Category Archives: Uncategorized

…I’m Alive.

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Well, hey there!

If you’re reading this, then I THANK you endlessly for visiting in spite of my silence over the last few months. It’s been a busy (but crazy awesome) summer so far, and haven’t had the time that I need to devote to the ol’ blog. A lot of my posts require quite a bit of planning and collaboration, and I haven’t stayed put long enough to be successful in that regard.

BUT! I do have plans. I mean it. Things are happening. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram to keep up with my foolishness.

I’ll leave you with this completely unedited photo of my bedroom.

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Small Cool on Apartment Therapy!

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smallcoolscreenI know that eventually I’ll sound super obnoxious talking about this so much, buttttt I’m pretty excited about it and I want the world to know.

I’ve been picked as a contender for Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool contest! If you aren’t familiar with it, Small Cool is a contest that celebrates smart, stylish, and unique small homes from around the world. I’m in the “little” category, and I’m ONE SPOT AWAY from moving to the next round of the competition. Here’s what I’m working with…

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Sooo. Please click here to head over to Apartment Therapy to mark me as your favorite! I’ll be your best friend and I’ll owe you my life (a.k.a. cookies or something).

 

Mas Means More on Mornings Like These

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I had such a great time sitting down to chat with Joy from Mornings Like These a few weeks ago to discuss inspiration, creativity, DIY, and other randomness! If you aren’t already into Mornings Like These (although I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t be), be sure to follow her on Instagram ASAP. You’ll be inspired to make the most out of those early morning hours. Also, be sure to check out her blog to see some inspiring stories of other creatives/studios/businesses in the DC area. Here are a few photos that the amazing Emma Calary captured of my space that morning. To check out the entire interview (a.k.a. me blabbing my face off) and the rest of the shoot, hop on over to Mornings Like These!malcolm-58 malcolm-12 malcolm-43 malcolm-16 malcolm-11

All photos by Emma Calary Photography.

Kitchen Happenings

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I’ve never really considered myself to be much of a tidy guy. I always keep a clean house, but it doesn’t take much for things to get a little bit messy in a little bit of time. This is especially true if I’m in the middle of working on a project and random things are thrown all over the floors and the tables and everything else in the apartment.

What I’ve found, though, is that giving so much time and attention to the way my home works – both functionally and aesthetically – compels me to keep it in pretty good order. You know, like an adult, or something. What I’ve also realized is that keeping things in good order keeps me in good order, because it allows me to be a lot more comfortable in my own space, which makes me a happy camper.

That being said, there was an ignored and slightly awkward corner in my kitchen that needed some tending to:

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Bleh. I was able to find the Limhamn shelving unit from Ikea, which happened to be exactly the right size for the corner, but it was in need of some upgrades to enhance it’s form and function. I thought up some pretty simple ways to make it a little more useful:

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The first and most noticeable update to the counter is probably the addition of the wheels. They make the counter quite a bit higher than it was previously, which makes it a more easily usable surface in a small kitchen that is majorly lacking of counter space (it was too short before to use as a countertop.) They also obviously make it mobile! I know, a pretty basic thing to be stoked about, but I like being able to move it closer to the stove/sink if I need it while I’m cooking.

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I put together this maple/faux butcher block/cutting board surface to sit on top of the shelving unit. I did this for a few reasons… the first and main one being that it just looks cool. Also, the stainless steel top started to accumulate fingerprints that were damn near impossible to remove and annoying to look at, so sitting the wood on top kind of alleviates that issue. The initial intention was to be able to use it as a cutting board, but… I don’t know if I trust my woodworking skills enough to actually prepare edible things on it? I feel like bacteria would grow on it somehow, so it will just sit there and look nice for now.

I also used some piping and magnets to adhere a makeshift dish towel rod onto the stainless steel frame of the counter (I actually got this for the refrigerator, but the pipe was too heavy and just slowly slid down the side of the fridge, so it found a nice home here instead!) I searched FOREVER to find an actual magnetic towel rod, but apparently they don’t exist?? I swear, I must make up things in my mind that seem to make sense as buyable products but actually don’t exist in reality. This happens way too often. It’s cool, though, because I really dig the look of this pipe.

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Oh, I also made this  little chalkboard out of an old frame that I got from a thrift store and some inexpensive chalkboard contact paper from Michaels. Just a little something extra to help me remember when I need to buy milk or something.

Like I said, when time and energy are spent on these projects, I’m more inclined to keep the space neat, tidy, and useful. Even though this is a pretty easy update, maybe it’ll make me feel more inclined to cook more often than I do.

Compulsive Collectin’

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I’ve always been a collector of sorts. As a kid, it started out with rocks. Big rocks, small rocks, white rocks, colorful rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. I had a little box that I would put them in, and I was always so proud to add another one to my collection. As horribly cliché as it sounds, there was just something so interesting about sorting through things that were inherently the same, but also unique in their own ways. ..also, I was a strange little dude that liked to pick up rocks from time to time?

At any rate, I’ve been through a bunch of collectin’ phases over my many years on this here planet. It’s cool to look around and see the different weird collections that I’ve had, and even cooler (or embarrassing in most cases) to reminisce about the kind of kid that I was when I started and finished each of them. Here’s to more collecting.

I still have that box of rocks stashed away, somewhere. 

Sneaking a Peek

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It’s been a few weeks, but I’ve finally been able to check out the apartment again… sans the grime. They picked up the previous tenant’s trash, polished the floors, patched up the tiles in the bathroom, and put in some new fixtures/appliances (refer to this post to catch up). I think that it looks pretty darn pretty. So I obnoxiously took pictures. Here are a few.

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Hey there.

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You clean up nice.

Is it clearly old? Yes. Does it look a little tattered? Yeah. Probably a little more so than these pictures depict. Is there anything wrong with that? Nah. I think that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s just what I need. Suffice it to say, I’m excited to get going on this move. Over the next few weeks I’ll be accumulating a bunch of stuff for it. Luckily I already have the BIG pieces that would eat up the majority of my budget (living room furniture, some bedroom stuff, etc). That, and I often frequent this awesome store called My Parent’s House, where I grab a bunch of random stuff that they don’t want.

The lease is signed and the ball is rolling. There are some logistical things that I have a few weeks to figure out… like how I’m going to get a bunch of huge rugs into my car because renting a truck to pick them up from the store would break my (small) budget for this whole thing? Bleh. Being cheap has it’s perks more often than not, but it’s annoying sometimes.

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There’s a lot of space to work with in this place, which gives me a lot to do.

Onward.

Planning is Everything?

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I think that a combination of a few of my interests fuel my weird obsession with this move. For starters, I eventually want to get in the business of flipping houses, so even though I won’t be able to make any structural or permanent changes to the apartment, the thought of making an 70 year old unit my own is hella exciting. On top of that, I have a huge love for environmental graphic design. So… in a way, moving into a new apartment is my roundabout way of branding a space? That’s what I’m making this into, anyway. That being said, in the design world, there’s no harder client than yourself.

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Now that the moving date is quickly approaching, I’m starting to compile a bunch of stuff that I hope will define the style of the new spot. I swooped up these frames for practically free from a local thrift store and paired them with some personal photography and artwork (except for the image with the trees, which I think I bought from Ikea a few years ago) to start thinking of how I’m going to put the entry of the new apartment together. It’s only a start, and I plan on assembling quite a bit more of these that contrast stylistically (photos, designed pieces, typography). Also, just a little bit of color needs to happen.

I don’t mind that the frames are a little beaten and scratched around the edges, and I actually think that they’ll compliment the space nicely. Putting some modern photography and artwork in the frames will bring them up to date. I can’t wait to get back into the space after they clean out the 15 years of grime that was accumulated by the previous dude.

The Not So Big Move

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About 11 months ago, I moved to Arlington, Virginia. I had just earned my undergraduate degree, landed my first big-boy job, and I was more than ready to make the move closer to DC to live the life of a “young professional” in the city.

And that I did! I moved into a brand new apartment complex as the first tenant of a brand new unit. I was stoked. I made the apartment mine as much as I could; hanging up pictures and designing the space to my heart’s content. If you know me, you know that I’m a huge geek about that kind of stuff.

Almost a year later, I’m ready to make another move. Don’t get me wrong… the apartment and the complex are awesome. Great finishes in the unit, convenient amenities, quiet neighbors, and an entire list of other pluses. What I’ve realized, though, is that I don’t need any of it. As a 23-year-old bachelor, there are several things in my current place that I could do without… especially considering the fact that I barely use any of the fancy amenities, and I certainly don’t need to be paying for things on a monthly basis that I barely use. If I’ve learned anything in 2012, it’s the value of a dollar. Literally. I don’t even like spending one buck.

All of that being said, I started on the search for a new spot. I knew that if I wanted to stay in Arlington (or anywhere near Arlington, for that matter), and stay in a 1-bedroom, I’d have to sacrifice some of the modern conveniences that I’ve grown accustomed to. And so I searched all over Arlington and some of it’s bordering cites. No such luck.

My search brought me back to my current block. I had been eyeing an older complex right behind where I live now for a few months, but I hadn’t yet stopped in to take a look.

I’m glad that I got around to it.

This place was built in the late 1930s (I think as overflow housing when World War II was starting out, but don’t quote me on that), and even though it’s visibly an older complex, there’s a certain charm to it that I can’t get over. I was able to take a look at the actual unit that I would be moving into in about a month. The previous tenant, who had apparently lived there for 15 years, had JUST moved out, so the place was an absolute mess. Beyond the 15 years of filth that I tried desperately hard to look past, I really liked what I saw. Original hardwood flooring, some interesting molding around the doors, and cool tiling in the bathroom. They’ll also be installing a new gas oven and bathroom sink, which is pretty awesome as well. On top of all of that, it’s significantly less pricey than where I am now. Score!

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a dork about this kind of stuff (the original hardwood and such), and I’m excited to see how I’ll be able to inhabit a space that was built for someone in the 1930s in today’s world. I’ve already started geeking out on framing some new pieces to hang up, so I’ll keep this updated on the latest and greatest.