knitting it up in a big way

Tag Archives: home sweet home

warning, friends: this post has an absolute deluge of pictures!

i’ve owed you this post for a bit now, my dear readers. i took these pictures in march, on a day that reached summer-like temperatures we have yet to see again.

i’ve been friends with ashley for several years, and in that time, she has lived in several different apartments, each one different from the last in layout and feel, and eventually moved in with mark, when their possessions merged. and to each apartment she has brought her tastes and possessions, acquired throughout her lifetime, from the many countries she’s lived in, and every time, i have loved the finished result. so i thought i would share with you their beautiful home, in the hopes that it inspires you as much as it inspires me!


ashley and mark on their wedding day with their rescued greyhound, grace.


ashley and mark live in andersonville, a neighborhood with very strong swedish influences in chicago.


the foyer- the base of the sewing table was a gift found by mark’s friend and mark found the top, an old printmakers tray, while helping his brother clean out his garage. they had glass cut to fit the top, and the sections are filled with many small trinkets. the mirror above was in the stairwell of a friends apartment building, and ashley pestered the owner until they sold it to her.

guest bedroom

the guest room, soon to be nursery- the photo next to the lamp is ashley as a baby & her mom. the typewriter was from a thrift store. the old old photo on the wall was left in her friend’s house and it reminded her of ashley, and so it was gifted.

ashley found the dresser in an alley in lincoln park and an old roommate repainted it to the current color. it’s actually about to get a fresh coat of paint so it can be used as little luca’s (yes, of wool leaves fame) dresser.

guest bedroom

the bed was a craigslist find, and her mother made the quilt. the rug was woven by a family that lives at the top of a mountain in oman called jebel shams. she met them and bought the rug off the patriarch who was this old guy who also proclaimed himself the “mayor” of the village (so who knows about the validity of that claim). the dragonfly print is from a large book of nature illustrations (you can spot it in the living room under the glass coffee table).

living room

the living room- the tv stand was from a scout sidewalk sale. the portrait of a lady in the gold frame is mark’s, and the more abstract portrait of a lady through squares is from ashley’s friend, erica keck.

living room

the side table is an old tea container that ashley found in the alley. they were shipped from india, with the shipping label is still on them. they must have been entirely filled with tea, they still had some tea in them and still do in the nooks and crannies inside. the couches were an old sectional that ashley made a new slipcovers for. the black kitty is clive.

living room

the tripod lamp was a recent acquisition from target.

living room vignette

the twig lamp was hand me down. The art deco iron table it’s on was a craigslist find.

living room

the nude portrait was bought in budapest, and apparently is by a semi-well known hungarian woman artist. ashley loved the colors and the odd cropping. the military portrait is mark’s. the side table is from india, but ashley bought it in oman, where she was living at the time. the rugs and kilim pillows are all from oman and dubai.

living room

mark’s dad brought back the cuckoo clock from the black forest region of germany when he was stationed there. the portrait of mark was painted by chicago artist mark jackson.

dining room

mark refinished the dining room table. the stack of suitcases were collected from various thrift stores and rummage sales, and hold a fair amount of ashley’s i’m smitten stock in an easily accessible and pretty manner.

the cactus is mark’s, given to him by an old boss (and friend) who he helped drive out and move to santa fe. she is a big gardener.

dining room vignette

the papier-mache masks were brought back from a trip to india by a friend of mark’s.

the leggy plant on the windowsill is a mother of thousands and was brought back from a trip to south carolina for a friend’s wedding. ashley stayed in a bed and breakfast, and the woman who ran the b&b gave it to her. the babies of that plant were given out as ashley & mark’s wedding favors.

dining room

the zebra mask above the small bookcase was purchased by ashley on a trip to kenya.

dining room

the largest tray of butterflies was ashley’s grandmother’s, the rest were donated to the biology department at her old school.

dining room

the armoire was bought unfinished by ashley’s parents and then painted to put in her nursery. the cool little globe next to the armoire was mark’s grandparents’. the skull was found by a friend in new mexico.

dining room

mark made the sculpture next to the skull and he stained the wood with kool-aide. the cameras were collected in art school at thrift stores in albuquerque.


the long mirror in the hallway used to hang in a stationery factory in pilsen that a friends father owned. when they sold the factory, ashley got the mirror.

tiny door (hallway)

bathroom vignette

bathroom vignette

the bag was a rice bag from oman, though ashley has spotted them in devon (a heavily southeast asian area of chicago).

bathroom vignette

the art is a lotta jansdotter print.

master bedroom

the master bedroom- the vignette of the artwork hung in the bedroom is all romantic art- a piece ashley gave to mark when they were dating (the foxes), a print of a squid attacking a boat that he made for her after their first date, but didn’t get to give to her until they began dating in earnest a year and a half later, and two pieces that were wedding presents. that’s why they are all grouped together.

master bedroom

the big baskets are from a village in oman called nizwa, and the locals use them to carry lots of green grassy stuff on their heads. (ashley thinks it’s goat food that they are carrying as nizwa is known for its goats and they have a huge goat auction that is pretty amazing.)

the bedframe is from colonial india.

master bedroom

mark’s dad brought the navajo blanket at the foot if the bed back from an army trip. the kitty is baiza, and she gives the most fabulous kitty hugs.

master bedroom

ashley’s bedside table is the mate of the tea shipping container that is a side table in the living room.

master bedroom

wall art by anders nilsen, a local artist and friend of ashley’s.

master bedroom

the mirror was found in an alley by ashley.


the old radio was mark’s grandpa’s and he had re-wired it to still work and play from their computer. the cart was purchased at a sidewalk sale from roost.


most of the teacups are from their wedding shower (they were party favors and they took home the leftovers). ashley got the tangine in oman, where she watched the guy paint it. it’s one of her prized possessions.


the arabic board was from a vegetable market in oman. the guy DID NOT want to sell it and it took several months of nagging him to get him to agree. ashley paid for him to have a new sign painted (which was still ridiculously cheap). the toys on top of the door frame are mark’s.


mark got the cute little red kettle as a housewarming gift when they moved into their new home. The picnic baskets on top of the cabinets are from the wedding (i have a photoset dedicated to that here, if you’re interested!).



i’ve been meaning to do this post for a while now. and it’s gonna be a long one, and fillllled with pictures. now you know!

living room
waayyyyy before. this pic was taken a week after we moved into the apartment.

when we first moved into this apartment (august 2009), our furniture got dumped in the first location that popped into our heads, as is frequently the case with moving. i probably knew that it wasn’t going to stay like that forever (growing up i would rearrange my bedroom annually). we painted the living room a pale blue, and the slanted portion of the wall a paler blue.

Before- Living Room
a more official before picture

in october of 2010, i decided that the time had arrived! even more importantly, i had a plan! i’m pretty sure young house love inspired it, but i can’t remember how. since i was totally hooked on home design blogs, i decided the whole thing should be documented, of course, so i got the room nice and tidy (which is not a default, sadly), and took some pictures.

Before- Living Room

these were my priorities:
-having the couch on the knee wall meant that the ottoman was directly in our path from the bedroom to the kitchen. there were a few late night stubbed toes on quests for glasses of water which were not appreciated.
-we have a fairly small apartment, with shortish ceilings (around 7 ft, or 213 cm), so i really wanted to make the best use possible of the space, and hopefully make it feel as large as possible.

Before- Living Room

-i wanted to maximize the amount of natural light. having the TV, especially after we acquired a much much larger one, on the same side of the room as the window made it feel smaller.
-this apartment has a decent amount of storage built into it, which i did not take proper advantage of (i’m still working on that, honestly)
-we did not have adequate seating for the times when we have guests over.


i moved many of the books to the built in book case (documented in this post as well). i was amazed at how much filling up the space properly and putting them in color order did to visually de-clutter the living room. i’ve become slightly addicted to putting things in color order now… i might still do that to the dvds, but i would have to keep them separated by genre so that we could still find things.

living room

you can’t really tell in the before picture above, but the tall blue wingback chair, while comfortable and reclinable, made our short ceiling-ed living room feel much smaller. it got donated to a friend who moved to an apartment with quite tall ceilings. for a while we had a stand-in chair, which wasn’t terribly comfortable, but it was free and easy, hanging around while i kept my eyes open for chairs. i was imagining & shopping around for a pair of slipper chairs, when i got the incredibly generous offer of these two beautiful mid-century style chairs from a friends parents who were downsizing. and i la-la-love these chairs.


we do most of our eating in the living room (watching venture brothers or veronica mars at the moment), so we swapped the ottoman out for a coffee table (on sale from world market). our drink spillage has gone down significantly since we now have a flat surface to place glasses on.


there’s many small things i would still like to improve in here over time:
-touch up the paint job where patches have been made or there are marks on the walls
-get a better side table for the couch.
-hang the duck hook for keys.
-the couch has gotten beat up in its time with us. ideally, i would like to make a slipcover for it, and possibly get new cushions for it.
-paint the ceiling a bright white. i didn’t realize that it was a warm-cream color until we painted the walls a cool blue.

oh look, the baby blanket is blocked! but still no official FO shots…

that list was as much (okay more) for me as it is for you. despite the list, i looked around the other day and i was like ‘whoa! this room is almost done!’ in general the functionality of the living room has greatly increased. there’s more light, more seating, and it feels much much more finished. have i mentioned that i love it, too? there’s more pics of after in this photoset, if you’re interested!

have you been undertaking any major rearrangements recently? have any of your home projects taken a year and a half?

this is a look i love, and i definitely want to do this in our apartment in the kitchen. but i haven’t gotten around to it yet. in the meantime, i just look at these for inspiration:

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

from burlap and lace

while i won’t do all white, it certainly is appealing. and i love the platter in there to break up the sizes.

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

from vintage farmhouse, but i think possibly originally from house beautiful?

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

from mmmcrafts.

these two are a bit more like it… organic shapes, playing with size, and color…

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

from not your average ordinary.

antique baking accessories as an awesome alternative. this is not a collection i have, but if i somehow manage to accumulate it…

day 21- delicious


dinner! bangers and mash! with baked beans and beer! i forgot to take this picture right away, so i’d had one bite…

day 22- kitchen sink

my sink

you’ve seen it before, and you’ll see it again. i found that marble cutting board thrifting. i like that it adds a bit of luxe to the kitchen. before moving into this apartment, i’d never really had my own kitchen, as i was always sharing with my grandparents or roommates. it caught me by surprise just how much i love having a kitchen, collecting cooking tools or random kitchen-y things (i have a surplus of cream pitchers & sugar bowls. and salt & pepper shakers. and teapots.) i love thinking about use of the space, and the best layout, and making tiny improvements. and while i never minded cooking before, having a kitchen of my own really made me enjoy puttering around and cooking more. i still have a lot to learn about cooking, but i do much more, much better than i did before.

in other news, remember this hat that i made? and how i sent it to vanawesone? well, he just made a video that very heavily features the hat i made him! so… i’m sharing it with you guys!

fave friday! this week: eames lounger!

oh, eames lounger… someday when i live someplace larger and have more disposable income… maybe then we can be together. don’t hold your breath until then, dear.

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

as it says, from, more specifically from this post (how cool is that?!)

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

found from an inspiration post from the brick house. also, those cacti are AMAZING.

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

from this post from manhattan nest. and he got that beautiful white lounger from maya:

Source: via Eliza @ ifandany on Pinterest

who doesn’t have a blog, but occasionally other bloggers who know her will give a sneak peak of her place (this is from brick-house).

and while we’re on the subject of white leather eames loungers, this was the most recent sighting:

from designsponge’s sneak peak of grace hsiu’s husky ranch, which i loved all of (didn’t hurt that morgan of the brick house helped out the styling…).

anybody else have something extravagant that they dream of having someday? tell me more!

day 8- window


a little prism in one of the few windows that gets direct sunlight in our apartment. it makes the little rainbows all that much sweeter for being rare.

day 9- red


the blumen girl i bought myself in dresde. i have a great-aunt who lives in germany who would bring me blumen girls each visit when i was a little girl. so last spring, when i was there, i was absolutely delighted when i found them in a store. this one doesn’t really go with the blumen girls of my childhood, but i like her very much. she is kept company by my diamond-toothed donkey-thugs/hellhounds.

the kitchen vignettes have been changing again. so, of course, i must update all of you as well.

spice rack

kitchen vignette


my bedside. i dislike this lamp… but it works consistently, and that is more than i can say for my chosen bedside lamp. i recently pinned a lamp rewiring tutorial, so maybe i’ll give it a shot sometime and fix up my pretty lamp. i also love me some frack hack, but i also know myself well enough to know that it’s doubtful that the bed will stay in exactly the same spot…

other things about my bedside table: my father-in-law made the headboard and each of our bedside tables. i traded with a girl in my ceramics class for the little bowl.

i’ve been busy this weekend, doing things, fixing things, making things, but also drilling holes that didn’t work out, and making messes that will take a bit to clean up. bah humbug. but let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

brussel sprouts with garlic and fried eggs

but i made brussel sprouts with garlic, and jake fried up the eggs. recipe from nat the fat rat, and i hung this knife rack very successfully, though! slowly but surely, i’m buying us more counter space!

brussel sprouts with garlic and fried eggs

i’ll get some pictures of some of the other things i accomplished this weekend and share them with you!

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