Friday, August 24, 2012

on redecorating corners.

to continue the real estate theme, let's talk about the biggest thing i've ever done with any space i've ever lived in:
i took on a design project, that i saw in magazine, and i made it happen (with brian's manpower).
don't mind the dirt i'm brushing off my shoulders.
but here in new york we don't redecorate rooms - nope. here we redecorate corners. and that in itself is a big enough change. so without further ado, here's what it used to look like:
as you can see, it wasn't the best. i moved here from grad school and used the desk to store my books and computer, but really i just used my computer on my couch. i rarely, if ever, sat at my desk. and my textbooks are boring city. they just didn't need to be on full display, ya know? and the slanted floor in the corner also made it a death trap for any guests who sat in my rolling chair and slowly rolled off the staircase.
sidenote: people would be like - WHAT IF A BABY WAS HERE?!
ew, guests. a baby is not coming into my studio apartment.
do i like the type of person who is friends with babies?
and also, when was the last time a baby sat in an office chair?
riddle me that.
and then, it happened. i got inspired (thanks lucky magazine!). and the shoe museum was born.
closet space is precious here in nyc - so i decided to make more. that's right - a cabinet dedicated to my shoes. what did my desk display? old textbooks and the ten pens i owned. it's not interesting, or thoughtful, or aesthetically pleasing. why keep our shoes locked away in our closets but put our textbooks out on display? riddle me that for real people. so when i saw this idea in the magazine, and fell for it hard, i decided to do something i had never done before with an apartment - try.
the tutorial in the magazine suggested painting the back of the cabinet before assembling it  - unfortunately painting isn't really an option in my tiny apartment due to safety/space (seriously, it would take weeks to air out those toxic fumes). so i did something else i've been dying to try - adhesive wallpaper. i shopped around online for a few weeks until i found the best deal. there are some great patterns out there but they cost an arm and a leg for a little square. i went with blancho wallpaper, and also found that tempaper was a great, albeit more expensive, option. either way, i'm in love with self-adhesive wallpaper - it's easy to peel on and off, and if you mess up it's easy to take off and redo. perfect for the first-time and highly nervous interior designer.
to tie the space together i put in a light and a chair, thanks to target's buy one, get one 50% home sale.
the anal retentive fashionista within is beyond pleased that the maroon chair, maroon in the wallpaper, and the maroon blanket and pillows on my couch tie it all together.
if you've got a design idea on the brain - i say go for it. shop around. use self-adhesive wallpaper. and put your favorite pair of shoes in a bell jar and display them proudly in your house, shoe cabinet or not.
lucky magazine tutorial
bell jar


  1. Colleen I am so jealous of your fabulous shoe museum! I saw this idea in Lucky magazine and ripped out the pages and stored them away in my "dream to-do list". I still haven't done it and honestly don't know if I ever will, but I can live vicariously through you (plus you have way more awesome shoes than I do). I agree that beautiful shoes should be displayed and boring textbooks should be shoved in the attic and never looked at. Also I'm glad to know that you liked the adhesive wallpaper. I've been wanting to try that stuff myself!

    1. again - this is why we're friends. great minds think alike! I can not recommend enough doing this - I seriously, seriously love it. if I had more space/a car I would have looked for a similar cabinet in a second hand store/yard sale and just repainted it to be what color I want. and my favorite thing is like if you came over or I came over to your place, people ask about them. and every shoe has a story (like a piece of jewelry) - the shoes I wore to prom, the shoes I wore on my first date with Brian, etc. it's so much fun and better than my old math textbook - no one asked about that, hah!

  2. That's a really cute idea for displaying shoes. I'm helping a friend design a home right now and we're looking for all types of funky shoe storage. I'm definitely sharing this one

  3. Yesss I LOVE this! You're right - why do people display boring things and hide beautiful things like pretty shoes?? I love that you made this happen and the piece you chose for the corner is perfect! Who knows, this could be the beginning of your career in design ;)

    P.S. I love the little peek down the stairs where you can see your kitchen... I'm so intrigued by your apartment! It looks amazing and like it has so much character! I think you need to do a home tour soon :)

    1. thank you! my little apartment has definitely become one of my most treasured spaces, and I will definitely do a tour before I leave. I have a feeling this might be my last year in it - separation anxiety is already settling in!

  4. I've always wanted a bookcase for my shoes! Yours is fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration. What a transformation! WAY TO GO! xo.

    1. that's such a good addition - a bookcase would work just as well. find an old one and rehab/repaint and you're good to go!

  5. Replies
    1. thanks! it was so fun to actually do something I liked and see it through to the end.

  6. That looks great! I love the way it looks now... very classy!

  7. oh, great... the boring corner is now fabulous and fun to look at!

    Anyway, I followed your blog, hope you can follow back, too!

    It’s a GIRL Thing

  8. Oh Colleen! You are a genius! I am sitting here staring at a pile of my husband's [accounting] textbooks wondering why I am not looking at a pair of my favourite wedges (that I may or may not have slept next to the first day I bought them). I need to make this happen and I also need better shoes for bell jar displays! I love love love the cabinet, oh and the lamp and the chair and the wallpaper and the shoes etc etc!

  9. I am in love with this idea!! If only I had a free corner to do it...

  10. Yay! I am so glad the shoe museum finally made an appearance! Most def my favorite corner of your apt.

    Also... I love this: Do I look like the type of person who is friends with babies? HA! Stylish and sassy are without a doubt not lacking with you, friend.

    THURSDAY!!! xoxo

  11. Looks great! Somehow I don't think all my battered flats and sandals would look half as cute displayed as your heels and wedges! I hope all your new decorating pieces find a good home in your new Brooklyn apt too :)

  12. This is probably the most wonderful thing I've ever seen. God I missed being your internet friend!!!!!


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