so that the shelves will be covered with books instead of chachkis and tabletop frames. An enormous area rug to hide the horrible stains left by the previous tenants, which I’ve shampooed a million times but still persist. New legs for the coffee table. A cover for the futon, something I can pull off and wash weekly because with four animals, I have to. And bright throw pillows to bring more color into the room. Here are some fabrics I’m thinking of making additional pillows out of:


What do you think? If you’ve got any suggestions for what we could do to (cheaply) make this room fabulous, I would LOVE to hear them.

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  • Grendl

    You could paint just the fireplace.

    If you want a “library” feel over the couches, you could paint faux wood bookshelves, or just plain brown panels, behind the bookshelves. Or faux gold frames to match the one over the folding bookcase. Or you could paint the shelves over the couch white to match the others and make them less obvious.

    • Ugh. I totally could have purchased white shelves and I didn’t because I thought the black would look really cool. I’m afraid that was a terrible mistake. Also, maybe if I’d chosen nicer looking brackets… but I chose these because I thought they would more securely hold all the books I planned to pile on them. 🙁

      I LOVE the idea of faux wood! But how do you paint faux wood??? Or I could paint the whole wall in rich chocolate brown. Or brick red. And you’re right, it wouldn’t take long at all to paint the fireplace. Or even just to paint the whole wall the fireplace is on. And we did sign a two-year lease, so maybe I really should consider painting. The second bathroom would be much improved if I’d just break down and paint the walls in there, too.

  • I think you are making great progress, honestly. You are doing a fabulous job, and you’re so lucky that Michael is lending a (big) hand! And I will never be tired of these posts, except for how they make me feel inadequate 🙂

    • Noooooooo!!!!! Don’t feel inadequate!!! Oh my gosh.

      But I’m glad you think I’m making good progress – I just wish we were millionaires and that we owned our home so we could REALLY make amazing progress.

      That aside, do you have any suggestions for what we could do to this room? I talked to Mike today about painting and he really really is opposed to it, simply for the time/energy factor. I argued that we’ll be here at least 2 years, maybe longer, so it’s worth it. He was not happy with the idea. What about doing a parlor-type thing, where we hang lots and lots of frames on the wall? We did that in our bathroom in Hollywood, and then again in the living room in Hells Kitchen. Young House Love is doing it in their hallway now. It’s pretty fabulous and it might work? Of course, we’d have to acquire a BUNCH more frames…

      • I actually wanted to talk to you about that! I am thinking of doing that lots and lots of frames thing (because of seeing it on YHL) in our dining room (pics to come on the blog, hopefully soon, once we get things a little more cleaned up. I feel like I can’t fully focus on the decorating until the last of the boxes are gone. But last night, we got rid of two whole boxes! Only about 4 more to go…and then there are all the New Yorkers to deal with (realized last night that there are probably close to 400 in our apartment – ridiculous, but at least they are relatively contained). Anyway, yes to the frame thing. It does mean buying a lot of frames, but you could find some at garage sales, I bet, if you’re willing to spruce them up, and there’s always IKEA…or wait for the Aaron Bro’s penny sale!

        I painted my last place, knowing I’d be there for the foreseeable future (which ended up being 3 years), and it was totally worth it…but mostly because the paint that was there when I moved in was gross. Like, years of smoke, probably hasn’t been painted in 10 years or more, gross. I also painted before I moved in, so there was no furniture to work around. I also did not have to paint it back to white when I moved out.

        I think you mentioned a table or something for behind the couch – I think that would be a great idea, with books/plants/library-esque decorations (little statues? a library lamp?). That would make that corner feel more library-ish, connect the couch to the shelves a little more cohesively.

        I, too, wish I was a millionaire. I don’t even need to own my home yet, I just need several days where I have no work and plenty of energy, to do nothing but tidy up so I can focus on decorating.

        This comment is way too long.

        • Yay for walls of frames!! I can’t wait to see the photos you post! I know what you mean about not being able to focus on decorating until you feel everything has been cleaned/organized. One of the things I love about working from home is spending my hour lunch break every day cleaning. It’s AWESOME.

          If we didn’t have to paint the walls white before moving out, I think we would paint. But if we paint we’ll have to paint again before we move or lose our deposit and what a drag. But you know what? Ross Dress for Less always has awesome frames for under five bucks, as does Home Goods. Once in a while you can find super cheap frames at places like Target, TJ Maxx, etc.

          I love your long comments. 🙂

          • That’s a good idea (Ross and Target and such). And yeah, knowing you have to paint the walls back to white is a definite deterrent. Painting twice? Meh. Good for you, spending your lunch break cleaning! You go girl. I can’t believe I just said you go girl.

  • Tara

    Come to the Book Maven – I can help you out…..

  • Dopey LaRue

    Yo I meant to say this on Saturday…why don’t you just attach a piece of plywood with brackets behind the futon for the plants? If might be ages and lots more dinero to try to find a table that fits perfectly.

    • Mike is gonna build one for me – using scrap wood he already has. 😀 But that is a good idea too!