It's a Christmas Miracle!

by Lisa Lombardi in ,

Behold, let there be rug.

Just as I was psyching myself up to drop a hefty sum of money on a rug online, I received a text from Andy. While he was home for Thanksgiving, he spied a stash of rugs his mom had in the basement and, being the amazing roommate he is, asked if we might be able to take one off of her hands.

UM, YES PLEASE. Andy's mom is officially my fairy godmother of rugs. Seriously, who is this fabulous person?

Obligatory terrible-quality image to give you an idea of how big this thing is:

In a word, massive. It takes up nearly the entire room. And as soon as it was unrolled, the dining room immediately started to feel like a more hospitable place. Rug? Check.

So now I have no excuses to put off the upholstering project any longer (yes, I'm as sick of hearing about it as you). I've been obsessively scanning Joann Fabrics' web site, Etsy,, and the deep recesses of the web for something, anything, that might feel like The One. A big problem is that the patterns I gravitate toward aren't ones that are going to fit in the space — not with the chairs I have and the rug that I'm now working with.

(It's weird to try to separate what parts of the apartment are truly "my" taste, and what just organically came about because of the space and what we had to work with. That's not to say that I dislike how things are, just that if I had to start from scratch, things could easily go in a completely different direction. I like a little bit of every style, it seems.)

Another problem is the fact that I've become unbearably indecisive. About everything. And it's really slowing down my creative process. So I've decided — hello, 2015! — to cut the crap and stop spiraling into endless "What if?" circles every time I'm faced with a decision. As I told Adrienne during one of my many rants, "Failure IS an option. And that's okay."

No more worrying about the money. No more worrying about picking the wrong color, the wrong size, the wrong whatever. In the words of a famous multinational corporation, "Just do it."

On it.

The Dining Room: Today

by Lisa Lombardi in ,

In the spirit of full disclosure, I suppose I'm required to show the dining room in all of its bare, abandoned-looking glory. This hurts me more than it hurts you, I promise.

The flowers really help, though, huh?

Okay, so it's not THAT bad. It's not like there's a dirty mattress in the corner and a bucket of homemade moonshine brewing by the window (yet). But when you compare it to the other spaces in the apartment, it feels so...sad. Neglected. Boring.

We're three people with vastly different work schedules, cooking levels, and aversions to social gatherings. In short, we don't really host too many dinner parties here. (Read: none.) But we've been known to have some roommate dinners, and I know that while I am more in the habit of eating at my desk, on the couch, or, shamefully, in bed, Nathan and Andy like to settle in at the table every once in a while for a meal or just to do work. That alone warrants the need to finally wage full-on decorating war up in here.

This built-in here is awesome, and we clearly make good use of it. Between two former bookstore employees and a girl voted Most Likely to Become a Librarian by her brothers, we have a lot of shelf fodder. While it's nice to be able to keep all the booze and accompanying paraphernalia behind closed doors and out of harm's (and dust's) way, I'm thinking it might make more sense to bring that stuff out of the cabinets and onto its own makeshift bar cart. We already have a table in the corner that's essentially going unused, or maybe we could even get a legit cart. The point is, we have the space, and as you can see...

...things are getting a little crowded in there. Plus, it would give me an excuse to create a pretty bar setup and have a place to store my bartending gear other than in an OR dry bag in the back of my closet.

We all know the deal with the chairs and, while I really have nothing against the table itself, I do think we should eventually replace it. It's just not very big, and it'd be nice to squeeze two chairs to a side and have the option of seating six. Technically, it's a loaner table from one of Andy's friends, so I don't think I'll meet much resistance if I find something better.

The rug is a placeholder, borrowed from Nathan's room where it used to reside. I'm still on the lookout for something bigger and better. Possible news on that to come.

Here's our makeshift stereo center. Hoo boy, is it rough. Nathan threw a blanket over the top of it, and when I lifted it up this morning to take a better look, I can't really blame him. Technically, it is a functioning piece of furniture that serves its purpose well. If you want to be more picky and superficial — which I always do, when it comes to décor — it's boring and ill-suited for the task at hand. Ideally, we would find a corner piece that fit more snugly into the space and offered additional room for storage. Having searched for that particular shape for a couple months now, I'm ready to give up on that pipe dream and settle for something that's simply better than this. 

I told you there was a llama here somewhere.

Annnnnd just for funsies, a shot of Nathan's terrariums that he made for the lichen he smuggled home from Alaska. Aside from the fact that they're adorable (and on-trend!), I'm mostly just impressed that they're still alive. 

Now for the fun part: lists!


  1. New rug
  2. Reupholster the chairs (fiiiiiiiiiiiinally)
  3. Reorganize the bookshelves and drawers
  4. Attempt bar setup elsewhere in the room
  5. Find a replacement piece for the stereo equipment or, barring that, fix up what we have
  6. Keep on the lookout for a larger table
  7. Decorate those bare walls!!
  8. Clean the light fixture
  9. Make the dining room feel as welcoming and lived-in as the rest of the apartment

Piece of cake, right?


by Lisa Lombardi in , ,

If, like my mother, you're wondering what the heck happened to those chairs I was moaning about, here's a little something to get you off my back:


I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that they're never going to be perfect. See how it's darker around the edge of where the caning is? There lies the remnants of the old stain that, despite my many attempts, I haven't been able to banish completely. (I might give it one more go before I completely admit defeat — I just need to do it while the guys are out so I don't have to witness the inevitable "Really? This again? Is the apartment ever going to stop smelling like chemicals?" look.)

There's also just some naturally occurring variation in the color, because the chairs are constructed of multiple, different pieces of wood. Strangely, I'm okay with that. I'm actually pretty okay with the whole thing, in general, which is good because I've had moments of sheer panic over these chairs where I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking "OMIGOD WHAT HAVE I DONE??"

I'm just kidding. Kind of.

My anal obsession with the lingering stain, aside, I'm in the home stretch. All I really need to do is pick out new fabric and slap it on those cushions. (I'm also going to work a little Frankenstein-like magic on the foam cushions themselves, but more on that after I put my plan into action.) The issue I'm facing, though, is this: the dining room is a total blank slate. There's nothing but dark wood and empty walls — no real direction to influence what color or pattern (or lack thereof) I choose. This would be a blessing — a license to run wild, really — if not for the fact that I can't get past the idea that what the room really needs is a rug. A big one.

Which leads me to this: how can I pick the upholstery fabric when I don't have that rug to work with? What if I pick some crazy pattern that makes it impossible to find a rug to coordinate with it?

I have this thought cemented in my brain that the dining room can't get just any rug. No, it needs something amazing that goes with the other ones we already have in the apartment. All of the doorways in the living room are so large that they make the whole office/living room/entryway/dining room area feel like one giant common space. That, in turn, makes me feel like I have to come up with some cohesive style that isn't too crazy different from room to room. (The kitchen, with its buffer zone of hallway and pantry, doesn't suffer from this problem. As such, it's noticeably different from the rest of the common spaces.)

So. The rugs. Here's what we're working with:

First up is the rug in the living room, which, as you can see in the photo, is within easy sight of the dining room. 

Next we have the rug in the entryway, which shares doorways with both the living room and the dining room. Similar floral pattern in a slightly different color scheme.

Finally, this is the rug that's in Andy's office, which doesn't share a doorway with the dining room, but is still within easy sight. This rug has a decidedly different pattern and vibe from the other two, but the geometric qualities, color scheme, and vintage look help it mesh just fine. 

For months now, I've been scouring the Internet for a vintage rug that shares some of the qualities found in the ones we have, but for the size I need (between 6'x9' and 8'x10' to keep it from looking dinky) and the budget I'm willing to part with, it's proving damn near impossible. I thought I had a good Craigslist lead last week, but in my attempt to barter, all lines of communication went cold.

I'm thinking now that maybe I try plan B: get a big-ass neutral rug and just layer a vintage one on top of it. It could work; I've found a bunch of rugs that I love and can afford, but they were all just too small on their own.

This is what I've been looking at:

via Apartment Therapy

Via SAS Interiors

So, what do you think? Should I continue my search for the perfect Persian, big size and all? Layer something smaller over a neutral jute or sisal rug? Throw away this notion of cohesion and go for something modern and different? Or maybe do some layering, but with a bunch of neutrals, like in the seventh row of images here?