Chris’ apartment update

Shopping is so much fun when you’re spending someone else’s money. It’s even more fun when the someone else has total trust in your taste and ability to coordinate pieces and find the right prices.

I’ve been in Athens, Ga., this week helping Chris decorate his apartment. As you’ll see from my previous post, we got a great start during my visit a few months ago. This week was about finding him a stereo stand for his great new flat screen TV, organizing his bookcase that he’s using as a room divider, and looking for some accents that would begin to bring color into the apartment.

Months ago, we searched online and found a great TV stand at IKEA. When I got here this week, we measured the space in his narrow living room and taped where the stand would go to make sure we weren’t stealing space needed for other things (such as walking.) We had previously sacrificed space by purchasing the wide couch from Crate and Barrel, but it was worth it because the couch makes for the perfect guest bed (I got to find out firsthand!) Lucky for us, the TV storage is very narrow and long, just as the room is. To make up for the room size and the furniture choices, we won’t be purchasing a coffee table. There’s just no room. However, he does have a table on his patio and a bar that we’ll be looking for barstools for at some point; not too bad for a studio apartment.

I twisted Chris’ arm into taking a day off work and we made the 1.5 hour drive to Atlanta yesterday. We started at West Elm, mostly because I have only shopped their catalogs and website and I was dying to see the showroom! Of course, also because it’s affordable, quality and modern furniture and decor – what else can you ask for?

Our salesperson, John, was extremely helpful and picked up instantly that we were on a budget. He showed us some tucked-away sale items that ended up being perfect for Chris.

West Elm window panels
West Elm window panels

On Tuesday had been working at Chris’ computer and I noticed the direct sunlight into his bedroom can be brutal around midday. We decided to consider curtains on top of the existing blinds – would help with temperature control and provide style. John showed us the perfect window panels – two-toned linen grayish/brown ones on sale from $59 to $29. We snagged 3. Then we started looking for pillows, of which West Elm has a huge selection. We thought they didn’t have exactly what we were looking for, until we made one final lap and found the perfect way to introduce green from our color palette (green, orange, brown, black): grayish/brown pillows with several shades of green grosgrain ribbons. Even better: The pillow covers were on sale from $29 to $4 (even cheaper than the online price). What a steal! The pillows were $12. We spent a total of about $130.

Then it was onto IKEA, the main reason for the trip. We started off by taking Shana’s very good recommendation, which was stopping by the marketplace for a lunch of Swedish meatballs and macaroni and cheese. Thanks Shana! We then spent hours scouring room after room display of IKEA’s storage and decorating solutions.

See the seat in the left corner? That box at the top is where my head was supposed to go ...
See the seat in the left corner? That box at the top is where my head was supposed to go ...

About $650 later, we had one TV stand with doors and drawers, one blanket for the bed, a countless number of magazine boxes, galvanized steel tubs, faux leather storage boxes, etc., and one very tightly packed Honda Civic! It was so full, in fact, that at one point we considered returning the doors for the TV stand because we thought they wouldn’t fit. In the end, we sacrificed head room for style, and we made the very long, cramped trip back during rush hour. Totally worth it though!

Back at the apartment, I organized the bookshelves and then pretended to be busy, giving Chris the very boring job of reading directions and putting together the furniture. I did help carry the heavy boxes in though!

We are nowhere near done, however. To finish up this week: tonight it’s a trip to Target to look for a curtain rod and a drill. We are also working on art for his walls. As graphic designers, of course it has to be custom: No picking out paintings at Crate and Barrel! I spent Tuesday taking pictures of downtown Athens, and we will create a photo montage for his wall of his new city.

I will show you after pictures, but not until tomorrow. Must get everything perfect first! OK, maybe I’ll give you a preview ….

Chris’ apartment after the first trip to IKEA, but before yesterday:

Bedroom before this week - sans bedding and organization for the bookcase.
Bedroom before this week - sans bedding and organization for the bookcase.

Chris’ new bed (pillows from West Elm, green blanket from IKEA. White blanket is one I had – it’s a placeholder until he finds a white comforter.):

New pillows from West Elm, blanket from Ikea. White blanket is placeholder until we find a white comforter.
New pillows from West Elm, blanket from Ikea. White blanket is placeholder until we find a white comforter.

Stay tuned for more …