Is There Really Life After Childbirth?

Posts Tagged ‘Redecorating

When I was in the sixth grade, I moved from sharing a bedroom the size of a walk-in closet with two younger brothers to my own spacious penthouse apartment. OK. It wasn’t exactly a penthouse apartment, but it might as well have been as far as I was concerned.
After years of sharing a pathway that connected my parent’s bedroom and the single solitary bathroom (containing one of the two closets in the entire house), I thought I had hit the proverbial big time. The only storage space I had during my formative years existed under my bed. We had a single dresser that I had to share with my brothers and I tried all sorts of plans and schemes to make them keep their “stuff” off of my portion of the floor. As do most well-laid plans, these were all destined to backfire one by one.
There was the “plant the evidence” plan where I stuffed a cake batter-covered dish towel under their bed. It wasn’t found for about 3 years and was stiff enough by then to be used to patch the roof. The fact that neither one of them ever actually stirred cake batter (thereby providing an opportunity to drop a dish towel into it) was not lost on my mom.
Perhaps the worst backfire was the “tie the pajamas in knots if they’re ever left on the floor”. Yep, you guessed it. I was the first offender. So I guess, in reality, that plan could have been a success if I hadn’t gotten mad and canceled it.
So you can imagine my excitement when I was able to have my very own full-sized room complete with its own closet (and only one entrance so I never had to be the victim of any drive-by incidents that had plagued my past).
My great-grandfather was in the process of downsizing (he didn’t realize it at that time…back then it was just called “moving to a smaller house”) and my grandmother gave me her mother’s prized three piece bedroom set from The Room No One Was Allowed to Enter (MaMa actually said it like that, like it was all capital letters). The black oak four poster bed, vanity and chest of drawers probably weren’t considered antiques at that time (after all this was a loooonnng time ago), but I’m sure purists would have fainted at my plan to make this a replica of the white bedroom set I’d seen in a catalog somewhere. So I proceeded to put about 30 coats of white paint on it (twenty or so more were added throughout the years) and replace the handles with delicate white and gold pulls. I was enthralled. I was finally a princess.
I redecorated MY bedroom every few years, always being careful to pick a shade of paint that would highlight that bedroom suit. Pale green was probably the most successful. It’s actually back in style again now. The worst was the peach that ended up so orange and bright that it caused many a parent to stop and try to turn the light off when they passed my door. I also vowed never to store anything under the bed again. This promise provided my dad with a place to hide from my mom when she was in her “I think you need a B-12 shot” mood. That vow has also gone by the wayside, since it is now considered trendy to store stuff under your bed. They even make special boxes for it. If only I had realized how far ahead of my time I was, I could probably be the CEO of The Container Store instead of one of their best customers.
My bedroom suit and I traveled the country…from Olustee to Sapulpa to Las Vegas and back to Sapulpa. On its last journey (to my dream home on the lake), I decided it wanted to be free of its many coats of history. Fifteen cans of paint stripper later, all of the white paint has been removed and it sits proudly in all its grandeur in my guest room today just waiting for its new little princess.
OK, boys. No fighting over who gets to inherit the ratty old bedroom suit from mom now that you know its provenance (HA…I bet you never thought I would be able to use that word in a sentence!)


After much deliberation (it has just been sitting here for days!), I was thinking that I might begin with a couple of projects that I have recently completed. There’s no learning experience quite like undergoing a major home project. I’ve always said that couples should do a couple of particularly anxiety ridden tasks together before they get married. Nothing brings out someones true colors like lost luggage, trying to pack two houses worth of stuff into one trailer, or a big home repair fiasco.
With our barrage of pets (check out the Crazy Critters category) it is next to impossible to keep carpet clean, so we decided to pull up the ancient carpet from our living room and replace it with a concrete overlay. Moving all the furniture out of the way went pretty smoothly. Ripping up the carpet wasn’t too bad either. Things went downhill from there pretty fast.
We had a guy come out to give us an estimate and to make sure that he would be able to do the stem wall that came up the side of 2 walls of the sunken living room before we ever started. He assured us that it would be no problem. (Learning experience #1 – get every little detail in writing!)
They did a fantastic job of patching a couple of cracks in the floor and were pretty quick with the underlying color, taping of grout marks, and making sure that the color was what we were expecting.

However, it was sometime during this period that we were informed that they would not be able to do the stem wall. They took some money off of the bill (they added money for patching the cracks…that wasn’t included in the estimate) and suggested that we use tile to finish the project. This sounded reasonable until we tried to find someone who would do the actual work. Not only was it going to cost as much as the entire floor had cost, it wasn’t going to look too great since there was a slight dip in the floor that would be accentuated by any linear design.
The next problem was with the epoxy gloss that we chose to put on top to help protect the floor. We were told that it would make the floor slightly darker. (Learning experience #2 – ask for specific examples of how much darker!)

Luckily, we could live with the darker floor. After the initial disappointment, we decided that it was not so bad and things proceeded. Finally, after 2 more days of drying time (a total of five days in exile), we were able to emerge from the 12 x 17 room where we had been living with 2 cats and 2 dogs. We moved the furniture back into place and began the adventure of finding someone to put 6″ of tile around the two walls, including 3 areas that step up into another room and would require a transition piece to finish it off.

After weeks of research, head scratching, and intense discussion (OK..arguing), our only option was to do the job ourselves. I found a place in Oklahoma City that sold a product (FossilCrete ) that sounded like it would work for us. Since the space was limited we weren’t going to be able to use a stamp, like they suggested, so I just tried to form shapes like the rocks in our fireplace.
The next step was coming up with a way to paint the shapes so that the colors not only matched the fireplace, but looked somewhat natural and not like painted concrete. We bought a base paint in a tan color and used a dark gray for the grout. I then used four different colors of translucent glaze in varying blends to come up with the different colors shown.
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the results.

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