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Habitually Chic Redecorates

by habituallychic

09 . 18 . 08

I’m blaming Brilliant Asylum for my overwhelming need to redecorate my apartment. I had already been thinking about it after seeing Domino editor Tori Mellott’s new apartment in the September 2008 issue but then Brilliant Asylum posted about Eddie Ross from Top Design and Martha Stewart and that was it…once I saw all the photos on his blog (see below) I knew I was a goner. You know that old saying that the cobbler’s children have no shoes? I don’t want to be the interior designer with the less than chic apartment! That’s worse than a hairdresser with bad hair! There really is no excuse!

Like Tori’s old apartment, my current one has a lot of color but it’s really not feeling cohesive or as sophisticated as I would like so I’ve come up with a plan…landlord and security deposit be damned! I’m going to paint all the walls a grey/taupe color (similar to the bachelor pad), finally strip and paint over the honey colored shiny wood trim in Benjamin Moore White Dove (wish I had done this when I moved in!), paint the front door a very high gloss deep dark brown (black won’t really work), get rid of the chair that is too big for my living room (I kept it thinking I would want it if I ever moved. Two years later and I’m still here.), paint the television cabinet (not sure what color yet), cull my books (do I really need The Nanny Diaries? I think not.), find a glass and brass vintage two tier coffee table (anyone have one they want to get rid of?), rehang all my new art (I seem to have a small ebay addiction to buying vintage watercolors and abstract paintings), get control of my magazines and tear sheets (I hope I don’t end up one of those people who die when their stack of magazines falls on them!), and start collecting more real china and hotel silver (darn you Eddie Ross for inspiring me!).

I also plan to do as much as I can on a budget so you can follow me to the flea markets and all my favorite thrift shops. Oh, and did I mention I’m not a morning person?! The early bird may get the worm but sometimes the afternoon flea marketer gets a better bargain. I’m sure there is no way I could beat Eddie Ross there anyway so there is no use in trying! Check back for more updates!

Comments Closed

  1. viera September 19, 2008 | 12:32 am

    I am loving your idea of grey/taupe walls, they definitely look sophisticated and chic in any room.

  2. No.35style September 19, 2008 | 1:26 am

    I love Tori’s apartment. Her gallery wall is an inspiration to me. Can’t wait to see your apartment!

  3. Anonymous September 19, 2008 | 3:21 am

    Hi. I am from Australia and I love your style. (I wish you were here!) I can not wait to see what you do in your own home – I have been enjoying The Bachelor’s transformation.

  4. MEADE DESIGN GROUP September 19, 2008 | 4:36 am

    I love the sense of order in the rooms. This entry is really beautiful.

  5. Suzy September 19, 2008 | 5:22 am

    Yay, how fun! Love the black handled cutlery…
    I’m with you there…I seriously need to get my place in order…I’ve been there 2 months already and I still am no closer to what I want than when I first moved in!

  6. Betsey September 19, 2008 | 7:02 am

    OOh sounds like fun!! you’ll have to show us pics!! SPeaking of redecorating – miss fellow NYer – have u heard about the massive hotel sale?? Click this link, I went today and there’s pretty good stuff and every day they open a new floor to buy the furniture from!! I bought a great botanical framed and matted print – $60! http://www.wnbc.com/news/17499859/detail.html

  7. vicki archer September 19, 2008 | 9:15 am

    The problem with these gorgeous posts is that I am permanently feeling like redecorating!
    Can’t wait to see all your flea market finds.

  8. design - 59 September 19, 2008 | 11:29 am

    painting your walls in a nyc apt is the best thing you can do (nothing is worse than a the “white” you move in with), I painted mine a bluish-gray when I moved in and I get so many compliments! You will love it! Have fun decorating!

    p.s. did you notice how Domino revamped Tori’s new apt in the October issue? They thru down a KWID rug and flipped the image. It really does change the space a little bit.

  9. thevintagechair September 19, 2008 | 1:00 pm

    Looks like you’ve got a pretty good start! I love the direction you’re going. My mother used to own an old white secretary similar to the one in the picture. When I was a child, the men who were moving it to our new hours accidentally flicked a cigarette into the wooden trailer and it was completely destroyed! It breaks my heart because I would KILL to have that piece now!

  10. Blushing hostess September 19, 2008 | 1:35 pm

    I collect silver – you know, hotel and otherwise. Though, I wish my forebearers had mentioned when they drove by and off loaded armfuls after hearing I loved the stuff, the reason they are over it – as soon as I finish polishing the last piece, I have to begin again with the first! ENDLESS!!Beautiful but not without a bit of agony and years and years of elbow grease! When I go to Royal St. in New Orleans and see the ladies whose job it is to do this at the magnificent silver antiquites dealers, it is not without a sigh -I wish I had their patience!

  11. Be the change..... September 19, 2008 | 1:55 pm

    I feel the same way! I’ve been reading his blog lately and it makes me a bit ashamed of my own place! I blame it on being small and me being busy…but really there is no excuse! Unfortunately Dc has basically NO thrift shops that are easy to get to, that i’ve discovered 🙁

  12. M.A. Breuer September 19, 2008 | 2:23 pm

    May I suggest you check out Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore? It’s a “greige” color and changes in the light and position of room. I did my tiny apt. in it (except kitchen in White Chocolate by Ben.Moore) and really love the results.
    Also, why not buy estate/used sterling silver flatware? Check out Beverly Bremer on-line for one store that carries new and estate silver. I use only sterling silver flatware everyday and once you start you won’t want to go back to hotel silver or stainless. The taste of sterling silver (fork or spoon in your mouth)is so better than stainless and you’ll notice the difference. I put my forks and spoons in dishwasher, but not my knives. It’s fun to collect and nice to receive as a gift. I have service for 4 as that is how many my table fits. I threw out the stainless.

  13. katek September 19, 2008 | 2:29 pm

    Yeah, I’m newly obsessed with Eddie’s blog–saw it linked from the Everyday Food blog, of all places!

    Your new color scheme is exactly what I did in my place. I used White Dove for all the trim and the ceilings, and painted the living room in BM Silver Fox, which after much trial and error I found was an ideal warm grey–it can look taupe, or show hints of lavender, depending on the light. If you click my name there’s a link (right column) to a Flickr Set of apartment pics and I tried to show the living room paint in loads of different lights.

  14. Motor City Jeanne September 19, 2008 | 2:35 pm

    Inspiring! But I can’t wait to see the finished bachelor photos!

  15. Jennifer September 19, 2008 | 2:59 pm

    just discovered Eddie Ross … he is brilliant, and now I want to restart the decorating all over my house (which I have just been in for 9 months …)

    can’t wait to see what you do! I will kind of hate to see your yellow TV cabinet go …

  16. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:18 pm

    Viera – I am ready for some sophistication. The color in my living room just isn’t making me happy any more!

  17. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:19 pm

    No35Style – It was such a breath of fresh air!

  18. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:19 pm

    Anonymous #1 – Since his project is almost finished and he’s busy dating every 20-something girl in Manhattan, I thought I should focus on my own apartment for a while!

  19. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:20 pm

    Meade Design Group – I could use some order!

  20. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:21 pm

    Suzy – I can’t wait to see photos when you are done! I’m sure it will be amazing!

  21. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:21 pm

    Betsey – I’ll have to check it out. Maybe they have some good silver. Usually the furniture isn’t that good.

  22. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:22 pm

    Vicki – I know! But this time I have been spurned into action!

  23. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:25 pm

    The Vintage Chair – that is the saddest story I have ever heard! You need to find yourself a new one!

  24. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:25 pm

    Design 59 – I love my bedroom which is robin’s egg blue but the one living room wall I painted peacock blue was never the right color. I can’t wait to repaint it and the ugly trim. I was so worried about getting into trouble with the building but now I don’t care!

    And I did notice! I kind of liked the white floors better. But you can also see the black high gloss piece that probably holds her TV. I was thinking that maybe I should paint the back of the front door and the tv cabinet high gloss back and maybe paint the inside a fun color. What do you think?

  25. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:29 pm

    Blushing Hostess – Did I mention that I am on a budget??? Just kidding! I would love to collect real silver but that will only happen if someone happens tobe selling it dirt cheap or I find it at Housing Works by mistake!

  26. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:30 pm

    Be the Change – Mine is VERY small so I think updating it will make it more livable.

    I think the fact that there are no thrift shops in DC is a perfect excuse for a road trip!

  27. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:34 pm

    MA Breuer – I’ll have to be on the look out for it but I definitely don’t have an unlimited budget!

  28. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:35 pm

    Katek – I can’t wait to check it out!

  29. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 3:53 pm

    Motor City Jeanne – We’re almost finished!

  30. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 4:05 pm

    Jennifer – so funny how tastes change in a matter of months. I was so excited about the yellow and now I want it gone!

  31. Lisa D. September 19, 2008 | 4:56 pm

    Look forward to seeing all your changes! I Just discovered Eddie Ross myself & I must say–love his style!

  32. Emily September 19, 2008 | 5:40 pm

    even though domino is my favorite magazine, my boyfriend commented that after each issue, i suddenly feel the need to re-do our place. how can you not with images like these?

  33. hello gorgeous September 19, 2008 | 5:58 pm

    I love your ideas. I was absolutely going to paint my living room and moldings and trim Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and I got halfway done and I LOVED IT and everyone else hated it so I ended up painting it brown with White Dove trim. It’s fine but I lurved Revere Pewter. 🙁

    One day I am going to have that color (maybe it will have to be vicariously…).

  34. Brilliant Asylum September 19, 2008 | 6:53 pm

    Too funny. When I lived in New York, I painted my linoleum kitchen floor white with a pale blue border–sans permission. The refrigerator was too heavy to move so I just painted around it. Funny thing is–I got my security deposit back. I am pretty sure my landlord was pleased with the upgrade.

  35. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 7:02 pm

    Emily, it’s not usually as bad for me since I actually get to redecorate for others on a daily basis!

  36. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 7:07 pm

    Lisa D – he is beyond fabulous!

  37. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 7:08 pm

    Hello Gorgeous – I like Revere Pewter! I might have to see if they have a sample. I’m not a big fan of trim and walls being the same color. Martha loves it but she hasn’t won me over yet. I like crisp white or off white trim.

  38. Habitually Chic September 19, 2008 | 7:09 pm

    Brilliant Asylum – I know the future tenants will appreciate it! I hate the woodwork!

  39. Ana September 20, 2008 | 1:54 am

    Inspiration can be such a double-edged sword, right? Keep inspiring us readers with things like this! Love it.

  40. Easy and Elegant Life September 20, 2008 | 12:24 pm

    Well now you’ve done it… I’m thoroughly dissatisfied with the state of things here at the manse.

    I’m with Ana!

    Good luck. I know the end result will be sophisticated, serene and elegant. Can’t wait for the pics as you continue to inspire us.

  41. Fifi Flowers September 20, 2008 | 9:13 pm

    Isn’t that how it always is… never content… always wanted something and especially once you flip through a new design magazine!
    Remodeling/redecorating is NEVER ENDING!

  42. CB September 21, 2008 | 2:49 am

    I could not help but notice that Mr. Ross was at Sage Street last weekend. I tell you, I cannot leave the place without buying something. There is also a vintage linens store around the corner that has lovely things. Good luck with the redo! I hope to see it on the blog soon.

  43. design - 59 September 21, 2008 | 7:25 am

    …I say go for it! The best thing about apts is that you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. If it’s not exactly what you want who cares, most likely the rent will be raised in a few years and you will have to move (at least that’s my theory.) 🙂

    Can’t wait to see the photos!

    p.s. are you really striping the base? that’s intense!!

  44. Sherri Blum September 21, 2008 | 2:29 pm

    I love, love, love this blog! Sorry I didn’t find it sooner!
    I’m adding your blog to my favorites right now and listing it on my own for all of my friends to visit, too!

    Thanks for sharing!

  45. CB September 21, 2008 | 2:48 pm

    Oh, and Revere Pewter is a lovely color…almost put it in our hallways, but it was a tad too dark. However, I think it is going to look smashing in our dining room, which is dark anyway. Enjoy!!

  46. katiedid September 21, 2008 | 8:35 pm

    YES! I DIY. I am painting an IKEA bed for my daughter’s birthday today. Had to stop and let some primer dry.

    AND you hit the nail on the head with Eddie’s blog. He is amazingly talented. I am checking in with him daily to see what he’s up to. Very inspring stuff, and really do-able for the everage person.

    Nice pictures! Looking forward to your “reveal”!

  47. Anonymous September 22, 2008 | 1:46 pm

    To Habitually Chic, Brilliant Asylum, and anyone else who has done some renovation work sans permission from their landlord….

    Has anyone ever done something to their rental apartment that’s obviously an improvement, but definitely falls outside of what’s typically permissable in a rental (painting, hanging a few things).

    I live in a rental that I plan on staying in for quite some time. If it were affordable, I would add crown moulding to the ceiling and not tell my landlord. I know they wouldn’t mind, and most likely wouldn’t even remember it wasn’t there originally.

    The second project I’m contemplating is stripping and either re-staining or re-painting my ugly knotty oak kitchen cabinets. Nothing to wild, if I were to re-stain I would go for a darker finish and if I were to paint I’d either paint them a glossy white or maybe a beach white and distress the edges a bit. Depends on what will ultimately look best on the oak.

    This project is a bit more subjective and I worry the landlord may be upset. While the cabinets are an awful color, they’re fairly new, neutral, and appear to be well-built.

    Any experiences to share about renovations in a rental? Either with or without the landlord’s permission? If anyone has done anything with the landlord’s permission, what was the project and how did you pitch the idea for it? Who picked up the costs?

  48. Habitually Chic September 22, 2008 | 1:54 pm

    Anonymous – This is a predicament because if you ask the landlord and they say yes, you might be able to deduct the cost of the paint and materials from your rent. Some landlords don’t mind you doing the work so they don’t have to pay someone which is what happened when my roommates and I repainted our apartment in Boston years ago.

    But if you ask the landlord and they say no, then you are stuck which is why sometimes it’s better not to ask and just do it.

    Can you talk to anyone else in the building and see if they have had any experience renovating their apartments? Could you call the landlord and ask but not tell him who you are or what apartment you live in?

  49. Teal Chic September 22, 2008 | 7:31 pm

    Her place is gorgeous! Good luck to you during your renovation! I can’t wait to see the completed project!!!

  50. Anonymous September 22, 2008 | 9:07 pm

    I think I’ll try and cozy up to the neighbors and see what their experiences have been. I’ve lived in my apartment since May, and none of the neighbors are terribly friendly. I live in the quintessential humble, walk-up, pre-war West Village building on a lovely block with a friendly super who has been there for decades and a mix of tenants ranging from single professionals, to young married couples, to elderly people with rent control who pay $300/month.

    No one seems to socialize, go to their neighbors for a cup of sugar or even make small talk with each other when fetching their mail. I don’t get it.

    I’ve been in a few neighbors apartments when I first moved in and asked about the recycling policy or to borrow a hammer. It looks like most people have painted, but no one had really spruced up thier place.

    As soon as I moved in I painted each room, and re-painted all of the trim and doors in B. Moore white dove semi-gloss (you’re right, it is the best trim color). After a quick tutorial at Home Depot about the ins and outs of studs and anchors, I installed additional shelving in my closets, bathroom, and kitchen (with only 500 sq ft I figure I need to fully utilize wall space). And that’s before I even got down to decorating. The other tenants seem more apathetic.

    I feel like my tiny abode is a gigantic project. I’m currently searching for a new lighting treatment for my bathroom (the contractor’s special braodway lights are killing me). If I had the cash flow, I’d love to work with a decorator, but doing it on my own has become a fun side project.

  51. Pink Maple September 22, 2008 | 11:47 pm

    Your blog is great, you always provide such great decorating inspiration. I loved that same feature in Domino, I have it bookmarked for myself! I love that they feature a lot of small spaces.