Marcelline Balfour lives in a 500-square-foot condo on the Higher West Facet along with her two daughters and a grumpy orange cat. After transferring in a number of years in the past, Marcelline joined her native Purchase Nothing group on Fb. “It’s a neighborhood of neighbors who give issues to one another free of charge,” she says. “My entire place is mainly a ‘purchase nothing’ condo!” Right here, she exhibits us round…
On constructing neighborhood: I like my native Purchase Nothing group. There’s no cash exchanged, no expectation of commerce. The gorgeous factor is that you simply’re seeing one of the best in your neighbors. And once you witness that form of generosity, it compels you to do the identical, so the kindness compounds. Nearly the whole lot right here got here from that group: the sunshine fixtures, paintings, the cellular in my ladies’ room, their big teddy bear.
Tray: Purchase Nothing group. Sheepskin throw: WaySoft.
On road smarts: I’ve gotten lots of items proper off the road. Folks in my Purchase Nothing group will usually put up ‘curb alerts,’ after 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 town. You do need to odor 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 may inform when anyone needs another person to take it residence.
On a household of readers: We’re a HUGE ebook household. We’re all the time studying, and now we have 4 bookcases. The ladies want hands-on, bodily copies, however I save house through the use of a Kindle. I like thrillers, like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Baby and Rebecca Cantrell’s Joe Tesla collection.
Shelf and artwork provides: Purchase Nothing group.
On a room inside a room: My ladies love portray, so I wished to create house only for that. I already had this little desk and chairs once we moved right here, after which cobbled collectively the whole lot else. I discovered the shelf on the road and obtained lots of provides from my Purchase Nothing group. It’s a small house, however they use it each single day.
On a strategic couch: It’s an Ikea sofa, however I obtained customized slipcovers, as a result of I knew my youngsters would trash it. So, now I can actually wash my sofa at any time when I must. 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 house is the very first thing you see once you stroll within the door, so I wished to make it really feel particular and glad.
Play kitchen: road discover. 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 ladies 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.
Chandelier, birdcage, deer and body: Purchase Nothing group. Rug: Ruggable.
On joyful cabinets: One in all my favourite ideas is to ‘merchandize’ your closets. I’ll arrange cabinets to function issues that may make me smile after I open the door: fairly reusable luggage, one in all my daughter’s stuffies — we even dangle a few of their favourite work within the closet. Above the cupboards, it was wanting so naked and empty. So, I did the identical factor. The birdcage belonged to one in all my neighbor’s grandmothers. It’s fairly previous however so charming.
On a fast improve: One of the best ways to enhance the vibe of a room is to alter the ceiling gentle fixture. It has the most important affect. Somebody in my Purchase Nothing group posted a curb alert with a photograph of a chandelier, and I instantly went to seek out it. It was filthy, however I cleaned and rewired it. So long as the place the ability containers are, you’ll be able to learn to rewire a fixture. You may 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 Residence Depot and fewer than half the worth. I assembled it when the women had been away with their dad for every week, after which it was a giant shock after they got here again. They’re all the time nonetheless looking for a manner into mother’s mattress, however they find it irresistible.
Bedding, paint, lamp and inexperienced chair: Purchase Nothing group. Dresser: Fb Market. Fox pillow: Goal, comparable.
On making it particular: The entire intent with this condo was to create some magic for my kids. Paint can get very 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 finished 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 developed into some mushrooms — and I obtained carried away.
Felt and stuffing for flooring cushion: Purchase Nothing group.
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 mission, however I simply seemed up some tutorials on-line and went for it. Fairly truthfully it’s so crooked. But it surely 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 melancholy, and I wished to have an outlet to deal with what I liked about motherhood. So, I painted that for my ladies. It helped get me by the melancholy — writing issues for them, portray issues for them.
On a theme: This rest room’s theme started with the cactus! My ladies and I had been out someday 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 ft tall. However we put it within the stroller and obtained it residence.
On accent wallpaper: I liked this yellow floral wallpaper, however I couldn’t afford to wallpaper a whole accent wall, so I simply obtained one huge piece and framed it with paneling I obtained on Amazon. It’s one in all my favourite residence tasks.
Mattress: vintage (by way of Apt Deco). Display: road discover. 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 by some means I managed to pull it residence. Then it magically match on this house beside my mattress. It makes the entire room glow.
Dresser and armchair: road finds. Lamp: Purchase Nothing group. Cupboard: Fb Market.
On a favourite discover: One of many coolest issues I obtained 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 obtained the bottom again collectively utilizing wire and sizzling glue. I didn’t know if it will work, however I figured they had been going to throw it out anyway, so why not attempt?
On rediscovering downtime: I’ve needed to keep in mind and re-learn all of the issues I favored 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 outdoor. I’ll go for a run or spend half an hour in our neighborhood tulip backyard. And I’ve to do one thing inventive on daily basis: portray, pictures, any small mission.
On slightly escape: Whereas I wished the women’ rest room to be enjoyable and stimulating, I craved a extra tranquil escape. Nature is a big affect for me — birds, flowers, bushes. So, this wallpaper known as to me. Once I put it up, I noticed the birds resembled those on the display screen in my bed room, in order that they form of coordinated. For those who maintain accumulating issues that you simply’re drawn to, I believe the house simply comes collectively.
On discovering your manner residence: This condo was initially a sublet I stumbled upon after I was newly separated, by myself for the primary time, with two toddlers. Very daunting circumstances. I used to be so fortunate to seek out this place and finally be capable to tackle the lease. I wished to create a particular haven for myself and the women. They encourage a lot creativity in me, on daily basis. I get emotional speaking about it, as a result of it’s been a extremely onerous journey, being by myself, going by a contested divorce. That is residence, lastly. This was a recent begin for us — and it exhibits.
Thanks a lot, Marcelline!
(Photographs by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)
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