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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 Tenö 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  — 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 — 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 — 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.