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rosedale apartment tour: study

Guys, the study is finally functional, photographed, and ready to meet people. But before we get this party started, I need to get a few things off my chest: 1) The before pictures hurt me. Pain. When I look at them I make the same sound as the grape lady in this video. 2) This project took me literally forever. I started in August. Besides being very very picky about the chair, I have no excuse. 3) It’s like sometimes, you don’t have a third thing. But you need one to round out the list.

I guess we’ve gotta start at the beginning. (FYI, the full source list is at the bottom of the post.)


^::weeps softly:: When we moved in to this apartment, we knew that we’d use this as a kind of a den/lounge area. One major reason for that is that we already had the couch and bookshelves from our previous apartment (we had bought a larger couch and credenza for the living room instead.) I apparently have the opposite of ADD, and was only able to focus on one space at a time. I spent the majority of my time working on the living room, then the bedroom, and was pretty happy to walk right past this space and let it be Matt’s dude-zone.

So, I spent the better part of the first year of living here on other spaces. I wasn’t super worried about making any changes in here, especially since we weren’t sure that we’d be re-signing our lease. Howevuh. Once we decided we were staying, a little switch flipped. As a reminder, I work from home. Working at the kitchen island/on the couch/at coffee shops was fine for the first year, but when we re-signed, a little angel on my shoulder placed a tiny dunce cap on my head, smacked me on the forehead, and said, “HEY! Remember how your apartment has a study? Maybe you should…work in it.”

Matt was totally on board, and agreed that we could make this space dual-purpose. A chill zone for him and a work space for me. What, like it’s hard?


Matt and I talked about layout and how we’d want the study to function. We agreed it’d actually be best if the room could have three purposes (…trial purpose? What’s the 3 version of dual purpose?): 1) lounge/TV 2) workspace and 3) storage. We used painter’s tape to outline the dimensions of the desk I was eyeing on the floor, to make sure we’d have enough mobility around it. In doing that, we realized that the storage cabinet in the entryway would fit perfectly next to the desk, and the bookshelves were a great fit for the entryway. This time, I didn’t need a tiny angel to smack me on the forehead. I did it myself.  (You can see the bookshelves in their new spot in the entryway in this post.)

Beyond the boring logistical stuff, there was decor to think about. I created the mood board up above and wrote a post on the design inspiration for the study — you can find it here

I think this might be called burying the lead, which is apparently frowned upon. Don’t let me stop you from getting to the after pics.


awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

Storage! Lounge spot! Workspace!

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

No shortage of light in here, which is awesome. Unless you are Matt and you are trying to play video games, in which case those light-blocking curtains from Ikea work very well. 

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

Desk slash storage slash TV console. Thank you, Ikea, for the billionth time, for making my dreams come true and not requiring that I take out a line of credit to attain them. We split the desk storage — half for my work stuff, and half for Matt’s computer stuff. Same with the storage cabinet — it’s about half my craft stuff and random decor/tchotchkes and half video games and speakers and Rock Band guitars. Sometimes I think why on EARTH are we using storage space for this fake electronic video game guitar, and then I picture Matt going through my tchotchke basket and being like “Do we *need* to make space for this 5″ x 12″ silver bird?” and I just have no mental rebuttal for that. Balance, yall. 

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

That little ottoman doubles as storage and a place to put our footz when we’re lounginz. And hello perfect comfortable yet stylish desk chair, that could really be an occasional chair in the corner of any room in the future, that is the prettiest cognac leather, that was a crazy online Black Friday deal that just seemed like fate and made it ruhl easy to pull the trigger. Again, I say, “Hello.” And also, “How you doin?”

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

Still loving my copper grid wall inspiration board — the DIY is here, if you missed it. That little white box with the cork top holds a power strip and is reason # 1,087,94,735 I’m glad that Ikea exists. A plant, candle, task lamp, and a couple of boxes to corral my Sharpie pens (the obsession is REAL) are about all I need access to on a regular basis. 

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

The storage cabinet got a couple fresh coats of white paint before we moved it in here. That plus copper spray paint on the handles and this cabinet is a whole new lady. I added a mirror on top that we already had to bounce some of that light around, and some pretty succulents in some new pink pots. 

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

We added a couple of new mudcloth pillows, and some more plants (this is becoming my M.O.), but that’s really it for the “lounge” side of the room. I really love the simple palette, and can’t help but think of my idol Dwight Schrute’s comment, “Michael always says ‘K-I-S-S. Keep it simple, stupid.’ Great advice. Hurts my feelings every time.”

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

Here are some possible things that the curtains in the entryway are for: 1) privacy for the occasional overnight guest 2) for me to dramatically close behind me as I leave the room with a flourish 3) to make blog pictures look prettier 4) for Finn to blatantly ignore and walk right through despite the intentions of #1. 

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

It’s the simplest, easiest update and for some reason it took me a solid 6 months to fully finish. Either way, we’re so happy with where it is now. It’s been awesome to have a dedicated workspace, and I’m glad we didn’t have to sacrifice any other function to gain that one. It was a fun challenge to squeeze three different uses into this one room — I just wish we had done it sooner! Anything you’ve been putting off lately?



the whole enchilada: the rosedale apartment checklist, part III

So, the last time I did a check-in on this whole-apartment checklist was almost a year ago! I figured that since it’s the beginning of a new year, it’d be a good time to lay out the list to see what we have accomplished and what’s still left to check off. I’m happy to say most of the major items are done…just in time for us to find a new place to live. 🙂 Our lease ends this spring, and we’d like to find a place to rent with a yard. Beans won’t know what hit him. I will obviously keep you posted. (That, my friends, is a blog post pun.)

This list is weird because it’ll have “hang curtains” next to something way more time consuming like “carve out workspace.” Just a casual disclaimer if you’re scrolling through and you’re like…wha? I didn’t discriminate when making the list. I am one hundred percent one of those people that will write every minuscule item on the to-do list for the sheer joy of crossing out the item. I am also one of those people who will write down something I’ve already done, and then promptly cross it out. Be awesome 

Anywho. Now presenting: The Whole Enchilada: The Rosedale Apartment Checklist, Part III. (p.s. If you want to see the last checklist for reference, you can find it here.)

The Entryway

  • Hang art Done!
  • Hang mail drop/hooks Done!
  • Find a runner Found one and then moved it into the bathroom because we discovered that our front door is too low to the ground to allow for a rug.
  • Improve the bar situaish Switched out the black tray for a clear one, and it’s made all the difference! Matt added almost all of the bar accessories. He’s the mixologist in our house. 
  • Add a fiddle leaf fig Done, but he’s been moved to the living room where he gets better light. 
  • Move cabinet into the study and the study bookshelves into the entryway Did this. Why. Did we not do this. 18 months ago.
  • Repaint cabinet and cabinet hardware Done! Gave the cabinet a fresh coat of white paint, and spray painted the hardware copper. It breathed new life into the inexpensive cabinet I got on Craigslist years ago. (You can see it below in the study pictures.)
  • Purchase boxes for bookshelves We needed storage for more small items- cords, decor, my camera stuff, etc. We grabbed some boxes from Ikea to house that stuff.
  • Add lighting The pretty, shiny, silver lamp didn’t have a home at my dad’s house anymore after their recent remodel. I happily claimed it. (Thanks, Dad!)

The Study

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

awfully big adventure rosedale study reveal

  • Hang curtains One of the first things we did. 
  • Find a side table Love our patchwork side table that we found on Craigslist. It packs a lot of storage into a little piece. 
  • Hang art/decor As done as it’s going to be! I added a mirror above the storage cabinet to bounce light around, a DIY’d gridwall inspiration board above the workspace, some antlers that I hung upside down because it was easier and who will reeeally notice, and a picture of Matt and I. 
  • Recover or find new throw pillows Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Love the mudcloth pillow covers that ended up in here. 
  • Curtains for the entry We actually already owned the white curtains with grommets, so it was just a matter of remembering to grab a tension rod at Target. You would be shocked at how many trips it took to actually remember to buy one. We don’t use these that much on a day to day basis, but it’s nice when we have someone crashing on the couch to be able to close up that space for them. 
  • Sell bookshelves/purchase new (smaller) TV stand- So, no. The original idea was to put a TV stand next to a desk. One night when Matt and I were discussing it, we realized it’d be way smarter to have one long, uninterrupted counter that would be used for TV & desk. Which leads me to…
  • Carve out a workspace FEELS RUHL GOOD TO CROSS THAT OUT, PEEPS. There will be a whole post to follow this, but we added storage in here and made room for both TV/entertainment (as Matt calls them, “vidya games”) and workspace. It functions and isn’t horrifying to look at anymore, so YAY. 
  • Add plants The addition of the cabinet right next to the west-facing window in here meant I had more counter space that I could subsequently cover in plants. Mission accomplished.

The Living Room

awfully big adventure blog rosedale apartment living room

a cheerful black accent wall

  • Find new (to us) couch Yup. Posted about it here.
  • Find new (to us) rug ^Ditto above.
  • Find new (to us) credenza Find the blog post on this here.
  • Pick up some basics from Ikea to round out the space (plants, hanging light) Find the blog post on this here.
  • Hang picture ledge, TV, and art Done! And then re-done. And re-done again.
  • Pick up a very small side table Done. Found a perfectly sized table from CB2 that doesn’t take up very much visual space, either. 
  • Add some new throw pillows Softened some of the bolder, graphic pillows with some neutrals. 
  • Paint art wall As you may already know, or can tell from the photo: DONE. We decided to pull the trigger on painting it black and are so happy with it. The big, meaty post with all the deets is here.
  • Set up sound system This one is all Matt. He spent a Sunday setting up an amplifier, speakers, a subwoofer, etc., and managed to make it look pretty good. I’ve requested that he provide a guest post with his speaker skillz. 

The Kitchen

Showing the kitchen pictures feels a lot to me like that part in Wayne’s World where they’re like “Hi. I’m in Delaware.” It’s just…a rental kitchen. It is great, and spacious, and functions really well, and yes, that’s a LOT of wood tones and yes, there’s no backsplash and yes, our fridge is dented, and yes, it was like that when we moved in. And no, I cannot reach the top of the cabinets. But truly, I’m grateful for this kitchen. There’s just not much to say about it, decor-wise.

  • Find barstools Yah, I bought these before we moved in, so this bullet kind of feels like cheating. 
  • Add art I hung two things. And added 100 pictures to our fridge. Counting it.
  • Get a new rug– In a fit of KonMari madness, I sold the Persian rug that was in here previously and replaced it with a really great, inexpensive rag rug from Ikea. It brings me joy. Until I KonMari again. Then, nothing is safe!!
  • Attempt to style some things– I read this post and had this moment of “Why can’t my kitchen be that beautiful?” and I tried to style some little things on my counters and then I was like “My kitchen CAN’T be that beautiful because I need the coffee maker to sit on the counter, because access to that machine >>>>> honestly, almost anything.”

The Bedroom

  • Update bedding Posted about the newer, bluer situation here.
  • Create a wall hanging for over the bed Find the blog post on this here. (Moved this above the TV.)
  • Add art above the nightstands Added a cute cactus print over Matt’s nightstand and a freaking gorgeous horse mask on my side because I like weird stuff and I cannot lie. 
  • Find vintage nightstands and refurbish them Find the blog post on this here.
  • Find large piece of art for the open wall Done! Our coffee sack is still chillin, happy as a clam. We aren’t even creeped out by him anymore! The post on this is here.
  • Replace your dresser from high school that your dog teethed on as a puppy. He chewed the little knobs off. YEESH. Done! You can see it in our bedroom tour.
  • Hang art above/style new dresser. Haha, I feel like I update the little art corner here like once a month. This is the most recent incarnation.
  • Recover headboard with a lighter fabric. Find the blog post on this here.
  • Update Ikea dresser with new knobs Done! Found cute lil copper ones for the bottom drawers, and some more detailed ones for the top four drawers.
  • Replace curtains that Finn randomly chewed through Grabbed these from Target and love them!
  • Maybe snag a patterned lumbar pillow to replace the white lumbar pillow because I can’t stop changing the bed- Didn’t do this, which is probably good, because STAHP. 

The Bathroom

Welcome to our windowless yellow pit of despair! Jk, it’s not yellow in real life. This is the best I can do with my lackluster photog skills. 

  • Find a less girly shower curtain Did this a while ago. Snagged one from Urban Outfitters (sadly unavailable now) and it has held up great!
  • Find two rugs, one 3′ x 5′ and one 2′ x 3′ Done! We added this jute one a while ago, thinking it’d be temporary, but the jute has actually held up really well. And this little guy hangs out in front of our sink. I love him.
  • Find some basket storage for the linen shelves Done!
  • Get new neutral towels I grabbed these big ones for Matt and these patterned ones for me. His have held up really well, but mine have not. The threading started unravelling just weeks after I bought them, which was a bummer. I’ve got my eye out for replacements.
  • Hang art/decor There’s not much wall space, but a round mirror from Ikea helps bounce around the minimal light (not visible in the photo) and our Austin map print (…also not visible in this photo) helps me remember where I am when I step into the bathroom on a groggy Monday morning. 

The Patio

  • Install Ikea shelves
  • Add plants/decor to shelves
  • Find inexpensive/cute outdoor set, likely two chairs and a small table What started with a five dollar chair and a really really old folding table turned into a patio that actually functions. And it’s purty 😀 I shared the process of updating the patio in the One Room Challenge- you can check out the final reveal here.

So…we actually did pretty much all the things! It’s not perfect, but right now it feels really functional and it’s a very happy place to call home. There’s still quite a bit I haven’t blogged about, so I’m excited to share all that before we leave! And I’m excited to kick back and enjoy it before we move and I create 100 new projects for myself. If you made it to the bottom of this quite lengthy post, I urge you to kick back and enjoy as well. Maybe take out your planner, write down “Read ABA blog post” and enjoy that sweet, sweet relief as you cross that sucker out. 


things i did this week that weren’t blogging: vol. 1

Cooked. Back to healthy meals and low carb dinners for us after the ridiculousness that was the holidays. I made one new meal- chicken shawarma, and one standby- grilled shrimpies with bang bang sauce. Love them both!

Walked Finn in eighty degree weather. The sun is setting a teeny bit later, and we’ve enjoyed really perfect weather this week, so our walks have stretched a bit longer just cause they can. 

Listened to the Where’d You Go, Bernadette audiobook. This book so far is really cute anddd it’s voiced by Kathleen Wilhoite aka Luke’s sister from Gilmore Girls. The only problem is that my library only rents out audiobooks for 21 days, and I feel like I don’t have time to finish it. Does anyone else feel like listening to audiobooks actually takes so much longer than just reading one?

Got sucked into the couch/phone/social media Bermuda triangle where time disappears instead of ships. 

Watched President Obama’s farewell address and lost it when I saw Malia crying. I sure am grateful for his service and the example he was. I’m terrible at goodbyes, so the tears weren’t exactly a surprise for me. 

Planned some trips. We are headed to Marfa in March and Steamboat and LA in May. So looking forward to all three for every different reasons! We’ll have local hosts in Steamboat and in LA, but Marfa will be just the two of us and I need your recommendations! What are the must-sees? The must-eats? 

Filled up my new planters with plants, as evidenced in my instagram post. I cannot say enough about the quality of these planters, especially at their low price. The blush pink is so good. My one quibble is that they don’t come with drainage holes, but I added my own by wacking the bottom of them with a hammer. Therapeutic and pretty!

Diffused peppermint oil while working. I recently got this diffuser after searching high and low for one that I liked the look of (you can see it in this instagram.) Peppermint has been my go-to this week for two reasons: 1) it feels invigorating and helps me get into work mode and 2) it’s the only one I’ve actually been able to smell, thanks to cedar fever and a perpetually runny nose.

Sneezed one hundred billion times thanks to the aforementioned cedar fever. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up. It’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep. Sneezing is me now. 

Watched The OA. Some parts I kind of roll my eyes at but the way they are telling the story is just so darn captivating. The pros far outweigh the cons, for me. 

Thought about blogging. I’ve been pretty busy with my full time job bleeding into a couple of my nights this week, and I’ll be out half of next week at a conference for said full-time job, so I haven’t made a ton of progress on creating new content. But I have *thought* about it! And also thought about what type of posts would be fun to create on a regular basis going forward. Anything you’d love to see? 

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