All posts filed under: DIY

Costello Home NYT

LIGHTING & OTHER RENTER WOES

Now that we’ve renewed the lease on our apartment, I’m newly motivated to make this place our own and change the things that still bug me one year in. First up is the sad, sad lighting situation. There’s only so much that pretty lamps can do when your main source of illumination is dated track lighting that creates an unflattering spotlight effect in every room. As much as I’d love to just rely on the lamps, the lack of daylight around here makes overhead lighting a necessity. So I’m in the market for some inexpensive pendants and am reconsidering the humble paper lantern. Lately I’ve been seeing them crop up in some seriously chic spaces, like the living room of Sara Ruffin Costello (above), photographed for the New York Times. Costello used another lantern in this NYC bachelor pad: I’m thinking one oversized lantern for the living room and another for the bedroom? Then again, when juxtaposed with my crappy walls and knotty-pine molding, I’m not sure the lanterns will look quite so nice. I …

Apartment progress: IKEA Hyllis shelving units

Things are finally coming along! Over the past couple weeks I’ve been slowly but surely getting our place together, starting with the bedroom. I want this room to function as a cozy retreat, a place to read and hang out, and an office, which is a lot to squeeze into one room! My biggest project so far (I have my boyfriend to credit here for the original idea) is a pair of near-ceiling-height bookshelves constructed of 8 galvanized steel IKEA Hyllis shelving units. At only $15 (we snagged ours on sale for $9), these shelves are so useful and provide lots of possibilities for customization.However, at under 5 feet tall, they weren’t nearly tall enough for the look we wanted. Plus we have a LOT of books. Each unit is made up of 4 L-shaped shelving supports and 4 shelves, which fasten together with screws. All of the holes are pre-drilled (love IKEA), so it’s pretty easy to connect multiple units together side-by-side by just matching up the holes and putting the screws all the …

Craft break

I took a little break the other day to get a quick craft fix. Inspired by this DIY lamp project from Martha (and following the same instructions), I made a rope-covered pencil cup for our desk using a soup can. I ended up getting glue everywhere, but it feels good to make a craft-y mess every once and a while, doesn’t it?

Kitchen inspiration

My roommate and I are planning some changes in our apartment’s kitchen. It’s a great space with tons of storage (she basically hit the NYC rental jackpot), but it needs something to spice it up visually. We won’t be making any major changes, but with a few tweaks I think we can make the space feel a little more custom. For the cabinets, we both would love to switch out the hardware. To play off the white subway tile backsplash, we’re thinking of going with an eclectic farmhouse feel. White ceramic knobs fit the theme and would make the light wood cabinets a bit more interesting. We’re also thinking about taking off one or two cabinet doors to create some open shelving and break up the expanse of wood. I love the look of this single open cabinet: [via] We’re wavering between a colorful rug or something more neutral against the dark tile floor. I’m wondering if a neutral rug might be too much with the light wood cabinets? And I do love the vibrancy …

Bentwood chairs

Although we probably won’t have a place of our own for a couple months (my saint of a best friend has taken us in for the time being), I’m still mentally planning out our future apartment. We sold a lot of the furniture from our last place, most of which was purchased only becauase it was super-cheap. However, one thing that I really, really hope works in our new place is a set of bentwood chairs that I found on Craigslist a while back. What’s that? No one in their right mind would try to fit six dining chairs into a New York apartment? Nah, it’ll be fine… [disappears under pile of chairs] After we moved into our last apartment, I began scouring Craigslist daily for some decent dining chairs. I settled, at first, for a mismatched set of windsor chairs. They were fine for a while, but the clashing wood tones drove me nuts. What I really wanted was something more like these Thonet-style bentwood chairs. I’m partial to the classic styles in brown …

Two-minute projects

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good labor-intensive DIY project. Sometimes, though, life just gets a little too crazy to bust out the staple gun and power drill. Such has been the case for me lately, so I’ve been getting my DIY fix when I can by doing a bunch of small, easy projects. I started with a classic: the old paint-the-inside-of-a-jar/cup/vase. Another oldie-but-goodie: chalkboard-painted jar lids (side note: I now want to paint my entire apartment with chalkboard paint). I never knew how much I needed a match-striker in my life until I read this tutorial by Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook. This is super easy – just throw a bunch of matches in a container and glue a piece of the striking paper on the bottom. The end. As a kid, I used to spend hours making beaded earrings and necklaces. Over the long weekend, I finally dug out my needle nose pliers and put together a simple pendant necklace using pieces from a pair of old earrings. Since I wasn’t …

Current obsession: filament pendants

… Lately it seems that these gorgeous pendant lamps are popping up everywhere – I can’t get them out of my head. The one above, from the latest issue of Country Living, is my favorite so far (but of course I didn’t write down the source. I’m such an excellent blogger). This modern take from Restoration Hardware is also pretty awesome: … … Pottery Barn makes a more tapered version: … … And while a bit different, I love this shade that echoes the shape and lines of the metal pendants. Also how gorgeous is this kitchen?? … … I’m thinking some sort of DIY might need to happen in my apartment. Maybe a shade like this one from Target, plus some 1″ black trim?