OOOOOOOMMMMMMMGGGGGGGG

HOLY CRAP IT HAPPENED. IT ALL HAPPENED.

I won Small Cool. As in, I am a victorious winner who wins things like contests and money and Apple store gift cards so I can buy things like hookers and blow and Apple store geniuses.

Mekko was all:

Thank you, thank you, thank you to anybody and everybody who took the time to go vote, or registered an account to go vote, or thought about voting and actually didn’t but totally meant to. I already feel mushy and warm and fuzzy that anybody would even want to read this site in the first place,  but that so many people thought my apartment deserved an awesome award with an awesome prize is just totally amazing. Thank you, thank you, and thank you some more.

Shout-out to the other finalists—JoAnn, Beth, and my incredibly talented friends Lauren and Kyle of Chezerbey (one of my very favorite blogs)—for making this whole thing super fun and super stressful with their super beautiful spaces. They didn’t make it easy, so for that I both love and hate them.

Again, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you. Now let’s have some fun.

Apartment / Life
Tagged:

GIMME THE (SMALL COOL) LOOT.

I know I sound like a broken record here, constantly soliciting for your votes, but I swear it’ll all be over soon. Because guess what, mothertruckers? We made it to the top of the Apartment Therapy Small Cool Contest semi-finals, and now it’s the FINAL ROUND. This is where the big money happens. And I need you to go vote.

We racked up over 1,400 votes in 12 days in the semi-finals, and I cannot thank you enough for clicking, signing in, signing up, and clicking that little “favorite” button. It means the world to me, really and truly. If you voted in the semi-finals, you need to go vote again in the final round. Need to.

There’s a lot of money at play here. Like, $5,000 a lot. And if you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you know I can make that money work. You won’t be sorry, because you get to watch it happen.

So GIVE ME ALL THE PRIZES. How will I ever feel validated without constant accolades and cash monies?! Think about it.

In case you’re new here, or you found your way here from Apartment Therapy, here’s the best reason I have for you to go vote for me: I fucking deserve it.

Check out this shit. I did that.

Oh what’s that now? I did that too. Oh yes I did.

Hallway sneak peek! Guess who did that? Me. I did. Wait until you see the other part, you’ll crap your pants.

I even renovated this side of my kitchen. Want to see the other side undergo some crazy amazing makeover magic that I have all the plans for and no money to make happen? Well, you can do something about that. Just go over to Apartment Therapy and vote. 

Here’s how: If you have an account, hooray! You’re halfway there! Go you! Just click here and vote for “Daniel’s Amazing Bones.”

If you don’t have an account, don’t stress. Just click here and make an account. It take like 2 seconds and they won’t even send you any emails. Win-win.

SO GO VOTE. RIGHT NOW. IT’S GO TIME.

If you need more convincing, let Biggie inspire you.

Apartment / Life
Tagged:

Growth.

In my last post, when I was shamelessly campaigning for votes in the Small Cool contest (THANK YOU everyone! We made the finals, SO GO VOTE YOUR HEART OUT STARTING NOW!!!), I mentioned that our “circumstances” had changed slightly. When somebody asked me in the comments what I meant by that ominous statement, I told them that it was about my doggy, Mekko. I didn’t mean to cause anybody to panic, it was just a very scary time when I had very little information, but the information I did have was less than pretty. I don’t want to keep anyone in suspense, so I’ll lead by saying that she’s a-okay now, which is the most important part. For those who like the longer version (+ scavenging!), here is my saga:

Where health is concerned, I am the type of person who generally thinks that something is probably nothing. Max is the sort who is convinced that nothing is definitely something. Something that could kill you, usually. To Max, anything stray, wild, or feral has rabies, and at any given moment, one of the three of us is probably dying of something horrific.

So when Max took Mekko to the vet a couple of weeks ago because she seemed itchy (poor baby has so many allergies), he mentioned that he was going to have the vet look at a little bump we’d noticed the day before on her shoulder. I told him it was a good idea, but also that it was probably just a mosquito bite or something that would disappear in a couple of days.

The vet took a test of the bump and sent Max home with some allergy medication for the itching, and said she’d call in a few days with the test results.

The call came first thing in the morning last Saturday. Max and I had left for California on Thursday night and wouldn’t be back until Monday morning, and my friend Kate was staying with Mekko at our apartment. The pathology report had come back on the bump, and—though those tests aren’t 100% accurate—it had tested positive for spindle-cell sarcoma. Malignant. Cancer.

Cancer. There are a lot of terrible words in the english language—bile, moist, mood board, for instance—but Cancer is one of the worst. It’s the kind of word that sticks in your mind and festers there, bringing with it confusion, anger, and all manner of terrible thoughts for the future. Our 2 year old dog. Who we’ve had for less than three months. Cancer.

The surgery was scheduled for Tuesday morning last week. When I called, I asked to speak to the doctor and was told that she couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Mekko was also going to have her teeth cleaned, and the vet also planned to extract one of her canines because it’s broken. All of her canines are chipped and damaged, probably from chewing the bars of her cage in the shelter (if that doesn’t break your heart, you don’t have one), but one is apparently especially bad and it needed to go. And, of course, the lump and surrounding tissue would be removed, hopefully eliminating the cancer.

We flew home as planned, landing at 7 am Monday morning. Max went off to class uptown, and I rushed home to spend the day with my dog. I skipped class. I called out of work. We cuddled and went for a few long walks, and when Max got home we went to the dog park and let her stay until it got dark and freezing, hoping she’d get her ya-ya’s out before she’d be out of commission for at least a few weeks.

And then I got a call—the vet wanted to reschedule the surgery, pushing it to Wednesday. I agreed and hung up.

I barely slept Monday night due to both nerves and schoolwork, so I didn’t totally trust myself when, on Tuesday, I started to get immeasurably anxious about the whole situation. Everything about the whole experience just felt wrong. Why hadn’t I spoken to a doctor (not for lack of effort)? Why didn’t I have more information? Weren’t there options? What was the best case scenario? What was the worst? I barely even knew what she’d been diagnosed with, or what exactly they were planning to do about it in surgery. I did know that I’d heard some not-so-flattering things about this vet at the dog park. At this point, I’d read some not-so-flattering reviews, too. But mostly, it just didn’t feel right. But nothing felt right—cancel the surgery and waste precious time, or stick to the plan and hope for the best?

On Wednesday morning, I called the vet as soon as they opened and cancelled. Then I made an appointment with another vet, who came highly recommended by a close friend.

So we got in the car and drove to the new vet, and as soon as I met her, I felt better. She was patient and kind and answered my questions and took the time to think critically about each concern, no matter what the previous doctor had said. About the tooth, she warned that the extraction procedure was both invasive and possibly unnecessary, and she performed a pressure sensitivity test on the tooth in question and found that Mekko didn’t seem to give a shit one way or the other. About the lump, she raised the option of removing it that day, in the office, with a local anesthetic, after which the entire mass could be sent to the lab to be analyzed, giving us a clearer picture of the severity of the cancer. Low-grade and she might not even need another procedure, at least not right away, higher-grade and she would need surgery, the amount of tissue removed dependent on the severity of the cancer.

A while later (and a cool $800 or so less than the quote for the surgery we had planned for that morning), Mekko and I left the vet, a little patch on her shoulder shaved and three sutures holding together a small incision wound. Walking out the door, I spotted some paintings piled in the trash from the building next door. Because nothing can stop my scavenging ways, I checked them out for a second. Out of the pile (mostly amateur portraits, and not in a good way), a weird old abstract-expressionist canvas caught my eye and I quickly threw it in the trunk of my car without a second thought.

On Friday, I got another call. The test results were in, and the news was, surprisingly, good. Benign. Not only was the tumor not high-grade, but it wasn’t even low-grade. It wasn’t malignant or even really scary, just a weird collection of weird cells having some weird party on my dog’s shoulder, not bothering anyone. Benign.

While Mekko seemed unfazed by the entire thing, I was a mess all of last week. On Saturday, I did nothing except spend time around friends, Max, and Mekko (and clean, but that counts as recreation in my world), and it was amazing. Then on Sunday I dug that painting out of my trunk and into the apartment and finally got a good look at the thing.

It’s kind of ugly? It’s kind of amazing? I think I kind of love it? Yes I do. Max loves it. I guess we love it.

On the back, it still has the original provenance just barely holding on with two pieces of crusty masking tape. It’s super cool to know the name of the artist and where and when it came from, but what struck me was the title—”Growth (A).”

Growth. A growth was something I found on my dog that sounded scary but turned out not to be. Perhaps it was something like that, excised and viewed under a microscope, that resembled my new painting. But growth was something else, too—us as dog owners, for instance. It wasn’t easy to make that decision based, essentially, only on a bad feeling, but I’m growing to trust myself more in that department. It wasn’t easy for Max to support me and my bad feeling, but we talked it out and I think we grew a little, too. I grew to trust and respect a new person—our new, fabulous vet—and sadly I grew to be a bit more wary of authority than I naturally am as a full-time asshole. I grew more serious about saving up for if/when something truly bad happens. I hope it’s a long time before we ever have to consider our lives without our dog, not only because this little episode scared the shit out of us, but also because I think it made both Max and I realize how lucky we are to have her.

Thank you to Nobuko Otsuki and the avid spring cleaner/dead tenant who left that painting on the street, to remind me of all that crap every time I look over to the corner of my living room.

We love you, Mekko, and we’re so glad you’re here with us and that you’re OK.

Credenza + Small Cool

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that I’m not the sort of person to get super uptight about modifying a piece of furniture to fit my needs. Remember my desk? Remember my chair? The way I see it, if it’s your furniture, do your thing and don’t let anyone stop you. Stain it. Paint it. Chop it up and use it for kindling. See if I give a shit.

I don’t give a shit. I’m full of controversy. Just chock-fucking-full of it.

Take my credenza. Yes, I call it a credenza because I’m fancy. Some people call these bureaus? Buffets? They’re not as fancy as I am, evidently. Ignore the horrible red paint situation and the weird temporary collection of crap I threw on top.

I got this thing for $90 in a thrift store, and spent about 10 minutes cleaning it up and trying to disguise some of the scratches and gauges in the wood veneer with Minwax touch-up pens. It’s never been my favorite thing, but it’s well-made and good-looking enough, holds a ton of stuff (including all of our electronic bits and bobs, it’s like a space station behind those tambour doors), and is perfectly sized for that space next to the fireplace.

Still, I found myself daydreaming about finding something better at some point, but nicer credenzas can get really expensive and they’re a total pain in the ass to move. So, given that the kind of credenzas I really want aren’t exactly falling from the sky in my price range, my crazy brain thought to itself hey, you can fix this. 

The problem mostly had to do with the legs. For starters, it always felt too high given that we use it to hold a TV and as a buffet or bar when we have parties. Also, the back leg had broken during my move from Manhattan. Oh, and too many goddamn tapered mid-century wooden legs happening in this room.

So what’d I go and do? I hacked that shit off. I think I saved the legs because I’m a hoarder and they’re small. But the point is, they’re no longer on this piece of furniture.

DEAL. WITH. IT.

How’d I do that?

Magic.

Also, IKEA.

Now, for a while IKEA made this snazzy chrome underframe for their KARLSTAD series of sofas and armchairs, but now I can’t find them on their US website? WTF, IKEA? Why dost thou giveth, only to taketh away? Surely there’s some logical explanation for this.

I chose the underframe made for the chaise lounge, since it was the closest in size to my credenza. Obviously it wasn’t going to be an exact match, but I figured—hey, this is IKEA. Everything comes in pieces.

Sorry for these laughably illegible “process” shots, apparently I was playing fast and loose that day and just not giving a shit about anything, including how I would later blog about this. My b.

After cutting the pieces down with my chop saw (this could potentially just be done with a hacksaw, but it wouldn’t be nearly so fast-paced and exciting, which is how I like to roll), I drilled a couple new holes in each corner brace for the screws and just attached the whole thing to the bottom of the cabinet.

Done-zo.

Oh what’s that now? Look at that credenza. Take it in.

Lowering the whole thing has really made all the difference with making it feel like an integrated part of the room and scaled properly with that big fireplace right next door. Also, because I was in the mood to really customize the crap out of it, I made the back legs a full 3/4″ shorter than the front to account for the slope in our floor (120 year old building, y’all), and now it actually sits level, like a proper credenza should. It’s a credenza miracle.

Don’t think I didn’t see you eyeing my jacks, you sick sonofabitch. Vintage George Nelson Jacks bookends. Very fake, I think. eBay. I’d been eyeing these babes forever and finally found a pair that weren’t a million dollars. God, my life is thrilling.

NOW, ON TO BUSINESS.

Apartment Therapy is currently hosting a little something called the Small Cool Contest. And you know I entered my ass in that. 

Now, I know the Homie Awards wound is still fresh and all. So why am I exposing myself to more potential momentary anguish and quickly dissipating heartbreak? What am I, some kind of masochist freak?

No I am not. But unlike the Homie’s, Small Cool pays. It pays fucking $5,000; that’s how much it pays.

Please give it to me. I will tile my kitchen for your reading enjoyment and also fix my windows and show you how? And more! Please? I’m not too big on talking about *personal finances*, but let’s just say that a few recent changes in circumstances have made that money look really good right about now. Pity me.

Right now it’s the semi-finals round, and if we can make it to the top of my category (“Little”), we’ll move into the finals. Winning the finals is where the money magic happens, duh.

SO PLEASE, GO OVER TO APARTMENT THERAPY AND FAVORITE ME. There are new pictures of the apartment (taken by Max!) , including lots of things I haven’t talked about on the blog yet!

You might have to make an account. Do it, you’ll feel better, as explained by this formula I made up on Twitter: More Money = More Projects = More Blogging = Happier YOU. Live it, love it, learn it.

VOTE.

 

Q & A, Part Three: Designing/Decorating/DIY-ing

So, now comes the part where I put my tail (genetic mutation, don’t worry about it) between my legs and inch out of the room slowly, hoping that nobody notices me. Because remember that thing I said about posting everyday last week with answers to the Q&A? And then only posted twice? HAHAHA, oh me. What a putz.

A very disgruntled reader had this to say, over direct message on Twitter. I couldn’t agree more.

Oh, who am I kidding. My mom sent me that.

In a way, if you think about it, this inability to meet projected self-imposed blogging deadlines only makes this post more timely. Like, thematically. Seeing as, much like blogging, I find that home-related tasks take anywhere from 2-17 times longer than I think they will. So this whole delayed blogging thing = totally intentional, metaphorical even. Nobody understands my art.

Oh well, let’s get on with it.

Where did your home improvement skills come from?

Now, I want to be clear. I did not grow up in a house where people were particularly handy. The extent of hands-on home improvement I did as a kid was “lightbulb patrol,” a task my father and I performed every couple of months. It mainly involved scouring the house for dead bulbs, after which I would run to the garage to find the proper replacement, and he would screw it in. It was all very scientific and advanced.

I barely handled a tool until high school, when I started participating in the crew end of our theater productions. My high school had an amazing black-box theater program, where everything (except for the actual direction of the shows) was completely student-run—including design, building, raising money, and planning the layout of the theater (black box = no fixed seating/stage placement). I did a few different jobs over several seasons, but that was really my first exposure to building things with my hands and having to think critically about materials. But what I found was that none of it was actually very hard. Sure, some power tools can be used unsafely, but that’s the great thing about the world we live in: we have the internet.

Most of the things I do on this blog are things I’m trying out for the first time, so I think it’s really about having a willingness to try stuff, and at least a little willingness to watch it fail. But there are SO many great resources on the internet that explain how to do things, so when I’m in doubt, my first instinct is usually to use the Google machine. Another great thing for me over the years—both from an educational standpoint and from an inspirational standpoint (even if it isn’t aesthetic, than at least the inspiration to get moving on projects)—has been BLOGS. When I discovered “house blogs,” the year was 2006 and I was a teenager  living at home, and happened to read an article that the Washington Post wrote about this !!!great new internet phenomenon!!! where people chronicled their renovations online. This was around the height of my HGTV/TLC phase, and here I was reading that I could look at this stuff online, too? In real time, told by real people? You don’t say! So while some teenage boys have their secret little porn habits, I had my secret little house blog habits. Houseblogs.net and a list of mostly now-defunk blogs were saved in a discreet little bookmarks folder in my browser, and I felt like such a creep knowing not only about so-and-so’s bathroom remodel but also feeling in some way connected to these strangers and their families. Apparently that feeling has since wained, considering I’m now good friends with one of my longtime house-bloggy superstars and started up my own blog.

Where does your style come from?

Baby, I was born this way. Kind of. Sort of. I think my taste comes from a big combination of things. This is probably the subject of a much longer post, but I think my design sensibility has probably been most informed over the years by people who are and were close to me, including several family members with really interesting homes with modern but very personal and varied aesthetics. I was lucky to spend time in these spaces, and with a family that was interested in art as a means of expression. They didn’t draw a lot of lines between their appreciation of visual art, interior design, architecture, performance, literature, etc., and I think growing up with exposure to those things and a support system of people who recognized and appreciated the power of them was hugely valuable to the way I try to approach the world as an adult.

That said, my style is always evolving. I was raised in a home where our bedrooms were very much our own, and we were always allowed to experiment with ideas about how they looked and functioned. And because my parents aren’t the sorts of people who are overly concerned or finicky about the interior of their house, my mom and I especially tended to team up to make decisions about everything from wall colors, furniture, art placement, and other improvements and changes that we could make to our living space. So when I got out on my own, it was only natural to continue that kind of process, albeit perhaps with a bit more fervor and obsession than before. I’m always changing things around and switching things up and making plans and trying to improve upon my existing surroundings, whether that’s tackling a space for the first time or reconfiguring something that I’ve already done. I think I like to joke that it’s just my way of keeping busy, but it’s more than that—to me, the notion of “completeness” in a space is a sad, sad thing. I don’t think living in a static environment is a good thing for creativity on any  level, but the most direct effect is that lack of opportunity to experiment and evolve your style over time and open yourself up to new possibilities.

As your style changes, how do you curate with no regrets? Or are there regrets?

My style has changed a lot in the four years that I’ve lived away from home. I mean, this was my first apartment:

Yeah. Granted, this was when I was living in Canada, which was a very impermanent situation (I knew I would only live there about 9 months, after which I’d have to get rid of almost everything), but still. I loved that apartment. I thought it was so cool. Everything was bought on the super-super cheap, and it all just tickled me. See those needlepoints over the sofa? They were my main passion that year.

While I don’t like to have a lot of excess stuff around, tossing stuff that I once loved or had some personal attachment to does not come naturally to me. It’s hard to get rid of things. One thing that really helps is trying to be really realistic about my current feelings toward something, regardless of what I might have felt for it in the past. Take those needlepoints, for example. I kept all of those needlepoints, and then proudly displayed them on my dorm room walls when I came to college. You can imagine how popular I was. Still, they were attached to a couple of very particular and transformative periods of my life, and each came with its own memory of the purchase, which was usually something absurd. But when I moved into my last apartment, I just found that, as much as I still got a kick out of them, they weren’t really bringing me the same joy that they once had because I knew that they weren’t exactly part of the room or overall aesthetic that would ultimately make me happy with my living space. For a while I just stored them in a series of places, and then I moved with them to Brooklyn, despite having never actually hung them up for a year. I actually just got rid of (almost) all of them—which was really a matter of weighing my actual likelihood of hanging them again (not much) vs. the complications of keeping them (a very cluttered closet). That, and the recognition that the thing isn’t what holds the memory, my brain is. Sometimes it feels better to have a picture, too.

How do you manage to make such drastic changes to a rental? I’m not even allowed to paint! What kind of jedi mind-tricks are you playing on your landlord?

This is one of my most frequently asked questions (or criticisms), and all I can say is, every rental situation is different. One of the huge pitfalls of my building for some people (and serious attraction to somebody like me) is that my landlord just doesn’t seem to care. He’s a really nice guy, but what tenants do to their apartment is pretty much up to the tenants. That’s bad when you need stuff fixed. That’s bad when you want to move into a well-maintained, well cared for, functional and clean apartment. It’s great when you want to be left alone to take down your kitchen cabinets without fear of retribution. That last one is me, in case you couldn’t tell.

I deal with my landlord by not dealing with him. While he did agree to reimburse me $20/gallon of paint (even though a can of Benjamin Moore costs closer to $40), I’ve never asked him to do anything on my apartment, and I’ve never asked him if I was allowed to do anything on my apartment. That’s not to say I totally play fast and loose with it, either—I certainly keep in mind that this is not a place I own, and I need to respect that it’s somebody else’s property I’m altering, which is why so much of the work I do has been focused on restoration. I really don’t make particularly drastic changes, I don’t think, but if my respect for the history of this place or interest in its functional operation outweighs his, then so be it. That said, I have a really hard time imagining anybody, my landlord included, objecting to anything I’ve done or plan to do with this space. I’ve made countless repairs and functional improvements, and ultimately that’s only increasing the value of his property.

All of that aside, I think it’s bullshit that anybody can’t paint their own apartment. BULL. SHIT. Don’t even get me started in nailing a hole into the wall to hang a picture. All of that stuff is so easily reparable and reversible, and I do think any tenant should be allowed to do that stuff as long as they take care in doing it, and are prepared to undo it correctly when they move. There’s some responsibility there, but not a lot. Mostly what I’m saying is, spend the fucking $6 for a little tub of spackle and a sanding block and don’t patch your nail holes with toothpaste. That’s why those clauses exist.

I’m about to move into a new place and start on my own renovation project! But how do you know where to start? Do you recomend starting with the things that feel more fun, or the things that makes more sense (like painting the ceiling). Recommendations?

Of course every space has different requirements, but I think one of the great things about doing work yourself is that you can set the pace. Before you do anything, it’s nice to be able to live in a space for a little while to give yourself a chance to identify what needs to be done to it. Then, lists. Write lists, huge huge lists, and try to be as specific is possible about breaking down tasks into their steps. It’s overwhelming, but it’s nice, too, to really give yourself a realistic sense of the work and keep yourself on track. It’s so tempting to dive right in to something, but half the work of this stuff is planning so that your steps don’t overlap or you end up having to redo work you’ve already done. I know that’s terribly unspecific, but it just depends on the space! For me, that’s usually meant painting first—it’s so much less daunting when you don’t have to completely disassemble a room just to get at the walls. I guess a general rule of thumb is to just try to be practical, and as long as you take the time to plan stuff, the logistics of it all will really just fall into place.

How do you find the time to do such amazing home renovations/decorations? Do you set a day or two aside or do you just make a room over slowly over time?

I don’t have loads of free time in my life, so things have to happen gradually. There’s just no other choice. Being in school, I can’t just decide to dedicate a whole weekend to a project. I think it’s pretty clear from the pace of this blog that it takes a while for an entire room to start to really come together, but even individual projects can stretch out for weeks or even months! I try to work on things when I have the time and energy to, and I try not to place huge deadlines on myself with stuff like this. After all, it should be fun, and I don’t want to end up hating futzing around with my house.

Can you share your thrifting tips? You have the most amazing luck and find incredible things and I don’t and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

I know it might seem like I’m constantly dragging great stuff home from thrift stores, but that’s really not the case. I have found some good things, but…this is New York. It’s rough out there for a thrifter. People ask me all the time what stores I recommend, and I’ve basically stopped answering—it’s not because I’m afraid of giving up my secrets or anything like that, it’s just because the places I like are shit holes of despair and heinousness and I really don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea that they’re some kind of gold mine.

I think my moderate thrift store success has been attributable to a couple things, though. The first is frequency—you have to spend a lot of time looking at crap and going away empty handed to get that one time where you find something great. The other is ignoring the context. Everything looks ugly in a dump. Some things look great in a house, standing alone, cleaned up and pretty. That’s a skill that takes some work, because it’s really easy to initially hate something, or even just completely miss it because it’s surrounded by so much ugly.

Also, haggle. Always haggle if you can. Good deals take some work and some awkwardness and some assholery sometimes.

What item/piece of furniture or whatever is on your must-have bucket-list?

I love chairs. Give me a house where I have space for 400 chairs without them looking cluttered, please and thank you.

Also, the DeSede Non-Stop Sofa.

Or a Nelson Sling Sofa. I will accept either.

What is your favorite tool for DIY projects? What tools should I buy if I own none?

Probably my teeth, followed by my fingers, followed by my drill. I honestly do not understand how people survive without owning a drill. If you own no tools, by a tape measure, a hammer, and a drill. The rest will follow. (I have a DeWalt drill that is no longer in production, but any non-totally-whimpy cordless will do for most people)

How do you protect the rest of your apartment when you use your circular saw/other equipment?

Whenever possible, I try to do projects outside—either on my fire escape or the roof of my building. When I do something inside that makes a mess, I usually try to seal off the room if I can with a plastic tarp or a drop cloth, but let’s face it—dust is going to happen. Sometimes you just have to accept that the clean-up is going to take longer than the project.

What is the current status of the bizarre hallway in your apartment and the painty windows?

Patience, my child. The windows are still painty. The hallway looks rad as fuck and I need to take pictures.

If you were forced at gunpoint to paint a room in your apartment with color other than white (all four walls!), which room and what color would you pick?

Does black count? Because sometimes I toy with painting my entire living room (including trim) black.

Colors freak me out on walls a little bit, but I really like Victoria’s pink dining room.

Favorite and least-favorite design/decorating trends or approaches?

Favorite trends: I really like this whole neon/fluorescent thing that I’ve seen cropping up places. I think I need to get some hot pink into my kitchen.

Least favorite trend: I hate this “steampunk” shit. Seriously, wtf. I’m also getting really tired of spaces that are so heavy-handedly “turn of the century rustic.” Is this a New York thing? What’s going on here? I don’t know why “Put and Edison Bulb On It” hasn’t taken off as a meme.

Favorite approaches: Original and personal and fun and comfortable.

Least favorite approach: Anna wrote a terrific post this morning about inspiration and creativity, and it hit the nail on the head. While inspiration certainly has its place in a process, one of the trends I feel like I’ve seen exploding on blogs (particularly tumblrs) and other platforms (Pinterest, for starters) is a total, insane excess of “inspiration.” Gathering inspiration has become the process. People are collecting it like it’s in short supply, “curating” their little hearts out, crowdsourcing the shit out of an idea, and taking images out of the context from which they came and stripping their meaning. I think that’s bad. People defining their own creativity solely by the things they can curate from others is bad. People finding 8,000 photos of perfect, beautiful rooms before they can make a decision about their own is bad. I think that total excess is incredibly stifling to actual creativity and originality, and ultimately makes people less confident in making their own decisions about their spaces.

**On that sunny note, keep an eye out for the next installment of this Q&A, coming soon! We need to wrap this business up.**

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