08 December 2011

No guts, no garage

So... St. Louis! Should be fun, right? Hopefully! But definitely: different. And one of the biggest differences is that we will be renting, not owning (only because I’m unlikely to be a postdoc for more than four years, five max). And to make the transition even more extreme, we may not even be in a house. Unfortunately, it’s been well over five years since I rented an apartment, and in that time I’ve become quite accustomed to my two extra bedrooms and not sharing a wall with someone who isn’t my family. And if I want to paint or tear out some shelving or install new floors? Then we do it. I own this place, bishes!

The fact that I won’t have that luxury in six months is, admittedly, a little frightening. But I still have my things, right? My things, I can do what I want with my things! The trouble there, though, is the likely chance that we won’t have a garage or other suitable workspace. I mean... where am I supposed to spraypaint? I can’t attach my vice grip to the dining room table, you guys.

So lately, in addition to looking around the house for things to clean out and donate, I’ve been thinking about what projects I might want to take on while I have all my tools and the luxury of a nice garage workspace. And here’s two on my painting wishlist that I’m considering, though... I’m not yet convinced.

First of all, here’s our dining room set:

Now, I have no idea if we’ll even have room for a dining room table in our next place. And even if we do, I’m not 100% sold on moving this set. Sure, it’s free! But it’s also like forty years old. And while it’s held up incredibly well (the seats have never been restrung!) the 1960-70s style is starting to bug me.

However, this style is popping up everywhere, from Ballard (the catalog from which this photo was taken) to Pottery Barn.

You guys. Those have woven seats, too. And a wavy ladderback. Hey. Ours could look like that.

Thanks to the magic of photoshop, I’m seriously considering lopping off those cone-shaped tops on the ladderbacks and painting them a matte black.

Pros: Look how stylish! Could be done for the cost of paint and primer! And would be awesome with a thrifted pedestal table painted black!
Cons: I do love wood tones, actually, more than paint. The chairs are in decent shape and don’t need to be painted. And also, most importantly, SO MUCH WORK.

So I’m not sold. Even though we could have a totally updated dining room set for cheap, I don’t think I want this set forever, and this is probably a keep-it-forever amount of work we’re talking here. And that’s not even considering that these sorts of projects take twice as long as I think they will – and I think this one will take A VERY LONG TIME.

Meanwhile, another project I really do need to tackle are the dressers in our guest room:

Again, I don’t know if we’ll have room for these in a new place, but I really want to keep those babies (for babies, actually – I hope to use them in strictly-hypothetical Baby P’s nursery). The tall bureau was in my mother’s room when she was a child, and the shorter matching dresser was found years later at a yard sale. They’re antique and metal, which I just think is so neat. I’ve switched out the knobs and painted them a few times, but the current paint job is chipping and stained in a few places (I was a more novice spraypainter back then – oh yes, I spraypainted those dressers).

So these need a paint job anyway, if I’m not going to have a place to do that easily in the new living arrangement. And I’m starting to think... boldly. Remember this living room I adore from Jen at Rambling Renovators (photo credit to her, of course)?

Say. Those cabinets are a very pretty blue. Hmmm.

This is a far easier project than the dining room table, but... THAT IS NOT A NEUTRAL. What am I thinking?! Well, I’m thinking that we’ll have boring white dressers against boring white rental walls. But blue? Not... light gray? Or something else safer? Can I bite the bullet?

Your opinions are welcome, and I’ll keep you posted if I give either project a try! Also, hey: renters. This incurable DIY addict may need some help soon in living in a smaller space that she cannot destroy and rebuild. I’m anxious... but also hopeful that it gets the creativity going!


Christal said...

how does the cost of living compare? Do you think you'll be able to swing more than a 1 bedroom apartment? I must admit, if we didn't have access to the (not 100% sure your things will survive) basement storage, we would be in trouble with our small 1 bedroom. But I maintain the middle of the country seems to understand the need for closets and kitchen cabinet/counter spaces better than the edges of the country. :-)

Rachel said...

Sarah, I don't know if you will have a chance to see your new apartment with much time before you move or not, but you might want to wait until after you do. The walls in our first rental apartment were an "off-tan" color rather than white. You might want to see that apt, then get a paint chip that matches the color of the walls before you do any big-time painting.

Sarah said...

I do think we'll be able to have more than one bedroom, Christal - cost of living there seems to be comparable or less than Nashville. But St. Louis is much more "midwestern" than "southern" so I think space may be at a premium (in the neighborhoods I want to live in, at least).

I've wondered about that too, Rachel, but I don't think many places will know their availability until May or so (and we'll move in June) :\ The current walls in that room are tan, though... I may just go for it anyway, since things need to look nice to sell the house!