Prepping for the Big Move: Cleaning, Painting and a Sofa Decision

Prepping for the Big Move: Cleaning, Painting and a Sofa Decision

If you've been following along with my Design Diary posts, you know that my friend Eleni is getting ready to move from a small apartment in Boston to an even smaller 5th floor walk-up in Manhattan.  In this post I'll talk about how we prepped for the move and some of the challenges we've encountered along the way...

The last couple of weeks have been busy ones. Our goals were to drive to NYC,  evaluate the sofa situation, deep clean the new apartment, paint and assemble a new étagère entertainment unit, and then meet up with Eleni in Boston to help her pack. 


I mentioned in my last post that the electric stove was in pretty poor condition, and the fact that it took one of us four hours to clean it, only confirms its sorry state. But four new burner drip pans and buckets of elbow grease later, it's actually worthy of being used (well, except for the left front burner, which we discovered didn't work). Time to start a work order list for the superintendent...

Another concern was the bathroom. While my partner in crime was working on the stove, I decided to tackle the toilet. Shouldn't have been too difficult, right? That's what I thought, but with one light sweep under the outside rim of the toilet bowl with a sponge, water was suddenly gushing all over the floor. Turns out, I bumped a loose bolt towards the back, and that that was all it took to empty the toilet tank onto the floor. Even after tightening the bolt as best I could, it still leaked. So, we turned off the water to the toilet and added another item to our work order list.


When it came to painting the Ikea unit, I knew exactly what shade of gold I wanted for the project. However, finding it proved to be a little difficult. There were several options at the store to choose from, yet it was hard to tell the actual color of each. We ended up choosing one whose cap color was most in line with what I was imagining, as a starting place. Two coats in, and I knew I wasn't going to be happy with the results. It was too dark, too antique brass. So, off to the neighborhood hardware store for new paint. I had seen this fabulous Ikea hack by Just Bella and had really liked the way it came out. But when I found the same paint in the store, I was scared off by the cap color (which looks much more shiny and chrome-like in person than it does in this image).

The second time around, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot anyway. Am I glad I did. It was perfect! Exactly the color I had been hoping for. Two coats later, the unit was done, and I was a happy camper. The paint dried incredibly fast and was very easy to use. However, one thing I want to mention about this paint if you decide to use it on a project yourself: a lot of gold "dust" is created in the process. Make sure to wear a respiratory mask while you work, and once the paint has dried, you'll want to use a soft rag to remove the "dust" from your project. (Note - I believe that the dust is a byproduct of the actual metallic flakes used in the paint. Removing the dust at the end doesn't in any way change the finish.) Below is an (admittedly poor) iPhone image of the completed unit. 

The Sofa

I've mentioned previously that Eleni currently has an Ikea Ektorp loveseat. She's had it for years, and it's been a major goal of hers to replace it with a full length sofa or sectional when she moves to her new place. Finding an option that's comfortable and will fit through her doors has proved difficult, though. We narrowed the choices down to West Elm's Walton in Performance Velvet - either the 84" sofa, or the sectional. In plan, the sofa works better; however, Eleni really wants the sectional. I told her that I'd map out both in the room with masking tape when I was there, so that she could see what they would look like. Once mapped out, both of us at the apartment in NYC agreed that the sectional was too big for the room. We relayed the unhappy news to Eleni, she agreed and decided to order the sofa version instead.  (Because the room is so small, it was difficult to get a picture to accurately represent the situation. But, basically my back is to the wall in every shot, so what you see is all there is, space-wise.) 

It's also worth mentioning at this point that we have decided against a blue sofa.  Part of this decision has to do with delivery time (8-10 weeks for Ink Blue, a custom color, versus 1-3 weeks for Otter, the stocked color), and part of it has to do with the style of the sofa itself (both of us preferring the blue on sofas with sleeker lines than the Walton). From a design perspective, I'm fine with the Otter (which reads as more of a dark gray, than brown, in person).  The palette will become more neutral than it was, but the sofa color will contrast nicely with gold and work well in the space.

I won't bore you with the packing details from Boston, but suffice it to say, it took four of us all of the two days available to get everything done. (That, and that I'm extremely proud of Eleni for the amount of purging she was able to do in preparation for moving to a smaller space!)

Next week, I'll share the furniture floor plan and details from the actual move.

Previous Design Diary posts:

(Images: 1. Bethany Seawright, 2. Lowe's, 3-4. Bethany Seawright)

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