The offbeat occupant: Carrie Anne, librarian
Other occupants: Husband Anthony, daughter Isobel, and cats Zorro, Poppy & Jupiter
Lives in: Modesto, California
Tells us all about your neighborhood: We live in the midst of typical middle-class, suburban tract homes.
What makes your home offbeat? Despite being a cookie-cutter home in a suburban neighborhood, we personalized it through vintage items found by thrifting or scouring our families' storage sheds and cast-offs. We incorporated our tastes with items we love and things that will last. At the same time we tried to keep things simple, clutter-free, and usable, so it's a home that not only looks good, but functions well.
First of all, I loved the big fire place in the living room, but it was a weird calico "natural" brick color: black (verging on navy), rust red, and beige. It was awful and we immediately painted the brick a deep brown. It took many coats of primer, and then many coats of color after that, but it was so worth it and transformed an eyesore into something we love.
Secondly, we've had our issues with the paint color choices of the previous owner. We still need to add color to the hallway, bedroom, and office, but before we moved in we had the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen totally repainted.
And last, our largest challenge has been the nasty, worn, original carpet from 1986. Our solution for the time-being? Avoid looking down.
What's your favorite feature of your home? I love the green walls in our living room. That's probably the first thing a prospective homebuyer would change, but I love them.
I really like the layout of the space, too, how the kitchen is connected to both the dining and the living room but not necessarily a part of it.
What's the most important lesson you've learned from this home? You really need to work with a space, not against it. I'm not a huge fan of the navy countertops in the kitchen, but I can make them look the best I can, which helps.
What's your grandest plan for the space? All new floors (except for the kitchen and dining rooms.) The carpet has to go, and I'd like to change out the chipped entry tile and worn, dented linoleum in the bathrooms and laundry room.
I also want to paint the ceiling beams in the living and master bedrooms. Deep brown—to match the fireplace.
What advice do you have for other Offbeat dwellers? Don't get discouraged by lack of funds or the interior sea of beige in tract homes. Paint color and thrift stores, two relatively inexpensive things, can transform a space into something personal and amazing.
Any stuff or services you want to recommend? Instead of getting prints custom framed, scour thrift stores for frames of less common dimensions. That alone will save you all kinds of money, look great, and help break up the monotony of suburban style.
Is your home amazing? Have you customized it to your needs? Are you living in a punk house or with an exotic pet or under unusual conditions? Round up your photos and submit your home to us.