The Mood Wall

It’s so dark and horribly lit in my bedroom. Left the color balance to be “accurate” to what you’d see here in person.  Right to left: Smokey Embers, Stormy Monday, Pigeon Grey (all Benjamin Moore).

There’s innumerable blog posts online, from professional to amateur sites, that tell you how to pick wall paint color and offer inspiration. What’s frustrating for me is how everything seems to be about rooms in ideal situations. They have lots of wall space, square footage, and tons of daylight. Daylight makes everything and everyone look good!

Then there’s my bedroom, which has a lot of challenges to it. It’s the middle room of a railroad apartment. Two doors, a Victorian style built-in almost-closet, a drab window, and an exposed radiator limit where I can put furniture. There’s just one spot for the bed, and a full sized mattress frame is too big for the alcove by half an inch. There is no, repeat, NO daylight in this room. The one window opens to an airshaft.

Layout of my bedroom, the middle room of a railroad apartment built at the turn of the 20th century. It’s nearly 100 years old and shows its age.  I forgot to place another closet/cabinet thing on the right-hand wall in this picture, near the window.

There’s very little decor info on railroad apartments, and the ones I find online are not rentals. I don’t have the freedom to knock down walls to let in more light, or expand the room.

Little by little, I’m trying to make things nicer. A pretty, vibrant curtain over the hideous airshaft window helps a lot. A bright red dresser. Loud bedding that almost emits a light of its own. And soon….a fresh coat of paint!

Grey sounded like a good choice since I already have loud, red furniture in the bedroom. But who knew picking a grey was so hard?! The swatches, which look pale and varied at the hardware store, are suddenly 3 shades darker with a green tinge at home. Swatches that were barely blue become totally blue. We painted patches on all four walls and each one looks different, even though it was the same paint!

After another week of deliberation, we finally chose one…Stormy Monday!  Partially it’s because of the cool name.  But mostly, it looks beautiful :)  Next post will have some bedroom pics, it’s 99% complete now.

Stormy Monday (Benjamin Moore) is the swatch in the middle of the picture at the top of the post, which looks slightly red.  The one to the right was Benjamin Moore’s Smokey Embers, which looked way too green once it was in my bedroom, but looked like a very pale, neutral grey at the store (in daylight).  The swatch to the left is Benjamin Moore’s Pigeon Grey, which has the same “value” as Stormy but its hue went way too blue in my room.  Again, it totally looked like a nice normal grey at the store.  Even the paper sample looked fine, everything was different once the actual paint got on the wall.

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House Envy

ABJ Terrarium “Linea”, by ABJ Glassworks

It took them 3 weeks to make a beautiful home. There were house plants, fresh cut flowers, framed wall art everywhere, bright splash colors, a walk in closet, and rich, warm grey bedsheets. Little tea candles flickered on every surface. I walked through the rooms, taking it all in. It felt like a showroom for IKEA.  Every room had at least 2 Pinterest decorating trends in play. 

Now contrast that with my place. The only wall art I have are old nail holes and mysterious black (wheel??) streaks. There’s a decade of dust that previous occupants never cleaned, and that I can’t reach without real effort. Things are starting to come together, furniture-wise (I no longer use a stepping stool covered in paint as a nightstand), but I gotta say it makes me feel pretty inadequate. I been here for almost one year and the apartment doesn’t look cozy or personal yet. 

“We need to make our place look this nice!” I said to my boyfriend. 

He said, “You’re the girl, shouldn’t you know how to do this?”

“But you’re dating me because I’m not a girly girl!”

The true tragedy is, I actually love girly girl things! Neon nails, fashion blogs, home decor, I love it all…I just have no idea how to execute it in real life. I’m an artist but not that kind of artist, and in a way that’s also what makes it sad. It’s a different skill set, a different mindset. Maybe it’s easy for a Graphic Designer to see their house as a canvas, but I’m a CG artist! 

So for the past few weeks, I’ve dedicated my last waking hours of each day to reading decor blogs like Apartment Therapy, Pinterest, and Refinery29. 90% of what I see is trash, clutter, and useless sensationalism.  But that 10% has been motivating, and I’m identifying how I have been holding myself back. 

One big thing keeping me from decorating is how cheap I am. It’s been a huge effort for me to change myself from being cheap to frugal. I realized when I look at nice things in [online] stores, my first thought is, “Pretty!” My second and immediate thought is inevitably, “But how much does it cost? What else does it DO to make my life better? Will I regret this later?”  Everything, to me, has to be utilitarian. It has to be multifunctional, or be irreplaceably essential for my life to function. But why? Why can’t something’s sole purpose be “eye candy?”

That cheap, practical side of me would say, “Because you live in an apartment and not a house. Because you don’t have a basement/garage/, or deep/multiple closets to hide useless clutter. Or barely used items. 

And have you seen the prices of home goods? They get PRICY.  Like these awesome geometric terrariums – $210+ each!

Obviously I’m not going to do that.  But I do have a list of things to do and buy for my home.

  • Give the bedroom a fresh coat of paint. Est. ~$65
  • Get a vacuum that can handle pet fur!  Est. ~$450 (Miele?)
  • PLANTS!!!!  I’m limited by the low-light stipulation… $??
  • Candles!  Candles EVERYWHERE!! $8~15 each.

Cloning My Old Roommate

My old roommate was perfect, and had all this nice house stuff for us to use – a blender, a vacuum, glasses to drink water with (what a novelty!), pots and pans for cooking…the list goes on!  So I’m slowly buying replacements … that are pretty much the same exact things she had!  If she came back to visit, which she might do and almost did already, she might freak out a little.

With my week off, I’ve had time to go shopping!  Allow me to show off some crappy iPhone pics of my railroad apartment…

For The Kitchen

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