Several days ago I received an email from a charming reader named Randa living in a modern rental home in an obviously warm-weather climate.
Damn her! Well, not really her. Damn this FREEZING weather.
But… there’s a twist to this modern rental home story.
Not only is it warm where Randa lives, the location is half-way around the world in Bahrain!
Bahrain, if you don’t already know, is a small island tucked neatly away in a bay in the Persian Gulf.
A little background info
Randa who makes a living as a nutritionist (that links to her website) is the mother of a tween and a teen and the wife of Josh.
I took the liberty of helping myself to a photo of Randa and Josh from Randa’s website.
Holy crap! Like two super models, they are.
Okay, I did not know any of this when I received Randa’s original email.
But, after some
stalking research found out that Randa grew up in Saudi Arabia and is half Lebanese. Her father, a doctor, began an English International school so that she and her brother would receive a great education.
I had no idea that she wasn’t American until today! That’s how perfect her English is. You can read more about Randa and her nutrition business here, if you missed the link above.
I am not sure if I have written about a rental home before
And, truthfully, as you are about to see, this one doesn’t need much help at all. But, it does hi-light certain issues that can occur in a rental home.
These same issues might also apply if you own a home but aren’t planning on staying in it for a long time. OR, you are thinking of selling your home in the near future.
I will let Randa explain more about her issues with their modern rental home.
I am going to interject opinions and ideas in teal, like this.
I have an OFFICE/HOMEWORK/HANGOUT ROOM with two walls of huge sliding windows, a built-in bookcase and a pony wall to boot.
And, I am STUCK with furniture placement and what really needs to be in this “undefined” space. I read every one of your posts and if my dilemma is not of enough interest, I will keep scouring and following your posts until I can figure it out!
Our house is around 3,000 sq. feet. There are four of us, kids ages 11 and 13, and a guinea pig in a large cage (who, to my protest, resides in this space).
I hear ya Randa!
I’ve attached a few more pictures to get the bigger picture. (Don’t worry, since the kitchen is also our “formal” dining room, it’s absolutely getting an overhaul too- rug, table/ chairs, stools, and definitely lighting, it’s just choosing what look I want.)
We had asked for the pony wall to be removed to create one large living space but the landlord said no.
I actually like that half-wall and I LOVE your living room!
So we made it into an office/homework/game room. I suppose as you said I could be wanting more from it than it’s able to give. The bench feels odd, uncomfortable and useless there but I like that it brings in character and wood, everything else being pretty white and boring. Chairs need reupholstering.
The bench is fantastic and as you said, it brings in a note of warmth. Your home is reminding a lot of the work of Vicente Wolf. His work is over-all modern with pieces from far off lands.
You know, this is really like a “keeping room.”
A keeping room is a room off the kitchen that functions as a multi-purpose space and occasional living room.
I think the table would look better round and I am thinking that these chairs would give just the right note of style.
I would change out the desk lamp. I’m liking this Anglepoise task lamp from Rejuvenation
But, they have other cool lamps as well, if you fancy something else.
It comes in a bunch of colors
The corner where the guinea pigs cage is needs furniture? Art?
Art would be great!
I just feel it could be a cool space with more to it.
The hallway off of it has a bathroom, which my clients use, so this room is seen. And as a family, we use it every day.
Honestly, I think if you change out the four chairs, do some more art, it will make a big difference. The other thing I recommend is adding more plants, etc to the exterior. That’s what I notice the most.
Oh wow! I love what you’ve done here!
Thanks, Laurel, for considering my dilemma,
WHAT dilemma??? I told Randa that I felt like I was looking at an issue of Lonny or Domain Home.
This is the perfect young family home that many strive for but fail to achieve.
I went on to ask Randa a few questions
Why are there three finishes on the kitchen cabinets? (you don’t have to answer, because I know that you didn’t do that.)
This is a very good question. The answer is, I have no idea. I am not a fan, but, as renters some things can’t be changed. 🙁 I am contemplating putting removable wallpaper around the base of the island, is that a no-no?
Not at all! It’s a great idea. It’s reminding me of this post where we talked about some appliance makeovers with wallpaper.
Are you allowed to paint? I’m just asking, not necessarily recommending that you do and can’t tell if it would work out for the homework space.
Yes, absolutely, we can paint or do removable wallpaper. I have contemplated wallpaper on the foyer wall (behind those cane chairs), and in the small guest bathroom near the office.
How high are your ceilings?
How long are you planning on living here?
We plan on being here at least another 5-10 years, although we really don’t know exactly. Enough time to want to make this HOME. We’ve lived in this house for a little over a year.
One of my favorite parts is the entrance with those beautiful caned barrel chairs!
I scored those from an Embassy auction! They’re my fave too! Because they’re vintage. And that is SO HARD to find here
(BTW I paid $80 for both!!) Here’s the deal. Most of what is in my house is stuff I have scored on what is our FB “Craiglist” here in Bahrain, or on our travels, or at local ethnic shops. It isn’t easy at all.
Well, you make it look easy!
I LOOOONNNGG for an antique or flea market, I can’t even tell you.
We have a couple tiny shops like that here and even though I know they rarely restock, I go in just to be around that “old stuff”! The good thing is: we can order online, and many places do ship.
And, we do have a West Elm and Pottery Barn here, but marked way up. And if I really want something, I can have it shipped to my mom, and she will ship it here. If I were in the US, I imagine my house would look very different; I would have way more unique pieces and art. And my kitchen would be DONE.
I actually started crying when I saw the shoe under the console table. I love that piece and the shoe reminded me of when my kids were little. It goes so fast!
Ooooh, thank you for sharing that! It is a good reminder that when the cleaning nazi in me comes out, one day, I will most definitely miss it all (I love that table, BTW another “Craigslist” find – when I saw faux bamboo I was on it like flies on a doggie’s fresh steamy! $5!!!! Was thinking I would paint it – what do you think? )
I think it would be fabulous painted!
I’ll write normally for the rest of my closing comments.
Seriously, I think this is already a beautifully decorated home. It is light and bright and uplifting. And it shows what can be accomplished, without spending a lot of money. Brava!
I am not having any significant issue with the little homework/office/keeping room. I think with the few tweaks we discussed earlier and beefing up the exterior, that it will be a lovely space to be in and walk through with your clients.
If you change out the chairs for the homework room, maybe you could re-purpose the tiger chairs for the kitchen dining area. Maybe have slipcovers made for them?
Obviously, part of the kitchen is missing.
I do see a little sliver in the above image. So, that means that there’s a lot more of that ashy, umber-toned wood. I would not have chosen that finish. But then, no one asked me. :]
Of course, we wish that the cabinets went up to the ceiling and that the refrigerator was built-in.
As for the three different finishes. How weirdtastic is that?!?!
I suppose you could do something funky and cover them are part of them with one of those removable wallpapers from Anthropologie. Or something like that.
I think this is a good place to open it up to you guys. I’m a little at a loss.
Brain freeze??? haha!
But, what do you do when you’re in a rental home and the kitchen sucks?
Or, at least this kitchen. What would you do about the kitchen area?
Happy Groundhog Day!