Monday, August 12, 2013

Sarah's LA Apartment: The Beige Box Challenge

Sarah and family are planning the move to LA for the end of this month, which means that we have had all of no time to find them a new apartment.  Last week, we scheduled a whirlwind of a trip (two days traveling, two days in LA) and were determined to find something that would work.  
We knew we wanted something walkable (which apparently is a dirty word in LA), a reasonable drive from Beverly Hills (where her husband Devin's office is), close to the beach (because why not?), and with at least two bedrooms plus a den (welcome, guests!).  This was a tall order given our time frame and budget constraints, but we chose to remain naive and optimistic.  If it didn't work out, there was always the mini-bar...

We saw a couple SUPER cute bungalows in Venice and fell in love with the commercial strip, Abbott Kinney.  It had a hip, eclectic vibe that we thought we'd never find outside of Brooklyn.  This house was Sarah's favorite, and only one block from the beach, but we ended up passing on it because the kitchen and bathrooms were disastrous, it was pretty far from Devin's office, and he just couldn't see our vision.  We're still a little sad about it.  

After falling in love in Venice for a second time, this time with a house that was way too small but also so so cute, we decided to head north and check out Santa Monica.  While definitely not as cool as Venice, Santa Monica was pristine.  Everything was perfectly pretentious in that--why, yes I'd love a mimosa and a walk on the beach, followed by a shopping spree and a massage--kind of way.  

The first apartment we saw in Santa Monica was a man-cave fantasy: all chrome and hard lines with a living room that didn't get enough sunlight but did get a black leather couch and a 50 inch TV.  Devin loved it.  Sarah and Devin were officially equal on vetoing places that the other adored.
The next place in Santa Monica had a great location--walking distance to the beach, to the 3rd street promenade, to a bunch of shops and restaurants on Montana, and to a park right down the street. We figured with that location, the apartment was bound to be a nightmare.  Instead, we found some good potential, begging for decorating help.  We had to oblige.

What the apartment lacks in soul, it makes up for in size.  All of the rooms are huge, by Brooklyn standards, and there's a den (and a cute patio)!  It checked almost all of the boxes we had named going into our search and seemed to be a great compromise for Sarah and Devin.  Is it their dream apartment?  No.  Do we want to gut the kitchen and bathrooms and rip up all the carpet?  Of course.  But we think that we can work with it so they'll both be happy.  

We can't wait to share our plans with you for turning this boring beige box into the perfect home for Sarah and her family.  Spoiler: we just scored an amazing deal at Restoration Hardware! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sarah's LA Apartment: Thinking about Daybeds

As we start to think about and hunt for a new apartment in LA for Sarah and her family, we've been thinking a lot about guest rooms.  Because Julie is in NYC and our parents are in Chicago, Sarah will definitely need a space to house her monthly guests.  But with a growing family and crazy LA rent prices, we're thinking creatively about how to fit a guest space into Sarah's apartment without sacrificing play/work space for her family during the time that they don't have guests in town (which is sure to be absolutely never).

This is where a daybed comes in.  If you're anything like us, when you think of a daybed you imagine the daybed your friend had in 1992 which looked shockingly similar to this:

We get it.  But with new, stylish options out there in terms of daybeds, they are actually the perfect solution to creating a multifunctional guest space.  Check out the two amazing options we're considering for Sarah's apartment.  They'll allow us to create a comfy sleeping space for guests, but will keep the room looking like an office and/or playroom when guests aren't in town:

First up is this tufted beauty from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child:

We also love this daybed from Ballard Designs, which can be customized in tons of different fabric options.  This option also has a trundle, which is great for multiple guests:

The plan is to use the daybed as a couch when it's not in use.  A more affordable option that we're considering is this daybed from Ikea:

If we went with this option, we'd get a custom slipcover made for the mattress and would also have large pillows made in the same fabric to line the back of the daybed.  This way, it will still look like seating when it's not being used for guests.  We think the frame on this daybed is the perfect starting point to create the look of a built-in on the cheap.

We're waiting to see what the apartment looks like before we choose the daybed, so in the meantime, we're pulling inspiration from others who've used daybeds in oh-so-stylish ways:

Have any of you used daybeds in your own homes?  Do you have a favorite from the 3 we're debating between?  We'd love to hear from you!
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