FOs: Fall Knitting 2013

After nearly a year-long knitting hiatus, I finally picked up the needles again a few weeks ago. And I’m having a hard time stopping! Here is about two weeks’ work… a few quick small projects and one that’s been a WIP for years.

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Pattern: none
Yarn: malabrigo sock in 852 persia
Needles: US Size 0 and 1
Started: Dec 24, 2009
Finished: Sep 20, 2013
Ravelry Link

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I think these socks win the award for longest duration of any project I’ve ever attempted, and it wasn’t because they were a big project or because of the difficulty. I cast them on two-at-a time, finished the toe and the reinforced heel all within the first month or so. It was the tremendously boring 1×1 ribbing on size 0 needles that took nearly 4 years to complete.

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I finished them up at a cafe over a cranberry apple ginger iced tea, and decided to add the picot edging as a coastal twist. As much as I like them, I don’t forsee any small-gauge socks being attempted again in the future. Although I am using the remaining yarn for a pair of armwarmers, so we’ll see how that goes.


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Pattern: none, inspired by Alexandra Tinsley’s Mix No. 24
Yarn: jil eaton minnow merino in 4720 aqua
Needles: US Size 8
Started: Aug 30, 2013
Finished: Sep 10, 2013
Ravelry Link

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I saw this on the designer’s blog, Dull Roar, but I can’t get myself to buy hat patterns. So I spent an evening swatching (and watching the Hunger Games) and about two weeks knitting, and I had this super adorable bonnet!

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I used exactly two skeins, down to the very last inch (the dangling pom poms were completed by gathering all the remaining yarn ends, splitting the pile in half, and wrapping around my index and middle finger until I ran out. Thanks to the un-plied yarn, they still plumped up quite nicely.


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Pattern: Zeebee by Schmeebot
Yarn: noro cash island in 01 (black, brown, blue, teal)
Needles: US Size 8
Started: Sept 13, 2013
Finished: Sep 18, 2013
Ravelry Link

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Oh, look! I knit from a pattern! Or at least… a detailed formula. I had this yarn sitting in my basket. I don’t know why I never learn that buying one skein of Noro is a bad idea. It’s not quite enough for a hat, not nearly enough for a scarf or shawl, and not suitable for anything like a toy or baby booties since it’s kind of scratchy and the fibers are rather weak.
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But, I don’t learn… and so it was just sitting there staring at me. I decided to knit up a quick hat using a forgiving pattern that would show the variegation nicely.

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At first, I loved how it was going. But around 6 rows til the very end, I ran out of yarn. Of course. I doubled up some Shiraito from my other Noro hat (below) and figured it was Noro so nobody would notice.

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Then I got to the end seam, and by the second stitch into the graft, the yarn had torn. I spliced the ends back together but knew the same thing would keep happening, so I did a very obvious 3-needle bind off as a design element.

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The seam doesn’t bother me. I actually think I might pull it out and re-do it in bright red or something. It feels super grunge and the perfect hat for running through leaves and sipping hot cider.


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Pattern: none, inspired by Graham
Yarn: noro shiraito in 01 (teal, yellow, green, gray, black)
Needles: US Size 8
Started: Sept 13, 2013
Finished: Sep 18, 2013
Ravelry Link

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This one was kind of the same deal as the hat above. I saw the yarn while in Rockland, ME at Over the Rainbow, a totally adorable LYS, and I had never seen this line of Noro before so I grabbed one. Why? Why do I do this? I cast on a plain stockinette hat immediately and had almost completed it by that night. Unfortunately, I tried it on and it was enormous. So I tore it out and started again. And again, enormous. The “ruler” app on the iPhone is really making me look like an idiot right about now. I finally got my gauge and cast on a more interesting hat. It was going to be Graham but, being Noro, I wanted to start top-down for fear of running out of yarn. And somewhere in between counting stitches and incorporating the pattern, I totally skewed it into a broken seed stitch (instead of a broken rib) and just left it. It’s kind of cute, whatever.

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I actually had a bit of extra so I knit a tiny bow. I also had just enough left to complete the Zeebee hat (above), counted my blessings, and called it a day.


So that’s what I’ve been up to. Currently on the needles is a pair of arm warmers with the leftovers from the socks, and an oversized Lispenard for the winter. What have you been working on?

❤ v

we’re splitting up

It’s been over a year since my last post, but not without good reason! I liveblogged our 6-month road trip over at pilgrimages and traverses, where I’ll continue editing our favorite photos and posting them individually.

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When we got home, we immediately put our event planner hats back on. As if planning weddings wasn’t enough, we got involved with the good folks over at the Free State Project and spearheaded the planning of their 10th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival. I’ll tell you, planning a week-long festival for ~1700 people in the woods of New Hampshire is not as easy as it sounds.

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So that still doesn’t excuse the last 3 or so months, but we’ve just been concentrating on putting our businesses back together and recovering from the longest year of all time. We’ve also been putting finishing touches on our NYC apartment and house hunting in New Hampshire, but I finally decided that dumping all that information here would end up being a disaster in the long run. So I’ve started giftable@home, a splinter of this blog, where I’ll begin moving all home renovation, restoration, decoration, inspiration… you get the idea. Please follow me over there if you’re interested in keeping up with it.

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From now on, this blog will be solely for crafts– knitting (including techniques and new patterns), sewing, jewelry making, and whatever else I end up dipping my toe in.

Hopefully this split will make everyone’s lives easier and be less distracting for anyone who is still following my ridiculous journey. Hope everyone else had an amazing year, looking forward to finally posting here again!

❤ v

Where in the world is giftable designs?

A few weeks from now, that will be a very difficult question to answer. Mike and I are embarking on a cross-country road trip that will keep us busy for at least a few months. We’ll be documenting our journey here, and on instagram as @imagesandverses.

We’ll both be working from the road, but obviously certain jobs will be nearly impossible (I will be bringing some bullet necklaces along but can’t make any new ones, and once they’re gone… they’re gone.)

I will still try to post some updates here, but it’ll be sparse. See you in… December? (Eek!!)

❤ v

To Martha and Beyond!

vm_ceremony140Well, the Martha newsstand date has come and gone, and I’ve never heard so many nice comments from people who aren’t even friends or family. My wedding planner even wrote up this beautiful post that means more to me than the story that was printed nationwide. She posted a bunch of photos that weren’t featured in the magazine, so if you’re interested in seeing more from our big day, head on over! We also have a feature on Martha Stewart Wedding’s website here.

Huge thanks again to Diana Ma (Diana Ma Weddings & Events), Meg Hamilton (Rodeo & Co Photography), Betsy Scott (Flower Kiosk), Jeanne Kalman (Well Dressed Cake), Doug Palardy (Ale House Inn), Evan Hennessy (Flavor Concepts), Joanne McDonough (Joya Beauty), Jenn Macek, and of course all our friends and family who have always supported us.

Phew! I never was one of those kids that gave acceptance speeches into a hairbrush in the mirror… this whole thing is pretty overwhelming. But I’m so happy for the great press everyone received. I know I’m booked up through the end of the year!

In renovation news, we’re finally finishing up details and still unpacking. Yes. Still. The stuff that we haven’t unpacked obviously isn’t important (we’ve lived without it for nearly a year now…) so I’m thinking of just taping them back up and putting them in storage. Kidding… kind of. Not really.

Big News…

Exactly one year ago, I was TAing printmaking classes for free just so I could use the studio to print my own wedding invitations. I poured my heart into those invites– pushing myself to design each piece, from save-the-date to thank you card, and print 125 of each by hand. Each color required it’s own screen, equaling right around 2400 passes of the squeegee. Each invite was cut to size, corners rounded, fit into a trifold, tied with twine, sealed with a wax stamp, and sent out with an array of vintage stamps.

And that was just the invites! The whole wedding, along with the apartment renovation, took up 100% of my time for almost an entire year. Both projects were completed at the same time (Late May/Early June), which is why it took me so long to post the renovation stuff here. And because I tend to keep personal stuff personal, I never mentioned any of this here (you can see some of the process of printing the invites on my wedding blog).

Well, it’s no longer personal because we’re going to be in Martha!

It’s been so hard to keep this a secret from even our closest friends, but everything has been finalized and I even have an advance copy of the magazine here in my apartment. The spread is rather short, but c’mon! It’s Martha effin’ Stewart!

I hope you’ll check out the issue, on newsstands Feb 27th. Since the renovation (which I’m almost done blogging about, I promise!), I’ve begun doing graphic design and event coordination for weddings and events in New England. It was just such a fun experience and I met so many great people… I love that I have the ability to give other brides the same magical feeling that I had on my wedding day. And after nearly 9 years with my better half, I like to think that I can impart some good relationship energy on others.

Renovation Close-Up: Office #1

Because it isn’t just as easy as picking out a color and waiting for the “after” photos, I’m going to start outlining each room, the process of design and renovation, and finally what I would change (or wouldn’t) if given the chance. I’m going to upload a ton of pictures with little descriptions, but if you just want the final run-down (or the finished pictures!), scroll to the bottom.

This is kind of half-assed of me. I’m posting a close-up of a room that isn’t even a room. But it is a separate space, so it’s kind of like a room by NY standards. At least I’m not talking about the shower in my kitchen (I was actually over at a friend’s apartment recently who has a shower in her kitchen. If you’re reading this– sorry! No judgments 🙂 ).

Since M and I both work from home, we wanted to each have our own office space. Back in Toronto, we bought a big desk and shared it, but since my space is always messy from crafting and his is always covered in paperwork, we decided to split off our offices into two spaces. I got the window side of the living room and he got the window side of the bedroom.

This is kind of what it looked like on paper:

As you can see, we divided up the space with furniture. My office is separated from the “living room” space with a wood credenza (aka liquor cabinet) and his by a huge Ikea Expedit bookshelf. This leaves slightly-larger-than-doorway-sized open spaces for us to “enter” our offices. Without this, I would spend my work day trying to catch a glimpse of the TV and he would roll over into bed around lunchtime.

I’m not going to go into renovation details. New floors, new AC units, new windows, new electric. Here’s a quick refresher:

before!

before, clean-ish.

After.

6 months of work in 3 images– how about that? Anyways, once we got moved in an unpacked about 80% of the boxes, I was finally able to SEE my office space again.

^I probably shouldn’t tell you how long we lived like this^

I put together the Ikea desk and the small Ikea Expedit bookshelf. I constructed some curtains (Ikea fabric. Do you see a trend?) and realized I had no space whatsoever for my yarn and fabric. Back to– guess where??– Ikea! 3 Billy bookcases and one week of hex keys and particleboard later, I have this:

ImageIsn’t she a beaut? I love her. The tops still need to be filled with tsotchkes– I can’t reach them without standing on a chair, so I didn’t want to put anything functional in there. I was finally able to start unpacking the rest of my office supplies, and later that week I had this:

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There are still some blank spaces on the wall to fill in, and I want to do some fun crafty things with the desk. But overall, I’m happy with where I am right now. It’s a great space to work in. And hey– I’m not using the kitchen counter as a desk… anymore…

Details:

• Desk – Ikea… purchased years ago and no longer available.

• Bookshelf – Combination of Billy bookshelves from Ikea with glass doors and height extention ~$300ish

• Curtains – Ikea Monalis, $7/yd

• Flower Pots –Ikea Kardemumma, $4-6 each

• Egg chair – Ikea. Super old… they probably don’t make it anymore. And if they do, don’t buy it– least comfortable office chair ever.

• Chalkboard Window – from Building Character in Lancaster, PA

• Desk Lamp Bird Branch Task Light from Pottery Barn Kids.

• Art bulletin board and “Chinchilla Ranch” sign are handmade by yours truly. Bunny etching from Oldie’s Marketplace in Newburyport, MA (antique), $12. “Make Do and Mend” sign from Urban Outfitters, $20

 

Next post will be about some exciting life updates! Much more interesting than Ikea furniture!

2 Months Later……

Happy New Year, everyone! From the worst blogger in the world. Here’s what’s happened in the 2 months since my last post (oof):

♥ I typed up a post about refinishing the dresser and nightstand and wordpress DELETED it. For serious. I was all psyched to post it and then the next morning it wasn’t there… I’ve been too frustrated to re-write, until a second ago when I finally did. So technically it’s been like 30 seconds since my last post. I am a great blogger! Not really though.

♥ I spent a week putting my office together, and it looks awesome, if I do say so myself. Post on that later. Stop laughing, I will finish this series of posts if it kills me!

♥ I did NOT buy any furniture for the living room… it actually looks worse than ever (it is now a graveyard of furniture’s past). If we finish working on it before we sell the apartment, I will be surprised. Coffee tables are just SO $$$! I was psyched on this coffee table from Pottery Barn but when I went to see it in person all I could think was how much ramen I would have to eat to make up for spending $700 on a TABLE. I’d rather eat a huge plate of sushi on a folding card table than eat stolen saltines on a fancy glass coffee table. We also still haven’t hooked up the tv (long story) so we don’t spend very much time in that area anyway. This is what happens when you live in 200-400 sqft apartments your whole life and then suddenly you move into a 750 sqft mansion…

And in non-apartment news:

♥ I started doing event and graphic design… like, in a legit way. Working on some weddings and finishing some ads for real companies that will be in real printed materials. It’s all freelance, so if you want to talk, you know where to find me 🙂

♥ I also made a Facebook page for giftable designs… I’ve been trying to avoid all this self-promotion stuff but people were actually asking where they could buy my jewelry and stuff (!!), so now if something’s for sale it will be on there. I made a ton of new bullet necklaces so… have at it! I’m going to start getting stones custom-cut for bullet sizes that aren’t currently available (namely 9mm) so that will be cool. Here’s one I just sold, modeled by my ceramic gun vase (that’s double-self-promotion, kiddos!)

That was the most paragraphs I’ve ever started with the word “I” in my entire life. Back to normal blogging starting…now!

from old to bold

I’m definitely not the first person to figure out that old furniture + a coat of paint can equal a beautiful thing. But I had never actually tried to refinish anything until last year.

We happened to hear that someone in our building was moving out. In NYC, these are magic words. Free furniture– no delivery fees, no shopping through tourist- or flea-ridden stores– all we had to do was get it into our apartment before the cleaning crew stopped by. Honestly, this is how we got most of the furniture in our apartment. Some pieces are nicer than others. These had a lot of promise but needed some major work.

Both pieces from this particular apartment were antique reproductions and currently painted a filthy ochre. I did a bit of research, and purchased an aerosol paint stripper, tons of sandpaper, and rubber gloves.

Every website ever will tell you to do this outside. Well I will tell you, this is NYC. We don’t *do* outdoor space. All our outdoor spaces are taken up with beer gardens. So I opened our two windows all the way, set up some tiny fans, and crossed my fingers.

I applied the paint stripper three or four times… spray it on, watch NY1 until Weather on the 1’s comes back on (this is what we use as a timer when we don’t have a watch or a clock. Or cable TV.), and scrape it off with the plastic shovel thing. I also used a whole roll of paper towels to get the smaller spaces. I sanded down the whole thing by hand and gave it a few days to dry.

Note if you’re doing this with crappy furniture (or furniture from an unknown source): the paint stripper will completely f up anything plastic. Those little adornments on the front of the dresser drawers were (unbeknownst to me), and after letting the it sit for 10 minutes I had a bubbly, wrinkly mess. I ended up sanding off a few layers and then applying way more paint to that spot, but despite my best efforts it’s still rather visible.

Next step is priming. I bought some cheap-o black spray primer and put the dust mask back on (windows open, fan on, of course). I started with the nightstand and ended up using the entire canister. There was cursing, and then running in flip flops and ragged painting clothes to the local hardware store. Many hours and two coats of spray primer later, I was back to playing the waiting game. It’s super important to let the primer dry to get smooth paint application!

Painting is the fun part. 3 nice coats, let it dry in between. I used Behr Mosaic Tile (lacquer). It’s the perfect shade of deep teal… I love it (it also happens to be the color we painted our living room).

Aren’t they pretty?! I just want to hug them.

For drawer pulls, I didn’t want to reuse the originals. They were grimy and even if I spray painted them they would still look super old lady-ish. Which is cool sometimes, but not what I had in mind. I found brushed nickel pulls at Home Depot for the dresser, but the bedside table was so awkward I either had to drill new holes or make my own pulls. I opted for the easy secret option C: not using drawer pulls, until we got into the new apartment and inspiration struck.

Rope! I threaded thick twine through the holes, double-knotted it on the inside, and we have a nautical drawer pull. Tada!

So there you have it. Do you love them as much as I do?!

Oh, and by the way. Like a week after I finished this, Apartment Therapy posted this: (can’t find the original page but tracked down the photo to Something’s Hiding in Here)

Am I a genius or a pre-emptive copycat?

Renovation Close-Up: Dressing Room

Wow, I’ve totally neglected this poor blog. I promise it’s not for lack of effort! Tons of updates to come…

Because it isn’t just as easy as picking out a color and waiting for the “after” photos, I’m going to start outlining each room, the process of design and renovation, and finally what I would change (or wouldn’t) if given the chance. I’m going to upload a ton of pictures with little descriptions, but if you just want the final run-down (or the finished pictures!), scroll to the bottom.

Almost done with Close-Ups! Here is the second-to-last!


As the smallest room in the house, measuring just 24 square feet (on a good day), this room should have been the easiest. It’s basically jut a mini-hallway that links our living room, bedroom, and bathroom, and provides some space for linens. But since it’s so compact, it actually made my job a lot harder. You can get away with much stronger colors and motifs in small rooms without them looking shocking or getting old quickly. The first time we saw this room, it was just a spot for the previous owner to store linens, but we knew we wanted to have more fun than that!


I knew immediately I wanted a star-shaped pendant light. I don’t know why– it may have been a bit of an obsession. But it had to happen. I tried to order one from Pottery Barn, but as soon as I settled on it, it sold out. So I bought an outdoor light from Macy’s. I thought of using Flavor Paper’s Starglint wallpaper, but I couldn’t tell if the reflective wallpaper plus strange light plus small room would equal awkward and overdone. I eventually decided on only one star-themed accessory per room, so the wallpaper was sadly out.

Next we were going to paint it red. Like a deep burgundy red. I was hesitant because I had a feeling it would feel like being inside someone’s organs, but we bought the paint anyway.

And then, the night before the crew was supposed to paint, we were out at a bar in Chinatown that was entirely black– walls, ceilings, couches, and floors. It finally hit me that this would look awesome. Somehow it’s more neutral than the dark red, but it still makes a statement, and it doesn’t matter if it’s dark because it’s not a room you linger in anyway. I came in the next morning with a new gallon of paint and the crew literally thought I’d lost my mind. They spent about 20 minutes trying to talk me out of it, but it’s my space so I won (and we could always paint over it later, anyway!)

The black paint (it’s actually a super dark gray) is absolutely perfect in the space. It isn’t too dark, it doesn’t make the room feel smaller, but it does make me feel cozy and like I finally proved my doubters wrong. Even the contractor was saying by the end that it was his favorite room.

The other major change we made was also a mid-renovation decision. The room came with super heavy sliding wood doors, and I knew as soon as I walked in that I wanted mirrors. The doors take up a whole wall of the room and mirrors would reflect light, make the room look larger, and help turn it from a hallway to a “dressing room” (which is what it says on the original floorplan for the apartment and was originally a total joke). I was planning on ordering those sliding mirror doors that everyone (including me) hates– the ones that fall off their track and look like they belong in a rental apartment from the 80’s. But I couldn’t find a nice version of the same thing.

Then when they took the doors off to repaint the interior of the closet, I realized how HUGE it looked. Being able to open up the whole thing at once turned it from a linen closet to a coat/laundry/linen/cleaning supplies/extra paint closet! Just compare the photos above– which would YOU prefer?? I did some research and found sliding mirrored bi-folds at Lowe’s. When they’re closed, it’s a wall of mirrors, but when they’re open you can access 90% of the closet without wedging your body in an awkward position.



I also had them install a light in the interior of the closet, just in case the star light ended up inadequate. I’m really glad I did because we end up using this room more than I thought we would, and the extra light makes the black paint less of a potential problem. We also installed a frosted glass door between the foyer and the dressing room, which lets in light and also makes cool shadow silhouettes.

So there you have it. One tiny room, some paint, a light fixture, and mirrored doors. The art on the wall is by Paul Nassar— a local artist and good friend. I mean, seriously. Does it get more perfect than that?


Room Details:

• Light fixtureMarrakesh Star from Macy’s, $90

• PaintBehr UL260-23 Poppy Seed, eggshell finish

• Frosted glass door – Custom order from Home Depot, $200

• Mirrored sliding doors – Custom-made from Lowe’s, $250 (similar to these)

• Art custom housewarming gift by Paul Nassar

Things I’d Do Differently (or Keep the Same):

I wish I had wallpapered this room with a beige floral pattern and kept the standard issue 1953 bulb cover.

NOT.

I freaking love this room. It’s not for everyone, but it’s my apartment and so far everyone that’s come in has gasped at the awesomeness. There have also been comments about how there could be no more perfect spot for the flying pig painting, which is true.

We decided not to Elfa-out this closet, even though we did all the others. There are so many oddly placed soffits (vertical and horizontal), and the current layout actually works quite well. Once we got it properly lit, we had no desire to rip it out and start again. It also saved us a couple hundred bucks, which is nice.

Basically, the only problem is that the doors all knock into each other, but in a space this size that was never going to be avoidable. So far no major incidents between the bi-fold doors and the frosted glass pane, which is my major worry.

That’s all for now! Cheers!

ps. The living room Close-Up post won’t happen for quite awhile. It’s currently full of our remaining boxes and some furniture we found in the trash. Not in the chic, saving-an-antique way… but more in the freegan, dumpster-diving way. When we get around to finding some perfect permanent pieces, I’ll post about it 🙂 In the meantime, we’ve made some life-changing decisions that involve a HOUSE HUNT. Like, a real house. With multiple bedrooms. I have never lived in one of these things before, so it should be exciting!

Renovation Close-up: Bedroom

Because it isn’t just as easy as picking out a color and waiting for the “after” photos, I’m going to start outlining each room, the process of design and renovation, and finally what I would change (or wouldn’t) if given the chance. I’m going to upload a ton of pictures with little descriptions, but if you just want the final run-down (or the finished pictures!), scroll to the bottom.

Room number three! Yay!

I think the bedroom may have been the easiest room for us to agree on from the start. We had been living in a 100+ year old tenement apartment for 3 years, and as much as I loved the character of the exposed brick, we were sick of having such warm colors in the bedroom (it’s not very relaxing!). We wanted the bedroom to be soothing and calm with a beach cottage vibe, and an edge. The one reference point we kept coming back to was our favorite hang-out, the Ale House Inn in Portsmouth, NH. Whenever we manage to get away from the city and up to the Seacoast, we love to just sit and relax in the tranquil and beautiful, yet modern hotel rooms. So basically, all the work has been done for us. All we needed was to find a beachy blue for the walls and inject our personal style into the details….

Blah, too much talking. Look… pictures!




We got the room cleared out, and then used it mostly for storage of the construction materials. We decided to have our crew refinish all the floors in the apartment, except these, because M likes wall-to-wall carpet in the bedroom. So, unlike the 100-step-process of all the other rooms, the bedroom only needed:

The walls sanded and painted.

Elfa components installed in both closets.

The electrical outlets converted to three-prong.

Shoe moulding.

The whole shebang on the windows and A/C unit. (discussed below)

Carpet

The first thing they did was paint. You can see our original paint color below, on the right (on the wall with the windows). It was ok but felt like maybe we were preparing for a baby boy and not two twenty-somethings. We switched to the color you see on the left, which felt a lot more subdued and nautical.

We used the same taupe color for all the trim in the apartment, and went for a sunny yellow as the closet interior color. We wanted something that wasn’t white or beige, but wouldn’t dramatically alter the look of our clothing.

Next up was the PTAC! That’s a “packaged terminal air conditioner” for those who haven’t been speaking renovation for 8 months now. They’re the giant units you see in old hotels, and they’re required by our building. The first step was to open up a gaping hole in the side of our apartment.

Then comes a wall sleeve, an exterior grille, and finally the air conditioning unit and cover. They also realized halfway through that they had to switch out the regular 120v outlet for a monster 240v outlet (which delayed us a few days, since all the electric had already been done and the walls were all closed back up already).

We also had to move and cover the building’s heating coils. Although the PTAC serves as a heater, the building heat is free (or at least already paid for by our maintenance)– it’s also terribly ugly. First the building wanted the coils to be placed on the top of the unit, then the bottom, then the top. I’m still not convinced that it matters or that they know what they’re talking about.

And lastly, they had to install one large pane of glass where the old window and old A/C used to be. This made the room look about 16x bigger and brighter.

So here you have the room as complete as the construction crew would make it, but without functioning floors.

The next step was to get some carpet installed. This was a much bigger headache than we anticipated. Note: If you don’t care about carpet and/or don’t enjoy rants, just scroll on down.

Originally, we just stopped into good ol’ Home Depot. Obviously, their carpet isn’t the best quality I’m going to find in the whole city, but I figured it would be quick and cheap. And considering how much I care about carpet, that sounded about right. The people at the store were complete morons. One girl had a “I’m New!” button on her smock, and an older man who followed her around later admitted she was training him. Neither of them could figure out the computer system. Eventually, we got a quote of around $1100-1200 for our 200 sq ft room. We decided to go for it.

The guys came to measure and we were emailed a new quote. There were over $200 in hidden fees! There was a “Hard Access Walk Up Fee (For hard to maneuver staircases and landings) or elevator access”– a fee for elevator access?? They should give us a convenience discount for being in one of the few non-walk up buildings in Midtown! How can you charge someone $150 due to the fact that they have an elevator? You know what it is? A NYC surcharge. And that’s BS, coming from a store that has not one but two locations in the city. Build the price into the installation or the carpet, but don’t charge a hidden fee! The other fee was to provide a certificate of insurance to our building, a $75 charge that wasn’t mentioned no matter how many times we said “we live in a co-op, can you guys provide insurance? Is there a charge for that?”– nobody knows until you pay the $50 measuring fee and then they tell you about all the rest of the fees. I didn’t even mention the “measuring fee” before, did I? Well you know what? Even if HD is the cheapest carpet in the city I don’t do business with disingenuous companies. Nor do I want someone with an “I’m New!” badge installing our flooring.

I momentarily pondered calling Empire, but a quick Google search was pretty quick to convince me they would be even worse. A friend in the design world insisted we try ABC Carpet, but the upstairs was out of our price range and the bargain basement didn’t have any remnants that would come close to fitting. We’re also pretty picky when it comes to color/softness/thickness and everything we liked was way out of our budget.

Finally, I checked Yelp, which led me to a store I’d never heard of on the Upper West Side, Rose’s Carpet. We spent a Saturday morning during a heatwave trekking up there and managed to pick a recycled nylon that was fine. Not great, but decent. And the price was right– just slightly higher than Home Depot but with people who seemed to know what they were doing and had been doing it for awhile.

Five days later, the installers arrived at our door. They did everything they were supposed to do and seemed to know what was going on. I watched them roll out the carpet because I was anxious to see how the color played off our blue walls and taupe molding. I don’t think they’ve ever seen someone so anxious about carpet before.

They aligned it… unrolled…… evened out the edge………. kept unrolling……………. crap.

It was too short. Apparently, Rose’s sent in an order for 22′, and for some reason the manufacturer only sent 18′. Normally, it would be no problem. Come back next week with new carpet– whatever. But keep in mind that we have been living without a bedroom for a month now. And we both work from home (we had both been using the couch as our office, which was placed next to the bed in the middle of the living room). We had been keeping some errant furniture and the suitcases we’ve lived out of for the past 3 months in there, but got it all moved into the living room before the guys got here. Now we have spike strips on the floor and literally everything we own is in our 200 sq ft living room.

After some major complaining, we managed to get $100 off the price, and the guys came back 4 days later with the correct carpet. It took them about an hour and, at this moment, our renovation was finally over. No more contractors, no more so-called professionals. Just us, in our apartment, ready to DIY some last-minute projects and unpack.

We danced and cheered for about 10 minutes and then got moving with the furniture. I couldn’t WAIT to get it out of my living room, once and for all. An hour later, we had this… definitely not finished, but a functional office and bedroom space.

That armoire in the last picture and the bedside table above it are antiques I turned into DIY projects I did about a year ago. They never made their way into our living space before, so finally having them with our things on top of them was such a breath of fresh air. I’ll have a post soon on where they started and the whole transformation process.

Room Details:

• PTAC – by Amana, from Total Home Supply, $800

• Closet Interiors – by Elfa, from the Container Store, $800

• PaintWalls: Behr UL-220-15 Frozen Pond, flat finish. Trim: Behr 720D-4 Ashwood, eggshell finish. Closets: Behr 390B-4 Chilled Lemonade, flat finish.

• Carpet – Sandy Hollow by Shaw in #103 Mountain Mist from Rose’s Carpet on the Upper West Side, $1500

Things I’d Do Differently (or Keep the Same):

So far so good, in here. I’d like to say I would have scrapped the carpet thing, but I don’t think M would have let me. It was a total pain, but at the end of the day he was right that it feels more homey and bedroom-y. The carpet we ended up with is perfect. We were worried it would look weird or dirty in the room, but it plays pretty well with the other elements, and it’s not super boring beige which is important (if you can’t tell the exact color from the photos, it’s like a dark sandy color with a lot of gray. I know, I know, sounds like beige, but it’s not!). Obviously, If I did this again, I’d already have the carpet figured out by the time we were almost done so they could just come in and do it instead of waiting a month.

I love our new closets, too. Believe it or not, this is the first time in my life I’ve had my own closet. As a kid, my parents divided their second bedroom into an office for my dad and a bedroom for me. I got the half with the windows, he got the half with the closets. In every place I’ve lived since then, there has only been one bedroom closet and Mike and I have shared it, or I’ve just used the drawers under our bed. Now that I have one, I actually don’t even know what to put in it. But I’m sure I’ll figure it out 🙂

So yay! I slept in a bed last night! With a frame under it! And woke up surrounded by bedroom furniture, not boxes and the couch.

Now I’ve got a lot of unpacking to do. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

Cheers!