Our New Apartment: Design By Color

Create a built-in look with Ikea bookcases.
Create a budget-friendly built-in look with IKEA bookcases.

My mind is a wee bit toasted this happy June Monday. No Darling, I haven't been indulging in any fragrant mind-altering substances. I've been unpacking. I've been organizing (like a sixties housewife popping mother's little helpers). I've been making hundreds thousands one million micro-decisions. Important, earthshaking decisions. Like, where should we stow tea boxes? Chocolate? Quinoa flakes? And what drawer would be most convenient for the ice cream scoops? (Yes, I have three.) Where should the recycled aluminum foil and rolls of toilet paper go- you know, in a feng shui sense?

Because above all else, I am seeking calm. I am cultivating peace. I am inviting inspiration. Preparing for my muse. Opening to a new chapter in this winding road journey of ours, hurtling as we are, ever faster to our mortality (yes, another June birthday looms).

We have landed in Studio City on a quiet leafy street, where pajama clad neighbors walk their dogs early, sipping soy lattes and yawning to birdsong.

These are my people.

I haven't been cooking much (though I did bake some chocolate mint cupcakes for a certain son's birthday this weekend), which means I don't have a new recipe to share- yet. So I thought I'd share a few iPhone shots of our new living space. A quick peep into our new apartment. And just so you know?

I shelve my books by color.




I sorted books by color, and stacked our art for a changeable display.
I sorted books by color, and stacked our art for a changeable display.

We love built-in bookcases, but rental units (in our price range) rarely sport a library, or adequate shelving for book lovers. So we created a built-in look with budget-friendly IKEA book shelves (I say we, Dear Reader, but the truth is, it's my intrepid husband who knows his way around a Billy and mimics those happy IKEA instruction guy faces- not the sad, head scratching WTF guy faces).

Even though we've trimmed our book collection by more than half sixty percent over the last few years, we still managed to fill seven bookcase units. The best part? Arranging books by color. I shelved by reds, oranges, yellows and purples. I discovered I have a single shelf worth of sea glass greens. And two shelves of blues. I gave a nod to the zone system and sorted from black through gray to white. I grouped creams and linens and taupes.

Finding titles now sports a sense of discovery- and it's no harder than searching by genre or author (I've tried both shelving approaches over the years). We are both visual people, so we tend to remember a book's color and design. (I grocery shop this way as well- I look for the red label with gold letters, or the dark blue box with white. If Steve asks me what kind of salsa I want I'll answer, The jar with the yellow and green label and a blue party font.)


For the entry wall I framed my iphoneography with inexpensive white frames.
For the entry wall I framed my iphoneography.

I love making iphoneography so when I discovered we had a blank wall in the apartment's entry, I knew I would hang my favorite prints from my iPhone work. I chose to frame the grouping in all white for continuity, and chose inexpensive mats and matching frames. The photographs are small and intimate (some are 4-inch squares, some are 6-inch squares) and with a similar muted color palette, they hang well together as a group.

We're looking for a blue or blue-green painted side table, bench or cabinet to place beneath the photos. Something rustic and shabby.


We love our covered corner balcony- we added an outdoor rug, and plants for privacy.
Our covered corner balcony needed some plants for privacy.

One of the things about our new apartment that I love- outdoor space! At last. A small corner balcony facing northwest gets a lovely afternoon breeze, and pink light. I put down an outdoor rug and rustled up some plants to give us a little privacy. A second balcony in a sunny hot spot will be perfect for growing herbs.

Hope you enjoyed this little detour away from recipes. It was fun to share my work this week- even if it is not a recipe. I hope it inspires you in some small way!

More food soon. I promise.



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56 comments:

Genie said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing the peek at the new place. Congratulations on a successful move!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Beautiful new space! May it bring you peace and joy. xo

Kelly said...

Super cute digs! So happy for you!

Jenny @ Colorado Uncouture said...

So beautiful and tasteful! I wish you could help me with my new apartment. I love that you have a zillion books, I don't feel so bad about all of mine! We just moved this weekend and with every box of books I cursed my addiction.

kellypea said...

So soft on the eyes -- all of it! My office has a row of Billy shelves from Ikea as well :) Happy new home to you, Karina -- I love it and hope it holds much in the way of all that is good in the years ahead.

Lauren said...

I love the way your organize your books! I'm moving the 1st week in July, and this looks a great way to showcase books in an artistic way! Thank you! :)

Zuzu Petals said...

What a beautiful home - Congrats on the new place!

Kalyn said...

I love everything about the new space, especially the nice light and the balcony and how the books are arranged by color. Hope you have lots of happy and inspired days here! xoxo

Nadia said...

It is simply beautiful! For your comment on looking for the side table / bench / cabinet, you should visit Melrose Trading Post (if you haven't already), we were there yesterday and saw beautiful shabby chic tables and benches - just none the right size for us :(

Anonymous said...

Books arranged by color! I need to send this to an old college roommate who found it amusing that I arranged our living room bookshelf that way! :)

Dancing About Architecture said...

i love it .. where did you get your sofa?

Christina said...

Nice! Last time we moved, I counted 35 boxes of books... 35!!! We had custom oak bookshelves built a few years back, that have luckily lasted a few moves, even one extremely long distance move.

glutenfreehappytummy.com said...

wow! i love what you've done with the colored books in the bookshelves! how creative! i love how it turned out! thanks for sharing!

Dede said...

Love it all. Looks so inviting and relaxing. Thank you for sharing.

And i am an IKEA-aholic so those bookshelves are awesome :)

from maggie's farm said...

Lovely home. Love the visual of your pajama-clad neighbors.

Ali said...

It's gorgeous and it looks like you! So glad you are settled and happy. hugs, Ali

~inspired~ said...

Wow Karina,

You did not waste a minute. Your new place looks lovely.
Cheers,
Deirdre

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you all so much! I am very happy to be here.

Nadia- I did visit Melrose Trading Post two weeks ago- plan to go back again this weekend.

And Dancing- the sofa is from The Sofa Company in Marina Del Rey.

Christina- We were over 35 boxes of books, too, at one point- and realized, um, this is a wee bit crazy. Ha.

Thanks again everyone! xox Karina

Karen said...

That was the very first thing that drew my attention ... the books color coordinated!.. very cool, as is your new neighborhood. Congrats!

mahaleta98 said...

It's beautiful! Congratulations on the new place. :)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Fabulous, Karina! I hang my tops by color, so why not shelve books by color? The look is beautiful! And I love your iphoneography wall, and your plant-screened balcony. Hope this spot will be truly wonderful for you guys!

xoxo,
Shirley

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, what a brillant space! Love it! What an amazingly inviting place. Just love it and am so thrilled for you both. :) maria

Amber said...

I am so impressed - it looks lovely. After many years of my own home I am apartment living now and so missing any outdoor space - I heart your balcony!

Snarkier Than You said...

What a lovely way to start the day - definitely inspiring!

adventuresomekitchen said...

Karina-
As always you are an inspiration! I'm working through my own decluttering and seeing your pictures is helping me to keep going. I'd much rather be cooking! Enjoy your new space!

Melaina said...

Your new place is GORGEOUS! I am so jealous!!! So organized, so put together, so beautiful! Great job and now you've given me a reason to finally drive all the way to IKEA! ;-)

Anonymous said...

How do u print. Ur iPhone. Pics?T

Little Me said...

I love your new apartment Karina, and I love the bookshelves - they look built in and the book colors pop against the white shelves. I also love your sense of organization - something I don't have. Have fun in your new place.

Gluten Free Anna said...

Bella Bella Bella!!! I feel so happy just knowing you're near. Can't wait to squeeze you.

XOXO

Lisa said...

LOVE!!! So gorgeous and such a peaceful feel. I love the iphoneography and love the white walls that make it look so open and light. It all looks very comfy!

Andrea Meyers said...

I love it! Your new place looks so nice and peaceful.

Peggy said...

Congrats! We are moving in a few weeks and hope to have as calming a place.

Ellynne said...

Where the chocolate mint cupcakes GF/V by any chance? Will you be posting the recipe...please, please, please?

Ellynne said...

Thanks for the great postings. Wondering about those chocolate mint cupcakes you mentioned. Are they GF/V and any plans to post the recipe? My son loves chocolate and mint and it's been hard to find his favorite foods now that he has be gluten, egg and dairy free.

Julie said...

its so cute, i wish you could over and decorate my place!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karina - that was fun! All you need are some windchimes out on that balcony - other than that it looks really great!

Deanne said...

you have a lovely sense of style!

Mr. News said...

Looks like a wonderful pad. By color, eh? Very right brain. I'm still doing it by genre, then by author (except history/biography, the largest section, which is chronological by subject). Maybe I'll try color in the fiction section...
O Toto, there's no place like home!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new digs; I hope it is a home of exuberant tranquility!
I shelve my books and LPs (dating myself with that, surely) the same way! I find so many happy diversions that way. I almost never come out with what I went in for...on purpose. Ahhh.
Best wishes!
Not anonymous!
ReaderRita

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm just now understanding the importance of taking the time and effort to make my home feel more comfortable rather than just functional. Seeing what others have done helps tremendously, and for me the idea of sharing your personal space like this is a hugely brave thing to do. Thank you.

Betsy Anderson said...

Just love hearing from you. We are so similar. 2nd husband named Steve; "aspiring screenwriter"; 2 sons from first marriage, both living in LA area; moving to CA in a few months (I watch your moves with interest); gluten allergy! What more could you want?

Kathy said...

thanks for sharing..your lovely home..I made my first GF cake with Polenta today and peaches..was yummy

Beth said...

Karina- I have been reading your blog for about a year, I think, but have never posted. I have been GF for almost 2 lovely, digestion-blessed years. Lately, however, I read your work, not for recipes, but because I enjoy your writing. It is so rich. I eat the words. I crave good writing. Thank you for sharing your world.

Anonymous said...

Love what you've done with the place, especially the bookshelf set up. Gorgeous balcony, but may I inquire as to what is that large tree-like plant out beyond your balcony? Is that a palm? I am from the East Coast and curious as can be right now. Karina, I love your site, whether it's recipes you're sharing or photos of your new place, it's all good!!

Lynne L. said...

Thank you Karina for the peek into your lovely new home. I've never heard of arranging books by color, but IT WORKS!!! Love it! Saw the perfect cabinet yesterday that would fit under your pics..wanted it myself, but couldn't fit it in the car (on our way home from daughter's Masters grad..too much stuff in car lol). Love love love the balcony too. Enjoy & wishing you peace xo

schumt said...

Oh, how I want a wall of books like that! It's lovely! Do you know how hard it is to find bookshelves anymore? Unfortunately the closest IKEA is 5 hours away! My books are still in boxes after 3 years and will remain so until I can find the right shelves or can talk the talented boys in my family into making me some in exchange for food! :)

Cori said...

I love all of your writing, so a description of your apartment is as delightful as any recipe. More, even.

marksy said...

I love that your books are by color. I am totally OCD about ROY G. BIV, glad to know I'm not alone!
Cheers!

Val @ Tips on Healthy Living said...

Congrats on the new apartment! Your living room looks like something out of catalog. Love the couch. Got to the kitchen in order, that's always the first thing for me. :)

Laura BookSnob said...

Your place looks great. I have never thought of shelving my books by color. What a great idea. I may have to try it. Love your recipes.

Unknown said...

I love reading whatever you want to write about. It doesn't matter to me one bit if you want to share recipes or not, I always get inspired by your stories.

ch said...

Thank you so much for inviting us in! Your space is as luscious as your writing. I feel as though I've really connected with a dear friend. And grouping the books by color shows a true artist's eye. Inspirational! Claudia

Anonymous said...

Wow - I just found your blog today. I am always amazed at people such as yourself: creative, organized and brilliant enough to get it onto the computer to share with others. Thank you for this wonderful blog! I can't wait to try your recipes. I just switched my 4 year old to GFCF. I am thankful for sites such as yours. God bless! :) Kimberly In Oklahoma

Lexie said...

Karina ... love what you've done with the place darling :). I am so gonna do the shelving by color thing. It was nice to have a little tour of your new home. It's lovely ... love the patio and the flip flops!! xoLexie

JoAnne said...

in case you are interested, as I love taking pictures with my iPhone too, there is a great little ebook called Big World LIttle Lens by Justin Balog, all about great iPhone photography! He also has a great website but I'll have to look up the name.

Kristy @ Southern In-Law said...

This makes me want to completely redesign our home and dedicate one room to book shelves and group everything by colour :P

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