Entryway Progress: New Chandelier and Rug

We have a side-entrance bungalow with a nice central entryway, opening into our kitchen on the right and our living room on the left. I suppose you could call it a foyer if you’re feeling fancy. It was far from fancy when we bought the house, though: it was super gross.

Entryway Before.JPG

I made it not-gross with cleaning and painting, and I made it functional with Flor carpet tiles and a peg rack (both leftover from our apartment). Otherwise, I didn’t spend much effort to make it look nice until recently.

Entryway Before 2.JPG

Here’s where we started. I can do better than just not-gross!

New Light Fixture

First up, I added a new ceiling medallion and light fixture: I bought the Mid-Century Long-Arm Chandelier from West Elm.

mid-century-long-arm-chandelier-o.jpg

You guys, when I first start dating Jarrod (13 years ago!) this tiger blanket was his actual bedspread. Not in an ironic way, either. He’s had it since he was a kid, and now it’s an excellent moving blanket / project cushion.

Tiger Blanket Light Fixture.jpg

The chandelier is super heavy and was a challenge to install but, ultimately, nothing insurmountable. I’m really happy with it now that it’s up there.

Hanging Light Fixture.JPG

The adjustable arms work great here because the closet throws off the center of this space. I was able to arrange the arms to balance out that corner.

West Elm Mid Century Long Arm Chandelier.JPG

New Rug

I also added a new rug: a Mazlaghan Persian rug found on eSaleRugs.com for $250.

PersionRug.jpg

It was the first time I’ve purchased from eSaleRugs. I appreciate that they post a lot of photos of each item, and their free shipping and free returns policy suits me well, too: I’m prone to buyer’s remorse, so it made it easier to pull the trigger. Thankfully, there was no need to make use of that return option – their photos are remarkably accurate.

Rug 1.JPG

That’s all for now! I’ll return tomorrow with a post detailing the final change I made in this first batch of improvements: new(ly altered) closet doors.

Entryway Progress.JPG

Update: see Adding Moulding to Inside Out Bi-Fold Doors

Bedroom Makeover: Before and After

We’ve lived in our house for a little over one year now, and our bedroom has come a long way. There was certainly nowhere to go but up! The only good thing about this bedroom’s original purple paint is that it makes the after photos look so much better.

Let’s start in the landing, which you can also see in my bathroom makeover post.

Before:Bedroom Landing Before.JPG

After:Bedroom Landing.jpg

I’m still loving those new black hinges, and the rest of the bedroom is looking pretty good these days, too.

Before:Bedroom Before.jpg

That sign taped on the sloped wall was for our painter: it says “Paint angled walls Irish Mist.” The ceiling is a flat off-the-shelf white, and the walls (including the slanted sections) are Irish Mist from Behr. The room looks much less choppy and steep without the stark contrast of purple vs. white.

After:Bedroom.jpg

This room is hard to photograph because the window is so huge – which is one of those good problems, as far as I’m concerned (e.g. “my gold bricks are too heavy”). These were our curtains for a couple of months:

Bedroom Sheet Curtains.JPG

Which was still somehow better than what was there before:

BedroomBefore.jpg

I hung IKEA curtains. It’s a double-rod, and there are actually eight curtains up there: it’s such a wide window that it required two panels per side. So, four white curtains in front, and four blackout liners in back. (If anyone’s interested, I can do a more detailed post with specifics.) We’re still using the same furniture and lamps from our previous apartment bedroom, with two changes: the rug and the bed.

Bedroom Window.jpg

The rug is a wool kilim I found on eBay for only $88 from www.ecarpetgallery.com. I think the color it adds saves the room from looking too sterile. It is very thin, so a nice rug pad was a necessity. I like dual surface rugs pads: the scratchy felted side grabs the rug, and the latex side grips the floor.

Our platform bed is the P-Series Basic Bed from Night & Day Furniture. It’s nothing fancy: solid wood, sturdy, and cheap. We bought it for around $300 nearly 10 years ago from Right-On Futon in Chicago; I’ve also seen them online on Amazon and Wayfair. I used it previously with my DIY upholstered headboard, but a wall-mounted headboard wasn’t an option here because our bed is in front of a window.

I decided to add a simple, low-profile headboard to our existing platform bed instead of buying an entirely new bed. Thankfully, this furniture company still makes this line, so I was able to buy a headboard that fits the frame perfectly. I went with white, and painted the bed to match.

Bed Painting.jpg

I lightly sanded the original finish, primed with oil-based primer, and then rolled oil-based white paint with a foam roller for a smooth finish.

White Bed.jpg

In the end, you don’t see all that much of it, which is what I wanted:

Bedroom Nightstand Window.jpg

The IKEA RAST nightstands that I stained and painted for our apartment are holding up great. Jarrod’s side of the bed features a Chicago hawk illustration by Diana Sudyka, commissioned by WBEZ for a web feature. When he’s not out birding (like he was when I took these photos), his binoculars hang on the peg rack.

Bedroom Nightstand.jpg

My side of the bed includes a vintage dresser, plants, and a photograph of my mom and my aunt taken in the 1960s. I picked up the perforated metal tray at H&M last week. They have some really nice home items these days and, if you’re in Chicago, the newly-redesigned Michigan Avenue store is much less of a hellhole.

Bedroom Dresser and Plants.jpg

Bedroom Dresser.jpg

The closet area is pretty much the same – the mirrored doors don’t look as bad now that the purple is gone, but I’ll probably replace them at some point.

Before:upstairs6

After:Bedroom Doors.jpg

Before:upstairs14

After:Bedroom IKEA Dresser.jpg

This clearly isn’t a fully finished room! Those IKEA storage bins aren’t part of my forever plan, and someday I’ll get around to unpacking that box.

My long-term plan includes:

  • Remove the light kit from the fan. The fan is fine as-is: it’s inoffensive, and it’s quiet, but I do not need an additional three overhead lights on top of the four recessed lights. No one wants seven overhead lights in a bedroom! Removing the lights will make the fan even more inconspicuous.
  • New/vintage nightstands
  • New/vintage dresser to replace the IKEA bins, and/or reconfiguring the closets to maximize storage space
  • Upgrade to a king bed. Eventually, this white queen bed will move to the guest room (which currently has a full size bed), and we’ll ascend to a kingdom.
  • Unpack that box

There’s no urgency for any of those things, however. Especially that box. If I haven’t needed anything from it in a year, maybe I should just bring it to Goodwill and let them unpack it…

 

Rental Bathroom Makeover: Before, During, After

Well, now we know the drawback of real-time blogging: sometimes real-time is way too slow. I’ll save the nitty-gritty details behind the delay for another post – instead, let’s check out our newly redecorated bathroom.

Bathroom Door and Antique Rug | Project Palermo

Unfortunately the bathroom is still small and awkward – nothin’ I could do about that – so it’s impossible to get an all-inclusive pulled-back shot.  I’ll include a lot of photos – let me know if anything is unclear.

Antique Rug in the Bathroom | Project Palermo

New cabinet bar pulls from Home Depot and an antique rug from Humboldt House. HH actually had the rug in their shop bathroom. It’s beat-up, which I love because it’s not precious: aside from, like, setting it ablaze, there’s nothing we can do it that hasn’t already been done.

Bathroom Antique Brass Towel Hook | Project Palermo

Antique brass hook from eBay; hand towel from West Elm. I sewed on the hang loop, thus exhausting my sewing tolerance for the year.

Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

The soap pump top, door hooks, medicine cabinet knob and doorknob plates all got spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. The radiator cover and toilet paper holder were painted white.  I’ll do a follow-up post about some of this hardware.

Bathroom | Project Palermo

The one electrical outlet in the bathroom is hidden by the mirror.  The cords you see lead to the electric toothbrush in the medicine cabinet and my hairdryer in the basket below. I considered reworking our medicine cabinet to house the hairdryer as well, but… nope. It’s fine as-is. I don’t mind the dangling cord and if it were even one second more time-consuming to blow dry my stupid hair everyday I’d always leave the house looking like a ragamuffin.

Medicine Cabinet | Project Palermo

Aren’t Jarrod’s pills appealing? Makes me want to take one of each. Also makes me think Jarrod might have a pill problem. [Confidential to Jarrod: we need to talk.]

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

Aside from the paint (Benjamin Moore “Soot” color-matched by Behr), the biggest change is our new extra-long shower curtain. 98 inches. Count ’em!  (You can’t.  Just trust me.)  It’s so long and our bathroom is so small that it’s hard to photograph the full length.

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

The shower curtain is custom-made because we’re fancy like that.  Actually, it’s custom-made for lack of any acceptable option available for purchase.  I’ll return with details: it involves a grommet kit.  Spoiler alert: grommet kits are super fun. I want to put grommets in everything now.

Shower Curtain with Brass Grommets and Rod | Project Palermo

There was a lot of hemming and hawing and hand-wringing regarding this shower curtain rod.  Those were dark days.

Brass Shower Curtain Rod and Hanging Plants | Project Palermo

Speaking of dark: people have asked if the wall color makes the bathroom feel darker or smaller. Yes, a bit darker; no, not smaller.  It is small, but the color and the length of the shower curtain now make it feel grander, for lack of a better word. Also, those wall tiles now look lighter: virtually white, instead of the odd-off-white color they really are.  I didn’t anticipate this optical illusion – it’s the best unforeseen perk of the makeover.

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

Long-time readers of this blog might remember that I redecorated this bathroom shortly after we moved in.  In fact, it was featured on WordPress Freshly Pressed and remains my busiest blog traffic day.  I was pretty proud of it back then but think this recent go-round makes the most of the space.

Bathroom Before
Bathroom 2011

Bathroom | Project Palermo

Check out my original bathroom makeover post for details about moving and covering the medicine cabinet.

One more round of comparison photos, for fun:

Bathroom Before

Bathroom 2011

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

That’s it! I’ll return with a couple of posts about bathroom plants and antique hardware.

Internet Shopping FAIL

Sometimes the interwebs just do you wrong, ya know?

Take, for example, the Burpee order I placed weeks ago.  Shipping live plants didn’t seem risky to me considering that baby chicks are shipped via USPS all the time.  But these vegetables were doomed (the same fate many baby chicks face as well, I suppose).  They shipped out later than promised and arrived today deader than acceptable.

Burpee Fail

Parsley

The basil and two of the tomato plants will recover, but Burpee is dead to me now.

Burpee Tomato Plants

In other news, I was excited to find a wool kilim runner for cheap ($40!) on Overstock.com. “Why do you need more rugs?” you might ask. To which I would reply “Shut it.

Problem is, though they share the same item number, one of these is not like the other.

Runner Fail

To their credit, they did send me a rug.  A long one, even.  So, points for effort, I guess.

Shagadelic

The pictures I included in the last post had me thinking that two big flat-weave rugs looked too, well, flat and what I needed instead was a low pile rug for under the dining table and a plush rug for under the coffee table.  I picked up the VITTEN at IKEA this past weekend.

The rug pile is smushed down from being rolled up – I need to rake it.  Did anyone else have to rake their grandparents’ shag carpet?  (My cousins will know what I’m talking about!)  It was a satisfying chore: the carpet looked so groomed when you were finished.

I think it’s a nice rug, but in the context of this apartment, with our mostly vintage furniture, it looks way too retro.  Like we’re two steps away from setting up a tiki bar and tossing our keys into a bowl.  It’s shagadelic, and the fact that this rug brings to mind Austin Powers catchphrases makes it pretty clear that it’s not a keeper.  I don’t want anything in my home that reminds me of Mike Myers. (That said, I might make an exception for Wayne’s World.)

Doozy likes it, though.  It makes him feel like a jungle cat.

Another rug up for consideration is the Arrah Dhurry Wool Rug from Overstock.com (or O.co as they’re trying to sell us on these days).

(Never mind the brown around the edges: I just rolled it out on top of our current rug.)

Two people have already compared it to a barcode, which certainly isn’t working in its favor.  It doesn’t look quite as stark in person: the lighter stripes are a very light tan, not white, as Doozy helpfully demonstrates.


I’m very “eh” about this rug.  One thing I’m not “eh” about, however, is our new Ekornes Stressless recliner.  Craigslist has bestowed upon me two great finds since we moved into our new place: 1) the previously mentioned STENSTORP island, and 2) this totally awesome recliner.  I had an alert set up for “recliner” on CL and had seen at least 700 (easily) before this chair popped up.  The photo was so dark and the item was so buried amongst everything else he was selling that I almost missed it.  I clicked past and then realized “hey… that one might be good.”  It’s so hard to find a chair that meets Jarrod’s need for comfort and my need for stuff to not be ugly (and, as we’ve seen before, nearly all recliners are hideous).  These chairs are $2,000+ new, but I scored this one for $50.

The leather was in poor shape: very worn and sun-faded, with lots of oil in the headrest and pounds of food in the seat crack.  Here are a few Before pics:

I found a woman who reconditions leather (on Craigslist, of course), who made our chair good as new and even swapped out – for free(!) – the undesirable mahogany wood base for a medium brown base.

(It doesn’t dwarf our sofa as much in real life as it does in these photos.)

And there you see yet another rug option: the JORUN from IKEA (no longer available).  I love it, but it shows cat hair like crazy despite our very regular vacuuming and furminating.

Got any rug suggestions for me?  I’m starting to go insane.