My $500 Rental House Challenge - The Plan and Obstacles

August 22, 2013

Ok. So you read my last post right? Don't lie to me...Just scroll down and read it and come back.

I'll wait.

So now you know all about what I'm planning to do in my new rental right? MmmHmm. I told you to go read the last post!

So, here's my plan: Craigslist and Ikea. I know, not horribly original, but when time and money are the drivers of a design, then corners have to be cut somewhere. Luckily, I have some good stuff to work with already from my design stockpiles...i.e. all the crap that I've collected and been storing in the basement for when we finally bought a house. Sigh.

Obstacle 1: the wall color.

It looks grayish here, but trust me: it be's BLUE in person

Wall colors actually. I think the people that own this house must have gone to the oops! bin at Home Depot to source their paint. The living, dining, and stairwell are thankfully the same color. However, that color is a sky blue. Not an easy color to work into my current pink/mustard leanings. However, I have a lot of neutral furniture, so it's possible. Just gotta roll with it.

The kitchen is two(!) different shades of blueish-green, and the powder room is actually a really beautiful Tiffany Blue. Our bedroom is a muted shade of old lady yellow (ugh.)

Then there's the master bathroom, hereafter known as "the room that shall not be named". You'll never see a picture of this room. It's the room that we make sure to close the door to when guests are over. Pink tile and Kelly green walls. First world problems, I know, I know. But it's designer kryptonite. I feel my powers ebb slightly when I'm in there. Kind of like when I walk into a Hobby Lobby.
I have taped a large sign on the door that says "Fukushima" to discourage the curious.

So I've decided to concentrate my attention on the living room, dining room, kids rooms, and to whatever extent I can, the kitchen.

Obstacle 2: Lighting

Or lack thereof.  There's no overhead fixture in the living room. I own a lot of light fixtures. Almost none are good for anything besides task lighting or ambient lighting. I need to bust out some lumens in this place. That sounded vaguely dirty, but you know what I mean. Light, man. Light.

Obstacle 3: Window coverings!

So the place has new mini blinds installed on most of the windows and I remain convinced that if I had a time machine, I would go back in time and smother the person that invented them in his sleep. I say most of the windows because the GIANT beautiful streetside window in our living room has nothing on it. Neither does the huge window in our kitchen that faces the house next door (Hi neighbor!). So a significant amount of my budget is going to have to go to rigging up some kind of window coverings.

Obstacle 4: This. WTF?

Sexy toes, n'est-ce pas?

Either the person that built this place was the Great Gatsby or a magician. This is what greets us as we step into our front door. I wish I could make this go poof, but I suspect I'll be forced to embrace it as added "character", which is designer speak for "hideous thing I can't change".

Obstacle 5: Seating

I own a lot of chairs. But most of them don't play well together. Our last place was a bit smaller and I didn't have space for much else besides a chair and a sofa for seating in the living room. Here though, I'd like to be able to have a few more seats for when we have guests over. And my smaller scale furniture looks kind of lost in here...

So, I've got my work cut out for me. I've already started hunting things down online and stopped at Ikea during a trip through Texas a couple of weeks ago. Next, I'm going to hit up the West Elm that just opened here in St. Louis (yay!)

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  1. I'm really excited to see what you come up with - I have expensive taste but a budget like yours so I'd love to see how you make it work. Please post photos and such asap and good luck!

    And your bedroom design has me on the hunt for a similar headboard. I've been looking for 5 months now!

  2. Thanks! Stay tuned.
    I wish I could help with the headboard... I found that one on Craigslist and it was cream colored with little flowers painted all over it when I bought it. I sanded it lightly and painted it with a white primer that, for some reason gave it a very rough texture. It was a happy accident though - when you get up close, it looks like it was flocked!



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