Monday, January 27, 2014

Project Redecorate: Playroom/School Room Part I

Now that we've lived here seven months, and now that I've (most days) accepted that we're here to stay for a while, we are ready to hang pictures.

This is the third home we've owned. (We've rented several times, too.) The last two times we bought, we knew we'd be selling again within a couple of years. That motivated our home purchases and decorating.

Not this time! Our first priority was location -- we wanted trees and a big lot. We prefer homes older than 30 years. The house needed at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and our ideal included a bonus room for school/play. Outside of that, we weren't particular.

(Note to self: next time gas heat will be on the must-have list.)

The home we bought was built in 1978. It had some updates and is certainly a nice home. Mainly it needs paint, landscaping work, and new windows. The bathrooms could use a major overhaul, but that can wait. So can the overhead lighting situation. (It's nonexistent upstairs. No ceiling fans but an attic fan. Weird for this Southern girl.)

The neighborhood is pretty perfect. We are two houses from a dead end, which has a walkway right to the neighborhood school. There are two families on either side with boys Lee's age. Our lot has a dramatic slope (great for sledding, we've learned) but levels out to a spot perfect for a garden, chicken coop, or bee hives.

As far as decorating the house, we're taking it one room at a time on a limited budget. The wonderful thing about updating a home this age is the major transformation that happens with a few gallons of paint.

We started with the playroom/school room this weekend. We're still not completely finished, but here's a sneak peek of the "Before" and "After."

** I didn't remember to get "Before" pictures with how it currently looks, so the first ones here are when we first moved in. For the next room I'll do better about that.**

I'm not a gifted decorator. My mom is. Unfortunately she lives far away. We'll be decorating the mantel together over FaceTime, which is simultaneously awesome and depressing. I wish we'd settled closer.

We found out this weekend we were accepted into our local Classical Conversations community for next year. (Wahoo!) Having a beautiful, fun learning area and a prestigious, challenging program to guide us is really exciting.

I can't wait to show you the final room in the next couple of weeks!


  1. Wow- that paint made such a dramatic change! Looks lovely and bright!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! We were amazed at what a few gallons of paint (and a little work) did to brighten it up!

  2. I like light colors on the walls too. One summer pre-kids I was watching way to much HGTV. And they were all about painting mantles dark colors so we painted our walls a little darker then I'd like and our fireplace/mantle a dark chocolate brown. I hated it from the first stroke to the whole year I let it stay that way. Then Chris painted it back white for me. I was happy again. I might have been my anniversary present that year.

    1. All of our rooms in our last house were some shade of brown. We are going the total opposite direction in this house -- all cool colors and white. Maybe it's a good thing we don't have cable and HGTV because I have no idea what's actually in style. Ha.

  3. I really like what you've done so far. It looks like a nice big space.

    1. Thanks, Rachel! It's a really large room, and now it looks more fun-like and less cave-like.

  4. Beautiful.. Can't wait to see the finished room.. The fireplace, looks so much better. Happy painting.

  5. So I'm thinking of painting our fire place...just wondering if you have any advice. Is your's a working fire place and if so, did you use any special type of paint I'm thinking of going white too, but thinking of keeping our mantel the dark wood that it is right now. Anyway, love the transformation!

    1. Hi, Sally! Thank you! We love our new room.

      I wanted to keep our mantle dark, too, but was outvoted. To be honest, I still would vote for keeping it dark.

      Ours is not a working fireplace. It's gas and powered by an ancient propane tank that sits on the other side of the wall. We would like it to be wood burning someday, and as long as we remove the cover (we painted) and since we didn't paint inside the fireplace itself, we should be okay even when/if we convert it.

      As for the painting, it wasn't difficult at all. Just took time.

      We started by cleaning it. We didn't use any special chemicals, just a really tough bristled brush and vacuum cleaner. (Ours was likely never wood burning, so it wasn't terribly dirty.)

      We used Valspar premium paint + primer, which is just a really thick paint that covers better than regular paint. To cover our dark paint, we used two coats with a third as touch up. The most important part was using a proper roller -- it's got a long nap specifically for brick and allows the paint to get into the cracks and crevices.

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions!


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