Patience is a virtue, but not a virtue I possess. I understand that I should take my time decorating the new house. In an ideal world, I would work with the junk I already own and then spend the next decade accumulating one-of-a-kind pieces at thrift stores and garage sales — a distressed leather chair in the perfect shade of camel! an art deco brass floor lamp! And then, voila!, my house would be fit for a Design Sponge tour in 2024. But that’s not how I roll.
In other words, I had to buy some shit. I couldn’t not. And while our living/dining area is far from done, I no longer want to cry every time I look at it. For instance, I had to buy a rug. The one we had in Brooklyn looked so tiny and pathetic and wan in our spacious new living room. See?
It was terrible!
Here’s the new one.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, the light fixture was a fan. We removed the blades. I know we did this in our last apartment too. And if you look closely at the first photo you can see TWO fans without blades. But please, people. This is not our new shtick. I realize it’s stupid looking. We took the blades off to paint. And then we never put them back on because it’s winter. And because the fan is ugly. I want a white one, god dammit! See how impatient I am?!
We also need something to fill the space above the couch. But sadly huge art is not in the budget right now, and I’m not sure I want a gallery wall here. Shelves perhaps?
I also had to replace the living room curtains. The ones the previous owners left us were 1. the color of clotted cream, which looked terrible next to our white walls, 2. dangling from slipshod rods that had been repaired with black electrical tape, and 3. hanging low and narrow. So, yeah. They had to go. I don’t have a before picture, but it was sad. Believe me. Here’s what we’ve got now.
They’re just plain white sheers, but it’s a major improvement. I’m planning to add some patterned curtains later. Maybe this navy fabric?
What I really adore are the new brass curtain rods. They’re double rods, so I can easily add the patterned curtains later, and the finials on the front are hefty brass cones. You can see the leaded glass peeking out from behind the sheers. Love.
I had to make some immediate changes in the dining room too. In Brooklyn we had a built-in china cabinet that held all our fancy china. I thought we’d have plenty of storage in the new kitchen for all of our dishes, both fancy and everyday, but boy was I wrong. The kitchen is large, but the cabinet space is limited.
So we bought a china cabinet. Ok, not just a china cabinet. We also bought a buffet. They were being sold as a set! What’s a girl to do? How could I not borrow my dad’s truck and drive two hours to pick them up?
Both pieces needed work. But I loved their art deco style. The buffet is in the garage until it can be repaired/refinished. The china cabinet is now in pretty good shape thanks to some serious labor from my stepdad. The back of the cabinet has some nail holes, so my plan is to cover it with this wallpaper. Won’t that be gorgeous?
And while we were on our way back from picking up the china cabinet, we had to swing by another small town to pick up a chandelier for the dining room. Only $30! (And that included two smaller matching chandeliers.)
Maybe it’s not the perfect chandelier. (This is. Or this.) But it’s a vast improvement on the bladeless fan. I should point out that you’re seeing a modified version of what the chandelier should look like. It came with humungous smoke glass globes that are supposed to go over the white glass. The combo is pretty impressive, but we decided that having both globes was a bit much for the room.
When we unpacked, we put essentially every piece of art we own on the plate rail. It’s a style I like to call “schizophrenic chic.” But this is a temporary design decision. I just wanted to be able to see what we have and so that I could decide where things should go.
The curtains (awful!) came with the house. They aren’t as bad as the ones that were in the living room, but they’re not good either. And they’re also hanging from the most godawful busted-up rods. Rods with little curlicues at the ends. No. No no no no. Also, why oh why do people insist on screwing curtain rods into lovely wood trim?!
So there you have it. Our living room and dining room. Far from finished, but no longer a hideous eyesore.
I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of my office/the guest room. We spent a good chunk of the weekend painting it. The previous owners had decided on a combo of bile yellow below the picture rail and baby blue above it. Delightful! I went with a light peach. Here you can see all three colors because I haven’t yet finished painting. Enjoy.