my small cool space 2014

rae's small cool space #smallcool

As I did last year and in 2011, I entered Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool Spaces Contest. I think I’ve stepped up my game this year, and I’m so glad it’s ready to show off. If you have a minute, step over to the contest page and vote for me! (You know, if you feel like it.) I believe you have to register for Apartment Therapy, but it is free.

This is one of my favorite times of the year on the Internet. It’s so fun to see all these different homes and how they are designed. I really really enjoy checking it out. And I also enjoy sharing my own home.

living room #smallcool

This is the other side of the living room, across from the couch. I love having my pictures framed and on the wall. Each year I try to make my apartment a bit more grown up, and having things framed and properly on the wall definitely was a step in that direction for me. Things can absolutely look sophisticated and nice without a frame–I just couldn’t figure how to do that in this space.

I am also pretty excited about this big fake tree I have in the corner. I think it looks pretty good and not too fake, and it’s safer for #fatcat because he tends to eat real plants.

craft space #smallcool

This is my sewing area, which you’ve seen before. I added an embroidery, and of course you can see the lamp and pictures on the wall next to it. It leads to my kitchen and dining area.

dining room #smallcool

Which I love. It of course has the table and chairs that I redid and the mirror that I spray painted. I like the bright primary colors, it’s just a happy space. But my favorite detail might be the shark coming out of the kitchen table. (It’s a piggy bank I got from Target. To put money in, you have to reach into the shark’s mouth.)

bedroom #smallcool

I really like my bedroom in this apartment. It’s got great windows and a ceiling fan. I have a new headboard, which also feels more grown up to me. And I really like having the shutters and mirrors on the side of the bed.

bedroom #smallcool

There’s room for a few dressers, and the jewelry rack I made by painting another one of those wooden racks–the same kind you see in the sewing area.

There’s still projects that I want to do, but I’m really excited for my apartment. I like spending time here, and I can’t wait to have people over. It makes me really proud to come home to something that I love and a space I created (with lots of help, of course). Don’t forget to stop by the Small Cool Contest!

apartment ideas

Moving plans are trucking along. I have juuust barely started packing and I’ve gotten rid of some things I don’t want to move. But mostly I’ve daydreamed about what to do in my new space.

I mean, moving is a drag, right? It’s a big pain and expensive and stressful. But decorating is fun, and so is a new apartment. I have thought of some very specific things I’d like and also some big ideas I haven’t worked out yet. Everything on my list changes on almost a daily basis, and ultimately I’ll likely need to live there a bit before I figure it all out.

  • Mismatched plates/dishes, likely from thrift stores. I will hopefully be having a lot more people over for dinners since I’ll have more space. But nice plates are expensive! I’d like to try to mix and match with what I can find.
  • Peg boards. Everywhere.

peg board

  • A shelf to display my favorite coffee cups. probably like a shadow box-type thing, painted black so they will pop. This is something I made up and would like to find or make. But we’ll see how it pans out.
  • Shower hooks or S hooks on either hangers or rods to hang scarves and purses.
  • How fun does this plastidip look?! But I don’t know what I’d use it on yet
  • I can’t let go of the idea of brightly colored beautiful velvet.


I have thought a lot about an entryway and haven’t decided on anything except I think a coat rack and umbrella stand sound fun. I also would love to have space for a table for my sewing machine and any projects I’m working on in addition to a desk just for work. I’m pretty sure I’m letting my daydreams get away with me–but that’s ok for now!

You can keep up with my daydreams on Pinterest.

design question

I need help. (I mean, it’s not that serious, it’s a decorating problem, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.)

I’ve been obsessed with getting my apartment as close to finished as possible, and I’m a little stuck with the wall in my bedroom.

bedroom polka dots

Ideally, I’d love to hang an elaborately framed mirror above the bed, but I got a little skittish about hanging a heavy mirror in my rented apartment and also paying for a mirror. So I saw these very cheap black circle mouse pad and thought, why not? So I echoed what I did in my living room….

living room

…but in my bedroom. My worry is that it might look a little immature in my bedroom, where it’s large black polka dots and bright colors. On the other hand, it’s a cheap way to build on a polka dot theme and decorate the wall above my bed. What do you think, yay or nay? What else could I do there that will still let me keep my deposit?

Also, I’ve updated the living room since this picture was taken as well. I can’t wait til it’s ready to show you everything. Back to books and crafts and such later on this week, thanks for helping me get this out of my head and taken care of!


Yesterday was full of travel and family and food, so I’m a day behind on this, but here is what I’m Thankful for this year.

  • #fatcat. Cisco had a home with my brother before he came to stay with me two years ago, and he has brought so much joy and love into my home. Plus, he’s hilarious. And fat.

  • my family. We aren’t all near each other all the time, but a few years ago we started setting a week aside each year to get together for family vacation. I love, love, love this time I get to spend with everyone and that I get to play with my nephews all week. I am so excited we will all be together over Christmas this year. 
  • my friends. I have the most amazing friends in the world, and I couldn’t have made it this far in New York or in my life without them. They support my dreams, read this blog, talk celebrity gossip, see silly movies with me, keep me company on gchat, and travel halfway across the country to hang out with me. I love you guys, seriously. And this year, one of my oldest and best friends moved to the city to start a new chapter in her life. So I can see her all the time!
  • my apartment. I moved recently and unexpectedly. Even just thinking about moving sends me into an anxiety tailspin. But thanks to my friend Laura who kept me company on moving day and kept me sane on all the other days, I am making a home in a new place and having tons of fun doing it.
  • reading. I have a family full of bookworms. As you can see by my childhood books they still have in the basement, they have been encouraging reading all my life. And even now, when I have a new interest or dream, they give me a book about it. They always make time to talk books, and I make a living by reading and editing. I’m very grateful for that. (photo from my parents)

  • my sewing machine. My mom gave me her sewing machine a few years ago, and it’s opened me up to create things by hand. I can pass the time making beautiful (or, well, average) things, it stretches a new part of my brain, and I’m really proud of the things I’ve tried over the past few years.
  • this blog. By sharing some of my life with you, Internet, I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself and more confident in life. It’s been a blast to find people with similar interests and to chat about the things I’m doing. Sometimes I feel like an idiot for putting it all out there, but that feeling gives way to fun 99% of the time. And thank you, for reading.

But most of all, I’m thankful not to be out in Black Friday, right now. Instead I’m sitting in my parents’ kitchen as my dad makes lunch. Life is pretty good, yes?