Well, the g-kid’s room is mostly finished. I learned several things in the process of this creating this space, but mostly, I got to do a really girly room for the first time, ever. (I’d had two boys and in the early days, no way to do anything much for their room. This was my chance to have fun.)
We started out with this room in my son’s new house:
That’s from the door. And here’s from that right-hand corner:
Obviously, a blank canvas painted in typical “contractor beige.” There’s nothing wrong with the color… just sort of bland and for a little girl, not really fun.
That blue you see in the photo is my first attempt at painting the furniture. I had the, and it deserves all caps, INSANE, idea to use the Annie Sloan Chalk paint and get an aged look. The problem became obvious almost immediately. I was trying to replicate the look of a dresser I saw in one of her magazines, and the piece had an aged purple look. I bought all the paint they said I needed, in the colors used in the photo, and it came out blue. Very perfect-for-a-boy’s-room blue. It wasn’t bad, if it was just one piece, but then looking at it, I had the realization that there were several pieces of this furniture to go in one room. A desk, chair, hutch for the desk, dresser, headboard/footboard/trundle bed combo. Combined, they made three actual groupings, but still, a lot of that color was too much. I can only say, for my excuse, that I was in the middle of the rewrite and had clearly lost my mind.
The good news is, paint is easy enough to fix. When I went back to paint over it, the chalk paint had, indeed, hardened (cured) so well, that it didn’t scratch or anything when moving these pieces around. If I hadn’t seen that, then half-way through this next part, I’d have lost heart, because when I started painting over it in pure white, it looked like it would scratch up too easily to be in a kid’s room. (The chalk paint is a soft paint. You put on a clear coat of wax afterward, which is what hardens. Or the dark wax, which ages-and-hardens.) (The upside to chalk paint? I didn’t sand anything. I didn’t prep anything. I didn’t even think about prepping. I just slapped the paint on and it stuck, even to the super-slick hard plastic-y feeling surface of this furniture. Even over the wax from the first attempt. The only thing it had a problem with was cover something that had been saturated with mineral spirits. I had one piece I’d cleaned the sharpie marks off of with mineral spirits, but hadn’t apparently wiped it off well enough. It bubbled and flaked on me. It came off so easily, I just used a scraper and slid it off like butter. And only on that one spot did I have to do a light sanding, which solved the problem.)
The original finish (that’s the desk on the right above) was a shiny cream color that almost looked like plastic up close. I had seen it at a distance in the store (where it was on clearance), and it looked like it’d hold up to a kid. Unfortunately, Angie and one of her buddies had written on it and scratched it up while that kid stayed with them a while. I could get some of it off (mineral spirits works wonders, and Mr. Clean erasers are da bomb), but it didn’t really look good. Hence the desire to repaint.
First, however, I had to pick colors. It took me a while to find a bedspread that had purple in it (her favorite color), that would be appropriate for her now (at age 5 1/2, starting Kindergarten), but would be something that would grow with her until she’s maybe twelve or so and would want something more grown-up. I got lucky and found bedspreads on sale at Pottery Barn Kids, and had a free shipping coupon and another discount coupon that they let me apply (I don’t think they were supposed to), so it ended up affordable.
Here’s a photo of the walls-in-progress:
That ceiling is actually a lighter shade of the purple. The green drop cloth’s reflection is screwing with the coloring here.
Then came the white coat of Annie Sloan onto the furniture. ELEVENTY BILLION COATS OF PAINT LATER, it looked great. I was so annoyed during the process, I didn’t even take photos. The painting was easy. It’s just that damned blue I’d painted on two of the pieces was so dark, I had to do three coats of the white to fully cover it. Three freaking coats. And then a coat of the clear wax. I grew to loathe the hutch with a white hot passion, because I could never quite get at a good angle to get both sides of the shelf. It was too heavy to lift up onto saw horses (and I already had the headboard and footboard on those). Suffice it to say that if I ever ever EVER paint furniture again, I’m going to do ONE FREAKING PIECE and stop. And that piece will be placed by manly men onto sawhorses. I would have gotten help during this process if I had realized how damned long it would take. (It took more than a week.)
The end result, though, turned out pretty nice:
There are several things I did above that I saw on Pinterest (aka, The Evil Enabler). One was the curtain rods hanging from the ceiling to make a sort of four-poster feel for the bed. This was important because for the next year, Angie will have to share that back wall (where the other curtains are in the center of this photo) with her little step-sibling (well, not quite step, but close enough). He’s one, and there are three wonderful boys from the woman my son is with now (terrific woman). There’s a spare room in the new house that needs to be closed in to form another bedroom, and eventually, the oldest boy will get that new room, and this baby and the middle boy will get the current boys’ room across the hall. For the mean time, though, there’s a baby bed, and the need for him to not be disturbed as much when he goes to sleep a little earlier than Angie. That’s where the curtain idea struck me as useful. I could create private-feeling spaces for both kids in one room, but Angie still got “her” room. The baby’s bed is now behind that curtain. Later on, when he graduates to the next bedroom, I’ll let Angie decide if she wants a little seating area there, or a play area (table/chairs) or a stage. Maybe a stage with a little seating area on it. (grin) (I know my ham of a granddaughter is probably going to pick the seating area with the ability to convert it to a stage.)
The curtains were kinda hard to hang. Thank God Carl agreed to go help me with that part. I couldn’t have managed it, and my son was overwhelmed with other obligations. Those curtain rods are hanging from the joists in the ceiling, so they cannot be pulled down easily by kids.
The little LED lights that are strung across the top do not touch the curtains. They’re very low wattage and not a fire hazard, and all of the cords hang down the back side of the curtain against the wall, and plug into one outlet. My son can easily reach that to unplug/plug as needed.
The photo above was taken with the big room light off, and the curtains closed. It seems a little brighter in the photo than in the room itself… but it’s very much a sort of dreamy, night-sky effect that Angie flipped over.
I painted the chair the wall shade of purple and a lighter shade, and the drawers of the desk the lighter shade. Then did the same lighter shade on the dresser:
(All of the walls were the same purple, best represented by the first photo with the furniture. The lighting really kinda screwed with it for the photos.) We (and by “we” I totally mean “Carl”) put on new hardware on all of the furniture, since several of the old handles had broken and several more were about to be. I liked the lighter shade on the drawers–it kept the room from being just a ring of white furniture around the room. Ultimately, I wanted to do a large photo above this piece, but I didn’t have any that suited the room. Next spring, I’m going to get some of various blooms and blow them up to large canvas sizes and stagger them here. That’ll give me some break from the purple and introduce other colors into the room. Eventually, she’ll probably end up with a TV in there on that dresser, since, as the only girl, she often wants to watch Tinkerbelle in a house full of Wreck-it-Ralph boys. (Though she does enjoy the latter, too.)
The Dr. Seuss decal was one of those “looked really easy, turned out to be a pain” things. I got it for a little over $8.00 from an Etsy shop, and it looked so easy to apply. However, in actuality, the lettering did not want to let go of the front film; the backing peeled off easily, and then you put it in place and the letters are supposed to stick and then the front film is supposed to peel off easily after you rub the letter. That was a complete LIE LIE LIE. And I could have easily hurt someone if the maker had been anywhere near me at the time of application. The letters wanted to tear, and stick to each other and the damned thing was a royal pain in the butt. I don’t know if this was because of something wrong with the product or, if in shipping, it got so hot that the act of shipping is what screwed it up. Plus, they sent me a different saying than the one I ordered. It was still a good one, but I’m really glad I didn’t try to apply this straight to the wall, as originally intended. For starters, the lettering is much smaller than I had wanted, and it would have been a nightmare on the wall. This way, I can take it down later. If I had it to do over again, I’d order a custom-made decal where the letters were much larger. I think handling them would have been easier, plus it would have given me the impact I was looking for when I looked at the photos online. All of those are much larger than what arrived.
The flowers were plastic stick on flowers, and were cheap at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I didn’t do nearly as good of a job attaching them as I had intended. I had definitely gone screaming past the fuck-it stage and was bordering on the let’s-just-set-fire-to-it-and-go-home stage by this point.
I picked up the pops of green from the green in the bedspread; got lucky on the find for the lamps and then the rug (washable).
For her birthday, I’m going to add a purple bean bag chair. We also ordered a pretty fan/light, which hasn’t yet come in. That’s in white, and I might go over there and paint the fan blades (which are leaf shaped) in the same green as these lamp shades. But it won’t be any time soon.
So there ya go… that’s what I’ve been up to.
Overall, I’m happy with the project, and I know I can add little things to it over the next year or so that will make it a more complete room. (She needs bookshelves down low where I can add in all of her books that I have over here.) I’d also like to create a type of art center for her (something better than her desk) where she can color or do school projects without risking the paint on the desk (which, God knows, I do not want to ever have to repaint). But for now, this is way better than before, and the absolute look of shock and wonder on her face when she walked in and saw it definitely made the effort worth it.
There’s no way for a kid her age to grasp what it took to pull it off. But her racing downstairs and grabbing everyone to come and see… well, that pride that she has in her pretty new room is something I suspect she’ll carry forward. And every day she’s there, she’ll know her Mimi did that for her, so that’s good.
I remember my parents letting me pick out my favorite color for my new room the first time we moved to our new house. I was twelve, and my dad loathed yellow, but I picked out a pale yellow to go with a pretty floral bedspread, and as much as it pained him (and still does, I think, just the memory of that color), he painted it for me. Very. Begrudgingly, but still. Yellow. I loved that room.
How about you? What are your favorite colors? What kind of fantasy room would you like to have?