Dealing with Drexel Decor

Our Embassy-leased apartment is quirky, but generally pretty nice, considering its age However, the master bedroom is definitely the ugliest room in the house. It is a weird shape, dominated by huge cupboards, and someone really blew it with this floor. The rest of the apartment has somewhat weathered, but interesting and classy hardwood floors. In the master bedroom and office someone had the brilliant idea of covering them with plastic fake wood.

Hardwood (bottom) good, fake wood (top) BAD.

This stuff is cheap, ugly, not very well installed, and slippery as heck. Unfortunately, due to being allergic to practically everything, I can’t put a carpet over it. Oh well, at least it’s just this room. And the curtains are navy blue, not rust-brown, peach, or pink like some others in the house. Yes, my teenage son has floor-length pink polyester drapes in his bedroom. Not psyched.

We also got what I now know is the older batch of Drexel furniture. Straight from the Residence Inn!


And a big old brass ceiling fan. Which, considering we have no air conditioning, is a good thing in August. But, it is certainly big….and brass…and I so love that builder-grade light fixture…

Circa 1990.

But, you know what else I have? Aside from brand-new comfy bedding which is making the hotel-quality mattress somewhat tolerable? BAROQUE DECALS!

These make me SO HAPPY.

Now, at least the room doesn’t look like a giant pantry. My mother suggested these. I got them from a place called Modern Wall Graphics. With a coupon code, they were not too expensive. They peel right off, so easy to remove when we leave (they are supposed to be re-usable, but I really doubt that.) I have a few extra, so when our air bed arrives, I’ll use them to create a headboard design on the wall behind it.

Next step, getting rid of the cheesy wallpaper border and matching brown polyester curtain in the master bathroom.

Who looks at a modern European white tile bathroom and thinks “Oooh, I need some BROWN in here?

I have to say, someone was asleep at the switch when they let the previous tenant leave without taking down their Wal-Mart wallpaper borders. There is a similar one in the kitchen, with a big orange shelf under it. Yes, I said orange. With a brown wallpaper border. In a white Ikea kitchen.

We’ve been here three weeks, and GSO says they need to get a “quote” to remove the borders and paint the shelf. I’ve giving them a few more days, and then tackling the work myself. I’ve found a hardware store I can get to on the bus and am now empowered.

There’s quite a bit of deferred maintenance going on in this place: missing window screens, missing and broken blinds (which are pretty important in a rooftop apartment with no a/c and strong sun coming in during the day), broken bathroom vent fans, and so on. The GSO guys who have come over have acted kind of surprised that the previous tenants let this stuff go for so long, and have been perfectly willing to replace and repair items-though it looks like it may take a while, this being August in Europe.

So, here’s an idea, FS folks: if stuff needs fixing in your housing, request repairs. Maybe you don’t care about window screens or blinds, but the next person probably will. No one likes to move in to a place and have to start bugging GSO right away. Pay it forward, and maybe your next house will be in better shape as a result.

And for God’s sake, take down your tacky taste-specific wallpaper borders, paint over anything you painted a strong color, and if you have the opportunity to order GSO curtains, don’t order pink!


  1. Those decals are a really cool idea, I thought at first they had been painted and I was all like “somebody has WAYYYY too much time on their hands!” How much are you allowed to change with the furniture?


    • We aren’t allowed to change anything with the furniture! Except, there was way too much in the apartment and they said I could send some back to the warehouse. So, there’s been a big pile of the ugliest stuff in the front hall for about two weeks now…


  2. We have the old furniture too, and what makes it really sad is that soon after we arrived, they started switching the old out for the new in most places, so pretty much everyone we know has the good stuff … siiiigh. Next move, we are owed the good stuff darn it! btw. I understand why some people use the borders. I’ve done so myself because certain homes are so antiseptic that it’s like living inside your refrigerator, without the cheery color of a baking soda box, however, they actually do make ‘pretty’ borders… delicate florals, modern prints, gentle colors, etc. But yes, I have seen some that are absolutely, mind-blowingly hideous too! Many are made to peel off and that’s the sort that should be used in post housing. No problem leaving them up for the next folks to vote on IF they can be taken off without trouble or mess, like your lovely decals! Our post is small and facilities is very slow. Our house, we really do like it(!), but, it is very old, and in constant need of repairs. I try to keep up with them. Currently, we have peeling paint, doors that won’t close, a drooping broken ceiling fan that makes your industrial one look high class, etc. Right now is PCS-season with Ramadan on top of that…. I don’t see much happening in the next few weeks. But yes, I definitely plan on catching up – for our sake and for those who get this place next.


  3. Awesome idea w/the stickers – thanks for the link – I think that is going to be The Answer for one or two of my new rooms/new digs..


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