Sunday, October 19, 2014


Dear Olive, 

I may be slightly consumed with redecorating my sister in law's apartment.  Sadly, even after the jump, this is what I think about in the middle of the night.  Ultimately, the math added up to: 10 frames, 3 mirrors, 5 tables, 5 chairs, 5 lamps, 3 rugs, 2 people, within constraints of $600, and a day and a half.

With great graciousness, Jac consented to let me bring junk into her space and arrange it how I saw fit.  She took a hands off approach and with generous trust, let me do anything that I wanted with her apartment.  Who does that?  
So, this was the before:

We had prepared for a handful of weekends. Over the course of a month, we purchased, painted, and reupholstered items from Craigslist and thrift stores with her budget of $600.  No single item in the space cost more than $30.  Many of our resources were procured while “curb-side shopping” on trash day.

The strategy was to drive to her apartment in the Short North of Columbus and spend just a weekend executing our plan.  Saturday morning, we loaded up my dad’s pick up truck with our finds: 5 lamps, 5 tables, 5 chairs, 3 rugs, shelves, frames, and art, and made the trip.  When we arrived, all that was in the living room was a dining bench and table, a couch and a tv.  We spent the next 28 hours hanging pictures, shelves, lighting, and styling the space. 

The pillows were constructed of Ikea linen towels and repurposed sweaters and the coffee table was a mid-century find cut down to size.  Our son provided much of the abstract artwork, which we inserted into simple gallery frames.  When I ran out of artwork, we literally walked the streets of Columbus finding cool graphic ads and free magazines to frame.  The bar cart beneath the large mirror was a typing table scored for $15 at the ReStore and we painted the $2 wire accent chairs with wide metallic gold stripes.  You'll notice her grandma's chair that I reupholstered too.  The roller shades are old maps that were targeted for the dumpster of a local elementary.  We also used them as wallpaper for a pop of color on the backside of her kitchen cabinets in the apartment’s entryway.  

Since the apartment management doesn’t allow painting, we added texture to the walls by hanging burlap curtain panels behind the dining area and then layering it with a vintage mirror.  Along the kitchen wall we added a mudroom space with iron curtain tie backs as oversized hooks and wooden slacks hangers as periodical holders.  All of the hardware, paint, decor, and furniture was included in the $600 budget and I’m kind of astounded that we pulled it off.  She arrives home from Africa in a few days.  Hopefully she gets the “Welcome Home” to beat the band!   

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