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Category: My House

rosedale apartment tour: living room

I’ve mentioned that we’re planning to find a new place to live this spring. We’ve officially given our notice to our apartment complex and it’s time to find a house to rent! As much as I am SO BEYOND ready to say goodbye to apartment life…I am also me which means I’m already getting sad about leaving our first home together. What better way to indulge this nostalgia than with one final room tour, complete with before photos? (If you missed them, I’ve already done tours of the patio, bedroom, and study.) 

The Rosedale Apartment- Living Room

The day we got our keys! I remember walking in and feeling like it was HUGE…all 800 square feet of it. We were coming from my Tiny Apartment (500 sq ft) that we shared for about 6 weeks, so walking into this place that was over 50% bigger was so great.

mcm teak credenza by europa furniture

It was big enough that the furniture from my last place felt super dinky. These bookshelves were a great proportion to act as a TV stand/storage at the Tiny Apartment, but here they were dwarfed by this big wall. (This is actually the photo Matt sent me when I was standing in front of the credenza I wanted to buy and needed to know how big it would be on the wall, hence the tape measurer.) And the big, heavy, slightly too small to be comfortable chair that we never used but I kept because I liked the lines of it is now gone. It was a post-KonMari casualty. 

The Rosedale Apartment- Living Room

And then we found a much better solution. There’s a whole post about it here if you want to learn more about the ‘denza!

I made a trip to Ikea for some basics, like the plant in the bottom left that is now plant heaven, the faux sheepskin, and the hanging light over the couch. There’s also a whole post on great Ikea staples if you’re planning on making a trip!

I haven’t talked about this a ton, but when we first moved into this place it was my first time designing for myself AND a live-in boyfriend. At first I was reserved, trying to stay with more neutral pieces and to tone it down on the accessories. Then we enter this phase, where I can now CLEARLY see that I was pushing my boundaries. Good God. I like stuff but MAN. That’s too much of it. Points to Matt for never, ever complaining. 

a cheerful black accent wall

Getting rid of the furniture we never used (and re-homing the peacock chair to the patio) was definitely the way to go here. It feels way less cluttered/suffocating, and the black wall helps ground the colorful art. Obviously there is a whole blog post on the black wall. It was one of those projects that was super great because it was super easy, low cost, and high on impact. When we move, 95% of my tears will directly stem from nostalgia and 5% will be related to the fact that we have to paint this wall back.

And here we are today in Primary Colorville! I joke, but I’ve really found a love for primary colors in this space that I didn’t really know I had before. Full disclosure: we neeeever use the hanging light over the sofa as I have an allergy to overhead lighting. (This is not true, if you want the actual truth then please read this essay by David Sedaris. I agree with every word.) I just like the shape of it. 

Yellow tulips never hurt the situation. For a more detailed post on the couch and rug, head here. I’ll miss this cozy spot and this light-filled room. When we first moved in, I actually had the thought that there wouldn’t be enough room for art because of all the windows. I’ll never worry about that again – the light is definitely one of the best parts of the room.

Finn’s spot. πŸ™‚ We’re dog-on-the-couch people, and specifically bought a sectional so all three of us could fit. No regrets.

Grateful for that evil eye talisman warding off any stink eyes cast our way, for that tiny perfect table that fit in that impossibly small little nook, and for hydrangeas that stay pretty for so so long.

Things this spot is good for: naps, snuggling with a dog named Finn, binge-watching The Office, staring at the wall opposite of this and thinking about painting it black, blogging, reading The Nightingale, working from home, scrolling through Instagram for hours, and watching The Shining for the first time. 

Had to keep one little corner where I let myself go a little crazy with accessories. Do you not keep a disco ball with your sandals in a hot pink basket? 

A nice shot of Leif and where the black wall ends. More importantly, this is the where Finn sits and waits for Matt to throw him toys.

Just a few small updates to the black wall since I posted it- I moved a bit of art around, added another piece of art, added the aloe vera, and we installed a sound system (hello subwoofer on the right!) You can actually barely see the three speakers sitting on top of the credenza- black wall FTW!

I’ll miss you, little living room! Who else gets as nostalgic as I do during a move?

Sources below for the stuff that is still available or wasn’t purchased from Ikea, Craigslist, or vintage stores. FYI, this doesn’t always work in readers or email view, so you may want to click through and read the post in a browser.


how things are holding up: vol 1

I’m always super interested when my favorite blogs do posts on how things are holding up. Over the years I’ve recommended lots of products or DIY tutorials, but this is the first time I’m circling back to check in on how some of those things have done over time. I’m very good at giving inanimate objects thoughts/feelings, so I feel borderline bad about springing this pop quiz on them. They didn’t know they’d be tested!!

IKEA Nockeby Sectional in TenΓΆ dark gray: C

You may remember that we bought this sofa on Craigslist the day we moved into our current apartment. It was seven months old at the time that we bought it, so that’s something to consider. That means that at this moment, the couch is just over two years old. And we use it all…the…time. Working from home means I end up here a lot, we are those people that let the dog on the couch, and we don’t have a dining room so this is where we eat. (I know that last part probably horrifies a lot of people. Sawry!)

So, yah, it’s kinda been through the ringer. The primary irritation is that the slipcover is starting to show quite a bit of wear. Some of this is due to Finn and his nails, but some of it is pilling along the corners of the cushions from everyday use. It’s starting to bug me enough that I’m thinking about replacing the slipcover, but between how expensive that is AND having to take apart the entire couch…it seems easier to just get a new couch. The cushions are still in pretty decent shape, though, so it’s a good candidate for re-slipcovering. 

Bottom line: Definitely very happy with what we paid for it and how much we have gotten out of it. Wish it had been a different slipcover so that we could get even more years out of it. 

Midcentury Modern Credenza: A

cheerful black gallery wall

I am so mother-loving happy with this thing. It is rock solid. We recently drilled a hole in the back so that we could wire some speakers through it, and even the particle board in the back is way stronger than we expected. (Translation: it was way harder than we thought it would be to drill that hole, but very worth it!) It’s an amazing piece, and I continue to be really happy with the purchase price, which was at least half of what I’ve seen for comparable credenzas around town. 

One reason it was less expensive is that a lot of the surface is laminate instead of wood. I was worried this would bother me, but the laminate is such high quality that you really don’t notice. Good thing to note if you’re looking for a credenza, but don’t want to shell out lotsa doll-hairs!

Bottom line: Getchu one of these.

Living Room Rug: A

west elm craigslisted indigo rug

Um, I am also so freaking happy with this thing. I scored this 8′ x 10′ West Elm indigo beauty on Craigslist for like 10% of what I would have paid in the store. It has a little water damage on one corner that is hardly visible, and we hide that corner under the couch. It is THE perfect rug if you have a large, rowdy dog with black hair. This thing can’t look dirty if it tries. I just vacuum it every few weeks as it does shed a little bit. 

Bottom line: You need a big-ass indigo rug in your life, especially if you’ve got a dog or other dirt-creating creatures in your life. Unfortunately this isn’t made by West Elm anymore, but here’s a similar one.

Patio Rug: D

I mean. It currently has a huge gaping hole in the middle of it from being worn down. I’d give it an F, but here’s the thing: 1) it’s on an uncovered patio, so it gets rained on AND it sits out in the scorching Texas sun, and 2) It’s less than $20. I’m okay with needing to replace it. 

Bottom line: Get one if you’re okay with replacing it. This one isn’t available online, but I’ve seen it in the store. I also like this one.

Fiddle Leaf Fig: B

I feel like this is really just a grade…for myself? This is my first FLF child. The one I get to make all my mistakes on. Like leaving it in a too-small pot for too long, moving it around a bunch, putting it in a corner that didn’t get any sun, over-watering, under-watering…I’ve done it all. I feel like I got very lucky and got a resilient fiddle leaf fig. I finally got smart and moved it to a bigger pot, stuck it in a spot that gets consistent bright light, and stopped watering it so much, and it’s sprouted seven new leaves since making those changes!

Bottom line: Get one if you’re willing to invest some time/effort in keeping it alive. And get one that isn’t $150 (I found mine for $40 at a local nursery.)

Recovered Headboard: A

DO THIS! It was the easiest, most impactful thing I’ve done in our bedroom and the lowest cost. Someday we’ll have a legit bed (not just a headboard and a bed frame), but I’m kind of weird about investing in furniture until we own a home, so this has been a really awesome temporary solution for us. And it’s held up so well. It is still pulled super tight and held its shape perfectly. 

Bottom line: If you think you can’t do this, you’re so wrong, and you can do it, and you should do it. 

Linen Duvet: B

The navy linen duvet was, como se dice, “A great frigging call?” The darker color definitely helps me stay sane  β€” I wash it probably only every 4 weeks or so. Finn hasn’t made any snags in it with his nails, the color hasn’t faded, and it is super soft (and gets softer with every wash.) It’s also a really good weight if you happen to live in a sweltering area like Austin that not only gets really hot, but also humid! It’s like the sisterhood of the traveling duvets β€” it keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Magic.

One thing that kind of bugs is that it can get a little stretched out if it hasn’t been washed in a while, but washing and drying it tightens it back up again. 

Bottom line: I like this thing. 

So, this thing got kinda long. I guess that’s what happens when you’re out with the flu and haven’t blogged in a week. All of the words!! I feel like there are more things I could check in on, but I’ll stop here for now…is there anything you’re curious about?



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 β€” 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 β€” half for my work stuff, and half for Matt’s computer stuff. Same with the storage cabinet β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” I just wish we had done it sooner! Anything you’ve been putting off lately?