jcalwil's Profile

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

Latest Comments...

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


10 Wall Art Pieces for Kids OR Adults
6/20/14 03:50 PM

When I moved, I bought all-new boxes from U-haul, and got a few paper-sized boxes from an office supply chain. I'll gladly give away my used boxes (because I know their origins, and I am pretty confident they're clean boxes -- but I'm wary of just collecting boxes others have discarded. As someone mentioned before, bedbugs and cockroaches both love hiding in cardboard, and as tiny as bedbug eggs and juveniles are, the likelihood of finding them hiding via even a very thorough inspection would be pretty slim.

I think your best bet is, if you don't want to buy boxes, you should make sure who you're getting them from is reputable and someone you know -- a coworker or a friend, for example.

I'd rather fork over $150 for boxes than $2,000 to an exterminator in a place I've just moved into.

8 Spots To Get Moving Boxes Free-Of-Charge
6/20/14 02:27 PM

Yes, because most people who actually design professionally want to highlight and showcase a TV as the most beautiful part of a room?

Are you maybe a little bitter because your place didn't get chosen?

Nicole's Cozy Not Cramped Small Cool Contest
6/5/14 09:25 AM

I can't believe it's under 700 square feet. It looks so much larger. I love this place!

Cristin & Zach's Little Family Home Small Cool Contest
6/1/14 12:31 AM

Sorry, forgot Apartment Therapy is the authority on denotations. The first HP book came out in the 90s, by the way.

Alison, Liz & Nicole's Shared Space Small Cool Contest
5/31/14 12:19 AM

Don't understand the floor plan, but love the furniture and art!

Katie's Victorian Details Small Cool Contest
5/30/14 04:47 PM

I don't think there's a specific date on vintage, and I think number of years depends on the type of item. For example, something made of fabric may become "vintage" more quickly than something more sturdy, like a table. At any rate, Merriam-Webster doesn't give a specific number of years something has to exist to be "vintage."

Alison, Liz & Nicole's Shared Space Small Cool Contest
5/30/14 02:30 PM