Oct 16, 2019

One Room Challenge, Fall 2019: Week Three

With the exception of our dining room, which is enveloped in Benjamin Moore's Evening Dove, the paint colors in our home are... subdued. Most walls are either Chantilly Lace or Gray Cloud; our guest bedroom is Stratton Blue, a muted green from BM's Historical Collection inspired by 18th and 19th century architecture found throughout North America.

That's relevant here because, as you'll have seen on Instagram, my One Room Challenge project for the last week was to paint The Room Formerly Known As The Room Of Requirement. I mentioned in my first ORC post that I wanted to "get creative" with the walls, and we already have two accent walls in our house - our bedroom features Gray Cloud on one wall and Chantilly Lace on the others, which isn't a huge contrast but still counts, and the nursery has one wall covered in a dark celestial wallpaper - so I decided to try something a bit different. While I didn't do anything that required actual skill with a brush, my plan did call for math.

A couple of years ago, Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar made over a bedroom for Good Morning America; to make the small room look bigger, he painted the top third of the walls the same white as the ceiling and the rest a soft pink. "By only painting 2/3rds of the way up the wall, it visually ‘raises’ the ceiling giving the illusion of added space," he explained. The walls of the bedrooms in our house are all 8'6" high, so 2/3 rounds to 5'8". When I measured that, though, it looked quite short to me, probably because the window in the bedroom is quite tall, and I ended up raising the line to be even with the top of the molding over the closet door. I taped the walls and layered on two coats of Chantilly Lace 17" down from the ceiling one evening after Robbie went to bed.

Deciding to paint the rest of the walls a bold blue was slightly unexpected, even to me. I'm still not sure what came over me, though maybe I just scrolled past one too many neutral kids' rooms decorated with sophisticated, untouchable accents on Instagram and snapped, but here we are and I'm obsessed!

You saw last week that I wanted to test out three saturated blues: Benjamin Moore's Ol' Blue Eyes, Brilliant Blue, and Big Country Blue. They're almost identical, but my favorite was Ol' Blue Eyes because it felt a little softer while still making a significant impact. When pushed, Jon said he'd go for Brilliant Blue if he had to choose but he admitted that he really thought they were all too dark. (I suspect he said Brilliant Blue because it was the one closest to the window and therefore looked the brightest, but I wasn't going to argue! This was not the decor hill I wanted to die on.) So the next day I brought Robbie with me to Ace Hardware and tried to choose between Clearest Ocean Blue, one lighter than Ol' Blue Eyes on the 2064 card, and Utah Sky, one lighter than Brilliant Blue on the 2065 card. I asked an older gentleman also waiting at the paint counter which he'd pick for a kid's bedroom, and he looked at me, then at the cards, and then at Robbie. "This kid?" I nodded. "Why don't you ask him?" I held out the two cards to Robbie and, without hesitation, Robbie reached for 2065.

Okay, Robbie had no idea what he was choosing - but I went with it, and I am so glad I did!

I have to give my mom huge thanks for getting me started on the painting. She came over on Indigenous People's Day to hang out with Robbie while I painted, but the timing wasn't quite right and, after lunch, he only wanted to nap on me while she was there. She did the blue on those two walls you see in that second photo - thanks, Mom!

The only thing I have left to do paint-wise is sand the wall where I left some gaps that you can see two photos up from where we had hung hook racks. After Mom finished, I did the rest of the painting in the evenings once Robbie had gone to bed and I was afraid the sanding would wake him up, so we'll tackle that this weekend.

(By the way, speaking of my mother, she made this quilt! She sewed it for me when I went off to college 15 years ago and I love it so much.)

The next phase is to figure out what shelves I want to hang above the radiator, to install the blinds in the window, and to go through the art that's stacked against the wall to see if any will work in this room. I'm sure we'll change out the art when this becomes Robbie's bedroom, but it would be nice to have something up for now. Stay tuned - and wish me luck!

As always, make sure to check out the other guest participants in the One Room Challenge. Things are getting good over at the link-up!

Please note that I haven't edited these photos in any way. I want you to see what the colors really look like in natural light.

Oct 9, 2019

One Room Challenge, Fall 2019: Week Two

Good morning and welcome back to the Fall 2019 One Room Challenge! I hope you clicked on the ORC link last week to check out the other fab participants - there are some really great projects in the mix. Make sure to see what they're up to this week!

Since my first post, the biggest part of this room re-do has been tackled: our fantastic handyman Juventino came over to demo and rebuild the inside of the closet. As I mentioned, the fourth bedroom's primary purpose for now is to house my clothes, shoes, and bags, which don't have anywhere to live in our master bedroom. The internal configuration of this closet wasted a lot of space - not least because there was a box on the floor of the closet that covered the slant of the staircase behind/below it. I asked Juventino to take up the box and re-lay the floor to gain as much space as possible, install shelves on either side of the closet, and paint it all a crisp white. He did a great job and it's made a huge difference! See?

Oct 3, 2019

One Room Challenge, Fall 2019: Week One

Dear readers, I have no business doing a One Room Challenge right now. I really don't. But here we are... and here, I suspect, are a lot of other guest participants who find themselves in the same situation! We just can't resist the motivation of a deadline.

In the first year of living in our 1920 Wardman rowhouse, we did all of the necessary safety-related upgrades like replacing the electrical and plumbing systems, the porch roof, and the back deck. We also did as many cosmetic updates as our budget would allow: painting, switching out light fixtures, and doing very some minor DIY work in the kitchen. While there are a lot of other projects I'd embark on now if we could afford them, we are planning a major renovation in a few years and I don't want to spend time and money on something that would be undone when we renovate.

One of the only rooms that won't be affected at all by our renovation plans is the fourth bedroom upstairs. We currently use three of our four bedrooms as actual bedrooms; there's the master, the nursery, and the guest room. When we have a second child - which isn't happening any time soon but you all know how I like to think ahead - the fourth bedroom will become Robbie's room and the new baby will get the nursery. (Thinking even further ahead to the renovation, we've determined that the master will become a second child's bedroom, the guest room will be expanded into a master suite, and the nursery will turn into a small study.) At the moment, because the closet in the master bedroom is tiny, I'm using the closet in the fourth bedroom for my clothes and the room itself is sort of a dumping ground for things that haven't yet found a home or a purpose in this not-so-new-anymore house. Jon used to call it my Closet Room, which I didn't like, so it's now known as The Room of Requirement despite being much less magical than its namesake at Hogwarts.

Sep 23, 2019

Where We Walked: Following in Constable's Footsteps

Before we get too into fall - she proactively worries on September 24 - I want to post some more of our summer adventure in England. I still go through my old blog to pull up photos and stories of half-remembered memories and I want to be sure this trip is similarly recorded!

Sep 16, 2019

A Mini-Break in Constable Country

A few weeks ago, Jon and Robbie and I flew to England to celebrate a family wedding. We packed a ton into our eight days across the pond: besides that first weekend in Southampton, we spent five days in Suffolk, Jon's home county, and 36 hours in London seeing friends and more family. Because our trip fell over our wedding anniversary (August 24) and my birthday (August 29), Jon and I asked his mum to keep Robbie for two days so we could enjoy a mini-break together.

We didn't want to travel too far from Jon's mum's house by the coast but I wanted to go somewhere totally new to me, and after doing a little research I suggested to Jon that we head to Constable Country, on the other (inland) side of Suffolk at the Essex border. Why is it called Constable Country, you ask? Well, an early 19th century English artist named John Constable was born near the River Stour in Suffolk; he felt great affection for the Suffolk landscape and the villages surrounding his home, telling a friend: “I should paint my own places best; painting with me is but another word for feeling.” The region made famous by his work has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which ensures its conservation, so many of the views you see even today are exactly as Constable painted them.