Sunday, January 27, 2013

How To Turn Your House Upside-Down part 3

For those who don't follow my blog regularly, you have caught us at part 3 of a look at how organizational projects can trash your house and cause a feeling of general insanity like nothing else.

We've covered the dining room/kitchen, and also the kids' rooms and toy storage. Now on to the one we meant to do from the beginning: the Master Bedroom.

When my husband and I bought this house 4 years ago we were happy with the fact that we'd be saving quite a bit of money because the carpet was out-dated and the wallpaper was no longer fashionable. Everything was in a good enough condition that we could move in right away without having to wait for renos and upgrades to be done, and we didn't shy away from the prospect of a few weekends spent painting and reflooring. Couple this with the fact that my husband is, by trade, a flooring installer, and you can see why the 1980s blue carpet didn't worry us.

Flash forward 4 years, 2 kids and 1 dog later - we've replaced about 80% of the flooring in the top two levels of our house, but our stairs, hallway and master bedroom still remain covered in that 'charming' 1980s blue carpet. Only now, the kids have had time to make their mark on it, as has the dog, not to mention a dog we pet-sat who decided to show his displeasure by getting sick all over our floors. Cleaning has stopped working. The floor is shedding because the fibers are so worn, it's crusty-beyond-improvement in some spots and I'm too afraid to think about just how much dust stays in the floor regardless of our vacuuming efforts.

We couldn't kid ourselves any longer - with one child recently diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease, and a new baby due at the end of March, we knew we'd have to get new flooring. And although we get a pretty decent discount on flooring, plus free installation courtesy of my husband, it was still going to make a nice dent in our bank account. So, we decided to make it our Christmas present to eachother (each year we rotate whether we're getting a joint Christmas present for eachother or if we spend the money separately and buy individual presents). That helped us swallow the cost a bit, but we knew we'd need to forego some luxuries for a while to help with the rest. But a couple of weeks ago, we finally felt like we could order the new carpet, which is set to arrive in the next couple of days. On top of our new flooring, we decided it would be wise to update the rest of the Master Bedroom while we were already going to be working in there with all of the furniture out. We had painted all of our bedrooms the same shade of green when we moved in, and while we lucked out and our eldest has decided that green takes the place of honor of being his 'favorite color', and the nursery will look great with a jungle theme, the shade is starting to wear on my poor hubby. He loves warm yellow tones, though he doesn't know necessarily how to describe them. Burnt orange is perhaps his favorite decorating color, with burnished reds in a close second. He also loves beige walls. I, on the other hand, am drawn to cold colors, like steely blues, icy greys and only the brightest hues of green and yellow to complement. Even my dark accents are cold feeling, since this seems to aide natural lighting instead of swallowing it up like warm tones would. Anyway, I wanted my husband to finally have a bedroom that he loved, instead of one he tolerated. He chose the carpet. I might have gently nudged him in certain directions (like away from the rusty orange color) but at the end we got what he wanted and something that he's really excited about. I lucked out and he acknowledged, entirely on his own, that the beige carpet with subtle grey streaks would work best with the general flow of our house. It was lucky on that count, but unluckily, it would not work with the paint colors we had chosen.

I had come across a color pallette on Pinterest, courtesy of, called 'Peppered Tones'. The greige walls would work for me, while giving the only conceivable combination in which 'burnt orange' would be an acceptable accent color in my mind. But the greige would look funny next to our 'Sea Otter' toned carpet. Not cool. And if I played with the pallette to move another color onto the walls instead of greige, the cold blues were going to win again, and then it would be my style in the room, not Matt's. Sigh. I abandoned hope of making 'Peppered Tones' work.

But how on earth could I decide on a new pallette? Our tastes are so much at odds that I was truly stumped.

Men also aren't typically the best at describing what 'feel' they would like a room to have. Mine got as far as 'warm' but then it kind of fell flat after that. So I tried to ask ony the most basic questions: "What color would you like the walls?" "Beige." Okay. I had a clear answer. I knew he wanted a yellow, orange or red accent, and of the three I was most inclined towards red.

My next pallette consideration involved a royal navy, dark walnut, light-sandy colored walls and bright red accents a la the sea. I was thinking something nautical. But I stopped myself. What if Matt wasn't thinking something nautical? Huh. This was hard.

My last resort before banging my head against the wall was putting together an imagery exercise for my man. I found pictures within the confines of a beigey pallette, but all with different secondary and accent colors. And all of the pictures drew from different imagery: mountains, farms, seas, rocks... Then I made it as easy as possible on my poor (very tolerant) husband: I told him to pick three pictures. For whatever reason. Just whatever three he liked.

To my great surprise, ALL of his pictures depicted a rural lifestyle: men riding horses, a barn viewed from across a wheat field, and an owl sitting on a fence in front of a barn on a cold day. I finally started to get what he wanted.

One picture that he liked (as his fourth choice) was a picture of a cowboy on a horse, kicking up dust onto his dark blue shirt. Less of a navy and more of a smokey blue. The background of the image was a massive dust cloud. I pointed it out to Matt and asked him what he thought about that as the accent wall in our room. His answer? "Perfect." Perfect? I've never got a perfect from him in my life! Cold beer and a plate of nachos after a day at work? "Awesome." An hour long back massage without any expectation of one in return? "Amazing." But Perfect? I knew that was what I was looking for.

And so it was decided that the picture of the cowboy was the perfect imagery for our Master Bedroom. We're getting C2 paints through Matt's work and so I went in to pick out swatches and found what I was looking for: "Scout", a light greige with a faint green hue will be the main color for our walls. Using a color wash technique, "alhambra" will be the secondary color we use on our accent wall to make a dust cloud appearance. "Espionage" is the smokey blue that we wanted for our curtains and possibly bedding, and "Torch" is the yellow accent that we'll work in through pillows and accent pieces. And they all work with "Sea Otter" flooring!

Things started falling into place: wondering where we could find fabric paint for our ancient vertical blinds in the master, and how we could find it in a suitable color, I started doubting whether "Espionage" was really going to happen. Then I was looking in our crawlspace for something and came across some cotton window panels from our old rental suite - they were a beautiful dark blue that wasn't quite as grey as Espionage, but looked fantastic in the pallette. With the wrought iron curtain rod that we had in storage as well, we'll hang the panels from full height to give our window a dramatic look, tying back from the top corners instead of the sides, and we'll have spent nothing more to getting that blue accent in our room.
I knew I didn't have any yellow things hiding in my house, waiting to be found - especially not a squashy yellow instead of a citrusy yellow. I was beginning to resign myself to buying a couple of throw pillows from HomeSense when I decided to pop in at FabricLand instead of HomeSense. At the bottom of a remnant bin I found this beautiful, golden curtain fabric for $4.50 for the 2 yard bolt end. I've got a load of stuffing in my basement, so making a bed-full of pillows will be as cheap as the remnant! And the color is perfect, while the sheen of the fabric will help class up the room. (I was worried about the cotton panels looking too drab, but this will really help)
Lastly, I needed a new headboard. Ours is low, and honey-oak colored, and very ugly and dated. Plus, it doesn't bolt onto the frame firmly, so we keep pillows stuffed behind it to keep it from hitting the wall every time you roll over. We talked about getting a full bedroom set, which was probably a year away from being an affordable idea. We talked about building our own headboard while Matt explained that getting wood that wasn't warped would be tricky, and expensive. Then I found a $50 headboard on kijiji that looked perfect! Solid oak, stained ebony, with a certain western feel by the spacing of the slats and the general design. We could do $50.

After a tea party I'm having at our house tomorrow night, the work on the bedroom will begin - first with clearing surfaces and filling holes, then stripping out the old carpet and using the plywood floor as a painting room for baseboards and doors, and finally painting our walls and installing the new floor.

All things considered, it might be the cheapest bedroom flip we ever do, and I'm sure Matt will like it!

But until then, my bed will be in the basement for a couple of weeks, so wish me luck!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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