I’m definitely the painter in the relationship. When my 8-year-old son and I embarked on a project to upgrade his room recently, it soon became clear to me that he was the big idea man and I was the worker bee.
By the time I caved and we redid his room, he’d been pitching me ideas for over a year. StarWars, Legos, football and more. He definitely knows how to plant a seed. A few weeks ago, as his birthday was closing in, I recalled a talk with a friend about the most fun birthday surprise they ever gave their daughter : a room re-do. They sent her away and teamed up as a family for an intense day to give her a new room. It got me thinking, birthday present = room rehaul.
Then, about a week ago, about two-thirds of his toys were in the hall after a cleaning and organizing spree. “Mom, I’m done with this stuff.” Wow — no attachments to this stuff, really? Good for him. Again I wondered how I could support this new leaf he was turning over. As we hung out in his room, he pointed out what he called “baby barf green” trim and a babyish rug. I considered that. His room painted 10 years prior to accommodate our unknown firstborn, was mainly blue with green trim. His sister arrived first, so I decked it out in pink accents. When Calvin arrived on the scene two years later, she moved out. I kept most of her stuff in the room (including the rug) and swapped out pink for navy.
Yes, I agreed, the rug was in pretty tough shape. A few moments later I found the perfect rug online at PotteryBarn Teen (PBT) on sale plus another 15% online place your order by end of day discount and decided the 5×8 would work even though the previous one was an 8×10. Calvin gave it a thumbs up too. Then it all fell into place.
With the rug and its colors as inspiration, we headed to Home Depot for paint. I super-decisively narrowed in on two shades of Martha Stewart Living blue. We brought paint home with us on Sunday and I started the scraping process. Normally, I would just do a paint over, however, our original version included some texture we threw into the mix. That needed to come off.
Paint dust. Calvin scraped for awhile too, but bowed out because of this substance. After two intense hours of scrapping the texture off, I was ready to vacuum to the wall/floor edges to inhale the dust. Then I laid out newspaper as floor protector from paint specs, consolidated the remaining room furniture and threw a drop cloth over it. Then I taped everything off with my 3M blue – ceiling, window trim, wall trim. I removed all the hanging items – hook racks, shelves and name letters. Very time consuming.
After six hours of prep, I was ready to bring out the roller. But not yet. I did the trim and edging first for each wall, then finally following up with the big roller. I did two layers of this. Calvin came in a surveyed my work. Sure is taking you awhile. This looks like the same blue it was. I don’t get it. It’s not any different. I insisted it was way lighter. However, doubts began to nag at me. I pulled out the sample color cards when the job was complete and sure enough, instead of giving the paintmaker the Heavenly Blue, I gave him the Stratosphere. The same paint we choose ten years prior. Seriously! I could not sleep that night.
Morning brought clarity. I liked Stratosphere. We still had our navy stripes to add (Azurite, technically) and I would do one wall all in navy. It was a plan. Calvin pressed on, how much longer? Will this mess be cleaned up by my birthday (2 days later)? Not long now I assured him.
I was motivated to get this done for many reasons – his stuff cluttering the hallway, the frames, etc for painting stretched across the dining table…. and his birthday coming up. On day two I taped out the two stripes (71.25 divided by 5 = 14.25) that would get a navy coat. I used my level religiously throughout – worked like a charm. I took the mini-roller and breezed through one coat before bedtime.
On day three, the stripes got a second coat and I moved on to the two-coat work for the navy wall. Calvin made a case to apply Stratosphere chevron to it, but I backed him down. Instead we focused on an accent color choice for frames and shelving. Yellow it would be. I stuffed the rolled rug into the car, ran into HomeDepot for color cards, back out to the car to match the rug and back in to get the right paint – Sahara Shade. Before bedtime, I applied a layer to each item.
Day four. Move in day. Another coat of yellow, some navy for the vent. Wait…. more nails, more screws, more putty (for the C-A-L-V-I-N wall art project) and progress. I washed curtains and ironed them (had I ever done that?). Yes, super fresh! Calvin moved his books back in, adhered his new dry-erase map and found a home for his new guitar. We reused frames, shelving and more. Proceeds from whatever we might sell of the PotteryBarnKids MVP bedding will go to new bedding/decor. He’s thinking football.
There’s definitely a more grown-up feel to my just-turned 8-year-old’s room (see the Vine video at jengilhoi). He’s pleased with it. I hope so because it’s only a 1 (at most 2) time occurrence to flip your room from birth to 18. Most parents I polled also agreed – one and done. Timing was just right for this change and Ava, my 10-year-old, has handled it beautifully. We were on track to redo her room in December (see the blog post), but discovered that her PB rug was in good condition, we couldn’t agree on color selections (no your walls cannot be black) and the top colors she wanted to lose were hot pink and baby pink which was everywhere, so it would be more expensive to replace. She’s waiting til age 12 she says. Thank goodness. That will buy me some time to rest up and save up!
Happy 8th Birthday, Calvin! — love, your worker bee