Tag Archives: Home Improvement

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment – Step 1 AGAIN

Sunday! A time for rest and reflection. Right?

I hope I’m not the only one like this but rest and reflection absolutely cannot come until I’ve done something productive. Unfortunately today’s productivity comes as a repeat {sort of} of a previous post. As you can imagine, I am not pleased with that.

When my family and friends were in town for our reunion, we dragged the smoker out of the closet we had previously stuffed it into and grilled up a brisket and wings and jalapeno poppers. It’s been two weeks and the smoker has been shoved in my office with all the boxes that were packed in with it laying all over the floor making the room completely unusable for me. Do you see my poor, lonely little sewing machine in the background there behind all those boxes? Yep, I haven’t sewed a stitch in over 3 weeks! But my office was not unusable for Hubby who took advantage of my refusal to enter that room by eating in there while working online. I chose to take the picture before cleaning up his wrappers and boxes so that while I’m working at making our home its best, you can see it at its worst.


There is still some cleaning up to do but I wanted to share with you our closet before and after.


If you compare the final product of the closet in the last post to the final product of the closet in this one, I think you’ll notice a huge improvement!

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Sunday and we’ll see you tomorrow for Museum Monday!

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment: Step 1

If you’ve planned your own wedding within the last decade, you’ve probably used TheKnot.com. What a helpful and pushy website that is! If I’d sat down and thought about it, I would have seen that 90% of what they said I had to do was completely bull and was a direct cause of me spending way more than was really necessary. Don’t get me wrong! We had a FUN day! But it was expensive.

The next extension of TheKnot.com is TheNest.com, a website built to “help” newlyweds navigate the perils of newlywedhood in categories such as Home Buying, Money Matters, Home Decor, Food/Recipes, Holidays, Tools, and Quizzes. Take a stroll through their website and you’ll see some pretty unrealistic pictures of how most people spend their first few years of marriage.

In our first year of marriage, we did NOT buy a home because we may only be in this town for another year or two. We have not decorated it to the 9’s because it’s a rental apartment. We are still working on paying off all our pre-marriage debt, including student loans to which I, as a graduate student, am still adding!

The newlyweds featured on TheNest.com, however, have beautiful {and I mean BEAUTIFUL} houses, and if not houses then spacious apartments with wood flooring or pristine white carpeting, huge windows and exquisite window coverings. Their storage space makes me green with envy and their leather couches and stylishly upholstered loveseats make me wonder if I forgot to pick up my Wedding Money-Pot after the honeymoon. I understand that these newlywed featured are supposed to serve as inspiration for how to decorate and live stylishly, but all I’m inspired to do is rob a bank.

And the decor itself is right out of a magazine! These photos come from either the homes of actual newlyweds or from the minds of the editors and contributors of TheNest.com. Let’s just examine the Southampton Living Room: The cheapest thing in there is probably the throw pillow on the couch which I have to guess the going price to be between $25-$40. Tack on the rest of the furniture from the Libby Langdon collection and you’re looking at more than I make 4 months. Not to mention that potted tree which, real or fake, is not going to come cheaply. I could show you more examples of “Nestie’s” homes but why bother when I think you’d get such a kick from visiting TheNest.com for yourselves.

Now on to my home…

What you are about to see is my starting place.
◊ Have we decorated? Barely, with what we already had or have found for free.
◊ Do we have expensive furniture? Nope, what we do have was given to us, purchased at 50% off as a floor model, or is simply the illusion of furniture. {The illusion of furniture is definitely a real thing. Get excited for that.}
◊Am I intimidated to show you my messy apartment, home to one dog, one puppy, one husband, and me? YOU BETCHA!

Today I am starting with the second bedroom, AKA Our Office! I teach voice lessons from here, I keep our books and scores in here, our desktop is in here, and the worst: The Storage Closet!

Before Far wall

What we can see here is a room in desperate need of some TLC. In the bottom left corner is the desk {covered in stuff} and behind it are two bookcases packed with books, a record player, some records, and my hymnal collection. On the right is my treasured collection of sheet music, opera scores, oratorio scores, choral scores, opera magazines and calendars {exciting plans for those later!}, Met Librettos, a bugle, a picnic basket, and a box of winter clothes covered by a decorative sarong.

Before Piano wall

Moving around the room, you see my keyboard; it is actually a lot better than it looks. There are also two mirrors that I use for teaching and practice. Singers are so vain!

Before Closet wall Before Closet

Here is the Closet of Doom! So much storage space being wasted! Boxes packed hurriedly, without care! Shoved on top of or underneath the Smoker {Yes, we’ve shoved our Smoker into the closet! We didn’t have another place for it and Hubby was NOT getting rid of it!} Maybe this needs to be one of the areas I clean first?

Before Computer wall

And back around to the computer desk and Erda’s derriere. Hideous room, isn’t it? Not much in the way to inspire creativity at all! If this is going to be my Command Central for all family and home planning, Refashion Plus inspiration, and Tall and Strong Bloggery, then we need to get this room looking better!

Before Before Floor

I show you this “Floor – Before” picture to show you the “Floor – In progress” picture:

In Progress - Floor

What I’ve found so far:

◊ All my yarn! Plus a few unfinished projects. Oops.
◊ My wall sconces! I love these things! Hubby likes them less.
◊ Paint from over a year ago plus fabric paint that Hubby used to decorate a shirt. He’s thrifty too.
◊ Thread, needles {safely packaged}, and fabric! So excited!
◊ A whole bag of Hubby’s old clothes that he says I can Refashion Plus! Expect something later this week, y’all!
◊ Painters tape and scissors!
◊ A bunch of pictures from the wedding as well as the Engagement shoot! I feel a project coming on!

My first priority is to clear the back wall to make room for a small desk upon which to place my sewing machine which as been living in Hubby’s bathroom. Why Hubby’s bathroom? Because when I asked him to move it when we had guests coming over, that is where he chose to put it. I can’t be mad, he did move it.

After Bookshelf

Isn’t that much better? Okay, not “much” but it is better! And I swear it doesn’t lean like that in real life. It’s just the angle of the picture. Now I just need to find a desk.

What I did was take the top layer of books from the shelf to make it easier to move. I then dragged it over by pulling from the bottom of the bookshelf so as to avoid tipping the center of gravity or upsetting the books. Working slowly, I moved it toward the wall on the right, then again pressing from the bottom, I pushed it into place. Easy peasy! I replaced the books on the top shelf then began to sort through the remaining folders, calendars, sheet music, books, etc. and decided on the best way to store them until I get more shelves.

I’m planning to cover the ugly folders very soon in a creative and CHEAP way. Look for that soon.

And voilà! My new music area! The picnic basket and the box of clothes went into the closet. And now, the cleaned out Closet of Doom!

After Closet

The cost of this renovation: $0

Since cheap is good, I will be attempting to spend much less than TheNest.com all while showing you how to live beautifully in an ugly rented apartment. I hope you will enjoy my room-by-room renovation!