OH, HEY THERE! What’s up? I’m sorry. I’m like the blogger version of a magazine that starts out as a monthly, then becomes a bi-monthly and then eventually a quarterly. Or an annual. Ugh. I swear, though—I’ve been busy with other stuff, not just sitting around drinking iced coffee and painting Fritz’s toenails. Freelance life is a weird thing, man. I’m almost 10 months into it, and I’m just starting to feel like I know how to schedule my days to have some structure.
So, do you remember the living room? The one I promised to have after photos of “really soon”? Two months ago? Yeah, that’s the one. Well, it’s looking goooooood.
It’s not as dramatic a transformation as the bedroom was because I already had all of the furnishings in place, but still, getting rid of those shiny tan walls and the dirty ceiling is a massive improvement. The room feels so much bigger and fresher and more open!
The difference between these photos is pretty remarkable, right? And it’s all about the paint! As in the bedroom, the walls are Valspar Swiss Coffee in a flat finish, and the front door is now Valspar Royal Navy in satin. My beloved neon orange bench no longer looks like it’s fighting for its life.
It definitely helps that the living room has laminate flooring instead of brown carpet like the bedroom, too. I’ve never been a fan of laminate, but I’ll take it over worn-out carpet. Aside from things like textured walls, gas-powered wall heaters and swamp coolers, this is one of the weird things I’ve noticed about rentals (or maybe all houses?) in this part of the country: NO WOOD FLOORS. I kind of assumed that there might be ceramic tile or even brick, but it seems to be mostly carpet. I dunno, man. I can see the appeal of carpeting if it’s, like, good quality and made of wool and you take really good care of it and nobody wears shoes on it ever, but in a rental? Wood floors still look good even when they’re shot to shit, and NYC landlords know all they have to do is slap a coat of poly down in order to “refinish” them. Isn’t carpet a losing game? Anyway, I’m rambling. You hear me.
Nope, still no bookcases. That’s OK. I had hoped to install two Helix bookcases from CB2, but after discovering that the walls seem to be made of some sort of chipboard (?) paneling over thin drywall (??), I’m hesitating to do anything wall-mounted. I don’t want to have to rely on hitting four studs perfectly, you know? Anyway, I’m fine having the books piled up for now. I did a nicer job of stacking them up after I painted, and even though it sucks when I need something from the bottom, I can deal.
The television is still huge, but it honestly doesn’t bother me. I think once I hang more stuff on that wall, it’ll be even less intrusive. Ideally it would be sitting on a credenza double the length of this one, but I’m working with what I’ve got.
You want to know what I’ve been doing for the past month? WORKING ON THIS COLLAGE OF PRODUCT IMAGES. No. That’s a lie. But it did take a long time. I like seeing everything together, though! It’s satisfying, and it makes putting together a source list much easier.
1. vu de l’extérieur print, Fieldguided
2. Frankincense & Oud candle, P.F. Candle Co.
3. Eames Hang-It-All, DWR
4. Wafer Table set, CB2
5. Bennie planter & macramé plant holder, CB2
6. Otis lamp, onefortythree
7. Karlstad sofa, IKEA
8. Svea 150 sofa legs, Pretty Pegs
9. Nos Da cushion, Donna Wilson
10. Indigo mudcloth, vintage
11. Eames Small Dot cushion, Upstyle
12. Slow Drop wall hanging, JLB & Co.
13. Lane Perception credenza, vintage
14. Eames RAR, vintage
15. Hella Jongerius PS Jonsberg vase, IKEA
16. Swiss Coffee & Royal Navy paint, Valspar
17. Stockholm rug, IKEA
18. Offcut bench, Tom Dixon
19. Nate Berkus storage basket, Target
20. Cross blanket, Pia Wallén
Looks lovely! I have that Bookhou bag in two styles and I love it – and I love seeing it look so nice in your place!
I also have it in two styles! 🙂 I need to replace this one, though—it’s getting seriously threadbare after years of daily use!
Love that you have my neighbour Bookhou and my friend Fieldguided (Anabela) in the same post. Reppin’ the 6ix!
I am in a similar situation with not having an employer. I found a way to bring more structure to my days: I created an excel spreadsheet of what I have to do each week. This way I can see if I have included everything and if I need to make adjustments for a certain day because I scheduled too many things to do.
Oh and trello is amazing! Can’t recommend it enough! I set up five streams: Pipeline, Next Prioroty, In Progress, For Approval & Approved. Helps me organise and have a birds-eye view of everything I am working on.
Thanks for the suggestions, Michelle and Cat! I’ll check out Trello—I’m not a Microsoft user.
google sheets is a good free spreadsheet program.
I forgot to mention, if you are like me and sometimes you work without noticing the time, then you also have to schedule breaks and meal periods, too.
Yeah!!! Thanks for posting!
You’re so right about carpet. I’m in an upstairs condo that’s required to have carpet to keep things quiet for my downstairs neighbors. I get that wood floors would be too loud, but the carpet kicks our butts. It’s impossible to keep clean, it’s hard to find a color / neutral that looks good, and the only way to get quality wool is to spend, like, enough to buy another whole house. Someone needs to invent something to solve this.
But YOUR house looks great! It’s amazing what several coats of white paint will do.
Hi, there are all sorts of noice-cancelling underlays that you can buy for woodflooring now. Some brands even claim to be specially designed for this purpose. But of course it would have to be a shoes off kind of home as not to make your neighbour crazy.
Hey and cork tile too, natural and makes less noise.
Love what you’ve done with your books and records! Ours are still in boxes in our living room because I haven’t found the right shelves yet. Going to copy this look now – thank you!
But they’re just piled up on the floor! Maybe that’s better than boxes, though…
YAY! It makes such a difference. All the furnishings look so much better with that backdrop and it just validates how worth it painting is – even in a rental. I’m in one and have painted 4 rooms and removed wallpaper in another and there isn’t a minute that passes where I lament the “wasted time”. It’s my life, right now, and I want to live in the prettiest spot I can muster. 🙂
Ana, you sound happy. I feel like we are hearing your true voice, here. I can’t put my finger on it, except to say that you sound relaxed and comfortable. (And also: I’m swooning over this living room.)
Wow, no kidding that painting totally transforms the space! It looks so fresh and clean now. I love the new door colour too. Awesome job 🙂
Its not Door Sixteen without a Pia Wallen blanket! That navy/neon combo just vibrates doesn’t it?
I find that in Australia anything built post 1970s doesn’t have a wood floor. The 80’s brought about an era of building cheap and nasty (or quick and dirty?) and the fashion for building on a concrete slab foundation has never left.. We have a house build in the 70s with a limestone foundation. After ripping up carpets, we found vinyl tile glued to the floor below. After lifting all the tile, we found beautiful hardwood Jarrah floors (Jarrah is a native timber local to the area). We had them refinished, but to get through all the nasty glue residue they’ve been sanded back to the point of being bendy when you walk on them. We’re now trying to find a solution that doesn’t end in us covering the gorgeous original floor in engineered wood. Its a conundrum. A pox on the owner who glued the tile down! The 80s have a lot to answer for.
Oooh, that’s really unfortunate given all the work you put in! This house is quite a bit older than that (judging by the windows and some other details, I think 1950s), but I’m fairly certain it was built with wall-to-wall carpet. It’s just concrete underneath.
I used to live in Phoenix and noticed the same thing with carpet. I made a comment to a coworker and she said it’s because of termites. Love your space!
See, that seems really odd to me. Termites are just as prevalent (if not more) in Hudson Valley (NY) homes as they are in the southwest, but virtually ALL older homes there were built with wood floors—and it’s still the norm in new builds, too, with the exception of the occasional bedroom. Also, the framing of the house (walls, floors, ceilings) is wood, and that’s where you’d be more likely to find termites, right?
I’ve lived in five rentals in New Mexico (four in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe) and actually, only one had carpet. One had laminate, the others wood. I’ve seen a lot of other rentals, too, and almost all of them have had wood. Many of them were older buildings in the University/Nob Hill/Edo/Downtown neighborhoods, so maybe it just depends on where you look!
Looks great! 🙂
I’ve taken to “luxury” vinyl planks – easy to install, quiet, flooding doesn’t bother it, and happy to clean. Your place is looking Anna-like, so HAPPY you’re settling in to your new life in NM. It’s a funny place, and I’m thinking about moving back. Hope you’re getting out and enjoying how beautiful it really is. Good to hear from you!
looking good! …a freestanding bookshelf/partition type thing behind the couch (full width of couch) would give you a nicely defined entry area (so front door doesn’t one straight into living room) and some balance to the drama of the tv-wall. looks like you have the perfect depth for it behind the back of the sofa, before the door frame…
That would make entering the house pretty precarious—there’s not much space there as it is, just enough room to comfortably walk through the door without bumping into the couch. I’m not a fan of “partition” furniture, actually. I prefer things to be open in this type of layout. The room is quite small already!
Good for you!!! Looks great. Does your landlord realize how lucky he is to have you as a tenant?
I agree on carpet. Yuck, especially in a rental. We have oriental rugs on tile and wood. We take them out every summer and hose them down. When you see the muck that comes off, and the dust that was underneath (I lift the edges when vacuuming, but I roll them up only once in a while to get all the way under, because of the furniture moving involved)…..well, I wouldn’t have any carpet that I couldn’t take out and clean.
Yes, she’s been wonderful, and very appreciative.
The white walls make the place looks so much bigger. Nice decor!
Is that a “Free to be You and Me” album?!
Hah, good eye! Yes, I’ve had that record for my entire life. 🙂
What a huge improvement! The power of paint! Rentals are a funny thing. In San Diego we had a rental with 1/4 drywall and news paper for insulation. We discovered this by attempting to get our neighbor to stfu by banging. No luck. We patched it with poster board. Scumbag move worthy of the scumbag landlord.
anywhoo…. I think the navy front door
Is my favorite part. So dramatic! How’s that laundry situation coming?
Hej! Finally, someone, YOU, who tried the Svea pegs on the Karlstad. I’m thinking of using them as well on the Karlstad but couldn’t get my head around how it’d look like. I even did a google image search—no luck! are you happy with the new pegs? I still think, it makes the sofa look quite heavy, like weighing on its feet, sort of. I’m also fancying the Carl pegs. Probably more classy, 50s.
As always, great makeover! You always put so much effort into your homes, and the posts! Tack!
Yes, I’m very happy with them! I got them in…December, I think? About 6 months ago. I really love how they look. The Carl legs would compete with the credenza too much in my space, I think, and might make the coffee tables look out of place.
Flawless, as always. The neon bench is definitely happier now. Good to hear from you but also good that you are busy with life!!
Hi Anna. Your place is looking great and I’m glad you’re alive! Have you shared on the blog how/why you chose Portales in particular to be your new home? If it’s not too personal, I’d love to hear.
❤️❤️❤️ your livingroom!
Everything is just spot on! Also, I’m very appreciative of the work you put into the source list, thank you! Love, love it all! The navy door with the flouro orange = perfection.
Beautiful, Anna. I love that you’ve picked up ever so slightly different colors in the entryway part of the room…that gives me ideas, since our front door also opens right into our living room!
I don’t know whether you’ve considered them as bookcases, but we use the Fjalkinge units and love them. I know they’re supposed to be utility shelves but the steel looks soooooooo lovely. The spacing of the holes in the standards wasn’t quite right for books, so I drilled extra holes–it was pretty easy using a steel bit.
Oh, and I’ve been freelancing for more than four years now and I STILL don’t know how to get the schedule right. Just when I think I’ve got it down (morning coffee and blogs, four hours of work, some cleaning or painting or something else mindless…) along comes an assignment with an imminent deadline and well, you know!
What a difference paint makes! We’ve been living with our tan walls for a few years now, but next weekend we’re getting our windows replaced & that will be the kick I need to paint our walls white. Did you paint your ceiling too? It looks textured in the before photo but not in the after.
Yes, I painted the ceiling! It probably looks smoother in the after because it was REALLY dirty before.
I noticed you always paint the walls / ceiling the same white and was wondering if this ever closes in the room or if you prefer it because it actually makes the room feel bigger? I’m picking swiss coffee for my new pre-war apt and was trying to decide on a contrasting brighter ceiling color or doing swiss coffee flat for ceiling as well.
Thanks so much!
I prefer it, unless it’s in a room where one wall is black (for example). I don’t really understand the use of different shades of white for walls and ceilings—I don’t want to see a line of demarcation between the two. I actually never knew people often do this until someone asked me about it in a comment a few years ago!
Just wanted you to know that I took your advice and used swiss coffee on our walls and ceiling an I am in love with the results. I’ve never commented on a blog or reached out to a blogger before and I’m so happy I did. Thank you so much!
It’s looking GREAT! And on the large TV note, I just have to mention that we, too, have this issue. My husband has no interest in down sizing, BUT, I hung a gallery wall around/behind the TV (making sure that some of the frames are actually partially tucked behind the TV) and it makes a surprising difference. I have no clue how or why, but the “layered” look seems to really minimize the size of the screen. Good luck! I’m sure it’ll look great no matter what you end up doing!
Hi Anna! I stumbled upon your blog from Bloglovin. I grew up in Hobbs, NM and I know live in Westchester. I hope you’re enjoying Portales/Clovis! It’s quite different from NY.
I have a theory on the carpet/hardwood floors. I never knew how amazing hard wood floors were until I moved to the NE. They’re amazing!
First theory is that southeast New Mexico is super dry and maybe that has something to do with why hardwood floors aren’t common. Growing up no one had hardwood floors. I know that between summer and winter our wood doors would expand from the changes in humidity and we’d have a hard time closing them. Maybe the change in humidity would damage hardwood? Or back in the 50/60/70s when they were building the houses they thought this. So, that’s Theory 1.
Theory 2 is that carpet is cheaper than hardwood floors the first time you do it. So these landlords are comparing $1000 carpet vs $4000 hardwood and they choose the carpet route. Even though hardwood is crazy cheaper in the long run! My 1920s house has the original hardwood! That boggles my mind and I’m forever a hardwood girl now. In my renting experience in NM several landlords have made the comment to me that “they’ll just replace the carpet after every few tenants”. I guess it’s a cheap enough cost they don’t mind paying.
Oh, and after writing all of this I just remembered another reason that is probably the most accurate!
You can’t put hardwood down on a slab of concrete, which 95% of the houses are in SE New Mexico. You would have to first put down 1″ plywood and then the hardwood and that would make your floor over an inch thick. I know flooring people don’t like to do this because I was cautioned away from it during a basement remodel. And, laminate flooring, which isn’t my favorite, but it’s slightly better than carpet, can be laid on slab, but it doesn’t hold up as long as real hardwood.
Well, I’ve been long winded enough! I wish you the best of luck in New Mexico! It’s a beautiful state and there are truly some amazing people that live there with hearts of gold! I have no doubt you’ll make some life long friendships there!
I really love that Eames Hang-It-All, and I saw a knock off at this store called Flying Tiger Copenhagen (sort of like IKEA for knick-knacks) in Manhattan! It was $8.
Your place is looking so fabulous. It’s so amazing what a coat of paint will do. I’m not bothered at all by the pile of books, in fact I think they look kinda groovy. What made you choose New Mexico and has it been a great culture shock? I’ll go check out your FAQs, maybe the answer is there. If it’s not, it should be. 🙂
Looks fantastic. Worth the wait