Epic Locker DIY

Today I'm going to tell you a tale of my 2 year-long journey to find an affordable and attractive piece of storage furniture for our bathroom. Forget the Hobbit, this shit is EPIC.

It all started in the urban shire that is our rental apartment in Brooklyn. Our bathroom is quite small- with a pedestal sink and about 18"x15" of square space between the wall and the toilet. Since we moved in, we'd been using one of those plastic bins from Target for the necessary bathroom storage. And for a long time, I searched for something thin enough, tall enough, cheap enough, oh and also attractive.

Somewhere along the way I came the decision that a locker would be a great option. I searched for one that was tall with lots of cubbies to no avail. Eventually I found just the perfect vintage one on Ebay- 7 ft. tall with six separate cubby holes. Immediately I knew I'd leave the top half as open shelving. I was already imagining it in my bathroom. Love at first impulse, I bought it.

The locker arrived and we promptly left it in the corner of the apartment for, oh, 9 months. The gestation time of a human. Not that there were any humans gestating in our apartment, but that's how long it sat neglected in the corner.

When I finally got to working on it, the first thing I needed to do was remove the top 3 doors. As you can see the locker wasn't in great shape. The previous owner had painted it w/ regular wall paint, which was lookin' skanky. Also, some of the door latches were so crooked you couldn't even open the doors.

The bolts and screws were little fuckers... IMPOSSIBLE to loosen. I ended up having to order something on Amazon called a nut splitter because the painted-over, square nuts were not going anywhere. So yeah, I'm a nut splitter now.

After looking at the lousy paint job, I began to realize I didn't want to just spray paint. Online research pointed to powder coating as the proper way to paint sheet metal, so I contacted Jose from Pride Powder Coating (maybe this part took me a couple months... the timeline's a bit fuzzy). Of course they needed to see the piece in person, so Jon and I loaded up all 7 feet of the metal sheets and took it over. Jose was very knowledgable, reasonably priced and honest. He told us that because the locker had been painted, we would need to get it sandblasted before we could powder coat it.

UGH! D-I-Whyyyyyyyyy?

No turning back, we're in too deep.

So we contacted Evan Eisman based on Jose's recommendation. He has a sand blasting shop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was really cool and had a fantastic view of Manhattan. From the looks of his other projects, I'd say he has an upscale corporate clientele in a variety of businesses. I also got the feeling there weren't a lot of residential DIY enthusiasts banging down his door. Five months later we decided to go for it- not that we were mulling it over for 5 months but shit happens.

Ultimately he did a fantastic job on the locker. It wasn't cheap, but after seeing what he needed to do to it, I can understand. Sandblasting is a labor-intensive process.

The finished product looked really cool- the sheet metal was a matte gray which Jon and I liked enough to say forget the powder coating- let's just keep it this way. Evan gave us a recommendation for some Minwax oil we would need to treat the metal with to avoid rust.

Then my hero of a husband slaved for a few days (or weeks?) on re-assembling and oiling. The nuts and bolts were no easier to get on than they were to get off.

Miraculously Jon still loves me.

Finally we had it together! And it looks awesome in our bathroom now. Because it's a damp environment, I'm not sure how long it'll last before it starts rusting- hopefully as long as we live in this apartment. I have to keep an eye on it and expect we'll need to apply more oil periodically, but I love the result:

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Beth's 2013 No B.S. Gift Guide

It's that time of year again! Once Thanksgiving rolls by, we are suddenly stupid with gift guides, aren't we? Gift guides for the techie, for the bookworm, the functionally-alcoholic, ethnically ambiguous, hygienically confused and lactose intolerant. We all have our things, I get it.

So why should I make another gift guide? Because I have great taste? Yes. Because I want more things than I can buy? Yes. Because I won't put some fucking $495 blanket on the list as if anyone. anywhere. ever. bought someone a $495 blanket as a holiday gift (let's be honest, everyone secretly prefers their Snuggie anyway). YES!

So here it goes, some cool shit for your family and friends that you like not enough to spend $500 on. There will also be no phone covers on this list. I believe phone covers are way too personal.

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1. Tribal Queen Necklace - $65
This looks more expensive than it is. It also toes the fine line between versatile and statement-maker. I'd wear the shit out of this.

2. House Wine Carafe - $58
I love the organic shape of this wine carafe from Jayson Home. It's unique. And it looks expensive. Not bad for $58.

3. Personalized Leather Luggage Tag - ?
For the fancy traveller with the non-descript suitcase.

4. Tom Dixon Candle - $80
Ok, I know. This is an $80 candle. That's kinda ridiculous. BUT, it's really gorgeous and you can save the vessel with marble topper/stand for all posterity. Consider this for the label whore (ME!!!) who knows who Tom Dixon is and can appreciate it.

5. 80's Subway Print - $25
I spotted this at the Union Square Market this weekend. It was photographed by John Conn in the 80's. He's got a bunch of options, but this one stands out. For the artsy part-time serial killer in your life.

6. Olloclip iPhone Lens - $70
The obsessive Instagrammer will go nuts for this lens. Sure you may regret gifting this, but (s)he'll be might happy to have it!

Your cat lady-friend will swoon for this one. Or cat man-friend. Actually this one might be best for marrieds and committeds. Kinda awkward if the poster outlasts the relationship...

8. Oree Wireless Power Pebble - $200ish
This is the most expensive thing I put on this list. BUT IT'S AWESOME and if you like someone $200, then consider this. It's a wireless phone charger that is not ugly. There are lots of ones out there for $50 but they will stab your eyes. This is European so naturally it is prettier. It's so European it's sold in euros, hence the "ish" after the price. Exchange rates, amirite?!!

9. Architectural Candles  - $40 - $100
Don't we all have a hard-to-shop-for architect in our lives? These candles are so cool I would never ever light them. I want them all, but for like $40-$100 just start with your fave and go from there. Plus, it could be like a collection. Gift giving solved for the next 20 years.

10. Cashmere Pop Top Gloves - $88
You can probably find these lots of places. These are from Catbird and I saw them in person so I am vouching for their awesomeness. I have a pair of Catbird pop top gloves from last season and I love them so much. Gorgeous mittens, easy access to fingers. Plus if your gift recipient is like me, I never splurge on boring things like gloves, so I need someone else to do it for me.


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1. Vampire Luck Necklace - $90
A necklace for the Twilight / 50 Shades fan in your life. This is from Verameat, one of my fave lines for quirky, offbeat jewelry. You might recall another Verameat stunner from my wishlist last year- the Dino Eating Fried Chicken Ring. I'll have you know I'm still waiting for it.

2. Ciate Mini Mani Month - $58
This is so freaking cool no one will care that technically they should have received it on December 1st. It's an advent calendar with mini bottles of Ciate nailpolish, including their caviar beads kinds. If you don't know what caviar bead nail polish is, don't worry, you're just totally out of the loop.

3. Bill Murray Print - $25 - $56
I love this Bill Murray print, as will the comedy-loving SNL freak in your life. If you can't figure out why someone would want the deified image of Carl Spackler from Caddyshack displayed for all the world to see, read this and then tell me you don't want it.

4. Child's Own Softiemaker - ?
This is one of the coolest things ever. This company, Child's Own, will take a picture that your child has drawn and turn it into a stuffed toy. Check out their website for more examples- they're amazing. I don't know how much it costs or how long it takes but moms AND kids will lose their shit for this. OR, maybe your mom saved a pic of something you drew years ago- how much would she love to see it come to life?

5. East vs. West Cuff Links - $32
Biggie Smalls and Tupac (may they rest in peace) cufflinks. Need I say more?

6. Fresh Sugar Keepsakes Set - $25
These Sugar lip balms are my absolute favorite. I don't like the feel of most lip sticks / lip glosses but this neutral tinted balm with SPF is amazing. Bloggers go crazy over this, as do salespeople at the Fresh Store. I kinda didn't want to try it at first because everyone was all "OH THIS IS SOOOO AMAAZING YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE HOW IT FEELS ON YOUR LIPS" and I don't like pushy, weirdly sensual statements like that but, alas, it's true.

5. 4-in-1 Travel Adapter - $25
Well designed, attractive and useful for the world traveler. I'd expect nothing less from the MOMA Design Store.

6. Rita Hazan Pop Color Spray - $18
For the wannabe-a-rockstar-on-weekends-or-Spring-Break-only, this looks like a lot of fun. 

7. Modern Art Print - $60
This 11x14 print by Craig Damrauer is a great example of life imitating art, or art imitating life, or art imitating life imitating art... Basically it's good for someone who probably has bare walls but a full sense of humor.

8. Dapper Dopp Kit - $51
This is a great gift because Dapper is a great word. It can describe a boyfriend, a husband, a father, a brother, a cousin, a gay, a straight or anything in between. Just a great word.

There you go... my no B.S. gift guide for the lovable weirdos in your life. 

If you have a particular weirdo you're struggling to buy for that doesn't fit the weirdo parameters I have outlined in this post, shoot me a comment or a message. I'd be happy to make some suggestions within your budget!

Riot on,

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The Perfectly Imperfect Bed

My goal in life is to have one of those beds that looks good unkempt. Mostly because unkempt is a terrific adjective for my collective existence and making my bed consistently is about as likely as me asking Miley Cyrus for styling tips.

These beds never have to try too hard:







I love how these beds look not perfect but perfectly inviting.

If you're young and still into sleeping on unconventional surfaces and/or in other people's beds, you probably don't care about bed comfort as much as I do. But to me, this topic is pretty fucking important. And I should know, my mattress is on its last springs. 

I recently bought a linen duvet and shams, as well as 800 thread count sheets. The sheets look crisp even when unironed (as IF I'd ever iron my sheets), and linen looks good rumpled. Now all I need is a new mattress. I don't feel like buying a mattress but it's kinda the whole point, right?

Now, time for a nap...

Riot on,

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Cawfee Tawk with Flo Rida

This post is like The View, except instead of gabbing with a cast of 4 ever-rotating screechy estro-egos of nondescript age and political affiliation, we're going to coffee klatch about actual coffee tables... with Flo Rida.

What kind of coffee tables does Flo Rida like?

Low Low Low Low Low Low Low

This is way more fun than The View. 

You see, I just bought a new sectional sofa that is oh-so-cool in a loungy type of way. I feel like a gangsta 4 life as I watch The Biggest Loser. The only problem is, my current coffee table just doesn't catch the vibe. I need to go low.

Here's the design explanation: Contrast is very appealing to the eyes. Because my loft has nice high ceilings, the best way to highlight this feature is to show them off. Draw the eye up and down- see! so much space WOW! Our wall-to-ceiling Ikea Expedit shelves to a great job of drawing the eye up, and our new sofa stays low to the ground, creating this cool contrast. The coffee table needs to go with the flow. It's simply another way to play with proportions to create an exciting and appealing visual.

Here are some examples:




See what I mean? You gotta go low to get high, isn't that right Flo-Rida?

Here is a round-up of my fave low riders for Chez Benson:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

1. Siren Coffee Table- 10" height, $599

2. Origami Coffee Table- 15" height, $599

3. Tom Dixon Flash Square, Circle, and Rectangle- 12" height, $995 (for square), 15.7" height, $715 (for circle), 19.7" height, $525 (for rectangle)

4. Knoll Krusin- 10" height, $2797

As you can tell by the prices, low does not mean slumming. What do you think? Which type works best with the new sofa?


Tell me what you think!

Riot on,

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Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me

No not really. 

More like Depraved Digital Negligence. 

I know I've been absent. Some might say negligent. Some might even say I'm the Teen Mom of the blog world... and you'd be right!

(The greatest crime might be that I made myself over 6 feet tall)

But even when mamma disappears for hours, days, weeks, months, it doesn't mean mamma doesn't love you. I WISH I'd been out augmenting body parts by day and violating parole by night, but the reality is much less exciting so I'll spare you tedium. Stress, work, blah blah blah... Oh you too?!!!

Needless to say, I've missed you! Despite the radio silence I have been making serious upgrades in my apartment and my life. I can't wait until my blogging behaviors don't lend themselves so gracefully to metaphors of under-educated teenage mothers making poor life choices!

I WILL BE BACK! In the near future. With some new ideas.

Here's a few sneak peaks!

New Blue Sofa!

New Art + Updated Gallery Wall

New Coffee Table Obsession- Tom Dixon at ABC Home

Still my favorite boys... not everything has to be new!

Riot on,

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Sofa King

So remember how I impulse bought a new couch?!!!

Well that kinda fell through 

but it might have been for the better

I'm not going to say West Elm was cunty, 


I'm going to imply it. 

They cancelled our order for one of two reasons, both of which they claimed at separate times: 1) the sofa was back-ordered too long and the wait didn't meet their standards (despite the couch still listed on their website for sale) and/or 2) the price was an error so corporate made them cancel the order (despite a previous call we received from West Elm customer service stating they would honor the price despite the mistake)

Needless to say, I wasn't cool with this explanations (plural)- but where the Lord fucketh me over by closing one door, he un-fucketh me over by opening a window. That's how that saying goes, right?

The Huz and I tag-teamed the West Elm customer service line and got them to give us a 35% discount off a new couch, any couch, that could stack with their current 25% off everything sale, amounting to approximately 50% off. So we chose a different layout and fabric of the same style sectional: the Baxter. 

The new configuration will hopefully suit us better and only ended up costing a couple hundred dollars extra. We could have told West Elm to go eff themselves, but we still had Pottery Barn gift credit from our wedding and seeing as they're the same company, we'd have to buy something from these fools at some point.

The Baxter in Ink Blue Velvet

So what's my status with West Elm right now? It's complicated. It'll help a lot if the couch is awesome in person.

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I just impulse bought a couch

That's what I do.

I pour over couches for months (YEARS!) without making a decision. I go from wanting something vintage to something traditional to something ultra-contemporary. But never modern. Meanwhile I've endured the inherent homelessness a freebie couch under a way-more-shabby-than-chic dropcloth, asking my husband to stand up in the middle of Game of Thrones so I can re-center the ever-uncentering fabric. And then one day it's Tuesday and POOF! I have a new couch on the way.

It's sort of what I always wanted in the way a couch on sale is sorta like the $10,000 one from ABC Home that I visit in the showroom more often than I visit my parents.

The "chosen one" is from West Elm. And I never tested it out. I didn't go see it in the store or take swatches home or even note what the fabric is. The cardinal rules of sofa purchasing are finite and unwavering and yet I broke them all. How I got to this devil-may-care attitude might have something to do with the fact that I got an $1800 couch for less than $500 or maybe I was just so full of upholstery self-hatred that I could bear it no longer. Or perhaps I have spent too many hours circling an oval track at 10k pace over the past few months and I miss my design blog.

I need to come back!

Oh yeah, so about the couch... It's a sectional which will do a great job of visually dividing my loft and the color is neutral because I always change my mind about color before I can ever get around to committing to it. Now I just need a new coffee table because this is a low couch which means I need a low coffee table for all my friends in low places. And then a tall floor lamp. YES!

Sure, things might not work out with the couch, but couches always grow back. Oh no wait, that's hair. But you might as well take risks in design because you're bound to make mistakes anyway and it's stupid to live in paralyzing couch fear for as long as I have. This style, the Baxter, gives me some flexibility which is peace of mind. I can purchase different pieces if I decide I don't like this shape. Or slipcover this badboy if (when) it gets stained or I want a color or pattern.

It's not coming for a couple weeks, but I'll take some pics once I get it settled.

In the meantime, help me pick out a new coffee table that is equally low! Have you seen my Pinterest board on coffee tables? It's called "Coffee talk" get it?! Haha! Sooooo funny, see I work in comedy.

Riot on,

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