Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I was raised on home shows, Better Homes & Gardens, before growing up to Domino, Elle Decor and every single program HGTV has to offer, and that's not even mentioning the completely unhealthy blog obsession I have.

But all of these beautiful homes and Pinterest boards can often just make me feel defeated, like I will never have a mid-century modern home that overlooks an ocean, or even just one of those perfectly homes where everything appears so effortless (but when you Google something in it to find the source you start thinking "I don't really need both kidneys....").

So beautiful, but let's not pretend like I can keep that notoriously-difficult Fiddle Leaf Fig alive, that white carpet white, and that I wouldn't let those flowers on the table wither and die, but never throw them out or replace them.

This week, I stumbled upon three homes that just look like people live in them. They look like people my age who also don't have enough storage so they stack their sweaters to the ceiling. They look like people who have a hard time finding good art so they frame printed out pictures of young Mick Jagger. And I love them for it.

First up is a jewelry designer's sublet, that I first saw on Design*Sponge (make sure to click through to see all the pictures, it was hard to choose just a few to highlight). 
In college, I didn't have a door on my bedroom my junior year, so I just tacked up an extra sheet my roommate had. Now seeing this, I wish I would have used a pretty fabric, with deliberately spaced tacks, with a pretty tie on the door frame. Such a cheapy solution, but it can look cozy, ~bohemian~, and intentional when done right. (Sidenote: it's so hard to describe things as bohemian without feeling like a tool.)

You can buy this same shelf from Ikea for $60, and the wooden crates from Joann for $11. I love the metal and the wood together, and then the greenery just makes it all look like something that belongs in that house you went to one time for a party where everyone seemed so much cooler than you and you wondered how the hell you got invited in the first place. (No, just me?)

Even old, cracked frames look great when you put a picture of Mick at his prime in them. Old travel photos hung up with cheap office supply clips make a gallery wall with fancier pieces look a little more effortless. (Though, let's be real, I'd probably spray paint them gold first.)

If you can't craigslist a good iron headboard like this one, Ikea has a very similar looking bed for $249. Again, more greenery makes even a subletted bedroom look like home. When you can't afford the fancy duvets, or the giant blankets, the cheaper, small size blanket over inexpensive white bedding is a great look too (I think I actually prefer it). 

Next up is the apartment from the folks behind Hannah and Landon, as photographed by Todd Selby. In the post, she remarks that she feels the pictures are a reminder that her collections are growing too large and cluttered, but I kind of love that feel. I love a home that doesn't pretend it's clothes all fit neatly into a perfectly organized California Closet. 

The bedroom was my favorite part, maybe because I also own that Point blanket (from Craigslist, for $40, because life is grand). A great tip when you're on a thrift store art budget is to look for collections, pieces that go together, like this series of animal paintings. Also, anyone who has ever lived in a shitty apartment knows the value of good lighting. Skip the boob light overhead and try a hanging pendant. They require no rewiring, just string it up and plug it in. Urban Outfitters actually has some great options, this $39 one being my favorite.

Too many clothes, not enough closets? Just own it. Head to Home Depot, buy some shelves and stack em up to the ceiling. What's the point of buying all those ridiculously patterned vintage dresses anyways if they are just going to hide in a closet?  On a semi-related note, I also love how warm these photos are. Home blogs are often very crisp, very light and bright (the Young House Love effect), but I kind of love some warm, low lighting once in a while.

Next up is Nicolette Mason. Ohhh Nicolette Mason, how I love you so. She was my first intro to the world of fatshion, and I was so relieved to find a plus-size blog that wasn't just rockabilly style, and dressing as if she wasn't restrained with the limitations of boxy, shapeless, expensive polyester clothes. If you aren't reading her yet, please start. (I found the link to her apartment tour through my other favorite fatshion blog, GabiFresh. Also go read that one.)

Yes, the brick is part of why this room is fabulous, but I love that even with that industrial element, it still feels so girly. (Find a similar banner from one of my favorite shops, Unicorn Parade!) Don't worry about having perfectly coordinated bedding, because mismatched looks awesome when you keep the main bedding in a similar color scheme, and the accents in a different scheme. I'm assuming her bedroom is also short on space, which is why I also have a dresser as a nightstand in mine- 

This was for the Apartment Therapy tour, so all of the clutter is gone, but it is nice to have that much space to stash glasses and phones and books and lipstick, etc. One key element of Nicolette Mason's place is that it doesn't look like bad clutter when everything is so god damn pretty. 

Much like Hannah and Landon's apartment, Nicolette's amazing wardrobe is decoration in and of itself. If you have a great piece, hang it in a corner or on a blank wall as another form of art. (A pretty hanger, like this chunky black one, or a wooden one, looks much better than wire or plastic.)

More Ikea I-Spy! The Expedit bookcase holds everything, and looks great. I've seen it in college apartments, I've seen it in high-end homes, its so versatile and holds EVERYTHING. (It's so deep that I actually use the back of the shelves for practical storage and the front for pretty storage). Ikea also carries that sheepskin throw for ten bucks, which warms up wood floors. And again, don't be afraid to have stuff. The charm of this apartment is all of her personal items, from her shoes on top of the bookcase, to her nail polish collection being on full display, to the framed photos and prints on every surface. People tend to eschew clutter, sometimes thinking it looks too busy, or too disorganized, but this is proof that when you do it right, it looks luxe. 

Anyways, I thought it would be fun to look at some real apartments with attainable style, so I hope you enjoyed these apartments as much as I did. I'll try to snap some more shots of my place later this week, though its getting harder with the sun setting so early! Maybe I'll just embrace the warm lighting of lamps because The Selby told me it was okay.


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  1. I happened to stumble upon your blog and:

    1. I love it.
    2. You are f-ing hilarious.
    3. I think I might have a girl crush on you. Is that weird?

    Thanks for this post. I too read Elle Decor and several other home decor blogs and feel shitty that I don't have perfect crown molding or fancy claw-foot tubs. Real spaces in real homes with real crap....that's how I roll.


    p.s. I also loved your "drink more gin" art...because I, too, drink excessive amounts of gin on occasion and people tell me it's an "old man's drink". I think they are all just jealous 'cause I'm just really cool.

  2. You know, I really take to heart your point about having "stuff". One of my friends saw my house and was like "wow... this place is like a museum." my boyfriend heard that and was like "fantastic!" whereas all i heard was "clutter". I've been trying to make our house more streamlined but with two people who are big readers and knick-knack lovers, our stuff just doesn't always fit where it's supposed to. Thanks for being one of the first "lifestyle bloggers" I've read that has said it's okay to have stuff, especially if it means something to you. You made my day.

  3. Yep, I too have a lack of fresh flowers, a proliferation of Ikea furniture, and a Lego collection on display in my living room but I love my house. If loving your house means you need Carrera marble counter tops or Eames furniture then go for it.

  4. Yep, I too have a lack of fresh flowers, a proliferation of Ikea furniture, and a Lego collection on display in my living room, but I love my house. If loving your house means you need Carrera marble counter tops or Eames furniture, then go for it.


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