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Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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I asked for it.

Never let it be said that my readers lack opinions. Sometimes all the opinions make me twitch, but in this case, you guys have been amazing.

Here's a rundown of your many and varied thoughts:

There is a general consensus that the green and red lamp is the best thing in the room. Agreed.

Also, the general sentiment is that there is too much clutter. Agreed as well, but living in a 900-square-foot apartment does present challenges, especially when you have a child who insists on throwing his Legos hither and yon. But we'll work on it, okay? GEEZ.

And now, a brief rundown of the predominant sentiments:

Wall behind couch should be painted:


Leafy green

Light blue

Warm yellow

Cherry red

Taupe/mushroom [ha ha, Mom. My beige-loving mom, folks!]


WHITE IS HORRIBLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, YOU JERKS. [People who hate white are angry!

New rug:

In green

In yellow

Flor tiles!

In brown [now you're just messing with me]

Exposed brick wall:

Paint brick

Do not paint brick

Paint brick even though landlord would murder me in my sleep

Paint crappy Ikea basket filled with blocks

Remove clutter from mantel

Throw pillows:

Throw pillows in teal

In aqua

In aqua-teal!

Red and white!


Patterns! IKEA patterns!

Bolster pillow made of solid gold

Set it all on fire

Other decorative accents:

Enormous bowl with fruit on coffee table [Okay, really? Does anyone really do that? Because we use our coffee table for homework-doing and art-making and snack-enjoying, and maybe we could put a bowl on there when it's time to take a picture, but we wouldn't live with it on there. On the dining room table, okay. But the coffee-table fruit bowl idea is, in my opinion, silly.]

Vase with flowers [sure]

Basket with cherry blossom twigs in fireplace [cat would eat that, dog would pee on it]








Throw out valuable mid-century table under window [no thanks]

Spraypaint vintage Jens Risom chair [savages!]

[There's one option none of you mentioned, which frankly disappoints me: reupholstering that chair, which desperately needs sprucing up. Sigh.]


Pare them down [no]

Get rid of some of those books [sure, but we'll only do that and add more later. Books: I like them.]

Organize books by color (I did that in our previous home, and loved it. People made fun of me. And now I'll probably do it again)

Put some books in bins.

Paint bookcases

Spraypaint them!


Set them on fire


Get a giant picture above couch [working on it,been working for about a year]

Have Henry paint canvas [possibly an excellent idea, but would he crack under the artistic pressure?]

Mirror above fireplace [hmm]

The lazy option:

Hire a virtual decorator [intriguing, and might save us money in the long run. Plus look how cute they are! LOOKIT!]

This has all been quite educational. I shall mull things over, and let you know how it progresses. Thank you, everyone! Even the crazy people!

Reader Comments (75)

Please, please do NOT paint that brick! ahhh!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranne it..
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkarin
Alice -- sorry if this was already asked/answered in the comments on the last post [I'm lazy and haven't had coffee yet], but where did you get your couch? It's gorgeous!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
I saw this home tour the other day and thought of you. The couch, chair, and coffee table are all dark brown and they have hardwood floors as well, but the room is incredibly bright and cheerful. It is a lot of white though - depends on your personal preference. Hope this helps!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Alice, I am a little behind and didn't post a suggestion yesterday. If you landlord is against altering the room itself (painting) just add colorful accessories! If the lamp is the best thing in the room use those colors around the room with throw pillows, colorful curtains, and a brighter rug. You would be amazing how much of a difference small changes will make. My house is all neutrals by choice, so that I can change up my accent colors as the mood strikes me (and budget is willing and able.) Good luck and don't forget to post and after picture!!!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda
Oh, Kelly and Olive might be for me!

I'm looking for a design student to help polish the edges of our apartment since the whole thing feels a bit cramped and haphazard.

If you need some cool new stuff, Matter (on 5th near President) is closing their Park Slope store and everything is on mega sale. They have cute housewares. I didn't buy anything, though, because I'm trying to get rid of stuff.

ANYway, good luck!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber, theAmberShow
I'd definitely go with Kelly + Olive!But these suggestions are great...except the painted brick thing...there are ways around that, people. Paint isn't the solution for everything!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSwedish Pankakes
Kelly + Olive aren't your only option! My friend and I also do the same thing. Check out our blog...

March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara
gosh. i am so glad i didn't leave a comment on that last post. enormous bowl with fruit is the best idea. that would solve all your problems. mine as well.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbeyond
I saw this on another blog the other day, and thought it might give you some inspiration... similar type of problem, and look at the after pics:

(It's about how to make a faux fireplace screen, but the whole after picture is nice.)

Good luck!

March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdot
I love your humor and always have. Please keep writing.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue
If it wouldn't make you feel more claustrophobic, I'd go with high-gloss pompeiian red enamel paint. That, plus lots of pictures in different sizes and places, but all framed in heavy gold frames with colorful mattes. Look, if you have a kid, you're never going to have a clutter-free apartment, so I say embrace your stuff. It may still be dark, but you will always have cool things to look at, and the gold frames against the red are truly beautiful. Plus, some kilim-covered pillows would look great with your couch and rug (which I really like).
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermermil
We have a beautiful mirror over our fireplace, from ballards.

It reflects so much light back, smart purchase.

Love the virtual decorator site. It's doable, money wise...and they'd give good advise. Better than doing everything you think might work based on 50 opinions, and could end up looking schizophrenic.

Good choices, Alice. Go with the mirror and the virtual dec. idea. Can't wait to see it!!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
Ahem. I did too suggest reupholstering the chair. In red.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
Hey! The fruit bowl on the coffee table idea was mine and I totally do that! I don't use my coffee table for much else, granted, save for storing lots of books and magazines and TV remotes on the shelf beneath it, but having a fruit bowl on the top gives me a) a place to put my fruit (700 square foot apartment! I have to get creative), b) a place to put one of my bowls (I have a lot of bowls and they don't all fit in the cabinets), and c) some cheap color in the room. It's not as silly as it sounds, I promise!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNothing But Bonfires
I meant to comment yesterday but I was paralyzed by the fear of choosing the wrong tile and faucet for my own home redo, so I left it too late.

Ikea now makes height extenders and doors for the Billy Bookcase. Some have glass- not sure if it's frosted or not but there is a spray paint you can use to frost the glass if not.) If you got really into it you could add some crown molding to the top and bottom of the bookcases (after extending them up) to give a built in look. That would allow you to have a uniform look, hide toys and make it look cleaner (in the less stuff sense not in the good God woman don't you dust? sense)... Just a thought.

Oh, and as tempting as it is, I recommend NEVER asking for help on Apartment Therapy or giving a 'house tour' because the commenters there eat their young....
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaleh
I can't believe some people told you to declutter (my apartment would make them cry) but I guess that is a useful thing people do when end-of-winter cabin fever hits. Anyway, the one thing that would help a lot and be the easiest would be to get new curtains. (and don't paint the brick, but you know that already.)
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterS-Way
Had I seen the picture of the chair before commenting, I would have suggested reupholstering. It is quite unsightly fabric. And, seeing the bookcases, well, I take it back - those you could paint white. Just nothing else. Still - you do need something above the couch...and new curtains.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentera
I don't think that looks so cluttered (coming from a person with a house about the size of your apartment - no attic, no basement, nearly no closets)!

I think painting the bookshelves aqua is a fine idea. Perhaps the same color family for the wall behind the couch and pick it up in the curtains and throws.

I was lost in beige and white land once and have started using a lot of bright colors. It's very happy and looks more like I planned it that way than it used to.

Best of luck!
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaryB
I'm sorry that I cannot advise on house decorating. My brain lacks the functionality for envisioning living quarters other than they are. When we first looked at the house we currently live in, it was all pink. Pink walls, lino, carpet, curtains. Atrocious. I peered through the front door at our first viewing of the house, looked at my husband, and said "Clearly we can't live here. It's pink." He looked at me and said, "Ever heard of paint and carpet stores?" Oh yeah.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
I mean "high-gloss pompeiian red enamel paint"? How do people even think of that? Wow. I stand in awe.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
It is VERY important to have a good piece of artwork in a home. Espeically a piece that has meaning behind it.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSoccerMom
Yes, the artwork is VERY, VERY, important--I mean, you call that a home? Without a good piece of artwork?

(I have no artwork on my walls. Because first I need to get the creaky doors rehung and the cracks in the sheet rock repaired, but first I need for my kids to be old enough not to need naps that would be interrupted by workmen. So I may never have artwork on my walls. I am THAT loser.)
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZina
Wait, my artwork gotta be GOOD, now? All these rules! Damn you with your rules! 
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
my house is a design mess, so i doesn't feel right to offer my suggestions. just wanted to point you towards another blogmomperson that i enjoy following online:

she painted everything in her living room white, including the brick. and put a mirror above the fireplace. in case you were considering those options and needed a visual.
March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpam

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