Design on less than a dime

I posted earlier this summer about my attempt to redecorate my apartment on the cheap in a Hollywood Glamour style. Hollywood Glamour uses cool blues and grays with pale tans and lots of black, white, silver and crystal. Since most of the apartment is in a satisfactory state of design I have been focused on the pit that is my bedroom.

Anything that I don’t have room for gets shoved in a corner of a bedroom. Let me tell you, there is a lot I don’t have room for.

I picked up some bed risers at Walmart. After searching the store I finally found them in the closet organizer section. Silly me, what was I thinking? Don’t I always store my bed in my closet?? The risers lifted my bed frame about five and a half inches off the ground and giving me about nine and half inches of storage space. Perfect for sliding “storage” boxes under the bed.

Now I am far to cheap to buy storage boxes when there are plenty of cardboard shipping boxes at work to be recycled. A little cutting, some tape, some paint, a few scraps of fabric and ribbon and viola! I had custom underbed storage boxes for free! I punched a couple of holes and secured a length of ribbon in each to function as a pull handle and I am thrilled with the results and the extra storage.

In the free section of Craigslist I found a very nice entertainment center with glass doors and covered storage along the bottom. It had a slide out shelf in the tv section and looked to be in very good shape. My Dad helped me out by gettting a buddy to help load the piece and bring it into my apartment. He also added some casters on the bottom to make it easier to move around. There are four deep shelves covered by the glass doors and they make excellent dust free book shelves!

It is a drab, worn oak laminate with giant brass knockers as door handles. It will be primed and painted white to help make the bedroom look larger since I have some pretty large storage pieces in there already. The handles with be switched out with some brushed nickel knobs I have or maybe something new in bright silver.

The section where the tv would go in perfect for some large storage baskets that I have. The slide out shelf is the new home for my printer. The cut out for tv wires in the back make it a snap to string the power cord back there and the shelf is large enough for the printer and my laptop when I need to print stuff out. This is a much better place for my printer than on the bottom of a very cramped computer desk.

I moved my desktop pc into the living room and hooked it up to my tv. WOW! You Tube never looked so good! Now I just need to start playing FarmVille again just so I can do it on a full sized tv screen!

I repurposed my metal and glass computer desk from the bedroom into a sewing table. A few quickly sewn clearance fabric drapes and storage baskets completely transformed it and hides the very modern style of the desk.

I began refinishing the very large, very sturdy, very gorgeous armoire from the 1940’s that I paid $40 for from a college student. Paint is my only option at this time since college kids apparently thought the armoire would be as good as a paper journal to write their feelings on.

I am painting it white also but keeping the original oil rubbed bronze hardware and handles.  While the entertainment center is being used for computer accessories and books the armoire (with it’s 2 huge, 3 large and 1 medium sized drawers) is chock-o-block full of cross stitch stash *hangs head in shame*

I know I have a problem. This just confirms it.

The bedroom is no where near finished but it is painted a beautiful pale aqua blue from True Value called Paper Lantern. The key pieces for storage are in place. Now I just need to set aside a weekend for unloading the closet and putting everything in it’s place.

Once that is done I have given myself permission to start decorating the walls with some lovely Art Deco/1920’s era photographs that remind me of ladies of leisure in their boudoirs. I just found a book at the library about Art Deco design and will be pouring through it to see what I can do to transform my own boudoir into the high style of the Jazz Age. I scoured the internet in search of beautiful dresses to grace my walls with and  found some real stunners! I also am toying with the idea of framing a series of stained glass pics from the period as well. I have always been fascinated by stained glass. Weird, I know.

I have tons of old oak frames that I plan on painting in shiny black enamel to frame the lovelies in so I can group them together on a wall.

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Decor Frenzy

I hate my apartment.

I moved in during the 4th of July holiday 10 years ago. The apartment was in a quiet, tree-lined community with all the things a single girl needs – trash and snow removal included in the rent and a 24 hour handy man on call.

Except, I was always handier than the handy man.

Phone calls about things wrong with the apartment were left unanswered. Over the years I just grew to accept that if I didn’t want the ceiling fan to be hanging by wires from the ceiling I would need to fix it myself. So when things went wrong; I fixed them.

Free carpet  steam cleaning was offered over the years but every time I requested it to be scheduled it never was. I started steam cleaning it myself and lugged my parent’s steam cleaner back and forth from my place to theirs.

The past five years I could have cared less about the shit hole of an apartment I was in because I was never home. Time was spent at boyfriends and friends homes instead of my own. This past year has brought some large changes to my life resulting in fewer friends and the ending of  an important romantic relationship.

I was unwilling to throw myself back into a social atmosphere so I began spending more and more time at home. Staring at my outdated and shabby looking apartment frustrated me.

 My bathroom floor was an embarrassment. It had significant peeling and lifting of the vinyl flooring. Poor workmanship resulted in 3 layers of flooring applied on top of each other and extended past the floor up the sides of the tub and the wall. Over the years the adhesive has separated from the subfloor and caused significant lift and curling. I wrote letters and made phone calls but nothing resulted from it.

That was the worst of it but the outdated fixtures were distracting. Everywhere I looked I was surrounded by brass and gold. All the while I longed to be surrounded by nickel and pewter.

My cream vinyl flooring in the bath and kitchen were nauseating. How I longed to lay my own ceramic tile! But alas, I am a renter, not a homeowner and can’t do such things.

So the apartment hunt began because I certainly didn’t have the funds for a down payment. In fact, I barely had the money for a security payment and moving expenses!

I searched for two months. Lots of phone calls and lots of emails. I spent two weeks in early May visiting rental units and negotiating with landlords.

The end result was everything was smaller and father away for the same price I was paying now. My lease was almost up and I had to make a decision. In the end, it was cheaper for me to stay where I was!

I decided to make some small changes – paint the bathroom and re-arrange the living room. Try to fix the bathroom floor and buy a new door knob or two.

Then a couple of weeks ago my oven died. The gas stovetop worked fine but I couldn’t get the oven to light. I called the rental office on Monday morning and explained the problem. Monday at 12:30pm I had a brand new stove and range hood with fan and light.

WOW! I have noticed some changes around the property that I associated with a change in management and this was proof. Things had changed. The last time I called about a problem with an appliance I was argued with. They made me feel like I was imagining the water pouring inside my living room from the a/c unit!

This was different. Inspired by my positive experience I decided to write a letter with the issues I was experiencing with the broken ceiling fan and bathroom floor.

To my surprise I received a phone call offering to reset my entire apartment. New light fixtures, new ceiling fan, new hardware for  cabinets and doors, new carpets, new ceramic tile in kitchen and bath, new granite bathroom vanity, new toilet, new countertops. WOW!

I said yes in a heartbeat. I have seen the remodeled apartments and they are gorgeous – exactly my taste aesthetic! Neutral browns and cool grey/blue tones with nickel hardware and dark woods.

Everything has been done except the carpets.  The new items gave me inspiration to change out my old tired color pallet (which was born out of monetary necessity a decade ago) for my pet decor design – Hollywood Glamour.

I adore the retro opulence of the 1930’s and 40’s. Pale blue/grey walls, dark woods and light furniture with clean lines. Crystal and mirrored accents and sophisticated wall art. *sigh* I love seeing it done on the design shows on HGTV.

And now, I actually had the opportunity to create this look in my own home!

The past month has been an absolute frenzy of do-it-yourself projects. Trash to treasure. Sewing. Painting. Furniture refinishing. I can’t wait to start sharing some of them with you in the next few weeks. All the changes have changed me as well. I now LOVE my apartment!

Stay tuned…..Hera’s Design Challenge coming up next on HGTV! lol