Tag Archives: Efficiency

Spread the holiday cheer!

I know I’ve still been a bit spotty in my web-world appearances.  I have been sure to keep my creative juices flowing and recently entered a contest on Olioboard.  I would LOVE it if you would vote for my holiday mood board!

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Post #100 and it’s all about you!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to anyone and everyone who has ever read my blog! This has been an amazing journey thus far and I am excited about what lies ahead.

For my 100th post, I want to remind you about my TWO GIVEAWAYS that end TOMORROW, FRIDAY OCTOBER 29TH. The details are below:

Win a 1-hour decorating consultation

Email me a picture of a space you would like some professional help with.The Artist’s Eye has been generous enough to offer ONE lucky reader with a one-hour design consultation. Here is what you need to know to enter for your chance to win.

  1. For this giveaway, you need to live in the D.C. metro area (no worries, I will have other giveaways for readers outside of the D.C. area).
  2. Email me a picture of the space you want The Artist’s Eye to help you with and a brief description of why you need the consultation by  Friday, October 29th.
  3. I will select a winner based on the emails and photos I receive.

Win  an arrangement of coffee filter flowers

You get to pick all of the details for the arrangement. There are three ways to enter:

  1. Comment on any post
  2. Join the Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet Facebook page (if you already follow my Facebook page, Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
  3. Follow me on Twitter (if you already follow my Facebook page,Contact Meand let me know and I will count an entry for you)

You can do one or all three for a better chance to win. Deadline is Friday, October 29th.

So there you have it! Many thanks again.

Bonnie

Freebies and Friday!

Happy Friday!

First – Home Cure 20/20 Day 4 – Remove One Item and Set Up Outbox. I think it is so very important to clean out your home every now and again. You’d be surprised what you have accumulated. Until recently, this was definitely the hardest part of organizing for me. I have always attached some emotion or experience to items. Look at the item for its use. Do you use it? If not, why do you still have it?

I really enjoy the Home Cure’s idea of an outbox and have definitely utilized it in my own home. In particular, when going through my closet between seasons, I will put items I am unsure of in a bag in the back of my closet. If the end of the season comes and I didn’t wear them I give them away. Give it a try. Here are a few more of my thoughts on ‘purging’ items you don’t use:

Second – don’t forget to enter to win my giveaways!:

  • If you’re in the D.C. metro area, email me a picture of the space you want The Artist’s Eye to help you with and a brief description of why you need the consultation by  Friday, October 29th. I will select a winner based on the emails and photos I receive.
  • This giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S. (as I will be paying for shipping). You can win an arrangement of coffee filter flowers of your choosing (color, flower type, etc.). There are three opportunities to enter (you can do 1 or all 3). You must submit all entries by Friday, October 29th.
    1. Comment on this post
    2. Join the Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet Facebook page (if you already follow my Facebook page, Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
    3. Follow me on Twitter (if you already follow my Facebook page,Contact Meand let me know and I will count an entry for you)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Have you joined the 20/20 Home Cure?

If not, you should! I did, and today is the first day. Today is the first day of Apartment Therapy’s new approach to the Home Cure. Day 1’s task – Clean One Room. As my apartment is just one big room – yay for living in an efficiency – I will at least be tackling the floor of this whole space. Here are my cleaning supplies…

…for the floor

Swiffer and amazing Hand-held Vacuum

…for the furniture (thanks to Lola)

Hand-held Vacuum and Lint Roller

…for surfaces

Swiffer Duster and Bleach Wipes

With my supplies in hand I was ready to tackle my apartment.

Seventeen minutes and thirty-five seconds later I had:

  • Swiffered the floor of my general living space and kitchen
  • Dusted every surface in my general living space
  • Used bleach wipes on end tables and desk
  • Vacuumed and lint-rolled furniture
  • Vacuumed my area rug

Not a bad start! While I am typically a bit of a neat freak, I do think that I will begin to clean every Sunday evening for 20 minutes. I think that a clean start to the week – literally – would be great!

In general, I have set some ‘rules’ for myself in regards to making sure I keep my home beautiful.

  • I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink before I go to sleep
  • I ‘make my bed’ every morning. By this I mean I at least pull up the comforter to cover the bed. You would be surprised what a difference it makes.
  • When tidying, I make sure that if I touch an item it moves to its ‘area’ if not all the way put away.
  • Dirty clothes never touch the floor – they go directly to the hamper

You would be surprised what a difference this has made in my apartment.

Do you have any of your own cleaning rituals?

Dynamic Design

While I had prepared myself for the transition of job culture from my last job to this new one, or so I thought, it has been a surprisingly frazzling first two weeks. My schedule is all thrown off, I don’t have much work to do, I’m still getting used to wearing “grown-up clothes” ….. the list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still extremely excited for what the future may hold, and grateful for all that I have, but I’m drained. Hence, the short post today. I promise I will be much more on the ball next week.

I came across this quote the other day. I think it will help me to justify my current mental state and the physical state of my closet.

One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system.

– Margo Kaurman

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Dynamic Design

I have been struggling, since Friday, with the management of my apartment building. While I was enjoying my week off last week, I also began to have some upper respiratory issues. I eventually figured out that I only had problems when the HVAC (air conditioning) unit was turned on. After mentioning my concerns about potential mold to management on Friday (9/17/2010) and being brushed-off, my boyfriend and I were able to open the unit partially to find this:

While I’m not a scientist or an expert, this looked a lot like mold to me. Long-story made short, I have not been sleeping my in apartment since Thursday night. I’ve been in a bit of a battle with my building’s management to get them to resolve this issue.

I’m a fan of quotes, and came across this one in my blog-reading and researching today

From success to failure is one step; from failure to success is a long road.

– Yiddish Proverb

Happy Tuesday everyone, and don’t forget to let me know what topics you would like to discuss.

Drum roll please…

Tada! My finished living room – post redecoration. As I am sure I have said before, I am completely in love with the new space. On Friday, I showed you the design board I pulled together while deciding how to redecorate my space. Now, you will finally get to see what my new space looks like!

What do you think?

In regards to budget, you can find the shopping list of everything in this space here. While this total seems high, most of these items were purchased before the redecoration. My redecoration purchases were most of the items under “Living Room Redecoration”; I was able to redecorate it for about $250. My most expensive purchase was the area rug and was well worth it. I got the rug for an amazing price; it is also very durable and really makes the space.

Now it is time for you to share your space redecorations! E-mail me photos of your space. They can be before and after or just the final space. If you are in the process of redecorating and want some tips, e-mail me those too!

Every end is a new beginning…

Today is my last day of work in my current position. I don’t know if I would say I’m excited because I truly did enjoy my time here. I think the best way to describe how I feel would be to say I’m happy. Very happy. I am closing one great door and opening another, potentially more amazing, one.

In the Washington, D.C. area, this weekend is supposed to be the most beautiful weather! I plan on dragging my boyfriend out of doors as much as possible. Some of my options are a wine festival, the Franciscan monastery (never seen it but they started advertising that it’s gorgeous), the national basilica (haven’t seen this yet either), the PG County Fair, an arts event in either downtown or Alexandria and who knows what else I may come up with.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I hope next week brings lots of sharing and collaboration as to what you have done or want to do with your space.

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 5

Now that I know what I am working with (Step 1), have gotten rid of any clutter (Step 2), found my design inspiration (Step 3) and had a great time shopping (Step 4), its time for me to share with you my final living room!

I am a very visual person, and for me to feel confident about my decisions I like to see them all together first. This helps me identify if there is something missing (ie. a color, feeling, not enough or too much of a style, etc.) or if something just doesn’t fit. Here is the design board I put together:

  1. It is almost embarrassing to admit, but in the 3+ years I have lived here I have not yet put up any sort of window treatments. While the vertical blinds already installed serve their practical purpose, I also think they make the space a bit less warm. With my relatively new sewing machine, I still seem to have quite the crafter’s bug; therefore, I clearly had to make my curtains. To be budget savvy, I purchased sheer curtains from World Market and modified them. I wanted the curtains to blend but still have a bit of style.
  2. As I have mentioned a few times, I recently made a slipcover for my futon. While this was less expensive than purchasing a new sleeper sofa or having a slipcover custom made, it wasn’t cheap. Therefore, this piece was staying pretty much as is. That helped to determine at least part of my color palette – brown.With the lighter brown used for the futon, I needed to bring in some richer colors to this piece. Being that the futon/couch is such a substantial portion of the space it was important to have a few more brown tones, particularly darker ones, included. I purchased a very inexpensive throw blanket from Marshall’s to do the trick.
  3. While I know it may be a bit taboo, in reality my TV is really the focus of this space. I already owned the TV and TV stand. The stand is on casters so that it can be turned towards my bed. To stay to a smaller budget, I kept this piece as is and decided to work to incorporate the lighter brown.
  4. The IKEA side table that I already owned (in birch) helps in tying in the lighter brown of my TV stand. I decided to keep the table lamp that I already owned since it could work with the pieces I had.
  5. You may recognize this chair in the photos of my living room. That’s because it’s the same chair that, in the design board, has only been modified in color via Photoshop. The old navy blue color just didn’t fit. I have purchased a brown slipcover for this chair in a brown darker than the futon to add darker browns to the space. This was a cost effective decision as I would have loved a new chair but just didn’t want to stretch the budget.
  6. I think that finding images of what you would like your space to look like or feel like is a step too often skipped. The importance of this was clear during my living room redecoration. As I was putting all of the pieces together, something was still missing. I referred to my binder full of print-outs and found that nearly every living room I loved had symmetry; more specifically, each of these spaces had two accent chairs. After purchasing a new desk chair from Craigslist.com, I was able to use the old chair in my living room. What a difference it made!
  7. Possibly my favorite piece! This area rug is about 5 ft X 8 ft and will covers a much more substantial portion of my living space floor than my previous, very undersized, rug. My attempt with the smaller rug was to pull together the blue in the chair with the brown futon. I just don’t think this worked at all for various reasons. Long story short, this rug has various tones of brown and will really help to pull together the various pieces. The rug will also serve to help separate the living space from the other spaces in my apartment and I love the pattern.
  8. I have 2 of these ottomans and love them. They add additional seating and storage and the top allows for them to also serve as a coffee table of sorts. As you clearly see, these are not brown – they are black. Not a huge problem as they aren’t huge pieces and I have also pulled in some other black elements.
  9. To make the various tones of brown work, I needed to ensure that they were repeated in the space. The two solid dark brown pillows I already own and they will stay on the futon. The smaller rectangular pillow will go on the chair to add some lighter tones to it and give some contemporary style. The square pillow with circles will go on the futon/couch.
  10. There are a few things that either I couldn’t reasonably change or didn’t want to change. One of these is my artwork. As I have traveled abroad, I have purchased art from local artists in various countries and cities. These are very special to me and I have wanted them to take center stage to a degree in my decor.Being that these pieces of art are varying sizes and sometimes not standard sizes for U.S. frames, I purchased inexpensive black frames from IKEA and then had custom matting made in appropriate colors. This was much more affordable than having custom framing done for most of them. The black frames make the artwork all look as one composition, but the coordinating matting allows each piece to standout in its own way as they are all unique in style, medium, etc.

And there you have it – my redecorated living room. I absolutely love it!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 4

If you’re like me, budget is one of the first things that comes to mind when wanting to take on a project. While I did not have a set $$ amount in mind for my living room redecoration, I wanted to try to redecorate my living room without any big ticket purchases.

For me, it was best to identify if there was anything I felt the space really needed. To get the space and style I want I decided I would need an area rug. Additionally, I needed to do something about the one chair in my living room. My new futon slip-cover is brown and my chair is navy blue.

Overall, I needed to make purchases that would help to bring the pieces I had together. My shopping list was:

  • chair slipcover (or inexpensive new chair)
  • large area rug
  • coordinating and stylish throw pillows
  • window treatments

Even with my shopping list established, I felt I was missing something. To help determine what that ‘something’ was, I saved images of the items I was considering. Along with images of my current furniture, I was able to place items side by side to make the perfect space.

Throughout my shopping my process, I continued to refer to my binder of design inspiration. I wanted to make sure that this time around I was going to establish a style and space that I loved.

You can find a list of my purchases here.

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 2

Step 2 of redecorating just about any space is – Purge and Purpose.

I’ve had quite a head start on this process as I’ve been doing a general purging of items for a little bit now. Also, for me, my living room doesn’t have much other than furniture in it. Each item is very purposeful and was intended that way. Working in a small space, I wanted to make sure I was best utilizing every inch.

  • My futon allows for my small efficiency to comfortably sleep a guest
  • The ottomans are a great find! Each ottoman has a smaller one inside. This means extra seating as well as storage in the small ottoman. Also, the tops of the ottomans turn over to serve as a flat tray-like surface.

Other than that I had a chair that had seen better days but I still need it in order to offer enough seating. I also have a small side table which is great as it holds a lamp.

How did you do with “Step 2” in your space?

Wishful Wednesday

Sorry, but today’s post will be a bit short. Being that I have been quite the procrastinator at work as of late, I have some catching up to do today.

I thought I’d switch it up and list some ideas that I daydream about rather than sharing some images of my dream spaces.

I wish…

  • I owned my place. I had set a ridiculous goal of owning a home by the time I was 25 and clearly didn’t meet that. Now, being a bit more realistic, I’d like to own something before I’m 30.
  • that my apartment had another door. By that I mean, a bedroom. Not sure why, but sometimes I just want to be able to get away from stuff and close a door so I don’t see it. In the meantime, my bookcase divider will do.
  • interior decorating was my full-time job. I love this opportunity to be creative. While I do enjoy being a nerd, the 9 to 5 sitting at a desk really conflicts with my ADHD.
  • I was a super model. Doesn’t everyone?

Happy hump day readers! Also, don’t forget to e-mail me with any great projects you’ve completed, have questions about, etc.

Attention bargain shoppers…!

One of my favorite websites, Uncommongoods.com, is having a “Secret Sale”. I had to take a look and came across 2 great home items I thought I would share.

I thought that this great magnetic organizer would be a wonderful catch-all!

And these wonderful melamine tile pattern plates are just too cute and only $24.99.

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 1

I hope that you all have enjoyed redecorating your space as I did! I’m just about done with my living room – The final step needs a little bit of help from my boyfriend. I love how my space has been transformed.

As I have with previous projects, I’, going to share with you how I made it to my wonderful final space!

My living room has been a constant work-in-progress. If you remember on of my earlier posts, I at first struggled with my small efficiency/studio looking like one big dorm room. Being that my futon is mobile so to speak, I first tackled that problem by making a slip-cover. While this definitely helped the situation, I still feel that this space has much more potential. Here are some photo of my living room space to remind you just what it looks like.

Step 1 of redecorating just about any space is “Inventory and Survey”.

First, I needed to take stock of what I was working with. Being on a budget, I need to work with most of what I have. Not so easy seeing as in my mind I want this space to look completely different when its done.

So there you have it – this is the inventory of my living room situation pre-redecoration. As you can see it doesn’t look like the prettiest, most stylish or cohesive little space.

Here is my apartment’s floor plan:

As you can see, I’m working with a pretty limited amount of space. Additionally, being that my apartment is an efficiency I will need to focus on defining my living room space.

To start, I identified specific problems with my living room that I would like to fix:

  1. How can I make my living space seem more like a living room? This is a problem I think most studio/efficiency dwellers face. While I embrace that it is all one big room, I still want to make various spaces seem separated and defined.
  2. I want to be just a little more grown up. I took care of the mobile appearance of my futon/couch, but still feel like this space has a just out of college feel. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just want to have a more sophisticated and pulled together look for this space in particular.
  3. How do I give it some sense of its own style? This is another problem that faces many studio dwellers and even those living in very small apartments. It can be challenging to give a particular room or space a defined style while trying to get the styles of other spaces and rooms to blend.

So many problems, such a small budget….

Getting a little personal

Apparently when I said I would post a little later, I meant MUCH later – my bad.

I thought I would get a little personal today.

I’ve loved writing this blog for the past 2 months! I’ve enjoyed sharing my ideas, experiences and projects while also sprucing up my own apartment. When I first started this blog, I’m not sure I had any real plans beyond just writing a few posts about my decorating projects. Since then, a lot has changed – my small plans have turned into big ideas and my life has been on a bit of a roller coaster.

BIG Ideas. I’m a dreamer a heart and have a creative spirit that I’ve apparently suppressed for the past decade. In the past year-ish, I have been discovering quite a bit about myself and as a result, I’ve grown and changed. All for the good (at least in my humble opinion). To make a long-story short, I have been toying with the idea of starting my own business.

My bestest (translation: best friend) and I have been meeting up every two weeks to work on a business proposal and explore the possibilities, obstacles and intricacies of starting a business. I think I have a name picked out, and am very anxious to get something started.

To be completely honest, this is all getting a bit scary.

My Roller Coaster of a Life. This year has been eventful to say the least! After several years of single-dom, I started dating an amazing guy in July 2009. I have decided to cope with some deep-seeded issues from my past. My ‘step-cousin’ died in a car accident at age 20. Most recently, my mentor and role model died of pancreatic cancer.There you have it – a very brief description of the past year.

There is just one more thing – my job. I have been job searching since January and was given a conditional offer from a government agency in June. All wonderful, except that for the clearance they had to contact my current employer. To make another long-story short, my employer has already hired my replacement. My replacement has started working and works in the cubicle next to me – awkward. My last day at my current job will be Friday, October 29, 2010. While I now have a conditional offer, I don’t have a start date from either agency as my clearance is still in progress. As you may have already figured out – I will, as of now, be unemployed for the first time since I was of working age (15 I think) in my life. Frightening!

So there you have it.

I’ve been able to post so frequently at the start as I have completely checked-out in my current 9 to 5 position. I have realized, however, that I need to check back in, at least a little bit. This is where you finally see how this sh*t-show affects you.

I will have to cut-down my frequency of posting. I will post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Should I become an occasional slacker at work, I may add an extra post or 3. Just wanted to give you all a heads-up.

I’m so grateful to all of my readers. I can’t tell you how happy your comments make me (to know that someone is actually reading and cares a bit). Keep reading and I hope that you all will start to share your spaces and decorating projects and challenges with me (email: fab400sqft@yahoo.com).

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 5: Implement!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! With my down time from surgery, I have had plenty of time to work on my living room redecoration and I’m loving the progress!

Step 5 is the most rewarding, and final, step of your redecoration! Now that you have put in all of the hard work it is time to let it shine.

One change that can make a huge difference for $0 is rearranging furniture. I find that it is best to work with a copy or drawing of your floor plan when deciding how to rearrange your space. I recommend cutting out pieces of plain or graph paper for each piece of furniture in the space. You can then place these  cut-outs on the floor plan to see how to best place your furniture.

Now that you have decided where to place things, it is important to keep in mind the design principles I discussed in my earlier posts: balance and symmetry, scale and proportion, rhythm and repetition, focal point and emphasis,  and color, pattern and texture.

Most importantly, have fun and make sure you let yourself and your style shine in the space!

PLEASE VOTE FOR ME!

Pretty please – with a cherry on top! CB2 and photographer Todd Selby are hosting a contest called “The Selby is in Your Place”. Each entry can post 3 photos of their “most creative space” and are then voted on until September 15 at 11:59pm. The top 50 vote-getters advance to be judged by Todd Selby and CB2 for “their creativity and originality”. The grand prize is $10,000!!

Please please please vote for me and encourage many many others to as well :-).

Design Principles: Focal Point and Emphasis

While I often like to be the focal point for most everything, I must admit that establishing a focal point is essential to successful space design. As Lee Brown, of interiordezine.com, says

[A focal point is] something attractive that immediately draws the eye into the room and makes you want to be there.

I think that this is an area of design where you can really let your personality and person style shine and have a good deal of fun. When I chose a focal point in my own spaces I like to consider:

  • what is my favorite element of this space? why?
  • is there something in this space that holds particular meaning?
  • what is the feeling I want people to get when the enter this space?

Taking the answers to the above questions into consideration helps to identify (a) what the focal point should be and (b) some ideas for how best to highlight it.

Lee Brown offers some additional advice on focal points:

Some people are lucky and have an ever changing view from a window that does this naturally, but most of us have to work at it. The most common ways to achieve a focal point is with the use of a piece of artwork be it sculptural or a painting. Other ways include a large decorative mirror, a fireplace, using a change in wall color with a feature wall, using a change in texture with a wallpaper or fabric to draw your eye. Sometimes a piece of furniture or a rug can be a focal point, but they aren’t usually as obvious because you eye has to look down to see these, the best place for a focal point is at eye level. Don’t forget to highlight the focal point with lighting.

As always, have fun!