DIY Projects

Before & After Renovations

This Preteen’s Bedroom Got A MAJOR Makeover

Before

When I was 9 or so, I decided that I wanted my bedroom to be painted in shades of purple and teal (it was 1990; I have no other excuse for this) - and my parents, to their immense credit, let me actually do it. Which is great! Everyone should have a regrettably painted preteen room; it's a rite of passage.

But another rite of passage is when you age out of that room, and suddenly find yourself wanting something a bit more...peaceful. The teenage years can be rough ones, and I think having your own space to retreat to is an absolute essential. So when my friend Margo's daughter Claire told me that she didn't like her room anymore and wanted something that felt more "her"....

Before & After Renovations

Does Peel-And-Stick Tile Really Work?

Those kitchen floors were no bueno. 

When I first moved into this place, I resolved to keep all my MUST! RENOVATE! HOUSE! tendencies in check. It's a rental, and it's one that's going to be torn down whenever I vacate it (which will obviously be...ahhhh...later than expected, as my down payment money has been evaporating by the day, WHEEEEE). But I am still a firm believer in fixing the things you cannot abide, even in a rental - because you live there. And one thing that I knew I'd have to fix here was the truly abominable linoleum floor: It was chipped, and stained, and made the whole kitchen/dining area - otherwise the loveliest part of the house - feel dark.

DIY

The Best Raised Garden Planter You Need To Own Right Now

New planters, heyyy!

By (astoundingly) popular request via IG, today's post is about...my planters. It turns out that everyone in the world has decided to become a gardener in their abundance of spare time.

I have, in the course of my years, proven myself to be an astoundingly poor keeper of indoor plants. When you see a lovely, thriving plant in my house, be assured: It is fake. But for whatever reason my black thumb turns green (or, ok, perhaps something more like chartreuse) in the presence of vegetables: In our San Jose house, our tomatoes and cucumbers were actual legend. I never bothered to garden in our last place because 1) I was kinda in crisis last year and tomatoes were not my priority, and 2) I wasn't inclined to put even more work into a rental place than I already had (and I'd already done a lot).

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


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