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Project BGA: Brainstorming the Living Room

Today I’d like to introduce everyone to Project BGA, short for Project Big Girl Apartment. Project BGA refers to my new apartment that will be mine and only mine. Side note: I’ve called every new apartment since I graduated college my “big girl apartment.” But something about this place being all mine makes it feel even more grown up/”big girl.” Even if it is only 500 sq ft 🙂 I pick up the keys today! (on Friday the 13th, but I’m sure it isn’t a bad omen or anything. Right?? Right. Totally.)

There is a part of me that knows that there is likely only one season of life where I will have my very own place with no one else able to chime in with opinions on how to decorate. This part of me wants to paint everything hot pink with gold accents and just be UBER feminine, and then I remember that’s not really my style in the first place. Nevertheless, I am really really excited about getting to make all my own choices with only the occasional judgmental head tilt from Finn.

Here’s the floor plan of the new place- this may look familiar! That’s because it’s the same complex AND the same floor plan that I shared in Project Dith: Phase 1. My friend Meredith found this place and moved in a couple months ago. I’m so glad she found it, because it is a great price, location, and had everything I was looking for in terms of amenities. Cue me signing the lease.

Apartment Floor Plan | Awfully Big Adventure Blog
Everything’s backwards because my actual apartment is a mirror image of the original floor plan.

Every time I move into a new place, I enter a feverish state where decorating consumes my thoughts. I LOVE thinking about how I’ll arrange the furniture, where the art will be hung, and how I’ll make the space feel mine. At this point, I’ve lived in so many places and collected so many decor items that I feel like I have a pretty good idea about how the space will come together. There are a few key things I’m missing for the living room area- a coffee table, pouf/ottoman for my chair, and maybe some new throw pillows.

I had some fun playing on Polyvore with three different ways to tackle the new living room. See below for each of the options and vote at the bottom for your favorite! I’d love any further input you have in the comments.

Project BGA: Muted Living Room

Project BGA: Muted Living Room | Awfully Big Adventure Blog

This is my version of restrained, which is many people’s version of seizure-inducing. I already own the art, lamps, blanket, basket, blue chair (in a similar style), couch, gold pillows, black and white pillow, rug, succulents, and side table.  That means the only new pieces in this space would be the coffee table and pouf. Also, the grass cloth background is meant to mimic the color that I’ll be painting the room.

My first thought is usually to layer more color and texture, but for this space I didn’t add any color and stuck with a neutral coffee table/bench and a gray pouf for the chair. The accents in the room come from the earthy green flowers and succulents. I definitely like how calming it is- it would be nice to come home to at the end of a crazy work day.

Project BGA: Colorful Living Room

Project BGA: Colorful Living Room | Awfully Big Adventure Blog

And taking the opposite approach- adding bright pops of color in this space makes the room lively. I’m liking how the yellow, pink, blue, and green play together on the backdrop of the neutral wall, art, and couch colors. This time, instead of a calming effect when I come home, the pillows say “You’re here!! We’re so happy to see you!!” So weird because that’s also what Finn says. Finn also matches the decor really well. Coincidence? (Yes it’s a coincidence! Jesus! I didn’t adopt a dog because he matches my rug you freak!)

Project BGA: Feminine Living Room 

Project BGA: Floral Living Room | Awfully Big Adventure Blog

Girly, Party of 1, your room is ready! Kind of love how the colorful floral print pulls everything together, and I like the visual interest that the pattern-mixing adds. (FYI, the black and white pillow is the Stockholm from Ikea. The pattern is showing up weird on the Polyvore image.) The delicate coffee table with gold accents is another feminine touch. The southwestern rug, natural woven basket, big dark couch, and black and white art keep the space from being TOO girly.

What do yall think? Muted, Colorful, or Feminine? I’ll announce the winner next week, and chime in with my favorite as well. I wonder if they’ll match up! If you’re all like “Love the coffee table from the muted room and the pillows from the colorful room,” holler atcher girl in the comments! But don’t be mean. I’m watching you. O.o

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Killin it on Craigslist

Is there anything more thrilling than a good Craigslist steal? The answer: definitely not. When it comes to furniture and decor, Craiglist offers unmatched savings. Here’s some of my favorite Craigslist pieces, and some tips for how to nab some deals of your own! (Side note: My mom is guaranteed to hate this post, mainly because she hates when I walk into strangers homes to view potential buys. The phrase “Have 911 already dialed on your phone when you walk in the door” has definitely been uttered. What are moms for? 🙂 )

Ikea Expedit Bookshelves

Craigslist Expedit | Awfully Big Adventure Blog

These are two now vintage Expedit shelves. (Ikea discontinued the Expedit in favor of the very similar new Kallax series to cut some costs.) These guys retailed for $40 each at Ikea, and the black storage boxes are another $10, ringing in at a grand total of $90. I knew that the Expedit was just what I needed to house some of my favorite books and double as a TV stand, but I knew I could do better than $90. I hit up Craigslist and monitored it for a few days, always searching specifically for what I needed (white expedit, white ikea bookshelf, etc.) After a few days, I found these guys- exactly what I needed- for $40 total!! I offered $30 (Because this is Craigslist, and offering below the listed price is fairly standard), and the seller accepted. Such a steal! And as an Ikea shopper will understand, the best part is that they were already assembled!!

Lessons learned: 1) search specifically for what you need, know that you can offer less than the listed price.

Kitchen Storage

Craigslist Cabinet | Awfully Big Adventure Blog

This beauty solves a much needed kitchen storage issue in my current apartment. The kitchen is teeny tiny, with little to no cabinet space. There is a large rotunda-like space in the area right next to the kitchen (not the best use of space, but what are you gonna do), and in that area there is a wall that was begging for a storage solution. I wanted closed storage, because there is a real hodge-podge of things needing to be stored: mason jars, mixing bowls, tupperware, etc. I wasn’t sure of a specific product that I wanted, but I knew that I’d know it when I saw it.

I searched “cabinet” on Craigslist for a few days before finding this perfect solution. I asked the seller for dimensions, and sure enough, it was a perfect fit for the wall I had in mind. Bonus: the color and molding fit in perfectly with the design of our apartment. Bonus bonus: It is solid wood, so I know it will last a long time, and be easily customizable down the road if I want to update the paint. Bonus bonus BONUS: It was $60. A small price to pay for organization, said the girl with borderline OCD.

Lessons learned: Make sure to ask for dimensions, and you can’t go wrong with solid wood!

Ikea Karlstad Couch

Craigslist Karlstad | Awfully Big Adventure Blog

This is my most recent Craigslist purchase! In about 3 weeks, I’ll be moving into my own place. (Oh dear God. Typing that out makes me want to start packing NOW.) As I’ve previously mentioned, my wonderful roommate owns our current couch and futon, which means I don’t have a couch for the new place. I didn’t want (slash I am not patient enough) to move into the new place without a couch, so I started my search.

My dream couch from West Elm is way out of my price range. Even when I found it at the outlet, it was still way out of my price range. I knew I wanted a dark grey couch (to hide the Finn fur) with clean lines. I dug in and did some research and found out that my favorite home decor/DIY blog, Young House Love, purchased the Karlstad from Ikea. I was able to read about how they liked it, how it held up against the wear and tear from their dog, etc. They’ve had it for years and still rave about it, so I was sold. It can be purchased in a range of options (loveseat, sofa, loveseat with chaise, sofa with chaise, sectional, etc.) The best dimensional fit for my new little place is the sofa. It is affordable from Ikea (around $500), but the little Craigslist angel (devil?) on my shoulder kept whispering “You could get it for cheaper…and already assembled…” and I listened.

I found the sofa I wanted in the slipcover color that I wanted in about a couple weeks. It was listed for half price at $250, but the seller accepted my offer of $200. I went to see it prior, not only to make sure that the couch was in good shape, but to confirm that it wasn’t coming from a dump. The seller was very polite and had a nice clean house, which comforted me. Another great thing and a must have for me when purchasing a fabric item from Craigslist is that all of the cushion covers are removable and machine washable. Check and check! I went to pick it up the day after seeing it (credit where it’s due: I couldn’t have hauled it around without my boyfriend’s help), and it is now sitting happily in my dining room, waiting for its home in my new apartment. The money I saved is now going to getting movers instead of forcing my boyfriend/friends to help me move. Money well spent!

Lessons learned: When looking for couches, find the right dimensions/silhouette/color you want, read reviews on the specific product you are thinking of purchasing, check it out in the seller’s home beforehand, and make sure you can wash the covers if you are a clean freak like me. 

I hope this post helps you all in your Craigslist-hunting in the future. Use common sense when it comes to safety, protect your contact information if you can, and enjoy saving oodles of money! If you have any tried and true tips, I’d love to read them in the comments.

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Wrapping Up May

So I thought that occasionally, maybe some of you (lookin at you, parents) might like to see some posts outside of my most recent gallery wall or Craigslist purchase. What better way to accomplish this than with an iPhone picture dump? Some of these will be repeats if you follow me on instagram (@mollyerich), but some have never been published before. Exclusive content, delivered straight to your desktop or mobile device. For free. Revolutionary.

Anyway, here’s some highlights from my month of May!

Did I mention May is my favorite month? Is it obvious that it’s because it’s my birthday? My birthday is the day after Cinco de Mayo (that’s May 6, just in case you haven’t had your coffee yet), so we typically celebrate with a “Cinco de Molly” theme. This year my friends joined me for dinner at Benji’s Cantina (great margs!) and a little dancing on West 6th Street. The best part was clearly my incredible cake by Cade’s Cakes. This girl is a genius. A God amongst women. It is the best cake I have ever seen or eaten in my life. Yes, that is Finn wearing a sombrero and the sides are covered in Dia de los Muertos-inspired colorful skulls. Literally my dream cake- big props to my mom, sister, and biffle Mere for coordinating it all! Such a fun birthday celebration.

In other “I’m getting older” news- I signed a lease for my very first apartment all on my own! The pic on the left is of my future bedroom (the green will be painted over.) It’s in a great location- close to work, shops, cute neighborhood, etc. It isn’t huge, but it’s mine, ALLLL MINEEEE! I thought I’d feel super excited about making all of the decor decisions on my own- which a part of me does- but I also feel nervous! If I mess it up it’s all my fault. I guess I could blame Finn, but everyone knows he has impeccable taste, so no one would believe me.

Also, I bought a couch for the new place! I didn’t have one, and I found the perfect one on Craigslist, so I jumped on it. (Guess I snuck a Craigslist purchase into this post. Muahahaha) Right now it’s just chillin in our dining room. There’s a Craigslist post to follow, so you’ll get more details on the couch later. And of course I’ll be posting all about the move and decorating the new place!

Exciting family stuff- my sister and I booked a quick trip to Steamboat Springs to visit our brother, Christopher, in July. We haven’t been in forever and I’ve never been in the summer, so I’m incredibly excited! The picture above is from the first time the family went to Steamboat. This was the trip that made Chris fall in love with the town and inspired him to move there. There’s a saying in Steamboat that you move there for the winters and stay there for the summers, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the summer firsthand. Especially because it will be eleventy billion degrees in Austin by that time. We also celebrated our Mama (pictured, with myself and my impressive widow’s peak hairline) and Stepmama for Mother’s Day! We couldn’t be with them for the holiday, but we made sure they know that they are appreciated. 🙂

May was a great month for weird live music. We got to celebrate the engagement of two of our best friends (one of whom is my lovely roommate) with a party at her parents’ house in the hill country. The best part was by far the mariachi band they hired, who took requests and played covers, including Apple Bottom Jeans. I’d like to hire them to follow me around on a daily basis. Matt and I also got to see his FAVORITE band, LC Rocks, with some friends. LC Rocks is an 80s hair-band cover band (cover-hair-band? hair-band cover artists? whatever.) who used to play all of the fraternity parties in college. Luckily we can relive our college glory days because they also play concerts downtown at Cedar Street Courtyard on a semi-regular basis.

Things Austin does well: patio eating. Had a really yummy brunch with Matt (and Finn) at Lucky Robot, pictured on the left. Yep, brunch from a Japanese place. Do itttt. Plus, I tried a new-to-me pizzeria/deli called Little Deli with my co-workers for lunch. (We ate under the tree on the right.) Amazing Italian food. Which brings me to my next point…

I won’t talk much about this because if I do I’ll turn an even deeper shade of green with envy, but my sister is in Florence for 4 weeks. She’s spending her time walking all over the city, drinking wine, taking pictures that will make me jealous and sending them to me, and taking a class about the Italian mafia. Basically living a dream. I’ve never wanted a Freaky Friday body switch so badly.

But you know what Italy doesn’t have? Finn. HA.

If you made it through that, congrats- it was a doozy! What did you guys do this month?? Anyone else listen to a mariachi band sing the words “shawty had them apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur (with tha fur!!)”?? If so, please drop me a note. That’s a connection we shouldn’t ignore. 

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