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#5: Carve Out a Stellar Mini Home Office – 30 Before 30 List

My move into my new places randomly coincided with my switch to working from home. It’s been about four months now {WHAT!?!}, and although it’s definitely been an adjustment, creating my own little work space has really helped me adjust to working from home, and not letting my work area take over the entire 600-ish sq ft of my studio!

Step 1: IKEA. Warning: you know those charming IKEA employees who tell you that you can choose any of the tables/legs from the VIKA series and go to town? They’re wrong! VIKA CURRY legs ($4) + VIKA FAGERLID table leg with storage ($40) + VIKA AMON table top ($20) = unbalanced desk. Alas, after all that work, I ended up just taking the “lid” off the FAGERLID piece and putting extra sticker things under the CURRY legs. Voilla!

Step 2: make use of my lovely Target Liberty of London file box.

Step 3: finally unpacking my lime green wooden stacking trays from See Jane Work.

Step 4: Hanging random IKEA magnetic strip and bins.

Step 5: Moving the speakers that I bought for using with my laptop/TV to the desk, since I use the TV about once a month.

Step 5.5: Pandora

Step 6: Hanging my Strawberry Luna bicycle print.

Step 7: Stability ball desk chair, which people continually tell me is in no way, shape or form a desk chair. Whatever, your core is just jealous.

Step 8: Cat grass for kitteh. OK, I just added this one, since she’s always in the window, on the other side of my desk, lounging by her cat grass.

Step 9: Trying to find a quicker commute. *Thanks, I’ll be here all week… yeah, actually I will be…

#37: Get a Recycling Organizer System


recycling-binI finally got my recycling in order (watch out, most interesting blog post of all time)!  So it really just involved a quick trip to IKEA. Previously, I stacked all my recycling items beside the garbage can, but there was an occasional avalanche of cans and bottles, so the RATIONELL bins from IKEA have fixed that. I also got one of those plastic bag storage things — in bright pink!

essa-le-creusetKitteh update: I’ve been calling my cat “Essa” (for Essaouira, Morocco) more often than Selleck, so I suppose that’s her name now, and thanks for all the votes :) I also decided that pet supplies are insanely over-priced. I was looking for a cat food and water dish and finally decided on mini Le Creuset dishes from Home Goods — way cheaper and cuter than regular pet supplies. Julia Child would totally approve of Essa the gourmet cooking cat. Although, maybe I should have gotten her mini tagines instead.

The Curtain Tieback & Pendant Lamp Dilemma

curtains-ikeaSo I finally got my living room curtains up last weekend. I had a slight change of plans after making about 12 trial holes in the wall. And after trying a concrete drill bit, I came to the realization that getting anchors into that part of the wall was a no-go. ‘A’ for effort, right? Nothing a little bit of drywall mud can’t fix. :P  So I decided to hang the curtain rod closer to the ceiling on the drop-out box thing. It cuts about 6″ off the living room, when the curtains are closed, but I think it looks pretty cool since it covers the entire wall. Now I just need curtain tie-backs. I found a few in the Urban Outfitters clearance section, so help me out!

curtain-tieback-bird curtain-tieback-key curtain-tieback-daisy Which ones should I get? The bird, the key or the daisy? They all match the wrought-iron look of the curtain rod, but I’m leaning toward the key…

Dilemma #2 (*giggle*): I want to hang a pendent lamp in the corner (between the TV and the window). I still love the IKEA KNAPPA hanging pendant lamp (yes, the one that’s pictured in about 200 home tours on Apartment Therapy), but I also like the West Elm Capiz hanging pendant knock-off that World Market has (for $70 vs $259). So dear Internetz, which pendant lamp would look better in my living room?

capiz-hanging-pendant-lamp ikea-knappa-pendant-lamp

#74: Redecorate One Room To Perfection

world-atlas-map-wallGuess who’s not vagabonding around, living out of a backpack, or sleeping in a sleeping bag on someone’s floor anymore? Yep, me (ok, I may or may not be in a sleeping bag still)!

I’ve been in my new apartment for two weeks now, and although I still have two “in progress” items, I’m considering this goal done! The couch and framed Cavallini & Co vintage travel posters are the same, but my living room has kind of headed down a travel path. My favorite new item is the massive world map wall art (printed on art canvas and stretched over a frame. Best handmade Christmas gift ever… thanks lovely boyfriend!). I’ve also made a few trips to IKEA lately, where I decided to continue my love affair with the EXPEDIT bookcase line, but since I didn’t have room for the same bookcase I had last time and a TV bench, I opted for a DIY Tetris-style combo. I also bought one of the high-pile wool rugs at IKEA and a colorful, little globe at TJ Maxx.


So my first “in progress” project is to finish hanging the curtains (any suggestions on getting anchor screws in concrete walls? shhhh…) I also want to get some kind of hanging lamp for the corner. I’m really wishing I had been able to buy a light in Morocco or Turkey, but I’m enjoying having my Moroccan pillow covers and material. Next up, a new sleeping bag or maybe a bed. ;)

Any ideas for a hanging light for the corner?

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart…


It’s time for another guest post by my favorite gardener and domestic diva, the soybean.  She cooks, she gardens, she sews… now if only she would purchase a pygmy goat and chickens for an urban farm…

What to do when it’s raining and you can’t garden? Find cute botanical prints for a project! After several years of sharing my mornings with the group of neighborhood children and parents who stand in my front yard waiting for the school bus, I’ve decided I need curtains. (The greater issue of how to get them off my lawn will be solved at another time.) There are two 40-inch wide windows above my corner sink that face the street. Love the setup, but not the view.

I’ve seen a bundle of cute bright and LARGE botanical prints recently. It’s a fresh take on “old lady” botanicals.

My first wish was the Serafina shade from Pottery Barn (before I saw the $100 price tag). Too much for something I might ruin with a wild dish washing session. It’s also a little too red for my kitchen.

Then there’s the Cecilia Pink and Orange - IKEAnew Cecilia fabric line from IKEA I’ve been gawking at. There are several different patterns – all involving flowers, nuts or birds. My favorite is the Cecilia pink and orange print.

Damask Window Panel - TargetWhile not quite the bright look I’m going for, there’s something I initially liked about this large print Damask panel curtain from Target. It seems too trendy though… and after looking at it for a few seconds I decided it reminded me of some note cards I had a few years ago. A true sign the Damask trend is on it’s way out.

Back to the curtains. I purchased the Cecilia fabric and decided to create a simple cafe curtain for the perfect combination of privacy and light. I said “No thanks” to Martha Stewart’s detail-less post on creating a simple cafe curtain, and went my own route. It wasn’t too difficult to measure and sketch out a pattern idea. After sewing a set of curtains for each window, I realized the kitchen door looked lonely and made a matching set for the window.

I love the way they turned out. Perfect for spring and so easy I’ll be able to replicate them when I get tired of the print or find a new fabric I want to try.
–- the soybean

One of my finished cafe curtains

One of my finished cafe curtains

Olivia Raymer
Things I ♥: travel, food (I'm a pescatarian), the Pacific Northwest, bikes (I ride an orange mixte), beer (IPAs), summer, coffee, lists, and kitties. Travel enthusiast, former product manager, dabbler, and currently helping small businesses with digital strategy at Early Bird Strategy.

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