Three Newly-Accented Walls

After all the hard work in our apartment two weekends ago, I was feeling super-motivated to make our rented abode feel more like a home. Back in the spring, when we moved into the apartment, I had dreams of painting the walls all sorts of colors. However, a little voice in the back of my mind kept saying, “This is an apartment… We’re just going to have to paint it back… It’s not worth the money…”. (I think that was B’s voice, actually.)

In July, I squashed that voice briefly and tackled our bathroom, taking it from white and bland to green and grand.

Before

After

Recently, though, a slightly stronger voice had arisen in my head. It was the one that said I really needed some more color in my life. A few weeks ago, I decided it was going to happen.

One obstacle that had stood in my paintbrush’s way in the past, was our tall vaulted ceiling. I knew I wanted to do an accent wall in our living room, and I felt like because of the fireplace and the high ceiling, it had to be this wall:

Tall Ceiling = Tall Wall

The issue of getting a ladder tall enough into our apartment to paint all the way up there JUST to turn around and repaint it in a couple of years when we move out didn’t seem worth it. HOWEVER, after watching some Nate Berkus over Winter Break, I decided maybe it didn’t have to be that wall. Maybe it could be this wall instead:

I’ve never been a great color coordinator. I lack the ability to picture color in my mind. Looking through a magazine or a home-decorating blog, I can tell you what I like and don’t like; but in order to achieve a similar look, I’d need to refer to that picture and recreate it. So, last weekend, I enlisted the help of my BFF, Mollie. She was lucky enough to inherit her mom’s incredible eye for color and decor. With her help, I decided to paint not only that wall, but these TWO walls (please excuse the horrible lighting–this was at night and is not photoshopped!):

Being as we’re in a teeny-tiny apartment, I flattened myself against the door to try to get this picture, but the two walls we’re talking about are the one behind the couch, and the closet one to the camera. Just off to the right is the entrance to our kitchen and our dining area/office/storage area. (Yup, we squeeze an awful lot of furniture into one tiny area.)

So, after two trips to Home Depot, and a few rounds of paint chips taped to our walls, we took the plunge. Last Saturday, we tackled the job. The first step was moving furniture and taking down pictures, etc. B did most of that.

What our living room looked like while the project was going on...

Then we started the taping process. It went pretty quickly.

We decided to paint only above the molding on this wall.

Then, I started trimming. On the recommendation of a friend who had bought a house and done a lot of painting recently, we invested in one of these trim thingys (that’s the clinical terminology). It was AWESOME! This is me being really excited about how quickly the trimming went. I’m talking, like, 15 minutes. Tops.

Yay, new trimming tool!

After three coats of the dark, and two coats of the light blue, we had two painted accent walls:

Bright blue wall

With furniture & decor in place

Finished kitchen wall

Sideways view from kitchen into living room

Finished small wall

Two complementary walls

We are exceedingly pleased with the finished product. We were especially pleased to finish all the dirty work within 24 hours of starting, and with only about three hours of actual work time.

And, with all the moving of heavy items, we tried some different furniture arrangements… Only to realize that in a small apartment like ours, you really only have so many options. But we did make one change, moving our blue armchair to the front wall of the room, and adding a lamp to the end table next to it. Not a big change, but one I’m excited about, as it’s a much cozier spot, now, to curl up and read (or blog… or play Sims 3… or lesson plan). AND the chair faces in such a way that I can thoroughly enjoy our pretty blue walls.

My new favorite spot in the apartment

If you’ve been observant in these pictures, you’ll notice through our open bedroom door that there was some work being done in there as well. We don’t have everything put back yet, and there’s a large heap of laundry on our bed, so I don’t have “after” pictures of that project yet. But I’ll leave you with this teaser:

Preview of the bedroom color

 

Dirty Laundry

I have to take a few moments to brag about my husband. A few nights ago, I came home from a busy Saturday of running errands, and found this on the bed:

Laundry

Yes, that is all my laundry. Cleaned, folded, and sorted into hangables and foldables.

This could get an “Awww, sweet…” if it were a one-time thing. But, instead, let’s give him a big HIP-HIP-HOORAY! because this is not a rarity. I honestly cannot remember the last time that I put a load of laundry through.

I felt a little guilty when I was having dinner with a friend recently. She’s about to move in with her significant other, and she asked: “So, how do you and B split up the chores? Like laundry, dishes, trash…”

“Um,” I responded, “We don’t. He just does them all.” She kind of gave me a funny look and I realized how horrible that sounds. How horrible that is, actually.

But, the thing is, I am the Manager of Life in our household. I pay the bills, manage the bank accounts, keep track of prescriptions and doctors appointments (for all four of us!), set up our social activities, and keep in touch with our out-of-town friends and family. I also do all of our shopping and cooking, and most of the deep cleaning and organizing.

B, on the other hand, does the laundry, the dishes, and takes out the trash. He lets the dogs out most of the time, and he makes the bed every morning. In addition, he does all of our ironing. (This is mostly because I’ve never even owned an iron, but he came from a family where socks and boxers were ironed weekly.) If it weren’t for B, our laundry would be piled up in the corner of our room, the dishes would sit in the sink for 2-3 days at a time, and the trash would stink up the house until I managed to drag it out to the curb. (Sounds an awful lot like my college dorm room, actually!)

Although it looks awfully uneven on the chore chart, this breakdown works for us.

I’m curious… How do you and your SO (significant other) split up the household duties?

(Trying to Get Better at) Sharing Closet Space

My inept organizational skills are really quite disgraceful. And I’m pretty sure it’s driving my husband crazy. At least, if I were my husband, it would be driving me crazy.

My to-do list over Winter Break boasted one goal: Organize the closet. However, my two-and-a-half-week-long sinus infection had a different goal: Knock Katie onto the couch.

Unfortunately, in my two-week break from work, the only step I took toward that goal was to buy the shoe rack and bins I needed from Bed Bath & Beyond. (The bins were on clearance, and I had a 30% off coupon for the shoe rack, so I was able to get 10 bins and the rack for only $50. Woohoo!)

Anyway, with a three-day weekend and a great audiobook, I was finally ready to tackle the closet. With about two hours of hard work, I got rid of this much clothes (I had to include the pups in this picture, because they were just being so darn cute):

Clothes for Goodwill

And got these plastic crates and drawers out of our room to take up to my classroom:

Previous High-Class Storage system

I don’t have any before pictures (I don’t know what I was thinking; it may have been out of subconscious embarrassment at even showing you what our room was looking like). But, here are some afters:

The bottom half of this side of the closet is all that B actually gets (pre-shelves).

Previously, that entire top rack was STUFFED full. I’m talking, like, no more hangers were going to squeeze themselves in there no matter how much coercing. I moved all my sweaters, hoodies, tanks, and tees to bins and drawers. Then, I sorted the remaining hanging clothes into “Going Out,” “Comfortable,” and “Work” clothes.

New shelves for bins

The next day, B helped me hang some shelves on that vacant right side. Now I can stack those bins vertically.

The remastered shoe pile

My shoes used to be thrown carelessly on the floor of this half. After paring down my collection into shoes I actually wear, and putting summer shoes and sandals into under-the-bed tubs for storage, I was able to actually fit all of my shoes on this 20-pair rack. Wow!

Scarf solution

Oh, and I also found a solution to the tangle of scarves for which I could never find the right place: two packs of $1 shower curtain rings from Target, and an old hanger. Yes, it was Pinterest inspired.

New laundry corner

The biggest difference for me is not having those dingy plastic drawers sitting out in our bedroom. No matter what we did, our room was just never going to look put-together with anything Rubbermaid sitting out. So, I was able to relocate my gym clothes into the dresser, and we were able to fit B’s drawers inside the closet. Now we have these nice $9.99 Target laundry hampers* instead (which saves us from the pile of laundry on the closet floor).

*I couldn’t find the exact product–but these are very similar, AND they’re on sale!

As I mention in my About Me section, I have often likened the compromise of marriage to the compromise of sharing a closet. See, the compromise is this: Just like I get 75% of the closet, I get what I want 75% of the time. Bahaha. Just kidding. (Although I’m not sure B would think I was kidding.) But, honestly, I think that taking our closet out of its state of disarray was a testament to the respect I have for B. He had mentioned a few times that my “shoe pile” bugged him, and I knew that the piles of clothes creeping out of our closet into our bedroom were making our shared space anything but a romantic oasis.