Decorating a Parisian apartment with color!

Coucou,

It has been awhile since I have posted an update on our Parisian apartment. I have gotten so many compliments from visitors who tell me that our place looks so LA. Yet, I didn’t plan to go for a Californian vibe intentionally but I suppose you can’t take the LA outta ya girl.

Searching for an apartment in Paris can be as competitive as getting into an Ivy League university. There is so much demand and very few places available within an affordable price range so many people have to make compromises when apartment hunting. We were in the same boat so when we saw our place, I had to look past the messy girl who was living here at the time. We needed a place fast and we were only planning to lease for one year so we weren’t too picky over minor details. For example, I really wanted our place to have ornate crown molding and a quintessentially French chandelier. Well, the light fixtures in our place are pretty much non existent and we have basic crown molding with just the tiniest amount of French charm for me to be happy. I asked our property manager if they had time to paint a fresh coat of white but they said we could paint it ourselves, at our own expense. Another reason we chose our place (besides the location and the size) was it came fully furnished.

I should say I feel very lucky to even have white-ish walls because many apartments we looked at were very orange, red and lime green. We were happy we didn’t have to spend a fortune on basic pieces of furniture and I can’t believe the Maison Chateau Rouge x Monoprix home line released the same week we moved into our place. I bought many accessories to add a much needed punch of color. I love the light we get from our gorgeous floor to ceiling windows and the layout works perfectly for our family of three. Antz and I still can’t believe we got this place in our dream location!

There are two choices when renting in Paris, furnished or unfurnished. The latter is not what you may be used to in the US. An unfurnished apartment means there is no kitchen. In most cases that means no sink, no appliances and no cabinetry. Oui, you will find an empty room with pipes coming out of the wall. However, a furnished apartment is equipped with everything you would need down to your dishes, forks, spoons and knives. Our apartment had obviously been rented by students due to the choice of furniture and the wear and tear of the inventory. We happened to end up with some Asian style pieces that I would never in a million years choose for our place but I knew I could tolerate it for a short term stay. We moved in under the impression it would only be for a year and then we would move back in our lovely, newly renovated house in LA. So we packed away a majority of their kitchen items and the linens and bought our own basics from good ole’ Ikea. If I knew we would be staying here permanently from the start, I would have invested in higher quality dishes and cookware but we shipped as much of our things from LA as we could fit in a shipping pod, what we bought is fine. Poor Antz had to account for hundreds of items from a list I sent him and sort them by what to ship to Paris, what to store at my Mom’s house in California and what to sell or donate. When it got down to the wire, not everything I wanted made it to Paris (I really wish our Christmas decorations were shipped but we really have no room to store them) and more items ended up being donated than I would have liked but he had such a huge undertaking, I can’t complain about the results. Thanks sweetheart!

So our pod shipped from LA in September and didn’t arrive here in Paris until late January. It took the longest around-the-world journey but we are grateful it arrived in relatively great shape. During the months of waiting, I would have panic attacks that our ship would be invaded by pirates (they still exist right?) or a giant rogue wave would knock our container off the ship. I know, I watch too many movies but my life’s precious treasures were packed in that box so I imagined the worst case scenario. Only two pieces were damaged during the move.

I still don’t know how Antz and I managed to unload 60 boxes into our place in less than an hour but I will admit that I could have kissed our building’s elevator that day.

So, after a year of living practically out of suitcases and decorating our apartment without spending much money, we were finally able to start making the place more like our permanent home. I relied on covering the bad furniture with as many colorful textiles and accessories as I could.

Our apartment was quite bare bones on the day we moved in. There was an inventory of all the items and furniture the apartment came with. I was so giddy about moving into our version of a Parisian pied-à-terre, I barely paid any attention to the condition of their old stuff. As soon as the rental company girls left I literally threw all the stuff into boxes and shoved it into our only tiny closet.

We went from having three closets and a two car garage to this one walk-in closet for all our storage. It’s a miracle we are able to figure out where to put everything. When we first moved in, we could tell the last tenants did not clean at all. Guys, I’m not even joking there was a cheap TV that wasn’t plugged in attached to a freaking VCR! They also had a Sony radio set up that did not work. Too bad I didn’t bring my old CD collection with me.

I can’t stand the couch that our place came with but that’s what you get with a furnished apartment. I threw some blankets and pillows over it and try to ignore it’s existence. The bare walls made me a little crazy so I put up my Rifle Paper Co banner just for something to look at. I had to use the hooks that were already in the wall so it says “jolie maison” which means pretty house.

Our hallway/breakfast bar is a convenient space for Liv to do her homework and a crafting area but there isn’t much I could do with those contemporary stools. They are not very comfortable but nothing else really fits in the awkward space and if I replace them I would have to leave the new stools in the apartment when we move.

The showerhead in the bathroom was broken. There is no hope for this tiny bathroom. We scrub it clean as best we can and I added a few bins to store my hair and beauty products. The only redeeming quality it has is the towel rack which is lovely in the winter.

It still hasn’t been properly repaired but at least Antz found a way to prop it up so we don’t have to hold the showerhead (when I see bathrooms with a handheld shower, I’m always curious to how they manage to bathe like that). I was super annoyed that whoever designed the tile in the bathroom for chosing a beige grout that appears to look dirty. I bought a cool shower curtain from Etsy but we can’t figure out how to install a curtain rod around that useless glass partition. I also couldn’t find any bleach to properly scrub and sanitize the tiny bathroom. We even had a maid come in to clean but this room needs a complete renovation.

Our living room is comfy spot (not you couch!) Lola loves to sunbathe next to the windows. I am so happy Antz brought some of his artwork because it really transforms the space. The only two pieces of furniture we shipped was our gray armchair and a bedside table. Our books are everywhere but I don’t mind books as clutter. It gives us a reason to look at them more.

The kitchen is the most eifficient room of the apartment. We are happy that we were able to fit most of my dishes and kitchen stuff in the little space. Antz brought my crockpot and waffle maker from LA but we have only used the waffle maker so far. I’m scared to plug in the crockpot with an American adaptor because… fire. I bought the cutest Smeg tea kettle for Christmas although Liv is the only regular tea drinker in the family. Our egg rug is still holding on almost fourteen years later.

I will say, the best investment we made in our place was replacing the washing machine. I can’t wrap my head around the French people who dry their clothes on racks. We had to do it for a few months and I almost went crazy with having to iron everything and our towels would never fully dry. We spent almost €40 everytime we went to the laundromat to dry our clothes. We bought a dual washer/dryer and although it takes forever (the French do not like wasting too much water so every appliance is eco-friendly) it’s a million times better than going to the laundromat.

Antz works in an office space in Liv’s room which is great because if he has a work call, he closes the French doors and shuts the curtains. We were lucky that the last tenant left an office chair so we didn’t have to buy a new one.

Here is the before and after of Liv’s room. This was my favorite room to decorate. Eventually I want to change out the mirror to a more French style.

Her room looked like this for the first year before we got our container from Los Angeles. Now her room looks like this. All the colors!!

It was easy to inject color in Liv’s room. We bought some yarn from the lovely craft supply store La Droguerie and Antz and Liv made these colorful pom poms for her Ikea lamp shade. The Thundercat figures are from Antz office, he has many more toys and collectibles but there was no space to display them here so they are in our storage shed at my Mom’s. We stacked her books in front of her fireplace because we have no bookshelf space. I bought her blanket from Anthropologie last Christmas. It was drama getting that package and the import fees were insane but I think totally worth it. I was happy to replace the broken bedside table with a white table from Ikea that just fit the tight space. Now her Miffy lamp has a home. Her grandma sent some gifts last Christmas and the whale nightlight fits right in.

I bought this gumball rack from Domino when we still lived in LA but I never had enough wall space to use it. It fit perfectly next to her armoire and she has a place for her cute bags.

There wasn’t a curtain in Liv’s room so I used my beloved Rifle Paper Co tablecloth and it has worked well for the past two years. The owl lamp is from Ikea. Olivia is going through a Japanese kawaii phase (check out her tiktok) so she has requested a makeover of her room for her birthday this year. I have started ordering new bedding/accessories and I’m excited to give her room a new, fun look. There is a shop here called Hema that has really affordable items.

Our bedroom has made a big color change too. I wasn’t able to pack to all my bedding from our house in LA so I have been taking advantage of the soldes (sales in January) from my favorite shop in Paris, Merci. I want every color of the rainbow in their linens.

I liked the minimalist design of our bedroom at first, however, not having a headboard wasn’t comfortable. We also lacked storage. I couldn’t take the empty walls and shelves much longer. I ordered a new bed frame that has storage inside to hold all my bedding and a larger mattress.

I am not an interior designer, I just like to be surrounded by pretty things. I have so many challenges like hiding Lola’s huge litterbox or finding places to store all our suitcases, so I use bins and crates for everything. I found these adorable, collapsible bins in pastels colors.

These bins now hold my clutch purses, my camera accessories and I got some bigger ones for Liv’s craft supplies and Antz felting wool. I am obsessed with them.

Well, tomorrow is my birthday which also happens to be the first day of spring. We are on day four of a fifteen day quarantine in France so we spent the entire day doing some major spring cleaning. Since we are stuck inside our apartment for another week or so, I put our new spring bedding out and it has cheered me up so much!

Thanks for checking in and I hope everyone stays safe and positive during this tough time.

a tout!

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Bienvenue dans Notre Appartement Parisien

Bonjour Amis,

Let me confess, the first two months were exhilarating and equally stressful for me. I was absolutely enjoying our time living in Nation (12th arrondissement) and exploring beautiful Paris but also I was staying up all night looking for potential apartments. Every time I got close to scoring a fabulous place, someone else would snap it up. I was starting to believe it was because I wasn’t French but we had our French friends call on our behalf and they got the same response. I was so close to renting my dream apartment on the sweetest street ever when the agent said the landlord just approved someone before us. I mean, I called every day, left voicemails, sent emails all during the whole enrolling Liv into school drama. I commend my own strength because I thought I would have a mental breakdown with stress and disappointment. It was house hunting all over again but with a two month deadline. I was also working with our real estate agent in Los Angeles trying to get our house rented. My stress was at an all time high during the first few months here.

Every apartment I saw I would compare to the beautiful, perfect place that we didn’t get.

I grieved over this place. It was €2400, a block from Liv’s ballet school, a 15 minute walk to her school, on a private street. I would have lived with the tiny fridge and non existent storage for those floors and that price. I asked the agent to be put on a backup list in case the renter fell through. This put me in a worst state because nothing came close to this place in terms of layout, gorgeous Parisian charm and price. I found a larger, cute place but it was in a sketchy area of the 10th near Gare Nord which would mean a 10 minute bus ride to school and then a 20 minute walk. I was running out of time and feeling like we would end up homeless in Paris.

The second I saw our apartment on the French real estate website I recognized it from years earlier when I first began looking for apartments. I couldn’t believe it was available the day after we were scheduled to move out of our exchange and it was under my budget. I immediately emailed the agent to schedule a viewing to make sure it wasn’t too good to be true. I’ve had such bad luck getting in touch with an agent (mostly due to not having a French phone number) and then discovering days later that the apartment had already been rented. I made sure to let them know I was ready to sign the lease that day. I made two lists of criteria for our apartment search.

Must Have – Dealbreakers
Close to our max budget €2450/$2950
Two Bedrooms
Shower
High ceilings
Hardwood floors
Washer/Dryer
Oven/modern kitchen amenities
Walking distance to Liv’s school
Close to Metro/public transportation
Smoke-free apartment

Like to Have – Bonus
Haussmann building
Elevator
Balcony
Office Space for Antz
Herringbone hardwood floors
Large Refrigerator (typical Americans can’t live with a minibar fridge)
Dishwasher
Storage (for our 14 suitcases!)
Nice view
Close to le Marais
Parisian Charm/Crown Molding
Fireplace
Good Layout
Nice furniture

I know I sound picky but every single place we found had something missing from my Must-Have list. Mostly two bedroom apartments were over budget or too far from school. I began getting more flexible by the second month and started considering one bedrooms, longer commutes to school and really horrible layouts. We visited an apartment that was way under-budget but on the 6th floor with no elevator and the world’s narrowest bathroom. It was as wide as the bathtub and you practically had to step over the toilet to get into the tub. There was no shower and even though it had herringbone floors in the living room, the place was dark and how no traditional Parisian design. It also wasn’t in my ideal neighborhood but the price tag was the only thing that made it enticing. The only reason we didn’t end up getting it was the owner wanted someone who would rent it for at least two years. So I guess that was a blessing in disguise. When it comes down to house hunting, location and price were my main dealbreakers. Everything else was negotiable. It took days of going back and forth to get the agent to schedule a viewing. The problem was the renter didn’t want to show it until the place was available so I was cutting it close to our move-out date. I finally got a call to see it so I dropped Liv off at school. Because it was so close to her school I decided to walk around the neighborhood and wait for our appointment. I was almost two hours early and the agent was late (because she was French, of course!). We buzzed the door of the building and waited. The appointment started fifteen minutes late so she tried to call the renter to let us in. We saw the window was open to the apartment but she didn’t answer. She called the agency and they confirmed the right place and right time. After a half an hour of impatiently waiting, she said let’s reschedule for next week. UNLUCKY LIZZIE! I was practically in tears and starting to feel like this was hopeless. I already began to fall in love with the neighborhood. Everything was a close walk and my favorite shop (Monoprix) was just a block away! I was already familiar with the neighborhood and getting excited that I could actually live in my favorite part of Paris.

All the while I was getting no leads for renting our house in LA. Our agent had a few open houses but hardly anyone showed serious interest. My agent was sure it was due to our cat Lola coming with the house and it being rented fully furnished. I was so nervous we lowered the price and asked my angel best friend Aimee to foster Lola for us so we could rent our place with pets. Then we found a family with a dog that was excited to rent our place. After a FaceTime meeting, I signed the lease and waited for them to send the deposit and then they flaked. This made Antz and I very nervous because we couldn’t rent a place in Paris without renting our house in LA. Like, a scale of 1 – 10 in the stress department, I was about 100. After some negotiations and hard work on our agent’s side, we found a lovely single woman with a cute small dog. She signed the lease, sent the full rental amount for three months and we are very relieved to have a responsible adult living in our house. Whew!

After the most intense week of my life the agent finally got the tenant to show us the apartment. The chick didn’t even offer an apology for not showing up for our first appointment and she laid in bed while we saw the apartment, lame. The place didn’t look exactly like the online pictures but I knew they were three years old. The renters were disgusting and they had a dog which I’m sure they didn’t clean up after. The courtyard is my least favorite. It’s dark and has cobblestone so Liv can’t really ride her scooter in the back. The furniture was rearranged in an odd way and older than I guessed but when I saw the floors, the light pouring in from the floor to ceiling windows and the beautiful fireplaces, I said, straight out of a movie “We’ll take it!

Then came the rental process. It’s a little more different than in the US, the French don’t really have a credit score rating. We also didn’t have a previous rental or French tax return to show so everything came down to Anthony’s pay stubs and being the first person to see it. I spent several days running back and forth to the print shop making copies to send to the agency. They needed to see our bank statements, we had to buy French annual renter’s insurance and they requested a letter from his job stating he would be employed for the year. I was worried about getting the letter in time because like I said before, apartments go fast and we were not prepared to lose this one. Thank goodness Antz job sent the letter right away. I saw the place right before we took our trip to London and we electronically signed the lease while we were in London! I couldn’t believe we finally did it. I have heard so many horror stories about Americans getting scammed online by having to wire huge cash deposits and losing the money. Or the landlord requesting up to a year of rent for a security deposit. We only had to put down two month’s rent deposit and pay an agency fee. I was ecstatic! I could finally breathe after so long, I found a place of our own in le Marais, a seven minute walk to the kid’s school with almost everything on my must-have list. The first week we didn’t have wifi so I almost died but lucky for us, we extended our house exchange so Antz would go to the other apartment to work. I don’t even mind that our building has world’s smallest elevator or the wonky furniture. I got my herringbone flooooooooooooors!! (Hope you heard that in Oprah’s voice)

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I packed my beloved Anthropologie tablecloth, a few family photos and as many crafting supplies as I could fit in my suitcase. I would have brought my Things Will Work Out print but Antz made a good point that it could have gotten damaged in my suitcase due to the size. The living room is a nice size, I like the open-ness. The couch is not comfy at all. I really wish I could ship my new couch from LA, but I doubt it would fit in that space. The telly isn’t plugged in, we have been waiting for the rental company to order a new cord for weeks now. We get by without it. Our new plant is lovely and her name is Josephine. She is un-killable.

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My Mom shipped this Origin magazine from LA because our house is featured in it!!

I adore the French doors and the open flow from Liv’s room to the living room. The layout works perfect for us because Antz works California hours (3pm – midnight with an hour break for dinner) so he can close the doors during his conference calls and Liv is usually sleeping while he’s working. Antz was fortunate enough to inherit a comfy office chair from the previous tenants. When we were staying in Nation, he was using an antique chair that was cool but uncomfortable. It may be ugly but it’s super comfy! I think he has a better office set up than back in LA. His favorite part is sitting by the window and watching the rain while he works.

I bought the world map from a cute shop in le Marais for under €30. I’ve always wanted to get her a world map but never had the wall space in LA. I may add some framed photos and artwork on the back wall. Antz doesn’t want to add any holes, so we’ll see. I love the white palette of the apartment but we wanted to add some color so I bought a pom pom kit and vibrant yarn from La Droguerie.

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Now you can see why I brought so much luggage! I packed Liv’s Miffy bedding and a suitcase full of her books and toys. Our sweet neighbors friend in Nation gifted Liv with books in French for her library. It’s nice to finally have a minimalist space but I miss my cool stuff from our house in LA. I was lucky to nab the last Chateau Maison Rouge footstool at Monoprix. We rented a car for move-in day and drove 45 minutes outside of Paris to stock up at Ikea. We bought basic bedding (comforters/sheets/pillows), that lamp shade and the sheepskin rug. I also had to buy some new kitchen supplies, a flatware set, wine glasses, a new bath mat, storage bins and throw blankets. The apartment came with plates, pots, pans and utensils. Lucky for us, Ikea is universal so everything was identical to Ikea in Los Angeles. I even used our Ikea Family rewards card for a little discount!

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I also brought a sewing kit, art supplies, a few books, a giant (and heavy) accordion folder with our important paperwork and our huge iMac computer (which serves as our TV). I was so concerned it would get damaged on the flight to France but as long as you pack it in the original shipping box, it’s fine. I packed an entire suitcase with our bedding from home. We used vacuum-sealed ziplock bags to pack. It works, I was able to fit a king size comforter, pillow cases and sheets but it made the bag heavier. I also bought the bedside lamp, Ikea, I love you!

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There’s a long story behind that rad Shepard Fairey poster. Antz and I were at a hardware store called Castarama in Nation. I was looking for curtains for Olivia’s room when I saw the framed Shepard Fairey print. I asked one of the guys working there if they sold the print and he said no, just the frame. He then told me where to go buy the print at a poster store near the Pompidou Center. I could have hugged this kid! I thought I was going to have to order it from eBay for hundreds of dollars. We rushed to the store and found a smaller version. When I asked the woman if they carried it in a larger size, she said they were sold out but she could print one for us in ten minutes. Say what?! I couldn’t believe we got this rad French Shepard Fairey print for less than €60. I mean, President Macron has this same artwork in his office. I love the French motto: Liberte – Egalite – Fraternite which means Freedom – Equality – Fraternity. The French really live by this motto and I adore it. That kid really did me a solid. I am slightly annoyed by the placement but we had to use the existing hooks in the walls because Antz didn’t want to add any new holes. I wish it was a schmidge more centered over the bed.

I brought our rainbow maker from home. I need to make a video of the rainbows bouncing around our room. I can’t get over the details of this fireplace. I am still looking for the perfect mirror to go on the mantel. I also love the small pop of color from the Maison Chateau Rouge throw blanket. Our bedroom in this apartment is larger than our bedroom at home. I didn’t get as much crown molding or a chandelier as I hoped for and we don’t have a dryer (that actually works) so we have to put our clothes on a drying rack or go to a nearby laundromat but the stellar view always cheers me up.

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The bathroom is pretty basic. We purchased a new shower head and spent a fortune on new towels.  OMG! I am obsessed with our towel warmer. I need one for LA. I added the hooks for our poufs but they are the sticky, removable kind.

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Antz and I are now sharing one closet along with all of our empty luggage and winter coats. I am extremely happy I brought a shoe hanger from LA. This is about half the shoes I brought. I keep the rest in a suitcase under our bed. It’s a tight fit but fortunately there is space for everything.

And lastly, here is our mini balcony.

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It’s just wide enough to step out on and see the entire street. I plan to plant some peonies in our flower boxes soon. We are extremely lucky to live on a trendy, lively (sometimes noisy) street. This area is exactly like Highland Park without the dumb neighbors across the street. Our neighbors are friendly and helpful. There are cafes, brasseries, cute shops, art galleries and a tiny square dedicated to one of my favorite jazz musicians, John Coltrane.

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We have met our nice neighbors in our building, a dad and his young son but they don’t speak English. We absolutely love living here. It’s simple but has everything I could ask for in a pied-à-terre. We are just under budget and all the utilities (water, electric, gas and internet) are included in our rent. I cannot believe this is our life.

Bisous!

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Our House Tour on Apartment Therapy

Hi There,

During the last few years we have done quite a lot of work to our house. I tried to photograph how beautiful everything turned out but I couldn’t capture it the way a professional could. I visited my friend Samantha’s lovely house and she told me her friend Marisa Vitale was a photographer and I should reach out to her. I was hoping to hire Marisa to photograph our house (since we are leaving it for a year) when she said she wanted to shoot it for Apartment Therapy!! I have been a fan of AT for years but I never thought our house was sophisticated enough to be featured. We had to fill out a questionnaire and one of the questions was “How do you describe your design style?” This was the hardest for me to answer because all that came to mind is “This is the home of a thirteen year old girl after she saw Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette!” I somehow managed to come up with a more adult answer but I cannot grasp how far we have come with this little house of ours. I went through phases of loving our house, completely hating it (mostly due to horrible neighbors across the street and bad water pressure) and then falling head over heels in love again. The bright and colorful way Marisa captured our home makes me so happy. I wish I could share all 206 photos with you because they are all my favorites but I will narrow them down best I can. Thank you Sam for connecting me with Marisa! Thank you Marisa for being so kind, talented and fun to hang with. Thank you Apartment Therapy for showcasing all our hard work and sacrifice to the world. I am honored to have our home among many other interiors I admire. Yay, here is our 1923 California bungalow home…

These are some of the outtakes of our family photos. How am I wearing heels and Antz is still taller than me? This one is my fave of the bunch.

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Apartment Therapy used this one, which has my signature look at the sky weird thing I do and Liv almost has her eyes closed. It definitely represents us best.

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In the living room there was much debate over which slipcover to put on the couch. We both agreed the blue slipcover was too much color and the white would make the pillows and our throw pop.

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Our lovely Rifle & Paper Co Marie Antoinette portrait never gets shown because I rarely photograph that part of the room.

Physiognomy by Mark Seliger was one of the first “grown up” books I ever purchased about 12 years ago. I finally have cool coffee table books displayed on my coffee table!

I’m super stoked about our new lady llama! Antz first saw her at Dotter on York Ave and I knew she would be perfect for an empty space on our wall. Everything came together perfectly.

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We had the prints made from Artifact Uprising.

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Don’t you think llamas are the new elephants?

It’s hard to show a good shelfie because the couch is in the way but at least you can see our new plant from Folia Collective. We were in Pasadena one night getting ice cream when we found this cute, tiny plant shop. I almost didn’t go in because it look terribly expensive but I was surprised. The most expensive plant in the store was $38! We got called out in the comments of our house tour for the sad looking fiddle fig on our porch but little do they know how long we lived with zero plants in our house.

I wish I took photos inside but the shop is super tiny and there were so many customers.

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We bought seven new plants for the house and guess what guys? They are still green and alive months later!!

Now let’s talk about that gorgeous bouquet! I knew I wanted something extra special for that vase. It’s very wide so I knew it had to be substantial. I have always admired IrisBarryBlooms on Instagram so this was the perfect occasion to have something customized for our home. My only request was very colorful and fun, and Michelle is the sweetest. She exceeded my expectations and really nailed our color palette. Thank you so much for creating this showstopper! Check out her website here.

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That’s right, we have a dining room, library, music room and office all in this one space! #smallhousesolutions Olivia’s piano teacher (our awesome next door neighbor Lisa) uses cute stickers to help Liv remember her finger placement.

And just to the right, we have our bar. Our old bar was a clunky DIY. I’m telling you, house design is mostly trial and error. We lived with the same furniture for so long, we had no idea we could find something functional, affordable and pretty.

c. our living room

This is the same space full of Earthy tones back in 2009! Why were sticks in a vase a trend?

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Now into the kitchen. I love that after five years it still looks modern and fresh. We haven’t changed much in there except a new set of pots and pans I got on sale for Christmas. In the future, I may change out the white subway tile backsplash into something more colorful.

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If I could have one dream item, I would love a La Chanche range in Rose Quartz. They are French and so fancy I would be embarrassed to cook my Top Ramen noodles on it. Sadly, they cost as much as a small car.

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New plant and macramé holder alert!

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I don’t think I have shown our hallway/art gallery on my blog before. I have no idea how to photograph such a narrow and dark space but Marisa used her tripod and got it all.

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I am super sad we aren’t taking any of his artwork to Paris with us. However, they are too big to pack and I wouldn’t want to risk them getting damaged in our luggage. I already loaned the giant portrait of Olivia to my Mom to keep at her house (I hope I get it back!)

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Did I mention we had our bedroom painted during the October break? Antz and I were going to paint it ourselves but laziness and procrastination set in so we hired FIVE dudes to paint this little room! Really, we hired one handyman but he showed up with all these guys. Oh! Next time a dude at the paint store tries to sell you the fancy “one coat” premium paint, don’t fall for it. We were told one gallon would cover the green and the trim in this room but ended having to buy 4 gallons (which meant 3 more trips to the hardware store and $200 more dollars). As fun and colorful as the old bedroom looked, I think it made the space feel cluttered and I wanted to create a more streamlined look for the small space.

It took me awhile to adjust to the all-white room. I love white, it’s my favorite color to wear but it felt so cold and sterile before we added the artwork and accessories. I wish we had the budget for a new ceiling fan but we couldn’t find anything we liked and we didn’t want to pay an electrician.

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I have never connected with an artist (other than Antz) that gets me like Carissa Potter Carlson. I have been super stressed about our move to Paris that this Things Will Work Out print has been my daily mantra.

Those striped brogues have been in my closet for months because they are so pretty I don’t dare wear them outside. Well, last week I finally gave in and wore them to our visa appointment for good luck. I’ll let you know how it went in my next post!

 

Liv’s room was the only room we only needed to straightening up. Once a month I attempt to get rid of stuff she has outgrown or no longer plays with (she’s currently in a Nintendo Switch and iPad phase) however, she swears she still plays with everything so I haven’t made much progress. Next week she is going to a sleepover and most of her toys are going into storage to make room for whoever ends up in our house.

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I don’t think I’ll ever take down her baby mobile her Dad made before she was born.

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I am grateful that I have these photos to remember her little girl room before her next tween remodel. I’m curious to what color she’ll choose next. I’m kinda over the pink.

Lastly our newly renovated bathroom. The least loved room in the house is now the most loved. I can’t stop staring at this stunning artwork Antz painted for me while we were visiting my Mom. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be married to this talented guy!

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I bought that basket from Anthropologie to use as a hamper for our wet towels but Antz said it would make a nice planter for our new guy. He fit in perfectly.

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I love her so much!!

So that’s our house tour. I am kicking myself because we spent all day with lovely Marisa and the only photo I took of her was while she was working. Marisa, thank you so much! I owe you a big hug and all our gratitude.

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Au revoir!

It’s Beautiful Here Part Two

As I said in my last remodel post, our ten year old furniture was showing its age. Timing was on my side since we began the remodel in October, it was close to Black Friday sale time. I am the self proclaimed queen of shopping on a budget. Our biggest purchase was a new sectional sofa but I couldn’t find one that came with a washable slipcover. I finally ended up buying a custom couch from the same place I bought our first couch ten years ago, Sofa U Love. Olivia was happy to test all the couches out for us and was completely satisfied with our selection.

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We ordered this comfy, custom, L-shaped sectional with a washable slipcover in aqua blue and white linen denim. I love that we now have a backup slipcover so our couch doesn’t end up with as much wear and tear as our last one. It was going to take six weeks for the couch to be built which was perfect since we were knee-deep in construction. Since we replaced our old black and white striped throw blanket three times, I found the perfect throw in navy from Anthropologie. It may have cost more than the Ikea blanket but it’s such higher quality that it shouldn’t get ruined in the laundry like the old one always did. We mixed our old pillows with few cute ones I bought from Target.

Next on my furniture list was replacing our Ikea coffee table and our old, clunky bar. I came this close to buying a vintage steamer trunk from Rejuvenation but it was pricey and wasn’t the best storage solution to hold all of our scrapbooks and photo boxes. I gotta say, I didn’t have a huge budget to work with at this point (thanks to our new HVAC!) Isn’t World Market is the most underrated store? I find their furniture to be better quality than Ikea and totally affordable. I not only got all of my pieces on sale, but because of Black Friday sales, they practically gave it away! I bought our coffee table, bar and hanging light fixture all under budget. So you know what that means…?

Splurge time! I had to splurge on an early Christmas present for our family. I spent weeks putting together this gorgeous photo book from our trip to Iceland and ordered museum quality photo prints from Artifact Uprising. I have wanted a photo book from them for years but I knew they were expensive. I gotta say, the quality is so worth it. That book is one of my most prized possessions. Their customer service is excellent. I plan on making a photo book from their site for every trip we take from now on.

We bought a new rug for the dining room and an eucalyptus wreath for our front door from West Elm on sale. We found a comfy armchair in the as-is department at Ikea for 60% off that fit the space perfectly. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, just a floor model. I had a mini shopaholic spree buying a new rad doormat, and a beautiful vintage French flag from Etsy. I wanted to splurge on a new doorknob set too but our furniture and accessories budget were already stretched. I just polished our old doorknob and it looked awesome against the bright yellow.

I was so happy to finally have shelves to display my knickknacks and books I’ve had in storage over the years. At first, I put my nice things away because we had a wild toddler on the loose but over time, we didn’t have the space to display them. It was like Christmas unwrapping our toys and books.

Speaking of Christmas, by the time our house was finished it was mid December which is why some of these photos have Christmas decoration in them.

As we made progress putting together our living room, Antz wanted to leave the walls stark white and clutter-free but I had a strong opinion about that…

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As much as I agree with him the walls needed some dressing up. I guess I am forever a thirteen year old girl at heart because I’m a sucker for all thing cute and colorful. The last element for decorating our space was hanging artwork and family photos. We chose a mix of classic white frames, an elaborate vintage frame Antz found at a thrift store and some gold frames I bought from Anthropologie. I am hunting for an enormous frame for a poster I want to hang. I am also saving for a piece of art I have my eye on.

Here’s the room as a blank space. You can see the before and after of our refinished floors!

And here’s our newly remodeled house. Ta-dah!

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We are so happy with the new paint color! What a relief we didn’t stick with that ridiculous Smurf blue. The paint is Behr Premium. Since we had to mix our original color choice it’s a hybrid of Tidal and Dark Denim.

The door color is English Daisy. I bought the ceramic bonjour plate months before the remodel from…you guessed it, Anthro. Our rocking chairs are from Lowes.

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Let’s look inside.

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We got rid of the old blue desk and moved a small desk we had in the bedroom in the corner. We had to find a new space for my sewing machine and our crafts. It’s tricky working with a small house (remember it’s under 900 square feet) but the white walls and higher ceiling makes the space feel more open.

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I love our new workspace. It’s compact and efficient and best part, clutter-free! We used to keep our printer across the room from our desk which was always inconvenient. I somehow purged all of our files and office supplies to fit into this West Elm file cabinet. After having no luck in finding an affordable frame for my vintage Björk poster, Antz took it to Aaron Bros to be vacuum-formed to a piece of foam board. Then he made this frame with leftover wood. He is so resourceful! The total cost of this project was $51 bucks. I love finally being able to display this rad poster after it was in a tube for 15 years.

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The bonus on top of the remodel was we finally upgraded from a queen size bed to a king! I spent a lot of money on our W Hotel mattress but after buying cheap spring mattresses over the years, but I think it is worth the investment. Antz spent eight frustrated hours building our last storage bed frame so this time we paid our workers to build the new king frame. It only took two of them five hours but our bedroom is almost the same size as our new bed. The king bed takes up so much space that we had to remove our old bedside tables because they didn’t fit. I found a new one that matched the walnut frame and just fit by an inch. By upgrading to a larger storage bed frame all of our bedding fit under the bed. Let me tell you, having the mattress shipped from New York was expensive and full of drama (that I do not want to relive) but every night when we roll around on our huge bed we are super happy. I sleep like a baby now. Liv can sleep with us (she does most weekends) and we don’t feel cramped. It was a bummer to have to get rid of all our old bedding and start from scratch but I saved $300 using coupons from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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We are pinching ourselves that we were able to create a space with so much of our personality reflected. We stayed positive during the stress of a remodel, the dumb election, Antz moving into a new office at work and constantly making compromises due to our budget. Thanks for checking it out, let me know what you think!

Our House Remodel Part One

We bought our house ten years ago. I have told this story many times about how we put thirteen offers on twelve different houses and each time we were outbid. After searching online, going to open houses every weekend and having my heart broken for an entire year, it was a miracle when we bought our house. I remember going to the open house on a rainy day in January to see a small cute house with a large backyard. I was already skeptical walking in but the good news was due to the rain there wasn’t as many people there as it would be on a sunny day. The bad news was the house had one bathroom, old plumbing and was a few blocks from Eagle Rock, the neighborhood I wanted to live in. Despite the issues and feeling numb to the house hunting process, we put in our bid, wrote our standard letter to the owners explaining why we could only afford to offer full price, we didn’t expect any response. However, I was already falling in love with the backyard and  making plans for the kitchen by that evening. Turns out there was two offers submitted and believe it or not our letter must have worked. Our offer was accepted. HOORAY!!

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We went through weeks of torment getting the bank appraisal, the inspections telling us we would spend close to $35,000 in foundation repairs and my neurotic doubts that we would actually be able to buy a house in Los Angeles. We had already fell out of escrow before so every step was nerve-racking. Our amazing realtor was able to negotiate $15k in repairs taken off the price so that covered all of our closing costs. My Mom has always told me “Things happen for a reason.” and I couldn’t see back in 2006 that Highland Park would develop into the family friendly, most desired neighborhood it is today. That York Blvd would be dubbed the Abbot Kinney of Northeast LA or that our house would become the home we would raise our daughter in. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this house over the years but the same can be true about most of my life’s relationships. You have to learn to appreciate something. It takes time, nurturing and patience to create a bond. I am grateful that we didn’t buy those twelve other houses that had major structural issues, were located in questionable areas and were well over our budget. This house was meant for us.

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Antz and I have been talking about getting the foundation repaired for years but tuition, travel and our lifestyle have been priorities that have made it hard for us to start the work. We were able to tolerate the cracks in the walls and doors that stick when it rains but we both knew we needed to get the work done before something terrible would happen. (Like our house fall down the hill it sits on!) Our good fortune was buying in an up and coming area. Highland Park has become a hot neighborhood, so our equity skyrocketed and we were able to refinance. Lucky for me I had my friend, neighbor and talented contractor, Rene. Rene and his crew were awesome and I’ll enthusiastically recommend him to anyone looking for a contractor.

We had an moderately long list of things to repair but he worked with our limited budget.

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Just an example of one of my weekly to-do lists. Rene and his crew ended up doing all this work:

Repair foundation
Repair loose bricks on the porch
Patch/Paint the exterior of the house
Paint front door
Repair front door threshold
Repair roof leak
Remove iron bars on windows
Repair and straighten exterior wall
Remove popcorn ceiling/crown molding
Install new drywall
Repair and stain wood beams
Patch/Paint living room
Install built-in shelves
Paint back door
Repair back door threshold
Repair fireplace hearth tile
Build our new bed frame (I finally upgraded to a King size mattress because I couldn’t pass up their Black Friday sale and Antz and I are giants so sleeping on a queen was miserable)

**Electrical wiring/Repair and replace living room electric outlets/Install ceiling fan/light fixture

We hired a different electrician because our first guy was being shady and we weren’t happy with his work.

The entire project took about eight weeks but only because we had a minor delay which I’ll get to later. During the construction we lived in our small bedroom which we will never do again! Serious cabin fever set in due to the over crowding from having to shove all of our furniture and belongings into the kitchen, the hallway and Liv’s bedroom. In hindsight, I should have budgeted for a rental but I really wanted to stay on budget and that would have left me with zero money for new furniture. More than once during the remodel, I found myself quoting Lucy Ricardo complaining to Antz (Ricky) about how awful our furniture looked! Hint, hint.

Our living/dining room before the remodel

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I liked our fun, colorful living room but it still felt cramped and dark. I longed for white walls and a popcorn-free ceiling. I love our original fireplace but the hearth was damaged and the tile was cracking due to the foundation moving. I was in denial that we owned too much stuff but as we were packing things to clear out the room, it was obvious, I needed to let go of half of our stuff. I donated books, knick-knacks and the clunky old bar we never used. We had boring beige colored walls, honey-orange, scratched hardwood floors and inherited two Tiffany-style antique ceiling fans which I think were purchased in the 1990s. They swung precariously on the high setting and the glass sconces were broken so the only thing holding them on was the light bulbs. I was afraid to even clean them because the tiny screws holding them up were warped and any pressure would have caused them to crack. It was time for an update. Out of all the work we planned, choosing light fixtures proved to be most stressful for me. I loved the 1920’s style ceiling fans from Rejuvenation but they weren’t quite right for the price. Then I headed over to one of my favorite stores, Schoolhouse Electric. I was surprised to find they don’t carry ceiling fans. So my final and best option was West Elm. I wanted a fan that had a dimmable light setting, in bronze to coordinate with our new ceiling. The only issue was the ceiling fan I chose was a special order and would take four weeks to be delivered. This held us up for some time but luckily, it only took two weeks to arrive. I even got 30% off thanks to Black Friday sales!

Day one!!

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My painters were amazing, it was terribly hot but they worked non stop and serenaded me to 80’s tunes. They sanded every inch of the 93 year old wood.

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Things were happening inside too.

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For some odd reason, there were speakers hidden in the attic. After careful inspection we didn’t find a bag full of money or a treasure map so out they went. We also found disgusting insulation that I’m positive was unhealthy to breathe. After a few hours with a hammer, our ceiling was gone and these stunning attic beams were uncovered.

There was no way we could cover up these gorgeous wood beams with boring drywall. We told Rene that instead of our plan to install a new ceiling, we would rather expose the attic ceiling to give the space a dramatic feel. This meant adding more drywall to the walls and reinforcing the beams. We decided to keep four of the beams after a debate about keeping all of them. We also found random wires that didn’t appear to work so we needed to hire an electrician to rewire and reroute them. Timing is everything and by removing the ceiling we were able to see the beams moved from their original position which could have caused the ceiling to cave in. We were shocked and relived! The front wall of the living room moved four inches forward away from the house. We knew our house had many issues but this was very dangerous. Rene was able to move the front wall back in place.

Yikes, wasps nests in the attic! Our old HVAC ducts had to be rerouted since we no longer had a ceiling.

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The most nerve-racking day of the project happened to coincide with Halloween! We weren’t even home when they moved the wall because Liv had a party at her school. By the way, we were Oktoberfest themed this year since Liv wanted to wear a costume we bought from her ballet school. Antz was not so keen on wearing lederhosen.

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I found our costumes on Amazon. Liv is in heaven when she wears a corset and tulle!

Not being home was actually a good thing because I couldn’t stop envisioning our front wall falling down and all our beautiful windows shattering. I must have texted Rene fifty times that afternoon. By the time we got home our wall was straight again and only one small window pane cracked. Bravo Rene and crew!

The crew added new wood beams to support the roof. I learned that the older wood beams are actually stronger than the new wood but it was wise to increase the reinforcement because the old construction wasn’t measured with today’s codes. So we were on the fast track to finishing the drywall and prep for painting the interior when we got held up by the elephant in the room.

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That eyesore you see was our 41 year old furnace. Yep, our central air and heat system was older than I am! I asked Rene if he could push it back into the attic so it wouldn’t stick out but that was easier said than done. Here is the major setback we faced.

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This guy totally looks like an elephant’s trunk. Rene informed me the unit was hooked up to a gas line which would have to be rerouted, something he wasn’t capable of doing. Then there was an issue with the weight of the unit and moving it back would then push it directly on top of the ceiling of Olivia’s bedroom. There was no way I wanted a old piece of machinery sitting over where she sleeps so moving the unit was not an option. This meant we had two choices, leave it were it was and drywall around it or purchase a new unit. I didn’t plan to replace the HVAC but this is the joy of a remodel, you always have an unexpected expense. I received three quotes and chose the most environmentally friendly company and the second most expensive system.

The central air and heat work extended our timeline an additional three days. When the workers removed of our old unit we discovered the system was faulty, not up to code and hard wired which is a major fire hazard. The poor guy removing it said the unit began to spark and smoke when they took it apart. So, it was a miracle we decided to expose the attic or we would have just covered the ceiling and continued using our old system. The old unit was noisy and barely blew air through the ducts so we had to run it for longer periods which would make our electrical bill higher. So don’t cheap out folks, it may just kill you!

We chose a more efficient unit that was lighter yet sturdier, pleasantly quieter and new metal ducts that wouldn’t blow dust like our old plastic ones did. Hello, I am happy I no longer sneeze all day! We got an incredible deal, the new unit cost $7,600 with a ten year warranty. My favorite part besides the lower electricity bill and the peace of mind of our properly installed system, is we can program the thermostat from our phones. Hooray laziness! Our old unit would stay on all night because once we fell asleep we would be too tired to get up and turn it off. Now I can set it by temperature or timer from my phone or computer.

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Our plaster walls were a hot mess. I can’t help but compare the work we got done to our house to a 93 year old woman getting plastic surgery. Thank goodness Rene is our skilled surgeon. He was so resourceful and he has the most talented crew I’ve ever worked with.

So while all this was happening indoors, our house was being patched and painted outside. Antz and I were so confident with our house paint color when we picked it at the store, we had no doubt about it when we painted a swatch. However, when the painters sprayed it on the wall of our house, my heart sank. It was the exact shade of blue as a Smurf. I cried, called Antz to come home and see the shockingly bright blue and we unanimously agreed to change the color. The color change was a slight hiccup because Rene had already purchased $600 worth of bright blue paint and we had to pay for the day of work lost to our two painters. It was an expensive mistake but there was no way we would be happy coming home to this Lego blue house!

So after my unnecessary meltdown, we went to the store, talked to the manager and he assured us he would darken our paint. We even walked around our neighborhood comparing the dark blue and grey houses trying to make up our minds. I originally voted to paint our house matte black like sf girl by bay but I was vetoed. Black works for Victoria’s house but ours has too much red brick and we are colorful folks. Antz worked his artistic magic and found the perfect shade of navy for our house.

Before, during and after. Isn’t that an insane improvement?! Please remember to test your paint swatches at different times of day! We tested ours in the front of the house which meant it was in the shade. Seeing the same shade of blue in the direct sunlight made a vast difference. I am in love with the cheery shade of yellow we chose!

We removed one of our two bougainvillea bushes to open the space next to the backdoor. I asked our gardener to stop trimming the tops before the summer and after six months flowers finally began to bloom. We recently had our glass windows replaced for free through a city program sponsored by Los Angeles department of water and power. They offer home energy audits to help homeowners make their houses more energy efficient and lower your monthly bill.

Due to our house’s bad foundation, our porch had loose bricks that everyone would trip over. Antz has repaired them many times over the years but Rene actually found the source of the problem and pulled up the entire section of the porch. He discovered that the bricks weren’t anchored into the ground and just floating over a broken foundation. I was so worried about replacing the original bricks but the guy who removed them didn’t break a single brick during the work!

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This saw cut through the concrete like butter. They did all this work in like an hour!

I was so impressed with their work and was kicking myself for asking Antz to keep patching the loose bricks for all these years. The work only cost us $750 to repair the porch for the long term. This experience has taught me to stop just putting a Band-aid on a problem and just go ahead and get it fixed by a professional. I was so overwhelmed by how expensive I thought it would be, it stopped me from just getting the work done.

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There is no better feeling than having solid floors and straight white walls. Our front door has slammed for ten years because our front wall was crooked and it is just mind-blowing that it no longer slams. Now all of our windows can open and it feels like we got a brand new house. We have had iron bars on two of our windows which I find to be odd because they are inaccessible and the smallest windows in our house. It was a bitch to remove them (they had to saw them off) but it makes such a huge impact now that the iron is gone.

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I somehow squeezed a few extras into our budget which was mostly adult-boring work. I have wanted built-in shelves forever but with crooked walls and corners that were always moving because of the bad foundation, it wasn’t a possibility. I almost contemplated painting the fireplace mantle white to match the new built-in shelves but I am so happy we didn’t. Now I have ample storage space for my large art books that didn’t fit on our old bookshelves.

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Rene graciously repaired our broken tiles on our fireplace hearth.

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So on the last day of our two month project, I was elated at the transformation. Wow! look at this lovely blank canvas! Yet…don’t those floors look lackluster? When you are over-budget and having to figure out some way to create a budget to get our floors refinished, you brainstorm with your practical, spendthrift husband. Antz was able to sell our old couch, the coffee table, a mirror we no longer used and our old Ikea chair. I wouldn’t have thought that anyone would buy our old furniture but thanks to the Nextdoor app, we were able to fund our floors!

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It took one day for the floor refinishing which meant we had to stay out of the house for 48 hours so the floors could dry. We spent the weekend at my Mom’s house and when we saw the result, it was the cherry on top of our remodel. I am so grateful to all our workers who handled my silly questions and requests (I literally drove them crazy reminding everyone to not touch the freshly painted white walls and I kept leaving post-its around the house with notes of things they needed to finish) with patience. They were respectful, reassuring and always smiling even during the hottest days. One of my guys told me, “I’d rather be here working and sweating than at home comfortable and broke.” We gave all our workers a small bonus because they were awesome and they deserved it.

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Thank you so much Rene, you are the raddest contractor in Los Angeles. We are in love with our beautiful house. The photos of the remodel are coming soon.

Olivia’s Big Kid Bedroom Makeover

The time has come for my bebe to graduate from a nursery to a kid’s room. It was weird to see her giant body cram into her toddler bed every night so we figured it was time to makeover her room. Plus her Yo Gabba Gabba toys were taking up too much space on the tiny bed.

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Let me keep it real, her room was overloaded with stuff! We cleared out a ton of old toys, clothes that no longer fit and clutter when we did our Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up weekend during the summer. Tip to any parents who may want to do the same, send your kids away so they can’t interfere with the clean up. Liv has been known to hoard birthday party favors (I call them junk toys) and dig them out of the recycle bin! I have bought baskets, bins and bookshelves to store Liv’s things and no matter how much I donate, her room still looks like a toy store exploded. The best piece of wisdom I read in the Tidying book was that the more storage solutions we purchase to control our stuff, the more clutter we create. If something is not useful or pretty, get rid of it. This is why I am planning to do less toy shopping next year (more on that soon!)

I asked my creative director hubby to lend his talents to help me visualize my design in a mood board. The theme was white and birch with a dash of pink. I was inspired by these Miffy-themed rooms I found on Pinterest. I was worried that the room was looking too beige and boring so I added more color in the accessories. I kept the glider because it’s my favorite place to sit and read her stories and it’s such a great chair. We also couldn’t part with the handmade mobile Antz made for her nursery, she’ll have it forever. It did break my heart to get rid of the kitchen (after only two years) but it was collecting dust and she didn’t play with it that often.

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Liv has been wanting bunk beds so she could have sleepovers. That was my main focus of the room. I wanted to find a bed that wasn’t made of metal and she could climb up without giving me a heart attack. I originally wanted to stick with the Oeuf brand and almost bought this Perch bunk bed but it was too large for her tiny room.

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I will definitely reconsider getting it when she’s a few years older and I finally get rid of the brown chair. Hopefully, I’ll have a larger house by then!

Her walls could use a new color. Gone is the orange/cream and brown nursery palette. As most little girls are, Liv is an avid fan of pink, so we found a princess pink (that wasn’t too obnoxious) for the majority of the room.

I love the black paint trend but since it’s a kid’s room we chose one wall for chalkboard paint so she can have some creative fun.

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I bought two Michael Sowa prints (from my fave movie) a few years ago. I intended to hang them in our bedroom but there isn’t enough wall space so they sat rolled up. I thought it would be cool to give Liv’s new room some new art so we searched for frames that were similar to the movie. We heard Aaron Bros was having a major Black Friday sale so we checked it out but they did not have a large selection of gold frames. We found one that was perfect for the Dog in Cone but I really wanted an old, ornate frame for the Fowl with Pearls.

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Luckily, I had a trick up my sleeve and his name is Antz. He is the master of finding treasures on the cheap. He searched all Thanksgiving weekend with no luck. Then he sent me a photo of the steal of the century.

IMG_7474The frame looked like he stole it directly from Amelie’s apartment and he only paid $12!! I spent more on the prints than the frames. Yay!

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So next was a trip to Ikea. I am always wary of their furniture because of their well-know reputation for not being the most sturdy. However, I was interested in the Kura bed because of it’s low height, versatility and popularity for Ikea hacks found on Pinterest. The price was so reasonable and I can style it so many different ways, I didn’t hesitate.

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Olivia approved

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Once again, I scored a great deal on Cyber Monday shopping on adorable bedding from Typo Shop. It was perfect timing since I now have to buy bedding in pairs for the bunk beds.

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Liv has began reading by herself so I wanted to create a nook for her to be comfy. We found a darling reading lamp at Ikea and I ordered a strand of Brightlab lights in peony pinks for a pop of color. I bought a book ledge from Land of Nod and it turned out so cute, now I wish I bought two.

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I had a terrible time finding the right rug. Antz was adamant about not getting anything too light and he wanted something soft that she could lay on. Yet my picks were either too expensive or made of scratchy material. I was excited to attend the Lulu & Georgia Pop Up shop in West Hollywood. I’ve been wanting their Elodie rug forever but even the sale price tag stings. $$$

I fell hard for the sweet pink Elodie rug and I was already headed to the cashier to buy it when I realized, it really was too expensive for a kid’s room and it was a high maintenance rug. I still want it for our bedroom but I had to be an adult and not throw a tantrum on the floor.

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Even though they had all my favorite things and lovely Eliza Gran baskets on sale, I left empty-handed. We are prioritizing our travel budget now so I needed to find something within our budget. Back to Ikea we went and picked out a reasonably priced neutral rug that I won’t feel terrible if it needs replacing at some point. Plus a sheepskin rug is the best solution for coziness.

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We bought a larger shelf unit for her books and hide her dress-up clothes and tea party dishes in baskets. The Kallax unit was a perfect fit on the chalkboard wall.

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Antz installed a floating shelf to display her My Little Pony and P.O.P. toy collection (which is getting out of hand, although I admit, I am guilty of adding new ones when I can’t resist the cuteness!)

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I tried to contain the kid’s avalanche of toys as best as I could. She does have some pretty awesome stuff though.

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She enforces a strict no no shoes policy in her new room. I am smitten with the pink cheeky Yeti & Friends monster who resides over her bed.

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The piece de resistance is this adorable petit biscuit pillow made by French designer Annabel Kern which plays music from Amelie!

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I must say, for such a small space this is a dreamy kid’s room. My husband deserves all the credit for making my concept come to life. He worked tirelessly to have the room finished so Liv could have her first sleepover this weekend. I have a few more finishing touches to work on (I’m waiting for the photo to be printed for the oval frame and I am searching everywhere for this Miffy cushion) but I am so pleased with the outcome. At the rate she’s growing, we’ll have to give her our bedroom soon!

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The little kitchen that could!

Good morning lovelies!

It feels like an eternity since I’ve blogged but I am back and with exciting news to share! Our sweet little cucina made her debut on theKitchn this morning. I can’t help but cringe at our before photos, yet it’s funny how so in love I was with that awful orangish/yellow kitchen when we first bought our house seven years ago. I really, really love my new kitchen.

 
That fabric swatch we picked up at the Ban.do garage sale has really functioned well for us! A steal at $7!    
I’m normally not a huge fan of blue but I love how the colors pop in such a neutral palette.

It would be rad if you head over the theKitchn and leave a comment on what you think.

Enough about our kitchen, I finally have some photos I salvaged from my Instagram since I still can’t upload any to my laptop *so lame!* Last weekend we went to Liv’s good friend Jianna’s 5th birthday party at an indoor party place called Scooter’s Jungle. It was super fun, the adults were playing just as hard as the kiddos. Here are a video of us being dorks on my Instagram, Super slide.

Ready to party!
Antz and his whimsical wrapping
Making silly faces with the birthday girl in the mirror
Please note the huge NO RUNNING sign!
Princess posing, Liv shows you how it’s done.
Eagerly waiting to go inside
We kicked each other’s butt in table tennis
Cayce, Chayanne and Ann-Marissa *this was the least blurry I got*
I bounced so hard the kids were hitting the ceiling!
 

 
 
Liv on the zipline cracks me up!
 
Group shot
Happy Happy Birthday Jianna!
 
Thanks Nicole & James for the wicked fun party

Ready for the best face ever?!!

My kid is super rad!

Thursday Liv’s class had a pumpkin carving party at school. I baked spookie cookies for the potluck.

 
What would any typical three year girl want to carve in her pumpkin? A vampire of course!
 
She kept calling the pumpkin guts gross, that’s my kid!
Liv’s most awesome teacher, Miss Maricris
 
Liv’s BFF Liam and his Mommy.
Scary Vampire!
Mwah ah hah!
 

 Have a lovely day!

 

Lizzie