Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Work in Progress: Bedroom / Playroom / Storage Room

The boys' room is one of our trickiest spaces. Both bedrooms are equal in size, but this one has the apartment's only closet. It's also a tricky space because our sleeping arrangement is...complicated. For those of you who've followed our sleep trials with Leon, things are both better and mostly the same. Elias stays in the crib until around 4am, at which point he sleeps in a bed with me. We either sleep on the twin bed in his room, or we switch to the other bedroom, where Leon sleeps on a full bed.

This room is also a primary play space, although the living room is unsurprisingly more popular. But we store most of the toys here. I finally bought a toy bench from Ikea, and it has been a godsend. I call it the black hole because it holds so much including oversized items.

Finally, the room is our storage area. We added two new shelving units for stuff that belongs in a closet: linens, tools, bicycle stuff, important files, and overflow clothing. As you can see, a stroller, bike pump, and vacuum, are often shoved in the corner as well. The closet holds even more unsightly stuff as well as winter coats.

Soon we're going to get a full bed for this room because Leon, Elias, and I will sleep here while my mom takes over the other room. I've spent hours playing with the layout, which Matthew drew up in Rhino.

These are the projects I need to tackle:
  • Storage boxes need to be more uniform or complementary with the rest of the space
  • The dresser was a Craigslist bargain. I can't stand the color, so we'll either repaint or buy something else
  • A different curtain, shorter in length, or a roller blind
  • Too much blue! I swear it wasn't intentional.
  • I don't like the Poang, but it's great for getting Elias to fall asleep. I would love to replace it with a more attractive high-backed armchair.

If only! Dwell Studio Hans Chair (leather or fabric)
How have you dealt with multi-functional rooms? Do you try to keep the zones separate, or do you focus on a unifying or harmonizing scheme?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Work in Progress: More thoughts on the entryway

Image source

Image source

Image source

I like the idea of the locker or cubby entryway, but I'd also like to keep this area as open as possible. The locker aesthetic seems to skew either "school" or "cottage," which is fine, but my larger concern is unifying the entryway with the living room.

Living in a cold climate, we need the entryway to function as a mudroom and repository for bulky winter clothing as well as the usual school and household related stuff. I like the addition of the metal mailboxes in the third image, as well as the little table with a drawer and open bin for junk mail.

Although it would be a pain to drill all those holes, I also think it would be good to have painted knobs at different heights for the boys. Last winter their outerwear bin was out of control, and often jackets and mittens would be left on the floor. Let's hope we can adopt better habits this time around.

Work in Progress: The Entryway and Livingroom

Our apartment may be small and lacks storage space, but it gets a lot of light and has an open living room kitchen plan. Bedrooms are also conveniently located at either end. That said, not even 600 sq ft is challenging for a family of four plus a cat.

The first thing we did was move the bicycle from the entryway into the basement. I don't think we're technically allowed to do this, but there are other bicycles downstairs. We also brought down our sled and a large humidifer. Basically everything else we own is in the apartment.

The entryway is currently a staging ground for moving stuff either into the car or into my office. At some point we're going to have to decide on the following:
  • Two benches or one bench plus baskets and stools?
  • More wall hooks. Should we go with more of the same (Ikea Leksvik) or something exciting?
  • A high traffic runner
  • A new area rug
  • The wall behind the couch doesn't look right to me
  • Maybe another shelf on the divider wall for our wireless speaker

I've spent too many hours on Apartment Therapy. Now I've learned that we need a more efficient landing strip. We're constantly forgetting hats and extra towels for daycare because they're never corralled together. We also don't have a place for mail, so the little table ends up overflowing with paper.

How have you handled entry spaces? Is there a system that works for you?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Steven Alan Sample Sale

Something for him, something for me

These are being sent to California, so I won't get to try out the hat until August. I waffled on buying the one with the ochre band (it sold out pretty quickly), but the black banded version at half off will do just as nicely.

If you haven't received an email from Steven Alan and would like early access to the sample sale, I think you will need to sign up for an account. I nearly bought an Ace and Jig surf dress and then I worried that it wasn't actually reversible. I've tried on the Diamond print version, which I want, and the inside print is Agave. Based on the photos, it looks like Agave's inside print is Diamond, but is it actually reversible?? I'm guessing no.

Ace&Jig Surf Dress in Agave, now $128 I would go with a medium, even the large fits on top

This is the one that I want, in the Diamond print.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Apartment brainstorming

It turns out we can't leave the country this weekend to attend a wedding in Toledo, so I've decided to spend some of my extra time brainstorming apartment ideas. I had a friend take a look at the space, and her recommendations included painting the living room white to match the kitchen, add interesting wall hooks for the entry, store the bicycle elsewhere, and buy uniform storage boxes for the shelving units.

I'm going to take photos of the place this weekend and maybe you can chime in as well. But first things first, here are a few images I've found inspiring these past few days.

Image from here
Tveit and Tornoe Dots oak wall hooks from here
Image from here
Image from here
Image from here
Our place is just under 600 square feet with a shotgun house layout. We do not have access to basement, outdoor, or balcony space, and there is only one closet in the apartment. The two bedrooms are fairly large, as is the kitchen, but the living room is narrow and tiny. Starting in September the boys and I will be sharing a room, and my mother will stay in the other room, so quite a bit of open space will be taken up by a larger family bed. It's going to be crowded, but I think we're disciplined enough to manage even with two little ones and a cat.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Fourth!

My patriotic Ace&Jig dress

Happy Fourth of July!

We're gearing up for our trip to Toledo by way of Detroit next weekend. Speaking of curation, I'm excited to see SANAA's Glass Pavilion, especially since one of my students is writing about it. I've really enjoyed the discussion on Assembled Hazardly. If you can separate these questions from capitalism and neoliberalism--obviously I have a hard time doing this--I find we're all concerned with making sense of our place in the world.

This week marks three years since we left America, and it also marks my disengagement with a lot of the activities that used to define my sense of self. It has been both liberating and profoundly unsettling. It has also forced me to ask better questions about how my work (teaching+research) is embedded in my daily life.

Stay safe and enjoy the holiday weekend, friends.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Hey there, how have things been going?

I had a great trip to NYC last month. Stephanie and I had our customary lunch at Gahm Mi Oak. We went to Uniqlo and Muji, where I proceeded to buy my core summer wardrobe for $200. Skinny jeans, a linen button down, and a red oxford shirt at Uniqlo, and then a khaki skirt and cropped stripe tee at Muji. I highly recommend the Uniqlo shirts, and if you're looking for a pair of $40 no fuss, mid-rise skinny jeans at Uniqlo, I would suggest sizing down. I went with the 26s, and the waist stretches out after one wear. The Muji skirt is perfect for my cropped tees and blouses, and I feel like a proper scout these days.

We also went to Nepenthes and ogled their wild prints. It seems I'm on a skirt kick after many years of leaving them out of rotation. This one in particular has my name on it.

Anyway, things have been...complicated...these days. Aside from being busy teaching and commuting nearly 4 hours round trip once a week, I've been juggling 3 balls and 2 fire sticks for the past month. Being a contingent academic is hard. I'm lucky to be in Canada, where you can be contingent and still have social benefits like health care. But teaching 6 new courses in 12 months along with administrative duties has really taken it out on me. Not getting my dream job at a liberal arts college last year took the wind out of my sails. It would be putting it mildly to say that my past year was steeped in despair. A lot of good has come out of it, including an awesome new project, but I've also spent a lot of time angry and bitter.

Starting in September I will be single-parenting at least half the week, if not more, while Matthew begins his PhD coursework in Cambridge. It wasn't easy to decide on staying behind in Toronto, but my choices were frustratingly limited. We also decided to stay in our tiny 600 sq ft apartment for the time being. I've enlisted a friend to help me redecorate and organize the space, so hopefully I can share our progress in the next few months.

Anyway, I hope your summer has been filled with delicious and lovely things. We're going strawberry picking this weekend.