Some of you might be wondering why there’s been such a drop off in the amount of posts I’ve done recently. This would be because I have been in renovation hell for the past three weeks. I decided it was time to update the theme in the boys bedroom, and figured I could get the project done over a long weekend. That was one LOOOOOONG weekend.
It’s not like I shouldn’t have seen this coming. Since we moved into this house in December 2005 I have painted the kids bedrooms 5 seperate times. And each time has taken me waaaaaaaaay longer than I intended it to. The thing is the creative part of my brain gets going and I have a hard time putting the brakes on it.
Back when we moved the one thing I was upset about leaving at our old house was Brendan’s nursery. I’d put a lot of time into planning how I wanted it to look, and it was really cute. Since I didn’t want to hedge my bets that the ultrasound had accurately predicted his gender I bought bedding that featured mainly yellow and green. Then we painted the top half of his walls yellow, the bottom green, and hung a wallpaper border that matched his bedding between the two colors.
I suppose I could have re-created the scene in his new bedroom, but since he was just about to turn 2 I decided he’d outgrow it sooner as opposed to later and it wouldn’t be worth the effort to try and duplicate it. So instead he slept in a plain white bedroom for almost a year while I decided what to do next. I finally found some safari bedding that I liked and decided to paint the room to match it.
His new room was going to be a nice warm tan color and I was going to stencil iguanas and leaves throughout the room. Having had experience with stencils in the past I knew they had the potential to take me a while. So rather than move Brendan out of his room to paint and move him back in later we decided to paint the other bedroom and just move him in when we were done.
And a good thing too. The stencils I was working with were a lot more complicated than the ones I’d bought previously. They had multiple layers to them and you had to match specific points on the different layers to make the stencils turn out correctly. It took me a few weeks to get just a few stencils onto the walls and after that I gave up hope of getting as much onto the walls as I wanted and called it good. We set up Brendan’s big boy bed and moved him into his new room, leaving his crib and toddler bed behind in the unpainted room.
That room remained unpainted until 2007 when we got pregnant with Cameron. Again we’d had an ultrasound that had said it was a boy, but the technician was really uncertain because Cameron had not been very open about showing his parts to the camera. This meant another neutral colored nursery.
This time around I found bedding with a jungle theme. I painted the walls green, and then the ceiling sky blue to make it feel like you were walking into an actual jungle. Then about 18 inches down from the ceiling I hung shelves all around the room and painted them darker green. Under the shelves I stenciled leaves (simple ones this time). Finally on the shelves I put up my collection of stuffed frogs. I had more than 30 of them so they filled out the shelves quite nicely. Being pregnant and chasing around a toddler meant that this room took a little more than a week to finish.
Those two rooms lasted until we got pregnant with Kaylee in 2010. When Kaylee came along we had to make some decisions on how to break up the kids. Our plan was that if she turned out to be a boy we’d move her and Cameron into a room together, but if she were a girl Brendan and Cameron would share. As we were discussing these plans, 6 year old Brendan overheard us and asked if he could live with Cameron either way. I guess he just wanted a room mate.
With the child placement figured then we had to decide which room to move the boys into. Brendan’s? Which was already painted in such a way that it would grow with them. Or Cameron’s? Which was more babyish and would probably need updated before long. Two factors determined what we would do. First, Brendan’s bunk beds didn’t work so well in his room. In that room there’s no good place to put them because the door is on one wall, windows on a second, and the closet on a third. Second, Brendan came to me and said he was tired of his safari theme and wanted to update the paint in his room.
So that meant we were moving into Cameron’s room and covering up the nursery paint I’d worked so hard on. It didn’t take me long to get over it. Brendan was really big into Toy Story at the time, and we had tons of toys from the movie laying around the house. So we got some blue paint and painted the room to look like Andy’s room from the movie.
We left up the shelves that had been housing the frog collection, painted them white and put a bunch of our Toy Story toys onto them. The boys loved it! Simple as the room seemed, it also took me more than a week to complete. Though this time it was because of the paint I’d used to do the nursery. While it didn’t seem overly dark at the time, it took two coats of primer and two coats of paint to cover it up.
That done, I moved onto the other bedroom which was about to transform from a safari into a little girl’s nursery. I couldn’t find any gender neutral bedding that I liked so i actually went with one that contained purple (because at the time I couldn’t handle the thought of walking into a pink bedroom). Originally I was rather uninspired. I knew the walls would be painted lavender, but beyond that I had no ideas. I bought a wallpaper border that matched the bedding, but that seemed so simple and boring.
Finally an idea hit me like a ton of bricks. Her bedding had all sorts of bugs on it, lady bugs, dragon flys, caterpillers, etc. I grabbed a cereal bowl out of my cupboard and began tracing circles onto the wall. What I ended up creating was a hand painted caterpiller “border” that wound it’s way around the room. I filled the circles in with the different colors from the bedding, then to give it a coloring book look I outlined the circles and painted legs with black. With more than 100 circles to paint, and 2-3 legs per circle it took a lot of time to finish the border. But it was worth the weeks I put into it. Her room was my masterpiece.
I didn’t intend to re-do the boys room so soon. At least not the paint anyway. The boys aren’t as into Toy Story as they once were, but the blue paint and clouds could easily lend itself to another theme. Around Christmas I got the idea to do Super Mario Brothers since that was their current obsession. I even got them some sheets to fit that theme, but life got in the way and I never got around to changing things around.
Then Kaylee took matters out of my hands. I’ve mentioned before that no matter how well we think we hide all of the writing utensils in the house she finds them. She’s written on the walls with pencil, pen, and crayon before. All of which I was able to clean off. In the boys room, however, she found a permanent marker and scribbled all over one wall. I didn’t have any paint left from when we’d painted in there and there wasn’t much chance of finding an exact match this many years later, so we were going to have to re-paint the room.
Since the boys had shifted interests again to Skylanders the Easter Bunny thought it would be a great starting point for their room. New bedding arrived in the boys Easter baskets and an idea started to form in my mind. The bedding was a fairly dark shade of blue so when I went looking for paint chips I matched the color of blue then went about 5 shades lighter on the chip. Then I created stencils of all the different Skylanders elements to paint on the walls and got a set of alphabet stencils to put up the catch phrases from the boys favorite Skylanders.
Or at least that’s what it started out as. As time went on the boys made more and more requests for different phrases to be put up on the walls until I decided to just put all 40 phrases up. It was easier (so I thought) than arguing with them over which catch phrases would be put up and which wouldn’t. As it turns out I really like that we did all the catch phrases. I think any less would have made the room look too sparse.
What I didn’t anticipate was the amount of time it would take me to get all this done. We moved the boys out of their room on a Sunday morning. We put the mattresses from their bunks onto the floor in Kaylee’s room and left the bedframe intact in the middle of their bedroom. One coat of primer and one coat of paint later the room was painted. That actually only took us about 2 days. But then I started stenciling. I’ve never done words before and it occurred to me that I would have to do the stenciling one letter at a time and let the paint dry between each letter. That would take forever.
So I switched tactics, thinking it would be quicker, and penciled in all that I wanted on the walls and intended to hand paint the phrases. I figured that way I could at least paint a full phrase without stopping. It still took me some time to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, so the first day I only got one stencil up on the wall (well that and the giant puddle of paint I spilled on the floor that day).
I was hoping it would only take me a day or two to get all of the painting done, but even after I’d figured out what I was doing it still took me more than 2 hours for each stencil, and I had a total of 40 to get done. Finally on the third day, when the boys had been out of their room for close to a week I concentrated on getting the ones done that would be behind their bed. That way we could get them sleeping in their room again and get some sembelence of order back into our lives.
After that I was limited to only painting in the daytime, and Kaylee often brought her toys or a video into the room with me while I painted. After three weeks of basically living in the boys bedroom I got the job finished. Or at least as finished as its going to get for a while. We still have to do another coat of paint on the ceiling (it was blue like the walls, and some of the paint is showing through the white), and I have to go back and get all my pencil marks off the walls as well.
(Note: These pictures were taken when I was only part way done with the room)
But at least it’s done. Hopefully for a long while. Right now I never want to paint another kids bedroom as long as I live.