Sunday, January 27, 2013

Come and knock on our door...

The hallway leading into our apartment is admittedly, one of the creepiest places ever. Even on bright sunny days, it remains straight out of a horror movie. It has this industrial rubber padding on the steps, and stains on the walls that we cannot fathom how they got there, considering they are like, 17 feet up. But because its such a high traffic area that takes a lot of wear and tear, but yet one that we only spend 10 seconds at a time in, we haven't done much work to it. There are some things that just don't feel worth it in a rental, and re-doing stairs or painting 17 foot high ceilings fall on that list for me.

It probably wouldn't hurt matters if I swept up once in a while.

All that being said, I've tried to make the landing a little less shitty. It started here:
A little side table to catch keys, a little bucket for shoes. Not helping the ambiance at all. But then I learned how to make giant engineering prints for $5, and that inspired a little facelift:

So that leads us to kind of where we are today...
I'm sorry that the deer on the entry table is staring right at you. Not intentional, and even freaking me out a little bit. As you can also see, I tried to make a version of the Yellow Brick Home "Hi/Bye" welcome mat, but I rushed through it and fucked up by not covering the whole mat when I spray painted, causing faint outlines from spray paint blowback, and using a mat not quite as pretty as the one they chose. Plus, its started to fray around the edges. But it's done the job for a while to catch all the salty, sleety fun that our shoes bring in from Chicago winters. Anyways, we'll get to an update on that.

And since apparently all my DIYs from this blog end up in the entry way, I had my bright dip-dyed #2 marking the doorway, but one day it fell off and cracked in, well, two. 

RIP old door number.

So let's tally up what we need to do:
1.) Replace my failure of a doormat
2.) Replace the broken apartment number
3.) Do something to make the whole area a little bit cozier, and a little less creepy.

Working backwards up the list, lets try to start with making it a little less creepy. I had some leftover paint from when I did an accent wall on the inside of the foyer, and I am still in love with the soft, almost neutral tone of this gray-blue shade. I figured it would be a welcomed addition of warmth to the landing, which has ZERO natural light, which really adds to the old, stained paint and industrial stair thing we've got going on. I thought about doing yellow, but a color that bright might not have been a good contrast as much as it all would have looked dingy, and maybe a little too 70's.

I know it doesn't look like a huge color difference, but it is! Its just a bit crisper, a bit more contrast, and a lot less disgusting old, dirty white paint that no amount of scrubbing will make look fresh. Again, no natural light (coupled with taking this picture at 3am) really doesn't make for the best photo set. 

I then just used a small craft brush to cut in around the doorknob and lock. I didn't bother taping off, since cutting in here wasn't too hard, and the metal is easy to just wipe off if you smudge a bit. Also, can I go off on a tangent real quick about how late at night when all the world is sleeping, I stay up and think of one day living in a place that does not just have the cheapest fucking knobs from Home Depot??

So then it was time to tackle the welcome mat situation. This one was biting the dust a little (a lot), but even with all its fraying and ugliness, it still did the job of keeping snow and salt from coming in, so it got relocated to the bottom of the landing. But unfortunately just having bare floors was not an option. Then I remembered I had a rug that had yet to find its place in the new ("new") apartment, that a good friend of mine brought back for me from when he lived in Abu Dhabi. Its absolutely beautiful, and built SO well that I think it could handle the beating of the front landing. If it starts to show wear, I'll probably move it, but for now it seems to be up to the task. 

I love how having a big rug out there not only protects the floors, but makes the landing feel like its own little room, as opposed to just a forgotten space you pass through to get to the rest of the apartment. 

And finally, for a new number marker. To be honest, we probably don't even need one, since we have a private entrance, so its not like people come over and are confused which door is ours...there is only one door. But whatever, I like numbers and it looks pretty so door marker it is! 

Keeping this project cheap by using things I already have, I FINALLY found a use for this amazing thrifted gold frame I've had sitting around (which you may recognize from my last "failures" post). I just printed out a plain number 2 in 400pt Arial, framed it, and hung it up. I have really liked the look of graphic, plain numbers since I saw the one in this room:

So stealing the idea, but using it in a different kind of room (warm and cozy instead of cool and modern), the new door number went up.

So when you pull together the new door, the new rug, the new framed 2, that brings us here:

So all in all, its an improvement from where we started! Let's see a side-by-side, shall we?

In no way do I expect that this small update will end up on every "Dream Home" board on Pinterest, or anything like that, but I love small improvements like this that can make your place feel more like your home. Thats the thing, is that we aren't all rich, we aren't quite established and settled, or we aren't all adorable bloggers in affordable bungalows in small towns. Sometimes, you live in the shitty apartment in the fun cities and you compromise things like crown molding and great lighting for things like being close to a train, or being within your really modest budget. Sometimes you're just 26, still eating too many frozen pizzas, living in a crappy place where your landlord "fixes" things by duct taping them together, and you just want to make it just a little bit better with the limited resources you have.  

And that's okay.



  1. Sometimes little upgrades like this are my favorite. We've been working really hard at paying off our house which means very little extra funds for *truly* redecorating rooms. So, I get excited about making a cute little coffee tray for Mr. Lemon and our kitchen counter. And honestly, I think you've made this space very cozy and lovely :)

    1. ha, i'm at the beginning of your process, which is SAVING for a house, meaning very little extra funds! Thankfully in the past I stockpiled all of this stuff making this total renovation $0.00 :)

  2. You're too hard on yourself, re: mat. Actually I kind of like the box-y edge effect! Looks great, love the frame!

    1. haha aww, thanks. I think just seeing it compared to the one it was based off of, which is impeccable, made it doomed!

  3. It's fab and the Imperfections add to the charm :) :) I forgot to thank you for introducing me to Wye Oak!!! :D however I missed their show in London :(
    Your ever devoted English fan,
    Katie xo

    1. ahhh did you start listening to them after the handwriting art post?? i LOVE them and am so sad i didn't find them earlier! haha that makes me SO happy that someone listened to that youtube!

    2. Yes I got their album for christmas cos I can't shut up about them! :) The handwritten art was ace!!

  4. Small tweaks are always my favorite! Love the little changes you've done. And don't feel bad, we have shitty doorknobs from Home Depot too. And that rug, seriously loving that rug. I'm glad it's outside your apartment so you won't be able to see me when I steal it!

    1. haha that does make me feel a little bit better, since i've never noticed your doorknobs being lackluster. i want to ORB them, john and sherry style, haha but i am too intimidated to take them out/mess with the locks/etc etc.

      and the rug is my favorite! when drew brought it back he was like "i wasn't sure if you'd like this or anything..." and i was like ARE YOU KIDDING, GIMME DAT NOW because i am a gracious recipient of gifts.

  5. Wow. This is actually really cool. Digging the site and everything. I could definitely use a lot of these pointers too, especially since I'm that guy that's constantly telling people that visit my place that "I know. I know. I gotta get some stuff up on these bare walls." My place could definitely use some personality.

    Great stuff. Keep up the good work.

  6. Holy Shit. That rug is freaking awesome! How could you forget you had it?! What a sweet friend to bring it to you -

  7. WHOA WHOA WHOA. Is everyone failing to acknowledge the awesomeness of that map on burlap? Because that ish is awesome.

  8. WHOA WHOA WHOA. Is everyone failing to recognize the awesomeness of that map on burlap? Because that ish is awesome.

  9. I only found you today, and I love you! Living in a tiny apartment in a lame part of a cool town with a tiny (student) budget can get so depressing when all the blogs tell me I can update my apartment on a budget for only, like, a million dollars per square foot (or whatever seems cheap to people with real lives, or whatever). Your blog/apartment are so real, and so great! Thanks for the inspiration!!!


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