blue-before photos 2
Last time I shared before photos they were from when I first moved in to my Capitol Hill studio apartment, well really before I moved in and the apartment was virtually empty! Today’s photos are collected over the years and show the arrangement I kept for the first year and a half of living here, a true before so you know how things started before I share my ongoing Happy Home project.

If you’d like to see more in depth before photos, sources, and background on where I started, see after the jump. There are more Happy Home posts to come and I will begin sharing the details of my apartment reinvention.

IMG_1781These above photo is from my first week after moving in. I timed it with spring break that year, so I had a whole week to get settled in and it was fabulous. I got every box unpacked in the first week. This photo is, of course, in process.

My amazing Seattle view is through the windows in the back of the apartment, so I placed the sofa in front of the windows so I could be as close to the view as possible. I also found it inviting to have the sofa be the first thing you saw when you walked in and a little too closed off when it faced the windows. That meant that the “bedroom” was toward the front of the apartment and the “living room” was toward the back.

When I first moved in I didn’t have a TV, but eventually a friend gave me a tiny one and I kept it on my painting easel in the living room. My cane back chair and ikat upholstered chair rounded out the living room seating and my two coral x-benches served as my coffee table. The sofa was the biggest purchase I made for the apartment and after looking at a million styles I decided on the Henry Sofa from West Elm in dove grey, so naturally I call him Henry. Since we have a local store in Seattle I picked it up with my UHAUL on moving day and saved on the delivery fees. In previous apartments I was tied to brown in my decor by another person’s things and opinions, so I was thrilled to finally be moving into the grey neutrals I’d been dreaming about for years, even a small bit at a time.

DSC_0424My living room rug was a brown and ivory braid print I bought off clearance at Pottery Barn years ago. It worked better with the decor in previous apartments, and I always planned on upgrading when my budget permitted. Until then I had to make it work. My Jonathan Adler “LOVE” pillow was another house-warming purchase I made for myself and is still a prized possession. The coral x-benches were purchased a couple weeks before I moved in and are from that adorable seasonal home decor aisle at Target and the C table in front of the sofa is from previous apartments and was originally purchased at Crate & Barrel.

apartment before 2Don’t mind my mess! This photo was taken in the middle of report card season last year, but it’s one of the best shots of my last living room arrangement with my brown braid print Pottery Barn rug.

IMG_3542I came in with a beautiful art collection which I hung pretty quickly around the apartment after moving in. Art is a true passion of mine and a hugely important part of any place I live. Art really guides my mood when I’m surrounded by it, so I like to fill my walls with things that make me happy. In the above photo is a painting by artist Pamela Mills and a poster from Beach House’s album, Bloom, arguably my favorite band.

IMG_2282You can’t see it very well in this photo, but the dining room was made up with two brown upholstered chairs from previous apartments and a white West Elm pedestal table I’d wanted for years and found on Craigslist a week before moving into this apartment. It was a dream come true to find it so cheap and it fits perfectly in the space. The chairs were a bit too big for the space, but I loved them so I made it work. In the early days I had my big old printer in the middle of the living room. Oy, it’s hard looking back at that photo!

apartment before 1In this photo you can see my ikat printed upholstered chair, a project I did during my first upholstery class a few years ago, and my West Elm bedding which I still love and was a great jumping off point in my grey and white/ivory color scheme. Here’s another photo of the bedroom side of the apartment so you can envision the whole space.

DSC_0160Although they were also brown (ugh) my milk glass bedside lamps have always been a favorite, and were originally purchased at Pottery Barn on clearance (several years ago). The bedside tables are Thomas O’Brien for Target, scratched up and sorely needing an update. They had great storage and good bones, so I wasn’t ready to move on quite yet. (And of course a little #rubykittycat snuggling in the covers…)

bookcase beforeI’ve always loved the impact of these IKEA Billy bookcases, but wished I had bought them in white. I was seriously talked into the black/brown by my partner at the time and have considered painting them, but honestly it sounds like too much work. It’s one of those things I’ve researched to death and never truly want to undertake. Besides, every home needs a healthy dose of black, in my humble opinion.

IMG_2844So that rounds out the before photos. Now you know what I’m working with.  I can’t wait to share my updates and progress with you in future Happy Home posts. Stay tuned!