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My Imperfectly Perfect, Work-in-Progress House: Part I

I have to say that I was pretty self-conscious posting a blog about my very imperfect, unfinished, work-in-progress house. But then I remind myself that this -- unfinished spaces and realistic budgets -- is the heart of contemporarie. I started this blog to chronicle the progress of building a home for those like me who can't have it all at once, who live in spaces we know aren't permanent, and who are willing to make it work for now. My home is a reflection of that. I hope you see some elements of design that inspire you while also feeling comforted that most twenty-somethings have "normal" houses, even those with blogs about interiors.


On top of that, my home is a rental. I do not own it and cannot make any drastic changes to it. Luckily, my landlord has good taste and gave us a pretty good blank slate to start with! She is also an architect who graciously sent me the house plans in advance so I could make a few informed purchases before driving cross-country in a Uhaul full of furniture.


The goal is to eventually have a lovely space where everything coordinates and works together, just as it would if I were designing my home from scratch with unlimited resources. In the meantime, I am doing the best I can with what I have and I'm proud of my little rental's charm and warmth.


So here we go! I don't have photos of every room because the burden of the deep clean was too much to take on for the whole house all at once. Plus, some of my rooms aren't even close to being photo-ready!


I will go into more detail about some of the items in the home in other posts but feel free to reach out if you have questions about where anything is from!


Gallery Hallway


I had no plans for a gallery hallway until I realized just how much artwork I didn't have a spot for in the new house. Plus, although my husband gave me full reign on the home decor, he did have some special pieces of artwork that he wanted on display.


The hallway took shape over the course of 3-4 days while two of my best friends were visiting and helped me take it on. We spent hours planning out where everything would go, visiting thrift stores to fill in some gaps and, of course, hanging.


I'll do a separate post on the gallery hallway once it is finished. I have a lot to tweak and several key spots to fill but I wanted to go ahead and show off what is there! I love this hallway and feel so much joy when I walk through it. Who knew my hallway would be one of my favorite spots in the house?

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography
interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

A quick note to my landlord: Jennifer, if you're reading this, please know that I'll patch every hole.


Dining Room


My dining room is a hodgepodge of family antiques that happened to fit pretty well in this room. If you read my last post, you'll know that dining room furniture is really hard to purchase in advance.


Pretty much every large piece of furniture in this room came from my family's storage unit. The table has an extension leaf, making it a versatile piece to bring to a new space. The cabinet in the back is perfect for displaying my favorite glasses and dishes, although I do wish it were taller and a bit wider -- and that it wasn't the same wood as the table and chairs. As is the theme of this post and my house: it works for now.


interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography
interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

I brought my own light fixture and my landlord kindly allowed me to install it, which made a big difference in the room. My dream would be to paint the walls really dark but I can't argue with the nice neutral that is very renter-friendly! After getting the window sizes and room heights in advance of moving, I bought the velvet curtains through a great vendor at the design firm I worked for in Birmingham.


I looooove my dining room rug and wish I had a better detail showing its depth and colors (I'll put one on social). And if you've read my last post, I can now prove that I practice what I preach! I bought that 8x10 rug over a year ago and left it rolled up until we moved here. I didn't have a place in mind for it when I bought it (nor did I know we would be moving to a rental house in Oklahoma) but knew the colors and style would work for me in the future.

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

My sweet little fiddle leaf desperately needs to grow to give this room some much-needed height. Patience is key!

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography
interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

Kitchen


Usually, rental kitchens are nothing to write home about. In my case, our landlord had just renovated the house and did a great job giving the kitchen some personality. I love the two-tone cabinets and the floor detail! She let me know that everything she bought for the renovation came from Lowe's.


The little painting above the window is featured in my first Friday Favorites blog. I have a few cake stands stored on top of the cabinets and what you can't see is that all of my cheeseboards are stacked up there too.


I would love to change out the hardware eventually but I don't think the expense would be worth it for a temporary spot. Plus, I like my kitchen the way it is now and would rather focus attention elsewhere.

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography
interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

Main Bedroom


Before we get to the main bedroom, please read this statement from the bottom of my heart: I know that this room should not have a king-sized bed in it from a design and function standpoint. BUT I knew it would fit a king (via the house plans) and splurged on the bed while I was able to get it at wholesale cost through the design firm I worked at in Birmingham.


So, as you're perusing, please note that I am aware this room is all bed but I live in blissful ignorance of it as I enjoy my king bed each night (and forevermore).

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

If you happen to be reading and not just looking at photos, I'll disclose some fun facts: If you look very closely at the bottom left side of the dresser, you can see where my dog chewed it up during an anxiety attack. My lamp shades are also two different colors because one was bleached by the sun in the living room of my first apartment while the other was tucked away in my window-less bedroom for two years. These flaws are on the very bottom of a home checklist I'm slowly working through. For now, they add some character!


Back to the design: I also purchased this 8x10 rug in advance without knowing where it would be used. It is 100% polypropylene, which is a "performance" material that is easy to clean and pet-friendly. Normally, rugs of this material look super cheap but this one has a nice design on it that detracts from how thin it is.

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

The black dresser and beside chests (I have two but could only fit one in this room) are pieces my parents bought for my high school bedroom! They lived in a storage unit while I was in college and were amazing pieces to have when I moved into my first apartment. They've been through the wringer and have their fair share of scratches, stains and imperfections but I love them regardless.


This mirror was also purchased in advance through my design firm. It was my favorite mirror to stage with and I decided it would be a worthy splurge.

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

I keep some of my favorite trinkets in this glass display case from an Anthropologie sale. The shagreen tray is actually from Amazon and the matchstick holder details are on this Friday Favorites post.

interior design, antiques, thrifting, house reveal, home tour, gallery hallway, contemporarie, caroline mccroskey, caroline harding, tulsa oklahoma, rental house, rental style, sarah baker photography

Very few, if any, of these images are making their way to Pinterest. The goal is for you to follow along as I build up to my dream home over time! I love my little house and the way it is coming along. The home building and interior design process is going to take a long time and will require a lot of strategic saving, thrifting and antiquing. I'm here to take you on the journey with me and inspire your home-building process along the way.


Thanks for reading!


XO,

Caroline