AdviceDIYShopping, Style and Beauty

If You Gotta Nest, Get Inspiration for FREE

Updated: Oct 17, 2009 09:26
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I have a secret obsession.

Some people collect boxes and boxes of vintage G.I.Joe figurines.  Others watch sexy Nigella cook her food on TV religiously.  And some people walk around in Yankees Flannel PJs everyday during post season (my landlord).

My obsession may seem fairly benign, even mundane '“ at first.  But it is something I have hidden away for years from roommates, friends, boyfriends'  In fact it goes against everything I try to project upon first meetings.  I like people to see me as a carefree, go with the flow, independently minded, world traveler type.  Someone who’d be fun at any hour of the day.  Someone who you’d want to take with you up and decided to go to Thailand or Budapest tomorrow.  I even lie to myself.  I used to boast that I could fit everything I loved and needed in one backpack, and travel through the world making a home wherever I happened to lay my head.  WRONG.  And I’m finally facing it: I am a 'œnester.'

My discovery of the full range of my home-making obsession came as a bit of a shock to me as I’m not the Suzy-Housewife-Nurturing-Cooking-and-Cleaning-Type. I’ve also realized, however, that after living in 7 different apartments in my 8 years in New York – each with their own different feel, architecture, and neighborhood '“ and all on an artist’s budget – I’ve also discovered some interesting online resources for home decorating and design inspiration.  And so for Broke-Ass Nesters everywhere '“ this is for you!

My favorite design/decorating blog is:
Design Sponge with amazing examples of DIY befores and afters of rooms, furniture, etc.

I also can get completely lost in these fantastic blogs:
Paper n Stitch
Innumerable Goods
Little Green Notebook
Abbey Goes Design Scouting
All Over Print
An Indian Summer
Mme Herve
Oh Joy!
Style Court
Urban Sardines
We Love You So
Today I Saw

(p.s. I’m going to assume that by now, most of the guys have decided to look at some other Broke-Ass Writer’s post, given the estrogen dripping nuances of this article.  But if you are a fellow and still sticking with me, I just want you to know that I find you very, VERY SEXY.)

My obsession was discovered about a year and a half ago by my roommate, Nadia.  She walked into my room while I was organizing pages upon pages of magazine clippings, computer print outs, drawings, color swatches, feathers, ribbons, photos, and lists.  I had an opened Domino (before it was discontinued *sob*) in one hand and was ripping out all the parts I had marked upon my first perusal.  'œDo you always do this?' she asked, more with a tone of awe and wonderment, than judgment.  'œYes,' I sheepishly grinned.  And my secret was out!  But not out in a big way.  Just in a '“ oh, that’s cool, she likes decorating '“ type of way.

Well, when my boyfriend Carlo and I moved in together last winter, he was in for a bit of a shock.  Every couple has their 'œthing' that they might always have to deal with.  For Carlo and I, it’s IKEA.  Let’s just stay that aside from the $1.99 dish of pasta with red sauce, the trip was a total and utter disaster.  We left not speaking to each other, without the bookshelves we had set out to get in the first place, and with a lot of other (inexpensive, but totally unnecessary) tchotchkes that he resented having to lug around.  (And I couldn’t understand why he didn’t have the BEST TIME EVER!)  That IKEA trip made me realize that I have a lot more than just a 'œlittle thing for decorating.'  I am obsessed with discussing, planning, painting, rearranging, adding, and subtracting to our home.  Carlo’s a good sport, and I’ve learned that sometimes 'œNo means No.'  (We don’t have the full size vintage cow’s hide rug and matching stools I found on Ebay, yet.)

My favorite thing about 'œnesting' is that no two places are the same, and the feel of the place pretty much dictates what I start to fill it with.  It’s like uncovering a secret, or unlocking a language, when you figure out how the room wants to be decorated.   I hope you get as much pleasure and thrills (YES, thrills!) scrolling through the above list of online mines of color, structure, and creativity as I do!  And I promise, boys, next week I’ll be writing something a little more gender-neutral in flavor.

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Danielle Levanas - Bargain Soul Huntress

Danielle Levanas - Bargain Soul Huntress

Danielle was raised by a pack of coyotes in the Los Angeles hills. Since arriving in NY in 2001, she has had any number of strange jobs, including back-up singing for JELVIS (the Jewish Elvis), starting the non-profit LYDIA, and writing political cabarets. A huge advocate for travel as a way of life, you can find her at the Brooklyn Public Library when her bank account is empty, fantasizing about where to head off to next.


  1. October 19, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Hi Danielle,
    Thanks so much for including me in your list of inspirational blogs! I really love Broke Ass Stuart, so I’m really delighted that my blog inspired you as well!

  2. Danielle Levanas - Bargain Soul Huntress
    October 19, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    awesome Lilah! Urban Sardines has given me so many ideas for my little NY apts:)

  3. October 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Danielle.
    Oh wow I’m on your list! This made my day!! Greetings from Switzerland! Tilda

  4. October 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks so much for including me in your blog list — I really appreciate it!