Before summer becomes a distant memory, I thought I would take a quick break from editing client images to share my big summer project!
When I first moved into our tiny 440-square-foot apartment, I never imagined that I would eventually share the space with my husband (I hadn’t even met him yet!). So naturally, I turned it into the most girly space possible, complete with pink, peach, and purple walls. As a grad student all alone in a new city, I wanted the space to be really colorful and cheerful. I lovingly called it my “easter egg apartment.”
After my husband eventually moved in with me, I wanted the space to be OURS, not just mine. He was so very patient with all the pink, but I wanted it to reflect our marriage and become a place that E could proudly call his home. So after almost 5 years of the Easter Egg, I decided it was time to move on.
It’s funny how attached you can become to paint colors. I was on the verge of tears the day E and I started painting the walls white. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much life had changed since I first walked into this space with the realtor and knew in a split second that it felt like home. This is where I made it through grad school, through the tough “start-up” months of going full-time with my business, and through long-distance with my husband. Painting the walls white felt so very symbolic — like opening a new chapter together.
Originally we didn’t plan to change this much, but one improvement would get me itching to fix something else, and before we knew it, we were changing the shades, ceiling fan, and everything in between. Lesson learned…do not paint the apartment unless you’re ready for a full-blown makeover! 😉
Only a handful of people have seen the new space, and a few have commented that they’re surprised that everything is so neutral considering how much I adore bright colors! But honestly, I could not love it more!! As much as I love color everywhere else (especially in my photography), I wanted our space to be a calm retreat. E and I both have workaholic tendencies, so we’re glad to have a peaceful space to balance things out. Also, I can’t believe how much the white walls opened the space up!
I took about a million photos because I know it will never be this clean again – ha!! Here it is: our new space!
Gallery wall frames/art: Minted, Design Aglow, Society 6
Sofa: Maiden Home (can’t recommend them enough!)
Curtains, table, chairs, side table, headboard, floor mirror: West Elm
Tripod and nightstand lamps: Target
Throw pillows: Lulu & Georgia
Rugs: Overstock & Wayfair
Planning and hanging this gallery wall was definitely a labor of love!! I designed the layout digitally and then ordered the frames and artwork to fit the space.
To hang the frames without a million accidental holes, I traced each frame onto brown craft paper, cut out the frame shapes, marked the hole placement, then hung the paper on the wall with painter’s tape. I’m SO glad I took the time for this extra step, because it turned out that the layout didn’t quite fit and I had to make adjustments before finalizing the nail placements.
The photographs are mostly from our honeymoon to Italy. We didn’t want our faces on the wall, so we included a shot of the flowers from our wedding instead. I also made the “mucho” print myself (it’s a word that has special meaning to us).
This side table ROCKS because it easily slips underneath the front of the couch when I need a place to put my iced coffee while I’m editing!
I wanted to include as much texture as possible, so I decided to layer rugs on top of rugs and make it super cozy.
Since we’re on the top floor without a fire escape, I like to keep a fire ladder right next to the window just in case. Since the ladder is a neon yellow eyesore, I disguised it in this cute wicker basket. Hooray for fire safety! #typeA
Something I learned during this project: you can actually paint old radiators! We used this high heat spray paint.
I never knew that picking a shade of white paint could be so difficult! We settled on Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White, which is pretty close to true white with just a tiny hint of yellow. It’s nice and neutral without being too stark.
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what to put on the “bedroom” wall. With the tall headboard, it felt awkward to hang something above it, but a pure white wall felt too empty. Then I found this amazing removable wallpaper from Tempaper Designs. It’s basically like glorified contact paper and really easy to use. We were able to hang the entire wall in a couple of hours, with zero messy paste involved. I love that it ties together the gray and gold accents from the rest of the apartment.
Home sweet home!!
To close, I’ll leave you with a few before/after photos taken from approx. the same angles! So fun!