(Not) Movin’ Up

I can not tell a lie: I am having a very hard time with the transition from owning an adorable house to renting a somewhat crappy apartment. Yes, the “apartment” is actually a 1200 square foot house with a small apartment that my sister lives in attached to it. It has a large backyard and a porch. It is in a great neighborhood. However, it is still an apartment, and not nearly as great as my house was, so it is hard for me not to see this as a major step down.

Granted, I agreed with Noe that renting was the right choice until we could see where our finances would finally fall with my new job, his impending school, and the sale of our CT house for less than we paid for it (thanks again, major pharmaceutical company). And I was the one who flat-out refused to live in an apartment complex (I know there are nice apartments – but I HATE being able to hear my neighbors. LOATHE it. And I wanted a yard.) And I was the one who wanted to be (relatively) cheap, which meant the gorgeous houses for rent in Ann Arbor were out of my self-imposed price range at $1200-$1500 per month.

Scary House really was the best choice, considering all the restrictions I put on this process.

Yes, Scary House is pink.

(Why call it Scary House, you say? Because my sister’s dog was too scared to go in it. Granted, Kristen’s dog is scared of most things; however, when my mom nicknamed the abode “Scary House” I found it catchy and decided to keep it.)

Scary House looked pretty goof with other people’s stuff in it – not great, but pretty good. However, once the people moved out, all the flaws became apparent.  By “flaws” I don’t mean the flaws of the situation (i.e., I gave up a house with amazing hardwood floors for an apartment with ugly carpet) but the actual flaws – chips in the paint, the weird bathroom, the uneven floor.

I am trying to chalk this all up to “character” and “personality” – words often used to describe houses that are actually “old” and “weird.”

Now that we’re getting some of our stuff in here, Scary House is starting to look a lot better. However, it is still a weird apartment-house with massive white walls, hideous carpet, and ugly light fixtures. So the question is: how much effort and money do you put in to making over something that you don’t own?

My instinctual answer is “not much” – although I am sure my friend Jess, who has done amazing things with her apartment (and on a budget) would disagree. However, I lack her patience for projects like painting in general, let alone when it comes to something I know to be temporary.

I am willing to spend a tiny bit of money on certain things that I may take to the next house – light fixtures that I can put up and take down when we move (nothing involving any rewiring, just cool-looking shades and stuff from IKEA or Home Depot); curtains (we have HUGE windows and you can get or make nice curtains on the cheap); plants; and wall art (this mostly involves framing and hanging things we have had forever and not done anything with).

I’ll post updates on my C&L (cheap and lazy) semi-DIY Scary House makeover. They’ll be tagged Scary House. In the meantime, I’d like to know – what are your cheap, fast fixes for making your house (rental or otherwise) your home?

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7 thoughts on “(Not) Movin’ Up

  1. Throw/area Rugs. Cheap, available in a HUGE variety and easily taken with you when you move. They’ll add a lot of visual intrest since you can’t paint. I’ve been looking for one for my living room, I’m bored by my off-white carpet.

      • It is, admittedly, a pain in the ass. I knew we’d be in our place for a few years, hence I went for it. If our living arrangements were more temporary than I know they will be, I wouldn’t have bothered either. 🙂

  2. PLANTS! Plants in fancy pots and elevated plant stands: also easily taken with you, with the bonus of if you’re moving somewhere permanent they can then be planted outside. For this reason, I recommend large “outside” plants (tiger lilies, for instance: the bigger the better!). They add a lot of color and can cover up stains in the rental carpet, etc.

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