Console Me.

By: Jen Shoop

I’ve been on a major home design kick as I try to finish furnishing our apartment in New York.  It’s bizarre that we somehow furnished a multi-story home in Chicago, and now that we’re in this tiny apartment, I need new stuff; a lot of our original pieces were just too big, or we had built-in storage solutions and now need more shelving, etc.  So we downsized and yet are still buying more?!  Ugh!  Below, some various and sundry thoughts and inspiration points, at the top of which is my hunt for the perfect media console:

Le Media Console.

The main issue has been finding a media console that will accommodate Mr. Magpie’s enormous TV screen and fancy speaker equipment — the dimensions of his receiver and speaker set do not seem to fit a lot of the pieces I was eyeballing from big box stores; I think most media consoles are designed to house a cable box and maybe a DVD player, but not the type of sound equipment he purchased.  (He bought all Kef speakers after doing a ton of research — I would trust Mr. Magpie on this one if you’re in the market.  Our friends tease him for being such a speaker junkie, and he also studied engineering and knows a lot more about how these things work than the lay person.  I have to say — it does make our music sound wonderful.  We play it right through our Apple TV and it’s super crisp.)

At any rate, back to the media console.  My hope was that we might find a super long piece that could double as storage for books and toys.  My dream piece was this marine blue console from BluDot.  It’s much more contemporary than my usual style (we have lots of dark wood and tufted upholstery and animal prints/patterns), but I thought it was super interesting — just the kind of statement piece to counterbalance our otherwise fairly neutral (read: lots of brown) living area.  I also thought the design was genius — those perforated steel doors enable you to access the equipment with a remote, and without having to leave the door open!  But we discovered, after contacting BluDot, that the dimensions of the drawers would not accommodate the height of Mr. Magpie’s equipment.

The Fashion Magpie Media Console

I also considered this more straight-forward console.  It’s more our style — sort of woodsy industrial classic kind of thing — and I liked the generous length.  (Though, I’m now thinking I need to measure the service elevator to ensure an 82″ piece of furniture would even fit in the elevator…#newyorkproblems.)  But again the top shelf was too low.  Then there was this one, but Mr. Magpie pooh-poohed the idea of white, and I agree with him; it wouldn’t fit the style of the room.  I also loved the style of this (so me!), but Mr. Magpie felt we need something lower to the ground (he’s also a TV snob and said your line of sight should be smack dab in the center of the TV when you’re sitting in front of it).  This was interesting, but not practical given the dimensions of Mr. Magpie’s TV or the fact that we’d need to somehow get it into our rented apartment, and then this one Mr. Magpie negated because he said that the center speaker needs to be centered under the TV rather than off to one side or the other.  BLECH!  This was quickly becoming unwieldy.  I contacted a custom cabinetry/furniture guy to get his take on the situation — he was super kind and very knowledgable (Albert Tang, whom you can reach at fivestar10002@yahoo.com, referred to me by fellow blogger Hitha of Hitha on the Go after I spotted some gorgeous built-in shelves in her stunning townhouse on Instagram!) — but did say that they usually work with either an architect or an interior designer when building custom pieces and I suddenly felt way out of my element and also not sure I wanted to spend a lot of money on something I wasn’t sure I was able to design.

So now we’re back to square one (is this the most boring story ever?), and I’m reconsidering some new options.  Mr. Magpie is against white, but this looks sleek and would stow a lot of miscellaneous toys, etc.   Maybe it would work?  Or maybe we should just go for a budget buy for now because we hope to buy a place in the next few years and maybe we can just build custom shelving at that point?  In which case, maybe this?  However, with less expensive furniture, you usually get what you pay for, and I’m sure it will be a royal pain to assemble and probably won’t be as sturdy as it should be.  I’m thinking we’ll probably wind up with this, which I’m not sure how I missed on my initial hunt, or this, but maybe I’ll flank two next to each other to create the effect of a built-in situation?


Le Vintage-Looking Bathmat

I was super inspired by the look of these bathrooms with their cool Persian rugs, which add such a lovely contrast to the more modern hardware and casegoods:

The Fashion Magpie Oriental Bathroom Rug 1 The Fashion Magpie Oriental Bathroom Rug 2 The Fashion Magpie Oriental Bathroom Rug 3

I wanted to borrow some of this for our guest bathroom, which could use a little color (it’s all white and chrome), and I found these Moroccan-inspired bathmats ($29)!  So chic!  Love how they affect that overdyed look, and what a great wallet-friendly buy!

The Fashion Magpie Teal Bathmat The Fashion Magpie Overdyed Bathmat

Le Coffee Table

I was all set on buying this acrylic coffee table after so many of you gave it the thumbs up, but Mr. Magpie exercised his veto power — he just didn’t care for the style.  We’re now considering this one, which I rather like for its storage capacity.  Also, I was poring over all my interior design books and one said that your coffee table should be about half the length of your sofa, and this is within that range, but also offers an unusually nice width.  Imagine all the coffee table styling magic I can get into!  I can finally fit flowers, a stack of books, some knick-knacks, AND a plate of food without constantly needing to move pieces off to the side.  That storage, tho!  I can stuff books, games, miscellaneous cords (does everyone else have huge piles of cords haunting their closets and drawers?)

The Fashion Magpie Coffee Table

Le Secretary Desk

While knee-deep in design books (my favorites are this, this, and this — you MUST check them out if you haven’t!  So much inspiration, and they also look great on a coffee table/book shelf…P.S. more shelf styling ideas here), I realized that one day I would like to upgrade from my rickety old white wood desk (which I’m writing at right now!) to a stunning secretary desk.  It would be ideal for our living situation now, as my “office” is a nook of our larger living space that we’ve “sectioned off” by placing an area rug beneath it, so it sort of looks like it’s own little area.  It would be excellent to be able to fold up the desktop when we have guests over and need to use my chair or just want the space to look a little tidier — and it would also look lovely, in the future, in a bedroom!  I am dying over this secretary desk I found at anthro.  The color of the drawers!  The hardware!  The design of the front!  TOO GOOD!!!!  This one from PB is also a great use of space!

The Fashion Magpie Secretary Desk 2

The Fashion Magpie Secretary Desk

Other Home Decor Finds

Because I’ve basically been living on every home furnishing website EVER over the past month, I’ve come across some amazing items that are now on my lust-list:

+OBSESSED with this Matouk bedding.  Obsessed.  Love the scalloped edges, love the elegance, love all three colors, but especially that champagne beige!  What a revelation!  One of your lovely Magpies recently wrote asking what to put on her wedding registry, and I forgot to mention linens.  I would add these in a heartbeat.

+Incidentally, these antelope print pillows would look stunning against that bedding in the champagne color!

+I love mini’s crib, and it’s now on sale — for those mamas expecting!

+How amazingly chic is this petite desk for a girl’s room or a ladylike office?!

+Love a monogrammed shower curtain — this and this are super chic.

+Super cool storage solution for an entryway…

+A chinoiserie umbrella stand can really class things up and add an interesting pop of color to an otherwise drab corner of your foyer.  I love this vintage one I found on Etsy, though I have ordered this one on Amazon TWICE, and TWICE it has been broken by our bull-in-a-china-shop dog.  (It’s a great quality piece though!)

+How fun is this bamboo flatware?

+I like this as an alternative to baskets for toy storage, book storage, log storage, etc.  Would look very chic with two or three lined up on the bottom shelf of a bookshelf or something — or for toys in a little boy’s room?  Very chic!

+These would be such a wonderful solution in a small kitchen with limited cabinet space — affix a few of these to one of the neighboring walls to showcase glasses/dishes!  Great way to get that marble/white kitchen look for less.

+Love the print on these pillows.

+Dying over these sidetables — such an interesting statement to flank your bed!

+These are currently sitting in my Amazon shopping cart.  I have a few vintage chinoiserie cachepots I inherited from an aunt and I think they’d look amazing with a preserved boxwood on top!  I was pleased to see what strong reviews they got; most preserved boxwoods look super cheap!

+This interior design book is currently on my lustlist.

P.S.  My favorite products for home.

P.P.S.  Organization ideas.

P.P.P.S.  Some interior design inspo I was drooling over just a few months ago…still want it all.

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6 thoughts on “Console Me.

  1. we have the previous generation of the c+b trunk and it’s worth every penny and then some. ours is a touch beat up thanks to being a decade in age and it just looks better and better, plus it holds WINE! and puzzles and boardgames and throw blankets and all kinds of other unmentionables 🙂 get it! you won’t regret it.

    1. OO LA LA, love this kind of glowing rec. I’ve had such good experiences with the quality of Crate + Barrel pieces. The bed and dresser set I purchased when I was just two years out of college was from C+B and it STOOD UP and looked good as new for years. I was actually heartbroken to part with it when we moved from Chicago and decided we just didn’t need the extra set. Thanks for letting me know about the trunk!

  2. I have a beautiful vintage secretary desk from Etsy that we now use for odds and ends in our master, and it was my main desk in our old place. Highly recommend scouring Etsy, EBTH, and firstdibs to get one that’s originally you.
    (Also happy to intro you to my designer, who is AMAZING and works with budgets really well)

    1. So chic — and OMG I’d not heard of EBTH. Have I been living under a rock? Thanks for the rec! xx

  3. Try Living Spaces they deliver the pieces assembled ! I am also looking for a TV console/dresser now that we have to find a TV solution also since we are moving and leaving our built in.

    1. What a genius idea! I’d not heard of them before. We ended up going with the Room and Board Copenhagen media console since it actually fit Mr. Magpie’s speaker equipment, and I have been very pleased with the quality of their furniture (we also own a dining table from them). Let me know which one you end up going with! xo

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