Category Archives: Renting

New living room.

So I finally got around to snapping a few shots of the flat. Overall it’s old and tired and a bit grungy (a bit like myself TBH), but the wood floors, neutral paint scheme and large rooms make it liveable. The living/dining room is the closest to being “done”, so I’ll start there.

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Are you feeling the understated earthy retro whimsical rustic industrial vibe or what?

I brought the coffee table and the green faux persian with me from Perth. The coffee table is vintage MCM, bought on Gumtree for $100. couch1

The couch is new. I was after another 2.5 seater in charcoal but didn’t have as much cash to spare this time, so I was thrilled to find this one at Furniture Galore for $550. It came with ugly blocky black plastic feet, which I swapped out with tapered timber legs I bought online and stained. They look a bit stumpy from this angle, but they’re actually 10cm high and have completely altered the look of the couch.

Speaking of stumpy…Hans is not allowed within one metre of the couch at any time.

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The cactus painting, cactus statue and cushions were bought from Freedom a few years ago. The Eames bird was an online buy and I found the green pot at a Mexican import store in Fremantle.

I have two fruit bowls in the flat, neither of which contain fruit.

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The hardwood dining table was another Gumtree find. The legs were originally raw welded steel that I spray painted black. The table top itself must weigh over 100 kilos, and even though I had a 100+ kilo Maori helping me (thanks, baby!), dragging it up three flights of stairs nearly destroyed me.

The chairs are cheapies from Fantastic Furniture, but they’re surprisingly sturdier and more comfortable than the typical Eames knock-offs.

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Both the fabric print and the Parker dresser are from a vintage furniture store in Fitzroy. The dresser was dull and dirty and covered in flecks of white paint, but it scrubbed up real nice after a thorough clean and oil. I was a bit hesitant about buying the print because it couldn’t be cleaned, but I figured I don’t have to touch it to appreciate it, right? And any fabric that reminds me of the fabulous curtains that my grandparents hung in their caravan in the 70’s should be a no-brainer.

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I sent the vase, stand and fake foliage over from Perth, and I wasn’t expecting them to make the trip unscathed. The leaf tips got a bit bent when they fell out of the mailing tubes I packed them in, but I actually think it makes them look more realistic. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better about it.

Stay tuned…the master bedroom and accompanying vibe is up next!

My little slice of heaven.

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The view from my new balcony might not be quite as impressive as the last, but at least it’s all mine.

A fresh start.

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Greetings from my new abode, a tiny apartment in delightfully drizzling Melbourne! A couple of months ago the bf and I decided we’d endured all the wallet-raping and scorching sunshine of the west coast we could handle, so we resigned from our jobs, boxed up our possessions, and drove to Victoria.

I’ve moved suburbs several times over the past couple of years, but moving states is a radically different experience. The number one cost we needed to consider was the transportation of our stuff. The bf is a minimalist by nature and all he needed to send over were his motorbike and a box of tools, but I had a full house of belongings to relocate. I chose to have everything sent by truck, and as I was going to be charged per cubic metre, I had to be ruthless in deciding what to keep and what to toss.

I think pretty much everyone except hard-core minimalists have a “BLOODY HELL… HOW ON EARTH DID I ACCUMULATE THIS MUCH CRAP?” type epiphany when they prepare for a move. I experienced mine when I unearthed a 30 piece cocktail set and several Sylvanian Families jigsaw puzzles intended for 5-10 year olds. In spite of my regular culling efforts, I had to admit it – I was still hoarding.

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Cute as hell but ultimately pointless for me to own.

There’s nothing like the prospect of forking out cash to cart unwanted clutter across the country to make you look at your possessions with fresh eyes. Adopting the minimalist mantra of keeping nothing that is either useful or beautiful, I started the cull of a lifetime. Starting with the items that were the most obviously impractical to send over, I sold the couch, dining set and entertainment unit. My fridge, washing machine and mattress are all new, and as the shipping cost was lower than the replacement cost, I kept them. I also kept my vintage furniture; a mid-century teak coffee table I scored for $100 on Gumtree and two antique Chinese side tables.

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The foam and plastic-wrapped extent of my mistrust of removalists.

Moving onto the smaller items, I sold a few pieces on eBay (the vintage puzzles actually netted me a neat little sum), gifted a whole heap to family and friends, and donated the rest. What remained was about roughly half, enough to fit comfortably into twenty medium plastic crates.

Everything went into storage as soon as it arrived in Melbourne, and as we’re currently looking for work and renting our own rooms on a fortnightly basis, I’m not sure when we’ll be able to bail it out. But that’s ok, because right now I have everything I need; an air mattress to sleep on, a suitcase full of clothes and makeup, and access to a fully equipped kitchen. No doubt my nesting instinct will kick in soon, but in the meantime it’s been pretty awesome to discover I can do without so many of my things.

The psychological effects of ill-chosen flooring.

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It’s been six weeks since we moved in and I’ve finally unpacked enough decor to fill my Expedit. In light of my current state of tile-induced depression, I feel like this is a mammoth achievement worthy of an uploaded pic.

Honestly, though. White tiles are ridiculous. They showcase every speck of dust and hair, every footprint, pawprint and every crumb of dropped food.

And the grout! When we first inspected the property the floor hadn’t been cleaned, so we assumed the grout would look completely different once we’d moved in. It looked exactly the same; stained and patchy and just generally disgusting.

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And there’s just so much of it. The tiles are in every room in the house except the bedrooms. I can’t even put down my rugs because Hans is still prone to random indoor piss-attacks (he’s been informed that he’s the reason we can’t have nice things). I’ve scrubbed with various products and bleaches but it hasn’t made the slightest difference. I also know there are paint products you can buy that transform grout but I’m just not prepared to spend my own money and time restoring a squillion square metres of somebody else’s neglected flooring.

Hence the depression; I feel that when the floors look grotty, the rest of the house looks grotty also. And because I don’t feel like displaying my lovely porn in a grotty house, the place just doesn’t look or feel homely.

Thoughts or advice, anyone? Take a spoonful of cement and get over your white girl middle-class first-world problems, perhaps?

 

Ikea minihack #1.

I bought the TÄRNÖ as a temporary balcony filler at my last rental, intending to replace it with a more durable setting at a later date. I’ll be moving again soon, so the new setting is on hold. While I’ve yet to attempt a “real” Ikea hack, I decided to use the green paint left over from my dining table project to give the TÄRNÖ a new look.

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The setting is made from unfinished acacia wood, so I didn’t need to do much preparation. I sanded each piece lightly and taped up the steel sections before applying two coats of green (I didn’t bother with primer or an undercoat this time). Although I like the lightly distressed look of the dining chairs, I amped up the sanding on these to create a more weathered effect.  I brushed on a couple of coats of varnish to finish.

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I’m sure I’ll get tired of the distressed look eventually, but right now it’s a good match for my fledgling skills.

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Photos by Madame Squee

The delightful centrepiece is Hans, my three month old dachshund and the reason behind the move. Although I love the unit’s easy-care gardens, the lack of lawn is an issue. Every time I pass the depressing mountain of boxes in my living room I remind myself how much he’ll enjoy having a proper yard to play in, and how much I’ll enjoy him peeing outside in the sunshine rather than in my shoes.

Renting in a stupidly expensive city.

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There’s no doubt about it, renting sucks when you’re a hardcore nester. Even if you’re blessed with a landlord who lets you go crazy with the paint and hammer shiz into the walls, investing your own sweat and cash into someone elses’s property is depressing.

I’m a long term renter. Even though rental prices in Perth are ludicrously inflated, property prices are worse and home ownership is pretty much an unattainable goal for single income Gen-Y’ers that don’t have loads of business acumen or methamphetamine to sell. And unless you’re willing to fork out in excess of $500 a week, the chances of securing a well-maintained property with basics like security screens, air-conditioning and neutral décor are slim. So I’ve had to settle.

When it comes to older rental houses in Perth, there’s the good kind (think polished floorboards, ornamental fireplaces and cottage gardens) and the bad kind. I’ve lived in more places with rusted fittings, cracked linoleum and burnt orange tiles than I care to recall. So, if you ever find yourself in my situation, here are my top three methods of making your dodgy dwelling a more pleasant place to reside.

1)      Hide the worst bits.

Carpet is unhygienic and ugly as feck. Forget the “warmth” factor,  I’d choose bare concrete over carpet because at least you can hose it off. Unfortunately, the relative cheapness of carpet makes it the floor covering of choice in most rentals. If you can’t rip it up and burn it,  cover those blood and urine stains with a large area rug. If you want to be stylish and screw with your visitors’ heads, try a design that looks like timber flooring.

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Pack away heavy, dingy curtains (double bag those suckers to stop the dust and ugly leaking out) and replace them with a bright new set. Bonus points if you can make them yourself or bribe your mum to do it. Ditto with dated or broken light fixtures; replace these with $6 ikea paper lanterns and put the old ones back up when you leave.

2)      If you can’t hang prints, improvise.

If your landlord won’t even let you install temporary command-strips, any surface will do; desks, sideboards, chests, slow-moving pets, even the floors can showcase your art just as effectively. Grouping prints with sculptures will make you appear especially inventive and avoid the whole “too lazy to hang the pictures” vibe.

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3)      If all else fails, go with the flow.

My current kitchen is so dated that any attempt to modernise it would just look tragic, so I’ve chosen to embrace the vibe and accessorise with era-appropriate décor. These inexpensive orange accessories almost make those ugly 1970’s tiles appear a deliberate choice.

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Photos by Madame Squee