Images and text by Gabrielle. I had such a great time working with Lowe’s on this room — it’s one of 4 projects I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks! #springiscalling
Friends, I hope you are in the mood for some home-focused posts this week. Because I’ve got a bunch! This post is all about the Boys’ Bedroom. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a tour of our Living Room (plus, a Living With Kids post as well). And on Wednesday, I’m going to share a DIY about the shelves in the Reading Loft. Lots of good stuff! So let’s get right to it.
We started work on the boys’ bedroom last fall. I said to Ben Blair something like, “We’ll just knock down this wall, do the sheetrock, throw up some paint. It’ll be a good weekend project.”
It is the very end of April — 6 months later! — and I’m still fussing around with it. So you can imagine how excited I am to finally share some photos. I’m so happy with how this room has come together!
A little back story: Back in September, when I started talking about bedroom makeover plans for The Treehouse, I mentioned I wanted to expand the boys’ bedroom by a couple of feet, by taking over some unused closets in the girls room. The previous owners had used this small room as a den and it wasn’t quite big enough for 2 twin beds. We thought a bunkbed might work, but we tried our old set out and it took over the whole room and made the space seem even smaller. Plus, my boys are old enough that bunk beds have lost their appeal.
We lived with our move-the-wall plan for a few months, until we were sure that was what we wanted to do, then we got to work.
I’m happy to report, moving the wall was a great decision! The room now fits two twin beds comfortably and even though it’s small, it feels plenty big for two people.
The room is north facing and gets no direct sunlight, and it can feel quite dark in there. So I went with white walls to keep it feeling as bright and open as possible (and as I mentioned here, I’m craving mostly white walls these days anyway.)
This room is shared by 16-year-old Ralph and 9-year-old Oscar. They have different interests and a big age difference, so I thought hard about what a room might look like that would appeal to both of them. As I started gathering items for the space, I had in mind a loose color scheme of navy and grey and mustard yellow — there are little touches of yellow in lots of places — like the trim on a quilt and a duvet cover. I wanted the room to have a masculine feel without being forced and or overly rugged.
But let’s get on to the tour! There are lots of great finds and great ideas to share.
I’ll start with the floor. It’s commercial grade Armstrong VCT tile that we installed ourselves. When we were newlyweds, we had VCT tiles installed in our kitchen and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. They’re easy for even a novice to install, they’re made to withstand heavy use, they’re simple to maintain — you can go matte, or get a high-shine with a floor polish, they’re soft underfoot, and if you scratch one, since the composite material goes all the way through, the scratch won’t show. Best of all, they are inexpensive!
We used in-stock colors for this project, but you can order any of dozens of colors to create whatever pattern or design you’d like. We’ll be using these tiles in other parts of the house as well. If you’re craving fresh new floors this spring, I highly recommend VCT.
(Yes, our first thought was to put in white washed wood floors here, but it just wasn’t in the budget at the moment. And that’s okay. I really do like the VCT. It doesn’t feel like a compromise at all.)
The beds are metal military surplus frames. Sturdy as can be! No box spring required and they can handle the most rambunctious of kids. Plus, they have unusually high clearance underneath, which is great for additional storage — a major plus because the closet in the room is very small.
Speaking of the closet, it was only shelves at first. So we moved some of the shelves higher and added a hanging rod, then enclosed the space with a curtain.
The rug is by Allen & Roth — I love the braided pattern. I think it’s the most handsome jute rug I’ve come across. It’s soft on bare feet, and it’s a bargain as far as rugs go!
The bedding is a happy hodge podge. Sheets are two patterns from Serena & Lily mixed and matched. The seer sucker duvet cover on Oscar’s bed is also Serena & Lily. The grey quilt folded at the foot of Oscar’s bed is from West Elm, so is the grey coverlet on Ralph’s bed. The wool blanket at the foot of Ralph’s bed is from the Pendleton National Parks Collection — a Christmas gift from my mother .
The shelves next to the beds are actually old wine crates. They make the perfect spot for stashing books, journals and a glass of water. If I had tried to fit in nightstands, they would have been squished, but these are an excellent alternative. (And inexpensive as can be! Inquire about free castoffs at your local liquor store.)
The wall-mounted reading lamps are awesome. They can be directed anywhere and come with LED bulbs installed, plus they’re simple and handsome and don’t take up too much space. (I bought them in store at Lowe’s but can’t find a link online.)
The dresser is vintage. We bought it on Craig’s List during one of our first weekends here. I love it so much.
The lamp on the dresser is also super cool. Just the right size. Modern and masculine.
Now to the posters! They’re one of my favorite things in the room. They look vintage, but they are really just basic posters that I hacked! (DIY post coming!) Oscar is super into marine biology right now, and I thought it would be awesome to seek out old pull-down posters from classrooms featuring fish and sharks and sea life. But I spent a good amount of time hunting and kept coming up short. So I decided to fake my own!
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been quite slow and thoughtful about putting rooms together, but this was an instance where I felt I shouldn’t wait to find the perfect wall hangings. It could take me years to hunt down the vintage posters I’m picturing in my head, but Oscar’s passion for marine biology is happening right now. Best not to wait.
Okay. I think those are the main things I wanted to share with you in the room. If there’s something I didn’t mention that you’re curious about, please feel free to leave a question in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as I can.
In the title I say “Almost Done” and I do feel that way. I’m really happy with how the room has shaped up, but I feel like the wall behind the headboards is unfinished. I’m not sure what I want there. Maybe wallpaper. Maybe dark paint. Maybe something I haven’t thought of yet. And I want Ralph’s side of the room to have something more gasp-worthy going on — I want him to be as excited about what’s on his walls as Oscar is about the biology posters. We’ll see what we come up with.
But I’m not in a hurry. I’m moving on to new projects and will wait patiently until inspiration strikes! Until then, I’m marking the Boys’ Bedroom off my mental checklist.
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts! Would this room appeal to your kids? Have you ever had a teen and an elementary school kid share a bedroom? And how do you feel about sharing a room in general? (I’ve shared a room for most of my life, but I’m guessing some of you have had the opposite experience!) Also, do you agree the room still needs a little something? Or would you call it complete?
One last thing: here is a “before” image of the room:
P.S. — There’s some additional back story where this room is concerned — including a ceiling beam and demolition gone awry! I wrote it all up to include in this writeup, but the post became unwieldy. I’m including it here, but don’t feel pressure to read it. : )
Here’s the remodeling story. When we started what we thought would be a weekend project, first we dismantled the closet doors in the girls room, and walled in that space. Then, we started demolishing the wall in the boys’ room so that it would open into the newly enclosed closet. That’s when we hit a snag.
Caption: We started taking down the wall and found an unusual configuration. Is it load bearing?
Instead of standard two-by-four + sheetrock construction, there was a vertical beam and what looked like lots of heavy duty support. It looked to be a load bearing wall, which meant we couldn’t take it down.
We were so bummed! And we didn’t know how to proceed. We had a couple of consultations but no one could say for sure if it was load-bearing — the wall had been part of a remodel at some point and it was hard to decipher the history of it.
So we hit pause until I had some head space to come back to the project. We cleared out the mess. We put the tools away. We swept up the dust. And the boys kept living in that room. It was as functional as it had been before the demolition started, but now it looked like half the room was a construction zone. Yikes.
Oh man. The boys were so patient! I had told them it was going to be short project, and here they were living with a weird, half-constructed wall for months.
In February, after Alt Summit, I was ready to dive in again. We called our favorite contractor and asked him to send his carpenters to figure out the wall. They needed to find out if it was load bearing, and if it was, they needed to figure out if we could move the support beam. They also needed to make a recommendation on the ceiling beam. Was it decorative or functional? It was hard to tell.
I confess, I was apprehensive. I knew this could turn into an expensive or complicated fiasco. But I didn’t need to worry. The carpenter team came in, started working on the wall, and found out it wasn’t load bearing! Hooray!! They cleared it out, reframed anything that needed work, and replaced the ceiling beam with one that extended across the new, wider ceiling. And the whole thing took less than 24 hours!
Caption: The wall is removed, but the ceiling beam is too short and some of the ceiling lumber is going the wrong direction.
Can you believe it? All those months of waiting on a 24 hour job. Hah!
Caption: Ben Blair at work. This was our first attempt at taking down the tiles.
From there, we had some hard work ahead, but it was doable and straightforward. The most challenging part was dealing with the acoustic ceiling tile. Some of the ceiling tiles had to be ripped out as we took out the wall, so we knew we would need to come up with a new solution for the ceiling. The tiles were glued onto handsome wood planks — just like we have in the hallway. Ideally we wanted those wood planks to be exposed! But when we chipped away at the tile, big chunks of glue and tile material would be left behind. And it took hours just to scrape away a small section.
Then, our handyman recommended a heat gun, and that did the trick! Using the heat gun, we could scrape away the tiles much more easily. Hallelujah!
Caption: The new ceiling beam is in place. And all the ceiling planks are going the same direction. The acoustic tiles and glue have been removed. The ceiling has been sanded and primed.
Once the glue was scraped away, we sanded, primed and painted.
The sheetrock, electrical and painting (the whole room is Origami White) were done by the end of March, and since then we’ve been doing the fun stuff.
Ah. The joys of remodeling. : )