House Tour: Katie and Zack’s Rental Retreat
For our inaugural house tour, Leslie and I visited a neighbor’s house (also named Katie) and were completely blown away with all the DIY and creativity nestled into the less than 1,000 square-foot home. Katie is incredibly crafty and she has found a way to decorate her home (which she doesn’t even own) in a cost-conscious and stylish way.
Katie’s motto: “I won’t buy it if I can make it myself.” And when she does buy furniture/accessories, she definitely shops around for bargains — yard sales, Craig’s List, Freecycle, thrift stores — but you wouldn’t know they were second hand by looking at them because Katie has done an amazing job refreshing and repurposing all her finds.
Katie and Zack have rented their rowhouse for the past two years. They asked their landlord if they could paint and fix up the house (even if they put it back to its original condition once they move out), but their landlord said no. Undeterred, they have made the most out of what they have.
Their coffee table was a bargain at a local yard sale for only $5. The metal frame was rusted but Katie brought it back to life with a little TLC. She also transformed a picture frame into a message board by painting the frame a sunny yellow and the back with chalkboard paint.
Katie embraces the renter-white walls by continuing the neutral color scheme in her furniture and accessories. She adds pops of color throughout the house and it all flows together seamlessly (this is definitely an 80/20 room).
By the front door, a shelf with hooks keeps Katie’s purse and a leash for Beans, their Boston Terrier, organized. The console table, a Craig’s List gem, creates a welcome space for guests.
One thing I especially like is how Katie has created purposeful corners — here is the coffee corner followed by the wine/cocktail glass corner. (I’m copying this.) With limited space, she balances function with beauty. Also, check out the gorgeous valance she created over the window — made with foam core, batting, and a delightful bird print.
Everything in the kitchen has a place — pots and pans, lids, canisters — thanks to all the storage options available at IKEA. If you look closely, you might see an outdated kitchen, but Katie tricks your eyes with her mix of modern and vintage kitchen accessories. You really wouldn’t notice the problem areas unless you tried.
In general, Zack doesn’t mind all of Katie’s projects, but he did have concerns about mixing the traditional pedestal table (from Craig’s List) with the more contemporary chairs (on sale at Target). However, once Katie put everything together, he came around. The color and the shape of the table and chairs marry the different styles.
Moving upstairs, Katie’s favorite project is this upholstered headboard in the master bedroom. In about an hour, she took a piece of plywood, covered it with batting and fabric, and mounted it on the wall with a simple picture hanging hook. The upholstery tacks she used come in a row and you only have to nail down every fifth one — a huge time saver and stress reliever.
And above the windows, Katie made the valances to hide cracked and peeling paint.
The dresser was also a DIY project — repainted and adorned with vintage knobs.
The guest room is cozy and serene. Katie framed found objects such as post cards, photos, and pages from books to create a peaceful retreat for friends and family.
This TV console table is next on Katie’s to-do list. She plans to paint it a blue/green color to break up the neutral colors in the room. The decorative boxes under the TV hide remotes, DVDs, cords, and dog toys. No clutter to see here.
Katie and Zack look forward to buying a house some day so they can truly make it their own. And when they do, I’ll be the first one at the housewarming party because that’s a remodel I don’t want to miss!
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