Hands

The Nest.

When I was young, I built forts in our living room using our dining chairs and bed sheets. But these weren’t your typical couch-cushion shanties. If MTV “Forts” was a thing, I have zero doubt the network would’ve featured my hand-crafted oasis for their pilot episode.

Construction was important. Naturally, my fort needed vaulted ceilings and a skylight. So the tallest bar stools were placed adjacent to one another on one side, and sheets were strung downward to the smaller set of chairs. But it had to be the white sheet; it let in the most natural light. More sheets were hung on the interior to create separate rooms, but God forbid I use mismatched sheet colors to build my walls. Everything matched, and everything was tastefully hung and secured using matching shoelaces.

Next, decor. Because if I was expected to spend hours in the fort, it needed to be visually decadent. This was non-negotiable. I’d hang a map of the world on one wall, stack my most colorful books in a corner, use bath towels for rugs, add accent pillows, and wind Christmas lights around the bar stool legs for ambient lighting. I’m realizing now how not normal I was.

At 19, I moved into my first apartment with my then-boyfriend and one of our dear friends. This was a big deal, for all of the most obvious reasons—independence, bill-paying, and home-cooking—but also because my dream of a blank canvas for interior design was a reality. I now had my very own, very white-walled nest.

That apartment became the first of many colorful cribs.

Since my sophomore year of college, I’d moved nearly every summer. And while packing up my life, loading it into a trailer, and unloading it into another empty nest was a time-consuming, sweat-inducing pain-in-the-ass, the promise of another blank canvas made me salivate. It still does.

As a graphic designer, it’s my natural inclination to apply design elements and principles to everything; color, texture, balance, scale, and contrast, to name a few. What I do every day on-screen is directly applicable to interior decoration. Combine that, and my previous experience with fort-building, and well, you get this.

My one-bedroom apartment is full of original art and thrift finds. Nearly everything was purchased secondhand.  (Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

My one-bedroom apartment is full of original art and thrift finds. Nearly everything was purchased secondhand. (Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

A vintage 1970s Playboy magazine sits atop my handmade coffee table. The table sits on casters making it easily movable to accommodate extra space for projects and guests. (Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

A vintage 1970s Playboy magazine sits atop my handmade coffee table. The table sits on casters making it easily movable to accommodate extra space for projects and guests. (Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

Yellow is sociable, airy and inviting and gives the most lived-in room of my nest the right amount of cheer and calm. Peppered with chili red and cool hues, the space emanates glee and celebrates curiosities. (Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

Yellow is sociable, airy and inviting and gives the most lived-in room of my nest the right amount of cheer and calm. Peppered with chili red and cool hues, the space emanates glee and celebrates curiosities. (Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

In September 2013, I submitted photographs of my living room to Apartment Therapy‘s Room for Color contest. Of what I can only imagine were thousands of entries across the States, Apartment Therapy selected my home to compete in the “warm” division, and featured my room in a blog post.

I nearly shit myself.

In the end, I placed 17 of the 35 entries in my category. But I was thrilled. My living room was offered up to the world on the blog of what I consider a nationally recognized thought-leader on interiors.

(Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

(Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

(Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

(Photo: Mike Gruszynski, G6 Studios)

Now, having recently rounded the corner on my first year in my nest, I’m bored. Despite the fact that it’s well-done, quirky, and incredibly charming, I crave change. Mostly, I miss the process—organizing color chips, selecting paint, sketching furniture layouts, thrift-shopping, project-planning, and enough DIY to supplement a month’s worth of HGTV.

Cue the paint swatches.

As of last week, and after having legally bound myself to another two years in this apartment, I decided to embark on a complete interior redo to satiate my raging, design-induced hard-on. I could not be more excited.

Currently in queue: refinish kitchen cabinets, repaint living and dining rooms, repaint side table, craft chandelier, refresh art, and other various to-be-determined projects.

Stay tuned, this could get graphic.

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