Turning Drab Army Housing into Our Home: Blog Series Introduction

Home vs Residence

Home isn’t simply where you sleep or live–it’s the space in which you do your living, and as such it should reflect your personality and express your lifestyle.  It should be a place that makes YOU feel welcome and comfortable.  It should function in a way that makes your life just a tad bit easier.  In all, it should be YOURS and not “theirs” (aka the manager/owner).

The Renter’s Dilemma

Because every rental comes with its own special set of rules, renters often feel that they must live with those white, off-white, or other bland colored walls.  Though we are allowed to paint our space, I am going to try my best to avoid it simply because I don’t want the hassle of repainting them when we leave in 3-4 years (which is inevitable in the Army).  We are however, allowed to mount pictures and shelves with no repercussions or special repairs before we move out.

In this blog series–which I will complete over the next year–I will share the process of making any drab rental into your home.

Drafting Ideas

I have several ideas brewing already and can’t wait to share all of the finished projects and rooms with you.

Here are some of my plans for our new space.

The Entry Nook

After entering the house, there is a longish hallway with an opening to the immediate left that leads to the sitting room/dining area followed by a strange alcove that sort of looks like it could be a closet, and then another opening to the left that leads into the kitchen.

I call this weird space the Entry Nook.  I want to use this space pragmatically, but make it stylish at the same time.  The idea is to have a dresser with four drawers (even though I drew it with three)–one for each family member.  Hats, scarves, gloves, umbrellas, purses–or whatever can be stored here. It is a dropping zone right now, and I hate it.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

2014-02-20 17.33.01


 The Dining Room

This is our dining room. In this picture it is pretty empty because I took it the week after we moved in (2.5 months before our furniture arrived).  This is still the basic plan, but we are planning on buying Ikea’s Ingatorp table and Ingolf chairs in white.

The door in the picture leads into the kitchen. The bookcase corner is positioned between the dining room and living room, but the hubby wants to put a large fish tank there. It is still under debate.

2014-02-19 17.36.18


Blank “Hallway”: AKA the Family Command Center

As I mentioned before, there are two openings to the left of the entry hall. This area is almost like a small hallway. There is a good sized blank wall and an otherwise useless space.  Here, I have a temporary “command” center.  I should have all of my supplies for this space in the next week or so.  This will probably be the topic of my second or third posting in this blog series.

2014-04-27 17.40.40


The Coffee Zone

We are coffee LOVERS in this house. As soon as I saw this kitchen, I knew exactly how this space would be used.  After a recent trip to Ikea, I now have pretty much everything I need for this space and will be posting about it soon.

To help make more sense of the layout of the house, I’ll tell you what is behind this wall: It’s the Entry Nook!  And behind the wall of the command center is the guest bath.

2014-02-20 17.49.45


I am very excited about the upcoming projects and hope you will enjoy this blog series.


15 thoughts on “Turning Drab Army Housing into Our Home: Blog Series Introduction”

  1. I think it’s great you’ve decided to share your ideas. It will be great to see the outcome! We’ve done lots of remodeling and I wish we had taken more photos.


    1. Thanks for stopping by! I am excited to read what you think of the finished rooms and projects! I love having before and after photos, which I didn’t do when we moved into our first home back in Colorado. It was only after I started this blog that I logged my progress in that house, with the exception of a few updates to Facebook.


  2. I adore how you presented the ideas with all your little sketches. I’m a visual person, so it helped me see your plan. Ps if I can vote, NO to the fish tank YES to the much more practical ( cleaning a fish tank is so not fun) shelves…


    1. Thanks for the vote! When we moved to Germany I bought the Samsung Galaxy Note and I love the feature pen feature. I used to draw the space, entirely by hand but it never quite looked right. I love being able to sketch directly on the image of the area I am planning out. I can erase and start over as many times as I need until I find something that works. I can hardly wait for you to see the finished product!


  3. I have this issue also. Our apartment came furnished, which was convenient when it was just my husband living here, but it doesn’t leave much room for me to add my own style. We don’t know how long we’ll be in this location (possibly moving to Lausanne in the new year) so I have to resist changing too much. Looking forward to seeing how your ideas turn out!


    1. Thanks. Since I don’t know what your husband has done so far (like wall decor and such), I’m just going to throw out a quick suggestion: Add your own style even if it is temporary. Add decorative pillows to the sofa or armchair; Put some pictures on the wall of the two of you, or a small gallery of your photography from places that you have visited together; If your stuff is in boxes–take your most valued mementos and showcase them somewhere in the apartment. Not that you asked for my advice, but there it is 😉


      1. Thanks Angelique! I did manage to slowly bring over some of our accent pillows, photo frames and bedding, so it sort of feels like home. Your suggestion about the photographs of places we’ve visited together is perfect. Thanks for the help! 🙂


  4. Sounds like we kind of have similar goals for our houses and blog series. I can’t wait to see your finished spaces and follow your progress! I’m so jealous of how easy it is for you to just run to Ikea…the closest one to me is over 2 hours away, and I have yet to go 😦 I may have Craigslist, but you have Ikea.


    1. Touche Candy! Our Ikea is an hour away, but it’s in Nuremberg, so I certainly won’t complain–Love that city! I used to buy stuff from craigslist and refurbish/upcyle it that’s why I was missing it when I read your post. It’s my favorite hobby! So, I did a little Google search this morning for Flea Markets in Germany and was amazed at how many there are and at how huge they are! Most of the large ones are at least an hour away, but I’m going to try to see as many as possible.


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