The offbeat occupant: Rhiannon, Student/House-girlfriend
Other occupants: My boyfriend, Greg
Approximate square footage: 650-1000 sq. feet
How many bedrooms? 2
Lives in: Kansas City, KS
When did you move into this home? 4 years
Let’s start with the neighborhood. What’s it like where you live? Our trailer park is along a half-mile stretch containing four other small parks. Surrounding us are truck depots and one of the largest rail yards in the country. It feels tucked away and quiet, but we are less than 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City. Our street is a dead end with only 12 trailers that typically house middle-aged or older people with no kids. It has big trees and decent sized yards.
What makes your home offbeat? I like to think my house looks like someone in the late 1960s was in the middle of updating. Add to that my collection of toys, knick-knacks, and second-hand furniture, and you get my version of paradise.
What’s the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? There are two big challenges here. One, storage. We only have two small closets. Everything is kind of exposed, so I had to find ways to hide everything in plain sight. I also had to learn to rid myself of unused possessions (which is easier for me than my boyfriend).
Two, we are only going to be able to sell it for about $4,500, so I can’t put money into anything. I had to find cheap ways to fix problems, like decoupaging over a hole in the paneling or buying Habitat Re-Store flooring for the hall and kitchen.
What’s your favorite feature of your home? My kitchen! When I moved in, my boyfriend had no fronts on the cabinets because they were stained from the previous owner. I pulled them out of the shed and painted them with bright aqua paint and wall papered the insides. It is just so cheery, and I did it all myself.
I am also most happy when I cook, so everyone has always given me kooky kitchen supplies. I have wanted Fiestaware since I was 12 years old, and thankfully there’s Kohls. My mom and I have used her Kohls cash, sales, and the random percents-off they give their cardholders to get myself an eight-piece setting for only $120! I think any drab kitchen could be transformed with Fiesta.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have the things you want. Almost everything here is a hand-me-down, bought on sale, DIY, or from a thrift store. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It adds a lot of personality.
What’s your grandest plan for the space? This summer I got rid of the rarely used bed in our second room and made it my craft room/library. My next plan was to fix some of the paneling in there and paint. I bought some “oops paint” at Lowes and even started to decoupage one wall with flowers and garden scenes. That’s when my boyfriend decided to apply for a home loan and got approved. I was one project away from having everything the way I want it. Now I get to start all over in our new house.
What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? You do you! If you want a rainbow house, DO IT! When looking online, everything said to make sure to go with the 60/30/10 rule with colors. I say screw it.
Also screw what you think people think about where you live. It used to take me a long time to tell people I lived in a trailer park just because of the stigma. But my friends in apartments don’t have yards, they can’t paint, and they hear everything their neighbor does. I love this trailer and will always remember it as the place where my boyfriend and I fell in love and figured out how to be functioning adults.
Any stuff or services you want to recommend?
- In Kansas City, you can’t beat Brass Armadillo for antiques. It is my favorite place to spend a Saturday. It is GIANT! I have spent over five hours in there before and didn’t look through everything.
- I also love estate sales. Everything is usually inexpensive, and you find real oddities. My Haagen Dazs mirror was an estate sale find for only $10.