DIY Projects

DIY Projects

Today In Questionable Decisions: Why I Renovate Rentals

My daughter, painting her bedroom

In the month or so since I moved into the new place, I've painted my daughter's room, put down floor tiles in the kitchen, patched the ceiling, painted the front door, installed kitchen drawer pulls, and added lighting both indoors and out. Tomorrow, I have "replacing the iffy doorknob" on the schedule, and blackout blinds are in my future. So it didn't surprise me when a reader asked why in god's name I would do so much work on a house that I don't even own - I'm saving up to hopefully buy in the area within a couple of years, because the owner has eventual plans to build a new structure on this lot.

There's a simple answer, and a more complex one. The simple answer to "Why put so much work into a rental?" Because that's what I do. It's what I've always done, even as far back as college, when I spruced up every single one of my dorm rooms to the point that they looked like (teeny-tiny) twentysomething apartments.

DIY Projects

How To Fall In Love With Your Contractor

Meet Audrey, RG’s brand-new Home contributor. You've actually seen her here before - she has the single best home decor taste of any human I've ever met, and I featured both her home's interior and its exterior awhile back. She recently sold that house and bought a new one, a 100-year-old place in one of L.A.'s most historic neighborhoods that she's renovating from top to bottom...so obviously I had to ask her (pictured above with her impossibly adorable family) if she'd give us all a chance to share in the gloriousness.

Audrey's also a virtual dictionary of home renovation and decor knowledge (seriously; I vet most of my home purchases through her) - so if you have any questions, now's your chance! – Jordan

Before & After Renovations

A Full Bathroom Renovation…For Less Than $700

One of the major things I miss about living close to my friend Erin is our little (and big) projects. We were just constantly deciding that we wanted to try things, and then doing them. All by ourselves. And they usually worked out! (I'd venture that our success rate has far more to do with Erin than with me, but I'm happy to bask in the residual glory.)

Like remember that time we just went ahead and transformed the exterior brick on my house?

Decor

Magic Makers

My kids, enjoying the Moncton sunshine

I love my Canadian family so. much. It's been nearly impossible to get up here - New Brunswick, where I am now - for a few years, because flights from California to the East Coast of Canada are both epically long and epically expensive. But it's just been too long, and so my mom and I decided to make it happen.

Now I'm here, in Moncton, sitting at my Aunt Jo-Anne's dining room table while my Aunt Trudy reads to my son and my mom pours a glass of wine at the kitchen counter. It's been too long, but apparently that doesn't matter; this place is as familiar to me as the bedroom I grew up in. So many years later, everything is somehow still the same - except now it's my children running through the grass I ran through almost four decades ago, dodging bees and trailing bubbles. I've moved on to the grown-ups table, where I sit now, and it feels like the conversation we're having on this cloudy afternoon is the same one that's been happening all along, for centuries, in my family and others.

Before & After Renovations

The Alexandrite Accent

alexandrite green jade wall paint

The very best thing about my house: all the lightness and brightness. It makes life as a blogger who routinely photographs herself and her surroundings much, much easier.

In other words: I love me some white walls. But I also love the idea of finding small, meaningful places to add color - at the end of a hallway; as a backdrop in the master bedroom; in a bathroom or office. And the more I lived with the office in my house, the more I realized it could use an update. A face-lift, if you will.

Before I continue: This is a rental house, so to answer your question, yes, I asked the owners for permission to paint. Before I even moved in, I talked to them about how important it is to me to be able to play around with a house and put my own unique stamp on it, and they were super down, which made me even more excited about living here. Because even with a rental, my feeling is…you know, you live there. There are reasons to put effort into a house that go beyond property value.


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