Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fireplace Makeover Part 1: A Crispy Facade

In my most recent house tour post, you may have noticed something a little crispy in the corner:

Did someone order a brick facade, well-done, topped with a wavy bacon strip mantel? No? Let's just cover it with a plant and hopefully no one will notice?

Since this eyesore was fairly focal in our living room, it was already pretty high on the project priority list. Not to mention my mom, who is into the whole Feng Shui thing, kept commenting on how this was my career area of the room and how it needed to look nice (hence the plant). And then something unfortunate happened which we did not see coming....I lost my job. Yep, Dreamworks had a bad quarter and laid off a huge portion of their employees. I don't want to dwell on it, but let's just say my "career" area was now squarely centered in my renovation crosshairs.

I'm not a huge fan of painted brick (too non-dimensional), so I went a-hunting for some inspiration.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to Win at Craiglist

As Damian and I struggled to fit a white leather Barcelona chair knockoff through the door of my Mazda 3, maneuvering it around the Bertoia Diamond chair knockoff already occupying the backseat, I couldn't help but think back on all the other Craigslist finds I had miraculously fit into that little car. The stories typically follow a formula, beginning with me arriving to meet my Craigslist seller, inspecting the furniture, then pointing at my parked car while they laugh in disbelief. But my car has never stopped me from Craigslisting because, true to my asian heritage, I love a good bargain.

The most common complaint I hear from people my age when it comes to their living situation is that it still feels "college-y". To them I always offer the same advice: ditch the IKEA crap and find furniture you really LOVE. "But I'm poor!" is the 2nd most common complaint, and while I understand the desire to be frugal, you truly get what you pay for. I've slowly been replacing all of my IKEA furniture because of sagging, chipping, swelling, and mostly because it makes me yawn. I've had incredible success at finding great deals on Craigslist (or the thrift store or garage sales) with far more personality, and I've been slowly developing a space that feels like home.

Let me demonstrate:

Now don't get me wrong, IKEA definitely has its place in this world. They have awesome kitchen options, organizational stuff, and it's hard to find a better bargain on 8-foot curtains anywhere else. Heck knows too that carrying a flat box home in your car is much easier than trying to wrangle a fully assembled coffee table (I should know). I guess what I'm trying to say is that for those pieces in your home...the pieces you stare at every day...those should be special. So now I'm going to tell you how to find that something special. How to win at Craigslist.