Friday Postcard, Life, Our Home

Friday Postcard

Chive Blossom | egg & dart blog

It’s been too hot to think, and by extension, to blog. Several days hovering around 100°F and I hope the end is in sight for next week. In any case, it has been great for my cooking creativity and I’ve came up with a few make-ahead, serve cold meals that have refreshed and consoled us after scorching days. I’m planning on sharing one of my favorites on Monday!

The heat has also been great for the windowsill garden which I shade everyday with a kind of homemade plant tent. The biggest problem I’ve had over these past years living on the 6th and, now, 3rd floors is that the sun and wind currents just turn the soil to dust in no time. This year I decided to shade my plant babies on the hottest days and it’s been working wonderfully! Everything is growing in leaps by the day and I’m afraid they’ll just go right to bolting if we can’t eat them fast enough. It’s so amazing how much you can get out of such a small surface area.

I hope you’re staying cool where ever you are and happy Friday!

xo,

A.

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design, Life, Our Home

Our Home – The Living Room

The living room is literally and figuratively the center of our home. We spend the majority of our time there during the day – eating, playing, using the computer, reading – though our bedrooms find us hanging out together fairly often as well. Small spaces have no wasted space! But this room is in between our two bedrooms and across the narrow hall from the kitchen. This set-up has been perfect for a busy mama because I can be working in the kitchen and see my little love playing in the living room with just a glance.

Like our bedroom, this room has a marble chimney mantle but it also has beautiful molding on the ceiling and paneling on the lower half of the walls. These elements were exactly what we had hoped for when we were looking for our next apartment as the studio was in a building from the 60’s or 70’s and had a very different feeling. We got so lucky finding a space with so much built-in personality! Here was the blank slate moving in (quick iphone snaps):

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From the start, I knew getting the layout of this room right would be critical to efficient use of the space but also our enjoyment of it. One can’t relax in a small space that doesn’t also function well. Maximizing storage and using it in a smart, accessible way has meant that we are encouraged to tidy up because it is easy to do with open storage in pretty baskets and easy to get at sliding drawers. But it has taken us a while to get where we are today because so much of what we needed we had to tweak or build custom to fit the space. The evolution has been slow. We started with a big futon for a couch and a tiny garden table for a dining table. Before the kitchen was workable (no counter, no cabinets, bring your own appliances which is the norm here), I even had our Ikea island set up as a sort of breakfast bar in the corner.

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Here you can see the stove when it arrived and the inspector checked it over (apparently pregnant girls aren’t supposed to move stoves by themselves? Or at all? hmm.) but also the little garden table in the background. It was our first dining table when we lived in a tiny one room apartment together in Grenoble for a few months so there are some sweet memories attached to it.

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This corner has definitely been the focus of our DIY efforts in this room. I knew from the start I wanted to do a banquette in that corner with a pedestal table for easy sliding in and out. We haven’t found our dream pedestal table yet but when I found this old one for 30€ online, I sent R over to get it as a stand-in. It has been actually great for Élie because his little highchair can attach to it and the wood only gets more character with each mark. Here you can see when we first moved the table in and I had taped out the banquette dimensions on the floor to get a feel for them:

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(Rogue cat tail)

Our computer was set up on a little wood desk that belonged to Romain’s grandmother but the mess of cords and other supplies was obviously not working.

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We measured and planned out a continuous computer desk and L-shaped banquette for a unified look but it required custom pieces that we built over time. This first step, though, was a huge one in terms of improving storage and function! Here we installed the first Besta units and the wall of shelving:

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The drawers of the desk unit hold our DVDs and office supplies with the Playstation above on one side and a pull-out tablet for the keyboard and mouse on the other. Below that the printer and other computer gadgets are hidden behind one door and our board games behind the other. The banquette, it probably won’t come as a surprise, is all dishware and ktichenware storage. And here is where we are today with this corner!

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We built two corner boxes to complete the L-banquette and faced them and the side of the banquette with more of the same style doors from the Besta range. Then we raised the bookshelves on a custom built box to make them the same height as the corner shelves on the other side of the door, where the breakfast buffet had been for a time.

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This side of the room is the really ‘living’ part of the living room with the couch and chair. I’m planning a slipcover for the little sofa but just tucked the vintage linen around it for the time being. And the wooden desk was moved to this side of the room for lighting and it now holds the stereo as well.

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We keep Élie’s toys in the baskets under the table and not only are they easy for him to get at, it is quick to scoop the toys into at the end of the day and have it not look like a toy warehouse. The poster above the couch is Fathom’s All Streets map that I gave to Romain a few years ago for his birthday. It is beautiful and a wonderful quality and I can’t wait to get it in a frame (and center it on the couch).

The mantle has been a joy to get to play with! It has evolved countless time already! This past weekend, I brought clippings of branches (here hazelnut) from our trip to Belgium just for this spot. I have been wanting to do this for at least a year!

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And this is the beautiful antique faux bamboo high chair we bought before Élie was born. He’ll use it someday soon (and after I retrofit it with a harness) but for the moment we opted for a clip-on high chair to save precious floor space. It has been a perfect solution (you can see it on the table two images above this one) and traveling with it has been a breeze too! If you need a clip on high chair, this one is the Lobster from Phil & Ted.

There is still so much to do in this room but we love being in here anyway. Some things on our list are installing a toe-kick on the banquette/desk, finding two storage ottomans in place of a coffee table, replacing a little side table on the bookshelf side of the couch, sewing the couch slipcover, making cushions for the banquette, hemming the curtains and putting them on curtain rings, finding a rug that works in this space for in front of the couch, properly framing the collage over the banquette and the poster over the couch, and possibly replacing or refinishing the armchair (another steal of a stand-in at 12€!), among other little tweaks. Ekk, I had better not look at that list for too long.

Next week I’ll be taking a break from the apartment tour for a few other fun posts and then we’ll pick back up with the last, much smaller, rooms: kitchen, bath, and hall/entry. But here’s a sneak peek for next week from instagram!

Hallerbos Bluebells | egg & dart blog

xo,

A.

P.S. I had really wanted to have this post ready for Monday, while we were away, and I worked hard last Thursday to get everything ready but at midnight, when I was transferring my photos, I clicked too fast, thought I had saved but hadn’t, and permanently deleted all my images. Learn from me: back-up all your files! Ugh.

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egg & dart blog
design, Life

Our Home – The Bedroom

While grand compared to the studio apartment we lived in previously, our current two-bedroom apartment is not huge and lacks the two floor to ceiling closets we had in the entry of our studio as well as the basement storage room. In fact, this apartment came with nearly zero storage. When we moved in there was only the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Not shocking given this building was built at the turn of the century but what it meant was that we had to change our “oh just put it in the closet and we’ll deal with it later” ways and not only pare down but be as inventive as possible to create function from just four walls.

For the past year and a half I’ve almost always had a bag hanging around being (not so slowly) filled with things I wanted g.o.n.e. It turns out that it is rather addictive. But I’ve been so grateful for it because I’m thrilled that we are getting into this mindful habit at this point in our lives. I feel like it will make it much easier to stay in the habit through the years to come. I’ll talk more about what I’ve learned from the experience another day because I don’t know about you but I find it fascinating!

Despite those challenges, we adore our home here! It fits us nearly perfectly, perfectly for our lives right now, and that makes us so lucky. So with that little bit of background about the challenges we’ve tackled since moving in, I want to introduce you to the space, where it started and where it is now and where I’m headed with it. Starting with our bedroom.

Our bedroom is the largest of the apartment’s rooms. While it may have been better to have the largest room be the living/dining space, the apartment is laid out off a long central hallway with the two bedrooms and the living room on one side (exterior side) and the kitchen and bathroom on the other (interior side). The kitchen and living room are roughly in the center and facing each other so the rooms at either end of the hall (on either side of the living room) are our bedrooms.

Since this apartment is older, we really lucked out and have marble mantles in our room and the living, hardwood floors, high ceilings, and wonderful moldings on the living room ceiling. Here is the bedroom empty before we moved it. We’ll have to make due with iphone images because I was too busy trying to find things in boxes to really document each room (also, we left for a two and a half week vacation one day after moving).

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These are standing in the doorway and the corner opposite the fireplace, respectively. There is really only one obvious place for the bed to go, along that wall to the left in the first image.

Since move-in day we’ve come a long way and this room is the closest to being done. I’ve been very careful about what I’ve added in here because it has had such a calm, unfussy, and comfortable feeling since we first moved in and so little was actually in the room that I’ve wanted to preserve that. Here is where it is today and keep in mind, these are progress shots and cleaned-up but not styled. My lens isn’t right to capture wide shots of the space so these are a mix of iphone and camera shots.

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Walking in the door, you see the fireplace (love the black marble) in the corner of the room and Romain’s guitars hanging on the wall to the right. This is the wall we see when we’re in bed and I love it. Before he got his electric guitar, we had a longer picture ledge on the bottom with the long narrow framed etching that is now on the mantle balancing out the smaller upper ledge. We replaced it with a second short ledge when the second guitar arrived and it is loaded with images from some of our favorite places (my hometown, the Louvre, Yosemite and Muir Woods from our honeymoon). Combined with the guitars, it may just be the wall that is the most representative of us in the whole apartment. (Also, that is Albert’s basket you see there on the low cabinets, where he snores away the night!)

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Turning to the left, our bed takes up the opposite wall with a dresser and a large Ikea PAX unit on the adjoining walls.

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My side of the bed has a thrift store table for a nightstand and a little corner for a chair. I have plans for another chair to live here once it is refinished. I need to reinforce my nightable though as you can see it is listing a bit to the side (which is less evident in real life than in the picture). But is survives the cat tromping on it so it is at least that sturdy.

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Taking up the wall next to my side of the bed is the PAX wardrobe. I made a sort of ‘crown’ for it to hold a hidden curtain rod (no space for doors to swing) and tossed it up there but ideally it would have some simple crown molding attached and be painted white. I’ll start with just painting it and sewing a curtain for it rather than that linen sheet and we’ll see from there. Also, that laundry bucket has got to go!

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Romain’s night table stumped me for a while. He (strangely) needs more night table storage than I do and it also had to be something that would let us open the dresser drawers. One day I screwed this leftover wooden drawer set to the wall and it is kind of perfect in terms of function. I need to think of a way to dress it up and finish it though because it’s completely raw. He also has the dresser on his side of the room with a lamp I wired from an old glass jug.

There isn’t a ton left to do in this room but there are still some important details left to pull it all together and make it sing. Here are some of the images I have been going back to for inspiration for the feeling of this space:

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Simple, clean, unfussy, airy, and warm with a mix of natural textures and more polished ones, old pieces and new, black and off white with our signature greens and blues – a retreat from the city outside. The rooms here were freshly painted a barely there gray right before we moved it, that was a stroke of luck! I’ve just recently ordered this piece of fabric from Etsy for the bed cushion and Romain said it looks like it’s always been here. A vote for perfect fit if ever I heard one! I just need to sew it (it’s simply wrapped around the pillow here).

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Then the head board needs to be made. It will be a simple clean-lined rectangle covered in the same natural linen as the bedskirt – another brocante find. To give you an idea of the texture, here is an extreme close-up:

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Then I have a fun plan for a big statement above the mantle which I’m keeping under my hat but here’s the inspiration (in the background), from the incomparable Lauren Liess:

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After that it is finishing details: lining and hemming the curtains, installing the rings and clips on the curtain rods, tweaking art on the bed wall, sewing the curtain for the PAX and painting its crown, and installing reading lights on either side of the bed, maybe these:

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That’s where we are with the bedroom. It doesn’t sound like a lot to finish but our hands are busy chasing after this little assistant! I’ll introduce his room next week.

Élie

xo,

A.

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