Hi everyone! I’m so excited to introduce this weeks guest, Charlotte Smith from the very colourful blog, At Charlottes House. She and her husband recently sold their home in the suburbs and downsized to a rental. In this post, she explains why they made that decision and how their renting journey has been so far.
Be sure to follow Charlotte on Instagram here, her stories are an absolute delight and will regularly have you in fits of laughter!
WATCH CHARLOTTE’S RENTAL HOME TOUR – ON HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Charlotte Smith and I blog At Charlotte’s House. I started blogging almost 8 years ago when we moved from NYC to the Connecticut suburbs (about 45 miles outside of New York City) and I left behind my job as a school guidance counselor. We had an old house and I naturally started fixing it up and realized that blogging was a way for me to “work” from home. Little did I know it would become such a passion and a lifeline for me 8 years later!
I love color and quirky decor and finding ways to take common items or thrift store gems and incorporating them into a family friendly home.
Who do you live with?
My husband, our five children, and 2 naughty dogs.
How long have you been living in your rental home?
A little more than a year.
Do you mind sharing your reason for renting?
My husband’s finance company closed down a few years ago and after a year without work, we had to make the painful decision to sell our beautiful historic home. We were fortunate to find a rental that fits our family in the same town so the kids didn’t have to change schools, but… saying goodbye to the beautiful old home we’d envisioning slowly fixing up and making our own… was hard.
How is renting different from home ownership?
Sadly, our landlord isn’t particularly helpful so we don’t have the benefits of ’not dealing with things’ that sometimes comes with a rental. What I’ve found hardest is decorating a home in a playful and creative way WITHOUT doing anything permanent. I’d love to get my hands on bathroom tiles and kitchen backsplash (splashback) but I can’t.
I’ve found workarounds for most of the rooms that work, but I’d love to be able to do more. Not to mention, this wouldn’t be the home that we would buy if we could… so fundamentally, it’s just not our favorite house.
What was it like downsizing a rental?
We’re still adjusting. 🙂
We decided not to get sucked into the vortex that is paying for a storage unit (not to mention the cost!). So we had to scramble and get rid of a TON of stuff. I’m pretty good with purging so this wasn’t hard as much as it was time consuming. We still have 1/2 our garage filled with furniture that I can’t bear to part with and lots of yard gear packed away in two backyard sheds.
But we are optimistic that we can buy a house in a couple of years and then we’d be looking for one with a couple more bedrooms so everyone can have their own room and we can have guests… in other words, we’re optimistic that our next house might be a bit bigger so we can use some of my beloved furniture that didn’t fit in the rental.
Do you have any moving house with kid tips you can share?
I always say I’m going to be super organized with it all… and I never am. Our movers were terrific this time around and set up the bedrooms FIRST so we could make beds and unpack a few boxes and the kids felt somewhat at home pretty fast. For older kids, include them as best you can… maybe have them put their favorite items in one special box so they can open that one first! Also… consider activities for the kids the day of the move or even find a friend who can entertain your children elsewhere since moving day is HECTIC.
Do you have a good relationship with your current landlord? How do they feel about you decorating?
Ha. See my previous answer. Our landlord lives a couple hours away and… if he had his wish, would sell this house. As a result, he’s pretty resistant to spending ANY money on the house and will claim that most expenses are “wear and tear”… i.e. our responsibility. Which is, as you can imagine, frustrating since we don’t really have any recourse other than leaving which we obviously don’t want to do.
Re. decorating… I mentioned what I did before we moved in and offered to pay an additional security deposit. I assured him that I wasn’t doing anything permanent and asked for permission to paint the rooms white. (They were various shades of mustard, gray, and greige.) I suspect he would have something to say about how different the house looks, since I’ve certainly done more than paint but… nothing is permanent. It’s all removable wallpaper, etc.
What is your favourite room in your home?
I think it’s probably my office still. I’ve added some amazing wallpaper to other rooms in the house (the playroom and my One Room Challenge dining room/ living room), but I love that my office is MY space so I have a bold blue accent wall, a wallpaper I’m crazy about on the ceiling and then lots of other eccentric pops of color and art.
How would you describe your decorating style?
I joke that it’s frugal eclectic and sturdy. It’s certainly colorful but I also try to bring together unexpected items and love mixing pattern and texture.