Skylark Melody's Profile

Display Name: Skylark Melody
Member Since: 3/6/13

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This is what happened to a friend's sister and their aunt. Her aunt had been living in a lovely (and rent controlled) apartment in Santa Monica for 15+ years when she decided to take a sabbatical and go to Italy for the year. My friend's sister had just graduated from college and scored the sweet deal of subletting the apartment. About nine months into staying there, she got a job offer across country. She put an ad on Craigslist, interviewed this man who presented himself as a charming professional, and made the deal with him that he'd take over the sublet until the aunt returned. He paid rent at first, then stopped. The aunt returned home expecting him to have followed the order to move out and discovered that he had gotten the locks changed, even though he had no permission to do so. The police were called. They determined that he had established residency so there was nothing that they could do. The guy refused to leave, refused to pay rent or utilities, and wouldn't take out the trash so the place reeked. Neighbors had overhead him talking on the phone about squatter's rights, so this was a calculated plan. In order to get rid of the squatter, the owner of the building had to first evict the aunt she was the legal tenant and he was her "guest." He finally left, but he had trashed the place, so not only did she lose her longtime home, but she had to pay for damages he caused.

So yeah.... I've heard of wonderful experiences through Craigslist and AirBnb too, but ones like these would make me nervous.

Airbnb Renter Refuses to Leave Design News
7/22/14 11:22 AM

Beige carpet would be so lovely in comparison to the mauve-brown carpet that was in my dorm room.

Renters' Solutions: 9 Ways To Upgrade Beige Carpet by Layering
7/18/14 05:46 PM

I'm a college student renting my first apartment, and for the time being I mainly see the drawbacks as creative challenges, similar to those of dorm living. I don't mind the particleboard kitchen cabinets or the thin windows that much once I got used to them.

I have to agree with some of the posters above who wrote about neighbors potentially being more of an issue than the apartment itself. It's not fellow college students who are a daily annoyance but a 50-something-professor and his family who live below me that me pine for a house like what I grew up in. His 15-year-old son has zero consideration for the neighbors, blasting music, playing basketball inside, and shouting at his parents and calling them mean names. He also takes an hour-long shower every single night (no exaggeration) - despite us living in California where the drought is historically awful. He turns up the water so high the pipes actually make a high-pitched noise the whole time. I'm a girl who feels spiffy and clean in a 8 minute or less shower, so I don't get him at all.

Sorry for the vent, haha.

The 10 Worst Things About Renting (And How to Deal with Them) Renters Solutions
7/16/14 12:10 AM

I'm not the most knowledgeable person about this, but I'm fairly certain that chalk paint derives its name from the chalky finish of the paint rather than it having a chalkboard-like surface. Whereas with chalkboard paint you can write and doodle on it like you could an actual chalkboard, you cannot do that with the chalk paint.

I think Annie Sloan patented the name chalk paint (once again, could be mistaken), but there are other manufacturers of paint that is similar in consistency, like Cece Caldwell. The appeal of it is that you can paint many furniture pieces (if they're real wood) without needing to sand it or prime it. The downside is that you have to carefully wax it to make the finish useable, and the paint and wax are pricy. It was $40 for a quart of paint from the store I bought it from outside of LA and the wax was pricy too. Lots of people LOVE Annie Sloan chalk paint. I'm just not one of those people. I've experimented with it a few times, and it's just not that wow-worthy to me. Plus, as a college student it's annoying to pay that much for paint, and to have to make a special trip for it. Lowes has a good chalk paint recipe on their website. You can create chalk paint with Plaster of Paris and regular paint. I've been happier with the results and the total cost has been way less.

Before & After: A New Old Dresser
6/26/14 06:48 PM

Oh yay! I recognized this little gem as soon as I saw the first picture! I'm a college student and have followed Jessica's blog since her college days when it was The Lovely Undergrad. Congrats on making it into the contest!!! Your home is adorable and attainable for our age group.

Question for Jessica if she reads this: how much Chasing Paper wallpaper did you use, and do you really think it's simple enough to remove and reuse? I've been deliberating getting some for my dorm room for next year but am wondering if its likely to tear when I try to take it down. I'd so appreciate your feedback. : )

Jessica's \"More is More\" Small Cool Contest
6/13/14 02:14 AM

I love the motif of turquoise. : ) The color is very appealing to me - very striking but also serene. What's the name of the paint color in your bathroom and on your furniture?

Rachel's West Village Nest Small Cool Contest
5/28/14 06:16 PM

I still love the serene gray I chose for my room at home (Seashell Gray by Valspar) and don't regret the choice, but I do feel a bit.....unoriginal now, ha. In 2009-2011 every other room tour video by a girl my age showed Tiffany blue turquoise walls paired either with chocolate brown or damask patterns, with Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn posters and something with an Eiffel Tower. Now every other room in room tour videos by teenage girls or college students is gray. So I wonder if in 2017 when I return home for visits and walk in my room I'll immediately think "this is so 2013-14" when I see the gray walls.

Better Than Beige: 6 Nice & Neutral Wall Paint Colors
5/18/14 08:02 AM

I'm a college student and hope to own a home one day, but not in the foreseeable future. I want the freedom to move as job and other opportunities arise, and I don't want to be burdened with all the responsibilities of home ownership at this stage of my life. By the time I'm 40 - sure. Back in 2010 my high school economics teacher showed us a rent. vs. owning calculator on the New York Times site and had us look up rent and home prices both in LA where we lived and in other cities. A girl spoke up that her aunt who'd lived in a $1200 a month rent controlled apartment in Santa Monica had just used the calculator and determined that for her and her husband buying was never better than owning there.

Renting vs. Owning in the Digital Age
5/16/14 05:12 PM

The exterior of the house reminds me of a Hallmark Christmas ornament I got when I was little that was part of their dollhouse collection. You even have the flower box. It's like a dollhouse grownups get to live in. LOVE.

The interiors are pretty, too. I'm personally over the "Eat" sign but everything else makes me covetous. Good job, guys! And as a side note, I love the name Damian. I rarely hear it in the US and it's a favorite. :)

Chris & Damian's Updated 1898 Echo Park Home House Tour
5/16/14 08:34 AM

Aw. What a darling room for a darling little girl. I love the serene but creative colors and decor. That picture of her with her book and the bunny ears kissing her baby doll is priceless.

Violet's Polka Dot Paradise My Room
5/13/14 03:16 AM

I was pleasantly surprised with the blackout curtains my grandma bought for me from JC Penney for my dorm room to help muffle the sound of a massive construction project across the street and other noises on campus. They're the Royal Velvet brand and she picked out a deep blue color called Indigo Mood for me. She grew up in the Depression era and so despite the fact that she now is financially comfortable, scoring sales is a huge delight for her. She was proud to tell me that the panels had been $90 each and were half off, and then there was weekend sale. The four panels ended up being like $100, with free shipping straight to my dorm. They do not block out all noise, light and heat, but they most definitely do a better job than the cheap blinds that come with the room, and they're very pretty.

Sleep Better with Black-Out Curtains: Sources for Buying & Making Them
5/10/14 06:09 PM

How do you minimize eyesores on the wall caused by mountains of spackle applied to cover up tiny nail holes? The previous students who lived here might have been inexperienced with patching up holes in the walls because they seriously went overboard with the spackle. I mean, like it literally is raised up from the surface of the walls. We've already sanded and sanded but they're still SO noticeable. We've been trying to strategically hang things to cover them up, but it's sort of a pain.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

How To Repair and Prep Cracked and Crumbling Walls for Painting Apartment Therapy Tutorials
4/15/14 11:28 PM

If people who live near a college are looking for inexpensive low loft beds they might want to see if there's a store that sells used dorm room furniture in decent condition. We have low loft beds in most of our dorm rooms at Stanford, and occasionally the Surplus Property Store has used but still usable bed frames available for purchase. They are unattractive beds, but you could spiffy them up with paint.

Small Space Option for Kids: Low Loft Beds
4/9/14 05:35 PM

Oh gosh, thanks for making that post. I often stock up on jarred candles at TJ's when I'm home from college, and now I'm going to be more cautious.

Tips for Making the Most of Candles
4/8/14 06:05 PM

I love these bags so much they inspired me to ask a question on Yahoo Answers last year about other useful but inexpensive items:

In addition to using them for laundry, storage, and various other purposes, I have a couple that I've cut up to serve as tarp for art projects. I live in a little on-campus apartment, and a couple of the bags cut up and laid flat are the perfect size for protecting the floor while working on paintings and other potentially messy art projects. : )

In Praise of IKEA's FRAKTA Bag
4/8/14 05:36 PM

This is a lovely and serene home with some clever ideas. I would struggle with the minimalism if this was my own home and would want to add some dining room chairs for guests, an end table or two, drapes, and extra living room seating. This home probably suits the family that lives there as it is, though.

Mikola and Randall's Modern and Airy Small Space House Tour
4/3/14 10:01 PM

What type of paint do readers here most like using on furniture? (Chalk paint, acrylic paint over primer, spray paint, something else?)

I'm a furniture painting newbie.

Painted Furniture for When You Just Can't Paint Your Walls
3/31/14 06:29 PM

AT seems to portray white walls as being the real world version of the cinder block walls we have to find creative ways to decorate around as college students, when really many adults happily choose them for their homes because they are elegant, versatile, and timeless. In the post here about how to decorate like a Parisian one of the tips was to paint the walls white, so it's weird that there are also all these posts about how to "work with" white walls, as if they are some forced-upon vexation. I would love it if my on-campus apartment had white walls like what you see here. What we have are Barbie doll flesh colored icky tannish "white" walls. I wish there would be more features on how to work with those walls here instead of true white ones. We can't put holes in the wall and we cannot paint the walls, not even an accent wall. I don't think it's just college students having to deal with restrictions like that with their apartments or with fugly faux-white walls.

Renters Solutions: 7 Real Life Examples of White Walls that Work Apartment Therapy Home Remedies
3/28/14 07:17 PM

What's the learning curve on this process? I just painted badly scuffed up wood dining room chairs a bright semi-gloss white, and now I'm regretting the choice. I sort of wish I had either just let the scuffs be part of their character or use stain or something to polish them up. I am a college student living in an on-campus apartment so I don't know how feasible it would be to attempt this wood stripping process inside, and I can't bring it outdoors either. I don't know if I should just chill out and accept the white chairs, try a new color, or go for the stripping and staining. I got all obsessed over them as a way to distract myself from the stress of winter quarter finals. *sighs*

How To Strip and Refinish Wood Furniture Apartment Therapy Tutorials
3/25/14 04:57 PM

Oooh. I'm a college student and I used to fantasize about the colors I'd use when I finally got my first "real world" apartment (as opposed to the ones on campus that are like glorified dorm rooms), but pictures of homes like these make white walls more appealing to me. They're calm, versatile and just seem to be sophisticated without trying. Hopefully if I get a place with true white walls instead of the depressing beige-white and can invest paint money on furniture and rugs instead. : )

Sarah and Lou's Dream Rental A House in the Hills
3/23/14 04:48 AM