Putting aside that M. and I have a goal of moving up to the New England area to be near family (sooner rather than later), and one of the main things holding us back is an albatross of a mortgage that ties us seemingly unendingly to our house, I have to say that I really do love our house. Bitter feelings about the housing crash, underwater loans, and a couple of questionable neighbors don't diminish my fondness for this structure. When we were house hunting, we spent a day driving all over the county looking at a bunch of houses that all seemed rather "meh." One was on a lake but way too small. One was really spacious but over our budget and in a really trafficky area. For one reason or another, none of them, even the ones that were in decent neighborhoods and of a decent size, felt right.
We visited what would become our house last. I think our real estate agent did that on purpose - saving the best for last to make an impression. It just felt *right* as we walked around. Sure, there was no garage, part of the basement was unfinished, the kitchen was ridiculously dated, the lighting fixtures were all wrong, the dishwasher was on its last legs, the two non-master bedrooms were tiny. But there was a deck that backed to the woods, a great open living room/dining room area with high lofted ceilings, and the best master suite I've ever seen in a townhouse. A big, bright room with high ceilings, a sizable closet in the bedroom, and an even bigger walk-in closet in the "up a short flight of stairs" lofted master bathroom that was replete with a double vanity, a soaking tub, a separate shower, skylights, and a separate toilet room. I'm pretty sure that master suite was at least 50% of the reason we bought this house.
And sadly, since then, it has been what I would consider to be the most neglected room of our house. The kids both have nicer furniture than we do, and coordinated decor schemes throughout each of their spaces. We have a jumble of random furniture and practically bare 12-foot walls. Hrm.
We are slowly trying to change that. The master bathroom got a mini-makeover just before Lucy was born, when falling down tiles forced us to re-tile a good portion of the shower. We added in some colored accent tiles, painted a couple of walls, and accessorized with some wall hangings and a rug. Recently, we also changed out the vanity light fixtures. But the bedroom itself hasn't really seen any imrovements.
If this was a proper home impovement blog, here is where I would present some "Before" photos . Except the changes we have made in the bedroom to date are pretty small, and they've happened over time, so I never really had the foresight to collect any Before pictures. For example, I mentioned several months ago that I gave in to my love for the grey and yellow color scheme and bought new bedding for us, but I didn't take any photos of the old bedding. Oh well. It was a light acqua, with flowers, and I liked it, but after 5+ years, I was tired of it. We also bought some new lamps, retiring our dark blue ceramic lamps that I absolutely loved, but were falling apart.
So we start this mini-makeover with new bedding and lamps already in place:
The view from the hallway looking in to our bedroom
One side of the bedtoom
And the other (sorry the lighting's a bit dim in this one!)
Close up of new lamp and ratty old end table. Note the cat scratches on the leg.
Hopefully you can see the blue color of the end tables a bit better here.
Rather than run out and buy a coordinating set of bedroom furniture, which we clearly don't have the funds to do, I decided to try my hand at painting some of the furniture we already have, namely the end tables. On a sunny September day, I took a day off of work to use up some comp time that was about to disappear. With the house all to myself, I dragged the two end tables out to the back yard, dusted them off, and got ready to spray paint:
I used Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover spray primer in gray (one coat), followed by two coats of Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover spray paint in gloss dark gray (two coats). I waited about 15 minutes between each coat. When I was done, they looked like this:
Satisfyingly much, much better! I let them dry outside most of the day, then brought them in to the basement to cure overnight. By the next day, they were ready to be loaded back in to the bedroom. And here is where, if I were a self-respecting DIY blogger, I would show you a picture of that. But I forgot to take a close-up of the tables once they were back in place, and my bedroom is currently a mess so I can't run up and take one, so you'll have to use your imagination.
Once I picked a color scheme of gray and yellow with turquoise accents (aka the lamps), I moved on to finding something to put in the blank space over our bed. I chose to focus on that area, even though it's one of the smaller wall spaces, because it's too small for a headboard. I saw a print of some sort as a good way to make the bed look more interesting and substantial without a headboard. But what to get? I scoured Pinterest, the World Market, Target, and Etsy, looking for some inspiration. And then I stumbed on Jennasue Design Co., an Etsy vendor. She offers custom art prints, and features, among other things, maps. Now, the timing of this was JUST before our 9th wedding anniversary, and I was scratching my head trying to come up with a gift for M. I wanted to get something that wasn't too expensive, but was also something thoughtful. M. loves maps, and Jennasue happens to sell a print of a map of Baltimore, the city where M. and I met and lived in for years and absolutely love, in a turquoise color. Bingo! One Target picture frame later, and we were in business (never mind that it took me about 2 months to actually HANG the picture...):
One other small but very rewarding thing we did was to change out the floor vent covers throughout the house. The original floor vent covers were mud brown, rusty, and very dirty looking. After a couple of mis-steps about the size we needed (we didn't know that some of the vents were different sizes), we successfully switched them all out. It's one of my favorite things that we've done. I don't have the "Before" (of course), but here is what they look like now:
(Tables are still pre-makeover in this shot)
I can't recommend doing this highly enough.
All in all, these were pretty minor changes - new bedding, new lamps, new vent covers, painted end tables, new art. But they've made us both MUCH happier with the space. I even make the bed more often than I used to (and by that I mean maybe one a week instead of never), and it's a nicer space to spend time in.
Hopefully we can keep chipping away at making this even better. Some of the things I'd like to do next include painting more of the furniture, like this bureau:
And this one:
The green and red bureau I mentioned earlier. Those doors to the right are the ones leading out of the bedroom into the hallway, and the stairs to the left lead up to our lofted bathroom.
I'd also like to get some stuff on the wall over by the honey-colored bureau, replace the (very beaten up and scratched) off-white arm chair over by the bookcases, and install plantation shutters over the windows (the horizontal blinds we have now aren't really my thing). But all of those things will require time and/or money, so I have a feeling this room will be a work in progress for a long time.