Finding an apartment sized sofa

Andes Sofa from West Elm 

Andes Sofa from West Elm 

Ironically I haven't been posting as much lately because I've been busy with client work. I thought I would share one of the design challenges I was having and talk through some of my ideas for a solution. 

My client's condo is in a high rise building with amazing views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. It is definitely apartment sized, not mcmansion sized and so there is a size constraint. Adding to that two of the walls are windows and one of the window walls has a sliding door to a patio. There is only one wall to hang art and the TV and the rest of the space is open to the kitchen. So facing South is a wall, West and North are windows and East is kitchen. To make it even more challenging the North window wall is not as wide as the South wall and zig zags back into the kitchen. 

My client wanted an L shaped sectional so you could see the TV and the West window. Some notes on sectionals. They are big. Like really big. The smallest one starts at about 104". That meant the sectional would basically be in the kitchen even if I were to orient it with the back facing the windows, one of the L's would still be in the kitchen. 

Second option to give that sectional feeling but without the bulk would be a chaise. A left side chaise would give you the ability to see the tv and the views. Guess what? Those are huge too! Most sofas with a chaise start at about 94". That means the chaise is basically in the kitchen. You could get a drink from the fridge and not leave the couch. 

I had been using floor plan software, but it is always best to check the space again. So back to the condo I went and I actually used painters tape and marked the edges of a sofa with a chaise to confirm it was too big. I then marked out where I felt a couch could land and not be in the kitchen, leave a path to the sliding door and not be too close to the windows. That left me with 86". 

Korver sectional from Joybird

Korver sectional from Joybird

I did find one smaller sectional from Joybird and while it is a smidge bigger than I wanted at 90" I think we can make it work. The other awesome thing about Joybird is that their furniture is customizable. I don't really care fro the tufting in the Korver sectional, but you can request it without.

If you are in Chicago I highly recommend that you check out District because they carry Joybird (and I believe they are the only vendor in Chicago that does) and they have an awesome mix of new and vintage furniture and accessories.

Paramount Sofa from Blu Dot

Paramount Sofa from Blu Dot

The next option I found were sofas with ottomans that had the look of a chaise. So the picture at the top of the post of the Andes sofa is a great option. It is a sofa and ottoman that pushed together give the look and feel of a chaise. 

I also liked the lines of the Paramount Sofa from Blu Dot. It also has an ottoman that can function as a chaise. My only complaint is it doesn't have a lot of fabric options and I really wanted to find something in a lighter grey or in velvet. 

Caitlin Sofa from Interior Define

Caitlin Sofa from Interior Define

I also threw the Caitlin sofa from Interior Define into the mix. It doesn't satisfy the need for a chaise component, but it has such beautiful lines. It's very clean and crisp without looking stark. Plus it has some beautiful fabric options, like this light grey velvet. I also like this option because you can choose what type of metal or wood legs you want. Brass is a bit trendy now, but I think on a sofa like this the brass will stand the test of time. Another note about Interior Define, they are only based here in Chicago but they ship nationwide. They have great reviews and I wouldn't hesitate buying over the internet from them. 

I  picked companies that have are reputable and are within a decent price range. Keep in mind when you are buying a sofa that you want to pick something that will last. I've had my Jasper sofa from Room and Board for over ten years now and it is in great shape. It is also a timeless design and does not look dated at all today. In fact I had another client buy the exact same sofa in brown leather recently. 

I thought it might be helpful to hear my thought process on choosing a sofa and why it can be a good ideal to work with an interior designer. If you are looking for help please let me know

 

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Never Too Much

There are a lot of messages that, women especially, subconsciously pick up from the world we live in. I don't think there is anyone person who told me these things, but the message I have received is you are too much. You're too smart (boys won't like that), you're too bossy, too weird, too bitchy, too fat, too animated, talk too loud, move too fast, talk too fast, take up too much space and shine too brightly. 

I am typically the person who jumps right in, who sees a problem and wants to solve it, who speaks up when others are silent. Yet, that getting things done attitude can sometimes come across as bossy or bitchy. So, slowly I grew quiet. I stopped stepping in and using my words. I would go to things and hang back. 

Last year I went to a couple of really awesome events at Chicago Ideas Week. We were in a group and tasked with using design thinking to create a prototype of an exhibit. And I hung back. I let other people step up and take the lead and honestly I felt like crap. I felt like I didn't have a voice and I wasn't a part of the process that was unfolding in front of me. 

I hold back in other ways too. I don't take credit or I minimize the hard work it took to do something. Or I make it seem like it was no big deal (when it kind of was). I've been dimming my light and for what purpose? 

Dimming my light doesn't mean that other people shine less. There is plenty of praise and accolades to go around. When leaders don't step up stuff doesn't get done. 

Tuesday night I went to one of my favorite events Idea Potluck at Mac & Cheese Productions. The format of the evening is 8 people talk for 6 minutes about anything they want. It's great fun and I always learn a little something new. Before the program started they mentioned one of the speakers was sick and they were looking for a volunteer to fill in. I sat in the dark with the rest of the audience and my first response was 'I want to to do it' and yet, I sat on my hands and waited for a few moments in case someone else volunteered. 

Thankfully no one else did and I gave a fun and engaging talk (no really I did!) and I loved doing it. I love speaking in public. I'm smart and witty and super passionate about some cool stuff and I love to share my knowledge with people. 

Except, for the space of a few breaths, even though I knew this was something I wanted to do, I didn't raise my hand because...why? I'm not sure if I can answer that. Was it because I had spoken at the event a few years ago and I wanted to give someone else a chance. Was it because I didn't want to draw attention to myself? Was it because I didn't want to shine too brightly?

Was it a bit daunting to come up with a six minute talk on the fly? Yes, but I'm so glad I did it. I also now know that I don't have to wait. If I want to speak, or be the leader and get things done, then I need to speak up. 

Speakers at Idea Potluck

Speakers at Idea Potluck

 

You are not too much. We need all of you with your voice, spirit and actions moving through the world like you own it. Have you found yourself hanging back? Then I suggest you step forward because amazing and magical things can happen. 

 

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Color vs Neutral

Image via Vogue Living

Image via Vogue Living

I love grey. I love neutral spaces. The room above makes my heart sing and it looks and feels inviting because of all of the layers of texture and natural materials. If you look at my Pinterest board you'll see that there are a ton of rooms in varying shades of gray. 

The rooms in my house are painted grey and yet... I keep leaning towards color. Nothing super bright but deep colors. 

Dark Grey counts as a color, right?! 

Image via Design Sponge

Image via Design Sponge

Or how about cream and grey. Mmmm. It's so soothing. 

And yet, then I see something like this room and I want to drench my home in color 

Image via Abigail Ahern

Image via Abigail Ahern

Or how about this deep green with a splash of hot pink and mustard (who knew hot pink could look so good!).

Image via design sponge

Image via design sponge

I'm not sure if I love this next room because of the mix of colors and old comfy furniture, or because it's a library and I really want a library! 

Image via Greyfield Inn

Image via Greyfield Inn

My home office was inspired by this photo. I love the dark grey and that copper pink. Plus since my office is a bit dark painting the grey 3/4's of the way up and the rest pink helped make the room not feel so dark. 

Image via Nordic Design

Image via Nordic Design

I still don't know which direction I'm going to go right now in the dining room. The grounding color is grey but I have a chair in teal, art with blues and greens and some chartreuse in the rug. I either strip out the colors and embrace the grey or go full tilt and let the color come to the foreground. I guess we'll see what happens! 

If you want to inject some color in your life then let me help. Playing with color is one of my favorite things to do! 

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Environmentally Friendly Cleaners

 

I often talk about the importance of sustainable and humane design and I thought it would be helpful to talk about small changes that can be made that can have an impact on you and your home's health. 

Let's talk about dirt shall we. I have always been scent sensitive and the smell of cleaning products is just horrendous. It also does not help that I have asthma and most cleaning products trigger my asthma. 

My first recommendation is to avoid commercial cleaners as much as possible. My grandmother sent me a newspaper clipping many years ago with a recipe for window cleaner. Fill up a spray bottle about 3/4 of the way with water (I reused a spray bottle that I had- just make sure you label it!), add 1/4 cup of vinegar and 3-5 drops of dish soap. I use this as a general purpose cleaner as well for the kitchen and bathroom. 

For counters, stove tops and sinks I use Bon Ami. It's been around for ever and has only five ingredients.

I do like the Method and Mrs. Myers cleaners. I found a great online shop called Grove Collaborative that has some of my favorite cleaners and other household goods. Full disclosure that is a referral link that will give me a credit when you sign up. I just love how easy it was to use their site and get my things delivered. 

Since I am scent sensitive I shy away from commercial candles and room sprays. Some of my favorite candles can be found at Alapash. I also love Tatine Candles.  I recently discovered a delicious spray made locally in Chicago called Element. I use it as a room spray but they also say you can use it as a body spray. 

Do you have any cleaners or homemade cleaner recipes you can recommend? 

P.S. That picture above is from a weekend I spent in Michigan and I feel like I am always wanting to catch that moment of peace while watching the sun set. Sigh. 

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Changes

The photo above is one of the inspiration pictures I've pinned to 'Kandy's Place'. Light bright, airy and filled with art and plants. 

Let's see where I started. Below is the picture of my living room when I first went to look at the apartment. None of the furniture is mine! I was drawn to the apartment because it had amazing light, good bones, a great layout and I liked that the bedroom was down in the basement. 

And moving in! I think I lived with the computer on the coffee table as a tv for awhile. I needed to find a tv stand. 

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Making progress. What amazes me about looking back at these photos is that the bones are there but it is missing heart and soul. 

It's amazing how much a difference curtains and art can make. 

Finally here is the room styled. It just feel so much more warm and inviting. Plants always add life to a room. 

You are probably wondering why I started this blog post with a picture of a dining room and then showed you the progression of my living room. Well, that is because this room is now the dining room. 

First I simply swapped the rooms. 

IMG_5185.JPG

Then I did a bit of Craigslist hunting and I found this awesome CB2 Table and vintage Bertoia chairs. The table I had was just a little too small. The artwork came down and most of it went to my bedroom. 

Then I hung wallpaper, which I 'll share in another post. 

Next I need to find and hang art. I'd like to get different chairs to replace the orange chairs. I love them, but there isn't as much orange in here as I initially envisioned and they stand out in not a good way. 

I'll keep you posted! 

If you are looking to move things around and change things up let me know

 

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