More light!

I’ve been thinking about the appropriate lighting for both rooms for ages already. Low budget aside, I just can’t seem to make my mind. The general idea is more or less clear: something modern for the office, and a more traditional, black, iron candelabrum for the bedroom.

But at the same time I was thinking about placing something different to the office, not the typical set… But would it fit? I have seen many photos where fancy lamp added a great vibe to otherwise stern or lacking in surprises office. So from the more office-y lamps I like some of these (all photos are from Polish online auctions, and I believe are by Polish producers):

Really dont’ know what I think about that one. Simple, but I am not sure if it’s fine with the space.

Now this one is really cool. It’s called “robot” and I think it matches perfectly! I like the industrial feel, and the lamps have some photography mood to themselves as well. I am not sure about the installation here… it looks like it’s the style that goes inside, that it needs a hole, which would make it impossible for my place :-/

Then there are the non-office styles, like that one:

This one I am actually planning for the bedroom. what about placing this kind of classic lamps in non-classic places? Hmmmm….

 

Then there are also the wide, but flat lamps, often used in bathrooms, which might be interesting to use in an office. This one is a more elegant version of that style:

I think it’s quite nice for the general lighting. I am afraid to hang something too small, to emphasize the tiny size of the room. I feel that a bigger lamp would really add to the room.

 

With the bedroom the choice is kind of easier. I wanted black iron to match the bed, I wanted the classic style without being too “romantic” or “fluffy”, so clean lines and no extra swirls or additions. The limit was mostly my budget, as to how many arms in the lamps I could afford. I found something like that (same line as the one above):

This one is called “surmia” and I like the very simple, clean lines. I am not sure about the bulbs thought, as I would like to get the energy-saving types. Do they make them in fancy flame shapes? I am afraid the common twisted shape would be a huge blow to it.

The above lamp is “Neptun”. It’s also pretty simple. The color is not perfect and I am not sure how I feel about the “plates” under each lamp… But it’s cheaper than the other one, so I am also checking it out.

I am almost convinced I should get the surmia, though, with max arms I can afford.

Coming back to the office… Yesterday I started to think about another option. At the moment that’s what I have:

I can’t believe that was the only photo I found with somewhat visible lamp. Anyway, you can see that it’s the typical paper ball. Rather small… dirty, old, covered with paint splashes and what not. I have seen many awesome DIY project of making this kind of balls into featherly awesomeness, like that one on Design*Sponge:

I couldn’t find gray craft paper, so I will try with white packing paper ;-) I will see, I can’t make it worse, right? And who knows, I might avoid the dilemma of buying a new one! I will be working on it today, right after I finish putting together dombas closet and… bed! yes, I am done with painting and carpeting in the bedroom, I will update when I can download photos :)

 

 

Advertisements

Bedroom step one: the beginning

Let’s first review what we are talking about here:

My big brother’s bedroom which became a kind of home office, ironning station, old discarded furniture wearhouse…

The plan is to make it into my new bedroom. I am glad that at least the ceiling is white. I don’t have high hopes for the walls and am not planning on repeating the same mistakes as with the previous room.

We got stuck with this desk. No idea what to do with it… It’s solid wood, old and heavy. It looks kind of cool, but I have no good way to use it. It’s way too big to transform it into a vanity, and in the office we have already a desk. So for now we are leaving it here to make the decision later.

Taya was extremely helpful during the clean up. NOT.

Now that’s a nice surprice. A real secret doors to another universe! How awesome is that? How many people have not only holes-covered ugly concrete walls, but also doors in their walls? At least tearing off wallpaper from it was a breeze.

This time I was better prepared for what I found under the wallpaper:

   

I think I did a pretty good job cleaning off the wall paper, don’t you think? Anyway – it’s ready for priming!

And here is what I managed to do with the horrible gaping holes:

 

I purposely tried not to make it too smooth, so it wouldn’t stand out too much next to the rough concrete. I know it’s far from perfect, but it’s ok by me.

And… a bummer at the end. I didn’t sand the ceiling, hopeing that just painting it would be enough. Not so :(

What a pain. Only around the window it started to peel off,  guess because this area was the most open to humidity and dirt. I must admit – I was too lazy and tired to sand the whole ceiling. I just sanded the problem parts and accepted it will suck. You got to pick your battles, right?

Office Step One: DONE!

I haven’t planned on finishing everything at once, so it is not a surprise that I stopped working on the office and moved to the bedroom. But first I need to show you what it looks like now, while it waits for make up and dressing work.

The thing that really pulled it nice together was the carpeting. As long as you could still see the nasty, dirty and paint-covered floor, there was no feel of change in the air… Well, now it looks so much better:

It’s a simple carpeting, that I cut by myself to more-or-less fit the room. I couldn’t afford any nice floor board by the wall, so instead I cut the carpet an inch or so higher to cover up the nasty wall bottom. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s a tremendous improvement.

Next – the desk:

the table top is from IKEA, I painted it red. Unfortunately they make the tables a bit too well, and even with heavy sanding the paint didn’t want to adhere properly… it’s getting off already. I will have to do something about it… later. The chair, and all other stuff is IKEA as well. The best source of affordable and nice looking furniture in Poland. period. btw – this green monstrum you can see in the window is a church. yep. don’t even get me started on its bells… o_0

During the day, without the photo flash the colors aren’t as clashing and harsh. I think the red looks nice, even though being close to “too much”. I hope I didn’t overdo it.

Bookshelves! 4x Billy and we have a library. I am waiting for my 16+ boxes of books arriving soon, so I have to be prepared. I can’t make the exact built-in look, but I will try to make it as close as possible. For now – just fill it up with stuff from the other room, which will become my bedroom.

Originally the strong blue was supposed to be behind the shelving, so the contrast would have been much stronger. But I think even the white-gray coloring is nice, much more subtle.

 

And that’s it for now! We are moving to the next room for now, the cosmetic changes will come after the bedroom is usable. I am kind of tired of sleeping on the living room sofa…

Conquering the epic cracks.

I think it sounds really coll to “conquer the cracks” :D

Anyway, I had the dillemma of what to do with the huge cracks and holes. I decided to leave the natural texture of concrete, even though it was very uneven and far from perfect. The texture changes and at some places looks more like a cave wall than a man-made wall. I guess it goes well with my paleo interests. I can feel more at home ;-)

But the problem of huge cracks was still to deal with. At some points it looked like they simply run out of wall ;-) the dividing wall simply didn’t reach the main wall at the meeting point… other places are probably result of poor material quality and mining activities. I tried to do my best with join compound and you can see the results here:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Somehow I didn’t take pictures of close ups of the problematic spots. I hope you can see here, that the worst was taken care of. You can see the doors and desk top being painted as well, together with the heater and window sill.

The walls are far from perfect… You can see not only the natural texture of the walls, but also some mishaps, too smooth surface of joint compound and some pieces left behind of wall paper. I really wish it could have been done better, but I am fine with the results for now, considering the quality of the walls.

Let’s Begin! After trashing all the furniture it’s time for the walls!

Getting rid of stuff wasn’t actually that difficult, there was no hope for anything, and we got help. So very fast I had all the surfaces just to myself.

My hopes were to tear down the wall paper, cover up basic cracks etc. and paint smoothly and nicely everything. done.

The reality wasn’t that great, unfortunately. Coming back from the US, I was used to a very different kind of wall surface, and the surprise was not pleasant.

That’s what I found:

Multiple layers of old wallpapers… and the walls I was discovering under them was not fun.

Huh? What is that supposed to be? Vertical gravel or a wall?

 

action!

It looks more like modern art than a wall… I actually thought that I would be able to skim this with joint compound and smooth it with sander to make it all good … NOPE. had to tear it all down to the concrete anyway.

oh, the joys of new toys! :D

My old bedroom

Where to begin… So many memories! It’s a pity I can’t find any photos from the time it was inhabited by me. Till I was in high school it was pretty boring, I can’t even remember it. But let’s see what I remember from the time of high school…

  • I made a faux NY-sky line. If I remember correctly, I outlined it with pieces of paper and pins, with tiny rectangulars for random windows. The color came with black spray paint. But can’t remember the details… I only remember it was awesome :)
  • Then I got bored with the walls and decided to paint the existing wall paper (or rather wall papers, as it was just papered one layer over an old one). At the time there were no options for pre-made color paints or mixing services. I had to buy regular white paint and pigments. I chose blue and black to achieve, what I hoped to be, a dark royal blue/navy. It was dark, that’s for sure… But rather dirty navy/? I can’t even describe it. The paint was complete flat matt, so the dirty impression was only deepened by it. Also, walls wouldn’t be enough so I painted the ceiling as well.
  • Even then I knew about the accent wall – I chose one wall and left it without the paint. Instead I covered it randomly with newspapers, glued with the paint… The newspaper went yellowish pretty fast.
  • I also had huge branches in one upper corner, painted closet with DIY desk made of plumbing pipes (it still exists!), clothes rack made with my Mom’s crutch hold over a chair and window sill, memorable quotations written on the wall… what else? what wasn’t there? :D
So that’s my addition. After I left home my Mom was either not using the room or renting it out. The last tenant was friends’ daughter, a teenager, and for whatever reason they didn’t like the dirty navy room ;-) so they painted it … orange and yucky violet. one layer, over dirty navy. I am pretty sure they didn’t even turn the lights on when they were painting it…
You think it’s enough? Nope. We are living over five coal mines. Well, not at once, but the town lies over five of them. Which means addition of the minning damages like cracks in walls. And that’s not enough. We need to remember the building was built in the early ’70s during mass production of “bedrooms” for coal miners. Fast, cheap and by quantity, not quality. We call them the “great concrete slabs” buildings… You will see many examples of the quality of their work.
So now – photos. And if I ever find the old photos to scan, I will.
 Did I mentioned that I painted the doors as well? At least they were semi-gloss, so looking a bit better.
This closet had a addition on top, which you will see soon. The branch might still be one of the tree old ones!  The carpet was one that our neighbors wanted to throw away. Random doesn’t cover it.
I can’t believe the color… I love purple, but this shade? It’s horrible.
You can see teh pieces of newspapers and navy paint “glue” that was holding them. Do you see the perfect line between colors? and the ceiling? GUH.
It’s like a designing horror… They even painted the window sill, which was a really bad idea. Oh, and yeah, that’s a huge crack in the wall and an antenna cord was lead through it… how practical!
This hole? My father’s attempt to hang a sconce on the other side ;-) Some 20 years ago…
Oh, the beauty of a peachy orange nightmare! How can anyone do it out of own will without a gun being hold to one’s head?
0_o
My old “beautified” closet! I guess I could call it a desk or something. It was pieced together from random pieces… Can you spot the plumbing pipes? And the doors on the bottom are done in a similar way to my “accent wall”. I guess it was before I’ve learned about the proper way of decoupage…
Stay tuned! In the next post I will write about the process of tearing down the 30+ years of design abuse ;-)

Welcome to my childhood home

After many years of travels, studies and work abroad I am back to my old apt. I grew up here, and lived here till the age of 18… After that I visited but never lived here longer than a few weeks at a time. I am not sure how long I will stay here, but long enough to invest my time, sweat and limited financial resources in making it nice.

In addition to selfish wish to live in a nice place, I also want to do the revolution for my Mom, who is overworked, tired and far from wealthy. Most of the work that has been done to this place was a cover up, touching up and camouflaging more than renovating. I want to make a beautiful nest for her, she diserve it much more than I do.

So… let’s begin! We need to get to know the place and see what we are dealing with. As I moved in about three weeks ago and have managed to do some changes, I will show you first what it looked like when I first came back.

In this post I will show only a photo per room or space, more photos in detailed, dedicated posts.

  Hallway, looking right from the entry. My Mom is really proud of the faux stone wall paper. It’s been done pretty recently, and I will get to it toward the end, there are much higher priority rooms on the list.

 

Bathroom – tiny, really tiny. Many things (gas heater, cupboards) are from the very beginning, so they are 30+ years old… the vinyl wall paper is pretty new . the faux wooded covers are done by my dad and are living proof of his lack of talent in home repairs ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living room. It used to be a bigger, open room but my Mom divided it ages ago, it was a good idea at the time, now not really needed. Because of it we dont’ have a real dinning space. I think the room is really nice, and if you knew anything about the typical design style among Poles of my Mom’s generation, you would appreciate its warmth and decor. The problem is eclectic overkill. There are some awesome art pieces (by local folk artists), but also some totally ugly knick knacks. My Mom has also a good green tumb, and decorating with plants is pretty common in Poland. It would be difficult to find an apt without plants!

I love the wall clock… its sound was with me since childhood. It has this deep, old-world ring to it… It must have a central place!

These are the bookshelves used as room dividers. I am planning to throw them away, or remake and use in a different place. I will decide when I get here. As you can see there is a lot of books (that’s only a small part after my Mom already gave away a few hundreds!)

 Kitchen. Tiny! almost everything is old and crappy. the tiles were placed by my father and are not only ugly but also not even. Did I say crappy and ugly? And again attack of the faux wood slate! YUCK. But it will have to wait a bit…

 Kitchen from the other side. There used to be a tiny breakfast nook, but anyway with time it became a storage place for discarded furniture and everything else… It will all go away and we will have a nice dinning nook once again!

 

 

 

 

 

Now off to my Mom’s bedroom. It used to my parents’ room, but it was always left behind as the room that no one can see, so it hasn’t seen any renovation in ages! At some places you can see wallpaper that is older than I am… which is scary. My Mom created by herself a kind of walk-in-closet, dividing room with old closets. It used to work well, but with time my Mom, who used to work 11h/day (!!!) simply had no strenght to organize and clean there… so she stopped using it, preparing all she needed in the home office. I am planning to make for her a real haven, a place to rest and restore. She deserves it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind this curtain on the left is the attempt at DIY closet organizing. I will try and make something really helpful that will also look great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and back to the hallway, we will go to the left from the entry. ON the left is my old bedroom, which will be now office, and on the right used to be my brother’s bedroom then home office and will be my bedroom.

I will describe in details the origins of this ugliness in a separate post…

the other room – slightly bigger, but stilll. A lot of old, discarded furniture, a hodgpodge of randomness and ugliness. This will be my bedroom soon!