Monday, October 6, 2014

bedroom on a budget: part two

{click here for Part One}

Where did we leave off? Oh yes. Those walls.

The teensy tiny bit o' caulking in the seams made all the difference. Not enough that it would seep through to the sheetrock, in case we ever want to take the wood down, but just enough to soften up all the bulges caused by the wavy walls the planks were nailed to. No longer would there be nightmares about spiders setting up housekeeping in all those perfectly sized hidey holes and dropping on my face as I slept at night.

Hallelujer and praise da Lort.

The next order of business was those nightstands. Because everything else in the room was already black, they needed to not be. The color options consisted of the whatever-is-in-the-garage palette, as the miniscule budget allocated for them would be spent on hardware.

It only took a quick "lets just see" coat of leftover green from the dresser in the craft room before that shade was nixed. Yikes.

Looks like we were gonna hafta ditch the brighter color idea and go neutral. Since black was out, that left white (nope), tan or brown (definitely no), or that leftover gray from the boys' dresser that had been redone upstairs {and the laundry/bedroom wall}.

Gray is enjoying it's 15 minutes of fame right now, but - no offense to those riding the trend train - I don't get it. However. As deep as my disdain runs, this "Mined Coal" color had just enough earthy warmth to make it tolerable. Not my favorite, but sometimes free is the trump card that must be played, even if it's grudgingly.

{same hardware as before, just painted black}

Tip: don't keep your weakness for free furniture a secret.

When my friend saw this in her alley destined for the dump, she lugged it up to her garage, knowing full well that I'd be thrilled to give it a home. For years it got put to work by the computer holding the printer/ random office supplies. When Camden got his own room and swiped one of our nightstands, this bad boy got an invitation he couldn't refuse: a chance to hold sweatshirts and Roger's stash of Twizzlers. The role of a lifetime.

Years ago I made an attempt to combine a giftcard, coupon and a sale price fake a finished room by hanging these curtains. It didn't work. I loved the fabric, just not here.

This solid green pair from Ikea fit the bill. Literally. Simple, sheer enough to let in light, and TWENTY DOLLARS FOR THE PAIR.

It felt criminal to cover up the newly added recycled window casing, but the bit of trim that did peek out was enough to beef up the window, giving it a bit more height.

Immediately to the left of the window is where a few years old $25 Craigslist chair sits. It always felt awkward there, needing something on the wall to make it feel more connected and less like it was serving a time-out in the corner for being naughty.

Unused frames from the hall closet got hung on the wall bridging the awkward gap and marrying everything together. It seems to be the norm to have photos of your kids everywhere in your bedroom. I've even seen spaces with sweet little faces enlarged and hanging up over the bed, just staring at you. Daring you to get naked.

Come nightfall, when it's time to change the figurative hat and transform from Nurturing Mother into Seductive Wife, the LAST thing I want looking at me is an image of the children from Easter 2011.

The bedroom is a way to remind us of our relationship, which existed long before the birth of our babies.

Everything in here triggers a happy memory: the photos, the record cover we got at a concert that's been stuck in a frame, the clipart that's reminiscent of the pattern on our first dishes, the subtle suggestions hot off the press.

(and, for the record, it's this version, not that Jason Derulo nonsense)

We've already talked about all the action on the other side of the room. An icky, I-wanna-rip-it-out-but-there's-no-carpet-underneath bookcase that got a facelift with a coat of paint and some free wood.

{updating the bathroom post here}

{super simple, no-cost necklace holder steps here}

Tip: if you invest in neutral bedding, it takes next to nothing to change it up.

When I say invest, that means a $29.99 bedspread from Marshalls 7 years ago.
The throw pillows are even older, and they stayed mostly as is (see? Buy what you love and it will work forever). The only exception is that middle one, which was slipcovered (pillowcased?) with some old fabric stashed in my "someday project" hoard.

Everything else was just relocated from other rooms.

There are baskets scattered throughout the house, and although only the biggest one is actually meant for hanging, there aren't any rules that say regular ol' baskets can't chill on the wall too. I am a whore for texture and they add a ton. As does that vintage throw that was a long ago birthday gift {to myself}, marked down at an antique mall for pennies. It keeps my perpetually frozen toes warm when it gets cold, and has a special Harry Potteresque quality which makes me adore it even harder.

{Roger would like it known that there is nothing small enough in this room that we would actually need to USE this magnifying glass to see. Ahem.}
{a vintage gate marker from Bulgaria via ebay...our anniversary is August 23...obviously what it means}

 The Budget: $150

The Breakdown:

bed $40

one gallon paint for the 3 walls $25

wood planks $65

curtains $20

knobs/pulls for nightstand $15

Total: about $165

More comfy and finished than how it looked for 5 years,

and light years better than the morning after moving in.

One year later, and it still makes my heart happy to be in this room. Especially when the bed is made...which is about once a week. Tops.

Friday, October 3, 2014

bedroom on a budget: part one

 (yes, I am slowly cleaning out the "draft post" folder)

It was Spring of 2013, and I had decided that IT WAS TIME for our room to feel...I dunno...less temporary? Sparse? Make do-ish?

A week after we moved in, a coat of "Belgian Waffle" got slapped onto the walls to fake light in a perpetually dreary room. The sun shines in gloriously for 2 hours in the afternoon, but the rest of the day this space is a cave. There were wonderful plans swirling around for the someday-after-the-rest-of-the-house-is-done phase, including some sort of wood/molding treatment for behind the bed, and that would happen e v e n t u a l l y, as all wonderful things magically do.


So here we were, 5 years later, sitting at the intersection of Loads of Motivation and Empty Wallet.

As there had been far too many injuries - including one overnight hospital stay - from that tall foot board, a plan was hatched. Perhaps I could *try* to sell the bed for $150 on Craigslist and just see what happened? That was fifty bucks more than we paid for it, and if there were no takers, we could adjust the price accordingly.

Two hours after posting the ad online the bed was gone. I now had a fistful of money to make it rain fund THE ROOM OF MY DREAMS.

(I can't type that without hearing it said like this. "My name is Kid Float, and I will be doing the Funky Periscope.")

(Also, this amount will no doubt make some people giggle, and I realize that there are many who may have $150 to throw at just sheets, or curtains or lamps or whathaveyou. I can respect that. I just can't relate. In my world, any budget over $25 is downright indulgent. $150 feels like the lottery. Not sure if that's refreshing or pathetic.)

I got to work searching for my ideal bed that met the 3-C test: Chunky, Curvy {because I'm all about that bass}, and Cheap. It's safe to say that this $40 sexy beast passed with flying colors.

If you're painting a piece of furniture a deep color, for heaven's sake get your primer tinted something darker than the bright white straight outta the can. Some girls never learn...but then again, some girls just use what they have on hand because it's free.

A few coats of soft black (leftover from this wall) and it was perfect. You know what else was perfect?

The $110 left over to finish the rest of the room.

Even though Roger and I are drawn to rich, delicious earthy hues, that just wasn't an option in a room this dark. The khaki color second from the bottom was the winner.

(the hallway nook before it earned it's stripes off in the distance)

No doubt that will invite even more pointing of fingers and mockery as beige is no longer ON TREND (oh the horror!).

Tip: disregard what other people are doing and surround yourself with what you love.

Fashion always changes it's mind anyway.

Oh it would be lovely to change out those aluminum blinds for something else.  Anything else. Unfortunately 72 inches of even the most basic plantation blinds would've blown the remaining budget. 

Remnant trim from the garage is a great distraction. Plus it's like my love and don't cost a thing.

{in progress}

About $65 was spent on the same kind of wood used to make the ginormous wood map, just cut into strips. It took me awhile to bite the bullet because planked walls have been EVERYWHERE in the past few years. Each time I saw someone talking about it, my heart screamed like a hipster fangirl when her favorite band ends up on mainstream radio.


In the end my husband guilted me into following my own advice: disregard what other people are doing and surround yourself with what you love.

Golly that's hard. Pride = swallowed.

Another helpful tip: don't finish the rest of your shopping while the sweet new guy at Lowes cuts your wood. 

If he stacks up too many pieces at a time, the saw will skip or push back or whatever you call it and not cut straight. At the very least, don't assume that if the top pieces of the stack look good, they all are. Lesson learned. A good 25% of our planks looked like this.

Suffice it to say that the wonky pieces went where they would be covered by furniture.

(the circles are gone!)

Some primer on the knots to keep them from bleeding through the paint,

a little screen molding to finish off the raw edges,

and then we stood back to take it all in and realized one itty bitty factor had been overlooked:

we live in north Texas.

Houses here are built on moving soil ---> shifting foundations ---> 46 year old walls aren't flat, straight, or in any way level. Imperfect planks on an imperfect wall meant nothing was really sitting flush.


It doesn't look horrid in this photo, but trust. This is the deep, dark reality of DIY - not everything turns out like you think it will. 

After brainstorming possible solutions for days (i.e. burn the house down and start from scratch), I was thinking that maybe if there was a little caulk in between the planks, it would soften up the horizontal bulges and gaps while still leaving the seams visible. The wood needed another coat of paint anyhow, and at that point I was willing to stake my bets and risk messing up the whole freaking thing. 

Luckily the Angels of Mercy were shining down upon us. That's a good thing since that first coat of green paint over the black nightstand also needed some saving.

::Part Two on Monday::

Monday, September 22, 2014

That time we turned the laundry room into a bedroom

There was a clunking noise above my head, followed by a grunt and a smash. A long dragging noise vibrated through the floor.

(one week after moving in - July 2008)
I peeked up the stair well, trying to figure out what the latest argument was in what had become a two month long string of brawls. The bickering began innocently enough disguised as sibling rivalry. A "his stuff is on my side" here / "why are you breathing like a freak" there, but had evolved into what can only be described as...unmanageable.

As mothers of tween boys know, there is something odd that begins to happen to our darling fellas right around their 11th birthday. All of a sudden you begin seeing these passionate/violent explosions that come out of nowhere. Unprovoked rage that's looking for a wall - or face - to punch.

And when you've got two brothers so close in age that they're going through it together?

Then you're right back to where we were, with Camden attempting to drag his mattress through the hall and down the stairs because he'd "rather live outside on the patio than take one more millisecond with THAT JERK."

Damn you, testosterone.

(after a coat of paint and repurposed cabinets before we created a craft room - March 2009)

When we moved into this house, the 3 youngest boys shared the bigger upstairs bedroom. Hayden was eventually evicted and moved downstairs with Brendan as his favorite hobby had become annoying the two older ones. But now - AS MUCH AS I BELIEVE CHILDREN SHOULD SHARE A ROOM - we needed to get creative. Without moving. Or spending any money.

That row of hooks was perfect for backpacks of yesteryear that weren't carrying overstuffed middle school binders and 20 pounds of high school textbooks. Adolescent bags are much too heavy to be hung up now (no matter what pinterest tells you), and those hooks had sat empty for years.

May 2013

Speaking of empty, although the left side of our laundry room is taken up with the washer and dryer, the other side was just doing nothing. Sure, it housed the perfectly organized heaps o' dirty clothes like a boss, but that's technically what that laundry shoot is for. All that other stuff? Procrastination mixed with pure, unadulterated laziness.

There were grand visions of turning the whole space into a super efficient storage mecca, but I suppose that will just have to wait for another season of life. Never doubt the sacrifices a mother will make when she's desperate for some freakin' family harmony.

A quick coat of dark charcoal paint leftover from the boys' dresser upstairs got put onto that recessed wall.

We moved in an old area rug to warm up part of the 1968 (complete with embed glitter!) linoleum. The temporary trash nightstand and lamp moved in that first night until we sorted who got what from the custody battle of stuff upstairs. The tv that's used for video games got plopped onto a shelving rack from the garage. I was having panic attacks at the thought of Camden telling his future therapist about his Harry Potterish set-up...but instead? It became the "cool dorm room" that everyone wanted to hang out in.

He kept all of his clothes stored where they were upstairs, but he wanted a little storage/display space to make it feel less hobo-with-a-mattress-in-a-laundry-room. That tall shelf in our Very Organized Garage wasn't holding much but some old thermos (thermoses? thermosi?), and was chunky and wood and once it got a few inches cut off the end, fit perfectly.

Instead of wasted space, we now have a reason to keep the laundry from getting backed up AND harmony in the house.

For free.

(Update: it's been over a year now, and although the boys are back to being friends again, 
Camden has no desire to leave his little bedroom alcove.)

Here's to working with what you've got.