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Remember me? Probably not.

You don’t want to know how many CL finds I’ve bookmarked and let expire without sharing them with you. I know, I know. I won’t go into how busy I’ve been, because everyone I know is busy, so it’s not much of an excuse. But a couple people have asked for updates on my place, and since my bedroom really has been consuming a lot of my time lately, I’ll oblige. Today’s really overcast, so the lighting sucks and some of the pics are really blurry–sorry about that, but I’m on my lunch break, so I’m short on time. These are obviously mid-project, but I’m happy with how the changes are going:

I decided not to do an upholstered headboard. I like my antique bed fine for now, and honestly, I’d like to finish the room sometimes this year… Wall color is Sherwin Williams Loyal Blue, which I’m obsessed with now, though it did require four coats and three gallons, so I wasn’t thrilled with it during the actual painting process. The art I picked up at a local antique/vintage store for $120 for the pair. Not super cheap, but a decent deal for a set of framed prints.

There you can see the curtains as they actually look, because the picture below is way dark. They make me so happy!

In case you’re wondering, they’re just barely wide enough to close. They look bad when they’re closed, but I’m okay with that since I only close them to sleep. You might also notice that there’s a random piece of IKEA glass below the window. I guess I accidentally stole that when I bought the Malm dresser below. I didn’t realize until I got home that there were two pieces stuck together because of their shrink wrap. Sorry, IKEA. I’ll return it next time I’m in the neighborhood…

That’s the IKEA Malm dressing table. I paired that with the dresser because they are the exact same height and I wanted it to feel like a continuous piece against the long wall. Annoyingly, the glass for the two pieces looks different, so it’s not as smooth a transition as I’d hoped for, but c’est la vie. The mirror is a placeholder. I haven’t been able to find something I love yet, so I’m borrowing this from my parents. The standing lamp is from Urban Outfitters. I need a vanity chair, but CL has been failing me.

Yup, there’s a big random dresser in the middle of the floor. I was using that before I bough and assembled (by myself!) the IKEA pieces. Two pulls have fallen off, but it’s the dresser my dad grew up with, so I always kind of liked it for that reason. I don’t, however, like it sitting in the middle of my floor. I’m currently waiting for space to open up in my parents’ garage. On the random dresser, you might notice a random brass sconce. I got a pair from Urban Outfitters and need to install them around my bed. Yesterday, I purchased a TV and DVD player. I don’t like having a TV in the bedroom, but there really isn’t a spot in the living room that makes sense; it would either have to be on the wall facing the front door–so it would be the very first thing you saw–or it would have to block windows. I figured this was the least of all evils. I’m not getting cable, so this is really just for watching movies, and that’s kind of nice to do from bed. I have art that will be hung around the TV, gallery-style. The screen is on lone from my parents. It’s awesome.

I also have this piece, my first nude, that needs to be hung as well. I’m including this pic mostly just because it’s the best representation of what the wall color really looks like.

As you might notices, I don’t actually have any CL finds in this room yet. But that’ll change tonight, when I pick up these two vintage leather chairs that will be placed at the foot of my bed:

They’re $175 for the pair, and I found sets of these chairs available online for $350-$400 a chair, and couldn’t find any in this great color. Their main purpose will be to serve as a surface to place shams and decorative pills when I sleep, but I also want to have some seating available in there, in case I invite someone over to watch a movie. I don’t want the only option to be watching from bed! That could send the wrong message… ;)

Sorry for the rushed post!

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I hesitate to share these because a. the pictures are pretty crappy and b. the space is only 60% complete, if that. But then I realized that I probably won’t ever be completely satisfied with the pictures OR the space, so I might as well show you what I’ve done so far.

These pics are from Instagram, which I just joined (@catherine_p_ahern), and typical for me, I have no idea what I’m doing. But as amateur as these are, I know they’re better than what I’d be able to come up with using my old point-and-shoot camera, if I was even able to find it, which I’m not. I have a whole wall of windows in the main space, but unfortunately, I took these on a rainy, cloudy day, which didn’t help anything. Oh well. C’est la vie, right?

Here’s what you see when you walk in:

Parkfairfax place work-in-progress 1
The sofa is old and will soon be replaced (but I bought it at Reunions, if you’re interested–they often have good consigned furniture). My new-to-me sofa is currently being reupholstered. I told them it wasn’t a rush, but that might have been a mistake because waiting.is.hard. The coffee table is from CL (blogged about here). I’m obsessed with the wood grain and the lines of the piece overall. The vintage desk (you can just see the edge of it on the left) was swiped from my parents’ basement. The brass etagere (on the far right) is from CL (blogged about here). The art is by Pat Barron and is from the Torpedo Factory. I don’t know if it depicts and actual event or real people, but it feels quintessentially D.C. to me, and I love it for that reason. The rug is from Anthropologie and is one of the few real “splurges” I’ve ever made on decor stuff. Never regretted it for a second though. Sometimes you need to splurge.

If you look to the left, you see this:

Parkfairfax place work-in-progress 2
The chair and ottoman are Plycraft knockoffs of the classic Eames lounger. I got them off CL when I lived in Richmond. I plan on giving them to my little brother some day because form-wise, they’re not really my style, but function-wise, they make for the most comfy reading corner imaginable, so I might not be able to part with them. The brass side table was swiped from my parents’ garage. The wood side table with built in lamp was a gift from my mom in college. I’m 90% sure she got it at the Ft. Myer Thrift Shop, which has never let me down (and you don’t have to be military to go; you just tell the guard when you show him/her your ID). The art was swiped from my parents’ house. It’s an antique map of Newport, R.I., where I was born.

If you look to the right, you see this:

Parkfairfax place work-in-progress 3
The bookshelf is Ikea’s versatile Expedite. I think the baskets are also Ikea, but I can’t really remember. I’d like to replace them anyway. The books are only like 25% of my collection … the rest are boxed in the awesome storage space behind this wall flanked by those two mini doors (they’re my height). The lamps are from Home Goods. The art is from a thrift store in Richmond, but I can’t remember its name (Update: It was Consignment Connection. I was reminded by today’s “Day of Thrifting” post at YHL. Thanks, Sherry! Good timing!). They were an awesome find at $100 for four framed vintage Cadillac prints (the fourth piece of the series is on the etagere, and you can see it peaking out in the first picture). The brass cranes, vintage glasses and vintage brass caddy holding the glasses are all from the Ft. Myer Thrift Stop.

There’s not much to share in other areas yet, but I’m working on it, I promise. Slow and steady, slow and steady.

When I walk into my apartment, I feel happy. It’s far, far, far from being finished, but I feel like it’s on the right track, and that’s exciting. When I walk into my bedroom, on the other hand, I feel a little deflated. I’ve done nothing. I put in my bed and dresser, but that’s it. There’s nothing on the floor, nothing on the walls, no window treatments–nothing. I need to get to work.

Right now I’m focusing on making drapes and an upholstered headboard. I’ve successfully made no-sew drapes for my parents (using the YHL tutorial). I’m a little intimidated by the headboard, but there are a bunch of tutorials online (including another from YHL, which I’ll probably start with), so I’m thinking I can handle it. The question is: What fabrics do I want to use??

I can tell you what I fantasize about. Peter Dunham’s Fig Leaf fabric:

I’m completely obsessed. It’s perfect. I’m imagining dark navy walls, Fig Leaf drapes (available through Amber), a natural linen headboard and tons of art. Unfortunately, the fabric is way out of my price range. Like $700+ per panel. I only need two panels, but still, I can’t justify that right now. I can’t tell you how sad this makes me. But such is life … so, moving on!

My next choice would be Lauren Liess’s Magnolia fabric:

Like the Peter Dunham fabric, it reminds of something Dorothy Draper would use if she was designing today. I love it. Lauren’s also local and I’m all about shopping locally, so that’s a plus. But unfortunately, the Magnolia fabric is also out of my current budget. Sad face. It’s $120 per yard, if you’re interested.

So where does that leave me? Discounted fabrics, obviously. I’ve used Fabric.com a couple times before–once for the drapes mentioned above and once for upholstery fabric for my new not-yet-in-my-possession sofa–and had very positive experiences. It takes a lot of looking because there’re so many options (most of which aren’t awesome / my style), but there are some decent finds. There not Peter Dunham / Lauren Liess caliber, but that’s okay.

Anyway, I’ve narrowed it down to some options, and I want you to tell me what you think.

Option A: Tommy Bahama Swaying Palms in Key Lime with Premier Prints Vertical Stripe in Chartreuse/Denton

Option B: Richloom Solarium Eastbluff in Cobalt with Richloom Solarium Manzi in Kiwi

Option C: Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Bliss Twilight Peony in Azure with Premier Prints Vertical Stripe in Chartreuse/Denton

Option D: Tommy Bahama Swaying Palms in Aloe with Sultana Burlap in Sage

Option E: Richloom Emily Garden with Richloom Solarium Laguna in Cherry

I’ll probably order a few swatches before I decide, so I’d love to hear your thoughts! (By the way, I’d rather hear what you like best, as opposed to which is closest to the more expensive options.)

Elaborating on your preference in the comment section is also appreciated–even if you just want to say you don’t like any of the options. Thanks, friends!

The gas money would certainly put a dent in the CL savings, but if you’re driving to West Virginia in the near future anyway, make a pitstop to pick up this bad boy:

Pier1 hanging egg chair:
Pier1 hanging egg chair
Asking: $250 [No longer available]
Condition: Not described, but looks good
Dimensions: Not provided
Location: Martinsburg, WV
Thoughts: I got really excited for a second when I found this–it would be awesome for my little patio space–but alas, I don’t think it’s worth the drive (for me personally, I mean). If WV is on your destination list this summer, though, I think you should grab it.

Check it out.

*None of the items in this post are in the D.C. area. They’re all from the Cleveland, Ohio Craigslist page.*

My dear friend Coreen, who is always incredibly supportive and is also currently carrying around two small human beings in her belly, challenged me to find some good stuff on CL in Cleveland, where she lives. Since she probably is the kindest person I’ve ever met, I figure this is a pretty small way to say “Thank you!” and “Congratulations!” (the twins should be popping out any second now).

Coreen, Cleveland’s CL is not the wasteland that you think! Look at all of these fun things I found for $100 or less (two-fifths are under your “guilt number”):

Adorable gold and glass tea cart — $30 [No longer available]:

Awesome vintage wicker/rattan room divider — $85 [No longer available]:

Charming chandelier with leaf/twig motif — $40 [No longer available]:

Pair of funky 70s chairs with chrome bases — $95 [No longer available]:

 Bunk beds for when the twins are a little older — $95 [No longer available]:

Blue lockers$100 $75 [No longer available]:

Twin sized wicker headboard (for Selah?) — $25 (!!) [No longer available]:

Cute patio set (spray paint it black) — $50 [No longer available]:

Matching mirrors in a cool shape — $50 [No longer available]:

Pair of sweet little bistro chairs — $35 [No longer available]:

Set of 6 bamboo folding chairs (one of my fave design bloggers has these in yellow) — $125 [No longer available]: 

Super saturated (and expensive, unfortunately) Oriental rug — $250 [No longer available]:

Vintage steamer trunk — $55 [No longer available]:

I’m in the process of moving here:

The Parkfairfax neighborhood in Alexandria

That’s not my actual building, but it gives you an idea of what the neighborhood is like: historical condos with lots of green space. It’s protected on the National Register of Historic Places, which I love because it means they can never tear down and rebuild. The charm of the neighborhood stays. The apartment I’m renting is a one-bedroom, in very good condition, but not fully renovated. There are a few quirky things that I don’t love, but for the most part, I’m thrilled about the space. I’m also thrilled that I’m about a block away from a pedestrian bridge over 395 that takes me straight here:

The Shirlington Village neighborhood in Arlington

Shirlington is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the metro area. It’s got great restaurants (The Carlyle, Aladdin’s Eatery, Shirlington Thai, Capital City Brewing, Busboys and Poets–just to name a few), good bars, some cute shops, a Harris Teeter, a movie theater, a live theater and  a library–everything I could ever want. Parts of it have been there for a very long time, and newer parts were added well, so it doesn’t look like it was dropped out of the sky (a pet peeve of mine with many newer developments). I was pretty sure I wanted to be in or near Shirlington, so I’m really happy with the proximity of my new place.

It’s a million degrees here today (ok, technically “just” 103 right now), so I’m taking it easy on the moving. I’ve emailed about this sofa:

Actually, I’ve emailed twice–and have yet to hear back, so I think it’s not going to happen, sadly. I’m extra sad because–even though I don’t love the fabric–one of my favorite designers (Lauren Liess) scored the same sofa off CL a few years back and had it reupholstered into one of favorite sofas in one of my favorite living rooms of all time:

(I wish I could find a better picture!) It would have been glorious. But alas, it was not meant to be. C’est la vie. CL is constantly updating, so I’ll find something soon.

I did however, successfully contact another seller about this shelving unit:

I’ll be picking it up tomorrow for $65. I’m feeling pretty great about that. Imagine it styled like this:

This:

Or this:

It shall be lovely. Trust.

More updates and general CL finds to come soon!

My very fun and fashionable friend Stephie tagged me to answer some questions about myself, and since I’m apparently totally self absorbed “into reflection,” I’m jumping at the chance. Here are the official rules

  1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
  3. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag anyone who feels like it to answer.
  4. Go to their blog and tell them that you have tagged them. I realize this is sort of the “point” of these things, but since I don’t personally know many bloggers whom a.) Stephie didn’t already tag and b.) are likely to do this. Maybe two. And it feels silly to tag two people.

Here are 11 random things about me:

  1. When people ask me where I’m from, I claim both Newport, RI (where I was born) and Alexandria, VA (where I lived the longest/went to high school).
  2. I’m a Navy brat and moved every 18 months when I was young. Newport, RI –> San Diego, CA –> Alexandria, VA –> Newport, RI –> Long Beach, CA –> Portsmouth, RI –> Alexandria, VA (and then, on my own –> Charlottesville, VA –> Glen Allen, VA –> Richmond, VA –> Raleigh, NC –> and finally back to Alexandria, VA)
  3. I’m going through a divorce, which is obviously sad and not how I envisioned my late 20s, BUT I’m focusing on having the unique chance to start fresh at a fairly young age, and for that I’m very grateful.
  4. When I was in 8th grade, I told my mom that I wanted to be an interior decorator when I grew up. At a parent/teacher conference, she told my 8th grade teacher, who said I was “way too smart for that.” I totally regret letting that dream die so easily …
  5. The last TV show I watched was Downton Abbey (obsessed); the last movie was a French comedy called How to Get Married and Stay Single (enjoyed it); the last book I read was The Secret (liked, didn’t believe everything, but still got a lot out of); and the last song I listened to was K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” (on my run earlier today).
  6. If I were to randomly inherit some money, say $5000, I promised myself I’d invest in a piece of original art that I love. Probably something by Steve Pyke, a portrait artist I’ve loved for years. (Specifically, I’d get a large portrait of either Chinua Achebe or Seamus Heaney.) If I were to suddenly be given a very large sum of money, I’d buy an inn or B&B to run for the rest of my life. I’d hire my favorite designers to turn it into a “boutique inn”, which I don’t think exists, but should.
  7. I work from home (but not as a freelancer), writing and editing about business-related topics.
  8. I have a golden retriever named Seamus (after Seamus Heaney, of course), whom I refer to as “the handsomest dog in the world.”
  9. I’ve recently gotten into Meetup and have only had really great experiences. I joined a running/social club that I’m loving, a happy hour club that I’ll be attending my second event with tomorrow and a girls-only club that I’ll meet with for the first time on Saturday to drive some golf balls. If you want to meet people and make new friends (kinda tricky when you work from home!), I can’t recommend it highly enough.
  10. I taught high school English for three years. Loved aspects of it. Hated aspects of it. Mostly was just very, very stressed all the time. I’m happier now, but I do miss some things.
  11. My biggest pet pieve is when lots of people, all going in the same direction, are trying to get through double doors but only use the door on the right. This really only happens when you’re re-entering a building after a fire drill or something like that, but it drives me crazy. Use both doors.

Now for my answers to Stephie’s questions:

  1. What are you most likely to be found doing on the weekends? I don’t think there’s one thing, but I’ve been trying to keep busy. Dinners, bars, clothing swaps, book club meetings, runs, brunches, etc.
  2. If you could only spend time with one family member, who would it be? Jeez, I’m glad I only have one sibling! Otherwise this could be a tricky question. My brother, Tim, hands down. He’s awesome. If you only knew one of us, you’d probably be surprised to meet the other. Tim’s a film major, music festival junky, Burner, bohemian with dreads. I am what you would imagine as “the opposite of all those things.” But personality- and values-wise, we’re very similar. I’d like to be more like him (sans dreads).
  3. What is your favorite item of clothing? I splurged on a Kate Spade coat this year and I adore it. I also love, love, love my Nike Frees.
  4. What movie have you seen more times than you’d like to admit? Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow. I never get sick of it. But that’s not especially embarrassing … hmm … oh! Center Stage. I’ve definitely seen that enough times to be a little embarrassed–though sometimes I just skipped around to watch the dance scenes.
  5. Are you happy with what you decided to study in school? If not, what do you think you should have studied? I have mixed feelings about this, because on one hand I loved college and wouldn’t change a single thing about my experience. (BTW: I did a five-year program to get my BA in English and my Master of Teaching English.) On the other hand, since I didn’t end up staying with teaching, I do wish I’d branched out more and taken some graphic design or business classes. Whenever I had free space, I took extra English and teaching classes. (Side note: If you majored in English or something similar, you will love this.)
  6. What was your favorite game to play as a kid? Uhhh … I have no idea. I know I had a bunch of those PlayMobil sets … I’m sure I liked those.
  7. Which room do you spend most of your time in at your house/apartment? Probably a tie between my office with my work computer and my bedroom with my bed and my personal computer.
  8. Do you like to go thrifting? If so, what was your most amazing find ever? I used to go a lot when I was in high school, but not so much since then. A couple years ago I started going to the J.Crew warehouse sales in Lynchburg and got some good deals there.
  9. What’s one thing you will never leave your house without? iPhone
  10. Are you a tea or a coffee person? (Or neither?) Both, but I prefer black tea. My fave is St. Dalfour in either Peppermint or Black Cherry.
  11. What made you start your blog, and what makes you stick with it? This is blog numero tres for me (not counting the ones I contribute to for work), so I don’t have a good record of keeping them going. I started this one because I missed the outlet, but wanted to do something that wasn’t writing-intensive, since I write for work. I enjoy perusing CL and like the idea of helping people find things they want/need, so the idea for this blog was born. However, this is quite a long and writing-intensive post, so I’m abandoning my plan to include some of my personal favorite CL finds (that’s basically all I post anyway) and just getting on to the final bit where I ask the questions …

Feel free to answer one or all of these in the comments, on your blog or in your own head:

  1. What’s your geographical soulmate (the place where you feel most happy/complete)?
  2. What’s the most recent epiphany–big or small–that you’ve had?
  3. What’s your favorite museum or type of museum?
  4. Have you ever bought anything off CL? If so, what was your best score?
  5. What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod/MP3 player of choice?
  6. What book(s) have you reread because they’re just that good?
  7. What are three things on your bucket list?
  8. What was your proudest moment?
  9. Whom do you look up to?
  10. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
  11. If you suddenly found out that you (or your significant other) were going to give birth to a son and a daughter tomorrow, what would you name them?

Thanks for humoring me!