Talk about procrastination. Or let’s just say we were hard at work on our #summerbucketlist. After a December 2013 start date, my 11 year-old daughter’s Parisian-themed room is finally complete. Until two days before the start of school, we hadn’t revisited the room since April 16, 2014 (see the post on walls 1 and 2 here). Now, we’re calling it fini (finished in French).
Wall 3: The Mural
I enlisted my sister-in-law to help with the wall mural. I pulled out photos, scrapbooks and postcards from my visits to Paris for inspiration (see our Paris Pinterest board). For more inspiration, Ava referenced her Monster High Doll packaging most recently from Scaris (Monster High’s version of Paris).
Ava had definite ideas about the wall and used her sketchbook to plot it out. Notable items – a wrought iron fence in the foreground, a cafe table and pastries at Cafe de’ Flore, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coure, a bridge on the Seine, Scaris-inspired city scenes and St. Germain des Pres. In front of Cafe de’ Flore, we placed an actual French Vintage Cafe Table ($174 on EBay).
We sketched in pencil, then we went over it in black paint. We used a smaller point Sharpie for the Scaris fine detail. Then came the color accents. I used a watercolor technique by placing a small amount of color on the wall and taking a damp cloth and streaking or in the case of the clouds, swirling it, to diffuse the color.
Wall 4: The Reading Nook
Since the mural was definitely proving to be ongoing thing, we gave it a temporary rest and shifted our focus to Wall 4. I had this idea for a very long bench with cubbies for storage and a large whiteboard framed by curtains. For starters, we adhered two large white boards (2’x4′ each) next to each other on the wall. We used teal blinged out ribbon from Michael’s to frame the whiteboard. To complete the reading nook, we found one zebra print curtain and two tiered white ruffle curtains for a steal at Bed Bath & Beyond. The zebra print easily draped above the nook as a canopy over three dowel rods.
I’m not one for dyeing, but the white curtains would not suffice. They called out for teal. After a lot of research and grave warnings about chemical dyeing processes, I still decided to go for it. I found a large pot for $35 at Northern Brewery and Supplies and ordered the dye (it is VERY special because it’s a certain type that works on 100% polyester (note – blends are much easier to find generic dyes for)). If I had a top loading washer, it would have been an easier process too. I had to dye each curtain separately, so it turns out one curtain is a bit lighter than the other, but they are spaced far enough apart so it’s not obvious. Overall I am thrilled that it even took and that it was so easy.
Now for the bench. I referenced two bloggers DIY bench for inspiration and the how-to (See: CraftThriftWed and Mommy Vignettes). We purchased the white 5-opening Ikea Expedit bench for $70 (which has since been discontinued (since Feb 2014)) and 2 black wicker baskets. Ava and I assembled the bench together, then I enlisted my parents to help with the bench cushion project. My dad had extra chipboard on hand and arrived with it precut to the exact dimensions.
The search for foam was not as easy. We ended up purchasing a custom cut four-inch high piece of foam from A-1 Foam and Upholstery at a discount because it was glued from scraps rather than a whole. It was $55 and I couldn’t tell the difference. My mom helped us sort through the limitless options at JoAnn Fabrics to land on the navy, teal and white fleur-de-lis patterned fabric. We stretched our $20 roll of quilt batting around the chipboard and foam and stapled it in place. Then we did the same with the fabric, pulling it as tight as possible. …and Fini!