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!


  1. And that wasn't the worst of it! You've got to be young to take on stuff like this.

  2. Wow, you are right! We totally blocked that from our memory. It felt like it had always been there, but all that fuzzy must have been rubbed off by Ian. The fuzziness that had been protected by the cross must have still had stronger adhesive.