Our time in Italy is rapidly coming to a close, as I'm sure you've seen me write in these last six months! We've loved so much about living in Italy — the travels, the food, the wine, the people — but we've also loved our little Italian apartment.
It wasn't always that way, though. We didn't have a choice in where we lived when we first moved here — Tyler is in the army and we were given a couple housing options, and all of them were pretty similar but very, very basic and bland. No Italian villa surrounded by cyprus trees and rolling hills for us! Not even a lawn or a decent porch. But, we did get a 900 sq. ft. apartment with floors that weren't ugly, white walls and a pink bathroom — something I could deal with! It was a blank canvas for us to decorate, and for that I was grateful.
When we moved in, I wrote about our apartment — exactly 3 years ago today! — and all the plans I had for it. I'm including my "to do" list from when we moved in — and updates about what I've completed and what I didn't, and why! Plus, obviously, updated photos from our beloved space, and before & afters (everyone's favorite!). We are going to miss it so much — but, well, I've been buying a lot of Italian things on our way out of here, so I'm excited to have new blank walls to decorate, in our future home, tbd!
This room is definitely our most well-loved room. It is open to the kitchen and doubles as an office for us at time — I spend a lot of time on my laptop on the couch! We don't watch much television on the actual TV (I watch way too much on my laptop) so the positioning of the couch wasn't super important to stare at the TV screen — it was more important for me to have an open space that was easy to flow through. I wish we had more seating, but what we have now barely fits. I'm in love with our flokati rug and our Italian work bench. There is way too much that I want to put in this room, that is unfortunately being stored in the basement — I can't wait to bring it all out when we move into our next place!
LIVING ROOM: Everything completed on the to-do list!
Paint one wall blue (living room and kitchen are combined open space)
- We came to love the blue walls in our home! Though if I had to do it over again, I would've picked a lighter shade. Our next home will probably be a different color.
Put up shelves for books, DVDs, knick knacks Replace coffee table with one that has better storage
- We needed storage on our coffee table because Tyler and I mainly use our living room as an office, and it's always covered in our computer junk and paperwork. We bought the REGISSÖR coffee table and were quite pleased with it, even if it wasn't what I wanted (I wanted something with closed storage). We will sell it and replace it when we get home, most likely — I fear the edges will be a little too sharp once the baby starts walking.
Replace entertainment console with something more modern
- So, our "entertainment center" is definitely the opposite of modern. It's an antique work bench! I've wanted one forever but they were way out of our price range. I ended up finding a great deal on one at an antique store nearby. We added a shelf on the bottom later for our board game collection, and I love it! We will most likely use it exclusively as a bar once we move and try for a long mid-century modern piece for an entertainment center.
Hang up pictures
- No wall space left! Yay!
Replace light fixtures
- Unfortunately, I couldn't make the ugly (though incredibly useful) ceiling fan look any better, but we did swap out some of the shades on our light fixtures for cheap IKEA ones. And it was easy to put the original ones back for our move.
I put a TON of thought into our kitchen. Because we literally had no countertop space when we moved in (unless you think the top of a dishwasher counts as countertop), hugely limited storage (we put in those cabinets) and literally no drawers, we were working with barely anything. Open shelving was a must for us because of our budget (the cabinets we bought secondhand very luckily) and honestly, it wasn't the worst and I've come to really love it. Our kitchen table doubles as a workspace and our buffet is the "landing strip" for when you come through the front door — it has to be cleaned up often. Vertical storage was a must in this space, hence the knife rack, wine rack and rails behind the sink. It's been an incredibly functional kitchen and made me think a lot about the way I cook and the way we eat before I got to installing stuff.
KITCHEN: About half & half
Paint one wall blue Add vertical storage, including wine glass rack and knife rack to create more countertop space
- Our kitchen, with its limited countertop space, ended up being totally functional by the time we were done. Adding vertical storage and cleaning off those countertops was an awesome move, and installing the racks behind the oven and sink for storage was a great move, too. And I'm totally in love with our knife rack.
Put up shelves for dishes around fridge
- I wrote about making our butcher block shelves and drilling them into concrete here! It's definitely my favorite DIY for this apartment and one of the most useful was. Also, open shelving was way less awful than I thought it would be (we only chose open shelving because it was more economical for our budget and easier to do as renters). Stuff wasn't as dirty or dusty as I imagined it would be — mostly because everything on these shelves as very well-used. Also, fun story: I had all these shelves cut but not hung when our fridge stopped working. They delivered a new one and it was one inch wider than the previous one — so I had to go back and have the hardware store re-cut them all. At least it was before they were hung!
Hang up pictures
- Of course!
- Stain kitchen cart and sand/stain kitchen buffet
- I never did either of these things because, well, sanding is a pain in the ass, guys. Also, our IKEA buffet — well, I'm not sure you can even sand it because I'm unsure of the wood quality and I didn't really care to paint it a color. So, it just stayed! It ended up looking fine. If you've sanded or painted your IKEA NORDEN, I'd love to hear about it!
Get bins for tupperware, rags
- I never really found storage solutions I loved, but the wooden crates under our custom shelves were cute, even though they were sort of a pain.
- Cover lower sink in contact paper
- Never got around to doing this, mostly because the wood matched the wood on our buffet and I was worried about cleaning off sticky residue when we left.
- Organize beneath the sink
- Awkward, never did this either.
- Reupholster kitchen chairs
- I just ended up buying new ones! I got these Eames knock-offs on Amazon for about $25/chair. Though I eventually want more comfortable kitchen chairs
It took a long time for our master bedroom to come together. I really love color, and I struggled a lot here because of the white rug, white bedspread and white walls, but I feel like it's one of my favorite and most cohesive spaces. I love the color scheme and it's a fantastic oasis at the end of the day. Our Beni Ourain rug, purchased on a big ol' splurge in Morocco, is our absolute favorite piece, and we love stepping onto that super soft wool when we get out of bed in the morning. I hope our next space has actual CLOSETS, and I'll definitely be replacing our super hand-me-down nightstands, but I'm overall incredibly happy with this room.
MASTER BEDROOM: Half done
Buy hamper for clothing (we don't have one!)
- I still want to replace our hampers — I wanted a woven basket but couldn't never find one big enough within our budget, so I'm still on the lookout. I bought smaller baskets in the meantime, and well, I do laundry a lot more often, so that's a plus!
- Paint walls green
- I ended up not doing this and am kind of glad. Though the color would've been amazing, we would've had to repaint before leaving. I wanted to paint because I wanted to give the room more color, but we ended up having a ton of color with all the fun wall hangings, curtains and throw pillows, so it totally wasn't necessary.
Hang things up
- This is never a problem for me
- Cover wardrobes in white contact paper
- I didn't do this for fear of ruining the wardrobes, which were loaned to us. I was concerned there would be sticky residue all over them. They ended up being fine in the end and not as much of an eyesore as I anticipated.
I was so excited when I found out we had a pink bathroom in our house. Sadly, it is our only bathroom, which causes some fun in the mornings, but it was super easy to decorate — just black and white accents! My favorite feature isn't something we brought, but it's the bidet — and I'm going to need to figure out how to have one in our next home because I'm in love.
BATHROOM: Mostly done!
Get decorative shower curtain
- I'm in love with our shower curtain that we got from Flying Tiger!
Replace bathroom rugs
- From IKEA
- Buy new towels
- Never did this. Our towels need to be replaced some day because the dye in the grey ones came out for some reason so they look a weird color, but they're still fluffy and soft, so it's for vanity reasons only. I do need to replace our wash cloths soon, though, because ew.
- This mostly happened. It was all pretty functional in the end.
Hem curtains (they're currently folded with safety pins 'cause I'm classy)
- I did do this, miraculously! With iron-on hemming tape. But it still counts.
- For a more thorough tour of our bathroom and a resource list, check out my original blog post about it here!
This is easily my favorite space in the house, even though I spend the least amount of time in here. I decorated it when Tyler was gone for work one month, otherwise I would've never gotten away with all the pink and blue. It's such a fun space, even though it has a million purposes — overflow storage room, cleaning supply storage, office and spare room. I love the desk in there, though it's not very comfortable or functional, so that will be something to solve once we move so our future office actually gets put to use!
GUEST BEDROOM: All done!
Move books, media to living room once shelves are hung
- I did do this! Though some of our books did stay in the guest room in the pink shelf that was repurposed from the living room (it's the black one that you can see in before pictures)
Streamline printer area, make space for craft supplies
- I bought this cheap little dresser off someone secondhand and stored all my craft supplies in it.
Buy mattress topper so guests don't hate us
- I did buy a mattress topper for the very uncomfortable bed that was in here. However, we also bought a new mattress for our master bedroom while in Italy, so our old mattress went to the spare room! Guests were very happy.
Create storage space for Tyler's equipment, cleaning supplies
- So, there was literally no way to store Tyler's army equipment in this room — there was just not enough room to contain all that. So, Tyler's stuff ended up going in the garage. However, I did put up this shelving in the corner for cleaning supplies! It was a great way to hide brooms and mops and all that.
- For a more thorough tour and resource list, you can see my blog post about the guest bedroom here!
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2018. All rights reserved.