Read my HILARIOUS article for Frontiers Magazine! I've written a lot of articles for them, and I just love that they let me be me!
Spring is around the corner, and you are itching to redecorate your place. Problem is, you’ve got a dead-end job, your sugar daddy just cut off your AMEX or you’re just plain cheap! Decorating ain't cheap. No problem. If you’re low on cash but want a home makeover, you do what any resourceful Millennial does—you upcycle!
For those of you living under a rock, upcycling is turning something old into something new. Before you Restoration Hardware snobs start dissing me, I'll have you know that upcycling is the hottest design trend now. Not only does it save you money, but it is great for Mother Nature. We need to be mindful of the stuff we consume. We are such a wasteful society, living in a throwaway culture. How many times have you bought a sequened off-the-shoulder top you just had to have, but only wore the darn thing once—and it was for a 1980sFlashdance Halloween party. I know I have! What a waste of $50! Before you toss it out like yesterday's trash, try to upcycle it! It is uncanny how many old, tattered things you own that can be repurposed for some fantabulous new home décor pieces.
Here is what I did recently to update my living room via upcycling. I was getting sick of my drab sofa. It needed to pop. It would be too expensive to buy a new one. (And have you seen the cost of shipping and handling recently?!) So I decided on a more affordable way to revive my sofa—pillow accents! I went into the closet and reached deep in the back trenches where I store clothes I rarely wear. I shut my eyes, grabbed some random pieces, and out popped a tube top, mu'umu'u and a knit miniskirt. (Guess I never threw away my old drag outfits. I’m such a hoarder!)
Being flat-chested, the tube top was too small. Not enough fabric to make a pillow/cushion cover. The mu'umu'u was too big. (Although I might save it for a mattress cover upcycling project!) That left the mini-skirt. It was perfect! I stole an extra pillow insert I had lying around the guest room closet, found a yard of double-sided sticky-back Velcro in the kitchen junk drawer and twirled into the living room to start my project. It literally took me 10 minutes. I placed the Velcro on the front and back waistline of the skirt, flipped it inside out to hide the Velcro seams, stuffed the pillow insert into the skirt, then sealed up the front and back hem with Velcro. After transforming my mini-skirt into a pillow, I thought, “Damn, Herman, this is too cute for my busted-up sofa. I’m gonna sell it on Etsy! For real!”
The fabulous thing about this skirt-turned-pillow is that it’s Velcro’d. You don’t need to mess up your Lee Press-Ons with any sewing! You can assemble and disassemble easily. This is especially handy when you get a last-minute date and all your clothes are dirty. All you have to do is waltz into your living room, grab the pillow, rip off the Velcro and toss it on. It’s a skirt again! Sigh, the joys of upcycling! Bottom line: Don’t be so quick to trash your junk clothes. You can always make a cute décor piece to brighten up your home.
Drop by my place HabitatForHermanity.com and I'll show you how to upcycle your old jockstraps into a macramé plant holder!
Herman Chan is a real estate and design expert whose blog Habitat for Hermanity offers a glimpse beyond the glitz and glam of real estate and design. (And it ain’t always pretty!) You’ve seen his trademark helpful, hilarious flair on HGTV House Hunters, Logo and Huffington Post. His new webseries, Real Estate Real Simple for theSan Francisco Chronicle, debuted this year. He was also once a Frontiers cover model.
I got my fabulous buyers a free renovation on a new HGTV show called Power Brokers. It stars Mike Aubrey (Real Estate Intervention) & Juan Barbieri (The Bachelorette). I have a small appearance too in the pilot, so stay tuned for more details!
Oh no! The marriage between wrestler John Cena & his high school sweetheart is crumbling. TMZ reports "the house they were remodeling was sending them to the poor house and the courthouse." A contractor has now put a $110k lien on the property. Yikes!
Compromising on taste and balancing budgets, renovating a house can put any relationship to the test! Before you remodel with your boo, be sure you 2 are on the same page about design AND money!
Check to see if your house is landmarked
Ever since the collapse of the market, McMansions have fallen out of style. Buyer tastes have veered towards old homes with character. Revamped Victorians, Edwardians, bungalows are hot! Sellers who modernized their 100 yr old homes up to 2012 amenities and upgrades while maintaining the old world charm and architectural integrity command huge prices.
However, before you start chopping up your old house, check with the city to make sure it is not designated as an historic landmark. Otherwise you may be violating historic preservation ordinances! This family in Palo Alto ,CA is fighting the city to get their house (in photo) removed from the city history inventory. What is considered historic is up to debate. Apparently, this Council Member agrees with this family: "With all due respect to the Historic Resources Board, they're not composed of experts." Snap!
LogoTV viewer asks Hermanity:
Question: We want to build an in-law unit, but money is tight. Should we just use a handyman and bypass permits?
Answer: Handyman for dinky jobs is fine, but doing a major project without permits will come back to bite you. You can get sued, fined or be forced to tear it down. Plus, it can affect your re-sale value too.
Did any viewers out there ever get in trouble for a big renovation without pulling permits? Would love to hear your story!
Can you believe popcorn ceiling once was the height of housing fashion?! Depending on how it was sprayed on, it always looked to me like either ghostly bile or wall of pimply whiteheads. Delish! I find it funny when I see a gorgeous crystal chandelier hanging from a ceiling of pigeon poo. If a homeowner is going to spend thousands of dollars on fabulous lighting, why not give it a nice clean backdrop. It's like serving beluga caviar on a Styrofoam plate.
Anyone a fan of popcorn ceiling? LMK! (it's ok. you can post anonymously)
NOTE: Thank you for my friends at P6.com for shooting, editing & hosting this video. Check them out here!
A big joy of home ownership is 'making it your own.' But if you ever want to sell down the line, an overly self-indulgent remodel will hurt your revalue value. Save your vanity projects for your plastic surgery!
You're not just buying the house, you're buying to the neighborhood!