There comes a point in every person's life, hopefully, when they go, "Oh, I hate futons," and then they go couch shopping and leave the couch store defeated and baffled, bewildered by the cost of them, unable to imagine paying that amount for anything but a car.
We were in our early 30's by the time our incomes and imaginations could handle the couch bill, and Hallelujah! Even though it was the cheapest one in the place it was the only one we wanted.
This is Part Two in an effort to catalog how we came to own most of our stuff and how much it cost us. Part One was the porch, which was much cheaper.
I battle with the cost of designing my interior spaces a lot. It feels impossible to spend money on a rug knowing that I will most likely hate it in 5 years (those things are expensive!). To spend $30 on one curtain seems totally ludicrous. A $25 pillow, are you kidding? So mostly I get my stuff on the side of the road, at thrift stores, and most amazingly, as gifts from friends who know my taste and like making me freak out over the beauty of an object. Apparently, they think hyperventilating is charming.
One of the ways I can talk myself into spending money on a room is to create a total list of improvements I'd like to make and estimate the cost. $60 for curtains? No fucking way. $300 for the bedroom to look perfect? Sounds good! Silly tiny brain, you are so easily tricked! I love you!
So, here I am, starting to take stock of what my rooms cost just for the heck of it. Is that gauche? I don't care! This first one was featured on Design Sponge. I'm pretty sure it's going to be my cheapest room, but we shall see.
Yes, everyone is doing chevron right now, and ombre and ikat too. You know why? Because they are awesome. Chevron stripes have been a part of design and art for thousands of years, so when you use them you know you are using a classic, a thing that will stand the test of time, a thing that will not make you cringe in 10 years unlike your haircut in the 80's, whatever it was. Promise.
When Matthew is away, which is half of the time, I can get a little stir-crazy and energized and undertake things that maybe I wouldn't if he was around. Why paint chevron stripes on your dining room wall if your sweetie wants to watch Friday Night Lights episodes back to back to back?
When I set out to paint the dining room wall at 7pm I thought I'd be done in a couple hours. By 1am I was cursing Design Sponge and Pinterest and the entire history of chevron stripes in general. By 2am I was basking in the glory of my finished stripes and loving them with all my heart.
They are WICKED subtle. Most people don't notice them right away, which I'm very happy about. I wanted a design element that was almost subconscious and I think I got it.
The math involved in making chevron stripes was something I was unprepared for. I didn't want to mark the walls with pencil grid lines and to be honest, to do so would have been against the impulsive nature of the project (and the impulsive nature of me), so I just stuck it out, swore a lot, and eventually found a rhythm.
Here is a slideshow of the process:
When we bought the bungalow we knew we would put Zane on the first floor so we could have the two rooms upstairs to ourselves. We thought he'd like not being on the same floor as us, being so close to the bathroom, and having a window close to the ground to one day sneak out of. We were right, about all three of those things.
But we also knew it was a small room and that he wasn't getting any smaller. My dad built him a loft when we moved in, trying to maximize space, but as he grew, inexplicably, to well over 6 feet, the loft became a serious head-injury/spine-curving liability and we took it down when he was 15.
For four years he lived with the colors he had chosen as a 13 year old: dark blue with black trim.
It could have been worse. He painted a beautiful flaming heart (well, as beautiful as a flaming heart can be) with our dear friend Molly S. on one wall and took artistic liberties with the access the loft gave him to the ceiling.
We never really bought him any furniture; it was all cobbled together with roadside finds and hand-me-downs, and he seemed fine with that. And then he hit 17 and started complaining about the size of his room. Being the space problem-solver that I am I kept telling him that there was a lot of ways to maximize his room without having to build a $20,000 addition, something he did not buy.
Before he left on his big winter expedition I asked if I could empty his room out while he was gone. I'd paint and buy furniture and problem solve and uncover invisible square footage. Incredibly, he said yes. I say incredibly because if my mother so much as looked in my room when I was a teenager I threw something at her (not really, but you know, I probably wanted to).
Right before he left I had him remove anything that was going to gross me out or embarrass him to death and got started shortly after he left. I chose a not-too-dissimilar pallette so as not to rock the boat; a more elegant bue-gray for the walls and a darker version of it for the trim.
I found myself pretty emotional about painting over the heart. He had assured me that he did not care in the least, but asking a mother to actively destroy her child's art is not the easiest request. Then I decided I'd replace it with something and felt better.
I thought birch trees would be easy to paint (I have zero drawing/painting talent - less than zero), and would remind him of his long ski expedition through the forests of Vermont. I loved that they would come out from behind his television, urging him to remember that there are other things in life besides video games. I added new curtains, risking his wrath by removing his beloved purple velour ones, bought a new desk and bed and set about designing the room for space and teenage boy beauty (I was sure there was such a thing).
I built out his closet by installing shelves I made out of wood we had lying around since there was no room for a dresser and then I built shelves over his bed in order to get rid of a bookcase taking up floor space. Getting things off the ground; the bed, the books, the clothes - immediately transformed the room into a much larger, higher functioning space. And the addition of new textiles and colors (and the removal of ceiling graffiti) really makes it feel like a young man's room.
When he got home he was happy with the results, didn't ask after the purple curtains, and - Victory! He complimented me on my birch trees with, "the branch scars are pretty accurate."