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for the love of design: apartment life

my style has evolved over the years. and as i've accumulated slightly more disposable income, i've been able to add more pieces i like. now, i'm definitely not rolling in the dough. my style is mostly IKEA with some craigslist finds and a splash of anthropolgie and west elm. it's a hobby of mine to continually improve my design, one that i do a lot when i feel like other things are out of my control. i may not be able to get a larger, lovelier apartment, but gosh darn it i can make this hole in the wall from 1970 look pretty!

we lived on campus at gordon conwell theological seminary in south hamilton, MA for about three years. i think i changed the layout and decor of our hideous apartment every three months just so i wouldn't go insane looking at the industrial carpet and baseboards, not to mention the terrible lighting (outdoor sconces??) and minimal windows.

so here's a trip down memory lane, featuring our living area.

arrangement #1: brown IKEA chaise and poang chair that came with us from MO. new IKEA rug, curtains, and artwork by me.

remember these TVs and CD players? i feel so old.

and my lovely target bookcases. i loved those things.

arrangement #2: i decided i wanted a workspace for both of us that was outside the bedroom and somehow hidden from the rest of our living space. i was working from home as a project manager for a marketing company and david was pursuing his master's degree. we spent too much time in this apartment.

so here was my solution... move the living space back, and use the bookcases to section off our workspace. also added some IKEA lack tables in red for a pop of color.

the hubs, hard at work. and me, the amateur photographer.

arrangement #3: we decided we needed a real couch. the chaise wasn't cutting it. we found this IKEA karlstad on craigslist in south boston. the owner had bought it just six weeks earlier and was moving to NYC and had to get rid of everything. score. i got it for $75. best craigslist find ever.

i couldn't handle the red and green. so i went with this yellow IKEA lack table and repainted my mirror to match. i also rearranged again. didn't like the dedicated work space afterall. made the apartment even darker.

arrangement #4: i decided i wanted a larger dining table. we had an eat in kitchen with a smaller table. but i was bored. so. enter IKEA melltorp. the best table they ever made. and then discontinued. they are also discontinuing the karlstad. and my favorite expedit bookcases. however, i do like the kallax now. yes, i know all the pieces by name. i am still bitter about the karlstand and melltorp being discontinued. *tear*

anyways, i also picked up a lovely anthropologie large square pillow (below on the couch). i was thrilled to get it on sale for $50. i know. $50 for a pillow that sits on my $75 couch. but. it was worth every penny.

arrangement #5: then i decided i was ready to get rid of the chaise and poang chair and graduate to real living room chairs. i wanted the room to focus on the one window in our living space. so i arranged the table sort of in the center of the room, behind the couch. and that sectioned off my sitting area.

i got two IKEA tullsta chairs. cute little things. not so great for comfort. form over function, man. eventually david trumped my design decision and we got rid of the chairs. but boy did i enjoy how they looked for a season.

i changed up my artwork. copied a favorite local artist. wasn't anywhere near able to afford her work. but i loved it and wanted to incorporate it.

my last improvement was not a rearrangement, but a decor change. i traded in the green couch cover for a gray one. the green rug for a more sohpisticated cream and mustard one. the yellow lack table for a gray one. the anthro pillow on the right was from a dear friend of mine.

i updated the curtains to add some visual interest.

and decided on a larger piece of artwork (IKEA paint by numbers). my brother made fun of me for it. i just liked the colors, ok?!?!

i was thrilled when we decided to move to austin for david to pursue his PhD. probably most thrilled about my tiny little apartment exploding with cuteness. no more industrial carpet and baseboards and outdoor sconces on my indoor walls. we had a brand spanking new third floor apartment with vaulted ceilings and a kitchen larger than the one in my current house. besides the fact that it was only 650 square feet, it was amazing.

we downsized on furniture but kept our lovely karlstad. the visitor chair was an IKEA craigslist find. and i traded my brightly colored lack tables for a gray one.

small space living. concentrated cuteness. i loved it.

tiny space love.

then, six months later, we bought our first home. that was NOT in the plan. and boy was that house the opposite of cute when we bought it. it was just a matter of time before we renovated and made it our own. i'll share that transformation with you in my next post. coming soon!


hello there.

brittain here. just sharing my journey day to day with lots of laughs along the way.

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