Although many more people see the main part of the house, we decided to start with our bedroom because it was smaller and more manageable and because, let's face it, it needed the most help:
|The Master Bedroom was just a sitting room when we visited.|
And not a very nice one, might I add.
- It was orange. It wasn't the color in itself that was the problem, it was that the walls were all dirty and hastily patched over. That, and we were seeking a slightly more restful color scheme in the boudoir.
- The floors were a mess. Once-beautiful-50-years-ago, the floors were now worn down thin oak planks with mysterious and creepy stains all over.
- Room itself was just a rectangular shoebox. Absolutely snoresville. No architectural detail, nothing to look at.
|We made do with this arrangement for about 48 hours.|
|Hubby felt these mirrored cupboard doors made our room feel like a dorm room, so out they went.|
First: we painted the room a nice, calm, Dove Grey.
Cut to: Two Years Later. With the exception of the floors, the three images below show what the space looked like for the next two years.
Nice. Simple. No fuss. We made do with stuff from our other apartments.
We worked All. The. Time. So it didn't bother us much.
We put up some photos and tried to make the space ours. But still... Not all that exciting.
|Matching his-and-hers dressers bring a touch of grown-up glamour.|
During that time, we cleared out all the rooms upstairs to have the floors refinished. We had a team come in to sand, stain and varnish the floors. That's a project this humble DIYer wasn't ready to undertake! We're proud to have kept the whole process as eco-friendly as possible by choosing water-based stain as well as varnish.
Instead of going the route of popular super-dark mocha brown, which we'd had in our previous condo and was a nightmare to maintain because of our shedding dogs, we decided to go with a charcoal grey. And we're so happy with our decision!! The woodgrain really popped and we love the feel these floors bring.
|puuurdy grey floors!|
We struggled to figure out what to do with the walls to inject a little visual interest. Wallpaper? A new color? Maybe some moulding?
As it turns out, we kind of did all three. How?
We set out to create wall panels (basically rectangles made out of moulding) with some textured wallpaper inside of them. We'd add a chair rail at some point halfway up the wall, and paint everything underneath it white.
Not knowing what the heck to do first, we set off on our adventure.
We stumbled upon some pre-made moulded rectangles at Home Depot, so those were the dimensions we worked with. We could have crafted them ourselves, but that seemed like a lot of extra work when the finished product was already right in our hands.
|Tip: To save money and cheat the system, we put them lengthwise to trick the eye into thinking there were more panels.|
- Measure your space very carefully to figure out how many rectangles you can fit. Tip: Symmetry is the main goal here. Make sure opposing walls have the same number of panels on each. For example, our room is a perfect rectangle so it was 5 on each long wall, and 4 on each short wall. All with perfectly even spacing for the wall they're on.
- Figure out how high up you want your chair-rail to go. (Chair-rail is that line of moulding that cuts across the middle of a wall, often used in dining rooms to protect walls from chairs backing into them, hence the name). We decided to put ours at 3 feet, and taped up the room accordingly. Tip: We also added some base mouldings to equalize the height of the radiator all around the room, and it looks elegant too.
- Mark the walls where the rectangles will go. I can't say this enough: make sure you measure well! Tip: Use a measuring tape and a laser line level for your markings... Do not use the walls themselves, especially in older homes, as they may not be straight and your angles may not be a perfect 90 degrees. We learned this the hard way.
|Your friend, the Laser Line Level device (it has little tacky bits on the back that stick to the wall)|
- Cut rectangles out of textured wallpaper (aka paintable wallpaper) and apply them to the walls, following the product instructions. Let dry.
|We measured not once, not twice, but thrice! It took forever! If you can make it to the end of the measuring process with your spouse and still agree on the plan, you've got yourself a solid marriage.|
Here's a close-up on paintable wallpaper. Big box stores usually have lots of models to choose from.
|Pretty! Reminds me of those vintage ceiling tiles in a Parisian restaurant.|
- Install mouldings around the wallpaper, base moulding and chair rail with either glue (can get messy, not recommended), hammer and nails, or the fastest method: a nail gun! Nail guns are fun :)
|You'll need to get creative around obstacles like door frames, wall outlets, wall panels, windows, etc.|
- Tip: For a professional seamless finish, fill up all the nail-gun holes with a white putty pencil and seal everything up with paintable caulking.
- Then, to complete the look and highlight all the new architecture, paint it all white with a high-traffic trim and moulding low-VOC paint, which is a great choice when you have kids and dogs!
Pheew! That was a lot of work. Now the stage is set to fill this room up with pretty and, most importantly for us, comfortable things.
Check out Part 2 to learn about our homemade DIY headboard, new furniture additions and updates to older pieces, our sneaky crown moulding secret, the chosen color scheme and how we tied it all together.
See you there!