Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Zen and the Art of Making Terrariums


Today is me time! I’m spending the day here at home in my jammies, sipping a cup of coffee by the window and catching up on my blog. It’s a perfect day if I may say so.

I am glad I have this blog and grateful for its small handful of followers. These past few weeks have been pretty damn stressful, I swear to God my hair is falling out again. But today I’m trying to be all zen and having this blog gives me an opportunity to write about the little things that make me happy and share it with the world. Like terrariums! I seem a bit behind on the craze here but I did want to make terrariums last summer but never got around to doing so. Last weekend, I made a trip to West Elm and got a bunch of vented globes and then made our way to the Indoor Sun Shoppe in Fremont that sells the coolest plants, from epiphytes to venus fly traps. I loaded up on some air plants, a few succulents and a cactus.


It doesn’t take much to make terrariums, and the plants used require very low maintenance. Cacti and succulents don’t need much watering, and air plants typically don’t need soil and can be placed singularly in a decorative vessel. Be sure to situate it where it can get bright indirect light and lots of air movement, as air plants typically get their nutrients from (you guessed it) the air. To water your air plants you basically take them and dunk them in water once a week. Let it dry thoroughly before placing it back in its vessel.




To build your succulent or cacti terrarium you will need soil as a base, then layer it with moss, or gravel. As for the air plants, soil will generally kill them, so you can either place them singularly on a dish or a vented globe, or mount them on a branch or a cool piece of driftwood.




And don’t forget to add little creatures! You can get them at any plant shop or craft store. Or if you’re feeling creative you can also make one yourself. As for mine, I found my little froggy friend at Ravenna Gardens. He will make a great addition to the succulent terrarium.


Hope yo have fun creating your own indoor terrarium! It sure has brightened up our living room!

Ikea Hack: Mod Storage + Litter Closet

When you live in a very small apartment, it can be difficult to find a place for everything, including the cat’s litter box. I used to hide it in a small closet with a forward-facing entry hole, but ever since we got Hudson, it just proved to be non dog-proof. And when a dog gets into the cat litter box, the repercussions can be very ugly. If you are both a cat and dog owner, you know what I mean.

I was inspired by the Catteux cabinet by London-based Elips Design, and went on a mission to find an inexpensive piece of Ikea furniture that we could modify. The Besta seemed to be the perfect solution. It has a nice minimal design, customizable modules and different veneers to choose from. We bought three modules, 2 singles and 1 pair. The first cabinet is used for storing our serveware, the middle cabinet stores our living room crap, and the third has Sumo’s litter box in it. Since the cabinets are 3 separate pieces, the litter closet can easily be removed or replaced if it gets damaged by his cat paws.


Using a jig saw I cut a hole at the side of the cabinet (tip: do this before you put the cabinet together!). I had also purchased a thin sheet of wood veneer at an art store and used it to trim the rough opening with industrial-grade glue. Wait til it gets tacky before gluing it down, otherwise it won’t stick!






Having the entry at the side of the cabinet allows me to conceal the litter closet. It also allows me to put an obstruction (in this case, a guitar), to prevent Hudson from sticking her head in the hole. For some reason, she is super terrified of the guitar, which works well in our favor.


There even is ample room to store all of Sumo’s supplies!


And there you have it. The living room is back in order and everyone is happy!


What pet-inspired solutions have you done around your house? Do share!

Project: Bike Storage

When you’re living in a small apartment in the city, storage can become an issue. For the longest time we have been trying to figure out where to store our two bicycles. We kept them out on the porch all summer, chained to a post to discourage thievery, but come wintertime I ideally want to move them back indoors. We have this funky wall space above the entry stairs and after much deliberation Breezy and I figured this would be the best place to store them. Off the floor and out of the way.

I did some quick concept studies a while ago to get an idea of how it’s going to look above the stairwell. This set-up is very straightforward and will consist of a sheet of plywood with 1x bracing, and 2 vertical-mount bike hangers screwed to the plywood. What do you think of the colors? I like the yellow with white lettering the best.

We got the supplies the other day and proceeded to put them together. In the end we decided on a longer piece of plywood (vertically) so that both tires sit nicely on them. Otherwise the walls will get nasty. The final board will look something like this:

The yellow paint has been applied, and should be dry by now. But I have yet to figure out the stencils for the large format lettering. Stay tuned for that.

Dress Up Your Deck With Ikea

Our Eastlake apartment has an itty-bitty deck that is bigger than a Juliet balcony, but not quite deep enough to set up lounge chairs in. This space inadvertently became storage space for our bikes, the grill, cleaning supplies, and everything else that we didn’t want stored in the house. Eventually the trash bins found themselves out here as well. Suffice it to say, it got pretty gross.

Determined to make this space usable again, we rolled up our sleeves, cleaned it out and scrubbed it down. After some elbow grease and a few Ikea pieces later, we now have a fully functional deck, that cost less than 150 dollars.

Below are the pieces that we either got at the store or already had at home.

a. Welded wire fabric (to keep cat in. Also doubles as a frame to hang herb pots)
b. Knodd Bin and Socker plant pots
c. Solvinden solar powered light chain (fun fact: this 19 dollar light chain is equipped with a daylight sensor. So when the sun goes down, it automatically lights up. Pretty neat for something so inexpensive.)
d. Tarno bistro set
e. Platta decking tiles
f. Plants

Tada! Easy cheap fix. Bring on the summer!

Bit and Breezy’s (Somewhat) Retro-Modern Home

Ola! I’m back from the dead, and yay we finally have internet! It’s been over a month since Breezy and I moved into our new apartment in an old craftsman house on Eastlake. It’s funny how easily I forget how much of a pain* the moving process is, considering the fact that I’ve moved about 7 times in the last 7 years. But we finally got most of the stuff put away, and the place is somewhat clean enough to invite people over. Most importantly, we can finally focus our energies on decorating! I think I am more excited about it than B is. I am hoping to do another fun wall, like the one I did for my studio. Our apartment is old, the floors are creaky, the walls are boring. But with a little creativity and fun furnishings, it should soon feel like home.

*Thanks again to all who helped with the schlepping! You rock!

Transforming a Boring Wall

Remember that wall in my living room that I wanted to paint  a Martha Stewart shade of turquoise? After months of going back and forth on the perfect color swatch, I finally painted the damn thing. Except that it’s not turquoise anymore. It’s yellow. Yep! A bright spicy banana peppery kind of yellow. And I love it (I know, I am as changeable as the weather)!

So! To take my yellow wall up another level, I decided to go all out and give it a little bit of artistic treatment. And you know, I really wanted to see how I could use blue painter’s tape to its full potential. So I masked out a silhouette of twigs* (or bamboo stalks, or however you may interpret the final product below), painted over it, and voila! I give you– urban chic! If this wall were an outfit, I would want to wear it all over town.

The trick to making it work is to pick something random, something that doesn’t require consistency and symmetry. This way you’ll never mess up! Unlike this chevron pattern I saw recently on apartment therapy–it looks really cool, but also requires you to be very precise.

This project took me about two days (not counting the 4 months of indecisiveness) to finish. And it’s relatively inexpensive. All you really need is:

A bucket of paint
A lot of blue tape
A little creativity
Your 80’s playlist

And you’re pretty much set! Do sketch out your pattern first before anything else, so you can see the big picture and make sure you like it. And for your paint color, choose something bold and totally out of your comfort level. It’s very liberating I tell you.

Happy painting!

*the graphic below is one of several quick studies I did, before my boyfriend suggested I do trees instead. I thought it was a fantastic idea and had to incorporate it somehow.

Step 1: Prepping the wall

Step 2: Paint
I painted most of it at night, which is why the colors in the following photos are a little off

The fun part: Peeling the tape off
make sure the paint is completely dry. I’d wait at least 12 hours before doing so.

the first stalk emerges…

Good to know!
the blue tape doesn’t hold up very well when using a roller. I think it’s because the roller soaks up too much paint, and it saturates the tape. If I could do this all over again I would probably apply the paint very carefully with a brush, so the edges come off clean and crisp. I panicked a little bit when I saw how the paint had seeped through the tape, as you can see in the photo below, but I ended up liking the raggedy edges anyway. It gave a nice bit of texture to it!

The finished product!

I Dream in Turquoise

So I’m totally jonesing for a turquoise-colored wall. I told my apartment manager that I wanted to paint an accent wall in my living room to warm things up in my little studio, and we agreed on something neutral and earthy. “Because the owner is rather picky.” Whatever. I changed my mind. I want something fresh and vibrant and totally out of my comfort zone! Turquoise is supposedly one of the hottest paint colors right now, and I have always loved that color, but I’m still nervous about covering an entire wall with it. The tricky part is picking out the right shade. Too light and it’ll look like a nursery. Too dark and it’ll visually shrink the space. The fun part is picking out coordinating accessories and furnishings. I already have a color palette in mind. Hah. Can’t wait to see how it will turn out. I just hope my manager doesn’t flip out too much when she sees it!

a photo montage. ideas from all over the internet for inspiration.

%d bloggers like this: