11 May The Apartment Design Adventure: Round 1
I’m about to let you in on our dirty little secret. Over the last year, I have had an awesome adventure bringing Life’s Too Short for Beige to you with tips and resources to get you excited about discovering new ideas and show you how to infuse these ideas into your own homes.
However…living a vibrant life is SO much more than just what’s in your home…it’s your personal style, your beauty routines, your approach to work, kids, being a mother, girlfriend, wife, friend and all around total rock star.
Starting today we are expanding LTSFB to include the voices of some of the women in my life who are living WAY outside the beige box. These are women exactly like you, who take a totally different approach to the daily grind. They have impeccable yet funky style, incredible careers, beautiful families, and (most importantly) are 100% real.
I want you to connect with them, relish in their stories, follow in their footsteps, believe in their causes, support their projects, share their ideas with your friends, and ultimately, to follow your OWN path outside the beige box.
The first of these stories comes from my dear friend Kate Bailey, the LTSFB director of Marketing and Public Relations, and the owner of the game changing media strategy company Annabel Media in Denver, CO. She’s getting ready to move into a new apartment and has decided it’s time for some “grown up” furniture and major style.
I’m moving into a new apartment. And this time, I’m pulling out the stops.
You see, I’ve been a writer, editor and PR “girl” in the design industry for more years than I care to admit—eating, drinking and sleeping design since the day I stepped into my first magazine job at the ripe age of 22.
Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about interiors. I know that there are certain fabrics that are great for drapes, but not for pillows, that your rug should be big enough to stretch a little past the length of your sofa, and that lighting should be done in layers.
A Lesson Learned
However, this knowledge only goes so far. When I started to think about decorating this new, very beautiful, very grown up apartment by myself, I had a minor sweat-on-the-brow-inducing freak out. While I know what I love, I don’t know the first thing about how to put it all together to look and feel the way I imagine it in my mind.
If there is ONE more thing I have learned over the years…you can’t achieve your vision alone. When you want to get it right, call the professionals to transform those ideas in your head into the beautiful, gorgeous space that you want in your heart.
The Design Challenge
Enter my friend and Life’s Too Short for Beige “Designer Crush” Danielle Wallinger of Denver-based Studio D, who is impeccably translating my desire for a 1970s-Parisian-Rock-and-Roll style into a reality.
Mind you…this is a serious vision to have for the tiny 650 sqft space, with a huge expanse of windows in the main living space, but zero windows in the tiny bedroom with terrible beige carpet and a dingy wash of grey paint. (Granted this design conundrum is well worth the gorgeous building with a 14th floor pool and 24-hour concierge in the heart of LoDo.)
Despite the design challenges, I refuse to sacrifice style, so we’re on a long, challenging road to carving out high-design spaces.
Here is a quick breakdown of the process so far and some of the ideas we are gathering for the living room. Over the next few months, I’ll share the process with you. Would love your feedback!
Leave comments below and help me live my 70s Parisian dream (cocaine, Serge Gainsbourg and bedazzled platforms not included), and follow here for updates along the way!
Living Room Layout Challenge
The living room is challenging in terms of layout. We were dealing with a long narrow room with only 10 feet between the edge of the kitchen cabinet and the 11-foot-long window.
In this tiny room we had to fit a sofa, a desk, a TV stand and some kind of table situation, all while leaving enough room to maneuver in the kitchen.
My original idea was to put the sofa on the wall near the door, and the TV opposite with the desk somewhere in between sticking out along the window. But that kind of amateur layout is exactly what an untrained eye will see.
This, my friends, is why you hire an interior designer.
With tape measure in hand, Danielle came armed and ready to go taking measurements of this, that and the other. And within minutes she shifted the layout to something genius.
Big 10-foot-long sofa UNDER the windows, TV on the wall close to the door, desk on the opposite, close to the kitchen so I can use it as space for dining when I entertain.
Why didn’t I think of that?
Time to Turn Up the Style
Once we had the layout nailed, it was a little easier to kick off the fun part. This was a little easier due to my score of a turn-up-the-glam Italian hide-on-hair rug from my client Dedalo Living. This is a major “Fendi for your floors” fashion statement, and sets the tone for the rest of the apartment.
The rug 100% determined the color palette with splashes of a fiery orange, pale green blues, smoky grays, creams and muted purples.
First up, the sofa. I have to admit I was reluctant to buy anything from Restoration Hardware, but…on a brief pass through of their Cherry Creek flagship, I did a drive-by sit in this cloud-like sofa and it was as if any other sofa on the planet didn’t exist. The deal was sealed when we pulled out the pale blue-green washed Belgian linen, which happened to be the exact color of the pale blue in the rug. SOLD
BTW – of note…the color of the sofa below is nothing like the color in person and the blue in the rug is much less blue in real life, so somewhere in between the two meet. I promise I’m not color blind.
Next up, lighting. I LOVE lighting—the drama, the glam, the idea of “jewelry for your room.” However, picking light fixtures can provide some major moments of indecision because there is SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM. Totally overwhelming. So, we decided on some parameters. It had to be gold or brass and a serious statement piece to stand up next to the rug.
Here are a few of the options so far. Which is your favorite?
M3LD, Dee Pendant, $359
M3LD, Judith Light, $479
Currey and Company, Grand Lotus Antique Gold Leaf Chandelier, $1420
Circa Lighting, Cubist Medium Chandelier, $1470
Arteriors, Imogene Large Chandelier, $3780
Anthropologie, Anchored Orb Chandelier, $998-$1498
So that’s where we are for right now. Next up comes choosing a media console. Question is do we go glam rock, mid-century modern, funky vintage, mirrored, painted a bright hue? I’m leaning towards this jaw dropper, which is the perfect blend of all of the above don’t you think?
modshop, Boca Credenza in Walnut, $2156
Once we have tackled the living room, it’s time for a little va-va-voom in the cave-like bedroom. Talk about a design challenge. Hmmmmm…
Thanks for joining me on this awesome adventure. I can’t wait to share more, but even more so I look forward to your feedback.