Extreme Home Makeover Anna Edition!

You officially know you’re growing up when you can’t wait until your HGTV Magazine comes each month, you get excited about a type of kitchen sink on Pinterest (true story), and most of your TV channel surfing hours are now filled with HGTV marathons. I couldn’t be happier about it though! Aww, the rush I get when I score some fantastic chevron patterned pillows at TJ Maxx for a steal-of-a-deal!

So you can start to understand my excitement when I was given the keys to Chris’ apartment while he was away, with almost free range! Two exceptions… 1.) No painting 2.) No turning the apartment into a “Barbie Dream house”. I was a little bummed about the first exception.. I do LOVE color, but just the fact that I was actually getting an okay to decorate after over two years of asking… It sure felt like sweet success! Better yet, his roommates were also out of town for the weekend so I had the whole apartment to myself to play with without worrying about disturbing anyone. Perfecto! So what did I do? First a look at the before pics, which I almost forgot to take! (Excuse the mess.. my fault! I’ll Chris a little credit he’s usually pretty clean)

For this project, I was looking to add some accents to his space while staying minimalist with a modern touch. If I was going to make changes that he was actually going to stick to, I couldn’t go too crazy with dramatic changes either. My guy is a man of routine and familiarity (as much as I try get him to step out of that box a little!) so I was looking to make changes that added some life to the apartment and maximized space. My goal was to accomplish all of my goals all while on a tight budget too! I opted to do this project on my own, soo I’d be doing it on my dime. 

Once I had a game plan, I made a list and made a plan! My project required:

  • 2 1/2 days — I had a half day on Friday for Good Friday so I took advantage of that extra time!

  • 1 trip to Ikea

  • 1 trip to Michaels

  • 1 trip to Target

  • 2 trips to TJ Maxx

  • 2 trips to Home Depot

  • 1 trip to Bed Bath and Beyond

This project would have been a little easier if I had a car or took a cab, but I opted for the public transportation route to save money, and it made it a little bit more interesting ;-) Plus I found some adorable new neighborhoods in Brooklyn on my way to Ikea that I can’t wait to go back and explore!

My first successful trip was at Ikea. It’s kind of a trek by public transportation (1 hr 20 mins from my apt) but I’ll go the extra distance for a good deal.. oh and some Swedish meatballs!

I must say I got quite the workout carrying all of my purchases back! Especially from my trips to Target and Home Depot. I could have taken a cab.. but I figured who is going to mess with me in Harlem while I’m carrying a 8x10 rug or from Home Depot with a 6 foot shelf? ;-)

By Saturday evening I finally had all of my supplies! Then it was time for some of the fun stuff! First up? Finding some prints for the frames. I just used a few patterns from Pinterest and then made a few of my own. I only scored a fun numbers piece from Target on clearance for $4.98 that I thought would fit into my collage nicely. Another thing I did was use a couple of empty frames. This way, I could still add to the space without overloading Chris with patterns since he likes things simple.

Once the art was set I was onto the chairs! Personally, I could do without the folding chairs in the living room, but they’re something he uses so I decided to repurpose them. I picked up some fun fabric at Ikea and did a quick recover. I’d never done it before, but these chairs were a pretty easy first project.

Things were starting to come together! Another thing I did to make a more functional space was take both of Chris’ huge speakers and put them behind the couch and then top them off with a big shelf to create a working sofa table. The speakers still work nicely and now there’s a little shelf room.

The most time-consuming part of this project was probably the closet. Because of some rearranging, I needed to put his big dresser into the closet which wasn’t the easiest task by myself! On top of that I had quite a bit of organizing to do. Chris is what I’d like to call as a “closet slob” on the outside he appears to be clean and organized, but if you look a little further, cough.. in his closet or the cupboards above the closet you’ll find every piece of junk he’s collected over the last 8 years and hasn’t thought about since! So organizing that was quite the task! It didn’t help that the cupboards are too high for me to reach even with a chair. I ended up pushing the couch up against the closet and jumping when necessary. Somehow I still managed to get all what seemed like 2,000+ cds,1,000+ dvds, books, old clothes and shoes all organized nice and tidy! Then I was onto the actual closet portion, which ended up looking like this…

Here’s some other pictures of the finished living room…



Instead of having the big mirror on the wall, I decided to take it down and tap into the leaning mirror trend.

Another angle! To the right of that mirror is about another 5 feet and a window, which I put up grey curtains on. I forgot to get a pic from that angle! Plus, you can see the TV in the reflection which lines the back of the spiral staircase that goes down to the second level, and where his roommates live.

Now onto the bedroom! Chris’ room is actually a little smaller than mine so it’s just that a bed room. I kept it simple in here because I’ve slowly made some improvements already over the last two years. Prior to this project, I already installed the curtains, got a bedskirt, new pillows, new throw blankets, a new duvet cover, sheets, and throw pillows so I had already made some progress prior! This time around, I started by moving his desk from the living room into here which takes up less space. Next, was moving his Bob Dylan poster into the bedroom (which used to be hung over the kitchen wall — and not centered mind you). I straightened the pictures he had in frames and grouped them all on one wall in a clean and organized manner. I also got a few hooks to hang his coats next to the desk and invested in a over the door shoe rack, Thank God! My biggest pet peeve was that he had his shoes lined up against the whole perimeter of the room. I get it… he likes shoes and wants them accessible, but I didn’t think it was the best use of space.

Walah! And that is it! The whole project! The only thing left to do was clean up the kitchen and bathroom. Oh, and pick up some of his favorite Easter candy to greet him when he came back! 

So was it a success? YES! He loved it! He made a few changes.. moving the hamper and the bed back against the wall, but other than that he was pretty impressed, which makes all my work worthwhile!

So if you ever need some thrifty decor ideas or solutions for small spaces… I’m your girl! ;-)