Monday, March 07, 2011

Making a House a Home

This is my new home. Isn't it cute? It was built in 1951 and is a Cape Cod style. It has some beautiful features inside including built in wall shelves and an adorable kitchen.

Unfortunately, since it is a rental, it has also been somewhat abused. After getting the keys from our landlady, hubby and I went through the empty house yesterday and realized that numerous former tenants have not given this little gem the respect it deserves. Every wall needs to be painted, and it needs a thorough cleaning. But there is a great house underneath the grime and we're going to discover it!

Yes, it is a rental. Yes, we are going to leave this house better than when we moved in. Is that wasting money? I don't think so. It's our home and while we're there, we are going to love it - not just deal with it until something better comes along. Housing in this town is expensive - and we are actually renting this house for the same amount we paid for an apartment (thanks to our landlady's generosity). We are in no position to buy right now and this house is the perfect size for us at this point in our lives.

Fortunately, I have a very handy hubby. He can do maintenance like nobody's business, and that's a big bonus when you're short on funds.

Yesterday, we went and bought paint and painting supplies, and today I've been looking for design ideas. This is the fun part of moving into a house. We can make it our own! It's not like my apartment where everything had to stay the same. We can decorate and paint to our heart's content.

I'm focusing on kitchen ideas right now and of course, I want to make it look vintage! Check out these adorable kitchens. I don't think I want to go with red and white, though I've always loved blue and white.
I've been haunting the thrift stores around here and I've already found a ton of goodies that will be terrific when I get to the decorating part. Right now, I'm trying to decide on wallpaper or paint. The kitchen is currently painted a mustard yellow (eww!) and I can either paint it or put some fun vintage wallpaper on it like this:
I really, really wish I could sew. I haven't touched a sewing machine since high school home ec class, and even then, I wasn't very good at it. But I'd love to sew my own curtains and make a custom tablecloth with a really cute retro design! (Hint: Valerie, come visit me and help me make them! She's a sewing whiz and makes some adorable handbags! Plus she is a terrific writer and friend.)

Thankfully, we have almost three weeks to get the house ready. Hubby is painting as I type, and I plan to get the window measurements tonight or tomorrow, then start shopping for curtains.

The challenge, for me, at least, will be to find great stuff at a great price. Thrifting and bargain shopping is the order of the day!

I can't wait to turn this house into our home.


  1. Melissa,
    You will have SO MUCH fun decorating-picking colors, and finding neat little vintage goodies-and even sewing the curtains and table cloth. I wish I was there to help-I love this sort of thing-and the fact that you are going with a vintage theme makes it all that much more fun!!
    And thank you so much for the mention, my friend!
    Your new house is adorable!

  2. Making a house yours is one of the most fun, satisfying things in the world! I totally agree that fixing up a rental house isn't a waste. After all, you're not doing major remodeling, just giving her some TLC. We did the same with both our rentals and never regretted it.

    My sweetie is incredibly handy, too--a trait I greatly admire. Doesn't it make you feel well taken care of in the best retro way?

    Your new house is adorable. Congrats!

  3. Love your new house, it's very charming! This is the fun part of moving, the decorating. We did the walls and floor of our kitchen last fall and chose wallpaper for the walls. I've found that if you have lots of wall space in the kitchen, wallpaper works well. There are so many great kitchen prints. Or you could always paint and put up a country border. Oh the options ... Enjoy :)

  4. I'm so excited to see what you will do with it. All your ideas sound amazing! :)

  5. Melissa, it looks wonderful!

    The fun part will be putting your own stamp on it and turning it into a real home where you can relax. I love shopping for paint, wallpaper, curtains, etc. Great fun. What I like best is that everything little thing you do improves it. I'll look forward to more pictures.

    Have fun!

  6. Valerie - I just need a sewing machine! Then I could at least try to make my curtains...I think my Grandma doesn't use hers anymore. I might try and see if I can borrow it. :-)

    Christine - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks putting money into a rental is NOT a waste! I figure, heck, I'll be living there, might as well enjoy it, right? :-)

    Joanne - I'm wavering between wallpaper and paint. If I choose paint, hubby will finish it up in no time, but I don't think he'll touch the wallpaper!

    Erin - I will definitely post pics!

    Shirley - It feels like my every waking moment is consumed with what I need to do on this place. It's hard to sleep at night!

  7. How neat that you get to do whatever you want with it!! Enjoy the decorating and what not! I love that white and blue kitchen. SO CUTE!

  8. I can't wait to see how you decorate it! You need to do some before and after photos:)) I think the house is adorable!

  9. Colene - Thanks! We can't paint the woodwork - that was the only stipulation our landlady gave us. I can live with that!

    Terri - I already have the "before" photos. Can't wait until I have the "after" ones!

  10. Oh, you're going to have so much fun redecorating, even though its a pain, it'll be good to uncover the lovely house. I especially like this wallpaper and the vintage kitchen pics. Happy painting and decorating! ;-)

  11. Be sure to take before and after pictures to share with us! :)

  12. What a lovely house. Yes do show us before and after photos.

    I love vintage wallpaper, not that I have any on my walls, unfortunately, but there are some fabulous ones that I wouldn't mind having.

    Happy decorating.

  13. Thanks, Talei! It has been fun but a bit (ok, maybe A LOT) maddening!

    Betsy - Will do. You are going to LOVE the vintage curtains I picked up from Etsy!

    Debs - I found some wallpaper last night from the 1940s that I would love to have. Unfortunately, I don't think I'd even want to attempt putting it up, but it would be fun to have just for nostalgia's sake. :-)


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