This post and project was made possible by my fabulous brand partners at Havenly, Article, and Minted. Thanks for supporting me during this transitional time!
Remember when I talked about about the need for a living space makeover? That my therapist literally told me I needed to makeover my space? Well that time is finally here. It took a few months, but it funny enough, aligned with me feeling completely over my breakup. Coincidence?…I think not.
Let’s rewind. I started seeing my therapist before my breakup. Being the true virgo that I am, I (a) overanalyzed the situation and wanted to make sure I wasn’t making a reckless, life changing, potentially life ruining decision and (b) needed to make sure I had my ducks in a row for when I actually did decide to pull the trigger. The second time I saw her, when I caught her up to speed on my life and told her that I did in fact break up with him, one of the first questions that came out of her mouth was - “Are you staying in your apartment?” The answer of course was yes. I’m blessed in that my mother owns the apartment I love and live in and there is no way I’m giving that up, even if that meant losing my sanity // not living in my space for a little bit. She proceeded to tell me that if I was actually going to stay there and move on with my life, that I needed to make it feel new and difference. My face lit up — how fun is this going to be?!?
WRONG. Not so much fun. When push came to shove the whole project felt absolutely overwhelming. N and I had enough trouble trying to decorate the place together, and now that I had gotten so used to living in the space as it was (as “ours”) I didn’t even know what I wanted. Yes this is yet another metaphor. I lost who I was in our relationship just as much as I had lost my sense of design and what truly makes me happy. It was time to find it again.
Insert the help of Havenly. In true SF form, I found an app to solve my problems HAHA. Steriotypical SF lady move? Yes. Lifesaver? Also yes. I went through the on-boarding process and was matched with my breakup angel, Annie. She has the patience of a saint and made up for the creativity my post-breakup brain just couldn’t generate. We went back and forth more times than I would like to admit to figure out what my style was actually like and what would best suit my lifestyle — dog and all. She also inspired the dilemma I’ve also had in my space for literally years — the useless under the stairs open area that could be storage but was unusable. N had created these awful rolling racks to fill the space (which also left scuff marks all over the wall). I can laugh and vent about this now that it’s over, but now I needed something built around the dogs crate, which now finally had a home that wasn’t in the middle of the apartment. While the crate itself fits perfectly, the space around it was unusable. My angel Annie sent over her thoughts, I pulled the trigger and showed them to the contractor in charge of the apartment paint job - a fresh coat of bright white solves almost any problem known to human kind, trust me - and he came up with a simple solution that not only fit the bill, but eased the eye sore I’ve been staring at from my couch for ages.
It’s crazy how much one single thing in your living space can have such an impact on your everyday thoughts and overall mental health. For the years N and I had been living together, I stared at the space under the stairs with so much hate and negative energy. It was cluttered, overflowing with outdoor gear that wasn’t mine, and half hazardly built out in a way that was actually ruining the walls every time we tried to grab something. I looked at it as I drank my coffee in the morning, I looked at it as I drank my bedtime tea, I started and ended my day fueled with this negatively charged space. Just like the feelings I pushed back and compartmentalized in my head about N and our relationship, I thought there are always things you put up with and this, physically, is just one of them. We share a space, compromises have to be made, this is fine. Well it’s not always fine. It’s tough to sort out what is “put-up-able” and what isn’t, but the tipping point finally came both in the relationship and in our living space. Coming up with a clean, beautiful solution for the physical problem in my home granted me a beautiful ease about the whole situation mentally and made it easier to move on. It was mine, I came up with a solution myself (well with some inspo from havenly angel Annie), and I was doing things in a way that worked for me. Paired with the fresh coat of paint the energy completely shifted in the loft in a way that was beyond transformative…in a way that 10 sage burnings couldn’t do.
What comes after paint and build outs? The focal point of the room…the place I drink my morning coffee and bedtime tea…the sofa, duh! Since I’ve practically always had someone living with me and I live in a loft, when we first began decorating the place it only seemed right to have a sofa with a pull out bed. But you know what? When no one lives with you, GFs and nieces can crash in bed with you. How cool is that?! That was a total revelation for me and so much fun. I mean can we bring back the sleepovers please?
Any who, going with the theme of lightening and brightening my living space, it only seemed right that I take that theme to the couch. The sofa bed, though nicely designed, was heavy and stale. As the biggest piece in the room, the only statement it made was - no one is really using me and here I am just taking up space adding no value. So you know that thing had to go.
As a sustainable minded lady who likes midcentury furniture, I wanted to find a company that reasonated not only with my design likings but also one that resonated with my own beliefs and moral conscience. While in a dream world I would by a second hand sofa and fix it up to match myspace, let’s be real, I’m a germaphobe with dust allergies. The reality of that happening is zero to none. Luckily I found what I’m deeming the Everlane of the interiors world — Article. They have been amazing partners throughout my whole living room makeover process and I feel SO lucky to have found them and to be working with them. They were founded on 5 core principles - be direct (no middle man) - be better (challenge the status quo in the industry) - be good (do the right thing and optimizing for delight, not just profit) - be genuine (they actually value sincerity and authenticity and want to make the world a more beautiful and comfortable place) - be adventurous (try new things!). How could you not get excited about gorgeous furniture with a mission like that?
Angel Annie from Havenly was kind enough to help me pick a couch even though Article and Havenly do not currently partner (though now maybe they will?!?). Funny enough, I was in-between 5 or 6 Article sofas — can you tell I had no idea what I wanted. I chose not to send Annie my options and instead asked her which one she thought would fit my space best. Funny enough, the one she sent me was not one of the many tabs I had saved on my computer…because I clearly was confused about not just the couch but also my life, I went with her pick. She also proceeded to choose an ottoman that would mismatch yet match the sofa she picked and the chairs I already had and loved from Anthropologie and would maximize the seating area for when people came over.
Let’s fast forward to the delivery of my “Articles.” I was sick as a dog, selling my currently furniture via craigslist and a handful of community selling apps, and pushing boxes of Minted art that I hadn’t opened yet, practically playing jenga to move things in and out of the loft. The Article delivery people arrived, didn’t ask me any unnecessary questions, unpacked the boxes and immediately - despite my glazed over // in a “sick” daze eyes brightened. The blue popped against the fresh white wall, the leather ottoman went just right with my funny orange-y wood kitchen cabinets, and everything felt right. The delivery men were even kind enough to breakdown the boxes and deposit them in the recycling when they were finished. The entire process was seemless, completely lovely, and continues to bring so much joy to my home and life. Bonus points? Hansel is actually IN LOVE with the sofa. He rests his little head on the oblong armrest pillow cushions and takes his catnaps.
Then came the final layer of the makeover, art! Art was something that was always a struggle point for N and I. He wasn’t living with me when I first moved into my loft but ended up practically living there two months in and formally moving in just a couple months after that. I had picked out a couple of large canvases to help fill in the very large, blank walls before that time, but he hated them, so I returned him. The trouble? He had these grandiose ideas (his ideas were always go big or go home - insert eye roll) of filling the space with giant and I meant GIANT highly graphic looking photography of under the sea creatures. While I love animals and a good animal photo. A shiny high res brightly colored photo of a seal making a scary face before it went out to hunt was not my idea of relaxing home vibes. So instead, the loft stayed artless. I preferred blank walls to bounce my own creative thoughts off of over his idea of what fun, cool “art” was. The weirdest part of the whole thing? We never even hung photos. Looking back this seems like a huge red flag. Photos of family, friends, pets, those are important. They make you happy when you look at them. To not include them in a living space is abnormal and I think now in hindsight speaks a lot of his questionable character.
All that being said, it was high time for me to fill the space with art that inspired ME, stuff that fueled my heart, soul, and creativity.
Angel Annie saved the day once again. I didn’t want the typical gallery wall that everyone and their mother does thinking they’re being “creative” and had to find a way to mask the thermometer that is right smack eye level in the middle of my large (and very tall) wall. She came up with the most genius solution after scouring Pinterest (something that I personally have no patience for) for who knows how long. I’ll include the inspiration photo below. Once I saw this, I just knew we had to recreate it.
I proceeded to scroll through Minted (probably for 3 excruciating hours), don’t get me wrong, I love shopping, but I’m more of a clothing kind of gal, and ended up with probably 50 tabs of art. Anything that someone spoke to me I opened a tab for - whether that was because of color, animal, word, etc. Art is highly personal, so this step was necessary. Annie is good, but she is no psychic. From there, I sent her alllll of the URLs and she did some sifting. She carefully chose the pieces that jived together that embodied the femme space I was looking to create in the three tier hanging system. She put it all together in the rendering and I fell in love. Minted was kind enough to partner to with me to share this project and help make my ambitious art dreams come true. Let’s be real, art is not cheap, there aren’t even real prints. I also want to be completely transparent, I did purchase a lot of it for myself. I fell in love with the way it all made me feel — like ME! I also think art is something that will stand the test of time. Unlike a chair that can go out of style, get stained, etc. Art can be reframed, reorganized, rehung in a different room to grow with you and your lifestyle. As long as it’s something that you truly love, it’s a great way to invest in yourself…not to mention make you feel like a grown up! As lame as that sounds, you know that feeling, and it’s a good one.
There is no cure all for anything — breakup included. But you grow through each task, each project, each experience that comes your way. This makeover was an exercise in finding myself, overcoming hurdles, even project managing! So if you need me. I’ll be here snuggling with Hansel on our new blue sofa.