Friday, June 03, 2011

Room for Improvement

A few short weeks ago, in addition to packing for a week's cruise in Alaska, followed immediately by a business-related conference, I was also frantically emptying out my bedroom of everything.  Yes,  this was not merely a long-overdue de-cluttering, but a total clean-out to the bare walls.  After many years of talking about it, I finally commited to remodeling my room.

I was excited, even though this called for a ton of work.  First the clothes.  Oh my goodness, the clothes!  One closet full of shirts, shorts and sandals used for work.  One closet with pants, capris, blouses, tops and, yes, additional shoes, for when I'm not at work.  One dresser with six drawers -- bras, panties, t-shirts for going out on the boat, hanging around the house, doing stuff not covered by the clothes in the closets.

You'd think that a woman who lives alone would have plenty of closet space, right?  Particularly in a three bedroom house.  That's great in theory until you take into account that I also have dresses, skirts, and various ensembles that I wear to writers' meetings, conferences, and other occasions that call for more "dressed-up" attire.  Those outfits fill the closet in one bedroom at least half two thirds of the way.  The third closet?   Umm, well, you know sometimes I go to places where it's cold so I actually need a couple of winter jackets and then there are a few costume gowns and, and...

Okay, the point is that I did not have scads of available closet space just waiting for me to move in clothes from the bedroom.

After clothes, I needed to find room for extra books.  Do you know that in the last 18 months, I have sorted through, packed up and given away at least NINE big boxes of books??  Mass market paperbacks, trade paperbacks, hard covers -- I thought I was ruthless but the fact is, I still own hundreds of books.  I long over reached maximum capacity on my bookshelves and began storing the overflow in bags, containers and anything that would keep the towers of reading material from toppling over.  I sorted through yet again, packed up two more big cardboard boxes and toted them to the local library.  The rest I, uh, incorporated into some boxes of previously sorted through books that are in the third bedroom which is also my office/storage room. 

Assorted items that filled nighstand drawers or were arrayed on top of the dresser and bookcase fit nicely in a single box that I could store on a shelf in another bedroom.  The bag with my snorkel gear and fins, some stuff for dog park fundraisers, bed linens and sundry other things went wherever I could find room.  The whole "finding room" thing got a little more complicated the longer I worked.  I wouldn't have had any problem at all except that I needed to leave a bed free in the spare bedroom so that I had a place to sleep.

The furniture was the least of my problems.  I put out a call to the entire staff where I worked that said, "Bedroom furniture, old but useable, free to a good home."  Four co-workers were interested and a young couple came over the weekend before my trip and carted it away.

All this work pretty much leaves a clean slate.  with the exception of Mom installing new wall-to-wall carpeting at some point 15 or more years ago, and adding a ceiling fan, virtually nothing had been done to update or improve the room cosmetically since my folks bought the house in 1978.  Even the furniture came with the house!   The walls sported old paneling.  The ceiling had these odd swirly-patterened tiles.  The windows were old jalousy style which don't do well with my outdoor Bahama style awnings/shutters. 

My instructions for the contractor were to rip everything out, check and replace the insulation, and rebuild the walls.  Upgrade the wiring.  Put in new windows.  Put up sheetrock on the ceiling.  Convert the two small closets into one large one, and get a new door.  Install new flooring.  Paint the walls and ceiling and hang a new fan, etc. etc.  Out with the old, prepare for the new.

The timing was great, I figured.  I trust the man with the key to my house so he could work during the two weeks that I, and also my dogs, were out of the house!  He got pretty much all of the really dirty work accomplished.  I wish I'd taken pictures of the empty room before he started work, so you could really appreciate the changes a long the way, but I was too frazzled getting ready for the trip.  I took shots last weekend after I got home.  You can't really tell, but it's a decent size room -- 14' X 12', not counting the extra area where the closets are as well as the door to the master bath.

The view of the room as I stand in the doorway.

Looking back at the door and the area where the closets are located along with the door to the master bath.
Walls, windows, ceiling, etc. all done!  Since then, he has also cut and installed all of the trim around the doorways and windows, using a lovely red oak.  The flooring will be a good wood laminate with a complementary red oak look. 

I'm going for a coastal/seashore cottage decor.  I want pretty and nice, but comfortable.  I'm not one for an ultra formal bedroom.  I want to walk into my room and feel like I can instantly relax.  My job this week was to decide on a paint color.  After much consideration of paint chips, I narrowed my choices to two and painted the colors on one wall to see what they looked like in different lighting situations.  Anybody who knows me will not be the least surprised that I'm going with a deep periwinkle.  Not quite blue, not really purple, but something that's a little of both of my favorite colors.  I still like the other paint, too, something called Romantic Isle.  We're going to use that in that dressing/closet area. 

Pretty soon I have to pick out furniture, window treatments and accessories like lamps and stuff.   I really want the finished decor to be beautiful, so I've enlisted some help.  One of my former co-workers now has her own interior decorating business.  I've hired her for a long distance consultation.  I've sent her the room measurements, photographs and paint swatch.  We've discussed my likes and dislikes for colors in fabrics and she knows what I'm looking for in that seashore style.  I'm eager to see her suggestions for furniture, and everything else.

It's sort of strange but here I am in my 50s and this is the first time that I've ever really decorated a bedroom for myself -- other than picking out a bedspread and curtains.  When I was a kid, my folks picked out the furniture for my bedroom -- sort of an homage to French provincial.  When my grandparents moved in with us, they took over my room and I moved to a spare room with older, sort of provincial style furnishings.  that bedroom set moved with me after college when I got my first appointment.  It moved back home with me 15 years later.  When I relocated to the Keys, I finally said goodbye to that furniture but took over the set that was already here. 

Now, after decades, everything is going to be new, chosen by me to fit my personal preference, style and taste.  I can't wait to see what it turns out to be.  It isn't a new beginning.  Instead, it feels as if I'm opening up something inside to create a sanctuary -- a beautiful new atmosphere where I can release my tensions, restore my body, brain and spirit, and dream my dreams.

Stay tuned for more pictures as we make progress. 

Have you created your bedroom?  What does your personal space say about you?

One last picture for you.  A few blog posts ago, I talked about the glassblowing adventure in Skagway.  Well, my lovely glass ornament has arrived.  It's going to be integrated into the bedroom.  Must be why I picked purple and aqua as the colors.



lora96 said...


And, no, my/our bedroom is the beige the builders painted it with the crappy beige shag carpet. My childhood furniture is in there. I did buy a pic for the wall (a bright matisse print to fight the beige!) but my kitchen is MINE with deep red walls and a big yellow and red giant coffee cup planter above the cabinet and a rainbow of fiesta dishes.

And my classroom has teal blue walls with bright butterflies everywhere.

Damn I need to paint that bedroom. It does suck.

Mary Stella said...

Ahh, your kitchen sounds fabulous -- bright, cheerful, festive. i also love the idea that your classroom is so bright and happy.

London Mabel said...

Nothing's especially decorated in my apartment (no walls painted or big money spent on furniture except a new comfy couch), but when my mother fixed up my grandfather's house I asked her to send me the bedsheet curtains from the room I used to stay in when I visited. They're the color and focal point of my bedroom/office and make my inner child very happy.

Looking forward to your pictures. But you'd better post a BEFORE!!

Jen Wagner said...

I'm with you...the bedroom is my relaxing sanctuary. Walls are a deep gray blue with floor-to-ceiling silk drapes to match. I need a new dresser, but right now there's just one. It's quite minimal actually. No real clutter. I really need pictures to complete the room, but it seems like the bedroom is always the last room of the house to get fixed up! Maybe because we fix up the rest of the house for guests?

Loving the pic updates. Keep 'em coming! So glad you're doing this for yourself. :)

Hope said...

We got to design our current bedroom from scratch. I wanted it to be like an oasis. It has cool blue walls and long white curtains.

If we ever kept it clean, it would be a relaxing place to hang out. :p

Hope said...

We got to design our current bedroom from scratch. I wanted it to be like an oasis. It has cool blue walls and long white curtains.

If we ever kept it clean, it would be a relaxing place to hang out. :p