Nick Olsen decorated his friend’s tiny apartment for House Beautiful & I’m jealous.

New York-based interior designer and fellow blogger Nick Olsen decorated an absolutely fabulous apartment featured in this month’s issue of House Beautiful. The space is roughly the exact same size as my apartment! Except it looks 10,000 million times better and is awesome. *Le sigh* The entire issue of HB is rather wonderful this month, with a focus on small spaces (the California bungalow featured is another favorite). Take a video tour of the Olsen-designed Brooklyn studio here!

Images by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautiful via Splendid Sass and If The Lamp Shade Fits.

Apartamento Living: The Corner Office

Ta-da! My “corner office,” featuring the vanity I purchased a few weekends ago at the Girlfriends of Greenwood sale. I said at the time that I was planning on blog-debuting the piece when I was ready to give it a makeover, but I’m no longer sure I what I want to do with it. I was thinking paint, but it’s already had so many layers and the peeling, worn effect is rather eye-catching itself. This makeshift office is actually a bit of a shrine to the Greenwood Country Store – the vase (in actuality a French country-chic wine jug), the antlers and the ballerina picture (purchased soon after seeing Black Swan) all came from the store or the sale as well!

My custom-cut boutonnière! The lilacs started to wilt the day after I brought them home, if you couldn’t tell from the desk photo. I guess I have a black thumb – is that a thing?

And as I told you, I’m a floral guy year-round – the last time I sent out one of these thank you cards (bought at O’Suzannah years ago on sale) was in January! They’re a tad more seasonal now. I gave one to my aunt and uncle for hosting a little family Easter get-together yesterday, to which I brought multiple containers of tupperware – no, really. I come prepared! Waste not, want not, right? Hope your weekends went well!

UPDATE: Forgot to mention! The flowers were purchased from farmer’s market vendor Steadfast Farms 🙂

Country Road, Take Me Shopping

My friend Miranda is the young owner of The Yellow Button boutique in Harrisonburg, Virginia, my former college town. I interned with her a few summers ago, so I stopped by this past weekend while passing through to see how she was doing. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was too swamped with customers to greet me right away. In the two years since opening, The Yellow Button has grown physically (the shop now extends into part of its former storeroom) and in popularity. Miranda carries a high/low mix of bohemian-chic pieces from well-known brands such as Free People, Frye and TOMS, as well as lesser-known brands such as the Korean line Thursday Island. (“They just don’t make larges!” she laughs, telling me about customer’s reactions to the South Korea-manufactured label’s diminutive size run.) On top of her retail prowess, Miranda has an eye for really cute furniture, much of it antique – we discussed the best locations to scout for new pieces and techniques for bringing new life to fun vintage finds. Her morning ritual of poring over design blogs is evident in the impressive refinishing she’s done with a lot of her pieces – something that’ll come in handy when decorating the new house she just purchased for herself! Once the food co-op opens, she says, she’ll be able to walk everywhere. (Yes, there’s a food co-op opening in Harrisonburg! Visit for more information.) Hopefully once Miranda is all settled in, we’ll be able to see how she transforms her new digs! Until then, enjoy the pictures of her store.

Oh, look…a Kankan flyer…

Apartamento Living: Like Ikebana, But Not Really

Let’s go ahead and bring my Japan kick full-circle by focusing in on my own space. I was cleaning up last week and the lack of a defined “home office” was really getting on my nerves. I’ve had all of my “home office” things sitting on one half of my dining room table for two months now and it’s getting old. The only desk I’ve found that I feel is really perfect (faux bamboo Chinoiserie!) is out of my price range (currently about $0-$1.50) so I decided instead to make the most of my assorted random stuff. That’s where the art of flower arranging comes in – not because flowers are involved in this, but because I like to think that there’s something generally artful about arranging things – any things! Maybe it’s the merchandiser-in-training in me. Actively working to create a balance between things in your space just feels good and has an air of Feng Shui about it.

Continuing with the retail analogy, I re-merchandised the bench at the foot of my bed (see the old set up here) by bringing out my hand-hammered Moroccan plate to a more prominent display position and setting the marble frag base (as previously seen in my bathroom) next to it. I like having the cologne bottles out in the living area because they make the whole place smell good when I spray them now. I love the way the gold lacquered Caspari tray contrasts with the distressed tin. The colors and shapes for some reason feel Oriental without anything actually being from Asia – a nice East-meets-West fusion!

Even neatly arranging my canvases makes them look a little less out of place and I can always declare them an installation piece if questioned. Right?

I got ’em local!
Tray, Cottage Consignment
Plate, The Curious Orange
Sunglasses, Urban Outfitters (our local one)

Inspiration: Think Inside The Frame

Stolen from Tales of Endearment

Joos took this picture of Susie Bubbles’ apartment and I love the idea of simply taping polaroid pictures to the wall in neat rows. They’re technically already framed little pieces of art. So simple, yet really effective.

This Is Charlottesville: The Curated Life

Artifacts is located across from O’Suzannah on the Downtown Mall. The store is full of amazing finds and features a unique aesthetic for the city – things are a bit less precious, if you will (although I can love me some precious.) There’s a noticeable Eastern influence and if I had to put my finger on a term for the vibe of the store, I’d say masculine-chic. (Despite the coin purses at the bottom of the post.) Owner Todd Philipps was nice enough to let me stop by and shoot a few of the things that make his space unique.

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Apartamento Living: La Sala

My living room. It’s a bit spartan at the moment and what I’ve come to realize while trying to achieve apartment perfection these past few months is that a well-decorated house takes time more than anything. The best spaces, at least the personal ones, are a reflection of growth and experience. I was hoping to create a “perfect” space by now, but this isn’t a design project – the budget is limited (nonexistent) and resources and time are becoming more and more scarce. The living room wasn’t “defined” until recently, when I got my rug. That couch is an old thing my brother had hidden away in his closet…and the “slipcover” is an old bedsheet of my parent’s. The chairs belonged to my grandparents and were kept on my family’s back porch until I decided to resuscitate them and on my parent’s advice left them unpainted for a rustic country touch. I really love ’em. The main issue is that blank back wall. I had been planning to simply hang up some pictures, but my new idea is to get an old window (not full-sized!) and put some hooks along the bottom where I could hang up scarves/old shopping bags (nice ones)/whatever else to give the wall a sense of purpose/seeming usefulness. Also, more throw pillows will eventually be thrown into the mix. (On the couch, not the wall). Thoughts/suggestions?

The Selby Is (Not) In My Space

Because it’s taken me sooo long to get any pictures of my apartment posted, I figured this morning I would start revealing/unveiling it “room” by “room.” Again, it’s a studio and everyone who visits exclaims “Wow, it really is tiny” before they comment on its relative cuteness, but such is life. This is my grand foyer (pronounced foi-yay, otherwise I don’t know to what you are referring.)

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Crafts By a Poor Person

I was sort-of inspired by Amy Sedaris’ Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People and definitely inspired by Sedaris’ appearance on The Nate Berkus Show to make this video about crafting, or rather, “makeshift art.” (P.S. Makes sure to watch my video on ‘480p’ rather than the ultra-crappy ‘240p’.)