Do you ever notice the older you get, the faster time gets? I was pretty sure that we had just decorated Riley's room, it was 5 years ago. Back then 4 year old Riley LOVED princesses. I was so proud of her beautiful room. We had painted soft blue paint on the bottom, and peach on the top with a Cinderella border, princess curtains, princess carpet, and princess bedding. I just thought it was beautiful, and so did she. When she turned 7 she began to express her desire for a panda room. In an effort to stall her, we gave her the finite age of "9". When she turned "9", we would give her a panda room. From that time forward she would tell everyone that when she turned 9, she was getting a panda room.
Why would we put her off until she turned 9? Have you ever decorated a room? You think, oh a can of paint is only $30. I can decorate that room for $30, and then you begin to think about how much nicer that room could be if you "just". That "just" is a money sink hole. "Just" usually turns into bedding, carpets, curtains among many, many other things. The age of 9 seemed like so far away when she was 7.
This year Riley and Rowan turned 9. Riley remembered our promise. "Princess rooms are too babyish" she declared "I need a big girl room!" She agreed that her birthday gift this year would be a new room, man did she get a good deal. For her birthday we gave her two cans of purple paint with ribbons on top. We had decorated Rowan's room in Spiderman. His room was royal blue and red. We asked if he would like his room freshened up. In typical Rowan laid back style, "Nope, I like my room. I would like a white board though."
I was luckily able to talk Riley out of the "panda room". I told her that we would not be
re-decorating her room until at she was at least in high-school, so she should pick something that she will not outgrow. She is a smart little cookie and she agreed to this. We let her pick out the paint colours, but that is the end of what we allowed her to have a say in. We wanted for her to get a big surprise. The big surprise is that it took Christopher and I almost a month and a half to find the time to finally tackle her room, but in the end, we did.
We started by removing the wallpaper boarder. I used a cloth with a capful of fabric softener, hot water and a cloth. I soaked the boarder, then went back and pulled. Nothing is ever easy, and wallpaper removal is especially true to this. In the end, it was not as tough as many wallpaper removals that I have done. The key is to really soak the under paper. The top came off pretty easy, but that paper underneath was a little tougher. With a good soak, and using a credit card it came off pretty easily. After the wallpaper boarder came off Christopher washed the walls with TSP. Then I taped the walls. Taping the walls is time consuming, but really important for clean lines. We did several steps in taping.
I can not make any pretenses, I am not that clever at patterning. To eliminate mistakes I used small pieces of tape to tell me what parts would be dark purple, and what would be silver. If I hadn't used the tape markers, I can only imagine the mess I would have made. In the end I did make a little mess, and went over the tape lines a few times with my small roller. To correct that I just used a fine brush and fixed the mistakes. When it is all said and done, the pattern does not look like the pattern that I had envisioned, but it does really make that wall stand out!
We used a Martha Stewart paint that is called precious metals for the silver stripe. It was expensive! It cost almost $30.00 for a tiny tin, and for optimal effect we needed to use the Martha Stewart roller. We discovered our mistake about the roller early on. I am a bit of a cheapskate (as my children are all too happy to share with you). I thought that any roller would have worked fine, it didn't. Regular rollers left the finish streaky and unfinished looking. The Martha Stewart roller really did a nice finish, and made it shine like real metal.
I had really wanted to make Riley's built-in book shelf pop. My plan had been to use black and white accessories. I really wanted to find a black and white wallpaper. Apparently I have not shopped for wallpaper in a very long time. I nearly pooped kittens when I looked at the price of the wallpaper that I had fallen in love with. It was $32.00 a roll! I was not going to go with wallpaper. I then had a pretty clever idea (I have to give myself credit because I don't really have an awful lot of really clever ideas). I found beautiful wrapping paper at Walmart that was Halmark brand and $4 a roll. I bought two rolls. I then bought a small container of Hodge Podge. I used the Hodge Podge to carefully stick my precisely measured and cut pieces of wrapping paper. I then put a second layer of Hodge Podge over the top of the wrapping paper. Is it perfect? No it is not, but it is really pretty good. I covered the wall behind the book shelf, and then decided to carry that theme over to Riley's dresser.
Originally I was going to paint Riley's dresser white. She made it very clear that she did not want her dresser changed, she liked it just the way it was. I had picked up that dresser at an estate sale, and thought that it really didn't owe me anything, but Riley thought differently. I decided to take a chance (knowing full well it could be a real fail), and papered four of Riley's six dresser fronts. It really tied in it all together.
One of the last things that I did was to make a valance for the window. I went to Fabricland and found material that was almost a match for the wrapping paper that I had just modge podged to the wall and dresser. I also found an embellishment of tiny drop crystals. It would have been more cost effective to simply buy a valance from the store, but I was really able to customize this to Riley. In the end the material was $20 a metre, and I used half a metre. The embellishment was $9 a metre and I took a metre. The black ribbon was $4 a package. In total the valance cost $23 to make, but it is exclusive to Riley's room.
When we had finished all of the painting and all of the little finishing touches we moved all of the furniture back into Riley's room. We carefully placed everything to maximize her space. Christopher carpet cleaned her old carpets. I put the new bedspread and skirt on her bed. We then just made sure that everything was just right. In the end we paid $25 per large can of paint (there were 2), $28 for the small tin of Martha Stewart Paint, $20 worth of painters tape, $17 worth of paint rollers and paint trays, $8 for wrapping paper, $7 for Modge Podge, $23 for a valance, $33 for the Bed -in- a bag (I know that is a total steal). This is a grand total of $178.00 (before taxes... $201.70), that's really not too bad for everything when I lay it out like that.
We blindfolded Riley to take her up to her room. To say that she was delighted would be like saying that the Pope is only a little bit Catholic! She squealed and shrieked and giggled. I had been holding my breath praying that she liked her new room. I let the air finally escape. As Riley threw herself onto her bed she let out a happy little sigh, "This room is just so me." We had done it. The room was finally done, and Riley was happy, it was a good day! This is a big girl room that is not too big girl for a 9 year old, but not too childish for a teen, I think we nailed this one. The problem is that we may have nailed this one too well, because now Gracie is thinking about some changes for her room.