...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I am enjoying quality time with my family over the holidays. I hope you are too. I’ll be back to more regular posting next week but I wanted to (finally!) share a tour of the boys’ room. Happy holidays!

boys bedroom before

We had originally intended for each of our sons to have their own bedroom. We were a family of four when we purchased the 3-bedroom house. A few months into the renovation, we discovered we were expecting a third child. Surprise! We did some shuffling around and decided this room would become the boys’ shared bedroom. It had all the same problems as the other two bedrooms in the house: old / stained carpet, extensive termite damage (i.e., disintegrating baseboards), general neglect. The modest room faces southeast and receives a generous amount of natural light, but that was about the only thing it had going for it.

boy bedroom after 1

As in the other bedrooms, we demo’d the exterior walls and added foam insulation. We upgraded the electrical to include overhead lighting, installed new windows, ripped up the carpet & laid engineered hardwood, added chunky baseboards and switched out cumbersome sliding closet doors for hanging fabric panels. I painted the walls three times before finally settling on a black and white scheme which incorporates paint colors used in other parts of the house.

boys bedroom after 2

Functionally, we needed the room to act as a bedroom and playroom. (We don’t have a spare bedroom, separate playroom or basement.) To maximize open floor space for play, we brought in a set of bunk beds and hung floor-to-ceiling curtains around them to evoke the feeling of a hideout. A trundle provides an extra bed for sleepovers. Carpet squares form a rug and provide a soft spot for floor play. The low profile allows the trundle to roll overtop easily.

boys bedroom after 3

The beds are pushed up against an oddly placed recessed wall. Instead of trying to disguise the recess, we chose to emphasize it with wood planks. The warm wood also ties in to a vintage dresser on the opposite wall. Each bunk has its own book ledge and reading light. At night, we pull the curtains to enclose the bunk. The windows have blackout roller shades installed behind the woven blinds and we pull those down at night, too. The bottom bunk is THE BEST napping spot in the entire house. I can attest to it ;)

boys bedroom after 6

The majority of the boys’ clothing (warm and cold weather) is stashed in freestanding dressers. This one near the door is Everett’s. I tweaked it with vertical stripes of washi tape. When we tire of it, we can just pull it off without damaging the dresser. A round mirror reflects light from a south-facing window. White tins on the dresser hold whatever items the boys are collecting at the moment. The brightly colored fabric balls are actually lights. They’re a playful touch.

boys bedroom after 17

The closet holds toys, costumes, books, a few hanging items, pajamas, underwear and socks. Regular editing is essential but not terrible. The boys are very good about letting go of things that they’ve outgrown or broken. We’ve found that the curtain panels allow easy access to the closet’s contents. *BONUS* – They’re quiet, too. We hung a basketball hoop and painted a Calvin & Hobbes mural which speak to our kids’ interests.

boys bedroom after 8

Open shelves provide a fun display. Yarn-wrapped letters are a nod to the fabric ball lights on the other side of the room. The dresser is vintage. I cleaned up the finish and switched out some of the hardware. It holds Layne’s clothing with empty drawers to spare. Two floor baskets are sanity-saving catchalls. At the end of each day, I have the boys bring them out to the living room to gather toys then return them to their room. It’s a quick way to tidy up.

boys bedroom after 9

Layne and Everett are avid readers. They requested a reading chair in their room. I tricked out an Ikea chair with Prettypegs. They tie in beautifully with the midcentury dresser and wood wall. The table lamp swivels to provide task lighting. A vintage ottoman is the perfect spot to prop feet while diving in to a good book. A wood box on wheels corrals books. The art is a mix of thrifted finds & DIY projects and adds interest to the corner. The boys also requested plants. I chose a hanging planter to free up floor space.

boys bedroom after 5

boys bedroom after 10

boys bedroom after 4

boys bedroom after 12

boys bedroom after 16

boys bedroom after 15

boys bedroom after 14

boys bedroom after 13

Aesthetically, I wanted the room to reflect the boys’ personalities without veering from our home’s overall vibe too much. It was a challenge. Repeating certain elements found throughout the house (i.e., natural wood tones, hits of black, cozy textures, woven shades, tribal patterned textiles, plants, etc.) really helps the room to feel like a continuation of the rest of the house. Fun accents like the basketball hoop, comic strip mural, colorful ball lights and art (Layne is obsessed with Sweden!) make it special. Luckily, the boys LOVE their room. My favorite is when I find one of them curled up on the bunk or chair with a book, unprompted.

Resources of note:

white wall paint & trim – Benjamin Moore white dove
black wall paint – Ace Paints besalt, mixed in the Clark + Kensington line, flat finish
ceiling light – LampsPlus
rug – Flor
curtains – Ikea
curtain rod & track – Ikea
bunk beds – Ikea
sconces & book ledges – Ikea
peel-and-stick wood planks – caramelized bamboo, Stikwood
linen duvet – etsy
gray & white striped pillow – Ikea
Hmong lumbar pillows – DIY
tribal pillow – H&M
Mexican blanket – vintage, ebay
framed Lego art – Joe Shymanski, gift from the boys’ aunt who lives near DC
Sweden poster – etsy, framed by JoAnn’s
ball lights – Bright Lab Lights
4-drawer dresser – Ikea
round mirror – Ikea
midcentury table lamp – LampsPlus
white tins – Ikea
basketball hoop – Amazon, spray painted gold
wall mural – DIY
wall shelves – Ikea
cardboard deer head – Cardboard Safari
mini mannequin – Ikea
Garfield chia pet – Amazon
yarn-wrapped letters – DIY
wooden spools – vintage
dreamcatcher – etsy
floor baskets – Nate Berkus for Target
woven shades – petite rustique from Overstock
midcentury dresser – vintage Drexel, ebay
streamline knob – Anthropologie
task lamp – Serena & Lily
chair – Ikea
chair legs – Prettypegs
ottoman / footstool – vintage, ebay
faux leather pillow – etsy
Hmong pillow – etsy
Hudson Bay blanket – vintage, etsy
framed engineer print – DIY, frame & mat via Amazon
bullseye art – DIY
hanging macrame planter – etsy
rolling book box – custom piece from the boys’ grandfather

This room didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took a few wrong turns along the way. If you’re interested in seeing how this room evolved, here are a slew of related links:

FURNITURE

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/02/03/bunk-bed-hideout/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/07/08/lego-my-table/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/07/17/the-boys-bookcases/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/08/13/the-boys-dresser/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/04/17/midcentury-dresser-revival/

DECOR

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/09/12/smoking-in-the-boys-room/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/03/19/bunk-beds-made-easy/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/04/09/peel-and-stick-wallpaper/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/08/16/a-closer-look-at-the-boys-room/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/04/21/awry-in-the-boys-room/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/07/16/a-3-decor-trend-you-can-afford-to-try/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/08/05/a-hanging-plant-in-the-boys-room/

ORGANIZATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/09/02/making-the-most-of-small-closets-boys-room/

DIY

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/08/14/who-left-the-lights-on/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/05/07/i-painted-the-boys-room/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/06/23/diy-bullseye-art/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/09/02/turn-your-childs-favorite-comic-strip-character-into-a-wall-mural/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/12/11/a-wood-wall-in-the-boys-room-a-stikwood-giveaway/

You can access the boys’ bedroom tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding THE SECOND BATHROOM soon! Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Stacey who likes the idea of a wood accent on the stairway wall in her living room.

stikwood 6

I’ve had a hard time with the boys’ room. Especially the recessed wall that the boys’ beds are pushed up against. It’s the perfect spot for the bunk but I’ve always felt like it needed something. After I brought in the vintage dresser, I was pretty sure that something should be a warm-toned wood wall. But I didn’t want it to feel rustic. I just wanted it to balance out the wood tones on the other side of the room.

After a lot of searching, I came across Stikwood. (Btw, this post is NOT sponsored but I did ask Stikwood if they would be interested in doing a giveaway for you guys. Spoiler alert: They said yes!) Have you heard of it? Essentially, it’s peel-and-stick solid wood planks meant to be used on walls. There’s no nailing, no finish work. You simply measure, cut, peel, stick. I ordered a bunch of samples and quickly settled on the caramelized bamboo. It had the same warm tones as the dresser. I measured the wall (roughly 8′ x 8′) and ordered accordingly.

Even though the wood planks are VOC free, upon arrival the boxes had a smell to them. I sat them in the garage for several weeks to off-gas since we were in no rush to install them.

stikwood 1

Once the smell had dissipated, I brought the boxes into the boys’ room to acclimate. Can you see them under the dresser? Last weekend we finally got around to installation.

stikwood 2

We pulled the beds into the center of the room and unloaded the wall. Steve used painter’s tape on the black wall to note the placement of the sconces and shelves. He took a few measurements and wrote them on the tape for reference later.

stikwood 3

We decided that Steve would be the measurer and installer; I would be the cutter. I hooked up our Ryobi flooring saw (the same one we used to cut and install all the flooring in the house) to the vacuum to keep the sawdust mess to a minimum.

stikwood collage

You can read how-to instructions and see a video here but I wanted to share a few in-progress shots of our own.

1 – It was important to us that there be a full plank at the ceiling (since it would be visible) so we worked from the top of the wall to the bottom. The first plank we installed was actually one row down in the middle of the wall. There are three peel-and-stick adhesive strips that run the length of each plank on the back. To install a measured and cut-to-size plank, you simply peel away two of the protectors, fold over a short section of the third protector, place and level the plank, then remove the remaining third protector with the plank in place. This allows some room for adjustment when placing the planks. We didn’t use any of the fancy installation tools that Stikwood offers but we did find a rubber mallet to be helpful to achieve a snug fit.

2 – Once the first plank was in place, things moved along swiftly. We were careful to vary the lengths and seam placement. It was the most uneventful project we’ve completed in a while. That might make for a boring blog post but it was super nice not having any unexpected problems arise.

3 – We had the wall knocked out (figuratively speaking) in one afternoon. Instant gratification! We lucked out and ended up with a full plank at the baseboard so I didn’t have to make any cuts length-wise and we only had to work around one outlet. The most difficult part of the entire project was rehanging the sconces and shelves but even that wasn’t too bad. We were worried that we might have to put up some type of trim in the corners but I brought my A-game to the flooring saw and made precise cuts so no trim!

stikwood 4

Everyone LOVES the wood wall. Steve thinks it makes the room look bigger. He says you can now tell that the wall is set back from the rest of the room. The boys say it feels like they’re sleeping in a cabin when the bed curtains are drawn at night. I heard the word “cozy” come out of Layne’s mouth. I think the wall is the perfect balance to the large wood dresser on the other side of the room. And I like the contrast between the warm wood and white beds. There’s probably some rule against two accent walls in one room but it’s a kids’ room. Who cares.

stikwood 7

I don’t know if it’s our age or the sheer exhaustion from being in (what has felt like) perpetual renovation mode for the last 2+ years or what, but Steve and I are slowly warming up to products that promise quick and easy results – even if they cost more. Stikwood is definitely quick & easy. It’s also made in the USA, high quality and eco-friendly. The only drawback is the cost, but you get what you pay for. To help ease the sticker shock, Stikwood is kindly offering up a gift card today. See entry details below.

PRIZE: one $280 gift card to Stikwood plus a complimentary samples set

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Sign up for Stikwood’s newsletter here then leave a comment on this post sharing which plank you would use and where. (The entire time we were installing the planks, I kept telling Steve “Wouldn’t this be great for a TV wall? Just picture it with a flatscreen and floating console.)

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 18th. One random winner will be announced Friday, December 19th.

Good luck!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

calvin & hobbes 5

My kids are OBSESSED with Calvin and Hobbes. It’s a daily read around here. I credit the comic strip with advancing Everett’s reading skills over the summer. It has prompted a lot of good questions from the kids, too. (“Mom, what does ‘pizzazz’ mean?”) Even though Calvin and Hobbes was a favorite of Steve’s when he was little, he never pushed it onto the kids. It just sorta happened. I think it was Layne who first chose a Calvin and Hobbes book at the library and it was love at first sight read.

So when I was brainstorming ideas for a blank sliver of wall next to the boys’ closet, a DIY mural of Calvin and Hobbes was the first thing that came to mind. Luckily, everyone else thought it was a cool idea, too.

calvin & hobbes 1

We searched high and low for an image that would fit the narrow wall space. We settled on a simple image of Calvin and Hobbes standing next to each other. Steve printed the image onto a transparency at work. (Shhhh, don’t tell.)

calvin & hobbes 2

We used a projector to project the image onto the wall. The projector is the same one we used for a similar project in our previous house. We borrowed it from Steve’s office and they told us to keep it because they had no use for it. I have no idea how the projector made the cut and managed to stay in the “keep” pile when we downsized. In fact, I thought we had given it away but Steve found it in the attic space above the garage last week.

calvin & hobbes 3

Steve traced an outline of the image onto the wall with a pencil. The image was a tad too wide. We didn’t want the bedroom door to obscure Calvin when opened. So after tracing Hobbes, Steve repositioned the transparency to move Calvin a little closer to Hobbes. Then he traced Calvin.

calvin & hobbes 4

Using paint we already had on hand (Clark + Kensington primer + paint in one, color-matched to Ace Paint color “besalt” D36-7 in a flat finish) and a small paint brush, Steve filled in the lines. It took two coats to get adequate coverage.

calvin & hobbes 8

The matte charcoal paint worked perfectly. The end result is similar to what you would find in print. Except it’s life-sized and on a wall.

calvin & hobbes 6

The area under the basketball hoop no longer feels like a void and the mural should hold up to free throws.

calvin & hobbes 7

For reference, here’s the same view with the bedroom door open.

Layne and Everett were away at their grandparents’ house when Steve painted the mural. Even though we had talked with them about creating a mural, the boys had no idea it was happening while they were away. They were so surprised (and excited!) to discover it when they came home. Everett talks to Calvin and Hobbes. It’s hilarious. And ironic. And awesome.

The best thing about the mural (other than it being FREE!) is that it’s easily “erased” with a coat or two of paint should the boys tire of it. But seeing as how their dad is still a fan after 25+ years, I don’t think Calvin and Hobbes are going anywhere.

Fun fact: Did you know Bill Watterson first created the popular comic strip characters in his spare time when not working at an advertising job he detested? The mischievous first grader and his tiger sidekick were originally side characters in a strip that was rejected by a syndicate.

How do you feel about wall murals? Would you consider painting your child(ren)’s favorite character on a wall? I would never agree to a character-themed mural on a wall in a main living area but when done in a kid’s space and in a simple, non-garish design, I think it’s harmless fun.

FYI – If you’re interested in DIYing a wall mural but don’t own a projector, try borrowing one from a local business, school, library or church.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking