DECORATING MY SON’S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT
Hi there and thanks so much for visiting After Orange County today. I’ve just returned from a whirlwind 5 day visit to Chicago where I’ve been decorating my son’s Law School studio apartment. Starting today, he will be what’s called a “1st Year” at The University of Chicago Law School and will be spending most of his time over the course of the next 3 years inside this building.
From everything I’ve heard and read, law school is absolutely gruelling, and apparently particularly so here in these hallowed halls where President Obama was once a professor.
Taylor took me on a tour of his new school. We were the only people in the building on the Sunday before classes resume, so it felt very somber and serious as we walked the quiet halls that in a few days would be bustling with anxious young adults working hard at shaping their futures. It was emotional for me, seeing my son in his new environment, knowing that he was both excited and scared about what lay ahead. And I, the proud mother, was both excited for him and a bit scared too, as I can only imagine how challenging these next few years will be for him. I found myself wiping away a few happy tears, hoping he didn’t notice.
There is the most unusual and surprising reflecting pool in front of the law school. Until I saw this young woman striding across the pond, I had no idea it was a very shallow pool of water, only about 1/4″ deep.
We had fun getting our feet wet in a place where rather than diving in, 6 hundred of our nation’s brightest young minds can literally “walk on water.”
After touring the Law School, Taylor gave me a quick tour of the lovely University of Chicago campus. It reminded me a lot of his undergraduate school, Duke, with its stone facades, vine covered buildings and gothic architecture.
It was a whirlwind visit to campus because there was little time for anything other than getting him settled into the small apartment that I wanted to be a comfortable oasis for him. Because when he wasn’t listening to lectures in law school, he’d be retreating to his cosy living space, spending countless hours studying at this desk.
I first introduced you to his 300 square foot studio apartment here on my Sundays with Celia series. The white walls, ugly oak furniture and Chicago “Maroon” (their sports teams are known as The Maroons) upholstery was not at all pleasing. My mission was to change it as best I could, given that the apartment was furnished and had to stay that way.
I started with the kitchen, shopping for pots & pans, utensils and dishes.
Since the cupboard space was so limited we purchased a tiered shelving unit at Target and turned it into his pantry. A trip to Costco and the local grocery store got him stocked with food staples to get him started. We embellished the narrow wall with a framed collection of postcards Taylor had purchased at 8 of the national parks he visited the summer after graduating from Duke.
The room contained a small table with 3 mundain chairs, covered in dirty maroon fabric. To remedy this eyesore I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics and purchased some herringbone upholstery fabric and a staple gun and transformed the chairs into something much more livable.
I left the original upholstery in place so that when Taylor moves out he can return the chairs to their original ugly state with the removal of a few staples. In the meantime he will have 3 new-looking chairs that match the black and cream colored carpeting too.
I found an inexpensive throw rug at CB2 which we hung on the wall to camouflage all the sterile white and draw your eye up the high-ceilinged room. It was much less expensive than having to purchase several pieces of large artwork for these walls. Plus it added texture and interest and looked masculine as well. We threw an IKEA table runner that Taylor happened to have over the ugly oak table to soften it a bit.
The room came with a futon that doubled as both a couch and a bed.
We moved the desk to the opposite wall and turned the futon into a couch, covering it with a comforter he had used in his dormitory at Duke. We added a couple of Ralph Lauren throw pillows, also from his Duke dorm room and voila, a couch/bed was born.
By day he’ll have a couch to sit on and by night he’ll transform it into his bed.
On a trip to Crate & Barrel we found these covered wicker storage baskets. By adding a couple of black wooden trays on top and pushing two baskets together we had an attractive coffee table. The addition of 2 candlesticks from World Market completed the look.
Taylor had these 2 small lamps from IKEA in his previous apartment. I found some attractive herringbone accent lamp shades at World Market and placed them on the window sills. A few plants from Home Depot and his Duke Diploma completed that corner of the small room.
The brushed chrome lamp fit right in with the silver radiator and silver trimmed diploma.
I picked up a large basket at West Elm in which to store his sleeping pillows by day.
There wasn’t a whole lot I could do with the vintage bathroom. A shower curtain from Target, an IKEA basket placed under the sink to house toilet tissue, an IKEA bath mat, liquid soap dispenser and covered white trashcan gave the bathroom a little interest.
So there you have it: DECORATING MY SON’S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT
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