Working out in an apartment is tricky. While some complexes have shared fitness centers, you may not always want to leave the house to do your fitness routine. And on the other hand, trying to have some form of a gym inside your apartment is difficult and limiting when you’re renting. However, there are still plenty of home gym decor ideas that will make your workout space both beautiful and functional — even in an apartment.
Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your home gym decor.
1. Dual-function loft
Photo source: Fitness Design Group
When you’ve got only one large space to work with rather than separate rooms, you may not want to dedicate it only to either a sitting room or a gym. Here, Fitness Design Group made sure there could be both by making a distinct separation between the function of each area.
2. Spin office
Photo source: Love to Know
There’s no need to choose between having a home gym or an office — put them in the same space! You can even create a small separation between the two like Love to Know shares — placing a mat underneath your office area and a separate one for your workout area divides the room based on function.
3. Work(out) from home
Due to the recent pandemic, many people are working (and working out) from home. Working from home brings its own set of challenges, but avoiding the gym doesn’t need to become a hassle. A little side gym, connected to a home office, creates a seamless transition from work to workout at any point in the day, making your home office a functional place before, during and after work.
4. Bright and airy home gym
Photo source: On Design Interiors
No matter the location or size of your home gym, there’s no reason for it to feel dark and dingy. These bright floors and light walls, brought to life by On Design Interiors, make this small space feel large and spacious. Not to mention how simple and chic the design is — it’s not over-the-top and creates a calming environment for exercising after a long, stressful day.
5. Mirrored weight room
This simple, yet effective, basement setup shows just what you can do in a small space. This weight room isn’t very big, but a full wall of mirrors gives the illusion that it’s double the size. Even if you’re in a studio apartment, simply adding a large mirror on the wall near where you practice yoga or do a small-space workout routine will help it feel bigger.
6. Home office with modern wall designs
Gyms don’t need to look boring, especially if it’s part of the place where you live. And it doesn’t take a lot to make your home gym look modern and appealing! Simple wall tiles or decals can quickly upgrade your gym without compromising its functionality. Even in a rental like an apartment, you can use peel-and-stick tiles and wall decor that can easily be removed without damaging the walls.
7. Jungle gym
Photo source: Devon Grace Interiors
Adults aren’t the only ones that need to get their exercise in! Kids living in an apartment may feel a little limited at times without a full private yard to play in, so Devon Grace Interiors added a place for the kids to get their energy out.
The light-colored wood of the jungle gym doesn’t draw too much attention and keeps things muted, while still being a fun place for kids to play.
8. Sleek modern luxury home gym
Making your home gym feel luxurious and modern is a simple matter of color and lighting. Adding a couple of backlit mirrors and incorporating metallics are what the Infinity Design Studio recommends.
9. Traditional CrossFit
Photo source: DNLUD
This home gym by DNLUD is about as close as you can get to a typical CrossFit gym. For some, feeling like they’re at a gym rather than at home helps them get their minds into their workout. The mirrors are black gym mat flooring really gives it an out-of-home feeling.
10. Modern rustic home gym
Photo source: Gambrick
Gambrick didn’t want to detract too much from the natural landscape and kept this in mind when they designed this gym for a modern rustic cabin-stile home in the mountains of Colorado. The deep oranges give just enough color while maintaining the integrity of the outdoors—no matter where you live, your apartment doesn’t have to feel separated from its surroundings.
11. DIY basement upgrade
There are easy ways that anyone can upgrade their basement into a functioning gym. A little peel-and-stick wallpaper, mirrors and foam puzzle flooring turned a dark basement into a bright little workout space that can easily be removed if needed.
12. Spare bedroom fitness renovation
An extra bedroom is already a luxury that not everyone has and instead of turning it into a seldom-used guest room, put it to better use. Light flooring and white walls with natural wood hanging hooks to keep equipment off the floor keep this room looking chic and clean—great for when you’re in a small apartment with not much room to spare.
13. Disguised cycle home gym
You may only need one piece of equipment to get a full-body workout in. A stationary bike is perfect for requiring only a small corner—and that corner might be right in your kitchen! One Instagrammer disguised her bike in her kitchen area by placing a pretty painting and plants around it to blend it into the area.
14. Space-saving yoga grid
When you don’t have room for a full yoga studio, a wall might be all you have. Higashi Fushimi recommends that it’s time to make your storage grid look good—like it’s an intentional part of your apartment’s design, with blended metal rods that both look good and function like any other storage.
15. Vertical storage in your home gym
Choosing equipment and storage racks that work vertically rather than horizontally can keep your gym equipment from taking up too much space in your apartment. Lela of Organized-ish utilizes pegboards for small equipment storage and choose a multi-function vertical workout setup that only takes up a few feet of space in the corner.
16. Aesthetically-pleasing home gym equipment
No need for your gym equipment existing as an eyesore. In fact, it is a beautiful addition to the main area of your apartment. See how Sunny Circle Studio chose wooden multi-use wall bars to provide function and design for a high-end vibe.
17. Upgraded garage
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a garage, you can turn it into a chic and stylish workout room. Celebrity trainer Erin Oprea has even done it herself — add some peel-and-stick wallpaper and affordable vinyl flooring that mimics wood, and you’ve pretty much given yourself a whole new space!
18. Dual-function, hidden equipment home gym
A coffee table that converts into a bench press, a lamp that doubles as a dumbbell and even a foam roller vase that looks and works both like exercise equipment and living room items. Swedish storage company 24Storage invented pieces of workout equipment that aren’t stored in the traditional manner — they’re functioning pieces of your living room! See what fits best in your living room.
19. Balcony home gym
Get some fresh air by exercising on your balcony. Put your bike, treadmill or other machines outside so it doesn’t take up your indoor space. See how Merrick’s Art did with their balcony.
20. Home yoga studio
Turn any open floor space into a yoga area. Keep storage baskets, like Manduka suggests, for your mat and other equipment nearby so when it’s not in use, you can keep your items out of the way.
21. Funky and fun home gym
Don’t just hide your home gym — turn it into the main attraction! Decorilla emphasizes that having fun patterns and colors can both give you energy and help you relax — which is what your workout space should do.
22. Black on black home gym
Having an all-black gym may not feel as light and airy as one with brighter colors, but it can change your mood when you workout. It may help you get more serious, which is beneficial when you’re doing a heavyweight routine or really want to push your limits — which is why Vogue highlights it in a luxury spread.
23. Walking desk as a home gym
Make your work time (and space) the same as your workout! MyMove shows that a treadmill or stationary bike that allows you to use your computer at the same time will save you both time and space as a home workout alternative.
24. Bright home gym yoga space
Use bright colors and neutrals for a calming yoga session. Stick with natural tones and materials, as LDA Architecture & Interiors recommends, and you’ll be feeling calm and serene every time you practice.
25. Neon home gym
Give your workout space an edge with neon lighting. You can either do it all around the room and frame certain pieces, such as mirrors, with neon lights. Or you can add a motivational quote in the form of a neon sign to keep yourself going!
Functional and tasteful
Your home gym doesn’t have to look run-down or ugly. And you don’t need to get rid of it altogether, either! Using these home gym decor ideas, you can create a space that’s both beautiful and functional.
Morgen Henderson is a writer who grew up in Utah. She lived in the Dominican Republic for a year and a half, where she was involved in humanitarian service. Some of Morgen’s work has appeared in State of Digital, The Next Scoop and TechPatio. In her free time, she loves to travel, bake, master DIY projects and improve her Spanish skills.
With summer comes backyard barbecues, friend hangouts and enjoying the warm weather after a long time inside. Sure, you can hire a landscaping designer to turn your yard into an oasis, but it’s easier than you think to do it on your own with these helpful backyard oasis ideas.
Transform your backyard into a place that you go to unwind and relax after a long day at work with these 16 backyard oasis ideas.
1. Add a hammock for lounging
What’s the best part of a vacation? It’s often getting to lay down on a hammock and read your latest book or take a nap during your time off. Well, bring this to your backyard to enjoy every day.
You can tie up the hammock to trees or get a free-standing one. Make sure you place it in the shade for a cooler nap and place a mosquito candle nearby.
2. Build a sitting area around a fire pit
Summer is synonymous with backyard fires, cool evenings and, of course, s’mores. Create a nice sitting area with a few outdoor chairs and side tables. Then place a fire pit in the middle — an in-ground fire pit or a free-standing wood one. You can also build one yourself.
Since you’ll get a lot of use out of a fire pit, this backyard oasis idea will become a fixture for your outdoor experience. Just make sure you stock up on marshmallows!
3. Take a dip in a stock tank pool
Stock tank pools have become a popular choice for those without the option of having an in-ground pool. In fact, stock tanks are one of the most popular backyard oasis ideas. You can even build a small deck around them if you need a few steps to reach the top.
During your hot days of summer, you’ll be glad you have this opportunity to cool off.
4. Setup for a backyard movie night
Popcorn, lots of picnic blankets and friends — one favorite backyard oasis idea is watching a movie in the backyard. Movie nights like this are what summers are perfect for.
You can use a white sheet or inflatable screen plus a small projector to show your favorite summer flick. The best part is that you can take it down once you’re done or leave it up for a weekly movie showing with your family.
5. Fire up an outdoor kitchen
Add a grill and a pizza oven to your outdoor kitchen set up for zero clean-up inside and all of the fun outside. You can have one built or you can create a setup on your own with a few carts. A nice outdoor kitchen will encourage you to spend more time outside too and having dinner while enjoying your backyard oasis.
6. String up bistro lights to create ambiance
Sure, large motion lights could provide light on your backyard as it gets dark. But bistro lights do that plus add to the ambiance. Bistro lights are easy to set up — you can add them to a trellis, use poles across your yard to hang them or attach them to your house.
For extra savings, pick up a string of lights that’s solar-powered and goes on instantly at dusk. Or add a smart switch so you can control them from your phone.
7. Swing from your favorite tree
If you have a large oak tree providing shade in your backyard, it is the perfect fit for a backyard swing. First, confirm that the tree is healthy enough for a swing with your arborist. Then you can add a swing, hammock chair or a weaved chair to the tallest branch and spend the afternoon enjoying it. This is a backyard oasis idea you’ll relish time and time again.
8. Get a hot tub
Hot tubs have a reputation for being expensive and highly cumbersome to set up. But like everything else on the market, more options come with time. While you can still get the classic hot tub set up, you can also get a blow-up (yes, you heard it right) hot tub that looks just as fancy.
For example, there are brands that offer portable hot tubs that are easy to carry and set up. They are also more affordable if you don’t want to commit to a more significant purchase.
9. Drink up at a tiki bar
If you host a lot of get-togethers with your friends, adding a backyard bar might make things a lot more seamless. Your friends can play bartender during the party without getting things dirty inside your house.
While the most popular theme for outdoor bars is tiki, you can definitely pick whatever style you choose. Have a backyard housewarming and tell your friends to stock the bar once you finish it.
10. Create a family-friendly game area
Add games that the whole family can play instead to your list of backyard oasis ideas. Corn hole, a giant chess board or bocce are great additions to a family-friendly game area in your backyard. You can have a dedicated space for all the games or just take them out when needed.
11. Brighten up your concrete flooring
A concrete patio can quickly become a little drab. Luckily, these days there are many options to brighten up your concrete flooring. With your landlord’s permission, you can add tile to bring some color into the space. If that’s not in your budget, you can stencil the floor instead.
Creating a faux stencil pattern on the concrete brings a little more interest to the space. Depending on how complex your design is, this is an easy, weekend budget-friendly project. Here’s some inspiration.
12. Get an eye-catching fountain
With so many new meditation apps on the market, it’s hard to find an excuse to not take 10 minutes to yourself and take a moment to tune out the outside. While the app helps, creating a space for meditating outside will help you stick to this habit and enjoy it a little more.
Add an eye-catching fountain to your garden to create the oasis you are looking for. From large to small fountains, stores sell some that you can easily set up on your own. It will help you focus on your practice and create a relaxing vibe.
13. Grow a lush vegetable garden
One of the best backyard oasis ideas will help you cultivate a green thumb. Many think that a garden should only include shrubs and flowers. However, making your landscape into an edible garden can also look beautiful. Studies have shown that gardening is good for your mental health.
Add a few garden beds where the sun shines the most and surround it with a pollinator flower garden. Add a trellis or an arch for berries to climb and adorn the space. You won’t want to leave this spot as you’ll spend time tending to the garden and enjoying the fruits of your labor.
14. Bring in a gazebo or awning
Having a little shade in the middle of summer can make all the difference in how often you’re out in your backyard oasis. You can create some shade and have a special reading nook just for you. You can add a retractable awning to the side of your home for convenience during group parties.
Or place a little gazebo far into your backyard oasis with some flower landscaping to add a little magic to the space. Gazebos come in all different sizes and colors, so you can find one that fits your style.
15. Gather your friends together around at a dining table
If you have space, adding a long dining table, paired with colorful pillows and beautiful flower arrangements, can genuinely change the vibe of your backyard oasis.
Prepare a feast for your friends and invite them to lounge in your home. Exchange stories as you reach for food and add a little music via a Bluetooth speaker — all under some bistro lights.
16. Plant an herb wall for cooking
There’s nothing better than fresh herbs available for your meals at all times. An herb wall can help you add visual interest to a blank wall in your backyard and give you that freshness that your food needs. Think fresh basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley — some of the easiest herbs to grow in your backyard oasis.
All you need is a vertical planter, soil and the herbs of your choice. If you’d like to make it yourself, here’s a quick DIY for a wood one.
Create an oasis in your backyard
No matter the size of your backyard, it has the potential to create a space for relaxation and sharing with your family. You can add a few of these backyard oasis ideas on your own while staying true to your budget. Adding a little magic to your yard is easier than you think.
Muriel Vega is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about technology and its intersection with arts and culture. She’s worked on content for startups like Mailchimp, Patreon, Punchlist, Skillshare, Rent. and others. Muriel has also contributed to The Washington Post, Eater, DWELL, Outside Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, AIGA Eye on Design, Bitter Southerner and more.
Thornburg Mortgage said today that it paid more than $300 million in margin calls since mid-February as a result of quickly deteriorating mortgage-backed securities, and could face more as conditions worsen.
Below is an excerpt from their 10-K filing which explains the series of events that took place and led to the margin calls:
“Beginning on February 14, 2008, there was once again a sudden adverse change in mortgage market conditions in general and more specifically in the valuations of mortgage securities backed by Alt-A mortgage loan collateral.”
“As of February 15, 2008, our Purchased ARM Assets included approximately $2.9 billion of super senior, credit-enhanced mortgage securities, all of which are AAA-rated and backed by Alt-A mortgage collateral. Our current credit assessment of these mortgage securities in our portfolio suggests a low possibility of future downgrades and even less risk of actual losses. We have not realized any losses on these mortgage securities to date. However, we have observed deterioration in the liquidity for these securities and increased difficulty in obtaining market prices.”
“Accordingly, market valuations of these securities have decreased between 10 and 15 percent since January 31, 2008, and as a result, we have been subject to margin calls on this collateral. Since February 14, 2008, we have met margin calls in excess of $300 million on our Reverse Repurchase Agreements, the substantial majority of which is related to the decline in valuations placed on these securities.”
“However, in the short term, the sudden decline in the valuation of these securities has left us with reduced readily available liquidity to meet future margin calls, relative to our cash and unpledged securities position of December 31, 2007. In the event that we cannot meet future margin calls from our available cash position, we might need to selectively sell assets in order to raise cash. To date, no such sales have been required to meet margin calls. However, there is no assurance that the value of our mortgage portfolio and derivatives portfolio will not decline further, that we will not experience a further decline in our book value, that lenders will not make additional margin calls or that we will be able to satisfy additional margin calls, if any.”
“Additionally, while we have successfully maintained our financing lines, increasing those lines has become more difficult since February 14, 2008. Given the current uncertainty regarding these market conditions, we are unable to offer any additional factual information on the situation and how it will impact us other than to disclose what we are currently seeing in the mortgage market.”
Thornburg also noted that the secondary market remains volatile, and mortgage-backed securities trading is still very challenging and limited.
As a result, the value of said securities could decline further and lead to additional margin calls and asset sales to meet them.
The Santa Fe, New Mexico-based mortgage lender specializes in jumbo adjustable-rate mortgages generally for the very wealthy.
Shares of Thornburg fell a whopping $1.96, or 16.98%, to $9.58 in afternoon trading on Wall Street.
Update: Marketwatch reported that a Valentine’s Day disclosure from UBS revealing that it had $26.6 billion in Alt-A exposure led to the price deterioration and subsequent margin calls.
Mortgage fraud prevention company Rapid Reporting said today in a press release that the usage of its income verification product increased by 157 percent between January 2007 and last month as the industry continues to tighten its grip on loose lending practices.
The company noted that the surge in usage comes at a time when loan origination is down, indicating that both mortgage lenders and investors are stepping up efforts to reduce mortgage fraud and make higher quality loans.
“Our clients are using IncomeChek with much higher frequency–we’re definitely seeing higher per-client usage,” states Jay Meadows, CEO for Rapid Reporting. “Some of our clients, including most of our large lenders, have increased their use of IncomeChek almost two-fold.
“It’s not only lenders that are using income verification these days,” added Meadows. “Wall Street, secondary market investors and servicers are looking for explicit reassurance of loan quality as well.”
The IncomeChek program can pull income data directly from the IRS in as little as 24 hours, and for stated income loans it can confirm that tax filings are reported by a self employed individual and provide the social security number of the tax preparer.
Meadows noted that over 60 percent of mortgage fraud involves income or identity misrepresentation, and that law enforcement is becoming progressively more reluctant to take action if lenders fail to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from fraud.
The FBI doesn’t seem interested in borrower fraud where applicants intend to actually pay the loan, as they’re more focused on fraud for profit schemes that they feel have a more adverse effect on the economy.
“Whether dealing with full doc or stated doc loans, lenders, investors and servicers have realized that it’s simply too risky to rely solely on income information provided by anyone other than a neutral third party.”
Austin is an ever-growing, popular city that attracts renters from all over the country. These are the best apartments in Austin offering renters a place to suit their needs — whether you are looking for access to nature, city suites or anything in between.
Check out the best apartments in Austin from our handy list below.
Photo source: Agave Falls Apartments / Rent.
Quaint exteriors and colorful interiors typify the Agave Falls Apartments. The one- and two-bedroom units have an optional decorative backsplash and under-market rents in East Austin. The community has two pools, high-speed internet access and a playground. Oh, and of course, there is a pet park, too.
Agave Falls even helps residents with their finances thanks to their innovative credit-building program.
Photo source: Oak Crest / Rent.
Oak Crest offers a unique alternative to classic apartment living. The three- and four-bedroom detached units each have their own yards, no shared walls and private decks and patios.
The community includes luxurious landscaping, extra storage and a washer and dryer in every unit. Pets and children can play thanks to the yard space, playground and swimming pool.
Photo source: Creekside on Parmer Lane / Rent.
Creekside on Parmer Lane has one-, two- and three-bedroom units in far Northeast Austin. The brand new, resort-inspired community has electric vehicle charging stations, curtained cabanas, USB port wall outlets and washers and dryers in every unit.
Additionally, amenities include kitchen islands/bars, a fire pit conversation area, a climate-controlled pet spa and quartz countertops.
Photo source: Avanti Hills / Rent.
In the gorgeous and hilly Bee Cave community, Avanti Hills has one- and two-bedroom floorplans stacked with amenities. Like most Austin complexes, the apartment includes two pools, a Zen garden, a billiards table and business and conference centers.
With each unit, residents benefit from a private parking garage, ceiling fans in each room, island kitchens and granite countertops.
Photo source: Bridge at Asher / Rent.
The Bridge at Asher has one-, two- and three-bedroom units with vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, oversized closets and garden tubs. Units include a carport and access to a pet park, fitness center, business center and swimming pool.
Residents can also take in hill country views from their large patios or balconies.
Photo source: The Catherine/Rent.
Located in the heart of Austin with spectacular city views, the Catherine has one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The luxury apartments offer a wide variety of floor plans with vaulted ceilings, oversized closets, extra-large balconies and hardwood floors.
Residents benefit from controlled building access, a large fitness center and full concierge service.
Photo source: The Park at Wells Branch / Rent.
Stay connected in multiple ways with The Park at Wells Branch’s fiber internet and public transportation access. This green community also has a pet park, hiking, biking and jogging trails and picnic areas with grills.
Inside the one- and two-bedroom units, residents will find spacious closets, hardwood floors and a fireplace. Other amenities include basketball courts, a media center, a hot tub, a fitness center and a swimming pool.
Photo source: Eagles Landing / Rent.
Spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans leave room for the whole family at Eagles Landing. This income-restricted community also offers a free after-school program and free summer camp.
Eagles Landing accepts vouchers and provides special cable rates and packages. They offer all of this on top of under-market rent prices.
Photo source: 620 Canyon Creek / Rent.
Families with children will love 620 Canyon Creek thanks to the excellent surrounding schools in Leander Independent School District and the easy access to Lake Travis. Canyon Creek is a green community with a recreation center, fitness center, swimming pool, hot tub and tennis courts.
The one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units also have several luxury upgrades available, including customized mantels, direct access garages, Italian marble entryways, wood-burning fireplaces and jetted Roman tubs.
Photo source: Axis West Campus / Rent.
Less than a mile from the University of Texas’s most popular hangout, The Drag, Axis West Campus provides one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments at an affordable price.
Residents have access to tanning beds, a media and gaming area, a Starbucks machine and an outdoor fire pit and entertaining area. The community also provides independent living units and disability accessibility too.
Photo source: Anthem at Ledge Stone / Rent.
Conveniently situated with access to the city but also in spacious Central Texas hill country, Anthem at Ledge Stone offers rustic style meets luxury living. This community has electric vehicle charging stations, a pet spa, a resort pool with private cabanas, a fire pit and social grills.
Inside the one-, two- and three-bedroom units, residents enjoy renovated interiors, island kitchens, stainless steel appliances, dimmable pendant lighting and vaulted ceilings in select units. All in all, it’s got everything you could need.
Photo source: West Gate Ridge Apartments / Rent.
Classically appealing with well-below average rent, West Gate Ridge provides standard amenities in Southwest Austin. The pet-friendly one- and two-bedroom units include disability access and spacious interiors.
All units have a private balcony or patio and washer/dryer connections. Residents also enjoy a playground, fitness center, swimming pool and business center.
Photo source: Collective on Riverside / Rent.
The Collective on Riverside is an excellent option for students. These one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments have fully furnished options.
Students can also easily commute to school using public transportation or the university shuttle service that stops on-site. When not studying or working, Collective residents enjoy access to a variety of athletic facilities and bocce, shuffleboard and billiards.
Photo source: Southpark Crossing / Facebook
Live in style at Southpark Crossing. The one- and two-bedroom apartments feature nine- to 11-foot ceilings, crown molding, island kitchens and granite counters in the kitchen and bathrooms. Residents also benefit from extra storage in full-size pantries, oversized closets and balcony storage.
Enjoy the additional uncommon apartment luxuries of Nest Wi-Fi thermostats and an on-site movie theater with reclining seats.
Photo source: River Ranch / Rent.
Growing families will fit right in at River Ranch in Northeast Austin. The apartments also boast a community playground and splash pad. Fur babies can enjoy the dog park while parents will appreciate the fitness center.
Entertaining friends is also a breeze with the spacious clubhouse and community center that includes a fully-equipped kitchen.
Photo source: Bridge at Cameron / Rent.
The Bridge at Cameron is a brand-new community in Northeast Austin.
These one-, two- and three-bedroom, income-restricted apartments include programmable thermostats and extra storage. The smoke-free, green community also has an on-site technology center.
Residents can also enjoy the community room with a patio area, carpeted bedrooms and laundry facility.
Photo source: Hills at Leander / Rent.
The Hills at Leander offers private, quiet, comfortable living for seniors in Austin’s Cedar Park neighborhood. These income-restricted units enable independent living for seniors, including disability access, game rooms and group exercise.
Residents can also welcome visits from family and friends thanks to guest parking and an on-site picnic area with barbecues.
Photo source: Estates at Austin / Rent.
The Estates at Austin in Pleasant Valley is perfect for University of Texas students with five-, 10- and 12-month leases at half of the average city rent. This community also has a covered UT shuttle station that provides service directly to the university.
The one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom, disability-accessible units also include high-speed internet with included HBO. Students can work and play thanks to the 24-hour private study nooks and computer lab alongside basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts.
Photo source: Scofield Park / Rent.
Offering luxury, affordable apartments in far North Austin, Scofield Park has all the amenities to keep residents connected and entertained. Residents can enjoy an internet cafe with a media center, an entertainment lounge and two 24-hour fitness centers. Even pups can stay busy with two on-site bark parks with agility courses.
This complex with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments is also just minutes away from the Domain, a popular shopping center and local hot spot.
Photo source: Menchaca Commons/ Rent.
Spacious and affordable, Menchaca Commons has outdoor patios and a grilling area. Renters will also save money thanks to the energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting in every unit.
This green community also has Amazon package lockers and hardwood flooring on top of renovated interiors and ceiling fans in every room.
Photo source: Tintara at Canyon Creek / Rent.
Just minutes away from Lake Travis, Tintara at Canyon Creek has one-, two- and three-bedroom units. On top of affordable rent, Tintara offers hardwood floors, island kitchens and vaulted ceilings.
Renters also benefit from a private gated entry and the option to utilize a business conference center and boutique office space.
Photo source: Monterey Ranch / Rent.
Athletes of all types will feel at home in Monterey Ranch. In addition to a well-equipped fitness center and rec room, these apartments have a range of sports facilities, including a soccer field, basketball court, tennis courts, biking, hiking and running trails and five pools.
A selection of the studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floorplans at Monterey Ranch are also ADA accessible.
Photo source: The Mansions at Onion Creek / Rent.
Enjoy all that South Austin has to offer from the Mansions at Onion Creek. These one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units live up to their name, ranging from just over 700 to nearly 2,000 square feet.
Last but not least, the Mansions has an Olympic-sized infinity pool
Photo source: Barton Creek Villas / Rent.
Tucked into the hilly idyll of Barton Creek in West Austin, Barton Creek Villas has fantastic views thanks to its spacious open floor plans and oversized windows.
Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate its bike and hiking trails while their pet companions will enjoy the on-site bark park with an agility course.
The community offers luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom units, plus a clubhouse with a coffee bar.
Photo source: Pioneer Hill / Rent.
Perfect for professionals that may work at the nearby companies in Northeast Austin, Pioneer Hill offers great prices and amenities for one-, two- and three-bedroom units — no wonder it’s one of the best apartments in Austin. Every apartment comes with a yard or a balcony and stylish modern interiors.
Residents also enjoy the option of full-size washer-dryer connections, extra storage and a community clubhouse.
The best apartments in Austin
Wherever you choose to live, Austin offers apartments that suit any lifestyle. Find apartments for rent in Austin today.
We looked at all available multifamily rental property inventory from January to June 2021 on Rent. to determine which properties with an Austin mailing address are most viewed by organic internet searches. The information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice, availability or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
Home prices will drop next year, but so will inventory, the real-estate site says in its 2024 housing forecast
The 30-year mortgage rate will fall below 7% by April 2024, Realtor.com says in its housing forecast for next year.
The average mortgage rate in 2024 is expected to be 6.8%, and the 30-year may fall to as low as 6.5% by the end of the year, according to Realtor.com’s report.
“We’re gonna to start to see some relief for buyers who have been priced out,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, told MarketWatch.
“It’s still expensive to buy a house, but instead of getting more expensive, we’ve turned the corner,” she added. “We’re starting to see housing get less expensive.”
Realtor.com sees mortgage rates falling to 6.5% by the end of 2024
A weakening U.S. economy will be the key driver pushing down mortgage rates in 2024, Hale said.
“We expect unemployment to begin to gradually tick up – but we don’t expect to see a huge surge – and the labor market to begin to soften,” she said.
But “more importantly,” Hale added, “we expect inflation to improve.”
The economy has begun showing indications of cooling off. In October, inflation was flat, thanks to cheaper gasoline prices. The job market is also showing some signs of weakness, and the unemployment rate edged up that month to a 21-month high of 3.9%.
Mortgage rates have already begun to fall, Hale noted. They are no longer hovering at the 8% range, thanks to weaker economic data. The 30-year mortgage was averaging 7.29% as of Nov. 22, according to Freddie Mac.
But don’t expect to see rates fall much lower. Even though Realtor.com noted that the historical average for the 30-year mortgage rate between 2013 and 2019 was 4%, home buyers should consider those days long gone.
That period “was not quite a normal housing market,” Hale said. “It seems unlikely that we’ll see mortgage rates get back to that range in the foreseeable future.” Between 2013 and 2019, inflation stayed below 2.5%, according to data from the St. Louis Fed.
“The Fed was constantly worried about inflation that was too low” back then, Hale said.
Below are Realtor.com’s predictions for the housing markets that will see the most and least home price appreciation in 2024.
Home prices to fall 1.7% in 2024
Realtor.com also expects home prices to fall 1.7% over 2024. Sale prices took a dip over the spring and summer this year, but they may stay flat or rise over the rest of 2023, Hale said.
But starting in May 2024, home prices overall may drop. That’s partly because home sellers may cut prices, but it could also be due to a further pullback in homeowners listing their homes. Realtor.com expects existing-home inventory to fall sharply by 14% over 2024, which is steeper than the 5.7% drop in 2023.
That means that the typical monthly cost for a median-priced home could drop to $2,200 in 2024, which would be down from $2,240 in 2023.
The Realtor.com report also suggested strong home price growth in the Midwest and the Northeast. The company expects home prices to grow on an annual basis in 2024 by 10.9% in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich., metro area, 10.4% in Rochester, N.Y., and 9.9% in the Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa, metro area.
On the other hand, the data indicates a sharp slowdown in home price growth out west. Home prices are expected to fall the most in 2024 in Austin-Round Rock, Texas, by 12.2%, as compared to 2023. Other metros at the bottom of the home price growth list include St. Louis, Mo.-Ill., and Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash., where prices are expected to fall by 11.7% and 10.2% respectively.
Demand is also expected to be lower, because rates will continue to stay relatively elevated, Hale said.
But lower rates could also convince homeowners who bought with a 3% rate to consider selling, easing the so-called lock-in effect, which could increase inventory.
Realtor.com is operated by News Corp subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch publisher Dow Jones is also a of News Corp unit.
This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.
To the native Wintu people it was Bohem Puyuik, the “Big Rise,” and no wonder. Mt. Shasta towered above everything else, her loins delivering the natural springs and snowmelt that birthed a great river.
The Sacramento River provided such an abundance of food that the Wintu and many neighboring tribes — the Pit River, Yana, Nomlaki and others — had little to fight over. They thrived in pre-colonial times, on waters that ran silver with salmon, forests thick with game and oaks heavy with acorns.
But centuries of disease, virtual enslavement and murder wrought by European and American invaders scrambled the harmony that once reigned along the Upper Sacramento River.
Today, three tribes here are locked in a bloodless war. At issue is a proposal by one Indigenous group to expand and relocate its casino and whether the flashy new gambling hall, hotel and entertainment center would honor — or desecrate — the past.
The casino envisioned by the Redding Rancheria and its 422 members would rise nine stories on 232 acresalong Interstate 5. The rancheria — home to descendants from three historic tribes — began planning the development nearly two decades ago, envisioning a regional magnet for tourists and gamblers.
But the proposal has been buffeted by influential opponents, including the city of Redding, neighborhood groups and the billionaire next door — who happens to be the largest private landowner in America. The naysayers list a cavalcade of complaints against the new Win-River casino complex, saying it would despoil prime farmland, exacerbate traffic, increase police and fire protection costs and threaten native fish in the Sacramento River.
Those complaints have helped stall, but not kill, the project, whose fate rests almost solely in the hands of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. And now the BIA’s obscure bureaucrats have been confronted with an explosive new charge from two neighboring tribes: that construction of the casino would desecrate what the tribes say should be hallowed ground — the site of an 1846 rampage by the U.S. Cavalry that historians say probably killed hundreds of Native people.
The Sacramento River massacre has not received the attention of other atrocities of America’s westward expansion, such as the one in 1890 at Wounded Knee, S.D., where U.S. troops killed as many as 300 Lakota people. Estimates of the carnage, recorded over the decades from witness accounts and oral tradition, range from 150 to 1,000 men, women and children slaughtered along the banks of the Sacramento River.
If the higher estimates of the death toll are correct, it would rank as one of the largest single mass killings of Indigenous people in American history.
“In my heart, I find it hard to believe that there are Wintu people that are willing to build a casino on … the blood-soaked dirt of the massacre site,” Gary Rickard, chair of the Wintu Tribe of Northern California, told a state Assembly committee in August. “There are dozens of other places along the I-5 corridor and the Sacramento River.”
Redding Rancheria Chair Jack Potter Jr., himself part Wintu, called the claim that his tribe would build its casino on the massacre grounds “a slander that will not be easily forgotten.” He told state lawmakers that the real massacre site is miles away. Rancheria leaders said their opponents have manufactured the controversy for a less honorable reason: to block what would be a sparkling new competitor.
“Gaming in Indian country can be a tide that raises all of our canoes,” insisted Potter, who appeared at times to fight back tears as he spoke at the Sacramento hearing. “We should not battle against one another, in that spirit.”
A showcase for compelling storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.
Friendships that go back decades and tribal ties of a century or more have been imperiled by the casino furor. Native people normally aligned against a hostile or indifferent U.S. government — “We’re all the children of genocide,” as one elder put it — have watched sadly as their conflicts turn inward.
It’s a dynamic that has played out before. Robbed of their ancestral lands, tribes now sometimes fight when one tries to claim new territory, often as a base for a lucrative modern endeavor: gambling.
The friction is exacerbated by the peculiar history of the Redding Rancheria — and by opponents’ eleventh-hour invocation of the Sacramento River massacre, 19 years after the rancheria began to assemble parcels for the project.
The Redding Rancheria refers to a nearly 31-acre stretch of land near the south end of Redding that the federal government bought in 1922 for “homeless Indians” who came to the area as seasonal workers for ranches and orchards. The rancheria sits in a relatively obscure location compared with the interstate-adjacent site of the proposed casino, more than three miles by car to the northeast.
In 1939, the Wintu, Pit River, Yana and other Indigenous peoples formed a rancheria government. It was recognized by the United States. But in 1958, an act of Congress “terminated” recognition of multiple California groups, including the Redding Rancheria, in an attempt to force Indians to disperse into the general population. It took a landmark 1983 court settlement to formally restore recognition of 17 rancherias, including the one in Redding.
The result is that there are Redding Rancheria members with Wintu blood, like Potter, 52, who firmly support the casino, while other Wintu descendants who are not descended from the original rancheria families, like Rickard, 78, adamantly oppose it. Rickard grew up with Jack Potter Sr. and has known his son since he was a boy.
Cordiality prevails, at least outwardly, when Rickard and Potter meet today. But the bad blood between their groups has become fierce, exacerbated by the yawning wealth disparity between the rancheria and the Northern Wintu.
Rancheria members have thrived largely because of the success of their existing Win-River Resort & Casino, which operates 550 slot machines, a dozen table games, an 84-room hotel and an RV park.
The complex is the biggest income producer for the rancheria, which also owns a Hilton Garden Inn and a marijuana dispensary in Shasta County. Sources familiar with the tribe said each enrolled member receives a monthly “per capita” payment of at least $4,000 and perhaps as high as $6,000.
The rancheria’s chief executive, Pitt River descendant Tracy Edwards, 54, declined to discuss the amount of the payments.
That income, along with health clinics and other benefits, makes the Redding Rancheria members the envy of Indigenous groups with comparatively paltry assets. Rickard’s Northern Wintu claims roughly 560 certified members, but like many groups across America, the tribe has been laboring for years and still has not received formal recognition from the U.S. government. That means the tribe can’t put land into trust, a prerequisite to casino development and also a shield against federal, state and local taxes.
“We don’t have the resources in order to obtain the things we need,” said Shawna Garcia, the Northern Wintu’s cultural resources administrator. “We don’t have the revenue to assist our members with things like college, housing and other assistance.”
Historians and ethnographers say the Wintu were the predominant tribe around the site proposed for the casino complex, an expanse of meadow and scrubland that locals dub the Strawberry Fields because of its agricultural history. And Rickard questioned why the “pure-blood Wintu people” he represents have been left to struggle, while the rancheria — representing an amalgamation of tribal groups — stands poised to create an even bigger cash cow with its new casino.
Rancheria leaders like Edwards, a UC Davis-trained lawyer, have emphasized how the tribal group has supported Native and non-Native people, both as one of the largest employers in Shasta County and through its charitable foundation.
In just one year, 2018, the rancheria said it gave more than $1.2 million to community organizations, helping serve the homeless and victims of the Carr fire. During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rancheria donated $5,000 each to 60 businesses struggling to stay afloat.
At a cost of $150 million, the rancheria’s new casino would feature 1,200 slot machines — more than double the number at its current casino — and with 250 rooms, the new casino hotel would be more than triple the size of the existing hotel. The tribal group has pledged to close its current Win-River casino when the new one opens.
The rancheria’s outsized community presence has created substantial goodwill around Redding, but a portion of residents have stepped forward — via petitions and ballot measures — to express disdain for large developments they feel could harm the rural character of their community.
Among the more powerful opponents is Archie Aldis “Red” Emmerson, president of logging giant Sierra Pacific Industries, whose sprawling estate looms along the Sacramento River, just south of the casino site.
In 2020, an Emmerson-allied company purchased property from the city of Redding that included a portion of a road that would be the north entry to the casino site and created an easement that would have barred access to the rancheria land for all but agricultural purposes. The easement effectively would have thwarted the casino by blocking vehicle access to the development.
But in 2022, a Shasta County Superior Court judge voided the deal, saying that in selling the land (for just $3,000 to the billionaire) the city had violated its “own processes, procedures and the relevant law.” The ruling nullified the easement, preserving the rancheria’s unrestricted access to the property.
The Redding City Council and neighboring homeowners have maintained their opposition to the project for years, while a new conservative majority on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors recently reversed the county’s earlier objections. The supervisors supported the casino, despite admonitions from the sheriff, fire chief and county counsel that the agreement with the rancheria did not provide sufficient compensation to cover the increased costs of serving the big development.
The rancheria agreed to make one-time payments totaling $3.6 million to support Shasta County, the Sheriff’s Department and fire and emergency services. That initial infusion would be supplemented by recurring payments: $1,000 for each police service call and $10,000 for each fire/emergency service call.
No issue has unsettled intra-tribal relations, though, like the debate flowing out of the terrible events along the Sacramento River 177 years ago.
Oral histories of the Wintu and neighboring tribes recall how Native families and elders had gathered along the river known as the Big Water each year in early April for the spring salmon run. Traditionally, the season signaled rebirth.
But Capt. John C. Fremont had other ideas.
Fremont diverted his men from their ordered assignment: completing land surveys in the Rocky Mountains. The Americans instead went adventuring to California, where, in the spring of 1846, they responded to sketchy claims from settlers that they were endangered.
About 70 buckskin-clad white men set upon the Native people, the locals far outgunned by the invaders, each toting a Hawken rifle, two pistols and a butcher knife, according to UCLA historian Benjamin Madley‘s detailed account of the massacre.
The horsemen completed their grisly work with such evident pride that legendary frontiersman Kit Carson later bragged that the coordinated assault had been “a perfect butchery.”
The massacre marked the beginning of “a transitional period between the Hispanic tradition of assimilating and exploiting Indigenous peoples and the Anglo-American pattern of killing or removing them,” according to Madley’s “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe.”
Fremont (later a U.S. senator from California and a Republican presidential candidate) would say that his party attacked the natives because of reports of an “imminent attack” upon settlers. But the “battle” was one-sided, with the federal troops suffering no known casualties. Afterward, according to Madley’s account, Fremont’s men feasted on the Native people’s larder of fresh salmon.
In the nearly two centuries since, the tragedy would be more forgotten than remembered. There is no historical marker around Redding noting the event.
The Wintu people believed to have been the principal victims have preserved memories of the mass killing in their oral history. But no ceremony marks the atrocity. And at the Wintu cultural resource center in Shasta Lake City, a wall-size timeline of the group’s history makes no mention of the 1846 bloodshed.
There’s also the now-pressing question — pushed to the fore by the casino feud — about precisely where the massacre occurred. The Northern Wintu and another outspoken opponent, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, insist that the Strawberry Fields property was a key location in the atrocity.
The Paskenta commissioned a study by a retired anthropologist from Cal State Sacramento that drew on research from the late 1800s by a linguist from the Smithsonian Institution who, in turn, got much of his information from a Wintu elder who survived the massacre. The report, by Dorothea Theodoratus and a colleague, said that the “center” of the massacre was “opposite the mouth of Clear Creek” in the Sacramento River, a point roughly two miles south of the proposed casino location.
But other accounts from participants and witnesses said Fremont’s soldiers chased down victims after the initial assault, leaving the exact range of the bloodshed unknown. The Theodoratus report says that six villages, including two on the proposed casino property, were so thoroughly intermingled that all “would have had some direct involvement with that massacre.”
Andrew Alejandre, chair of the Paskenta Band, told the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee in August that his tribe is seeking to have the state and federal governments designate the Strawberry Fields a sacred site, off-limits to development. Alejandre, 35, said his tribe vehemently opposes building a casino “on top of men, women, children and elders. The spirit of these ancestors … Let them rest!”
In rebuttal, Potter and rancheria CEO Edwards note that during the many years that they and others have pursued developments in the region, the rival tribes never mentioned the massacre. Divisive fights over a proposed auto mall and a sports complex (both scrapped) came and went without any discussion about desecration of a mass grave site.
“I would never disrespect the remains of my ancestors,” Potter said.
Fifty miles south of Redding in rural Corning, the 288-member Paskenta Band opened the Rolling Hills Casino and Resort two decades ago. The luxe gaming hall is just one part of an economic surge by the tribe, which has also opened an equestrian complex, an 18–hole golf course, a 1,400-acre gun and hunting center and a 3,000-person amphitheater, where Snoop Dogg performed in May.
Potter charged that the fight over the historic massacre is really a ploy by the flourishing Paskenta to squelch the Redding Rancheria’s hopes for a shimmering destination casino “because of the mistaken belief that it … will cut into the profits of their gaming facilities.”
Paskenta’s Alejandre, a designer who once ran a clothing company, denied that is the case.
While representatives for the Paskenta and Northern Wintu tribes bashed the casino proposal at the August hearing, representatives of at least eightother California tribes argued in support of the Redding Rancheria. One said the Redding group had proved itself a good steward of cultural resources.
Another speaker at the hearing was Miranda Edwards, the 28-year-old daughter of the rancheria CEO. The Stanford-educated Edwards and her mother spoke about the importance of moving the tribal group forward for the “Seventh Generation,” future descendants whose livelihoods must be planned for today.
“We work hard every day to provide for this rural community and make it the best that we can for everyone that lives there,” Miranda Edwards told legislators. “It’s disheartening to hear from those that choose not to see that. But it will not stop our work.”
Potter, the rancheria’s chairman, had a sardonic take on the dispute.
“We always talk about crabs in a pot,” Potter said. “We are like all these crabs, stuck in a pot. When one tries to get out of the pot, all the others reach up and pull him back in.”
Will arguments about the Sacramento River massacre sway the final outcome of the Redding Rancheria’s casino quest? A BIA spokesman said only that “these issues are under review.” Nearly two centuries after representatives of the U.S. military decimated a civilization here, the federal government still retains ultimate authority over the fate of Native people.
Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.
When you have a new baby on the way, you may be eager to create a nursery that’s comfortable, functional, and stylish. You can drop big bucks to turn a spare room into a dream nursery. But if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease and think outside the box, you could get the job done for much less.
Here are some creative DIY nursery ideas that won’t break the bank.
Use Paint to Make a Big Impact
If home improvement shows have taught us anything, it’s that paint can be a powerful — and cheap — way to change things up. In fact, for the cost of a few gallons of nontoxic paint, a roll of painter’s tape, and drop coverings, you can completely transform any room.
The options are limited only by your imagination. Paint all four walls the same shade to create a cohesive look, or focus the color on one wall to make a real statement. Use painter’s tape to create shapes or patterns, like stripes or chevrons, that pack the same punch as wallpaper but without the mess. If you’re artistic, paint a mural with animals or popular cartoon characters. Or considering all the time your baby will spend in their crib, you may decide to spiff up the ceiling with a pop of color.
Price tag: $125 to $250 💡 Quick Tip: Need help covering the cost of a wedding, honeymoon, or new baby? A SoFi personal loan can help you fund major life events — without the high interest rates of credit cards.
Get a Soft Rug
If you have hardwood floors, a soft rug won’t just help your feet stay warm when you come in for late-night feedings. You’ll also want a cozy surface for your baby to play, and later, learn to crawl.
You can get an area rug at a local hardware or furniture store that can bring out some of the colors in your decor and provide a soft buffer between your baby and the floor.
Price tag: $200
Make Your Own Art
Blank walls are boring, but art can be expensive to buy. So why not make your own creations?
One idea: Get jumbo letters from the local craft store that spell out your baby’s name and hang them on the wall.
Or figure out the theme of the room to help you come up with other ideas. For example, you can go to the zoo with a camera and then print out pictures of animals for an animal-themed room. Or become inspired by the night sky and put up sparkly stars and a moon on the walls. You can also find cool fabric and tack it onto a canvas for a fabric panel.
Price tag: From $25
Help Baby Sleep
Having a newborn goes hand in hand with frequent wake-up calls. But there are ways you can help baby settle down after a 3 a.m. feeding or stay asleep during a mid-afternoon nap.
Blackout curtains are a great way to prevent sunlight from seeping through window coverings — and interrupting a good nap. Making a set is doable with the help of a sewing machine and a trip to the local fabric store.
Hanging a mobile above the crib can also keep your little one entranced until their eyes start to close. You can make your own with everyday household and craft supplies, like pom poms, fabric, or paper. Simply attach the items to a string or embroidery floss, attach to a lightweight frame or embroidery hoop, and hang.
Price: From $10
Get Creative With Storage
Even if you’re a minimalist, chances are your baby will require a lot of stuff: clothes, toys, diapers, pacifiers, books…you get the idea. As you’re putting together your nursery, be sure you have ample places to store all those things. Bins, boxes, shelves, and drawers can make clean-up a breeze.
Storage systems don’t have to be expensive. You can get budget-friendly ones at local discount furniture stores. Or check online or garage sales for a used piece of furniture that you can refinish or repaint.
Just remember to fasten all the furniture to the wall so that when your baby starts pulling themselves up and walking, nothing topples over on them.
Price: From $100
Recommended: 25 Tips for Buying Furniture on a Budget
How Do You Pay for a Nursery Room Renovation
DIY-ing a nursery may save you money, but you’ll still need to make room in the budget. This can be a challenge if you’re also trying to balance the cost of hospital bills, doctor’s visits, and pricey essentials like a stroller, car seat, or crib. Here are some options you may want to consider.
Tapping into your savings allows you to access the cash you need right away. However, if you’re planning to take unpaid maternity leave or are budgeting for medical expenses, you may decide it makes more sense to leave your emergency fund untouched.
Like personal savings, a credit card lets you pay for DIY nursery supplies now. However, at the end of the month, you’ll be billed for whatever you’ve spent. It’s important to make at least a minimum payment by the due date to avoid a late fee. But to avoid paying interest entirely, you’ll need to pay off the balance in full each month.
Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly
Generally speaking, a personal loan can be used for virtually anything, including decorating a nursery. Interest rates are relatively low, which means that you can likely get a loan at a low rate compared to a credit card. For that reason, it might be a much better idea than putting the expenses on a credit card, which typically have higher interest rates.
A typical term length for a personal loan is anywhere from one to 10 years. Extending your repayment over multiple years could reduce your monthly payments. But keep in mind, the longer the term length, the more you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan.
When looking for a loan, you may want to look into securing a fixed interest rate so that you can lock in your low rate over the life of your loan. 💡 Quick Tip: Some personal loan lenders can release your funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved.
When you’re expecting a new baby, you naturally want to give them the world. This may include a room they’ll be happy to call their own. Fortunately, you can get the nursery of your dreams without having to spend a lot of money. There are creative, affordable ways to create a statement, like painting the walls or ceiling a fun shade or designing an adorable mural. Not as crafty? Explore simple, inexpensive projects, like making a mobile to hang over the crib.
If much of your budget is already earmarked for baby essentials and medical bills, you may want to explore alternate ways of paying for a nursery renovation. You could draw from your personal savings, use a credit card, or explore taking out a personal loan.
Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.
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When architect Simon Storey’s clients took him to a steep lot of undeveloped land for sale in Silver Lake, he advised them to pass. Storey’s firm, Anonymous Architects, is used to building on difficult sites, but he knew this particular lot would be especially challenging.
“It’s more difficult and more time-consuming,” says Storey.
The lot lingered on the market for a few years and then the asking price dropped. That’s when Storey and his wife, Jen Holmes, decided they were willing to take on the difficult ground-up construction.
Sloped lots typically require excavation and complicated and costly foundations, and have issues ranging from erosion to drainage to landscaping. It’s not for the faint of heart.
“It’s such a huge pain. But I proved myself right: It wasn’t easy,” he says.
Storey and Holmes bought the 2,900-square-foot lot in 2017 for $92,000 and started to plan their home. The land was not just steep — a grade of 33% — but also long and narrow. (For comparison, the steepest street in Los Angeles, Eldred Street in Highland Park, has the same slope.) The couple bought the land from entrepreneur Judd Schoenholtz, who bought the lot in a trust sale. Ironically, Schoenholtz was considering how to build on it and had looked at some of Storey’s other houses for inspiration. “Simon is probably the only one who could figure it out,” he says with a laugh.
Working within the constraints of a narrow lot was familiar to Storey, who had previously built his own home in Echo Park, a compact but elegant structure whose 960 square feet exceeded the 780-foot-lot it was built on.
Storey’s previous home, dubbed Eel’s Nest after the slender homes typical of dense neighborhoods in Japan, was a study in efficient urban living. He found ways to enlarge the space, just 15 feet wide, through the clever use of windows and skylights, high ceilings and a floating staircase that did double duty as a light well.
Storey and Holmes wanted to take the best parts of Eel’s Nest and the lessons learned from living in that space for more than a decade and apply them to this new project, which they called the Box. Once again the constraints of the lot dictated the design. “We had no choice but to go right up to maximum width and stick with it for the entire building,” explains Storey.
The result is a long building that spans just 18 feet across and 100 feet long. Yet adding just three more feet than their previous house makes a dramatic difference. “Every inch makes an outsize difference. I don’t think of it as being a narrow building,” says Storey.
Storey wanted the house to be as utilitarian as possible. He chose a corrugated cement panel typically used for farming and industrial buildings in Europe as a siding material above the two-story concrete base.
With the structure built three feet from the property line, the couple were constrained by city code in the amount of windows allowed on the side of the building. As a result, the windows are arranged in a horizontal expanse, providing panoramic views of the hills in Silver Lake and Echo Park.
The entrance to the house is set back another five feet, allowing double-height windows that span two stories, bringing in more light. The floating staircase from Eel’s Nest makes another appearance in the Box, across from the entrance. A narrow walkway on the top floor connects the front and back of the house but allows light to filter in on both sides to the floor below. The skylight in Eel’s Nest also reappears in the Box, bringing more light into the shower in the primary bathroom.
With a workshop sitting between the ground-floor garage and the two main stories of the house, Storey and Holmes were able to construct all of the cabinetry, millwork and even features like their stair treads on-site. “Anything made of wood we built ourselves,” says Storey.
Holmes, who works in development at LACMA but was an art student in college, found her sculpting skills came in handy. “I knew how to weld but didn’t do it for 20 years,” explains Holmes, who took a half-day welding class at Gearhead Workshops in Torrance to brush up on her skills.
In fact, much of the construction they did themselves, as a budgetary consideration but also to ensure the level of detail met their standards. Weekends, holidays and vacation days for nearly three years were spent working on the house.
The couple estimate they spent 5,500 hours working on the house, not including the hours spent on planning, designing and general contracting, and saved about $520,000 in construction costs based on pricing from comparable projects Storey has worked on.
“I’d take naps on a furniture blanket on the floor or in the car,” says Holmes, who became a regular at the nearby Whole Foods to pick up meals before they had a working kitchen. “Everyone [who works] there knows me and I know all of them.”
Other expenses included $300,000 for the foundation, more than three times what it would have cost for a similarly sized project on a flat lot, and about $20,500 for geology consultants to survey the slope. All together the project came in at roughly $1.3 million. However, the average homeowner shouldn’t expect such a deal. Acting as his own architect, general contractor and builder helped Storey and Holmes save considerably. Additionally, every hillside lot presents its own hidden expenses — and what a house costs to build is often very different than its market value in competitive L.A.
Before they started on the cabinets, the pair worked on sealing the envelope of the house to ensure better air quality and circulation. They meticulously identified every gap in the framing stage, foaming and caulking the gaps to improve efficiency.
Once that was complete, they set about building their own window frames and cabinetry. The two handpicked all of their own lumber from Bohnhoff Lumber Co. in Vernon, a decision Storey says is key to guaranteeing high quality. “It was a cost issue but also a quality issue. There is a shocking level of inconsistency when you don’t pick it yourself.” The natural wood provides a calming contrast to the industrial materials used on the exterior.
Most of the casework is a mix of red and white oak. With construction of the house happening during the pandemic, the cost of white oak saw a precipitous rise. Storey and Holmes began to introduce red oak as an accent material, though the effect is still monochromatic. “I don’t want to live somewhere austere, but I like things that are minimal,” says Holmes.
All of the cabinetry and woodwork is custom, designed to suit the couple’s needs. Separating the kitchen and living room is a multipurpose room-within-a-room that includes a custom pantry on one side and cabinetry to house their record collection and stereo on the other.
“Every element of the house has a function,” says Storey. The focus on utilitarian design is a carryover from Eel’s Nest. “We are squeezing as much utility into the building as possible.” Appliances, primarily Fisher & Paykel, are hidden behind custom wood panels, as are closets and bathrooms.
With four bedrooms and three bathrooms, the house was designed to be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs. Planned prior to the pandemic, Storey’s design called for his office to occupy the back of the house, with living spaces in the front. However, the office can easily be converted into a guest suite for relatives or visitors that includes a kitchenette and a private entry.
As a passionate cook, Holmes programmed the layout of the kitchen to her specifications. The sink is placed in a central island, facing the views. “Every party I go to, people end up in the kitchen,” says Holmes. “I wanted it to be comfortable to cook in but also a place to entertain. We can have four or eight or 20 people here and it doesn’t feel too big or too small.”
While Holmes wanted the kitchen to be as functional as possible, Storey wanted the kitchen to not look like a kitchen at all. “The fridge and freezer vanish. Nothing screams ‘kitchen.’ We had competing objectives but managed to merge into a perfect solution,” he says, adding, “It’s a good allegory for marriage.”
Cinema has long been a source of heated debate, especially regarding films that tried too hard to be serious and ended up just seeming pretentious. With the arrival of streaming platforms, more accessible movie-making tools and an increased ability for filmmakers to challenge the norm, recent years have seen a wave of new daring cinema—acclaimed as genius by some yet widely disliked by others.
Nowhere is this disparity in opinion more apparent than with these 20 pretentious movies. So what do you think? Are there times when lines should not be crossed regarding artistic expression, or are pushing boundaries necessary? Below are the top 20 pretentious movies shared across online:
1. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
One user posted, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. A The Holocaust and 9/11 mash-up with an autistic kid as the main character? Pure pretentious as s- Oscar bait.
“I had to read the book in high school, and the best thing I could say about it was that it provided easy pickings for annotation assignments.”
Another user added a story behind the film, “Daily reminder that the author of the book awkwardly flirted with Natalie Portman via email, thought she was as into him as he was into her, and left his wife of 10 years for her, only to be met with bemused puzzlement from Natalie.”
One user replied, “Jesus, those emails were painful to read from both of them. I can’t believe people write like that in their personal emails. He did end up dating Michelle Williams for years after his divorce, so I guess he’s got some game.”
2. Eat Pray Love
One user added, “Eat Pray Love(2010), a pretentious film based on an equally pretentious true story.”
One user replied, “So true, lol. Like I would love to just take off for a year, but unfortunately, I have to work.”
“Crash (2004)—simultaneously the most pretentious movie I’ve ever seen and the stupidest,” one user added.
Another user shared, “I remember seeing it when it came out and found it fairly forgettable. Then it kinda gained this reputation as ‘didn’t deserve the Oscar,’ so I watched it again recently. It tries so hard to be topical (and perhaps it was in a way), but it’s soooo over the top yet surface level at the same time with its message. There are some good performances in the movie, but that can’t save the script.”
4. The Room
One Redditor posted, “I think considering Tommy Wiseau’s intention to make a serious drama, The Room is pretentious. I know he refuted the claim that The Room was supposed to be serious. But sorry, I have severe doubts.”
One user shared, “There’s no way in h*ll that The Room was anything other than a sincere effort by Tommy to make a legitimate dark drama. Making the movie as it is, with the intention of being received as it has been, would make Tommy a comedic genius in three separate areas: writing, acting, and directing. I don’t think he is. Just like some great movies are lightning in a bottle, The Room is lightning in a bottle in the opposite direction.”
5. You People
One online user posted, “You People with Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy. The film goes out of its way to make Jonah Hill a ‘Bumbling Clueless Overly-Cautious Woke White Guy’ and Eddie Murphy a ‘Put Everyone On The Spot Overly Proud Black Man.’ NO self-respecting person (Jonah Hill’s character) would ever dig themselves into a racial awkwardness hole as often as he does. And no self-respecting person (Eddie Murphy’s character) would go out of their way to be so defensive and make Jonah Hill’s character so uncomfortable.
“If it were purely a comedy, it would have made sense to make them both so clueless, but since it was supposed to be a ‘woke’ rom-com, then they could have done well-meaning people more credit by making Jonah Hill more discerning and Eddie Murphy more gracious. Instead, both characters just reinforced stereotypes from beginning to end.”
Another user replied, “First rom-com I watched that was completely lacking both romance and comedy. To call it a movie at all is a compliment to You People and an insult to all other movies ever created.”
6. Seven Pounds
“Seven Pounds,” shared one user.
Another Redditor replied, “Or any Will Smith bazillion Oscar Bait movies.”
Another user commented, “Collateral Beauty takes the cake for me. Even the title is pretentious.”
One Redditor posted, “Downsizing. I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned this one. I sit down thinking I’m about to watch a lighthearted comedy starring Matt Damon about people who shrink themselves and get into some hijinks. Turns out. Instead, the movie’s message (pretty early in the film, too) is, ‘You can’t shrink the problems of the world, ST*PID!’ The rest of the movie was a guilt trip about lower-class poverty and environmental issues. It seriously felt like the filmmakers were scolding me. …”
One user responded, “I came here to say this. I went to the theatre to watch it because I was excited to see it. It’s a fun movie with Matt Damon and Kristin Wiig getting shrunk down like a grown-up Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
“She was barely in it, super preachy, meandering, boring, and nothing like what was advertised. Oh, and the ending was stupid, too. I shouldn’t have bothered waiting for it, but they already had $40 or so of my money. At least the snacks were ok. Probably the best part of the movie. They realized what a mess it was and pulled a bait-and-switch with the trailers as a last-ditch effort to save it. I’m still mad if you can’t tell, lol.”
8. Now You See Me
“Now You See Me … I don’t understand how people can be impressed with ‘magic tricks’ that are only possible with special effects. B-, please! I can make f- Godzilla coming out of my pocket if I can use CGI. That s- is not impressive.
“On a side note, what a waste of opportunity when they didn’t call the second movie “Now you don’t,” stated one user.
Another user added, “Also, there were zero clues for the twist. It’s just a ‘surprise this random thing happened. Now be in awe.’”
One online user shared, “Given the following definition of pretentious: ‘Trying to appear or sound more important or clever than you are’
“I’ll go for Tenet. When people think of pretentious films, they tend to list arty films. But pretension just means having an unearned sense of self-regard, and Tenet has that. It’s a film that is desperate for you to think it’s clever and profound but is ultimately hollow and not half as clever as it thinks it is.
“Edit: I just remembered the main character is literally called ‘Protagonist.’ Proper pretentious first-year film student stuff.”
One user answered, “I upvoted, even though I like Tenet because I can’t argue with your logic.”
10. Bang Bus “Episode 3”
One user posted, “Bang Bus ‘Episode 3′. The premise was already in. There was nothing new about it.”
Another replied, “Is that the one where they pick up a young woman and interview her in a s- van? I’ve only seen the first 10 minutes. I can’t believe there are sequels.”
11. My Dinner With Andre
“I love the movie, but ‘My Dinner With Andre’ is pretty pretentious and self-satirizing at the same time,” one Redditor stated.
Another user replied, “If you were out to dinner and the people at the table next to you were having that conversation, your eyes would roll right out of your head and fall on your plate.”
12. Most Woody Allen Movies
One Redditor shared, “Oof, I’m gonna get hate for this, but I feel like most Woody Allen movies are pretentious …”
Another user also posted, “When I think of pretentious movies, I think of Woody Allen b- s-. Movies about making movies about New York and how cool you have to be to be famous. F- off.”
13. Garden State
“A little obvious, but Garden State. It has all the hallmarks and takes itself way too seriously.
“That being said, it’s made with a lot of heart and ambition, and I do enjoy it, but it’s just the first thing that comes to mind—from the all-white bedroom to the shirt made out of wallpaper print to literally screaming into a void.
“Well-intentioned, entertaining, endearing but ultimately a pretentious cringe fest—sorry Zach!” posted one user.
One online user posted, “I thought Birdman was pretentious on my first viewing. That being said, I was, like, 19 when I saw it, and I’m 28 now. I may need to watch it again because being pretentious kinda felt like the point of the movie.”
Another user replied, “My favourite part about Birdman was seeing Edward Norton playing himself.”
“Rubber … I thought it’d be about a sentient tire blowing people up. But it kept cutting to a surrogate audience standing in a field watching the events and doing meta-commentary on film. Also, Lady in the Water … He was writing a movie critic character just to make them an ah you can kill off. Then, making the struggling writer the saviour of the world through his excellent writing and then casting YOURSELF for the role? Lol,” one user posted.
16. Wes Anderson’s Newer Films
One user posted, “Wes Anderson’s newer films are the definition. Bring back Owen to rein him in.”
Another user commented, “I came into this thread specifically to see how soon Asteroid City would come up.”
“Wes Anderson is so confident in his style at this point in his career, that someone calling his latest effort pretentiousness would just read as, ‘Oh good, you saw my film. Thank you, it was very pretentious,’” one user responded.
“Mother!” shared by one Redditor.
Another user commented, “This is one movie I loved, but I can recommend it to no one.”
18. Cloud Atlas
One Redditor posted, “Cloud Atlas. That movie is the definition of smelling your gas in public. It’s just so g-d- stupid in an ‘I’m 14, and this is deep’” sort of way.”
“Joker. … That movie thinks it’s brighter than it is but fails to hold a consistent theme in a way that says effectively nothing. It doesn’t work as a character study either because the character is also inconsistent. It’s only really grounded by a legendary performance by Joaquin,” stated one user.
One user replied, “That’s because it’s directed by the man who did The Hangover movies, doing his best attempt at Scorsese.”
20. Tree of Life
One user shared “Tree of Life.”
One user commented, “(whispers) ‘What is life?’ (Random shot of a kid walking into the sunset.) (More whispering.) ‘What does it all mean?’ (Camera pans into a blank wall.) (Whispering so quietly that it’s barely audible) ‘What is all this?’ (Dinosaurs explode in the background).”
Another user commented, “I like the movie (it’s more a montage movie than a movie-movie), but this gave me a chuckle. It’s definitely not for everyone!”
What do you think of the movies listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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