I Imagined That Going Differently

On Sunday morning, Jack opened his birthday presents from his family.  One of them was an alarm clock that was going to go in his new big-boy room.  I decided to wait and ask him if he would like to have a new bedroom before I just made that (big) decision for him.  He’s been talking about it constantly, so I knew what he was going to say.

“Jack, I want to ask you something very important:  Would you like to have your own room?  We can move all of your things in this morning, if you like?”
Jack thought carefully for a moment.  Looked at his little brother and said, “No.  I don’t think Sam’s ready.”
The night before, they stayed up until the wee hours with nightlights on and small chitterchatter filling the room.  Jack reading books to Sam and Sam returning the favor with cuddles and an annoying poke here and there.
Again and again, I’m reminded of this sweet quote:

And so I did.


A Bedroom For A Boy – Progress

When we last spoke, the bedroom in question was looking a LOT like this:

I’ve been watching episodes of ‘Hoarders – Buried Alive’ just to prove to myself that I didn’t have a problem.  This room has had become the catch-all throughout the renovation process.  A life-size junk drawer, if you will.  Someone’s coming over to visit?  No problem!  Open the door, literally throw something in, shut the door.
No more…..
That, my friends, is the result of six billion flights of stairs.  Almost every single thing in this upstairs bedroom belonged in the basement.  A basement that needed to be reorganized in order to accept the influx of *stuff* that I was about to introduce.  So, not only did I need to clean out the entire basement, I needed to clear out this room, as well.  You’d think I would have thinner thighs by now…
In order to get to this point, here’s what had to happen:
  • Trim out the windows
  • Caulk all trim around said windows
  • Paint the jambs and trim
  • Two coats of Benjamin Moore ‘Revere Pewter’ mixed in Behr Premium Plus, eggshell finish
  • Install baseboards and craftsman-style door casings
And that’s where I’m at.  I have seven days before this puppy needs to be birthday-boy ready.  Here’s what’s left:
  • Caulk and paint floor and door trim 
  • Hang artwork
  • Decide on room layout
  • Bring in furniture (desk, shelves, night table, lamps, etc)
The shelving that you see in the room right now is simple, cost-effective (read: super-cheap) shelving from Ikea.  Once assembled, it looks like this:
Once you spend an hour in the hot garage with a can of brain-cell diminishing dark walnut stain, it looks like this:
I have a couple options as far as placement of the shelves go— and I really don’t know which one I prefer.  I can go one on either side of the window, like so:
Or, I can gang them up between two windows and they would be the first thing you see when you walk up the stairs or past the door:
I think I kinda like them ganged together like this and I’m imagining white, soft, full curtains on either side of the windows to really lighten up this wall and create a welcoming effect.  However, once you bring in the bed where I wanted it, it doesn’t leave much walking space:
The tape measure shows exactly how far the bed would extend.
The room has a funky, little bump-out that I was hoping to tuck the headboard into and extend into the room.
Now, excuse me while I dazzle you with my ARTISTIC rendering of Jack’s bed in this space just to help you understand what I mean:
You’re floored.  I know.  I gots mad Paint skillz.  Don’t hate.
So that’s where we are right now.  No decisions on room layout, but I’ll get that figured out in the next couple days.  Any thoughts?  Recommendations?  Would you like me to offer tutorial classes on how to illustrate in MS Paint?

Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails (Designing An Awesome Boys’ Room)

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that I’ve been pinning a lot of this:

and this:

oh, and then there’s this:


and of course, let’s not forget this:


You guys.  That last image…..  Wow.  I love it so much.  I don’t know if it screams ‘7 year-old boy’ though….. I might have to file it away for myself….

The thing that sticks out most for me in these inspiration photos is contrast.  Lots of soft blues and greys coupled with striking black and dark walnut.  And to lighten the space, bright, creamy white accents in the form of trim or draperies.

You see, I’ve got a little monkey who just so happens to be turning 7 this month.  When we originally designed the second floor, we added a guest room knowing that it would eventually be Jack’s bedroom.  We figured the boys would duke it out in a shared bedroom until they were about 10 or so, and then want to spread their wings and go separate ways.

Not my kids.


I’ve decided to surprise Jack with his own room for his birthday.  Which just so happens to be in 20 days.  Now, I’m not expecting it to look exactly like those drool-worthy rooms up there in 20 days.  Especially considering that I’m currently working on finishing up the master ensuite, guest bathroom, kitchen and enough trim work to make me just want to just. give. up. right. now.

On top of all of that, the current space I’m working with looks like this:

Ugh.  That hurts.  Hurts bad.

Throughout the last year, whenever we’ve had to store something away for later or move items because we were working in a room, this is where it went.  And now it’s back to haunt me.

BUT!  I’ve got a plan and I’m sticking to it.  Kind of.  Here’s the master to-do for this space:

  • Clear out the room
  • Finish trimming out the windows and doors
  • Make a decision regarding whether to go basic wall trim or do a snazzy treatment
  • Paint
  • Window coverings/blinds/curtains
  • Install lighting

It will seriously be a miracle if I can get this done.  Little bites, Carol….little bites…

What about you?  Ever try to eat an elephant of this size in such a short time?  Got any inspiration photos?  Words of wisdom?

What Goes Up, Must Fall Down (DIY Stair Runner)

The stairs.

Those things are the bane of my existence, I tell ya.  It’s been like putting lipstick on a pig.  And not fancy MAC lipstick, either.  More like iridescent, pink Wet N’ Wild that’s been sitting in a makeup drawer for thirteen years. 

It’s been bad.

But lately, I’ve run into a non-cosmetic issue with those darn things.  The kids keep falling down ’em.
I asked Jack to re-enact his latest tumble:

He was all too happy to demonstrate.  Love that kid.

I’ve been fighting putting carpet on the stairs since we got them.  I’ve been convinced I could refinish them and make them awesome.  It’s not working.  They look bad.  Real bad.  There are gaps everywhere and cracks in them.  And apparently, they’re slippery.  I only put two coats of satin polycrylic on them after I stained them with the hopes that they wouldn’t be too slick.  And they’re not really all that slick, but for a 4 and 6-year-old wearing socks while chasing each other down the stairs, they spell D-A-N-G-E-R, Will Robinson.

So, I got to work.

I saw this runner makeover over at Little Green Notebook and used it as my inspiration.  I love the lines and color of this little rug from Ikea:

Ikea ‘Soften’ rug

I picked up four rugs during a recent trip to Ikea and jumped right in.

That wayward staple was removed.  Don’t you worry.

I worked my way down, doing my best to stretch the carpet around the edge of the tread and staple it just underneath.  I found that if I stapled it on the white stripe, it was nearly invisible.

Don’t do this.

Do this instead.

And at the end of the day, I was left with this:

Crazy, right?  Let’s take a moment and go back in time (a few months ago) and look at what I started with:

And with the magic of the internets, I have this:

I took this photo while I was waiting for the paint to dry on the trim piece
 I placed at the bottom of the stairs to cover the end of the stair runner.

I especially love how the stripes look from this angle:

I still need to finish the trim paint on the faux stair skirt, and add a couple bits of trim, but those stairs have sure come a long way, baby.  I have no idea how the carpeting is going to wear.  And seriously, what was I thinking putting dark, charcoal fabric on stairs while we’re still under construction?  They show every speck of dust.  But I’m still very, very happy with the end result.  I’ll report back over the next few months and throw out an update.

Linking up to:

TDC Before and After

How To Live Through A Major Renovation With Small Kids

Two words:  child labor

I mean, come on.  My toolbag isn’t gonna bring itself up the stairs.
Nothing brings a family closer to wanting to strangle each other than only being able to live in 1/8th of your home.  Nothing.  Every time the builder started working on another room on the main floor, we had to frantically gather every. last. thing. inside that room and either move it to the basement or to our bedroom.

Those two areas were our ‘safe’ places since they weren’t going to get renovated until the very last.  I hesitated to move a bunch of stuff into the boys’ room because I was trying to keep their environment as clutter-free as possible during this tumultuous time.

It didn’t work.  

As our living space dwindled to almost nothing, we had to come up with ways to keep the kids occupied and happy and unaware of the fact that mommy was losing her everloving mind at times.  I found that LOTS of park time was always an excellent escape.



A new surrounding that they could run around in without me freaking out about them getting electrocuted or stabbed by a giant 5-inch nail.  Or having a sledgehammer fall through their bedroom ceiling onto their playmat.  Yes, that happened. And it left a giant dent in their floor. The boys had *just* left their room and went looking for me in the basement when BOOM. Apparently, the builders were busting out some ceiling joists above the bedroom and one of the sledgehammers went rogue.  The ‘what-if’s’ of that whole scenario shook me more than when it actually happened.  I still shudder when I think about it.

When we weren’t doing the park thing, we scheduled some family trips to help get us out of the construction zone and into clean, dust-and-debri-free environments.

And then, of course, there was always shopping.

Thank goodness he’s finally tall enough to start pushing the darn cart.
Now I can eat my hot dog *and* hold my drink while I shop.

Not surprisingly, the big winner in all of this?  Danger.  Yup, just plain ol’ keeping an eye on them and letting them have at it.  It’s their house, too, and they’ve been so sweet about just sitting quietly in their bedroom while they get to watch the fun stuff happening right outside their bedroom window.

So, I let them enjoy the experience their own way.

We let them draw on the subloor of their soon-to-be bedroom.