little paths so startled

living, decorating, and eating in hattiesburg, mississippi

in review: a year of decorating

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This months marks our first anniversary in this condo.  We’ve been rather nomadic in our first four and a half years of marriage; we moved four times and have yet to live anywhere longer than a year and a half.  (This condo should break that streak.)  We’ve gone from a fabulous old 1920s house (a parsonage-type situation) to a 400 square foot cell apartment in campus housing to a builder-grade cookie-cutter apartment complex to our current abode: the Walthall Condominiums in downtown Hattiesburg.  The building is a former elementary school that was rescued from decay and converted into loft-style condos.

For most of these past four and a half years, my style has been, well, whatever I can get.  Daniel and I were both in graduate school for the first three and a half years, so we happily accepted hand-me-downs and supplemented with bargain finds.  I didn’t have a defined style.  As the years have passed, I’ve learned more about decorating and about my own style.  It still doesn’t fit into a neat phrase like mid-century modern, minimalist, modern rustic, vintage, etc.  It’s something more like hand-me-down/DIY-chic.  It wants to be modern vintage, I think.

At any rate, this first year in the condo has fomented the most dramatic style evolution yet, one that I document here:

Phase I

We’ve been wanting to get in this building since we’ve been in Hattiesburg.  We went to a party at another condo in the building, and we got to take a peek at this one then.  But at the time, they were trying to sell it for a price that was out of our range.  One morning, almost two years later, in May of last year, I happened to be looking through ads on Craigslist and saw this condo listed for rent.  We signed the lease that afternoon.  The condo is 1400 square feet: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom.

Upon signing the lease.

This is what it looked like when the boxes were unpacked.

Everything came straight from our previous apartment – no new purchases.  Below are the sources of the hodge-podge of furniture displayed here.

Living Room

Media console and bookshelf: built by Daniel

Couch and cushions: Unclaimed Furniture, Jackson, MS

Coffee table/trunk and entryway console shelf: Target

Green arm chairs: hand-me-downs (originally from Pier 1)

Rug: Walmart


Appliances and island came with the condo

Stools: Target

Dining Room

Digital piano: a Yamaha from Mississippi Music, Hattiesburg, MS

Cherry table: hand-me-down (originally hand-crafted for my parents’ breakfast room by a friend)

Cane-bottom chairs: hand-me-downs from my grandmothers (the two on the ends came from my maternal grandmother, and the four in the middle came from my paternal grandmother)


Upside-down bottle tree (hanging from beam): DIY, inspired by décor at the Jackson, MS, Anthropologie store

Papasan couch and cushions: Pier 1


Bed: a wedding gift from my grandmother (from Batte Furniture, Jackson, MS)

Matelassé coverlet and pillows: Target

Dark wood desk: hand-me-down from my dad’s office (originally from Bombay Co.)

Desk chair: Pier 1

Papasan chair and cushions: Pier 1

Standing desk/bookshelf: built by Daniel

Rug: Lowe’s

Curtains: came with the condo

Chalkboard: original to the building

Phase II

Fast forward a few months to early fall 2010.  I rearranged furniture, painted the dining chairs, and made a few accessory updates.  I was so thrilled that I created a Facebook album, aptly entitled “a purely self-indulgent tour of our condo.”  I was also really into the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone.

Of note: the mirror and the chest of drawers in the bathroom are hand-me-downs from my grandmother.  (Future plans for the chest of drawers include new drawer pulls, probably from Anthropologie.)  The bookshelf in the brick wall nook was a garage sale find.  The patio table and chairs on the landing/nook are from Pier 1 and were purchased for our previous apartment, where we had a patio.  We’re making it work indoors as additional seating and my desk.  The white shag rug in the living room came from Target.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, despite the fact that we have two big dogs.

Phase III

After September, the reality of the fall semester set in, and then the holidays.  During what was left of my winter break, I devoted my energies to organizing all the closets, shelves, and drawers in the condo.  Take that, entropy.  Storage baskets from Target and Crate and Barrel became my friends.  It wasn’t until the end of the spring semester (the last month or so) that the rest of the changes happened.  Here we are, a year into the condo, and here’s what we’ve got.

So, the papasan furniture and the green armchairs went to my sister for her new post-college apartment.  All rugs went away.  The living room bookshelf is color-coded, or at least somewhat.  The windows got a major facelift.  The piano and wicker trunk (former coffee table) moved into the bedroom, the two desks changed places, the dining table changed its axis, and there’s new furniture in the living room.  (No substantive changes to the bathroom or kitchen.)

New stuff:

White club chairs: hand-me-downs from my grandmother.  We had these in our first house, and they were still covered in their 70s green-and-white striped velour.  The chairs were originally purchased in the 1950s from Batte Furniture in Jackson, MS.  They are lovely and supremely comfortable.  Having them recovered was the most expensive decorating investment I’ve ever made–and, admittedly, I could have bought a few Eames rockers with the money–but there’s something to be said for reusing and repurposing, especially when the items are high quality.  These, I believe, are heirloom pieces.

Pillows on couch and club chairs: Anthropologie.  Just the right injection of color, whimsy, and graphic element – especially since we’ve concluded that rugs are not sensible in our (dog) house.

Coffee table: Anthropologie.  Finding this at the New Orleans Anthropologie during a day trip was an epiphany.  Daniel and I had yet to agree on a coffee table, and we had considered many, many options.  This one immediately pleased both of us.  We loaded it up in our handy little Prius, brought it home, and have been delighted to finally have a real coffee table in the house.

Bed pillows: West Elm.  Actually, they’re in a seasonal transition.  I ordered bright-colored shams for the square pillows (similar to the little bolster pillow) for spring/summer, but they are on back-order.  The Jean-Paul Philippe shams were my fall/winter couch pillows.

New curtains: JCPenney.  A much-needed upgrade.  Enough said.

So, there we have it.  Here’s to another year of evolving style.


Written by Ann

May 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm

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