Saturday, December 1, 2012

Part One: Decorating Lisa's Apartment!

Last week Reed and I flew to Raleigh to visit my most favorite sister.  We had a fun-filled week of eating [non-stop], visiting breweries, shopping, watching the Butler Bulldogs, relaxing, and most importantly, decorating her apartment! Lisa and I share a love for many similar things, but decorating is not one of them. So when she went off to work on Monday and Tuesday, Reed and I got busy turning her apartment into a cozy little space (which now actually looks like someone lives in it)!

The weeks leading up to our trip Reed and I (mostly me) started planning.  We Facetimed with Lisa and took a virtual tour of her apartment.  We also had her send us some pics of each room.  With the pictures, the current furniture, wall color (what we thought was going to be an obnoxious yellow), and a few requests from Lisa ("warm colors- reds & yellows") in mind, we started brainstorming.  We had to be careful to not over-plan (yeah right) because seeing as we had to pack light; we would have to do most of our shopping in Raleigh.  Not to mention, we had only 2 short 8 hour workdays to finish everything we wanted to accomplish. Oh, and we only checked 1 bag (yes, it cost $20 to check a bag when flying Air Tran. yes, it was over 50 lbs. yes, we were those people emptying things into our carry-ons in the middle of the airport. yes, it was kind of embarrassing that a majority of our suitcase had tools and decorating items).

I bought some curtains from World Market a few weeks before we left and packed them in our luggage to Raleigh (ahem, probably why it weighed 56.4 lbs).  As soon as I saw them I knew they would be a perfect way to incorporate Lisa's request for warm colors, the yellow wall, brown sectional, tan ottoman and my current favorite color- teal! Reed used a curtain rod that Lisa had from her old apartment to hang these beauties.  Next, we scoped out Homegoods, Marshalls, Kirklands, Pier1, and a local Flea Market to find some things for the wall above her couch.  The red mirror is from Homegoods, the teal "L" is from Marshalls, and the wood mirror came from the flea market. We would of liked to add more to this arrangement, but seeing as Lisa is renting her apartment (and might get charged for nail holes), we tried to keep things simple.

To tie in the teal in the curtains and the "L" on the wall, we added a bright tray to her tan ottoman.  I pulled some travel books off of her bookshelf and threw the yellow candle on the tray.  Now she has a place to put drinks and snacks when shes entertaining :)

And since we couldn't find the exact pillows that we were looking for, I am pretty sure Santa might have some sewing to do over the next few weeks to add some color to the sectional...

Over in the dining room we re-covered the outdated chair cushions with a fun red trellis print.  You may recognize the fabric because we also used it on the chairs in our kitchen! You can find the step by step tutorial for recovering upholstered chairs here.  Lisa joked that she didn't know why it took her so long to redo them (we didn't understand the delay either).  The updated fabric makes such a difference in the room!

Her apartment came with a really cool built in desk area right off the kitchen. We didn't have time to organize everything that had collected there for the last few months (its on Lisa's to do list)...But we did add a chicken wire frame for invites/recipes/pictures to be hung with clothes pins.  Reed found a quart of red paint on the Lowe's clearance paint section (Valspar "Mistletoe") for $3 and I spent some time on the balcony painting an old frame she had in her apartment.  Once the frame dried, Reed cut a piece of chicken wire (a little bigger than the frame opening) and used a staple gun to attach it to the back of the frame. Lisa is planning on painting the purple pencil cup in the red paint to match!

And last (but not least!) I need to tell you about the project that caused the most drama.  A few weeks before we left I grabbed some knobs (50% off) from Hobby Lobby to incorporate into Lisa's family room area.  We thought the knobs would tie the red, yellow, and teal colors into the room and add to the eclectic vibe we were trying to create.  We had plans for a more elaborate wood palette-like project that would take over most of the wall, but we ran out of time.  In an effort to avoid bringing the cute knobs home with us, I sneakily stained a scrap piece of plywood out on the balcony (you can see it in the photo with the red frame above).  Reed was mortified that I was considering hanging rough plywood on her wall and did not support the idea at all (he also didn't support the fact that I stained the plywood without sanding it first. Oops). We temporarily scrapped the project...until later that evening ;) 

Thankfully, when we told Lisa about the idea and she (like me) had no harsh feelings towards a piece of stained plywood, the project was back on.  Reed drilled some holes in the freshly stained wood and used a hack saw blade to cut the extra length off the backs of the knobs. And there you have it, one of my favorite additions to her apartment.  I see the project as a creative way to add a little spunk to an otherwise plain wall.  Reed sees it as an embarrassing piece of stained plywood.  But most important, Lisa sees it as a "practical" decoration since she can use it to hang things.  And all that matters is that Lisa likes it.  Success.

[P.S. Reed stained some wood plugs and put them in the mail so Lisa can fill those holes on the front.]

All in all, it was a successful two days of decorating.  Her family room feels warm and cozy.  The teal accents and geometric fabric keep things young and fresh- perfect for a "young professional's" first real world apartment. Are we happy with the results? Yes.  Is it perfect? Absolutely not.  48 hours of decorating, 833 miles from home, and only a handful of TSA approved tools doesn't exactly add up to our dream decorating situation.

And although there are a million more things we wish we would've had time to do, we are excited to show you the rest of our two day decorating whirlwind- stayed tuned for a post about Lisa's bedroom!


  1. LOVE IT! YAY! Come back and finish.... pllleassseeee?!

    1. I wish we could, we have so many more ideas! I'll send you that Craigslist furniture info today :)

  2. Lisa's place looks so cute now! Good work Reed and Deanne :) Miss you Lisa!!

    1. Thanks Julie! And thanks for making a Blogger account to comment, you're too funny!

  3. Your talent never seems to amaze me. I think it runs in the family. Beautiful job Deanne and Reed! Lisa your place is amazing :)

    Love, Mrs. B

    1. Thank you Mrs. B!! Long time no see, we need to plan a reunion :)