I’m ready to give another tour today: my bedroom! I had to take a little time off from writing, but now I have enough to write about for a good month until the fun stuff starts happening outside 🙂 Have you ever been “stress-paralyzed”? I have. It’s kind of a joke, but they talk about it in the movie “Moms’ Night Out.” (By the way, if you are a mom, I highly recommend watching it if you need a good laugh…even if you are a dad, I’m sure you could appreciate the humor in it.) Basically, the idea is that you get so stressed or overwhelmed that you can’t even move, because where do you even begin? One thing that felt like it might help would be to have our bedroom completed. A bedroom should be a place of rest and relaxation, but it hadn’t been feeling that way.
Ever since we butchered our chickens, I’ve been feeling “stress-paralyzed on and off. Not because we butchered the chickens, but because we had SO much going on all at once, and afterwards it was kind of a feeling of shock. We didn’t have as much to do, but the amount of stuff we had done leading up to that point was crazy (for us). I have sort of been floundering through the winter, trying to find the energy or ambition to get stuff done around the house, but being in a house with 5 little kids day-in-day-out means that most of what I do feels like it accomplishes nothing. What? You fed the kids 30 minutes ago? Oh. Well, they’re hungry again! (Actually, they always tell me they are “STARVING.”) You expected the walls to stay clean? Good one! You mean you expect us to wipe it up if we spill our milk? I didn’t know that! My point is that it’s a struggle just to maintain the basics when you’re cooped up with kids in winter. There’s nothing going on outside, so the messes can pile up inside pretty quickly.
In reality, it’s been like that since we moved, and I just keep plucking away at the things that HAVE to get done, and trying to find the energy to work on the things that would be really, really helpful to have done. In spite of my best efforts, I have long felt far behind. I was telling Scott that I just need to be able to feel “caught up,” even if it doesn’t last long. I need to be able to get ahead. If I could just feel like I had gotten ahead, even a little, I think I could manage to stay close to the “caught up” mark. Being the amazing husband that he is, he offered to take the 4 older kids away for an extended weekend. I mean, obviously getting ahead is kind of a pipe dream, but if it would make me less cranky or help me to feel less stressed, he was willing to help me out.
So, over this past weekend, he was a dear and took Pumpkin, Peanut, Miss Lady, and Doodles up to his parents’ cabin for a 4-day weekend. I helped pack them up, prepared some food to send along to make it easier, threw in a few books and their snow clothes, and off they went on a little adventure. As they were pulling out of the driveway to leave, I was feeling guilty. How could I send them away like that? Besides, I’d never been apart from any of them for more than I think 2 nights (while I was in the hospital with the next new baby), and even then, I still saw them every day. Without cell phones or internet, there would be no communication. What was I thinking? I decided to get started on some cleaning right off the bat to take my mind off of it, and good thing I did. I was putting some books on the bookshelf, only to discover that somebody dumped some hot chocolate powder on top of the shelf. I immediately stopped feeling guilty.
When planning for this weekend without the kids, I knew I needed to complete a couple of projects that have been sitting in waiting, I needed to do some deep cleaning of the house, and I needed to get a little time to relax, just for me. I wanted to start with the cleaning, you know, making the house look nice would make it easier to relax in…but then I realized that any project I was going to be working on was going to be creating a mess on top of my clean, so it was better to put that off until then end. I jumped into some project preparations, did some cleaning in the rooms that wouldn’t get messy (even from my projects), and took the rest of the day off. Then I spent the next two days working my behind off to get those few big projects checked off my list, and the last day I worked as hard as humanly possible to clean the house, top to bottom. I actually mopped for the first time in who-knows-how-long (really, I don’t know how long it has been…).
The reason I share all of this with you is that 1) I couldn’t write because I was too busy, and 2) one of the projects that I was finishing up was my bedroom! Which I can now share with you 🙂 Before I can show you the “after” I’ll need to show and explain the “before.” If you’ve been reading along, you know that we have an old house that is in great shape with beautiful bones, but it didn’t feel like home to us, and I wanted to give everything a fresh coat of paint. Our bedroom was no different. The walls were a sky blue, which was a pretty color, but not what I wanted. The trim was that golden “honey” brownish color, and there was a trim of picture rail running about 1″ from the ceiling (in the same honey color). We took that trim off not long after moving in, only to expose a grey strip of plaster, adding to the cacophony of colors in the room.
Prior to moving in, Scott and I decided that we would end up swapping some of the furniture for different rooms around, so the “complete” bedroom set that we had before was now split up. The dressers were repainted, and one re-fitted to make a dresser and bookshelf for Miss Lady’s room. We still had our bed frame, but were using dressers we had from different areas of our old house.
While I was waiting for the closing date on the house to come, I spent a TON of time on Pinterest, looking for ideas of how we could decorate this new house. When we went to see the house, I could instantly tell it was pretty, but it was sort of hidden behind wall colors that didn’t coordinate with the trim, or wouldn’t with our furniture. I wasn’t completely sure what to do with our room. We bought a bed frame when we got married, and I like it, but it’s kind of oxy. It just seemed to take up more space than it really needed to, and while the two dressers we were going to be using matched in color, they didn’t mesh well with the bed. At that point I decide maybe I could just build us a new bed. With that thought in mind, I was able to start pulling together ideas for what I wanted to do.
Once I knew exactly what I wanted, I still didn’t have the time or money to work on it for quite some time. I knew that the bulk of what would “fix” the room was simply a gallon or two of white paint. There were other changes to be made, but that one would make the biggest difference. In September of last year (2016), I finally got my opportunity to start working on our room. I picked up a gallon of white paint and a can of Minwax Polyshades to use on the trim. Initially I just painted the walls white. It was all I had time to do while Scott was gone with his brother for a few days and the kids were in bed at night.
It was like a huge weight off of my shoulders to have the room painted. The contrast of all of the colors, our furniture, bedding, and the trim, dialed down to a calming level. Not too long after that, I started to work on covering the trim with the Polyshades I picked up. It’s funny to me that the color I chose was called “honey.” It’s not, it’s a darker brown, not golden at all. If you aren’t familiar with Polyshades, it’s basically a tinted varnish. Instead of having to strip and sand a wood product, you can darken the color of anything finished by applying a layer (or however many you want). It’s not really the “proper” way to go about changing your wood color, and you need to be really careful, but it does the job pretty well. You will still be able to see the wood grain through the finish. If you ever want to use this stuff, pay attention to the sheen (satin, semi-gloss, gloss), because most of what I have seen is gloss, and it’s really, really shiny. I used satin for this project. Anyway, I eventually got a coat on all of the trim in the room and the doors as well.
I ran into an issue after working on the trim and doors. I hadn’t considered what my white would look like next to my trim! The room felt kind of cold because the trim was so dark and there was a slight grey undertone to the white. My mistake? Forgetting that not all white paint is the same. I couldn’t believe I had failed to consider how the two would look together. I think what really got to me about it is that I used to not be a big fan of white rooms. I always felt like they were cold and uninviting or something along those lines. Why have white when you could have color? Now, if you have white walls in your house, don’t be offended. I didn’t find your house to be uninviting. The white rooms that mostly came to mind had trim that didn’t look good against the white chosen, or their furniture clashed with the white used. To be honest, most of my feelings towards white walls probably had to do with spending countless hours in school in rooms that were mostly cinder-block painted white under the flicker of florescent lighting, with grey rubber trim edging the white and grey speckled flooring.
The thing that changed my feelings about those white walls was going through Pinterest (of course, right?) and seeing white rooms that I feel in love with. White could be beautiful, but it was all about having the right white for the trim and furniture and anything else in the room…even having the right white for the type of lighting in the room. After realizing that white was able to look so beautiful, and what made it work in the rooms that I liked, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t factored in tint when I picked up my paint for the room. I ended up repainting the room right before Christmas, and it really softened the look of the room. Originally, I had just grabbed a gallon of ready to use white off of the shelf of the paint department. I had to go back and pick out a different white, one that was just ever so slightly yellow instead of grey, and that looked good against the furniture in each area of our room (where the lighting changes from windows or whatever). I’m pretty happy with the one I chose, but I probably could have still gone with something a little softer. (I think I used Glidden’s satin Crisp White Linen.)
I have one more thing about the white to comment on (sorry, I know I’m rambling). For somebody who loves colored walls so much (especially blue ones), I think the draw for me is that a bedroom that focused on white can look so clean…something the rest of my house usually isn’t. It’s the one room I could control and keep clean. It would be breezy, soft, inviting, relaxing, and clean. I could unwind in a white room because there would be something peaceful about it.
To gain that breezy, light effect, I wanted to have a white quilt or banket or something for the bed, and sheer white curtains. I ended up purchasing a white down alternative comforter around Christmas when they were on sale at Walmart ($20 for a warm, king sized blanket? That’s a steal.) I went with the king-sized because queen never seems to be big enough when it comes to blankets if you have two people in a bed. I replaced our lampshade as well for something white, but I may end up getting a different one eventually. It looked different in the store…
The last thing I needed to work on was our bed, which takes me back to where our story began. I had started to work on our bed frame prior to Christmas and hadn’t had time to finish the job. Scott’s parents had given us a bed frame that was from Scott’s godfather, and it was actually part of a set that went with one of the dressers we were already using (the one with the mirror), and I decided that would be perfect for our room instead of building an entirely new frame. The bed was originally built as a full-sized bed, so it would need some adjustments to fit our mattress and box spring. Scott’s dad had made some adjustments to the frame for that purpose years ago, but I wanted to make a few changes, so I didn’t just go with what he had done.
The headboard was really tall, so I cut off about a foot of height to get it down to something that didn’t tower quite so much. The height of the headboard is really only about 5″ shorter than it was because I mounted it to the wall, right above our trim (which is around 7″ tall). With the legs I had cut off, I decided I could build a removable bench for the foot of the bed. But the project sat like that for close to 2 months, headboard mounted to the wall, foot board and legs for bench resting against the wall. With the kids gone, I could get to work. With only sleepy E to watch, it was easy to do a lot of work while they were away. I cut the rest of the wood for the box frame of the bed once they left, and assembled it the next day with a little difficulty. It was tricky to screw the frame together when I didn’t have somebody to hold the other end of the boards in place, but I figured out a way to do it without having to wait for somebody to come over and help. The original frame slid together with metal brackets (as most bed frames do), but since I was making so many changes, I couldn’t use them for my assembly. Instead, I used those slits and brackets to make my removable bench at the foot of the bed.
With the foot-board turned to face the opposite direction, and using portions of the original side rails for the bed, I could cut them down and use the hook ends as sides for the bench, and attach them to the bed. The other side of the foot-board would get screwed to the frame. For the bench, I screwed the cut end of original side boards to the portion of the headboard legs I had cut off, to make a three-sided structure that could hook into the slots on the foot-board. I put a plywood panel in the bottom of the box, added two different support pieces to make the seat sturdy for sitting on and to keep it from shifting from side to side. For the bench cover, I cut down a piece of plywood and covered it with foam from an old foam mattress that was left here with the house. That got covered with some fabric from the stash in my sewing room. Eventually I may add some tucks to the cushion, but I was exhausted and impatient and didn’t feel like working on the project any more at that point.
For the bed frame, I used pieces of salvaged barn boards to build the rest of what was missing. I finished the wood off by giving it a good sanding and then using some more of my Polyshades to make sure that all of the wood matched. Then it was time to put everything back together and hope I did a good job! So far it hasn’t collapsed 🙂 I think it will be fine, but I admit that I’m a bit nervous.
Okay, now that I’m done explaining all of that, I’ll go over some of the other details. Like I said, the bed and the dresser with the mirror were part of a set that came from Scott’s godfather. The other dresser and the desk in the room were finds at an estate sale. The chair at the desk was left with the house and goes nicely with the desk, though it’s kind of creaky and old and not extremely comfortable, so it may get replaced at some point. The bookshelf/nightstand was something we acquired from helping a friend move (that got a coat of the Polyshades as well). The lamp and shade were both from Walmart, as were the curtains and curtain rods. The pitcher on the dresser was also left with the house, only it was brown and tan, so I gave it a coat of spray paint to make it work better in our room. Yes, it has evergreen branches in it from Christmastime, but it looks nice, and there aren’t fresh flowers to put in it right now 🙂 The little cloth that it is sitting on was something my mom gave me that she picked up at the sharing table at one of her quilt guild meetings.
The rocking chair was assembled by my dad for my mom when we were babies. I might end up giving it a coat of Polyshades as well, but that’s a lot trickier of a project than smooth, flat trim. The chests that you see in the room were gifts. The small yellowish, off-white one was bought with a gift card from a friend, the one underneath it, brown and black was a gift to Scott, and the one next to the dresser with the mirror, with the floral print, that was a wedding gift from Scott’s parents. Oh, and the picture on the wall is of Scott’s great-grandmother, and she is Miss Lady’s namesake.
At some point, I’d like to get some pictures framed and up on the wall behind the bed. Eventually we want to replace the phone for one that looks more antique, and maybe, someday, I will build a floor to ceiling armoire to go where the phone is. I’d also like to get a wire hamper for the corner next to the dresser with the mirror. We had talked about swapping out the light fixture for a ceiling fan, and potentially adding some beams to the ceiling, but with the slanted ceiling, it would make walking past the bench hazardous to somebody’s head, and a ceiling fan would feel uncomfortably close with the height of the bed. Right now we have flannel sheets on the bed, and eventually I want to get something in a large color and white checks, and I’d like to make a white whole-cloth quilt for the bed for the summer months.
I know this is a longer, rambling post, but I guess I had a lot to share after taking my little break! I’ll probably have a few shorter posts coming up of some of the other projects I have been wrapping up around here. We’re in the process of setting up our seed-starting area (we’ll hopefully do more with that this weekend), I recently finished crocheting a plaid blanket for my mom’s birthday gift, the classroom project is almost completely wrapped up, I finally got around to refinishing a “buffet” for the dining room, and I have a follow-up on the laundry monster post. I also have some thoughts to share on my little at-home vacation, and we’ll probably have a little more to share about some of our homesteading plans for the year in the next month or so.
If you want to go back and see the rooms I’ve toured so far, you can click on the links below:
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Note: I am not currently paid to talk about any of the products I talk about. I’m just sharing what I did and what I used 🙂