Tuesday, May 31, 2011

project update

Remember when I gave a rundown on some current projects I was working on back here? Well, the last one project I covered in that post is complete! It's rare that anyone other than my bosses goes to photograph the projects for our website, so I was beyond thrilled to get invited to the photo shoot! It's so fun to see all that hard work finally materialize into something.

The office is still a work in progress. It's the Upper East Side equivalent of a "man cave". I wonder where they are going to put the neon beer signs and pool table :)

The kitchen complete with a marble slab for baking.

The kitchen again. Our office generally does a lot of white kitchens, but I am kind of loving how moody this dark one is. This was definitely a client who knew what she wanted and I'm glad she was able to push us towards something different.

The dining room with our photographer Lydia* and her assistant. Remember these fish plates? After all my hard work, she ended up putting them in a completely different arrangement!

View from the dining room into the den/library. For the shoot, my boss and I went to town styling the shelves and removing nick nacks and family photos. The hardest part was remembering where to put everything back!

Hallway leading to the closets, bathrooms, and bedroom. I'm not 100% on board with the client's style but I do like that wardrobe and her chevron rug.

Powder room with the clients extensive collection of dried botanicals. The client's last apartment was almost exclusively this mustard yellow color. Luckily, we were able to limit it to this teeny room this time. We came up with the brilliant idea to paint broad, horizontal stripes on the walls in the same color but different finishes (flat vs. glossy). FYI, you can only see it when your face is two inches from the wall. Maybe we aren't as brilliant as we once thought :)

Huge piece of millwork in the living room. They have a Joan MirĂ³ print hanging on the wall. Towards the center of the cabinets, the client has a huge bowl of jelly beans we snacked on during the shoot. She is very particular about what colors go in the bowl. It's not because she only likes certain flavors. She only allows those that match her decor :)

It must have been comical watching my boss and I style this area. It's much harder than it sounds! We didn't want to detract from that amazing view of the Queensboro Bridge and East River.

View of the living room out to the water. This took about 50 tries of move that table a little to the left or fix those flowers or that pillow is hideous, ditch it! before we finally got a shot we liked.

Remember those shoe shelves from the construction photos? Well, now they are stocked with Manolos and Jimmy Choos. Sigh.

*Totally off topic, but our photographer Lydia has a business with her photographer husband. While chit chatting between shots, I learned that when she and her husband got married, he took her name in addition to his own. So now they are both Mr. and Mrs. Gould (her name) Bessler (his name). How progressive! See their work here.

Monday, May 30, 2011


After work on Thursday, I met up with Kurt and Jenn at the Highline. A landscape architect friend was having a gathering at the 10th Avenue Square to celebrate the last day at her current job in NYC and her new job starting soon in San Fransisco. Congratulations, Jennifer!

After the Highline, Jenn and I went to a launch party for a new cookbook from Big Girls, Small Kitchen called In the Small Kitchen. It was held in a bar called The Wooly in the ground floor of the Woolworth Building. The event was free but I was somehow hoping for an open bar. Alas, we had to pay for our own drinks but they did offer some yummy cookies and rice krispy treats made by the authors. I casually follow the BGSK ladies on their blog and they have a great motto: you don't have to have a ton of space and state of the art kitchen to create some delicious meals and throw fun parties for your friends. I've sampled a few of their recipes (they have a great archive on their site) and hope to try out some more once I get my kitchen stocked and up and running. I mean, kitchens don't get much smaller than mine :)

rocky sullivans

It's finally begun to act like summer around here. This means getting back in the biking saddle. One of our favorite summer activities is taking a ride to Red Hook on Tuesday nights to visit Rocky Sullivan's. They have awesome pizza and give it to you for half price when you ride your bike.

Our favorite bartender George is always there and great to chat with. We were about to set up shop at the bar downstairs when he reminded us of the great roof deck upstairs. He knows us so well :)

It was a gorgeous night and we had a delicious Margherita pie. Hopefully it the first of many visits this summer!

the new detectives @ the delancey

Last Sunday, Kurt and I made the trek to Manhattan (this is unheard of on a Sunday evening) to see a friend's band play. Kurt's friend from Ohio State, Kelly, is the drummer in the band The New Detectives. They were playing a show at The Delancey and we were more than happy to come out and show our support. We didn't hang around too long before retreating back to our comfortable borough, but the show was great. Check them out!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

housewarming party

Even before I moved, I started dreaming about having a housewarming party. It seems like such a fun way to introduce friends to your new space. I hadn't made too many strides in the decorating department but still wanted to have a few people over. Plus, I don't have too much furniture yet so it's easy to fit people in my tiny apartment!

I asked people to bring their own drinks and I would provide some snacks. I had some roasted chickpeas (even though my oven started smoking midway through and I was forced to shorten their cooking time), Mexican layer dip with chips, addicting wasabi peas, and some hummus with crackers and veggies.

Jenn brought her delicious, tastes-better-than-it-looks strawberry rhubarb pie and Kristin picked up a famous Steve's Key Lime Pie

Unfortunately, my lack of furniture doesn't provide much in the way of seating. Hopefully that will be resolved soon enough. Regardless, everyone got creative and found somewhere to perch. 

I painted my front door with chalkboard paint but have been unable to come up with something to write on it yet. I'm hoping it will continually change and evolve but I was scared to make the first mark. Kurt started it off and everyone signed their name in a crossword puzzle type fashion. Of course, Kurt also decided to include a huge O-H! All I have to say to that is...I-O! :) Oh, and War Eagle!

Thanks to everyone for coming! I'm hoping it will be the first of many gatherings at my "canal-side crib".

beer book tour

I've gone coupon crazy lately. I often find great deals on Groupon and Scoutmob for things around the city. For the past couple years, the blog Brokelyn has put out a "beer book" which contains coupons for free beers at several bars around Brooklyn. Kurt got me one for Christmas and several of our friends bought in too. We've slowly been pecking away at our coupons, but mostly staying close to home. This Friday, Kurt, Erik, Jenn, and I decided to have a very cheap night out. We would visit three or four beer book bars that were close to each other, having one beer at each. Effectively, this would only cost us $1 tip at each place. Brilliant!

I love getting off work in the summer because it is still light outside for so long. I had such a pretty walk through Brooklyn Heights to meet up with the group at our first bar, The Roebling Inn. After we all convened there and had our one beer, we headed down to B61, one of Kurt's favorites. After B61, we stopped and got burritos at Calexico as we walked to Red Hook to visit the Brooklyn Ice House. They had a pretty extensive beer list and a huge backyard space. However, we spent most of our time inside playing Jenga!

I won't say who lost, but it wasn't one of the architects :)

{last three images courtesy of Kurt}

the move

I finally got my internet hooked up this weekend. My cat may have caused the Time Warner technician to have an allergic reaction, but I can finally get around to posting about the move!

I was sick the entire week before I moved, so packing was kind of miserable. All I wanted to do was sleep, but things needed to be boxed and organized. Even though I stand by the claim that I don't have that much stuff, I decided I still had too much stuff. I wish I had taken the time before the move to trash/donate about half the things I don't use or need anymore.

Eventually the weekend rolled around and I started getting nostalgic about my old neighborhood. Fort Greene is truly so pretty. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Saturday morning Kurt and I shared a bagel on the roof of my building on last time to soak it all in. 

Once Kurt and I picked up a U-Haul truck, my friend Andrea came over to help us load. Climbing up and down to the third floor repeatedly is kind of rough but we powered through and eventually had the room cleared.

It's strange to see your entire life in the back of a truck.

Goodbye, little corner!

So long, lovely street.

Hello, big girl apartment! Kurt's brother, Erik, helped us empty the truck which went by super fast. I am constantly amazed by the strength of guys. After moving all my possessions from one third floor walk-up to another, I was exhausted

When we unloaded the truck, everything just got dumped in the apartment. I was so tired from moving, but my OCD tendencies would not let myself rest until things were moderately organized. I spent the remainder of the afternoon situating furniture and putting clothes away.

One of my favorite things about the new place: a completely empty refrigerator. No more confusion about whether something is yours or your roommate's. No more forgotten mystery containers growing mold at the back. No more fighting for space when someone decides to get a year supply of butter at Costco. 

It's. All. Mine.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

video tour

Yesterday, I got an email from Lonny magazine and west elm for a contest. It is the chance to win $10,000 worth of stuff from west elm and have your space styled by the editor of Lonny. I'm a big nerd and ran home immediately to record my video submission. I wouldn't mind decorating my apartment piece by piece over time, but I'm not one to turn down free stuff either. I enter contests all the time but rarely win, so I've got my fingers crossed for this one. If nothing else, it forced me to learn more about how amazing my iPhone is and create a short video to show you the apartment in its current state. There is so much still to be done. I won't even go into defending the space (but please don't judge my lackluster video skills and try to ignore that bicycle hiding in the corner!).

Now don't go entering the contest for yourself and ruining my chances! Stories of the moving process are still to come, I promise.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

moving announcements

Since writing a post about the actual move seems too daunting right now, I will tell you about all the periphery items. This will be my fourth apartment in NYC after only being here a little over two and a half years. I realize I have serial moving issues and am hoping to stay put for a little longer this time. I kind of stumbled upon this apartment and didn't want to spread the word until everything was final, so I didn't share the news with many people. Now I want to make sure everyone can find me (hello! send me Christmas cards!) so I decided to make some moving announcements. I'm almost ashamed to tell you where I got the inspiration because I blatantly stole the design from minted.com. Give credit where credit is due though, right? My one excuse for borrowing the design is that every single card on the market says "WE MOVED". While I love Aubie (most days), I haven't reached the crazy cat lady level where he gets equal billing (speaking of Christmas cards...). Therefore, I needed to personalize them for just me. Plus, I saved a boatload of money making them myself. I hit a few snags in the printing process, but it wasn't anything a bit of packing tape and chipboard couldn't fix. I think it gave it the feeling of the haphazard moving process. Let's say it was my concept from the beginning!

Imitation is the fondest form of flattery, so I hear. You really should check out minted.com. They have some really awesome options by independent artists and graphic designers if you are ever in the market for greeting cards...or...umm...inspiration!

Monday, May 16, 2011

cinco de mayo

Yes, I realize I am a little behind on this post. Cut a girl some slack. I have been in the process of moving (don't worry, I will go into this ad nauseam soon) and have completely fallen off the Gravytrain. This is my attempt at catching up!

In my finest moment of racial profiling, I asked my Puerto Rican friend, Christian, to plan the evening's outing. He chose La Superior in Williamsburg for dinner. 

Don't let these images fool you. It was a busy place and got packed. We had to wait a while for a table and then squeezed our party of six into a four person table. Needless to say, we weren't the wait staff's favorite group. They weren't terribly efficient in return, but we still had a good time.

I failed to photograph my yummy squid ink tacos (like this pasta) or Kurt's sandwich drowned in hot sauce (his new obsession), but I did capture a crappy iPhone image of my margarita. I don't recall the name (which I asked Christian to pronounce for me fifteen times) or what was in it, but it was a beautiful purple and yummy. 

After we stuffed ourselves with Mexican food, Christian took us to a new beer garden in his neighborhood. He kept riding his bike past it on his way to work and had been looking for an occasion to go. For some reason, I was blown away by Spritzenhaus. It is a huge space in Greenpoint near the park with huge glass garage doors that open onto the sidewalk. 

The details inside were amazing. We decided the place must have cost a fortune. I really loved the industrial modern look. The marble top tables weren't too shabby either. 

One of my favorite touches was the bathroom washbasin. Huge shower heads serve as the faucet and are controlled by a pedal on the floor. Love. I look forward to going back here, especially when the weather is nice and grabbing a seat that looks out on the park. Maybe a nice destination when my mom and sister come to visit next month!

{first two images via New York Magazine, Spritzenhaus images courtesy of Kurt}

Monday, May 9, 2011

the countdown begins

I can't believe I am moving into my new place in less than a week! I've got lots of blogging material but no time to post. After a cold+allergies knocked me out of commission for a while, I have been sorting through apartment/moving specifics for the big day. I promise to get back in the saddle with all the gory details when I have a moment to breathe. In the meantime, Kurt's brother, Erik, made this stop motion video of us on the roof of my new building after a painting marathon where Jenn painted circles around me with one hand tied behind her back (or rather, a fractured elbow in a sling). We aren't doing much other than dancing around but I think it is fun. The view from the roof is awesome, by the way! Can't wait to show you more!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

big girl apartment

My big news this week?! I got my very own teeny-tiny studio apartment! Hooray! I've been casually browsing Craigslist for a few months and have come up empty handed. I've been disappointed by quite a few places but finally found this cutie in Gowanus. I saw it last Saturday, submitted an application Sunday, was approved on Monday, and signed the lease Wednesday! Phew! They aren't lying when they say NYC real estate moves quickly.!

These are definitely some before shots. Do you like how you can see practically the entire apartment from one vantage point? It small but guess what....all 290 square feet of it are mine :) Oh, well, I guess I have to share with Aubie.

You can see "the kitchen" here but it is all just one room. I really like that the appliances are tucked away so I don't feel like I am cooking in my bedroom. I'm secretly a little excited to have an electric stove. Gas scares me and I would always be paranoid it was leaking. It is the tiniest stove ever. I don't think it is even 24" wide. When I start acquiring kitchen things (which I have very little) I will have to make sure to get Easy Bake Oven size pans.

View from the kitchen to the rest of the space. It gets nice light during the day. I have never had a fire escape before. Kurt has promised to build me a planter box to set out there. I guess I should learn how to grow things....

The former tenant left this kitchen rack behind. I think it will be super functional since there is zero counter space. Check out all that wine storage on the bottom! For some reason, the shininess bothers me. Does anyone know how to make metal matte? Should I just take steel wool to it and scuff it up?

The bathroom is actually really clean and nice, albeit small (notice a theme here?). The last tenant also left some glass shelves which will come in handy for storage.

My view down Third Avenue. It a little busy but I am really happy with the location.

The train is only a couple blocks away, so it is actually really convenient.

Because I am an architect nerd, here is the plan :) It will be changed and updated as I work on a furniture arrangement. Suggestions are welcome! I've got Kurt working on his scheme as we speak :)

I signed the lease last night with the broker at the apartment. I have never signed more documents or handed over a larger sum of money in my life. I felt like I was buying a house! After all the paperwork was squared away, I got to meet the landlord, Vinny (I'm not even joking). He was hilarious and such a caricature of all things Brooklyn. First of all, he was in a track suit and had a crazy thick accent. He was born and grew up in the neighborhood and will never leave. He told us this hilarious joke about living with his mother which I won't do justice if I explain it here. Needless to say, I think I am going to love living here!
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