Margaret Mustalish lives in a 500-square-foot condominium on the Higher West Aspect together with her two daughters and a grumpy orange cat. After transferring in a couple of years in the past, Margaret joined her native Purchase Nothing group on Fb. “It’s a group of neighbors who give issues to one another without spending a dime,” she says. “My entire place is mainly a ‘purchase nothing’ condominium!” Right here, she exhibits us round…
On constructing group: I really like my native Purchase Nothing group. There’s no cash exchanged, no expectation of commerce. The attractive factor is that you just’re seeing the very best in your neighbors. And whenever you witness that form of generosity, it compels you to do the identical, so the kindness compounds. Nearly every part right here got here from that group: the sunshine fixtures, paintings, the cell in my women’ room, their large teddy bear.
Tray: Purchase Nothing group. Sheepskin throw: Amazon.
On avenue smarts: I’ve gotten quite a lot of items proper off the road. Individuals in my Purchase Nothing group will typically put up ‘curb alerts,’ once they see one thing cool that’s been put out on the sidewalk. I additionally comply with two street-find accounts on Instagram: @stoopingNYC and @scoopthestoopnyc. They blew up when COVID first hit and everybody was transferring out of the town. You do should scent and examine issues earlier than bringing them residence (and a few stuff I’d by no means do — no rugs or mattresses). However, actually, most issues are in good situation. You possibly can inform when any person needs another person to take it residence.
On a household of readers: We’re a HUGE e book household. We’re all the time studying, and we have now 4 bookcases. The ladies want hands-on, bodily copies, however I save area through the use of a Kindle. I really like thrillers, like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Little one and Rebecca Cantrell’s Joe Tesla collection.
On a room inside a room: My women love portray, so I wished to create area only for that. I already had this little desk and chairs once we moved right here, after which cobbled collectively every part else. I discovered the shelf on the road and bought quite a lot of provides from my Purchase Nothing group. It’s a small area, however they use it each single day.
On a strategic couch: It’s an Ikea sofa, however I bought customized slipcovers, as a result of I knew my youngsters would trash it. So, now I can actually wash my sofa each time I have to. It’s superior. The ladies can pull off the pillows and use it as a bouncy home.
On a worth-it splurge: I discovered this wallpaper on-line at Goal — it’s peel-and-stick. This area is the very first thing you see whenever you stroll within the door, so I wished to make it really feel particular and blissful.
Play kitchen: avenue. Cabinets: Purchase Nothing group.
On cooking collectively: This play kitchen was one other nice freebie. I didn’t cook dinner a lot earlier than my women had been born, so I’m nonetheless studying, and most of what I do know is normal little one fare: breaded fish, spaghetti and meatballs. We additionally bake collectively. LOTS of cookies.
Rug: Ruggable. Deer and body: Purchase Nothing group.
On joyful cabinets: One among my favourite suggestions is to ‘merchandize’ your closets. I’ll arrange cabinets to characteristic issues that can make me smile after I open the door: fairly reusable baggage, certainly one of my daughter’s stuffies — we even cling a few of their favourite work within the closet. Above the cupboards, it was trying so naked and empty. So, I did the identical factor. The birdcage belonged to certainly one of my neighbor’s grandmothers. It’s fairly outdated however so charming.
On a fast improve: One of the simplest ways to enhance the vibe of a room is to vary the ceiling gentle fixture. It has the largest impression. Somebody in my Purchase Nothing group posted a curb alert with a photograph of a chandelier, and I instantly went to search out it. It was filthy, however I cleaned and rewired it. So long as you understand the place the ability containers are, you possibly can learn to rewire a fixture. You possibly can study something on the Web.
On a giant shock: It’s a dream mattress, proper? I wished to get the Pottery Barn model, but it surely was a fortune. This one is a knock-off from Dwelling Depot and fewer than half the value. And it’s fantastic! I assembled it when the women had been away with their dad for every week, after which it was a giant shock once they got here again. They’re all the time nonetheless looking for a means into mother’s mattress, however they like it.
Fox pillow: Goal, comparable. Bedding, lamp and inexperienced chair: Purchase Nothing group. Dresser: Fb Market.
On making it particular: The entire intent with this condominium was to create some magic for my kids. Paint can get actually costly, so I requested my Purchase Nothing group if anybody had leftover paint mendacity round — I wound up with over 10 cans! And the provides! I’d by no means completed a wall mural earlier than, however I believed, okay, let’s give it a shot. I did a pair arches, which progressed into some bushes, which advanced into some mushrooms — and I bought carried away.
On the coziest nook: Somebody from the Purchase Nothing group gave me the felt and stuffing I used to make this flooring cushion for the women’ studying nook. It was my first stitching challenge, however I simply seemed up some tutorials on-line and went for it. Fairly actually it’s so crooked. Nevertheless it works!
White rug: Ikea.
On the cow leaping over the moon: I really did that small portray from Goodnight Moon that’s hanging on the wall. I used to be experiencing postpartum despair, and I wished to have an outlet to deal with what I cherished about motherhood. So, I painted that for my women. It helped get me by way of the despair — writing issues for them, portray issues for them.
On a theme: This lavatory’s theme started with the cactus! My women and I had been out in the future and noticed it on the road. They completely insisted we take it residence: ‘We have to!’ I used to be like, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s over 5 toes tall. However we put it within the stroller and bought it residence.
On accent wallpaper: I cherished this yellow floral wallpaper, however I couldn’t afford to wallpaper a complete accent wall, so I simply bought one huge piece and framed it with paneling I bought on Amazon. It’s certainly one of my favourite residence tasks.
Mattress: Vintage (through Apt Deco). Bedding: Purchase Nothing group. Artwork above mattress: thrifted.
On sidewalk treasure: I discovered this stunning display screen on the road. I had no concept what I used to be going to do with it, and it weighed like 50 kilos, however in some way I managed to tug it residence. Then it magically match on this area beside my mattress. It makes the entire room glow.
Dresser: avenue. Cupboard: Fb Market. Armchair: avenue.
On a favourite discover: One of many coolest issues I bought from the Purchase Nothing group is that this Kartell lamp, which normally run for about $500. The bottom was damaged, however I believed, ‘Hmm, I’m fairly good at fixing issues.’ I mainly MacGyver’d it: I bought the bottom again collectively utilizing wire and sizzling glue. I didn’t know if it could work, however I figured they had been going to throw it out anyway, so why not strive?
On rediscovering downtime: I’ve needed to keep in mind and re-learn all of the issues I appreciated doing, as a result of when my youngsters had been youthful, I form of forgot all about me! When I’ve time to myself now, I spend time outside. I’ll go for a run or spend half an hour in our neighborhood tulip backyard. And I’ve to do one thing inventive every single day: portray, photographs, any small challenge.
On slightly escape: Whereas I wished the women’ lavatory to be enjoyable and stimulating, I craved a extra tranquil escape. Nature is a large affect for me — birds, flowers, bushes. So, this wallpaper known as to me. Once I put it up, I spotted the birds resembled those on the display screen in my bed room, in order that they form of coordinated. I believe that’s how a house comes collectively. In case you hold gathering issues that you just’re drawn to, they’re find yourself complementing every part else in your house.
On discovering your means residence: This condominium was initially a sublet I stumbled upon after I was newly separated, alone for the primary time, with two toddlers. Very daunting circumstances. I used to be so fortunate to search out this place and finally be capable of tackle the lease. I wished to create a particular haven for myself and the women. They encourage a lot creativity in me, every single day, and now I’ve that freedom to create a house that makes us all blissful. I get emotional speaking about it, as a result of it’s been a extremely arduous journey, being alone, going by way of a contested divorce. That is residence, lastly. This was a recent begin for us — and it exhibits.
Thanks a lot, Margaret!
(Pictures by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)
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