The Evolution of a Girl and her Room

My daughter and I just finished making over her room for the fourth and final time (whew!). Her room has had more ideas splashed on its walls than any other room in the house. I swear her room has decreased in square footage from all the plaster and paint we’ve added over the last 12 years. Each makeover reflected her growth and her latest and greatest dreams. I’ve loved trying to bring her ideas to life and it’s been worth every bruise and back spasm to give her a space that’s all hers.

first day homeOur house was a model home, so when we moved in, her room had already been given a theme – butterflies (the caterpillar came with the room as well). I can’t even believe how little she was when we first got there.

butterfly roomThe paint job had been poorly done so we repainted it with a slightly different palette and expanded on the butterfly theme to include all sorts of insects (those butterflies came with the room as well). Dianna was a tomboy and wanted more bugs than beauty so we added ants and spiders to keep it from being too precious. The fun part was having my paint friends come help. We figured out how to do raised stenciling and then we added little jewels to the wings for a little sparkle. So totally fun!

I searched forever for pictures of the raised stenciling and all I’ve figured out is that they’re gone and this computer is refusing to do anything with the pile of negatives I have in a shoe box. I’ve tried cramming them in the disc drive, but my husband says that’s not good for the computer. Negatives! Can you even remember those?

Gryffindor room In 2003 I was fully entrenched in my faux finishing business and had been introduced to a product that created a stone-like finish in two easy steps. That sparked the idea for a Harry Potter themed room. We’re both huge fans (friends will tell you that huge does not describe our obsession accurately) of the books and the movies, and had traveled to Oxford, England just to visit some of the spots where the movies were filmed. I incorporated some of the architectural elements into the room including a carved window looking out toward the Whomping Willow (she has kept this mural through all the other makeovers).

Hogwarts muralThe room reflected Dianna’s love of dragons and magic without going to that girly side where glitter and unicorns usually spring up. Most of her friends were boys at this age so a feminine room would have been less than inviting. Thankfully all the work we put in to this room was rewarded by her loving it for six years……an eternity in kid-time.

graffiti on2009 was the year she decided to move on. She was loving rockers like Hayley Williams, Avril Lavigne and Green Day and the Potter room just wasn’t working any more. She really didn’t know what she was looking for, but she knew she wanted it to be dark. We dove in to that makeover with a gallon of nearly black paint. It was awesome.

metallic foil guitarWe experimented with spray painting through stencils and a lot of metallic foil. The foil guitar image was one of Dianna’s own designs and gave the room a focus wall.

the writing on the wallAfter wallpapering photos, maps and posters everywhere, we decided to let her and her friends fill in the blank spaces. So one afternoon I taught 5 junior high boys how to stencil, gave them paint and brushes and then let them all go. They created a graffiti masterpiece. I think the boys’ mothers thought I was crazy, but that really was one of the funnest things we’ve ever done and I know Dianna will never forget it.

All through high school Dianna’s friends added to the walls whenever they were inspired. It was like living inside a yearbook with all your friends’ comments and inside jokes. I kept the base colors in little cans so she could subtract things like old boyfriends or bad memories….you can paint over almost anything.

This summer Dianna decided she needed a change. Heading in to her senior year was moving a little too quickly. With friends leaving and her trying to figure out what to do after graduation, she was feeling the need for a small refuge from all the changes going on outside. The graffiti and the darkness of her room seemed to be dragging her down and she was searching for calm and light.

The graffiti room had a lot of stuff that had to be removed, patch and plastered. It was definitely a suck job and I’ll tell you all about it some other day, but for now, just know that Dianna finally has some peace, and a quiet place  to slow down in.

peaceful room

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Really Quick Chair Makeover

black toile chairsSeveral months ago my stepmother brought me two chairs she had picked up at an antique shop. She knew I’d love the fabric and thought I could probably fix up the paint and make them better.

She was right, I do love the fabric. Unfortunately the person who had them before me had used a ton of hot glue to stick the trim on, so when I removed the seats to paint them the fabric got kind of trashed. Now what?

I knew my sister needed new chairs and I decided to make them over for her instead.

adorable chairs Aren’t they adorable! I found the fabric at JoAnn’s Fabric and it’s made for the outdoors so it’s really durable. Durability is a must at my sister’s house because they have big dogs running around and they just brought home a new puppy.

very colorful chairsThis makeover only took a couple days. Removing the original fabric was the toughest part. After that was gone, the rest of the work was simple. I used a new Valspar prime + paint spray which covered the black quickly. The new paint is really bright and high gloss so it’s fun and trendy. I added some new padding to the seat before covering it with the new fabric.

My sister loves them and they look adorable in her dining room. Easy peasy.

The Bathroom Remodel is complete

finished remodelThe remodel of my daughter’s bathroom is finally complete. The studio and the downstairs half of my house is clean and I’m finally at peace. Let’s visit the Before shots for a moment shall we……….

BEFOREI shudder just looking at this. This was the starting point of our unplanned bathroom remodel. In our defense, it was this way when we bought it. But at the same time…..it was this way when we bought it……12 years ago.

ugly bathroom BEFOREThat nasty piece of terry cloth has been hanging there for 12 freaking years! Some model home designer stuck it there in a stroke of brilliance and I chose to ignore it for over a decade. Amazing what one can deny exists in our own homes. Now back to the pretty pictures:

beauty centralFirst thing to go was the wallpaper, which sucked to remove because the walls hadn’t be primed and they installed it right on the drywall. The glue really wanted to stay on forever but we washed it over and over and over and then primed. Dianna went with a great shade of blue on the walls and bright white on the cabinets. We raised the height of the vanity and added some new hardware on the drawers and doors which I love.

wood countertopWe removed the old counter top and tile backsplash and replaced it with a solid wood top and a backsplash made from “clear wood” which I think is code for “plastic with a faux wood veneer.” It’s light weight and cheap but I bought it because I thought it would be a good choice considering the risk of water damage.

Both the top and splash were stained with a Faux Effects product called Stain & Seal and three coats of C-500, a urethane product also from Faux Effects.

Lace flowersI know it looks like I put stickers on the backsplash, but this is a painted detail I swear. I used a Martha Stewart silkscreen design to create this border. This is my first time using a silkscreen. What I liked about it was that I could use much thicker paint than with a stencil, creating a more dimensional design, which is why it looks like a sticker. My daughter loves lace and she chose the design. She also has a connection to my mother through daisies, so she loves having these around.

union jack organizerThis jewelry organizer, complete with Union Jack design is one of our favorite additions. I can not take credit for the design. My friend Melanie created this design on an old IKEA door for a photo shoot, but then didn’t need it afterward so I got to take it home. Being huge fans of all things British, we had to incorporate it somehow. Thanks Melanie!

the new Assmaster 2000The new Assmaster 2000 has been installed and is no longer being crowded by 12 year old terry cloth (so nasty). My daughter decided that a door to the shower area was stupid since she’s an only child and no one walks in on her. She opted for a curtain in the doorway instead. Kind of like a dressing room.

The photo above also shows off the new floor. It’s vinyl planks which are really easy to install and extremely cheap. They look really nice and give the look of wood without having to take out a loan.

cool teen bathroomWe removed the giant sheet of mirror and replaced it with two new mirrors. We paid $15 for each of them but they came with ugly dark brown frames. We made them over with high gloss white spray paint. I filled the gap between them with two shelves I made from the scrap piece of MDF left over from the new footer on the cabinet. We also made over the clock and the light fixture with the high gloss white and they look brand new.

remodel on the cheapSo that’s our little project. We did get rid of some paint and stain from The Stash which is always good. Dianna loves her grown up bathroom and I love having my life back.

Inventory Used: latex paint and Stain and Seal

The Consequences of Home Improvement

remodel debrisI know you’re all having trouble sleeping because you haven’t heard if I finished the bathroom remodel today. “Did she check everything off her yellow legal pad list?” “Did she cave to the whisperings of her couch and watch Downton Abbey all day?” I wish!

I finished the bathroom today. Yay Me! Unfortunately, I finished late in the afternoon and the light isn’t perfect, so I’m going to wait until tomorrow to photograph the remodel in all its glory, and believe me, it’s glorious.

studio disasterWhat’s tempering my enthusiasm is the fallout from 2 1/2 weeks of working on this project…….aka: my studio is a disaster. For the last two weeks I have been completely focused on finishing this project which means things like putting stuff away, throwing stuff away, dusting, washing, cleaning, showering, etc. have definitely fallen by the wayside. That ends tomorrow.

Tomorrow, after the photos are taken and before the congratulatory Starbuck/Barnes & Noble outing, the studio will have to be cleaned. I actually love this part of the process. It brings me back to center, back from crazy, manic, I’ll kill anybody that gets in my way girl.

The truth of the matter is, three weeks ago my daughter told me about all her plans for her final year in high school. I tried to picture her getting ready for each day in a bathroom with primary striped wallpaper and a vanity made for a toddler. The same bathroom she’s had since she was five. I know it’s a first world problem, and I’m not going to cure cancer, but at the very least, and I mean the very least, I wanted to give her a grown up bathroom, so she could grow up. I think in this bathroom, she will start to see the beginnings of the woman my whole family knows she is becoming. Go get ’em Dianna! We’re right behind you.

How do you know when you’re done?

I think I’m one day away from being done with the (unplanned) remodel of my daughter’s bathroom. It’s turning out beautifully, but I’m not posting photos because I’m not done. How do you know when you’re done? When everything on the yellow legal pad has a check mark next to it, you’re done. At least that’s what my dad taught me. Another thing I’ve learned from my dad……invest in yellow legal pads. Sometimes the list has to be revised.

Do you know why people in the middle of a remodel underestimate when the project will be finished? Because they remember only the big things like replacing the counter, but forget the small things like filling in nail holes. Small things add up to a lot more time than you’d like to believe.

Our bathroom remodel is what most people would call, “finished,” but I’m not done working in there. I mean, my daughter brushed her teeth and used her new Assmaster 2000 before she left for school this morning, but I was still down on my hands and knees in there all day.

Here’s the list of piddly sh*# that’s on my yellow pad for tomorrow:

  1. clean electrical outlets (covered in paint)
  2. clean window screen (nasty)
  3. install shelves
  4. install hooks, jewelry holders and art
  5. clean window blinds and install
  6. clean and install vent covers (still covered in wallpaper)
  7. install carpet trim pieces
  8. caulk toilet
  9. clean floors and mirrors

None of this stuff is noteworthy, but this is the stuff that’s between me and the moment when I take pictures and scream, “I’m done!” This moment will be closely followed by an even greater moment involving a Grande Latte at Starbucks and a magazine purchase at Barnes & Noble. (I know, I’m such a cheap date) Anyway, that’s what I’m doing here…..trying to get the last few chores off my yellow legal pad. Photos will follow when there are nine check marks on my legal pad. Wish me luck……..or send more legal pads…….only the yellow ones, the white ones don’t work.

The New Assmaster 2000 is Here!

The Assmaster 2000Today we welcomed a new addition to our family……a brand new Assmaster 2000. This will be our second Assmaster. We’re still happy with our first one that’s in the guest bath, that is, except for it’s tendency to rip the skin off your thighs if you stand too close when you’re flushing it. It’s better than liposuction.

The unplanned bathroom renovation is moving along at a fairly steady pace, regardless of my wishing I was doing something else. The paint is done on the walls and the cabinets. The new floor is down and I’m happy with it……..happy that I’m done with it! The baseboards are painted and I’ll put those in tomorrow. The counter top turned out beautifully and we’ve figured out the backsplash today so that will get done tomorrow…or the next day. I sanded and refinished the light fixture and it looks cool and modern rather than rusted and cheap. So, it’s moving along, but there’s still a lot on the list if we’re going to complete it before my daughter starts back to school……..in 6 days. No pressure!

awesome wood paletteBONUS: The Assmaster was delivered on a wood palette and the delivery guy said I could keep it. Awesome! He actually said, “I’m sure you don’t want the palette so I’ll take that away………….(long pause)…….or maybe you DO want it.” I say, “you mean, I can keep it?” Needless to say, I’m the proud owner of a trashed palette with touches of old blue paint. So exciting! I’m sure the boards will find it’s way into something cool like this:

message centerI use salvaged boards in all my message centers and craft organizers, so you’ll see this palette artfully rearranged soon. Don’t forget…….everything in both my Etsy shops (Salvaged Sanity and Destashio) is on sale through the end of the month. Use the coupon code: XMAS20 to receive a 20% discount on all your purchases. Only a few days left till the prices get put back to normal, so buy your favorites NOW!

Snowballs: Where they come from and how to avoid getting hit

blank canvasWorking as a decorative paint contractor for 14 years gave me the opportunity to observe snowballs and their victims up close and personal many times. Snowball victims almost always survive but they don’t get away completely unscathed. They walk around with that shocked, “How did I get here?,” look on their face. The photo above shows my daughter’s bathroom right before I got hit.

To be fair, I believe it’s my fault we got hit. This project was supposed to only involve a change in the wall color…….and then we went to Lowe’s. I found a flooring product that I liked and could afford at under $50 for the whole room. I thought it was a smart purchase.

The next day my husband’s told me he had made his own smart purchase when he said, “I ordered a new toilet. I figure if you’re going to replace the floor, we might as well upgrade the toilet.” The purchase of a new Assmaster 2000 let me know……..the snowball is now rolling.

removing the backsplashThe next shove came when he walked in on me trying to paint around the mirror. He offered to pull it off to make it easier. That was the critical error. When the mirror came off and he looked at the backsplash he realized it probably wouldn’t take that much work to remove both the tile and the counter. My daughter had requested that whenever we decided to replace the counter, could we raise the counter height to an adult height. This bathroom was created for children and the height is 3 inches lower than a standard counter. We had planned on replacing the counter sometime this year, but yesterday it became sometime this week. The snowball is rolling quickly now.

countertop removalMy husband is amazing and what would have taken me a couple days and a few trips to the chiropractor took him less than a couple hours. So now we have to replace the countertop, the backsplash, and while we’re at it, have the giant mirror cut and put in to two frames to make it prettier. The snowball is flying now.

raising the cabinetFortunately we had the perfect boards to raise the cabinet. This simple effort created an even bigger snowball because I will have to add a piece of wood at the bottom to cover the gap and since this was painted by the builder and I don’t have that color I’ll have to paint the cabinet. I hate painting cabinets. Fu*#king snowball!

wood countertopI decided that the cheapest and quickest way to put in a new counter would be to use a nice piece of wood. I’ll stain it and put on a really good top coat. I’m going to make the backsplash out of wood as well but I’ll add some decorative detail to it.

So what started as a small paint job has snowballed into a complete remodel including new floors, a new toilet, new mirrors, a new countertop and back splash and a freshly painted cabinet. Huge snowball.

How do you avoid snowballs?

Don’t touch the floor!