My boyfriend Rocky and I have lived in our apartment for a year and the design process has felt a lot like trying to run underwater. I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve pinned or the amount of hours I’ve spent scouring the internet for the right inspiration. After a while, my pinboard became a hodgepodge of styles ranging from minimalist farmhouse to borderline funhouse. To the amateur design hobbyist (aka me) this was disheartening and exhausting. Then last week when Emily #sharedthemic with Shavonda Gardner she said, “Cultivating and creating a home is a marathon, not a sprint.” This validated the slow-motion process I’ve been experiencing and at the same time inspired me to give in to my intuition. My all over the place pinboard started to make sense and our open concept living and dining room plan came together.
Naming my and Rocky’s collective style isn’t totally necessary, but it’s really fun. To make it brief, we are going for 70s-cowgirl-meets-eclectic-old-world-Italian-grandma. Coming over to our place will hopefully be like visiting your cool, eclectic grandma’s house but with Drake playing in the background (and Rocky waiting to queue up Jerry Vale). I am so excited to invite you into what our brains came up with but first I’ll show you what we are working with:
When you walk into our apartment, the dining room is straight ahead and to the right is the living room. It’s a small space and there is no separation between the two “rooms”. As you can see, we don’t live in a charming LA 1920s bungalow. She’s just an 800 sq ft apartment that has the architectural interest equivalent to that of a refrigerator. This made our initial design plan very daunting (bare bones and cream-colored walls will do that). But slowly this bleak architecture became a canvas to play with all types of styles. Here is where we are at now:
Since we last chatted, I purchased that vintage 1970s Azilal rug (!!!), the asymmetrical coffee table, & the blue Morrocan pouf. Once we procured these three items we were able to envision the potential of even more color, more patterns, shapes, and styles. This minimalist became a maximalist overnight. (@CAITLIN are you hearing this??)
Now, let’s travel into the dining room (don’t worry, it’s a short walk).
Here we are. Do you recognize that bar cabinet? I knew you would 🙂 It’s the same one Sara has in her dining room! I happened to benefit when tragically this baby was delivered to her home damaged. She was sent a new one and we were fortunate enough to obtain a place to store Rocky’s T-shirts. It also happens to fit perfectly here and became the jumping-off point that we desperately needed for this room.
Right now our dining room doubles as my office but we will eventually convert the corner where the windows are into a teeny tiny workspace. This works for me because I tend to hop around the house while I am working anyway. Currently, that corner is home to boxes of clothing and stuff to be donated because a huge procrastinator lives here (me). But one day, I’ll find the right-sized vintage secretary desk for my work computer so we can have a functioning dining table once again. Baby steps, my friends.
So that’s our little home currently. But we’ve got BIG plans. Let’s get into it:
Living Room Inspiration:
Pre-COVID Ryann would have avoided so much color and pattern but something happens to you when you’re home 7 day days a week, almost 24 hours a day. I’ve been craving color (specifically blues and greens – maybe because I miss nature??) and playing with mixing patterns has been a joy. This may be the only positive thing to ever come from a global pandemic.
Here’s our current living room plan:
First up, let’s talk about the paint color. DID YOU NOTICE IT? I was trying not to give it all way too quick because it’s the best part. YES, IT’S TRUE we are planning on painting both the living and dining room this dark green color by Clare. The sample already looks so good so I’ve been asking Rocky for days when we can order the paint and go for it. I am SO excited. Once we decided on that color the whole concept of our design really fell into place.
It is also worth repeating that the Article sofa is so comfortable (important) and really, really stylish (also important). It is also strangely versatile and doesn’t make us feel bogged down to a certain style, and I have about 400 slides of design plans to prove this fact.
Dining Room Inspiration
Our inspiration for the dining room came to us while Rocky was cooking pasta sauce from scratch and listening to Frank Sinatra (as these things often do). While reminiscing about our favorite Italian restaurants that we can’t wait to dine in again and while asking Rocky’s opinion of yet another rug, I suddenly blurted out “What if we made this space feel like one of our favorite restaurants??” When I saw his reaction I knew he understood exactly what I meant. (Pro tip: if you can get your partner to participate in the design process, DO THAT).
Here are our two options (bonus points if you can guess which one is my favorite and which one is Rocky’s):
That table is wonderful and I weirdly love it the spindle back chairs. The chairs keep the space feeling modern but not so modern that they don’t make any sense in the design. The rug is basically a done deal in my book and it’s sitting quite comfortable in my shopping cart at the moment. Rocky thinks it looks like a blueberry pie, but I think he is a silly goose. What are your thoughts?
Okay, this one is definitely more Italian restaurant in the best way. The table and chairs are straight from a charming cafe in Florence (not really) and they would match the cherry wood of our front door quite perfectly.
Just for fun, I added this wallpaper that I am playing around with installing in the cutout shelf. The moody green mixed with a B&W nude wallpaper would be fun but maybe not worth it? Would a different color paint have the same effect and be so much easier? You tell me.
Lastly, can we talk about curtains? Do you prefer the mustard velvet or the navy blue velvet?? I sincerely cannot decide what I love more. I also think some sort of floral patterned curtain here could be really cool but I could not find one that felt right (if you know of anything that could work, please holler in the comments).
Alright friends. That is all from me today. Do you have any advice? Questions? Concerns?? I am all ears. xx