Tuesday, August 28, 2012

177 Small Space Organizing: My Bro's Apartment

I only have one sibling, and that is a younger brother, Patrick.  Growing up, we didn't always get along... in fact, if you would have asked me in my later teen years, I would have said that he was quite obnoxious.  Four years separate us so his purpose was to drive me crazy, bug my friends and I, listen in on phone conversations while randomly pushing buttons, read my private journals, etc...  But isn't that what all younger brothers are supposed to do? 

Then, we grew up, got older and did our own things...  Not living with one another sure brought us closer and helped us appreciate one another more.

So, when my bro let me know that he was heading back to school, and just got his very own single apartment, I couldn't wait to give him a hand getting settled in.

College kids aren't always blessed with fabulous incomes, high end living or endless amounts of time to work on their spaces {well, some are I suppose... but that is not the case with this post today}.  In fact, my brother has a very limited income, a pet who he considers his best friend and he is ready to study and begin his second year of school full time.  That meant finding a super inexpensive apartment that would allow for him leave our parent's nest and to move in with his dog.  With limited time and money, he found a place to call his own for the next year, and once he moved in boxes upon boxes of belongings, he was a little overwhelmed with what to do next....


The apartment was a small space in the upstairs of a very very old home.  Un-level wood floors, plaster walls, outdated appliances and no separate bedroom ... The perfect candidate for my brother, and a makeover!

A makeover on a budget with a little saved up cash, hand me downs from his big sis, a kind sponsor {more on that later} and a landlord that gave us the thumbs up to paint.

But before we could get started with the projects and painting, we had to have a plan.  My brother moved in everything he has accumulated since he was born.  That is right, my parents sent him off with boxes upon boxes of items from his childhood, including race tracks, board games, a bin of collected rocks {true story}, Matchbox cars and Lincoln Logs.  YAY for my parents having the ability to say goodbye of the things they don't want cluttering up their home... boo to the fact that they ended up in the super small apartment.


Of course, these photos make for super fabulous before pictures, but this is what it was.  It is a true vision of what happens when there are no effective storage pieces in place, no planned layout, an overwhelming feeling and too many things in too small of a space.


Let's chat about time.  When I returned back from our family vacation, my brother let me know he was going to start school exactly a week later.  And we both agreed, that in order for him to thrive and get off to a great start, that the apartment should be done.  Cleaned, purged, organized, painted and put back together.  Not an easy task, we would need a little help.  So, I called in my handy hubs to help, and my parents to play with the kiddos so we could tackle the space in fast forward mode.  That is tip number one when tackling any project of this magnitude: Don't do it alone.  Ask friends and family to help in any way they can, it is far less overwhelming that way.

The first couple of hours that we got together, we purged down majority of the boxes to just the basics.   At first, he had a hard time saying goodbye to things.  Then, he wanted to sell everything.  It took some convincing to remind him that this was not only a fresh start, but also a small place.  That majority of the boxes contained items he hadn't seen in years, and would be OK without.  That selling everything would be an extremely time consuming process, and that with school quickly approaching, it may be a better idea to sell some of the larger items that had a little value {his extra TV, some extra seating, etc...}, and donate the rest.  He came around.  When my hubs and I left the first day, we told him that he had three days to get through every. single. box.  Tip number two: Be realistic about your time.  Purge items in a way that makes sense and set time limits and goals.

Once items were purged, my brother and I worked over the phone to determine the remaining storage needs, and planned a shopping trip as a bit of a reward for all of the hard work.  Items we addressed: bedding, a work area, clothing storage, media storage and a few finishing touches.  This of course, is always my favorite part.  Tip number three: Reward your efforts.  Whether a trip to a local frozen yogurt joint or a shopping trip for a few new items, that hard work purging and condensing deserves a high five!

Although we did a bit of shopping, we also had to be resourceful.  Remember, we had a limited budget.  We used hand-me-downs, many of his existing furniture pieces, some inexpensive purchases and had very limited time to get uber creative {so not much time to scour thrift stores for the perfect pieces, etc...}  Of course, I always love a makeover that is magazine and drool worthy, but this is real life stuff and was intended to be practical and useful.

His landlord was a peach and said we could paint!  This was music to my ears, as I knew it would instantly give the place a fresh face lift.

And now for the magical blog after pictures.  After a combined 18 hours of work over four different visits, here is what we ended up with:



It was important for me to create a defined entry.  I added hooks for his pup's belongings, re-purposed his existing dresser by adding a fresh coat of paint {leftover from my lower level walls} to create shoe and snowboarding gear storage, gave him some hooks for his backpack and jacket, some lighting, a mirror to not only reflect in some light, but to also act as a quick place to check himself out before heading to school, and a place to manage some paper clutter such as mail and magazines {please ignore the fact that my hubster mis-measured the magazine holder, it was late, he was tired, and we decided it wasn't worth new holes}.


The tray was a simple white platter that received some vinyl love to bring in a smidge of color.

The entry opens into his kitchen, which was originally the dumping ground for the majority of his belongings.



In this room, I started out by priming and painting his previous oak table.  The legs are the same leftover basement wall paint that I also used on the entry dresser {Behr's Reflecting Pool} and the top is chalkboard paint.  His favorite colors are black and blue, so I made sure to bring those colors in as often as possible, and no more fun way to go with black, than by using chalkboard paint!


Although in the photos, the table is designed for a quick bite of breakfast or dinner, I imagine him also being able to invite some friends over for games, and using the chalkboard tabletop as an awesome built in way to keep score...

The back corner seemed to be lacking in storage, so I added a floating shelf {also landlord approved, it's always important to check into that before just assuming}.


The shelf and brackets were just a couple of dollars from IKEA, and really use the wall space nicely.  The below curtain was my quickie no-sew way of using some of our leftover fabric {from the boy's headboard project}, to conceal his oversized vacuum.


Of course, I wanted to paint the cabinets and add a tile backsplash, but he will most likely only be living there a year and it is a rental, so I had to be selective about how I spent his money.


Another inexpensive shelf above the sink added some additional storage, as did adding a rail to hang his utensils {to free up some counter space}.  Sometimes, the small touches, like the soap dispenser, make the biggest differences.

The apartment has two big areas, the kitchen/dining/entry, and a bedroom/office/living room.


When he moved in, he popped his bed up on slats that were too m m long, used childhood bedding and had a garment rack to store his clothing.  After I got my paws on the space, he was left with an armoire closet, a workspace and some inexpensive bedding that made a world of difference!


The armoire was actually this one from IKEA, and I will be sure to do another post on how we gave it a bit of a face lift, but the front was covered in chalkboard paint to give him a place to jot down his weekly notes and schedule.  This was a key element for me to address since being a college student requires you to remember so many things, and be in so many places {or keep track of all those dates right?!}


Since we found a small parson's desk {$50 from Walmart}, another cheapo shelf from IKEA above, doubled his surface/storage space.  The top shelf is great for holding all of his school books, allowing him to use the desk for homework.


The bed is on risers to allow for him to gain even more storage.  That meant that the few things that did stay, were able to be tucked under his bed, and also stashed in a few bins that were stacked and now double as a hidden nightstand for his lamp {which was a spray painted hand-me-down}.


The bedding was $25 from Target and the throw pillow was a bit of a splurge at around $15, but it made a great deal of difference and added in some nice color.  I was quite happy that they had a lot of back-to-college sales and deals. 

On the other side of the room, he had some hand-me-down lamps and lacked electronic storage...



The chest of drawers was found on sale at Kirklands and was the perfect "manly" addition, and now houses all of his electronics, movies and games.  I think it is by far our favorite item in the whole apartment.


Kirkland's actually worked with me to help "Ace His Space", and sponsored a few of the purchases, including the chest of drawers, more on that in an upcoming post so stay tuned for that and an awesome giveaway coming soon!

There were so many challenges to this space, like baseboard heaters {which can be turned on individually so there is no worrying about the electronics against the one wall}, the lack of built in storage {zero closets in this space}, un-level floors and walls {everything had to be shimmed}, a total of two rooms to act as five different types of spaces {kitchen, dining, office, bedroom and living room} but in the end, it all pulled together.  Whew.

The most important part of the process was to be able to provide him with items that he would be able to continue to take with him place after place.  Paint was the only thing we did that can't move with him in the future, and that was kindly reimbursed by the landlord.

So, that is what I was up to last week.  How about you?  Anyone do a complete space overhaul in a very short amount of time or have a pesky younger sibling that you would now doing anything for?  What other tips do you have for small space living or organized college life?


177 comments:

  1. You are an awesome sister! The apartment looks amazing - it's hard to believe that it's the same space. He owes you big time :-)

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  2. Wow...you are one great big sister! The space looks incredible!

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  3. Oh, that is so fantastic. How special to do that for your brother. You did an amazing job. I was just staring at the gray and white duvet at Target today. But alas, no where to put it. Hard to pass up! Well done, friend. so special.

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  4. Wow that looks amazing, how lucky he is to have a sister like you!!

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  5. Great re-do! My daughter is moving into a studio apartment next week and we'll be visiting (to bring the stuff she left here and help her organize and buy her stuff, lol.) You've given me some good ideas!

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  6. WOW Jen! I'm sure your little bro. is thrilled with how everything turned out. You did a fabulous job. What a huge difference a little TLC makes! :)

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  7. that is the cutest darn little apartment i ever did see! how fun to have a grown up place!

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  8. What a lucky brother you have! Let's just say that as a college-aged girl, if a guy (friend or otherwise) brought me to his apartment and I walked in to see this, I'd be completely dumbfounded! I can't believe how much better the kitchen looks with just those few minor changes - even the cabinets look fresher as they play off the blue walls!

    Also,
    I bought the gray striped duvet cover from Target a few months ago - love it, but it's pretty dainty - make sure your brother has it professionally cleaned or uses a GOOD washer on gentle cycle - we got really bad snags and pilling on our last RoomEssentials duvet cover. Learned that lesson...
    Again, amazing job! I can't get over it!

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    1. he's a boy, it will be lucky if it gets washed!

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    2. Haha, true, let's cross our fingers. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  9. I wish you were my big sister!!!!

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  10. it looks great!! i love that wall color. i would be so surprised if any guy my age had a place that nice.

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  11. Jen, His apartment is great. It is so nice he was able to paint...makes such a huge difference. My favorite part if your use of chalkboard paint on the table and wardrobe...great functionality and perfect for a guy whose favorite color is black.

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  12. Will you be my big sister?? :)

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  13. I would be shocked if a college student had that nice a place. Wow. Way to go!

    I used to live in Arkansas and we had a Kirkland's there. It's where I got most of my decor and I freaking LOVED that store. Now I live in Utah and go figure, there are no Kirkland's here. I am having withdrawals now.

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    1. Krestel, there is a Kirklands here, one in the Provo Mall, I found it a few years back. What part of AR did you live in? We lived in Texarkana for a while.
      Claudia
      www.deliciousspaces.blogspot.com

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  14. What a fabulous transformation, how you achieved all of that in so little time, even with everyone pulling together and helping, is amazing. I'm sure your brother will look forward to coming home each day, it is so fresh and welcoming now. You have thought of everything and organised the space to the max.

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  15. Replies
    1. Yes, what color, please? I heart it.

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    2. It's actually a bit hard to tell from the photos, but the kitchen is a shade lighter than the bedroom/living area.

      The kitchen is Pittsburgh Paints Mountain Shadow and the bedroom/living room is Pittsburgh Paints Graphic Blue.

      xo,
      Jen

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  16. You have one lucky brother! Great job!

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  17. WHOA! That's incredible! I will need to keep some of these ideas for my (small) space.

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  18. I just want to say that I LOVE your blog. I wish I would of known about this when I had my tiny one bedroom apartment.

    And I would of never thought of using chalkboard paint on the top of a table.

    Thanks for all of the great tips!

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  19. oh my gosh! looks great!!! your brother is so lucky to have you!

    Madebygirl.blogspot.com
    MadeByGirl.com

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  20. Awww you are such a great older sister, I wish you were my older sis too. Wow, you did an amazing job Jen! You never cease to impress me! Amazing!!! Two questions, how did you get so much lighting in the after pictures? the before pictures have such poor lighting to them, it couldn't just be the camera could it? Also, where on earth did you get that rack to hold books on the top shelf in his bedroom? I have been searching high and low for one!
    xoxo
    Claudia

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    1. I was wondering the same thing about the book rack. Is it a re-purposed wine rack?

      Great transformation! The fast and cheap ones are always my favorite to do and look at. :)

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    2. I was wondering the same thing about the rack as well!

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    3. Thanks friends! The pictures are much more crisp and bright because the before pictures were ones he texted me from his cell phone when we were first chatting about me helping him out. The afters were taken with a DSLR on a tripod with a longer shutter speed, so they are much more bright.

      The book rack was actually found at Target on an end cap {but not online}, however, I have also seen them at SeeJaneWork.com: https://www.seejanework.com/productcart/pc/See-Jane-Work-Basic-Desktop-Organizer-105p1545.htm

      xo,
      Jen

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  21. Love how it all turned out!! It looks so nice now :)

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  22. It looks fabulous!!! He is all set!! What a great space for him.

    As for our project... we emptied our living room (contents all over from the garage, to the den, dining even a few pieces in our bedroom). We were supposed to have new carpet installed in our living room by a local place in Woodbury. No show! They goofed the scheduling and didn't show at their 9-10 am time frame. I called.. she said they would be out between 3-5 this afternoon... again, no show. I think I need to get my money back and go else where.

    Jen, who have you used that you like for carpet install, reasonable prices, good selection, good quality.

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      We have worked with Home Depot for carpet installs in the past, and they have always been great to work with and we have always been quite happy with the results. Hope you were able to get it all worked out!

      xo!
      Jen

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  23. Love it! The paint alone made a huge difference. I love the electronics storage... I wish there was a Kirklands or even an IKEA near me!

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  24. Wow!!! He is sure lucky to have you as a sister!! :-). It looks fantastic!

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  25. Are you kidding me??? The before vs after pics are nothing short of miraculous!! You are AMAZING!!!

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  26. All I can say is WOW!
    What an amazing transformation. Your little bro is very lucky to have such a talented sister to help in out :)

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  27. Where were you when I moved into my first college apt? (really sad, small as a dorm room with radiators on the ceiling!) He's a lucky guy...looks awesome and manly!
    Donna R.

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  28. Oh my gosh. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for posting this! I just found your blog through Cait at Fierce, Fabulous and Fit and I LOVE your blog! Or I suppose I should say IHeart it :) I looked at your home tour last night (it's gorgeous, by the way), but found myself feeling inspired, but then thinking, "What do I do with my teeny tiny apartment?! I just got married this year and my husband and I live in a small city apartment. This is so helpful!! Thank you so much!

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  29. I absolutely LOVE the entry!! Love love love! Heart heart heart! It's exactly what we were thinking for our flat! Thanks for sharing!
    xx

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  30. Best looking college apartment ever!

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  31. Ok. THAT is incredible. Looks fabulous - he is one blessed little brother!

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  32. Woooowwwww! This is awesome! My son started his freshman year, so I am definitely pinning this for future reference. Congratulations. Your brother must be SO impressed with his big sis!

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  33. Wow! I wish I had you around when I went to college. Great space! I can't get over how amazing the after shots look.

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  34. Simply amazing!!! WOW Great job!

    My sister drove me nuts when we were kids - stealing my clothes, hanging out with my friends, etc. But now I don't want to hang out with anyone else!

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  35. I'm pretty sure we're related. Distant cousins? Yea, that's it. (Yes, I'll try anything to get you to makeover my space!) You are talented girl!

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  36. "Oh my!" is what I kept repeating to myself as I scrolled down to see the next beautiful before and after photo. You are so right, START off the year right instead of studying in a mess. Wow, you did an exceptional job. I would add a tip as well---although in your case, this was a huge job done with a very quickly approaching deadline, and this tip might be more suited for a job with more of an arbitrary deadline, but here it is: Give yourself a victory when you begin to burn out. Sometimes certain parts of a project take logical precedence, but there are times when you need to put the logical job aside and do a job that will give you a quick and easy "return" of enjoyment or pleasure (the victory!) like setting up your entertainment system before tackling your entire kitchen after a move. Your brother is set up for success!
    -Anita Y. in southern California

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  37. Where is the rug in the kitchen from and do you remember how much it was?

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    1. Hi Sally,

      It's actually one that I had purchased for our laundry room a few years ago, that I "loaned" him since I hadn't been using it. I have since seen similar ones on Wayfair and HomeDecorators.com.

      xo,
      Jen

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  38. You did a really nice job !! Your brother is lucky to have you :-)

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  39. This is amazing!!! I love this make-over. Please come visit me and makeover my hosue :)

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  40. This is absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!! You guys did an amazing job. HGTV worthy for sure!!!

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  41. Seriously floored by this awesomeawesomeawesome transformation! SO inspired in my own just-after-college-one-bedroom. You've given me hoooope! I can do ittttt! :)

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  42. omg - can you be my sister???!!!!

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  43. Can you be my sister too...?
    Really great to see this job. I think your creativity shines when you are on a budget. Bet you get lots of comments about this one - it is particularly inspirational.

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  44. You sure work wonders...I'm sure your brother is very appreciative of your help. Amazing makeover!

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  45. This was one amazing makeover!

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  46. What a great makeover! Inspiration to all!

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  47. Looks awesome! I love that chest of drawers and the paint makes the biggest difference! He better be a good brother and keep it in shape!

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  48. you hade better be quiet if you win the lottery.... you have lot's of sisters!

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    1. Hahaha, I know right? I am happy to have such a big family :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  49. Your brother's apartment looks great. Now a serious question: Can i be your sister even for just a day? :)

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  50. I cleaned the fridge, does that count? I definitely feel like I should have demanded danger money for it.

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  51. Great job Jen. You've got the touch! Your Uncle Tim

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  52. Wow! That is quite the makeover! What an inspiration! =)

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  53. This is lovely Jen. I love makeovers like this - ones that require resourcefulness and creativity within budget and time constraints. It looks fantastic!!!

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  54. love it! I wish you could come do my house :)

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  55. I love this so much! I'm jealous he was able to paint. I'm pretty sure our complex would let us paint, but it's not worth the hassle of having to paint it all back to white when we move out. I love all of your storage ideas and the new furniture and everything! I'm so glad you did a post on decorating small apartment spaces. :)

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  56. What an amazing transformation! And how much nicer for your brother to be able to study in an organized space! Makes a huge difference! Love the blue paint on the walls...and I'm not even a blue person!

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  57. What an amazing transformation in such a short time! It all looks great!

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  58. WOW!!! Pretty impressive! (please come to my house ;-)

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  59. That is incredible! Thanks so much for sharing :D
    -Sandy C

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  60. OMG... I love you! Is that OK to say?
    Amazing transformation. When you consider the short timeline, you can call it astounding.

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    Replies
    1. Totally blushing, and totally OK to say! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  61. Amazing! The space is so well done, I'm in awe.

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  62. You have a very lucky brother to have a willing sister help transform his apartment. Amazing how much you got accomplished in 18 hours! Great job.

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  63. Are you a fairy? 'Cus I'm pretty sure what you did there was magic. Incredible job!

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    1. Awww, that is too sweet. I wish it was as magical as I can make it out to be on the blog {quick one day before and after story}! :) It was a lot of work and I absolutely rested for a day after, but it was sooo worth it.

      xo,
      Jen

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  64. We are relocating to NYC and I realized that we used to live in a palace back in MD compare to the places here. Most places have no storage, tiny rooms, etc. This has given me inspiration and hope.

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  65. Wow! What an amazing makeover. I'm sure your brother is really happy with what you and your hubby have done for him. I'm curious as to know you go about making over rooms? What are the steps you take to decide what you need to purchase and where things will go?

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    1. Here is a project planner that I find myself using as a reference when taking on a big project: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/06/planning-organizing-project-and.html

      I always try to make a mood board to get an idea of what I would like the space to look like as well, which helps a lot. It all comes down to assessing storage needs and then scouring the web for inexpensive solutions.

      xo!
      Jen

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  66. Jen, you did a wonderful Job. The blue paint is soooo fabulous, I so want to live right there. Your work is nearly professional and your brother must be proud and happy to have you by his side.

    I just can't get over it, it's stunning! You accomplished so much in so little time. Wow. Wow!

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    1. Update: I had to make a Blogpost about this make-over. Of course, again, I gave credit to your Pictures and your Blog.
      xoxo
      Elaine

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  67. Looks great, Jen! What a lucky brother you have!

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  68. Great job! I think it's so sweet that you helped your brother out like this!

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  69. Where did you get the wooden dog feeder at the entrance from? I have been looking for one like that. Live the transformation!

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    1. *love* not live :)

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    2. I think he may have actually built that, but I will check with him next time we chat. He already had it when I came to check out his space.

      xo,
      Jen

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  70. Oh me! You did great work! That apartment looks absolutely homely now. I heart it so much.

    Great job, I agree!

    Can't wait to read more about that Dombas cabinet... :)


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  71. Wow wow WOW Jen - amazing! Love the dedicated dog area too! :)

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  72. Wow! You have done an incredible job!
    Your brother is lucky to have you...

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  73. Wow great job! I love the keys plate! The blue is so pretty. I hope the owner appreciates how you improved he space.

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  74. WOW, what an awesome job! I wish I had you around my house to help me organize my small house. You are very talented! Thanks for giving me so much inspiration!

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  75. LOVE the makeover!!! very recreatable. thank you for some ideas!

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  76. Amazing!

    Could we get a run-down of your source list? There are several small items I just love here! :-)

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    1. Many of the items were things he already had or items that I called out in the post, but feel free to ask about others and hopefully I can provide a source for you.

      xo!
      Jen

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  77. Oh how I love before and after photos of organizing projects. That came out wonderfully! Amazing transformation!

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  78. Wow! What an amazing transformation! Come do my home?

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  79. An absolutely amazing transformation. Love the dresser for the game/movie storage. Well done.

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  80. omg! it's pretty hard to see that it is the same space because you really did an awesome job!! with a limited amount of time? whew!
    how lucky the brother is!! can you be my big sister? please...please...lol!!

    i bet the younger brother will not be reading your private journals and listen to your phone conversations anymore...he owes you big time!!

    huggies***
    smartmomma

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  81. Please come to my house! We have all the same elements, unlevel floors, old house, lack of color! I'm drooling over here!

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  82. OMG- what guy wouldn't want that? Totally cool. And the fact that he let you help? My brothers wouldn't let me get close!

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  83. This is FANTASTIC!! So impressed with the transformation! I just had to come by and comment!!

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  84. What a great big sister you are!! This space looks amazing. It is perfect place for a college student and I love how it is the perfect mix of fun and organization. Nice work!

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  85. What are riser's?
    I have a (small) two two room apartment (not including kitchen abd bathroom and have no idea how to organize it (I have clutter everywhere!) can rerader's send u photo's of spaces for help organizing?

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    1. Great question! They are actually just small plastic brick-like items that you prop your bed on to raise it and add additional storage space. You can find them online here: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=bed+risers&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&biw=1366&bih=591&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=9311316656449151432&sa=X&ei=fJNFUP2XM8SUqwHvp4CwCQ&ved=0CGQQ8wIwAA

      You can always submit photos/questions {see how in the Contact Me tab above}, however, since I am blessed with oodles of questions on a daily basis, I only have capacity to select a few here and there to answer via blog posts as time permits.

      xo,
      Jen

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  86. where did u get the maile "caddy" that is on the dresser by the door? I need something like that to sort mail and unpaid bills. Thanks!

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  87. This is a fantastic makeover. You're so kind to do this to your brother! I'm betting he loved it after it was all done :)

    MJ
    Papersidewalks.blogspot.com

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  88. That looks so great! I would be willing to bet he's going to stick it out there for some time ;)

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  89. This looks incredible! You gave me some great storage and money saving ideas for my NYC apartment... although I'm not a college student, living in NYC puts you sort of in the same frame of mind and budget as one so this was very helpful! Thanks!

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  90. AMAZING! What color is that blue? It is exactly what I am looking for! :)

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    1. It's actually a bit hard to tell from the photos, but the kitchen is a shade lighter than the bedroom/living area.

      The kitchen is Pittsburgh Paints Mountain Shadow and the bedroom/living room is Pittsburgh Paints Graphic Blue.

      xo,
      Jen

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  91. I LOVE! what people can do with small spaces. It blows my mind!

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  92. That is AMAZING! I love it! You are such a good sister! lol

    Love!
    http://insunshineandshadowsmew.blogspot.com/

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  93. Wow!! Awesome effort. It looks like totally different place!!

    I'm a student too and have been living in the same place (bedroom in a shared house) for one year already. It's totally not equipped to be a good space for anyone. Huge bed, huge wardrobe, huge chair that should be in someone's living space, NOT a bedroom. This summer I have been trying to sort it out a bit, reading fabulous blogs such as yours for hints and tips on storage and living in a room like this. So far I've cleared out loads of clutter and visited Ikea to get a few more shelves and bits of furniture to sort the storage issues out. Just need to get the landlord to put up some shelves too and I should be set for this academic year!

    This amazing article has inspired me with a few more ideas so thanks SOOOOOOO much!

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  94. Thanks for posting. I recently just moved into a small house with limited storage space. Your ideas will help a lot!

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  95. Hi Jen! You did a fantastic job on your brother's place! He's super lucky to have you as a sister. I was at Target today and recognized so many of the items you used (ie. textbook rack above his desk). You totally succeeded in making it homey without it looking too "cute." I'm sure your brother appreciated that hehe.

    I just did a small makeover in our family room too. I thought I was done, but now you have me contemplating using that wall color! ;) http://enjoyerofgrace.blogspot.com/2012/08/b-family-room-makeover-winner.html

    Thanks so much for sharing this makeover with us!

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  96. Fantastic! Fancy a trip to the UK to sort out our bed room :-D x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that would be oodles of fun!! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  97. This is such a great make-over! You did amazing work - nice job! :)

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  98. Wow! You should really have your own HGTV show!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No way! That is too kind. I adore you for thinking so! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  99. I love what you did with his space. It is gorgeous but also very "manly" which I'm sure he appreciates! I love the simplicity and minimalism of the whole apartment. Great job!

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  100. Love what you did to your home! What a big difference, i like that you decorated certain pieces in black, reminds me of this (www.eieihome.com/blog/how-to-decorate-with-black.html), very masculine and bold. Great job!

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  101. @Jen where did you find the rug in his kitchen? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tara,

      It's actually one that I had purchased for our laundry room a few years ago, that I "loaned" him since I hadn't been using it. I have since seen similar ones on Wayfair and HomeDecorators.com.

      xo,
      Jen

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  102. Last week I spent the entire week trying to help my mom with her house. The problem is she is a hoarder and no matter how much stuff we got rid of.... there's still so much left. Unfortunately we didn't get it all done as I had hoped, because I had to come back for a doctor's appointment (we live in different cities) On the upside, I feel a little better about my own house, which is perhaps cluttered but not too bad!

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  103. How wonderful! I'd live in this apartment anytime.:) Great job!

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  104. Looks amazing! Love the chalkboard paint ideas...

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  105. whoa -- you worked some serious magic in there!! lucky bro!

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  106. Wow! I wish I had a big sister when I was apartment hunting. So many of the spaces I saw were big projects, but looking at what you accomplished ... they probably would have worked! That landlord should be excited about all the additions. Will make it easier for him to rent again.

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  107. Yes, where did you get that rack for the books? My brother just started college and I would love to get one for him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tiffany,

      The book rack was actually found at Target on an end cap {but not online}, however, I have also seen them at SeeJaneWork.com: https://www.seejanework.com/productcart/pc/See-Jane-Work-Basic-Desktop-Organizer-105p1545.htm

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  108. Wow, what a difference, great job!

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  109. Love it! Great job...

    We have a similar blue in our second bedroom/office, and we really like the restful vibe it gives off.

    I'd add a mirror over the stove, and I'd hang the snowboard as art when not in use. Again, it's all great!

    Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds think alike, I agree, we needed something for above the stove, just didn't have anything on hand. Also, we tried to mount the snowboards, but they stuck out too far, so we are on the search for the perfect hardware to try again. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  110. he will only be there for a year?! that looks almost to good to only live for a year! it looks like an amazing college home. amazing job, i cant believe it!

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  111. It looks amazing!

    Does he not have a private bathroom? Yikes. Probably not a big deal for a guy though, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He actually has a small attached private bath, but I thought I would just leave it private. lol.

      xo,
      Jen

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  112. That is awesome! Curious as to what the landlord thought of the finished project?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure yet! I will have to follow up with my bro ;)

      xo!
      Jen

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  113. Hi there Jen - again, an amazing job, you really have quite a talent. I'm wondering if there is a specific type of paint to use on the wardrobe? I see you used chalboard, however is it acrylic? does it scratch easily? any information in that area would be so helpful. I'm hoping to work on my son's room.. it's so dark, but now after I see this I think --- "why didn't I THINK of that?!!!" I can paint his items to lighten some of them up a bit! and while I'm at it - I can do the great wardrobe idea of using chalkboard paint!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used basic Rustoleum chalkboard paint, I have used it for many projects. I haven't had luck with it when using chalk pens, but regular ol' chalk works great, and I just clean it up with a web microfiber rag.

      The chalkboard paint comes in a variety of colors now, it's just important to read the "how to apply" instructions on the back of the can.

      xo!
      Jen

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  114. Could you tell me where you got the soap pump?? BTW you are amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda!

      The soap pump is from Kirklands.

      xo!
      Jen

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  115. Oh my gosh....this is FABULOUS! I'm super impressed and wish I could hire you to ACE my whole house!

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  116. HI there Jen!
    I was wondering if you would share where the cute little white mailing centre is from (wlel i think its a mailing centre?) on the desk with a little drawe rbehind the key tray.

    Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks you! It was a Kirklands find.

      xo!
      Jen

      Delete
    2. Thanks Jen, is Kirksland a shopping place?

      BTW is there anyway i can reply a comment and be notified when you (thank you!) reply my commenT! thank you again! =D

      Delete
  117. I agree! Your brother is lucky. The room turned out really great. I think i'll put what I learned here and here about organizing your office space into good use.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Love the whole apartment. Where is the thing you used for mail and paper clutter in the entry way from?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tiffany!

      It was a Kirklands find that I spray painted white. :)

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  119. Hi Jen! Your brother's apartment looks so cool! :) Great job!
    I actually love the silver ampersand on the shelf, Do you know where it is from?
    Thank you for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I found it awhile back on clearance at PBTeen.com.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  120. Hi Jen! Great job! Your brother's apartment looks so cool!
    I was actually wondering where is the silver ampersand from? I've been looking everywhere for one.
    Thank you for sharing! :)

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  121. This makes me want to move into that space. You did an absolutely amazing job!

    ReplyDelete
  122. This is very cool and helpful. I live in an apartment and often feel overwhelmed with keeping such a small space organized...and so the result is I don't. :) I look forward to trying out some of this stuff in my own endeavor to get my small space organized.

    ReplyDelete
  123. I LOVE this...I had to move into an apartment 2 hours from home with a weeks notice so totally hear you on the challenges. I totally agree that the key to organizing and keeping it organized is that everything needs to have a place from the start. I would actually enjoy an update on this - I've rarely seen such a well designed, CLEAN, male only home! Apts in my college city usually had a min of 4 bedrooms (remodeled victorian town homes) so the all guy ones were...interesting. Landlords worst nightmare - or best, because they got to keep all their deposits.

    I'm jealous his landlord is so awesome. I'm going to have to re paint everything I've painted and screwed into my walls when I move out, but I decided as I'm going to be here 18months its worth it.

    If you ever read comments this late: where did you get the doggie hooks? SO CUTE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sigh, the update is that his lease is up and he is now living with his girlfriend! Must have been the organized apartment that convinced her he was so awesome. ;) Good news is that he was able to take everything with him except for the blue walls.

      The dog hooks were from IKEA.

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  124. I just came across your blog as I was searching for ideas on what to do with some of my tiny spaces. I think your ideas turned out great. The space really looks professional, like straight out of a magazine. Thanks for sharing :)

    Well, since you asked ... LoL. I also just remade a little space in my apartment, though it doesn't look as professional as yours does. I remade a little nook into a mudroom and used the old shelves to build a little bench for me and some of my shoes. I also fake painted some bricks on the walls. I always thought that bricks would be so difficult to pull off but they don't really have to look real to be able to pull off the illusion.

    :) Anyone can check it out on my blog: worldofkelly.weebly.com

    ReplyDelete
  125. Amazing!!! I do have a question for you and you may not know but we have been looking for a dresser for our dvd's. We have over 1000, I know right, what? Anyway do you know how many dvd's that dresser will hold?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, I don't remember! I will check with him to see if he knows, but I know he didn't have that many! :)

      Delete
  126. Hi

    I am a part time working mom Have 2 girls one 4 years old and a 1 yr old. The girls share a room.

    I live in 2 bedroom 2 bath I don't like clutter how i have space to put things away. As on my walls i dont have lots of stuff. I need help how to organize without costing me so much money and not having to buy bins

    any suggestions

    thanks Evelyn

    ReplyDelete

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