Hey there! I'm Alexia, or Ali. I answer to both names and write in both names depending on what and who I'm talking about. So you're safe with either name.
But seriously, am I the only one with a deep abiding love for red carpeting? Back when I was a scrawny little bean pole of a 13 year old I decided that I needed to upgrade my pink and white 'Shabby Chic' style room to a more adult hang out space that was way more modern and less country.
It was around 1990. I used to pour over the Sears catalog, filling it with dog-eared pages of all the furniture sets I longed to own. You remember that don't you? The two inch thick Sears catalog that came to the mailbox a couple times a year? No? Damn I'm old.
I used to write a story about a teenager who was suddenly rich who hung out with her poor friends and solved their problems in her mansion with all her awesome clothes and perfectly decorated bedroom. It was equal parts Annie and Clueless. I thought everything I loved was 'modern' and the height of design though really it was 'contemporary' and would be quite dated now.
So when I finally convinced Mom to buy me new furniture and redecorate my room I already knew I needed to have an ultra-contemporary red, black and white color scheme. White furniture, black bed and RED carpet. Yes, bright red carpet. And while the title was definitely a spoiler alert, doesn't everyone love red carpeting? My mother definitely didn't. It was a battle to get her to concede to the red carpeting idea. But she relented and the red carpet was laid.
And man, was it cool. Eventually as I got deeper into my teenage years I added some rock posters and painted psychedelic flowers, mushrooms and fairies on the wall. But the black, white and red theme remained. The red carpeting is still in that room today. That's how cool it is.
After I moved out into my first place I didn't really have the chance to really decorate to my own taste until I moved with my boyfriend at the time, his sister and cousin to a fourth floor walk-up flat just outside the West Loop neighborhood in Chicago.
We moved to Chicago on Sep 9th 2001. Yes, just 2 days before the terrorist attacks on NYC. We were freaked out and decided to take it out on the very bland white walls of the flat. We purchased gallons of paint and went to town. My bedroom was half sunny yellow and half tangerine orange and East facing. It was like waking up inside the sun every morning. My girl painted her room a bright primary red. The kitchen was bright yellow too, the other bedroom pale yellow, the bathroom burnt sienna. It was a cacophony of color.
Weeks before we left for Chicago my ex and I happened upon a garage sale where some young couple was getting rid of their entire stash of midcentury furniture. We bought it all. A white naugahyde armless couch with matching ottoman. Rattan tiki bar with two swivel stools. Classic 50's dinette table and vinyl covered chairs. Red surfboard coffee table with tapered legs. Silver globe ashtray. Yellow vinyl club chair. Along with my mom's own set of midcentury dressers from when she was a girl, we were all set. The entire house was full of modern furniture. And artwork. God we had great artwork in that flat. An entire gallery wall of amazing record covers. Vintage Polish resistance posters. Black and white photography. It was the coolest place I've ever lived. I've always wanted to go back to the feeling of that place.
Flash forward to many more Hamtramck rentals, 4 to be exact. Where I tried my best to use all my Ikea finds and midcentury stuff to make each impersonal and temporary place a little more unique and to my taste. When Michael and I found our first place of our own we bought an entire bedroom set from Ikea, and thought we were the coolest.
But it wasn't until my last place, a 1890 bright yellow Victorian rental, in downtown Lansing, just three blocks from the Capitol, that I really started to come to my own in sense of wanting and needing a space to decorate, to personalize, to call our own. We did our best, with artwork, canvas prints of family photos, lots of turquoise and even a hand-painted reclaimed wood pedestal table. Here and there over 3 years there I acquired vintage furniture, tons of art work, cool knick knacks and books. Oy the books. But even with all these uniquely "us" things it still wasn't ours.
After having tried 3 times in 5 years to apply and be approved for a mortgage we finally were approved this past January. And we didn't hesitate to start looking, even in the deep chill of the worst winter in decades, and that's saying a lot of Michigan. We made our wish lists and then trudged out in waist high snow to look at all variety of houses. We looked at 25+ properties over the total of 6 weeks. But it wasn't until we walked into the Hulett House that we knew we had found our home.
I can't wait to share a 'Before' tour of our house with you because it is certainly a diamond in the rough. But while many passed on this house before us (listed for 3 years on and off and on the market for 3 months this time before we made an offer), we just saw so much potential. Well, that, and the fact that is a tri-level house built in 1960 just oozing with midcentury charm and details. There is so much we've already done to suit our tastes and much much more to come.
Even more exciting to me is the fact that my sister and bestie in the universe Tracey is getting close to being a home owner too! I've always dreamed that we would go through all of life's biggest milestones together. We didn't get the chance to experience wedded bliss and childbirth at the same time, but this?! We are buying houses and decorating them in the same year?! Awesome-sauce.
And so here it is. Our new blog. A little bit home design, a little bit how-to guide for house buying and whole lot of 'Make it Work' DIY projects. But it's more than that. It's our journey, as 2 sisters, to find a way to take these four walls and a roof and make them our own. A place for family and friends to gather and feel welcome. A place that is full of heart and great design and comfort. In our wedding vows Michael and I said these words "Our home will be a sanctuary and a respite for us and for those whom we cherish" and that's our one true goal for this house.
There are so many projects and stuff we are looking forward to sharing out here in the big ole World Wide Web. Hope you come along for the journey. Can't wait to share all the progress with you guys...