Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"K" commented on one of my previous Craigslist decorating posts saying:
I live in Chicago and have tried scouring Craigslist – maybe I'm searching the site entirely incorrectly but I seem to only find dealers selling plywood bedroom sets (blech) – any search ideas? Do I have to know what I'm looking for? Any advice would be great!!!
Unfortunately, "blech" describes the vast majority of what's on Craigslist in any city. Trying to filter out those plywood bedroom sets sold by dealers is particularly difficult; if you only choose "furniture - by owner" you miss out on everything sold in the "antiques," "garage sale," and "household" categories. If you don't filter by category at all, you'll end up looking through pages of cars to find "benches" or "lamps." 

I started finding furniture on Craigslist when I moved to New York after college. I was unemployed for six months, and I was BORED. I understand that people who are actually doing something with their lives can't search through thousands of listings to find one perfect piece at an amazing deal. Searching for one piece at a time is one way to narrow your search and not get overwhelmed. If you know exactly what you want (a mid-century grey two-seater couch, e.g.), that's easy. If you just know you need a couch that's not hideous, you can choose to look through all the "couch" listings (be sure to choose "show images" in the upper right corner!) or you can use more descriptive terms. "Mid century couch" will give you a more limited selection to sort through. So will brand names like "West Elm couch" or "Room and Board couch."

My first reaction to K's comment was of course to try using Chicago's Craigslist to find some fabulous things. While I did that, I kept track of what keywords I used to search for things. I won't pretend I found all these things within 15 minutes. It certainly took a few hours, but I don't think is a ridiculous amount of time to invest. Of course, the Craigslist decorating exercise only gives me the opportunity to look through the current listings for one day, and I found the things in my apartment over the span of about a year and a half.

Here's some of what I found on Chicago's Craiglist this past Friday:

I love the simplicity of everything in this bedroom - the pieces create a great base for glamorous accessorizing. I imagine a vanity tray on top of that beautiful campaign dresser and a host of pretty pillows on the bed.

This entry is also a sort of backdrop for interesting accessories. Switch up the cushions on the chairs, put different arrangements in the vase, and maybe add a stool or some baskets under the console.

Someone NEEDS to get this adorable floral pendant! (Who says you can't decorate a room around one accessory?) I tried to minimize using things that need paint or other alterations, but the shape of this low headboard was so cute I couldn't resist.

This last combination is definitely not a neutral backdrop! I love the bright, preppy colors with in a mix of styles.

The green campaign desk is possibly the most fabulous piece of all, but "campaign," unfortunately, was nowhere in the title or description. "Hendredon" and "brass" were, however. Keywords like these certainly will bring up a higher ratio of tasteful pieces, but you'll miss ones with absolutely no description at all. My campaign dressers were simply listed as "3 wall units" with dimensions and pictures. When searching Craiglist, you're inevitably going to end up searching through too much or missing the cheapest things (the people who don't what they have and therefore don't know how to describe it). 

The conclusion, I suppose, is that there is no perfect conclusion. But I'll leave you with the list of search terms that I used to find the above (and some other things that I didn't end up including in the post):


zig zag
mid century couch
ethan allen
jute rug
french chair
mid century
x bench

Happy searching!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Now that our apartment is mostly "done," the only chances I have to buy things are when other things break or are destroyed in some other fashion. With my fiancé around, that happens more often than we would like [one of the first to feel the effects of his clumsiness: the vase on our dresser that so beautifully echoed the curves of the lamp. RIP. If anyone knows where to get one, please let me know! I got it on the clearance rack of the NY Botanical Garden's gift shop last year]

The rug in our entry is also nearing the end of its life. It lasted as long as a mostly-white $18 canvas rug from Urban Outfitters could be expected to, and my last-resort attempt to clean it in the washing machine left it slightly cleaner but very faded. 

Rather than going to UO and getting a replacement that will last for another 6 months, I'd like to take the opportunity to give the entry a little more sophistication and replace a cheap stand-in piece with a more permanent, grown-up one. It's also a chance to splurge a little on one of my dream rugs that I would never be afford in a "real" size – many of these are reasonably priced in a 2x3 size. 
With a maximum budget of $100, I have plenty of beautiful options. Too many, actually! So, newfound readers, I'm going to put you to work. Here are the candidates – help me choose! 

First stop, Madeline Weinrib. 2x3 patterned flatwoven rugs are supposedly about $100, which is the absolute upper limit of my price range. Here are some favorites, in a selection of colors:

[rows, top to bottom]
"Westley" in Indigo
"Song" in Goldenrod
"Brooke" in Black
"Mandala" in Turquoise
"Over Easy" in Cement
"Orleans" in Turquoise and Black

These Surya Weinrib-esque rugs have been seen all over the internet in the past couple of years, and they come in a multitude of colors:

left, "Fallon," $52 at Timeless Elements, selected colors $45 at The Furniture Domain
right, "Frontier," $52.50 at Floors and Surfaces

I think a graphic pattern would be a great choice with the floral fabric of the table skirt. A more wide-reaching search brings up plenty of these in saturated colors as well as bold black and white.

[rows, top to bottom]
"Tile" Jaipuri rug, $85 from Calypso Home
"Jodhpur" Jaipuri rug, $85 from Calypso Home
Liora Manne "Chains" rug in Black, $42 at Amazon
"Iznik" dhurrie rug, $49 from West Elm
"Rajasthan-stripe" dhurrie rug, $29 from West Elm
 Liora Manne "Chains" rug in Natural, $42 at Amazon
"Ikat Diamonds" rug, $48 at Garnet Hill
"Fez" rug, $69 at Home Decorators
"Arabesque" rug, $28 from Williams Sonoma Home
"Grecian Tiles" rug, $59 at Horchow
"Anna" plastic mat, $60 from Impliciti
"Kite" kilim rug, $49 from West Elm
"Cane" indoor/outdoor rug, $49 at Ballard
Surya "Frontier," $63 at Rugs USA
Momeni "Elements," $79 at Rugs USA

Or should I go a more traditional, masculine route to balance the feminine trendiness of the room? 

[clockwise from upper right]
antique persian rug, $100 on Ebay
Surya "Nomadic" kilim rug, $75 at Buy Area Rugsmini cow hide rug, $48 at Rugs USA
"Tauna" kilim indoor/outdoor rug, $49 from Pottery Barn
antique persian rug, $85 on Ebay
antique persian rug, $50 on Ebay

Making decisions has never been one of my strong points, and it's even harder when there are so few decisions left to make! Perhaps I'm just destined to endlessly tweak details and never be truly "done" decorating...

Thursday, May 26, 2011


If you've clicked over to my blog from Copy Cat Chic today, welcome! For the approximately 5 of you who were already here and don't know, I'm excited to announce that my apartment is being featured as a home tour over on Copy Cat Chic today!

I'll be back to regular posting tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some favorites from the archives for those of who who are new around here...

roundups: scalloped designs, bamboo, velvet, and agate & geode

craigslist decorating: I, II, and III
geeking out a little: J. Crew & the Pre-Raphaelites, eighteenth-century pocketbooks, Jonathan Adler & the ancient Peruvians

And the original posts about my apartment, complete with sources for everything from furniture to accessories, are here: 
living roombathroombedroom, entry and kitchen

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've decided to offer design boards, also known as e-decorating! I've been contemplating this for a while and have finally decided to take the plunge. I'm planning on getting the logistics settled early next week (setting up a request email and paypal account) and will also post some examples and details.

I'm really excited to begin this new venture – and something else exciting is in store, too, so check back tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


two recent favorite images:
1 by ?
2 by Norma Jean Roy

I tend to stockpile links that I intend to eventually blog about but really aren't substantial enough to warrant a full post. So welcome to the basement of my bookmarks as I prepare posts for the next few days (look at me blogging every weekday!) and, meanwhile, share some things that have inspired and amused me lately...

Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler's townhouse in 1967, decked out with pieces by Mark Rothko, David Smith, Henri Matisse, and Auguste Rodin, among others (via Sketch 42)

fantastic fabrics by Eileen Kathryn Boyd for Duralee (via Aesthetic Oiseau)

apparently I'm not short and lazy; I'm French! (Garance Doré)

science backs up what we already knew: museums are good for you!

Kiki Smith-designed wallpaper!

how did I only just discover these punctuation tights?

Monday, May 23, 2011


One of my current fashion trends: shiny, metallic toes, giving pretty ballet flats a don't-mess-with-me edge.

Zigi "Laurenza" in turquoise, $59 on Ideeli (not a member? sign up here!)
Belle by Sigerson Morrison "Jazz Loafer," $250 at La Garçonne
Chanel couture
Guiseppe Zanotti snakeskin flats, $595 at Bergdorf Goodman
Steel toe flats, $34 at Fearless Weirdos (similar version with gold toe on ASOS for $83)
Deena & Ozzie "Lucite Oxford," $49 at Urban Outfitters
Giuseppe Zanotti leopard-print flats, $550 online
Giuseppe Zanotti laser-cut flats, $695 online

Saturday, May 21, 2011


It's probably not very surprising anymore when I just disappear for a month, but I'll apologize anyway. With two jobs that keep me busy six days a week, plus wedding planning on a budget that keeps being referred to as "tight" (despite it being close to what I make in a year! though I suppose that's not saying much), I'm basically left with no free time. But this whole blogging thing is supposed to be fun and relaxing, after all, so I'm making a new goal of posting something every day, even if it's just one picture. Don't worry, I have some real posts and tentative new features coming up in the next few days, plus something very exciting in store! In the meantime, today's picture:

Normally I don't go for silk and velvet pillows with tassels on the side, but... chinoiserie hot air balloon. That's all I have to say.