DIY Roller Shades

My partner and I moved to our current apartment in May, and before then neither of us had ever lived in a building with radiators. After reading some safety guides, I realized that our curtains would pose a fire hazard. I was looking online for a while for printed roller shades that could block the light from our east-facing windows in the morning, but I couldn't find any that weren't expensive and that would coordinate with the patterns in our room.

I happened upon this tutorial the other day, and decided to try it out. I actually found Lazy Cozy's tutorial to be lacking in some aspects: she does not mention that you absolutely need a dropcloth, otherwise glue will get all over your floor! The fabric will also fray if you don't hem the sides. There was no instruction on what to do with the fabric that meets the end of the shade. My tutorial will expand on hers.

I could not locate her adhesive since she is located in the UK, so I used Sobo, the glue I use for all my modeling projects. It did not leak through my fantastic fabric from Jessica Hogarth, but it did leave blotches on the ENJE fabric. I took pictures of my rollers' current state, but I'm going to buy a dark canvas to cover the backs, because we want total room-darkening.

I found that doing the second shade went a LOT quicker after I figured out what I was doing. The first one probably took me 5 hours. I hand-sewed since I don't own a sewing machine, and I have no idea how to operate one. If you use one, I bet you could finish one shade in under an hour.

Read the tutorial with images after the break.

Sorry for the delay!

Hi Mark and dear readers,

Sorry for the delay in posting! Today was my first day back to grad school, so my schedule is going to be quite hectic for the next few months. I'll try to update 1-2 times per week though.

Over the weekend I tackled another DIY project. I created some roller shades for our bedroom using two IKEA ENJEs and some beautiful fabric by Jessica Hogarth. I'll post pictures and the tutorial either tonight or tomorrow.



My DIY bathroom cabinet made it as a featured hack on ikeahackers.net! That site is one of my favorites; the posts are so inventive and inspiring. If you've ventured over here from IKEA hackers, welcome! 


How do I work from home, but still look professional? Part I

I'm about to launch a business from home. What are some small changes I could make so that my home is still comfortable for personal use, but professional and accommodating for clients? I plan to host meetings in my office, but right now it is not presentable... to say the least. Do you have tips on how to make it look more attractive on a budget? To get to the office, one has to pass through the living room and can see our kitchen. Should I spruce those areas up too? 
Hello Mark! Thank you for asking such fantastic questions. As someone who also works from home, your workspace is part of your brand. Its appearance and orderliness communicate how you might manage your client's work, so it's important to keep your home streamlined, uncluttered, and clean. However, they understand that you live there too, so they will excuse some informalities.

I'm going to divide your inquiry into 3 parts. Part II will cover home office design on a budget, and Part III will cover sprucing up the other areas clients can see.

Here are some tips on how to make your home look professional and function like a commercial space:

  1. Let your clients know beforehand that you work from home, so they won't be confused when they pull up to a house instead of an office building or strip mall. Have a small sign on the front door to let them know they're at the right place.
  2. The exterior of your home and landscaping also provide clients with information about your values. Make sure you have curb appeal!
  3. Offer beverages and bite-sized snacks. Have a pitcher of ice water and glasses out. These small touches welcome clients and make them feel more at ease.
  4. Another important amenity to provide is bathroom access. Let your clients know where the bathroom is located when you welcome them to your place. Hide your toiletries, offer clean hand towels, make sure extra toilet paper is visible, and use an air freshener or reed diffuser.
  5. If you have pets, inquire about your clients' allergies. Offer to move the meeting to another location if they are allergic.
  6. Don't apologize for working at home. Your business is legitimate, and you are a professional. By pointing out the imperfect aspects, you'll bring attention to them.
  7. Ask the people who live with you to please be quiet and to not interrupt your meeting unless it's an emergency. Keep pets out of the way by moving them to another room.
I hope this information was helpful! If you have any tips for Mark, please leave them in the comments.


Masculine and Feminine Design

What makes decorative accessories and furniture feminine or masculine? 
What a great question! Femininity and masculinity present themselves in various ways across cultures, but I'll respond to this in the conventional American perspective. I think most Americans regard "feminine" furnishings to be primarily concerned with form, and "masculine" furnishings to be primarily concerned with function. Some may find this heteronormative way of approaching design to be dated, and even repressive! I think good design is ergonomic, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Here are some side-by-side traditional comparisons.


Crate & Barrel Clara and Davis chairs

Feminine furnishings undulate like a woman's body, while masculine furnishings possess hard, clean lines.

More comparisons after the jump.


DIY Bathroom Cabinet & Vitamin Box

Bathroom Cabinet
I ended up having enough of the Wall Pops! Santorini Stripe decal to cover the drawer fronts of my IKEA RETUR cabinet hack. The project cost $55 total after using a coupon, and it probably took around 2 hours to cut out and adhere the decals. As I stated in the Economical Bathroom Storage post, the cabinet accommodates all of our toiletries. The decal adds great visual interest to our bathroom and coordinates with West Elm's Zig Zag bath mat and Park B. Smith Retro Stripe white shower curtain.

I think this is a great hack because it's so customizable. Stack as many IKEA RETURs as you need, and coordinate the Wall Pops! stripe with your decor. Use the cabinet anywhere you need storage!

The vitamin box is after the jump.


Economical Bathroom Storage

I could use suggestions on creative and inexpensive storage ideas for living in a very small apartment. By storage I mean places or ways to store the basics of clothing, kitchen items, and bathrooms items so they are organized and easy to get to. 
This epic entry is in response to Alice's bathroom storage inquiry. You can read the kitchen storage post here and the clothing storage post here

My small bathroom lacks both a linen closet and an under-the-sink cabinet, but I figured out how to store my toiletries in private, economical, and attractive ways. I'll list my own solutions, and then I'll provide images and links to others.

1) Edit your toiletries and don't buy in bulk

Editing was my initial response to clothing solutions. Do you have hair products you rarely use? Make up you save for special occasions? Expired skin creams?* A plethora of used tiny hotel shampoos? Clumpy, half-dried nail polishes? I did, and I threw them away two years ago during our first move, and haven't looked back. Now I only keep items that I use on a daily or weekly basis, and I don't replenish my supply until I am almost out. I also stopped wearing make up two years ago, which has greatly decreased my need for storage. 

Buying in bulk is cheaper, but if you seriously lack storage space like me, then buying in small quantities is the way to go. I made the mistake of buying an 18-pack of toilet paper the other day, and now the rolls are stacked up 9-high, like tissue towers. 

*The period after opening label will show a number followed by the letter M, for months. Eye makeup is good for 6 months, foundation a year, and lipsticks two years. Preservative-free products degrade more quickly. Source

2) Hack a cabinet

Since our bathroom only has a small and shallow medicine cabinet for storage, I'm unable to drill shelves into the wall due to wiring, and I hate the look of over-the-toilet shelves, I had to get creative. I repurposed 9 of IKEA's RETUR recycling bins into a unit that holds my mini straightening iron, comb, razors, and lots of other toiletries. Although the units stack well, they either need to be glued or taped together. I recently placed an order for Wallpops' Santorini Stripe to put along the sides and bottom of the unit to help it stay together and to coordinate with my bathroom accessories. The unit can be hung on the wall, but I have mine sitting on the tank of my toilet. Here's a photoshopped image of what it will look like once I adhere the decal.

What I like most about this hack is how customizable it is. You could stack several RETURs to create a narrow floor unit, and Wallpops offers dozens of solid and patterned Stripes from which to choose to match your bathroom decor.

View many more storage ideas after the jump.



Sorry for the delay in posts. I am still going to address the bathroom storage inquiry, and I've also received a question about the difference between masculine and feminine furnishings and design, which I'm really excited to answer! I visited friends in New Hampshire over Labor Day weekend, and I've been working on another design package for my business. Thus far I have a Mid-Century Modern bedroom package and Room Reboot, and a Hollywood Glamour bedroom package.

Here are some images of my hard work. Your comments/criticisms are welcomed and much appreciated.

I'll get started on the bathroom solutions tonight!