3 Decor Trends I won’t be following

Let’s look on the bright side. I may not know exactly what I want in my home, I may be confused by my preferred style and all the options available. I may, at times, get irritated at Beloved Husband’s dogmatism unswerving sense of chic.

But I sure as heck know what I don’t want. Here is my pick of the trends which I will be happy to allow to pass me by.

  1. Covering a wall with fabric

    The folk at Ballard Designs are correct when they say this adds warmth and a lovely texture, and it certainly does look beautiful, but can you imagine the dust, grime, and sticky pawprints?

  2. See-through plastic furniture

    Sorry, I don’t care if it’s great in small spaces, allows the eye to skip over it, or allegedly blends well with all styles. It’s weird. I’d rather use a cardboard box.
    Oh, wait, I am using a cardboard box in my living room :)

  3. Vessel sinks

    I admit, this is a hard one, because I do like the look of these. But I find them awkward to use and am pretty sure they might be a bit of a fad… Sinks are also somewhat expensive to change.

What’s your assessment of these three looks? And which trends will you be allowing to pass you by?

Photo thanks: Ballard Designs, Luminarti, DigsDigs.

Curtains & chocolate

I’m sorry I’m a few days late in posting a chocolate winner :)

Thank you so much to everyone who chipped in regarding my curtain situation. You cheered me up no end and the realization that it’s not the end of the world if the 3 windows don’t match made me a much happier bunny.

I’m still mulling things over (and waiting to get my mitts on some fabric samples at JCPenney), but thanks to you all I have no shortage of wonderfully imaginative ideas.

For some examples of showing your windows who’s boss, look no further than this great posting at Room Remix on budget friendly, creative window treatments. And if you’ve never read Nester’s mischievous thoughts on mistreatments, that’s well worth it too.

One day when I’m super-rich I will make grand gestures and send treats to every blog reader, but for now I have picked Gwen to represent you all as the chocolate recipient. Gwen, please drop me a note at stylestruggler@gmail.com and I’ll see if I can sweeten up your day.

Photo thanks: Smith & Noble

How to calculate repairs before you buy the house

Thinking of buying a home? Maybe something ‘in need of love‘ or a ‘handyman special‘? Or even just a bit of an ugly duckling, in basically good condition but with a few clever and stylish touches needed?

You’re no doubt wise enough to budget for all this kind of thing in advance, so as not to get in over your head. Struggler has an easy method for doing this, which I offer you now:

Write down all that you think is needed.
Do a rough costing, estimate when you could do the work,
or afford someone to do it for you.

Got that part? Good.

Now, double the problems, double the costs,
and double how long it’ll take you.

In fact, if your beloved’s time is needed, triple that last one.

In my first flat, I cheerfully took the dated side panel off the bath, thinking I would put something nicer on there instead with just a couple of hours and a few pounds invested. Hah! Huge mistake. Behold, the view that greeted me was significant amounts of what in England is affectionately known as wet rot. The floor was holding the tub up, but only just. Happily, Beloved Boyfriend (now BH) and I were not in the habit of taking baths together, or we’d have been through the floor.

So, the bath tub had to come out in order for repairs to be done. And you know what? Once you take out a bath and wreck the tiles, you might as well keep going and do your whole bathroom.

More wisdom from Struggler:
If the guy who comes to quote for a new bathroom

drives a nicer car than you, hire someone else.

More recently, a squirrel moved into our attic, and the 6AM scampering noises were enough to tempt us Beloved Husband out onto the roof in hot pursuit. After Mr Squirrel had been evicted, BH declared it was time to touch up some of the paint on the trim. In turn, this led to some paint for the windows, at which point he found at least one fenestration which is softer than marshmallows on a campfire. Guess what, we have 11 windows in our house – can you see where this is going?

My two great lessons, therefore:

  1. Be prepared that ANYTHING you touch may reveal untold traumas behind it.
  2. Everything, but EVERYTHING takes at least twice the effort to fix than you thought.

Come to terms with these two, and you’ll have many happy years of home ownership ahead.

Oh, wait a minute, did you really come here looking for info on estimating repairs, rather than a bunch of bellyaching? In that case, you might like to check out Cost Helper, where I’ve found the guide prices pretty good. Remember to allow that you might be in a more costly part of the country. There is also a UK calculator at Check Your Price, but although I’m out of date with costs in Britain, I’m concerned that might come out a little low.

And if you’re having a rotten-under-the-bathtub kind of moment, the last piece of wisdom is from Nancy Reagan:

“I have been very happy with my homes,
but homes really are no more than the people who live in them.”

Photo thanks: Remigiusz Szczerbak.

More chocolate fodder: the ugly baby revealed

Ooh, I was sooo hoping to avoid this, but you guys are tactfully demanding that I show my ugly baby in public. At this rate I’m going to need to eat that chocolate myself.

Strangely, I had put this photo in the posting below, but removed it as I was too ashamed of the landlord-white walls and general blandness. Sorry that it’s not a great pic; right now the room is in chaos and mostly sheeted as some wonderful guys are knocking the bathroom to bits and there is dust everywhere.

So, in case your computer screen chews up colors like mine does, the sofa & armchair are dark blue; the accent chair & some accessories are dark red. In one corner is a cardboard box serving as an end table and in the other is a too-small-decorators-table which is now upstairs. Poor ugly baby.

The now-discontinued chenille drapes (in darkish red with some gold & blue flecks which you can’t see of course) are on the front window in this photo; they were enjoying a vacation but since their brothers and sisters won’t be joining them, need to go back to the “dining room” window. So the two windows you can see in this pic are the ones causing me heartache. The left-hand window is sporting the landlord-beige curtain panels which were there when we bought the house: hopefully we are all in agreement that they need to go.

OK, I’m going to hide from ugly baby comments for the rest of the day. If you need me in a hurry, I’ll be in a shady corner, working my way through Trader Joe’s dark chocolate with pecans.

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