Monday, April 23, 2012

Come Into My Kitchen

**Updated pictures at the end of this post**

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate is to clean.  Sounds strange, I know, but it's because I feel like I'm being productive, even though I'm not doing school work (or whatever I'm supposed to be working on).  So last Sunday, I decided to scrub my kitchen, top to bottom.  And in this rare clean moment with no dirty dishes in the sink, I thought I'd take some pictures.

This is the view of my dining room from the living room.  Notice the sloped door frame - nothing in my very old apartment building is level.

This is the view of the kitchen from my dining room.  That skinny door in the kitchen goes out into the hall, but it's not the main entrance to my apartment.

Sink side of the kitchen:

Looking at the sink from the other direction:

I got this metal sign from Hobby Lobby for $5!  It's not something I would choose if I owned my own home, but I needed something to fill that big white space above the sink, and this was cheap and pretty cute so I figured it would do the job.

This is the side opposite the sink.  You can see my lovely storage solution of putting appliances on top of the fridge.

Those flowers above the stove are vinyl decals - I found them at Hobby Lobby for $10.  They were really easy to put up, and they peel right off when you want to remove them (I know this because I didn't like how I first had them, so I peeled them off and re-positioned them).

One of my favorite things about the kitchen is the metal board hanging above the counter.  The tenant before me hung that up, and it's the perfect place to put up recipes, a grocery list, and other random pictures and things.  I also hang my dish towels from two magnetic hooks.

Can you spot the owl in this picture?  My cousin made me a set of dish towels with owls on them for Christmas - so cute!!

This is a tour poster that my sister got me as a Christmas gift - my BFF and I were at three of the concerts shown on the poster, and you can see us in two of the pictures.

This is the view of my dining room from the kitchen.  My BFF was nice enough to give me that table when I moved into the apartment.  It used to be green, but she spray painted it pink and blue, and her mom made matching seat cushions for it.  Random fact - when I first looked at this apartment, the whole kitchen was painted PINK!  I guess it would have matched the table :)

Closer view.  Originally, I wasn't sure if I needed window treatments.  For awhile I made do with the regular white blinds, but the room looked really stark.  When I got curtains for my bedroom and living room, I decided to go ahead and get a valance for this window - it really helped to make the room feel more home-y.  I got the curtain rod and valance at JC Penney.

Can you spot the owl in this picture?

There are some built in shelves next to the archway between the kitchen and dining room, and I use them for
displaying knick knacks and also for storage of some dishes.  Can you spot the owls?  (Notice a theme?  Haha.)

This is a really boring picture, but people always comment on this when they visit my apartment.  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I think it might have once been a telephone desk.  So refined!  Ha.  Now it's the home of a (sadly empty) candy dish.

When I lived in DC, I found a great deal on Craigslist for a set of 3 metal shelves.  They're really sturdy, and the best thing about them is that they fold flat!  I have this medium-sized one in my dining room, and the large one is in my living room and the small one is in my bedroom.  This medium one is kind of a catchall for a bunch of things - cookbooks, pictures, board games, candles, iPod speakers, and the main attraction: my Elle Woods Barbie doll that my cousin gave me when I first started law school :)

Oh and that white trash can next the the bookshelf is for paper recycling.

And there you have it, my kitchen and dining room.  As far as decorating on a budget goes, my tips are to seek out sales at craft stores like Hobby Lobby, or check out deals at places like TJ Maxx.  Also, display what you have - by putting some of my dishes on the built-in shelves, I save cupboard space and add some color to the dining room.  And don't be afraid to check Craigslist for furniture, especially pieces like shelves which don't have any upholstery and are easy to clean.

My sister has made two paintings for me to hang on the big white wall in my dining room (as seen in the very first picture).  It's so big and blank that I wanted to take my time to decide how I wanted to use that space, rather than just throwing something small up and having it look out of place.  She's going to do one more painting for me, and then I'll hang them up.  I can't wait - they're going to look awesome!!

That would be my other tip for decorating on a budget - create your own art!  I bought blank canvases and paint (again, at Hobby Lobby - they're always having good sales) and I asked my sister to do a few paintings in the style of one of my favorite artists, Roy Lichtenstein.  If you're more artistic than I am, you can do this yourself!  If not, ask (or bribe) a friend or sibling to help you out.

Hope you guys liked the tour!  Feel free to share any decorating tips that you have.  I plan to do some more procrastinating cleaning in the next 2 weeks, so hopefully I'll have pictures of the rest of my apartment soon.

It's hard to believe, but today is the last day of classes of my second year of law school!  In two weeks, I'll be a 3L.  Crazy!  Just 3 exams to get out of the way first.  Boo.  And then I'll be in Florida - yay!  I'm trying to keep up with a mixture of cardio and strength-training despite the pressure of finals, both to help manage stress and to be ready for the beach :)  I got some cardio in this morning (elliptical and rowing machine) while watching Live! with Kelly - I only let myself watch my beloved morning TV if I'm at the gym, which is a great motivation for me to get up and moving.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

PS 2 Broke Girls and Hart of Dixie are on tonight!  Yes!!!

Updated 10/12/12:

I no longer have a pink and blue table, so my kitchen is looking a little different these days.  Over the summer, I painted my table and chairs black (which was actually a much longer process than I originally anticipated).

I also hung up some paintings which my very talented sister made for me.  Um, how awesome do they look? I love Roy Lichtenstein's work, so my sister used his art as inspiration for these pieces.  I really love them!  She's got a third one in the works, too.  Can't wait!

I spray-painted an Ikea napkin holder red and I love how it looks with the black table and the red in the paintings.  And I love stars.

I think the room really "flows" a lot better now, and I like the continuity between the blue valance, blue seat cushions, and the blue in the paintings, even though the shades of blue aren't exactly the same.

I also love owls.  Oh, you already knew that?

Song of the day:

"I and Love and You" by The Avett Brothers.  I just love this song.

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