We’ve Got Big, Major, Epic News Today!

Isn’t it funny how so many things come full circle? When I started this little ole blog {closing in on eight years ago!!}, it was all to chronicle the renovation and design of the first home I ever called my very own – a teeny tiny condo in Seattle {#34 of course!}. But as life has a tendency to do, things took a sharp left turn shortly after I purchased #34 and I didn’t manage to do a dang thing to it. Well I did remove the watermelon pink striped wallpaper, but that’s as far as things ever got. We actually sold the condo last year {as you may remember} and while I was happy to see it go, I also felt disappointed that I never got to see the project come to fruition.

Well I’m thrilled to announce that I’m finally going to get my chance to design my dream home, but this time, in a very big way because WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

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Yup – we’re going to live there! I can still hardly believe it!!! Holy-begeezus you guys, this amazing, classic, historic Victorian is our house. It feels unbelievable for all kinds of reasons, but right now it’s still not quite real because we haven’t actually moved in. While it may look rather fabulous from the outside, we discovered a house that is a totally insane, over-the-top, and a major fixer-upper. To repair what’s broken or damaged, make needed improvements and update the space to make it conducive to modern life, we have to make a pretty dang extensive renovation. Needless to say, it’s going to be a little while before we officially call our new house, home. So what do we have to work with? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

The house has a lot of amazing things to love. Fabulous details like huge bay windows, dramatic high ceilings, period crown molding and fireplaces in nearly every room! However, it was a little hard to appreciate those details at first sight as they currently look like this…

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Built in 1870, the house has only had three owners – well four now. But the last inhabitants took liberties with their design choices. Very questionable liberties. Every room in the house is painted in colors I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere. Certainly not in any home. The dining room above, for example, features pale peach walls and a ceiling painted in what you might describe as magenta. It’s almost impossible to actually give the color a name. The fireplaces have lovely features – like a 2×4 as a mantel! And those chandeliers are a beautiful form of some sort of 1970s plastic. Now that’s classy. You may say, but Erin, the floors look interesting at least. They would be, if they weren’t a laminate. At least those really spectacular pocket doors dividing the dining and living rooms make up for it because they still open and close – even after 140 years!

But of course, everyone says kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. Again, that wasn’t exactly true in this case. This is currently our “kitchen.”

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The photos above don’t even do the kitchen situation justice. In case you can’t tell, there aren’t any permanent shelves in there. Nor counter tops. Nor any built-in appliances. Everything is just free standing or rigged up on the wall. The first time I stepped into the room was…a little mind boggling to say the least. And the bathrooms – well they’re just as special. This is the “master bath.” It can be described simply: as a formica museum!

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As you can see, we have our work cut out for us {and this is really only the half of it!}! And I couldn’t be happier. I finally have the blank slate I’ve always dreamed of. I’m sure I’m more than a little naive about what we’re really in for – but I promise we’re going to share everything we learn with you! From the fun of creating mood boards and setting a design direction to the brass tacks of how to pick a contractor, shop for slab counter tops or select the perfect shade of white paint {I’m on the hunt – anyone have a current fave?!}, we’re planning on taking you all along for the ride – however long that might be. We hope you’re just as excited as we are!

 

Getting in the Mood the Old Fashioned Way

We’re taking a poll. Who used to cut their favorite pages out of magazines and tack them onto their walls?? Guilty as charged. Oh how many Teen Beats I destroyed! Thankfully I moved onto Lucky, Domino and Elle Decor. Even just a couple of years ago I was still saving boxes of my favorite tears. But now we’ve all become wholly subsumed by Pinterest and the digital versions of our favorite glossies. It seems the old school moodboard has fallen by the way side and that makes me sad. There’s something so important that comes from the physical act of compiling your inspirations, moving them around until it suddenly just fits!

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That’s why I purposefully/forcefully/willingly/excitedly created an area in our Team Apartment 34 office redesign for a physical moodboard because, really, nothing beats it! No matter what kind of photo shoot or project we’re prepping for, we always feel more focused once we go through the exercise of creating our board. It’s also a fabulous way to get our butts out of our chairs and our eyeballs away from the screen!

But in the days of digital everything, we have to get a little more creative with our creative process. You may remember this outfit we posted last month. Well, the inspiration came from the moodboard below! Despite popular belief, we don’t just throw on an outfit and snap a pic or two. Wardrobe styling is taken pretty seriously around here. We always start with a a general idea or theme, but we focus in on the final look based on our compilation of design spreads and fashion editorials. It can be a pattern, a mood, color palette or texture, light, or even typeface. The only qualification we have is that it must make us stop and say, “omg- obsessed.”

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While we still pull objects, fabric swatches and yes, occasionally tear from a magazine, now we print out our favorite inspirations! You remember those things- printers? If you’re a visual person, we highly recommend adding one to your home office. We’ve been putting our Canon Pixma Pro to serious good use. The photo quality images it prints out – even of our pins – is just jaw dropping. There’s something so satisfying about getting things off of a screen and into your hands. That way you can mix, match, tack and tape to your heart’s content! You’ll be amazed at what new life images take on when actually on paper!

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After we’ve amassed a good stack of prints comes the fun part: bringing everything together. If your brain hasn’t already done so, it definitely will start to detect patterns as you begin taking things from the printer and putting them up on you cork board, wall or office door. We have a wire grid from the hardware store {you could use chicken wire for a similar look!} that we spray painted white- it’s our favorite place to clip our printed images and it only cost about $7 to make!

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Some of our favorite sources for inspiration boards include:

> Hit The Pavement: Go outside, walk around the block and pick up feathers, rocks or any other flotsam and jetsam that catches your eye

> Play Photog: Snap pics of cool architecture and patterns – to print out on your Canon Pixma Pro of course

> Swatch It Up: Go to your nearest fabric store for free swatches and to get your crafty brain gears in motion

> Print from Pinterest: Print out your fave pins to really bring your pinboards to life

> Scan Old Magazines: don’t forget those 1990′s Vogue issues- their pages are packed with forgotten inspo. If you don’t want to tear, scan and print, instead!

> Bobbles and Bits: scour your office or home for anything that jumps out at you- a necklace, handwritten note, the latest business card someone handed you, etc

Et voila! You have inspiration that not only helps you execute a creative project, but a process that also gets you through any creative rut that may come your way- that is until you’re ready to take it down and start all over again!

While we’ve been focused on mood boarding, after our crazy travel season we’re excited to use our Canon Pixma Pro in a ton of other ways! How fun would it be to print out travel photos we’ve already forgotten about? Need some quick art for your gallery wall? Why not create your own by printing out your very own Instagrams! They’d look stunning coming out of this printer. Really, the possibilities are quite endless.

What are some of your favorite sources for finding inspiration? We’d love to know!

 

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // styling by Bianca Sotelo 

This post is in partnership with Canon Pixma Pro. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open.

Put A Prop On It: {Office Styling Revealed!}

They say your home is the museum of your life. I’m first to admit I can take that to a bit of an extreme. I’ve just always loved decorative objects. I find them on trips, the flea market, random boutiques. They always remind of the time and place where I found them.

Thankfully, with all the styling we do around here these days, my accessories collection now comes in very handy! We decided to kill two birds with one stone with the Apartment 34 office redesign: store all our props and use them for our own decor!

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When it comes to styling shelves – especially when you’re working with a lot of accessories, the key is to keep things from getting totally overwhelming. In our case, there was editing involved {although you might not be able to tell!}. In order to avoid a hot mess, we styled the bookcases with a cohesive neutral color palette in mind: white, gray, creams and tans. A few pops of green, blue and bronze keep it from feeling too monotonous. Anything that didn’t work in our color scheme got stored out of sight.

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Another shelf styling rule of thumb is to create vignettes in threes. Each shelf got its own mini-threesome {or two!}. We grouped bowls, candles, vases and the like. Be sure to always vary the heights of your accessories to create balance!

Stacks of books {and my never ending collection of Vogues!} also helped break up horizontal lines and offer additional texture. There’s something about books that immediately warms up a space.

We also incorporated a variety of our glass objects {vases, carafes & even a selection of my favorite wine bottles} to keep the shelves from feeling visually heavy. Adding in plants {we picked a rubber leaf and snake plant} injected the entire space with life {duh} but I also love their different shapes and textures.

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We broke up the all the business we’ve got going on at our coworking desk by creating a distinct seating area on the opposite side of the room. It’s a lovely spot for group brainstorming sessions, magazine browsing and general decompression from screen time! I mixed a traditional sofa with more modern chairs and sweet white enamel side table. I used the art to inject the area with color.

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Finally, you may remember our office supply closet DIY from last year. Well, now we get to fully enjoy it because we removed the supply closet doors! I was pleasantly surprised how much it opened up the room. Now all we see is all that great bright white space, styled desk supplies {yes you can be picky about your office supplies and it DOES make a difference.}

Even with all our details proudly on display the office feels more open, more spacious and really inviting. By keeping our edit tight and the floor plan spread out we keep the room feeling overtaken by stuff. Now when we’re working on our next shoot everything we need is right at our fingertips!

 

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick