The Whole Enchilada - Projects 1-5

Scroll below for updates on the final three projects. Would love more comments and feedback!

Keep in touch on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram - I'm @fflleettcchh.

xo

Assignment 1, Part 1: The 8 Elements of Style

The eight elements of style...

Assignment 1, Part 2: Take before pictures of five key areas of your home 

Before I show you my befores, here's a bit of background about my home to give you some context. I live on one floor of a four-story brownstone built in 1890 in Jersey City, NJ (across the river from downtown Manhattan). The apartment, which my husband and I purchased in 2009, is around 850 sq. ft, has two teeny bedrooms, a living room, a dining room (which feels like a real luxury in the NYC area!), kitchen and bathroom. I fell in love with all the original details of the place like the wood floors, crown mouldings and pocket doors. I totally dived into decorating but where I really struggle now is with finishing and styling the place.

So, without further adieu, here is what we're working with: 

This is the console, right to the right of the front door:

I think there is a good start with the console. Shape, color, texture, bling and botanicals are all represented. I think the proportions need to be better and I could work on the placement of items. And there are waaaayyy too many books. I know this.

Here's the coffee table before:

Super dull and heavy on "needs". I do love that this table has great mid-century lines and although it's not real wood on top, I found it in a neighbor's trash! So feel free to put your feet up on the coffee table at my place :)

Continuing around the living room, here's one half of the built-in bookshelf before:

This is kind of a pain point for me. Trying to balance the utility of the shelves with something attractive to look at. I recently painted the insides of the shelves with some leftover gray-blue paint I had but I still don't love it. I feel a little lost here. And on camera, I'm really noticing what an eyesore our paperbacks are!

On to the sofa, before:

Apologize for the slight fuzziness of the photo! I love my couch, from Room & Board. It was my first purchase for my new home and my first big girl piece of furniture. I decided when I moved in back in 2009, the living room color palate would be navy, gray with pops of yellow. While I think it's all still attractive, I'm a little tired of the Dwell Studio for Target pillows. I also wonder about the art hanging behind the sofa. I hung it with little thought. Does it look strange? Should it be one larger piece?

And finally, the bedroom, before:

Generally happy with this but it's a little boring. I am sure we could use more color here and definitely some botanicals! The room doesn't get much light so it would have to be a low-light plant. I love the metal heart hanging on the wall which I got in Mexico on my honeymoon but I can't decide if it needs some amigos up on the wall. 

And that concludes your tour of my home. Hope you enjoyed it!

Assignment 2: Coffee Table Styling

I am running off to a work trip to Vegas soon so I am turning in my second project early. Probably the first time in my life I have said those words! As you may recall, this is my beloved, straight-from-the-trash mid-centry coffee table before:

And, after employing Justina's tips, here's what I came up with:

As you can see, I borrowed some books from that giant stack on the console to create two piles. I didn't have many yellow books but I think red also goes really nicely with the navy and gray. I replaced the large acrylic tray with this smaller striped tray from Ikea. I moved those tulips from the console as well for the botanical element. For texture, on the left, there's a straw tortilla warmer, also from my Mexican honeymoon. On the right hand side, I paired the larger candle with two smaller tea lights to create that balance. For bling, I included one of those Pinterest-inspired gold spray-painted animals and a gold Zippo lighter. I put the lighter on a cute patterned plate that sort of echoes the pattern on the rug. All in all, these small changes made a huge difference and makes the room much brighter and more cheery. 

Here are some other shots:

Assignment 3: Styling the Sofa

I never really thought much about re-styling my sofa and when I did, it was all about changing the pillows. Here's the sofa before:

And with yet another addition from my Mexican honeymoon (I SWEAR we did more than shop), a brighter, more cheery couch:

Here's the full view:

Not bad considering I used what I already had and I am now able to protect the tufting on the couch that always worries me. Yes, more plants will be added. I do not think that poor jade plant is coming back to life.

Here's one more from the left side.

Moving on to the console, this is the "before" image:

And here's what it looks like after many, many iterations:

One of the ways I added texture was to bring in this lovely tree stump found in countless front yards in New Jersey post-Hurricane Sandy and put a plant on top. I changed the lampshade which was more proportionate to the lamp and also added texture.

On the bottom shelf, I kept the globe, because it's great and it's probably the only place it will fit in my apartment. I decreased the pile of books and added a cylindrical hat box on top and the white poster in the back to brighten the shelf.

On the top, I added another photograph and a candle. If you're wondering what that dead space is to the right side, why that is a giant black and gold tray purchased at Target about four years ago and where I keep my stack of mail and keys. Check it:

Overall, I struggled with the console project quite a bit. There are a lot of colors here; it felt impossible to keep a consistent palette with few accent colors. I also simply did not know what to put up top. i hope you think it's an improvement but please let me know if you have ideas or critiques for me!

Assignment 4: Bookshelf

This was another tough assignment. I see why the coffee table came first! Here's the bookshelf before:

I focused just on the two bottom left shelves for this project, mostly because there is no other option for the paperbacks at this moment. I will keep working on that, though.

Here's the after:

Here I used the concept of placing the piles of books on opposite sides of each shelf. I mixed shapes and textures and a bit of bling throughout as well. In the front of the bottom shelf, I used the rule of threes and included three travel souvenirs togehter.

Here is a detailed shot of the bottom shelf:

And the top:

It's a little dark but an improvement nonetheless. I definitely like the placement of the stacks of books horizontally and vertically together. I consider the shelves a work in progress and there are many other bookshelves on the other side of the room to test out other styling techniques on.

Assignment 5: Bed

My bedroom before was a very serene place that lacked some of the vibrancy of the rest of the house. I wanted to bring in some color and visual interest while still maintaining the sense of calm. Here's the before shot:

And, here's the after:

I added an orange and white blanket to the foot of the bed to bring in another color. I might prefer it in yellow, but again, I was using just what I already had in the house. I took my only other spare throw pillow in the house (note to self: buy more throw pillows), the colorful one, and added that as well.

On the nightstand, I added a couple of books below the lamp to add more height and some color. I also brought in some flowers and a little lime green notebook.

After I shot this, I decided that some art could potentially go on the nightstand as well, so I grabbed this print from the console:

It's a little small in scale for the space but I think I like it and could swap it out for a larger print. Unfortunately  due to the sheer tininess of the nightstand, there wasn't room for much else, like anything in threes, but I think it's an improvement.

What do you think?

All in all, I have to say I started strong with the coffee table and that was by far my favorite "after". I am delighted every time I walk into the living room and see the vignette. So here are the before and after shots, one last time:

Sad, dull coffee table, meet your fabulous, new self:

Hope you enjoyed checking out my projects as much as I enjoyed working on them!

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