Saturday, April 27, 2013

The kids' bedroom makeover: AFTER

In case you missed it:

Not quite the last of these posts, since we still need to finish the desk and closet areas, but close enough! The room is now 100% more kid and 100% less grandma styled.

Saturday we finished painting and put the bed together, but it was still too fumey to let the kids sleep in there. Instead they slept in our bed and we slept on the air mattress.

They must have been tired from vacation. Sleeping in the same bed, I pretty much expected there to be bloodshed and mayhem before they finally fell asleep -- but five minutes after I kissed them goodnight they were snuggled together and out cold.

I would have taken a picture... but I didn't want to press my luck with the camera flash.

Sunday we started putting together the furniture and this definitely caused the most excitement. As did rediscovering their toys as they put them away in the new storage spots.

But enough yakking... I know you want to see the results. So here we are:

South side of the room



Notice my little photo-bomber? Edmonton folk, you may look at the shorts and feel jealous.

The only new piece in this photo is the large Expedit storage unit on the left. Originally I was going to go with RAST dressers, but they turned out to be tiny in real life. After staring at dressers for a while we decided to go with the Expedit for the extra toy storage. Though it does mean that every piece of furniture in this room is from IKEA. And to think I used to dislike that store.

The door to the south hall is unpainted (you can see the color difference). I have not made up my mind yet, but I think I am going to paint it in chalkboard paint eventually.

North side of the room



This is the unfinished side of the room. We've purchased a long board that will stretch from the west wall to the closet, resting on top of the filing cabinet to form a desk. Mounted on the wall will be a magnetic board for each, a light for each, and either shelves or artwork above it. I was originally thinking shelves, but now I think it might be storage overkill. We'll see.

I also want to add some shelves in the closet to make a little book nook somewhat similar to this:

Source: babble via Johanna on Pinterest

 Mine won't be nearly as cool, but we'll see what JD's magic can whip up.

West side of the room



I apologize for the light in this picture, but you get the general feel. I bought white curtain rods at target so that I can rehang the curtains, but I admit to being deathly afraid of drilling into the plaster walls. I just see them crumbling away in huge chunks. while JD scolds me for using the wrong kind of screw.

The window sill and radiator



This is one of the radiator covers JD built this winter. It lets heat out really well and keeps the kids from searing themselves on the metal of the radiator. Plus, I didn't have to paint the freaking radiator! I love these covers.

East side of the room



Here is the huuuuuge expedit that we chose instead of dressers. The top-left six cubes serve as clothes storage. Eventually we might get the attachable doors for these squares, but I am in no hurry. This way the kids can easily see and choose their own clothes in the morning. 

The kids have been very happy about their room makeover. Ian is especially excited for the desk. He had to write a vacation journal for school, and in his last entry he wrote:

"I have a new room. There is a computer on my desk."

Me: Dude, you don't have a computer.
Ian: *grins happily*
Me: ...
Me: *mumble*Must research parental controls*mumble*

I'll laugh when the dog eats his computer... not that we have a dog... yet...

*sigh* I loose to the seven-year-old again.

The colors we chose are:
  • Walls: Blue Haze (Benjamin Moore) in matte finish
  • Trim: Sherwin William's off the shelf bright white in semi-gloss finish
  • Closet: Sunwashed (Benjamin Moore) in matte finish
The remaining things to do are:
  • Add crown molding to the ceiling
  • Build the desk area
  • Build shelves and install lighting in the closet
  • Install a new light fixture on the ceiling
  • Install curtains on or around the bunk bed
  • Install reading lights on the bunk bed (may be a bad plan)
  • Hang art!
In the end I think it was definitely worth the week of vacation spent on it. It makes me happy whenever I catch a glimpse of the blue walls while walking by. I really can't wait to de-carpify the rest of the house!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The kids' bedroom makeover: DURING

In case you missed it, click here for the BEFORE pictures.

Technically my last post contained some "during" pictures, but since removing the wallpaper only took about 30 minutes I figured it didn't really count.

After removing the wallpaper came possibly the hardest part of the renovation: the brief period of time when I attempted to remove the wallpaper glue from the plaster. It was three hours of scraping and I only went about two feet and destroyed some plaster and patching on my way. Ug.

I didn't take a picture of that part.

I made an executive decision and decided to spackle over the entire room. It tells you something about scraping wall paper glue that I thought this was the better option. So off I went to Lowes ♥ to buy a 50 pound pail of joint compound.

JD happened to call around that time and told me to bring along my 15-year-old nephew (who was on vacation) to lug the pail of spackle for me. Since I had already been defeated by a glue-covered wall there was no way I was going to let a pail of spackle mock my weakness too. I sweetly told JD I would do that, hung up, told my nephew to have fun playing video games while I was gone, and headed off to Lowes. I cart a thirty-pound kid around all day, how heavy could a pail be?

Gentle readers, if you ever feel the need to purchase a 50 pound pail of spackle (that turns out to actually weigh 62 pounds) I strongly advise you to bring along a 15-year-old nephew OR ask a sales associate to assist you. My room renovation nearly died right there in the aisle of Lowes.

At the end of it all I had my pail of spackle, a nice pail-shaped bruise on my thigh where I used my leg to heft the pail into the cart, and a broken cart. And I suffered guilt-ridden dreams about the broken cart that night, which even I know is silly. But still.... I feel sooooooo guuuuillllty!!!! Poor cart.

Anyway, on to the pictures! When last we left the wall it looked something like this:

The part between the windows is one of the places where you can press against the wall and move it back and forth.

After about six hours of spackling the wall looked like this:

The six hours of spackling were not nearly as painful as they sounded since I had my friend Hillary there to keep me company through the first part, and my mom there helping me spackle for the last part. She did the window to the closet in the picture below. Soooooo niiiiice!

Thank you ladies, you made the job 100% more manageable.

After the first layer of spackle dried, I wet sanded it all, then patched some more, then wet sanded some more, then JD primed the ceiling, then we ran out of primer! By then it was about 2am on Friday night. Kids come back Saturday morning. Eeek!

But let's rewind a day to the best surprise of the renovation. We took up a corner of the old carpet and found that the floor has a layer of wood-patterned laminate that is in really excellent condition, considering the age.

And this picture also demonstrates why you should wait until AFTER the spackling and wet sanding to remove the old carpet. Messy. We left the rest of the carpet pad in place until after the ceiling and wall painting was done.

I know most people would not be thrilled to find forty-year-old laminate under their carpets, but considering our worst-case scenario was lead-paint covered hardwoods, and our best-case scenario was plywood subfloor, the laminate looked pretty darn good.

Friday afternoon, after JD came home from work, I stole him for a trip to IKEA. I had a vision of several RAST dressers (which I would paint):

And a built-in desk with little junior office chairs:

Source: Ikea via Johanna on Pinterest

So cute!

In reality the RAST dressers were waaaaay smaller than I was imagining, so we scrapped that idea and went with the Expedit storage system instead. I am still working on this part of the room, so you will have to wait for the AFTER pictures next week to see how it all turned out.

Fast forward to Friday night at 2am. We are exhausted. JD has primed and painted the ceiling. I have pulled about a million carpet nails and about a billion and a half little staples out of the floor. We retire for a much needed five hours of sleep.

Saturday morning, FINALLY, we start painting:

Of course, the kids came home before it was all done. Ah, well. AND they immediately wanted to help. Oh God. Suffice it to say that the white rug in the living room now has little blue sneaker prints across it and the butt of Evie's purple fleece pants is sporting a permanent blue streak.

This is her, trying to show me her "pouty face" after I said Ian got to paint first.

She failed.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Mr. Serious is steadfastly ignoring our silliness.

And then Evie finally got into the action.

If all else fails, STAB IT WITH THE BRUSH!

The result:

This is the section of wall where we are going to allow "wall drawing." In other words, if they want to draw on the walls they can draw here. Anywhere else and they will be in BIG TROUBLE.

And that is the end of the DURING post! Oh, I lied. One more thing. When we took up the carpet we found another thing. ANTS. Apparently they live under the carpets. Blaaarg. I never even imagined that was possible. Time for some serious ant bait. And the rest of the carpets in the house are not long for the world. Or at least this house.

And since that is a sour note to leave you on, here is a fun video I took on moving-in day so you can see what this area of the house looked like before we moved our stuff in:

I made several videos showing the whole house. I'll post those up in a series at some point.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The kids' bedroom makeover: BEFORE

During April vacation we sent the kids down to the Island to spend the week with Grandma and Grandpa and I took the week off to renovate their bedroom. I know, I know. We all have our own sense of fun, I guess.

After nearly five years of being an avid home-improvement blog stalker, I have realized that the key to having really amazing makeovers is to have REALLY bad before pictures. So without further ado...


I took this picture while standing in the closet, facing the south side of the house. The far door opens into the south-side hallway and the door to the left opens into the living room.

You can't really tell from the pictures, but the wall paper pattern is fuzzy. The faded spots are where something has rubbed all the fuzz off. JD guesses that there was a canopy bed against the far wall that caused the interesting worn arch shape. And there was a cross. In case you couldn't tell.

EDIT: My mom pointed out that the worn parts were not there in our video walkthrough, which means Ian and Evie rubbed off all the fuzz themselves (probably had a grand old time doing it, too). I am guessing the cross shape did not rub off because the wallpaper underneath the cross was protected from air, sun, etc., so the glue holding the fuzz on was still strong. It's cool.  A little freaky, but cool!
I have been informed that the carpet here is the extremely popular Sears and Roebuck contoured carpet in Harvest Gold, mainly sold in 1978. I am slightly ashamed by the fact that I was alive while they were still happily selling this carpet.

Actually, considering the age of the carpet, it was in amazing shape. Everything in this house is VERY old and VERY well cared for. I really am ashamed that the white carpet in the living room has probably seen more damage during the eight months we've been living here than during the past thirty years.

The next picture was taken while standing in front of the hall door, looking back at the closet.

And here is a shot taken from the living room doorway. When we had the windows replaced they also replaced the sills (they had lead paint). Since I did not get around to painting them during the nice weather last fall they have remained unpainted all winter.

A shot of the ceiling and... do you even call this crown molding? Trim?

A look at the window sills and lovely radiator...

And standing in front of the radiator, looking into the living room...

I tore off a test piece of wall paper and was very happy to see that it came off easily in long panels. What was under the wallpaper was not so great.

While ripping down wall paper I found some interesting patches made of scrap wood on the wall behind the bunk bed. JD tried to see what is back there (treasure maybe?) but we finally decided we would wait and find out when we tore all the walls down.

It was quickly becoming apparent that this was going to be Phase 1 of the renovation. Phase 2 would be to completely gut the room and do it all over again.

The walls under the wall paper...

The horror...

And this when I finally realized that this was not going to be a minor patch job and some paint renovation... and that it was a good idea to take a full week off.

The plaster had begun to separate from the lathing (or the lathing rotted away), so in many places you can actually push against the wall and it will move back and forth. Good thing it has all that horsehair keeping it together!

Most of the plaster was in such bad shape that it started to disintegrate when I tried to get the wallpaper glue off. I finally made the decision to leave it alone and skim coat EVERYTHING. Next post I'll show the DURING pictures and you can see what 40 pounds of joint compound can do to transform a room.

Now that's my idea of fun!