Archive for: September, 2010

Made in Sweden

Back in June, I got all whiney about how fugly the living room was and how hard it is to find affordable furniture. And I haven’t really discussed it since. My bad.

Well, things are inching along in there. Now it looks less like Ikea-loving gypsies live here and more like normal people with the potential for stylishness do. This is, in part, thanks to a new coffee table!

I found it in a thrift store that I frequent near the apartment for $75 (after the 25% furniture sale discount, mind you. Upper East Side thrift stores are run by crazy old ladies who think they work at Bloomingdales.). Steep for a thrift store but cheap by Craigslist standards. It’s a nice size and the wood is actually in really good shape. Also, it has these sexy long skinny tapered legs. And it’s Swedish. Exotic little minx.

So even though I might eventually want something a little less wood and possibly a little more metal/glass, I quite like it for the here and now. Regardless, I’m glad I no longer have to look at or think about these:

Meet the Ikea Molger Bench (awaiting a hack) and piece-o-shit table I pulled out of the trash (that I subsequently made even worse by trying to cleanse with rubbing alcohol). See that little drawer? It’s fake, that whole side is just one piece. One plastic piece… that snazzy carving work ain’t cheap.

Oh, and flower arranging credit in the first two photos goes to my friend Desiree, who brought them to my Sunday night True Blood Finale party. The southern-inspired menu included the amazing Door Sixteen Vegetarian Chilihomemade cornbread, baked macaroni and cheese, a strawberry-blueberry crisp, and a salad thing nobody really ate. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but it was all so fucking good. Which kind of made up for my Time Warner Cable malfunctioning, causing us all to miss the first ten minutes of a finale that I think we all can agree was pretty lame anyway.


After I completed making my desk, it became clear that my beloved little h-base Eames shell chair just wasn’t working as a desk chair. Thanks to the modern miracle of Ebay, it is now.

For about $45, including shipping, I bought this fancy vintage swiveling aluminum star base. It makes the chair a bit more comfortable and the swivel factor adds hours of fun to otherwise inactive periods of work.

This is how it was shipped to me. I just thought that was funny.

Of course (it’s me we’re talking about), the change was a little more involved than a quick switcheroo; I also took the opportunity to give the shell itself some love. The Brick House and Chairfag already have wonderfully detailed tutorials on how to restore a shell chair, so I won’t rehash the process here. A good cleaning, a little wet sanding, and a slick coat of Penetrol restore the luster and add a bit of protection, so I’m glad I took the time to do it. It’s like when somebody you haven’t seen in a while has gotten plastic surgery and you can’t quite pinpoint what they had done. Not super shiny like it’s trying (and failing) to look brand new, which I was worried about, but tastefully refreshed. Analogies, they’re fun.

Luckily, both the original h-base and the new swivel base are narrow mount, so I didn’t have to mess around with prying off the shockmounts and resetting them with new epoxy. Really sticky things can be hazardous for the accident-prone.

I also gave the aluminum part a good scrubbing with Ajax, the rough side of a sponge, and a toothbrush (this is the before shot, you can see how much better it looks in the first picture).

I considered just buying a replacement glide for the old h-base– it was missing one– but I’m so glad I just went for a new base altogether. I think it looks better with the desk anyway. Less leggy.

Orange Glow

Motivated by a frighteningly short countdown until school starts and Eva’s rapidly approaching arrival (she moved yesterday!), I kicked it into high gear this last week. Small projects turned into big projects, big projects begot more smaller projects, and I wrote enough to-do lists to fuel a bonfire for days.

So the bathroom isn’t quite finished. Not picture worthy, yet. The weather conditions just haven’t been right for spray painting. BUT, amidst my mad dash to finish the bathroom, I actually got a couple things done in the kitchen as well.

For instance, new knobs!

Old on left, new on right.

I know, dramatic. But those old pulls were just so nineties and really put a damper on my fantasy 1960s cooking sessions. And seriously, the shiny chrome makes a big difference, at least to me. Like glitter. No, they aren’t exactly what I wanted, but they were only $1.29 each at Home Depot. $20 for 16 new shiny knobs… can’t beat that.

More importantly, I also installed this glam-ass light:

Yeah, I need to caulk around the new plastic Home Depot medallion and paint the ceiling, but DAMN, I think it’s sexy. I found it at a thrift store in (of course) Brooklyn for $20– talked down from $30, thank you– and put in another few bucks into the new medallion and re-wiring and replacing the crappy old chain. I call it the Orange Glo fixture because at night, everything is bathed in bizarre orange light. Which I think is hilarious.

Sure beats this snoozefest:

Oh, and as an added little bonus, I picked up aluminum switch plates to replace the grungy old beige ones. There are only two switch plates in the whole kitchen, but I can’t express what a relief this is.

As you can see, the toadstools haven’t moved, they still make me giggle.

And just in case there was any question that this is all I’ve been doing for a week, here’s a disgusting progress shot of the bathroom makeover, just for shits and giggles.

And that’s why I was rushing to finish. Because if Eva walked into her new apartment and it looked like this, I really couldn’t blame her if she decided to turn right back around. Luckily, I can accomplish a lot on very little sleep.

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