Thursday, June 30, 2011

extra seating

My apartment is still lacking in the furniture department. When Kurt comes over for a meal, one of us has to sit on a nightstand because I only have one chair. Not that I entertain (yet), but I wanted something flexible that won't take up a ton of space all the time but will provide people a place to perch other than the floor.

I found these little camp stools at the Pearl River Market (an awesome store to check out if you are in the city). I love the idea that they fold up when not in use. However, I did not love the fabric. Not exactly the style I was going for.

I decided to rip the existing fabric off and use it as a template. I've had these really cute placemats from World Market awaiting projects for months. Since I don't really sew, I used hem tape and an iron to wrap the old seat with my new fabric.

Then I went to town with my staple gun and reattached the fabric to he wood frame. Not a monumental change but I think it is quite an improvement.

I still feel the need to attach the fabric more firmly to the frame and disguise the staples. I was thinking nail head trim...maybe brass thumb tacks will work just as well :)

The seat is on the small side and the frame isn't the strongest thing ever, but I think it will come in handy. I might even get a few more in the future.

alabama in soho

Yesterday I was doing a little shopping in Soho after work. As I passed by CB2, I thought Hey! Wait a minute! I know those posters! The style was so familiar and when I paused on the sidewalk to survey the display, I realized they were prints from Amos Kennedy of Kennedy Prints! In Gordo, Alabama. Amos does a lot of work with the Rural Studio, and I even visited his letterpress shop outside of Tuscaloosa when I was a student at Auburn.

The posters are for Pride Month and advertise a message of acceptance and tolerance. Check out the organization he partnered with here and you can find the one of a kind prints from CB2 here (but sadly they are sold out online!). The world seems smaller and smaller everyday :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

office work

Have you been thoroughly been inundated by posts yet? I've finally gotten back on track with blogging and have been finding lots of fun things to write about. 

Our office has a few completed projects that are in the process of being photographed. We took a little office field trip during the photoshoot of this apartment on 20th Street in Manhattan. It wasn't my project but I did help measure it back in 2009. It's amazing to see the transformation!

The kitchen is by a company called Henrybuilt. The skylight was existing and gets amazing light on the penthouse floor.

That's the Flatiron Building in the background (upper left). Not too shabby, huh?

The living room adjoins to the kitchen and they have an enormous projection screen for movie and tv watching. Both the screen and projector recess into the ceiling and are controlled by the client's iPhone. Way too high tech for me!!

The den was probably the most put together of all the rooms (the client is adorable and was telling us all about the sloooow decorating process). I love the print above her desk. Such good words to live by.

I also really like the fireplace mantle. It's a beautiful piece of marble with only the slightest curve. So simple and elegant. I can never dream of having so many books!

We really love this client and miss her visits to the office. She would occasionally bring some of her dogs (and other times her hilarious twin sister). At one point, the couple had four but now they are down to three. The little one is Snickers and the Wheatons are Teddy and Freddy. Unfortunately, their new beautiful walnut floors already have scuff marks all over them from puppy paws, but the dogs love their built in nook under the stairs.

I can't get over the huge chandelier over the bathtub. One day...

I really love the light fixture in their entry foyer. Can you believe it cost something like fifteen thousand dollars though?! Crazy right?! Upstairs they have a huge sectional sofa that cost thirty thousand! With three dogs?! These people must be crazy. We love working with the crazy ones though :)

makeshift backsplash

The wall behind my sink and stove has always just been plain, painted drywall. It seems like a place that could take a lot of wear and tear and I wanted something a little more durable and easy to clean. It is also a spot sorely missing some color and interest.

At work, we are always installing beautiful tile and stone backsplashes. Since that is completely unrealistic for a renter like me, I needed another idea. I came across this blog post and it seemed like the perfect solution. All I needed was pretty paper and a sheet of plexiglass. 

I found some decorative scrapbook paper at Paper Presentation (also where I get my wrapping paper art). I thought this style seemed modern, geometric and vaguely Moroccan. The sheets are actually 12x12 chipboard squares, so it feels like tile too.

It's an improvement, but I'm not completely happy with the project yet. After some issues getting the acrylic sheet cut to the correct size, I broke a couple corners during installation when I didn't predrill the screw holes large enough. I'm not sold on the paper either. Up close it looks nice but from a distance, the whole thing takes on this icky 70s vibe. Luckily, I can just change out the paper without too much cost or headache. Next time I'm planning on going for something more colorful.

i should be a travel agent

So recently, a little bird told me that southwest airlines was having a major sale to celebrate their 40th anniversary, offering flights as low as $40 one way. Kurt and I batted around a few ideas about going out west, and I considered booking a long overdue flight back to Alabama. The catch was that the sale was only for a short term and we would have to buy them that day! Talk about rash decisions!

I talked it over with my parents and snatched up a flight in October to Nashville for a 5 day visit. (Seems so far away, doesn't it?!) Get ready for me, Alabama, October 20th through the 24th! I'm hoping to capitalize on the South's long summer warmth when NYC will probably be cold already.

As for our "western wanderings", Kurt and I worked out a grand plan which included spending time in Green River, Utah, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, all in about a week's time. Once we really thought it out, that was a little bit too intense. We got reasonable and decided to focus on Utah for a long weekend in mid September. The little town of Green River will be celebrating Melon Days and the opening of their first Habitat for Humanity house. Not to be missed. 

Logically, we would fly in and out of Salt Lake City, the closest major airport. Kurt had the great idea to make it more of a road trip though. We are flying into Denver, renting a car and driving the 6 hours to Green River (as an alterior motive, Kurt wants to scope out the mountains for a future ski trip). After a weekend of revelry and exploring in Green River, we will drive to Salt Lake City and fly back to NYC.

Incredibly, Kurt was able to convince his brother Erik to join us! As we were finalizing the plans on speaker phone, the boys' internet decided to die. I ended up ordering all our flights by taking their credit card numbers over the phone. I ordered over $900 in flights in one night! I should start charging commission! 

Even though its a long way off, we are super excited about the trip! I can't wait to see old friends in Utah and all the exciting things they have been doing in Green River! See you September 15th!!

(The phrase Western Wanderings is the sole intellectual property of Kurt L. Martig.)
{Above image from my May 2009 trip to Green River for my 1 year architecture school reunion.}

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I often consider myself a blue/green person. Don't ask me why. Other than an adolescent pink phase, I generally steer clear of reds and oranges. Lately, however, I have been obsessed with coral. First it was nail polish and lipstick, but now I am getting into it for my home.


I found this apartment of a Design Sponge home tour. It's not often I think yes! that's perfect! but this house really struck a chord with me. I love how the rooms are deeply rooted in white with lots of bright colors mixed in. I just couldn't get that accent wall out of my head. My plain white walls seemed a little too boring, so I thought I need a wall like that! 

So I painted one! In conjunction with my bathroom makeover, I had a crazy paint weekend. (Contrary to my misleading post, this is not Auburn orange and actually Wet Coral from Olympic Paint.) At first I was seriously overwhelmed by the color but am really warming up to it now. I am eager to hang some things on it to make it less in your face.

See that I've also hung my old headboard? Things are slowly but surely coming together :)

two years

Remember this post from a while back? Can you believe that was a year ago?! Yep, Kurt and I just celebrated 2 years of traveling together, cooking together (well, mainly him cooking and me eating), exploring our incredible city together, and generally enjoying each other's company.

Aren't we so photogenic?

We celebrated at the same park near Ikea from year one and Kurt provided quite a delicious spread of food.

We enjoyed some wine and the sunset over the water. It doesn't get much better than that. Thanks for two great years, Kurt! What's the bet for year 3?

Monday, June 27, 2011

matchstick blinds


When I first moved into my apartment, there were some crummy Venetian blinds on the windows. 


The sun comes in pretty brightly in the mornings, but the existing blinds were so crummy, I never even bothered using them.


I've seen pictures of matchstick blinds before and have really liked the look. I found these at Target and decided to get them a try.


But Melissa (you say), these blinds don't block light OR view. What good are they?

Sigh. I am pretty disappointed with their performance. The only thing they seem to do is knock down the brightness level in the room (which is something I actually enjoyed). I do like the look of them though and am too lazy to try and return them. In the meantime, I installed the curtains from my previous closet project. I'm not sure they are right for the application (they aren't even wide enough for the windows) but they will do for now for privacy and restful sleep past 5:30am. Any ideas how to make them more functional?


After looking through all my pictures from the weekend, my days seem filled with food and alcohol. I'm not complaining, and I'm honestly not all that surprised. I do love the weekends :)

On Friday night, I finally got around to using my stove. Can you believe I have lived in my apartment over a month and not used it at all?! My microwave was definitely getting a workout. After scrubbing the burners and pans extensively, I was ready for Stuffed Peppers redux. I used pretty much the same recipe as last time but boiled the peppers to soften them up a bit and added some enchilada sauce. Kurt added tons of hot sauce to his. They turned out pretty good. I plan on experimenting more with the filling and making them more often.

After dinner, Kurt and I went to Der Kommissar for a beer. It is relatively new, so we wanted to check it out. It seemed like more of a restaurant, so we'll have to go back and try the sausages sometime.

{artwork by Kurt}

Several weeks ago, Kurt and I were at the grocery store near his apartment. It's pretty much a normal store (albeit heavily stocked with Polish items) but they have an extensive beer section. They even had a wide variety of canned beers we had never heard of. From there, the beer can party was born.

Ideally I would have liked to represent Alabama and find some Good People. Alas, I doubted any NYC stores would carry it but admittedly I didn't look very hard. While we couldn't find Ohio beer either, Kurt decided to represent with Iron City cans from Pittsburgh. I ended up with Sly Fox Weisse from somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Sticking with the theme, Kurt grilled a beer can chicken along with lots of other meats and vegetables. He tirelessly manned the grill all evening. Thanks, Kurt!

On Sunday, as the first step to recovering from the beer can festivities, I demanded requested that Kurt and I get brunch at an actual restaurant. We went to Bar Toto and sat on the sidewalk. It was such a lovely day. Kurt and I split a meat, cheese, and veggie plate as well as a pesto pizza. Sorry I was too focused on devouring them to take a picture.

I had the cooking bug, so I decided I was going to make pork tacos for dinner on Sunday. I dusted off my crockpot and got a big hunk of pork. I slow cooked it with onions, chicken stock, orange juice, and spices for about four or five hours until the meat was shreddable.

Kurt came over before his coop shift to share them with me. We layered some meat, salsa, lettuce, and sour cream on corn tortillas. Yum! I've got tons of meat left over and contemplating my first attempt at a Cuban sandwich sometime this week :)

sweet wedding

A couple weekends ago, Kurt and I went to Steven and Minden's wedding in Williamsburg. I was excited to get all dressed up for my first big city wedding. Kurt was excited that we would be able to ride our bikes there. I was less than thrilled to get all hot and sweaty in my dress, but I have dragged Kurt to numerous Southern weddings that I decided to concede this point. Luckily my dress only got stuck in my wheel once before I decided to hike it up in a super classy fashion.

The ceremony was held at the Grand Ferry Park overlooking the East River and Williamsburg Bridge. It was such a simple set up with a few chairs in the park. (This is apparently the only picture Kurt and I captured of Minden's dress. It was short and formfitting with a long sleeve lace overlay. Adorable. So fitting with the whole vibe of the day too.)

The music was performed by a single cello/bass player. He sang "Sea of Love" as Minden walked down the aisle. I was so impressed with all the little tweaks they incorporated that made the wedding seem so personal and not cookie cutter.

After the ceremony, we were escorted by a three piece band parade-style to the reception venue. 

The reception was a held a few blocks away at the Jungle Garden Center. At first, with my preconceived notions of weddings, it seemed like an odd place for a party. It could not have been more perfect though.

So many elements of the day were hand done by the bride and groom (Steven designed the most amazing invitation ever, by the way) but not in a cheesy, crafty way. They skipped expensive, unnecessary things and accepted a lot of help. Friends took care of the bar tending while the dads manned the grills. A simple assortment of cocktails and a keg of local beer were served in mason jars.

Instead of a multi-tiered cake, Steven and Minden opted for individual pavlova desserts from a local Australian bakery (Steven is from New Zealand himself). These were delicious! I'm going to have to try and recreate them soon.

And before you knew it, the bride and groom were whisked away in a fog of sparklers. Typically, I feel like the married couple runs off so soon from the party, but these two seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day. Luckily, the party continued after they left. The dancing really picked up as we worked through the remaining alcohol. I think over the several hours we were there I had a cocktail, beer, wine, and champagne. It sure was a wobbly bike ride home :) Thanks and congratulations, Steven and Minden! I had a blast and am totally stealing all your party planning ideas.

{all photos thanks to Kurt!}
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