November 01, 2016

Dream in Peace

About a month ago, my ten-year-old told me that she wanted a room makeover for her birthday.
     "Let's!" I said.  "We'll have the big reveal on your birthday".
     Gwen's eyes sparkled.  "Yay! And Dad can transfer me to my bed in the middle of the night so I wake up in my new room." I pictured Richard struggling with the long and lanky Gwen in his arms (those legs are ridiculously long).
     "Ummmm.... yeah..."

The room redo was a good idea though.  The purplish hue (Benjamin Moore's Victorian Trim) was tired and sickly. The black closet doors, black furniture and miles of black trim (who in their right mind?...) also needed to go.

When I told G that there would be little in the way of gifts if I was to redo her room, she was unfazed:  "It's okay, Mumma."
Was she actually maturing?

And so I dug in.

I am no interior decorator, but I do like to dabble.  Anyone who has been inside my home knows that it is a riot of pattern, texture and colour.  I am not a fan of greige.  I knew that I could create a happy space that Gwen would love, and because I am thrifty (and a diehard recycler), I challenged myself to do it on a dime.  I wanted pretty much everything in the room to be recycled, repurposed or purchased second-hand.

Gwen had given me carte blanche: her only real specifications were that I was to remove a bed (there are three in the room) and she would be thrilled if there were a lot of pillows on her bed (easy peasy).  I happen to know that her favourite colour is blue and so I went with fresh and clean:  Arctic Ice.

I needed some inspiration for the room (a great area rug or a fabulous fabric).  I couldn't afford to buy a rug because I am a rug snob (wool and silk only, please) so I scratched that idea and considered the drapery.  An Ikea purchase, the current pair are a floral linen with muted pinks, purples, yellows, blues and oranges, and they're all kinds of meh:

tired purple walls and ugly black trim
I took them down and set off for the Goodwill, where I found the perfect pair of drapes for $11:

Score!  I had my inspiration for the room.

I thought about what I had in the house that I could use, and I remembered a wool rug that I made when Gwen was an infant.  I had cut up old wool sweaters into strips, wrapped them in coils and sewed them all together (because that's what you do when you have an infant).  The rug used to sit beneath a pedestal sink in our old bathroom, but I hadn't put it out in the new house and it had been languishing in a bin for six years.

It would look cozy beside Gwen's bed and because it's thick and squishy, it would feel marvelous on her feet when she crawled out of bed.

Richard had begun painting a Dutch landscape the summer before last, but it had been collecting dust in the basement.  The colours were fabulous and the painting would be a reminder of the special time that our family shared when we traveled to the Netherlands last summer.  I told him to finish it, and fast.

Nathaniel's old twin quilt- made by me but currently out of favour as he sleeps on a queen bed- would go on Gwen's spare bed.  It's primarily blue and white with pops of colour:

One bed down, one to go.  Gwen's current duvet on her double bed is grey with velvet trim and it still looks good.  It would have to do.
Bam!  Bedding taken care of.

As I read the paper one morning, I saw that Sherwin Williams was offering their paint at 40% off, and a new shop had opened just up the road from us.  Nice!

Because I SUCK as a painter, I did not want to paint the walls of Gwen's room.  I am good at unhinging doors, removing plastic light and outlet covers, and washing walls and trim, but I am a terrible painter.  TERRIBLE.  I am also a skinflint, and I did not want to pay out the wazoo for labour either.  What's a girl to do?  I consulted my friend Kijiji, and found a painter (who also refinishes furniture) for $20 bucks an hour.  He promised to be quick (and he seemed sane over the telephone), so I went with him.  He did an awesome job and I ended up having him paint my upper hallway and staircase walls, the main floor hall, and the dining room.  As I am typing this blog, he is painting my kitchen.

Wallpainting completed, I decided that I would restore the black closet doors to their former glory by painting them white (Cloud White by BM).  Let me tell you that it was a completely hellish job, and that I loathe painting doors.  Richard said that I did a bad job and I didn't disagree.  I believe he may have used the word "shit" when he saw them; however, they are now white (ish) and they're hanging up and it's not like they're the focus of the room.  They have new hardware and to me, they're as good as new.

I wanted to change up the furniture because it was black, certainly not heirloom quality, and definitely not attractive:

I found a brilliant bureau on Kijiji and that was my splurge at $250.  It would have been only $200, but I asked the seller to go with glass knobs instead of brass hardware and the damn glass set me back $50.  I think it was totally worth it though.  Here's a pic of the bureau, before the hardware was changed.  I love that the seller painted the three rows of drawers three different shades of grey:

You will have to wait until the end of this post to see its final look.

Gwen's tickle trunk - a cedar chest that I purchased on Kijiji many years ago - also needed an update.    It's incredibly ugly, but sturdy and well-constructed, so I dug around in the basement for a can of grey paint that I knew I still had (it had been purchased from Rona's mistints section for $10).  I hauled it down the road to the paint shop and had them mix it up for me, which wasn't a problem.  My plan was to paint the chest grey and decoupage it with paper cutouts from The Art of Audubon - The Complete Birds and Mammals (Goodwill $3):

The illustrations in this 674-page tome are outstanding.  I briefly felt guilty as I scissored into the gorgeous book, but as it's a library discard I got over it.  My inner o.c.d. child wanted me to create a legend inside the lid of the chest so that Gwen would know the names of all of the birds that I pasted onto it, but I accidentally ripped one of the names in half so I abandoned that idea.  I committed all of the names to memory so if she really wants to know, she can ask me. :-)

Closeup of the bird detail (illustrations are reprints of John James Audubon's originals in 1831-51): 

Wait until you see the chest in its entirety; I love it!

I needed a bedside table for Gwen because the old one did not go particularly well with the new dresser, and it was too large for the space.  On the day of Gwen's birthday (!), I drove like a maniac to the Goodwill to look for one.  I found a filthy little side table for $8:

I know.  It's horrendous.  I removed the hardware, washed the wood (spattered with a white, greasy substance), and painted it grey to match the chest of drawers.  $6 for new hardware from Tuckey's and I had fashioned a very pretty piece of furniture:  

Can you believe it?  Total for the makeover for this piece was $16 ($8 for the table and $8 for the handles)
Gwen's old bed, which was my old bed when I was in university), was fine for the new room.  It's cast iron, timeless and beautiful.  I had Richard cut some planks to fit beneath the mattress so that we could remove the boxspring.  I felt that it had been hiding too much of the bed's feminine details.  

I didn't want to buy bedsheets at the Goodwill (you have to draw the line somewhere!) and so my only new purchase was a set of orange and grey sheets on clearance from Winners ($27).  And an orchid because they were on sale at Freshco. ($10)

Bed and furniture done, all I needed was a mirror, artwork and some finishing touches.  I found a cheval mirror on Kijiji for $30, but didn't have time to drive across town to pick it up.  The lovely woman who sold it to me delivered it after hearing of my predicament.  It is perfect.  

I found a vintage blue aluminum tree from the Goodwill ($3), a white pillow with silver embroidery ($3), and a fun Perplexus puzzle ($2).  

Richard in the meantime, finished up his oil painting and picked up a fun print that he had sent to Costco ($15).  Gwen had purchased a black and white poster of King Kong for her Daddy from Comicon and Richard Photoshopped, scanned and enlarged it.  Our neighbour framed it for us:

The final touch was a leaded glass panel that I made many years ago:

And now it's time for the big reveal!  You will have to scroll down to see it.  

Drum roll, please...

Here's the view from the doorway, with the lights out so you can admire the glass:  

Lights on, tada!

And the messy version of the same space, now that the windmill painting is up:

Gwen made the G pillow, I found the white one at Goodwill ($3), and the fluffy one was purchased from a yard sale many years ago.  You can see the new sheets if you look closely.  Grey floor lamp ($6) also from Goodwill

Check out the sparkle on the glass knobs!

The clothes rack was purchased at a yard sale for $5.  There are two of them (I bought both; the other is in Nathaniel's room), and they're from Eaton's department store (I loved Eaton's.  It was a sad day when that store closed its doors).

All that is needed to complete the room is a bookshelf (her old one has been moved to the basement where it holds all my sewing supplies), and I have to finish the wall quilt that I am sewing (I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take).

Final tally for the room redo:

pillow from Goodwill - $3
orchid - $10
curtains - $11
Costco poster $15
Kijiji cheval mirror (including delivery!) - $30
aluminum tree from Goodwill - $3
bureau from Kijiji (the splurge) - $250
table from Goodwill - $8
puzzle from Goodwill - $2
painting and paint supplies - $190
hardware from Tuckey's - $16
sheets on clearance at Winner's - $27

Grand total for the room:  $555

Make sure you watch this video for Gwen's priceless reaction:

“...the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” 
― Gaston BachelardThe Poetics of Space