Apartment Therapy – The book – A Review

Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan began his journey as an “apartment therapist” by helping a young film editor restyle his apartment after a painful break up with his girlfriend and she subsequently moved out.

Even though his apartment was very nice, he was miserable. The memories were painful and he hated it. He even moved his bed into the living room because he couldn’t bear to sleep in that room, anymore.

Gillingham-Ryan persuaded him to do a very deep cleaning, remove all of the personal effects and decor that she left behind and repaint the room and lighten it up.  It worked! He was ready to move on.

If you haven’t discovered Apartment Therapy, the blog, you’re in for a treat! It’s one of my favorite sites with a multitude of ideas for maximizing small spaces.

Well, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan has written Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure, the book! If you’re frustrated with your home and can’t figure out why then this is the book for you.

He suggests looking at our rooms in a new light.  Are you ready to make healthy changes…clearing out everything that you don’t need or really love.  Look at the flow…is it comfortable and easily navigable? Can you feel the energy and movement in the room?

There is a questionnaire to help determine your own personal taste and to determine the physical, emotional and energy flow issues.

This is the basis for the eight-step home cure and I can tell you that once you start, you’ll be motivated and eager to reach Step 8.

  1. Week One: Creating your Vision
  2. Week Two: Clearing the Path
  3. Week Three: The Landing Strip
  4. Week Four: Retail Therapy
  5. Week Five: Getting into the Thick of It
  6. Week Six: Light Therapy
  7. Week Seven: Sacred Space
  8. Week Eight: Throwing a Party!
Tiny kitchen

Tiny Kitchen Makeover

Each guided step helps you work efficiently and affordably toward creating a more comfortable home of your dreams.

There are floor plans. There are examples of how to turn any small space into a functional and beautiful area.

You will learn how to declutter, first of all.  And then you’ll learn how to keep it from becoming cluttered ever again.

You’ll learn how to get a handle on paperwork.  There’s a list that shows how long to keep paperwork; for example, tax returns should be kept permanently. Bank statements should be kept for seven years, etc.  It’s a handy list to have for reference on many levels.

You’ll learn how to work with color…and why some spaces should have cool colors and others should have warm tones. You’ll learn how to apply the 80/20 color rule.

If you need to call in professional help (and unless you’re an experienced DIYer, you probably will) you’ll learn how to choose the right professional.

You’ll learn how to choose lighting – what’s the best lighting for each area of your home and why.

This little reference book is invaluable for a multitude of reasons.  Check it out…you’ll thank me!  Be sure to let me know what your favorite lesson is and how it helped you solve a dilemma!

(Updated 4/20/2018)

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Bar Carts are Still Hot!

Call me old fashioned bar cartBar Carts – A New Idea for Home Decor

We’ve discussed the importance of multi-purpose furnishings for small spaces. There are multitudes of multi-purpose pieces but one of the hottest is the bar cart!

By the way, do you love this Call Me Old Fashioned Wall Art?  I sure do! I ordered one for myself and it’s a real conversation starter. To be honest, an Old Fashioned is my favorite cocktail.

This print is:

  • Professionally printed on 100lb paper
  • Paper is acid-free with smooth finish
  • Archival inks guaranteed to be fade-resistant for 100 years

Bar carts/serving carts are perfect for almost every room in your home.

Obviously, the bar cart is meant to be..well, a bar cart! It will look lovely in your dining or living area but, more important, it’s excellent storage…especially if cupboard space is lacking. Plus it’s super easy to move wherever the party is happening.

Use one in the kitchen as a place to store baskets and serving pieces. The top can double as a countertop for rolling out cookie dough or whipping up a batch of muffins.

In a bathrooom as a spot for fluffy towels and bath salts and a bouquet of flowers! Pretty as can be and useful, too.

In a bedroom as a night stand! In an office area for whatever you need to have within reach.

Here are two of my favorites:

This wood and metal bar cart from Tribecca Home is rustic but elegant and easily fits in a contemporary or traditional room.

The top tray is removable and it has two locking wheels.   Plus, it boasts these custom features:

1. Poplar wood and black sand metal materials

2. Wine glass inserts, tray top, bottom storage, metal hardware pulls, two (2) locking wheels

3. Tray top depth: 2.86 inches Bottom storage depth: 5.86 inches

 


This next beauty is a sophisticated tea server that could double as an end table beside a chair. Pull it out to use as a cocktail serving cart.

It’s crafted from select solid woods with cherry veneers and finished with antique brass galleries at each end.

I must tell you that Amazon has dozens and dozens of Bar Carts for whatever your particular style is…contemporary, traditional, funky, rustic…you name it and I promise you’ll find just what you’re looking for to round out the decor in your small space.

If you’re an Amazon Prime Member, shipping is fast and free!

Here’s a classy contemporary cart . It’s chrome with black tempered glass shelves.  Since it’s on wheels (most of them are) it could easily be wheeled onto your deck or patio for an outdoor party or barbecue.

There are a multitude of ways to use a bar cart…as a night stand, a coffee station, a plant stand, etc.

You must check out these great photos and ideas in this Apartment Therapy post:  7 Other Ways to Use a Bar Cart

You’ll find an idea that’ll work for you that you haven’t even thought of!

Do you have a bar cart or serving cart that you’re using for it’s traditional purpose or in a unique way? I’d love to see photos.

Please do comment and if you have a question, I’ll be happy to give you my best answer!

(Edited 4/21/2018)

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A Small Bungalow Perfectly Restored

A Small California Bungalow

Here’s a fabulous article from Houzz about a homeowner in Long Beach, California who truly made the most of his small 1919 bungalow.  Gotta hand it to those clever Californians…they do know how to make the most of what they’ve got!

You can view the slideshow by using the arrows on the pictures or click on THIS LINK and it’ll open a new page.

 

I especially love the kitchen…nothing is attached to the walls so the room can be reconfigured.  It also makes arranging the elements of the kitchen easier if the space is small.

Additionally, that front porch on this small bungalow is a bonus room…in California, especially, where the weather is mild all year round. But front porches are bonus extra living spaces no matter where they are.

It’s a perfect example of remodeling on a budget, too.  Had he not purchased a high end refrigerator, the entire remodel came to about $2000.

Repurposing items, shopping on Craigslist or at resale shops or flea markets is a smart move even if your budget is larger.

Multi-purpose furniture like storage ottomans that could be used as coffee tables or footstools are particularly popular.

Another good multipurpose piece is a daybed with a trundle. I have a daybed with trundle in my guest room.

I bought two good mattresses for it so it’s extremely comfortable and yet it doesn’t take up my entire room. I have room for a comfortable chair and good lighting.

These are smart choices regardless of the budget or whether you’re shopping at traditional retail stores or via resale shops, etc.

Since bungalows are typically smaller homes these tips for furnishing them are good to know. The end results are unique spaces celebrating your own personal style!

The History of Bungalows

A Bangla House in India

Did you know that bungalows originated in India? They did!

The word bungalow is derived from the Indian word Bangla which was a small dwelling with a thatched roof.

During the British Colonial occupation of India, the style was adapted with wide covered porches or verandas, and an open concept that allowed for much air circulation in the hot and dusty climate.

Bungalow Characteristics

So bungalows were built in America between about 1900 and 1935. They’re still popular, today.

The first bungalows were in California where the climate was conducive to the open floor plan style for good airflow and wide verandas for relaxing.

Typical characteristics of this style include:

  • Single story to 1-1/2 stories
  • Wide front porches
  • Dormer Windows (usually in the front)
  • Low-pitched gable roofs
  • Natural materials such as stone and cedar and sometimes stucco.
  • Open interiors with built-in bookcases and sideboards
  • Also called Craftsman or Arts & Crafts style

If you’re renovating a bungalow or if you would love to own one, you’ll find more than 300 photos, excellent examples and good advice in the book, Bungalow Style.

It’s just one example on a whole host of books celebrating this classic home architecture.

I don’t own a bungalow but I’m continually tweaking my own small space. It’s what I do for fun!

Do you have a remodel-on-a-budget that you’d like to share?

I’d love your comments and encourage you to post photos, too!

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!

(Updated 7/06/2018)

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Moving Into a Small Space?

San Francisco Painted Ladies

San Francisco Painted Ladies

(Updated 4/27/2018)

Are you moving to a smaller home? There are a few things to consider when you are moving into a small space whether or not you’re moving from a larger home or one that’s about the same size.

And let me say that all small spaces are not alike.  There are so many variables to consider.

  • Floor plans, for example, might be about the same size but totally different in layout.
  • It makes a difference where the windows and doors are located and whether or not it’s a loft space, open concept or separate rooms.
  • Are there stairs? If there are, will you be able to move large pieces of furniture in and out of the space?

Checklist – 9 things you need to consider on your home search for a smaller space.

Are you planning to rent the property or purchase the property?

Some of the considerations will be the same but if you’re renting, these tips will make more sense. If you’re buying, they’re still important considerations but you’ll be able to be more flexible.

When you’re looking at multiple apartments or homes for the first time:

  1. Carry your Camera with you and take pictures. Photos will give you a frame of reference because – trust me…when you get home at the end of the day, you’ll need a frame of reference! It’s a big decision so you’ll need to weigh all the pros and cons of each place.

Floor Plan Sketch2. Bring a tape measure. (I always have one with me) so that you can measure each area…will your furniture fit?

3. Do a quick sketch of the floor plan.  Where are the windows and the doors?

4. If you’re renting, ask if you can paint the walls or hang wallpaper?  If you’re buying, of course, you’ll just have to decide if that’s something that will need to be done.

5. Consider storage: What size are the closets? How much storage is in the kitchen…the bathroom? Is there a cupboard for your linens? Is there a coat closet near the front door?

6. Ask these questions, too:

  • What is the countertop material…laminate or natural stone?
  • What appliances are included?
  • Is there a dishwasher?
  • Where is the laundry area…in the apartment or on another floor?
  • Are you allowed to install your own laundry appliances?  This is a consideration if you’re buying a condo, for example.swing arm lamp

7. Consider what kind of lighting you’ll need.  Is there ceiling lighting or are there wall sconces already in place? If space is going to be tight, consider purchasing wall sconces to hang in lieu of table lamps or floor lamps.

8. Check out the flooring:  Are the floors carpeted or are they hardwood or laminate…is there tile in the kitchen and bathrooms? Will you need Area Rugs ? (affiliate)

9. Check the size of your current furnishings and refer to the photos you took of each place to see if there is a good fit.  Once you decide which space is right for you, you can feel confident that you’ve made a good decision.

Honestly, I’ve experienced the remorse of moving into a smaller home thinking all of my furniture and belongings would fit and then realizing that I was totally wrong!

True story…when we moved from Pittsburgh, PA to a lake home in Minnesota we brought along a beautiful sectional that we’d purchased years ago when we lived in Kansas City (yep…I was a corporate wife and we moved several times during my husband’s career).

Anyway, I had a miserable time trying to fit that sectional in the living room of our new home. Talk about frustrating! Finally, I figured out an arrangement that worked but that’s an illustration of what can happen if you aren’t prepared.

Mercury Row Storage Bench from Wayfair

Mercury Row Storage Bench from Wayfair

 

For small space furnishings like storage benches which are classic multipurpose furnishings, you can’t go wrong with either Zulily or Wayfair, two hugely popular online retailers. (affiliates)

They both offer free shipping and that’s huge if you’re ordering large pieces.

I like that Wayfair has a section called Room Ideas with over 16,000 rooms you can browse for ideas! That’s an amazing feature in my book.

So this should give you some guidance when you’re considering a move.  Print this list to carry with you.

What are some of the dilemmas that you’ve faced during a move? Did you figure out a way to resolve them? Leave a comment or a question and I’ll promise to reply.

I hope you’ve found this post interesting and useful and if so, it would be grerat if you’d share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Google+.

 

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Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Side Yard Garden

Clever Side Yard Garden on Pinterest

One of the most clever ways to maximize living in a small space is to add outdoor living wherever possible.  If you have a deck or patio area, you’re all set to jazz up your small outdoor living space!

Decorating an outdoor space is lots of fun and very rewarding. And it can be accomplished on any budget…small budget or “the sky’s the limit”.

I moved to my townhouse in Minnesota in February when there was snow up to my waist.  I had a tiny private patio and I couldn’t wait to sit outside on a warm summer day with a glass of wine or iced tea.

I had months to browse the internet for ideas. Pinterest is my favorite place to find unique solutions to most decor dilemmas, including outdoor living spaces.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Even the smallest deck offers additional space and can be a delightful place to relax at the end of a long day or on a summer evening.

Pretty stone patio

A pretty stone patio that’s almost maintenance free.

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A cozy little deck

A cozy little deck
Small courtyard

Small Courtyard beautifully designed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So these are just a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing.

You can find small-scale patio furnishings that are beautiful and reasonably priced so many places, these days.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to add pattern or color. Think of the space as an indoor room when you’re deciding on furnishings.

Rugs and curtains add interest and warmth and there are so many materials that are impervious to temperature and weather fluctuations.

UPDATE: It’s spring! Sort of…Well, almost…

While I lived in Minnesota spring was slow in coming. Now that I’m in Arizona, it’s awesome being able to sit out on my patio most of the year.  I will admit that it’s not so enjoyable during the summer months!

Desert Landscape

A Lovely Desert Landscape

I really needed to replace the outdated landscaping on my new small property so I turned to Pinterest for ideas and collected enough to last a very long time!

I have more than 30 boards on Pinterest including a board for Arizona Landscaping Ideas. It’s amazing how beautiful desert landscaping can be. No grass needed!

Also, check out this post – Decorating Ideas From Pinterest for dozens of design ideas for small spaces including small gardens.

In the meantime, if you have created a comfortable and pleasing outdoor area that suits your small space to a tee, be sure to leave a comment below and post a photo or two, as well.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d love it if you’d share it.

(Updated 7/21/2018)

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