jcalwil's Profile

Display Name: jcalwil
Member Since: 4/3/14

Latest Comments...

My regret is moving hastily into a very overpriced apartment because I had three days to locate a place to live. It was by far the nicest and largest unit seen, but it was also very expensive and not in the greatest of areas. Worst of all, it must have had no insulation, because electric bills ran $350 a month!

Also, something I don't have to regret because I ran away from it -- when looking for a new place (after the terribly expensive one), I found a really cute duplex with tons of storage, a basement, and a back yard. Reading through the lease, I discovered the landlord stipulated I would pay for all repairs (not just ones I was responsible for), like REWIRING AND REPLUMBING THE ENTIRE BUILDING if it was needed. He and the broker both thought this was reasonable. I ran far, far away. If I wanted to rewire my home (and my landlord's) I'd buy a house.

What's Been Your Biggest Rental Regret?
7/29/14 12:33 PM

Hilarious mental image of your check repossession!
The lightbulb tip is a good one!

What's Been Your Biggest Rental Regret?
7/29/14 12:28 PM

I second Melagone's suggestion. This sleeping nook is awesome. The vertical storage frees up tons of floor space: http://www.alvhemmakleri.se/hem-till-salu/obj17735_1260523653

Since the ceiling is so high, but the horizontal dimensions are short, you shouldn't play up the height of the ceiling, in my opinion. Instead, you should try to make the walls look wider. I know you can't paint, but could you apply temporary, removable wallpaper in horizontal stripes, at least on one wall, as a focal point? Of course, shelving like in the link would mimic that idea.

Instead of a canopy, which traditionally requires four tall posts (which will block views throughout the room, try what I think of as the "mosquito net" style canopy, like this one, from IKEA. It's light and airy and doesn't require you to spend lots of money on a new bed frame. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10148157/

How To Decorate Walls in Small, High-Ceilinged Bedroom? Good Questions
7/29/14 12:23 PM

Put them in a small, tabletop greenhouse?

My Cats Are Eating My Succulents! Help? Good Questions
7/29/14 12:18 PM

This is incredible. I would never guess it ended up like this after seeing where it started.

Before & After: IKEA Futon Graduates From College Instructables
7/28/14 09:17 AM

I don't know... I'm always going to love true MCM. I'm drawn to the clean lines and tapered legs! Always have been.

How Do You Know a Trend is Officially \"Over?\"
7/25/14 10:11 AM

Ombre fabric.
Ombre furniture.
Ombre hair.
Can't wait for that to go.

How Do You Know a Trend is Officially \"Over?\"
7/25/14 10:10 AM

About $150 a year for a one-bedroom in a large apartment building just outside NYC. It's only $10k in personal property, and a $500 deductible. Not sure what else is included in the coverage, as I don't have it in front of me at the moment.

How Much Did Your Renters Insurance Cost? Reader Intelligence Request
7/15/14 04:48 PM

I work a part-time job in a home furnishings store (for the discount, duh!), and you wouldn't believe the people who do these very things (2, 3, and 4 at least) when shopping. I've had people ask for significant discounts (75% off) because it "wasn't quite what they were looking for," or because they simply felt the item was too expensive. And you wouldn't believe the people who nonchalantly toss breakable items around, knock dishes off shelves, etc., and walk away like nothing happened. In short, it's not just flea markets in which people should abide by some code of decorum.

5 Things Not to Say (or Do) at the Flea Market
7/14/14 11:35 AM

Kitchenaid stand mixer with an ice cream maker attachment!
We also were very excited to receive a pizza stone -- it makes homemade pizzas so much better than a metal pan.

Upgrade-Worthy: 5 Cheap Household Items Worth Replacing (When You Can)
7/9/14 01:26 PM

When looking to rent, make sure your budgeted rent comes in lower than your top dollar you could spend monthly. This helps cover you in the event of rent increases. I learned this the hard way in grad school! I rented an apartment that was $475 a month. The next year, the complex increased rent to $535. It was rough.

(Now, I'm in New York, and I miss those days of $535 rent!)

How Much Rent Can You Really Afford? Renters Solutions
7/9/14 09:39 AM

And I forgot to mention -- we also rent not only because of a lack of down payment, but also because we know we can't afford to pay for big repairs, like a new roof or furnace, or even a new stove. Now's not the right time financially.

Is Home Ownership Still Part of The American Dream?
7/8/14 03:36 PM

I rent because I don't have a down payment saved for a home. Home prices are pretty high in my area, so I foresee it taking years to save for a down payment -- after I've paid off my and my husband's student loans.

Unfortunately, our rent cost (for a one-bedroom, right at market value) is about the same cost of a monthly mortgage payment for a very large home, which is a real stinker! We even downsized recently to save $400 a month on rent.

One day, eventually, we hope to own something, even if it's a condo or a co-op, not a single-family dwelling. We do dream about a yard with a cute picket fence and a dog, though! A dog is part of the American dream, right?

Is Home Ownership Still Part of The American Dream?
7/8/14 03:34 PM

Try a gravity stand!


My husband and I use this for our bikes. The stand itself isn't pretty, but I suppose it could be spray painted or wrapped in something. It doesn't require that you bolt it to the wall (although we did because of frequent removal of the bike on top). In our last apartment, we didn't bolt it down.

Brilliant Bike Storage Renters Solutions from Our Archives
7/1/14 01:15 PM

I envy your situation!

I live in the U.S., so I don't have any advice on German furniture purchases. However, I hope that you'll carefully curate some great pieces and let us know what you found! Eat a doner sandwich for me and my husband -- we ate those often when we traveled around Germany, and we miss them dearly.

European Alternatives to my Favorite US Design Stores? Good Questions
7/1/14 09:26 AM

This one? http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/isaac-and-florences-dark-house-tour-201883

10 Ways to Make Cinderblock Furniture (That Doesn't Look Totally Terrible)
6/30/14 03:48 PM

Some of my ideas are certainly repeats, but here goes:

1. Declutter. Thoughtfully add storage pieces, like a storage ottoman that doubles as a "coffee table." Create zones in your space, if this truly is a multi-functional room. If everything just lands here, consider corralling extra activities to other spaces (eating to the dining room, arts and crafts to the kitchen table, etc.)

2. Improve lighting. Well-placed floor lamps or table lamps and a better overhead light will work wonders. Start with a classic ceiling light if you're uncertain what direction your decor will eventually take you. It's an investment, so get something you truly like, not the cheapest light you can find.

3. Address the window treatments. The red roman shades make the wall look closed off and uninviting. As someone else said, something airy and light (adding black-out curtains on a second curtain rod on either side of the full window bank would be OK, too.)

4. Furniture condition. It's clear that your family uses this room a considerable amount. If you can afford to replace furniture, please do. Consider two armchairs and a sofa instead of the two very large pieces of furniture. You can use the two armchairs to break visual space in front of the fireplace. If you can't afford to replace your furniture, try well-fitting slipcovers in a slightly lighter color, maybe something with texture to hide spills and stains. Create matching built-ins or create faux built-ins on either side of the fireplace using simple shelving in a color that matches the wood tone of the fireplace.

5. Fresh coat of paint. Avoid yellows and greens, which don't mesh well with the brown tones in the woodgrains and furniture.

6. Rearrange your furniture to give a visual focus on the most beautiful part of the room. Is it the fireplace? Is it the large window bank? You decide. Add an area rug to anchor the furniture, preferably something cheery.

7. Implement a cleaning-up system. For example, label baskets with each family member's name and place them in a row, perhaps in a storage unit, like Ikea's Expedit system (just an example!). Anyone's things left in the living room are moved into the basket, and a few times a week, family members should take those items and put them where they belong.

Hope this helps!

Help Brainstorm Ideas For Redoing My Living Room? Good Questions
6/30/14 10:48 AM

I love this story.

Home Design Decisions Only Grown-Ups Will Make
6/27/14 09:53 AM

This is exactly how I feel about this post!

Being an adult means you can make good and informed decisions about how you spend your money, and understanding the difference between "need" and "want."

Home Design Decisions Only Grown-Ups Will Make
6/27/14 09:50 AM

A quick Google Shopping search yielded several options. This website seems to have a selection:

I purchased "quick dry" towels from Bed Bath and Beyond for this exact problem. They're not as heavy as a regular terry bath towel, so they dry much more quickly and are very soft and absorbent:

Where Can I Find Turkish-Style Towels for a Good Price? Good Questions
6/25/14 09:34 AM