Thursday, March 20, 2014

Apartment Living

We live in a relatively small and rather old apartment complex. It's fine for us as far as space goes but there are some aesthetic (as well as sanitary!) aspects to renting that I often wish I could reverse. When we moved into our current apartment I immediately went to work on trying to make it as *cute* as possible because, let's face it. That's the most important thing.
The former tenants left the place filthy. I've been scrubbing and cleaning and after 7 months of frequent interruptions I think it's finally clean. I mean really clean. Like scrubbing between every individual piece of tile clean. I learned something new: if the grout on your floor is brown, it probably shouldn't be. It took a long time but ours is now white, thanks to Oxi Clean and the sacrifice of the skin of my hands.
I didn't record how-to's with many of these crafts because I am extremely impatient when I start feeling creative, so if you have questions just ask and I'll do my best to steer you in the right direction.

Problem: Drab walls
Solution 1: Painting the furniture.
Because I can't paint my walls I paint all my furniture.  Most of it is bought from craigslist and could use some refresh anyway. This little rocker however, is something special. My older brother, Kristian made it for me as a Christmas present when I was 4. I brought it home for Flynn and gave it a little refresh. He adores it.

Solution 2: Gallery wall
I got these frames from DI. I spray painted them using Rustoleum's metallic champagne mist paint. I cut out pictures from an old calendar that featured early 1900 botanical prints. Stag head is from Restoration Hardware and frame is from IKEA. I tore apart the clock and re-did the background with wrapping sheets from Rifle Paper Co. 

Solution 3: DIY silhouettes
I know these are a big trend right now, but if you can't afford real art you might as well make your own. 

Problem 2: Lighting
Like many apartments, ours came with terrible lighting. Extremely dim with lights that were mounted in the corner of the room (why?) and an enormous fluorescent light in the kitchen. I hate fluorescent lighting, so I went to work wiring some chandeliers I bought so they could be swag mounted and plugged into an outlet. 

Problem 3: Kid friendly
It's hard to make a small space functional for both you and your little one. I wanted to make a reading nook for Flynn but wasn't sure where I would have room to fashion it. It turned into a dual canopy-reading nook and it is exactly what you think it is: an embroidery hoop and curtains. He LOVES it. I will often find him behind his bed reading in his nook.

Kid crafts:
My little guy is still really young but these next two projects would be really fun to do with kids who are interested in being creative and crafting.

This one seems silly but could be really fun: design your own tree. I painted mine and wired it to the wall and put fun creatures in it and hang it with baubles at Christmas. You could also hang small pictures from it. Ah, the possibilities of an old tree branch.

Floating book-page hot air balloons. These hang above Flynny's nook. I actually did them as an experiment out of an old book I had and really loved how they turned out, imperfections and all. They could be fashioned from any kind of paper, painted however you like and require only scissors and a few bobby pins.

Papier mache handicrafts. I fashioned this stag head on a whim. I used the simple water and flour mixture which was surprisingly strong and usable. I used tin foil to structure the head and paper towels on the first two layers and book pages on the third. I sprinkled cinnamon in the mixture to protect against mold. I love the idea of a safe, non-toxic way to create things. There are a million animal ideas for papier mache crafts online that would be really fun to do with a little one.

1 comment:

Pepper said...

you are so creative!!! it's pretty amazing the crafts you dream up. your apartment is so cute-even the handyman said so!