Inside Out: Suzanne's 2-Week $900 Decorating Experiment

Inside Out: Suzanne's 2-Week $900 Decorating Experiment

Jill Slater
Nov 28, 2007

Name: Suzanne
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 700 sq ft, 1-bdrm rental
Years lived in: 3 months

Suzanne has been through a lot in the past 6 months. A last minute cross country relocation required laser focus yard sale-ing, and organzizational skills heretofore unimagined....

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With a pre-determined budget of $900, and two weeks in which to turn a one-year-rental into a home-away-from-home, Suzanne deserves some serious props!

For additional insight into the organizational power of Suzanne, see her incredible furniture inventory chart!

yellow chair in bedroom
marble table top
purple bedside lamp
bamboo for curtain rod

every pillow
every mirror
every lamp
white bench
silk for table runner
every plant (including outside)
printer stand
étagère (currently used as bookcase)
antique step stool
glassware in bathroom
every flowerpot (four large terracotta pots included with plants)
table cloth currently on pseudo-nightstand
basket for reading material

kitchen table (used as desk) + chairs
desk chair
dining room table
new duvet cover
nightstand pair

bed frame + slats
tiki chair with ottoman


sent from DC:
Taiwanese god
one mirror (far left)
photos of grandma's shtetl
uzbekistanian suzanis
livingroom clock
desk lamp, red buckets used as organizers
wicker organizer baskets (used under marble table top)
children painting
bathroom art
red box used for watches

Still to buy:

AT Survey:

Style: Academic cosmopolitan, or maybe cosmopolitan academic
Inspiration: ApartmentTherapy, travel, the natural world around me (I'm always bringing bits and pieces of it indoors – most recently, pine cones, fossils, and seed pods from some local tree)
Favorite Element:: Afternoon light in the living room, especially when stretched out on my super-comfy down-filled Danish-style couch
Biggest Challenge: furnishing the apartment with very little time and less money, with an eye toward the fact that I may be selling everything in a year's time
What Friends Say: "Take me yard saling with you!" Many of them are also fond of the occasional cat.
Biggest Embarrassment: My inability to find bedroom curtains that I like. The absence of my library (in storage in the basement of my now-sublet place). The absence of my art (with the subletter). Not having things to the point where I want them to be, even though now teaching and writing have taken priority over decorating.
Proudest DIY: : Dragging home (10 blocks on foot!) a 16-foot bamboo stalk that had just been cut down and discarded, getting it inside, cutting off the many stalks and branches, curing it, sanding it, cutting it to size, and using it as the curtain rod for my quite large front window.
Biggest Indulgence: The aforementioned Danish-style down-filled couch. I looked at several Craigslist couches for $100 or less, but all had fabric that made my skin crawl. This came from a nearby used-furniture place and while three times the price is infinitely nicer and in perfect shape. And they delivered!
Best Advice: Don't do this to yourself. But when shopping via yard sales and Craigslist, take the time to chat with the people you're buying from. Most of my furniture has no provenance in the art-world sense, but knowing about the people or places it came from gives it a certain depth and resonance. Plus, how else would I know that my dining room table had once been owned by an 80s prime time soap star and before that a gay musical icon? Makes every dinner more exciting.
Dream Source: I live in biking distance of dozens of well-curated antique shops that make me kind of drooly. I also have lusted after furniture and objects in Barcelona, Madrid, Istanbul, Amsterdam, and Paris, but to date have only brought home two Uzbek suzanis.

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