Friday, August 31, 2012

Christine Has Become Hostage to Her Horrible Bedroom

Hello. My name is Christine, and my master bedroom is holding me hostage.

Someone save me!!!

Okay, if you're a regular blog reader you're going to need some explanation before I launch into this. I am putting up this post as an entry into a room makeover contest hosted by Mandi at Vintage Revivals. Here is an official logo:

From the sounds of things, this makeover would blow my mind and probably make my head asplode from the awesomeness, and I am all about that possibility when it comes to our bedroom. Wouldn't that be great if we won and my head asploded? I mean, yes, of course it would, and my head would probably be salvageable. But first you need to understand just why the poor, pitiful Cases are so deserving. Lemme esplain.

First up, our house: it's a 1948 Cape Cod which has some really great things going for it, like hardwood flooring throughout the downstairs, arched doorways, chunky baseboard that has never been painted (I count my blessings) and fun, unexpected treasures, like beadboard ceilings hiding underneath scary ceiling tiles. But there are also sad things, like a horribly outdated kitchen (by "outdated" I mean "still 1948, except for the six inches of linoleum, because stick-on lineoleum should probably be updated every decade or so, JUST BECAUSE"), insanely scary bathrooms, dented aluminum siding, and an even scarier basement that is riddled with mold and leaking water and fills my stomach with fear every time I have to step into it to do the laundry. Above all else, it's small; we love it for its smallness, but all these kids tend to fill it up and make it feel smaller. And I have no worthwhile retreat because my bedroom has a sadz.

'Tis the story of an old house, I suppose. And, in all fairness, in the 4+ years we've lived here we have been able to tackle the bathrooms, with awesome results. (If you're new here, see the upstairs bath we remodeled this summer. It looks great, I promise.) But that's it, really, besides replacing some windows here and there with each tax return and painting a couple rooms. My husband is a full-time graduate student, and we are kind of living the poor life right now while he earns a doctorate and supports a family of six on a student salary. Three years ago we agreed that this change of events meant a stop to most home improvement projects; even paint is a stretch right now.

This leads me to our sadz bedroom. I remember my sister-in-law once saying that all too often master bedrooms were neglected and allowed to become pits of despair while homeowners tackled everything else, and this observation is certainly true around here.

Okay, enough chatter. Let the pictures speak for themselves (mostly.) When you walk through one of the arched doorways in our living room, you are confronted with a teeny-weeny hallway with two rooms jutting off of it: to the left, the full bathroom; to the right, our bedroom.


It seems small and jammed in there because--guess what!--it is small and jammed in there.

As you enter, this is what you see: our bed, with a strange, out-of-place window (more on that momentarily) and sickly green walls covered in plaster scrapings.


No headboard. No bedding. No adequate window treatments. Basically, it's a very small, sparse room that can fit a queen-size bed and a dresser; even then, the large dresser is stretching matters. After some trial-and-error we have determined that the bed best fits along the wall it's on right now; even then, we had to get rid of a chest of drawers (read: valuable clothing storage) to make that work. I'll tell you more about storage later.

But first! Let's focus on the positives. Namely, we have hardwood flooring.


Please ignore its sad state. When we closed on the house we only had a week before move-in, meaning we only had time to seal it--no stain or sanding. Therefore we sealed in paint splatters from previous, less careful owners. It's in great shape, as old flooring goes, but it does need some TLC. I'd love a slightly darker stain, perhaps with a leetle red in it to coordinate with the trim and doors.

The floor and the trim are basically all the positives we're working with here. When you allow your gaze to shift upward, you are confronted with lighting straight out of the 60s.


It's very boring. I have a glorious chandelier I'd love to spray paint magenta (after painting the walls, uh-duh!) and hang with much gusto and gloating from that sad ceiling. But for now, the square light stays, burnt-out bulbs and all. It does nothing to help matters in our dark cave of a room.

The wall immediately to the right of the doorway is our only wall without a window or door, so we have our huge, antique dresser and mirror against it.


The dresser and mirror both belonged to my husband's grandparents and are in fabulous shape, but at this point, I realize that perhaps they aren't doing us any favors storage-wise. We are in DESPERATE need of clothing storage in this room, and we're at the point where our camera is sharing a drawer with my bras, because really, that's what has to happen. For now the dresser's surface is covered in cloth diapers; I realize this isn't forever, so how could we better use this surface space? I don't know.

I'm too close to the situation to know. It's like I'm a hostage to my room and now I'm experiencing Stockholm Syndrome.

I also realize that the dresser is super matchy-matchy with my doors and trim. I need color, people.

Let's swing our attention slightly to the left, to the wall our bed is against. Did you see that window in earlier shots?


That window is strange, no? It throws everything off balance in this room, but more importantly, it is a window that looks into...

...a room. Another room in our house.

Here is the window from the other side:


It's our sunroom! Of course it is. Naturally.

You see, originally this sunroom was not here. That window in the bedroom looked onto our side yard (still a really weird place for a window, from the bedroom's perspective), but then, sometime in the 60s they added a sunroom without filling in the window. I understand why they were hesitant to fill in the window; our room doesn't get much light, even with two windows, and filling in that sunroom window would make it even darker. But at this point, I really would like to fill that window in and deal with a dark room. It throws off the balance of the room, limits how we can arrange furniture and lighting, and provides everyone outside a beautifully direct view into our bedroom. And our bed.

Whoo, sex-ay!

It doesn't help that the shades I have right now are--wait for it--see-through. I did not know this when I bought them, and I have been changing in our bathroom ever since. Also sex-ay.

Here is a view of the rest of that wall, just to the left of the strange window:


(Ha, head indentation on my pillow!)

Blah. I hate this wall color. I painted it right when we moved in because I LOVED it then, but now I hate green forever and want it to die. We have room for one nightstand, and I have been brainstorming how we could get some book storage without actually having nightstands. Shelves? A cute metal chair? We also need clever lighting, like sconces. (But THAT WINDOW.) Lately I've loved the idea of filling in the window and then covering just that wall in dark wooden paneling as an accent. Perhaps it would darken this room too much. I haven't given it much thought beyond "Ooh, that would be cool. Maybe. I dunno."

Oh, and the plaster fill-in marks are, I don't know, two years old? I had something hateful hung up there and then ripped it off and filled the holes in and then said, "I hate this wall color so much I don't even want to dig around for it downstairs and cover these white marks." I have become irrational, y'all. Help.

Oh, and the bed is sad, right? I'll show you a close-up of our "bedding" (haha!) later, but we, readers that we are, need some sort of padded headboard. Problem is, we have such a tight clearance between the foot of the bed and the back wall that I can't make any headboard too thick. Same goes for any paneling. You see my issues.

The next wall, opposite the dresser one, is dominated by our one useful window.


Please forgive the dark picture. This window is good and nice, albeit small, and it actually looks into a yard and not, you know, a room. It needs a new actual window, but the trim is still in awesome shape. I would be open to losing the trim in order to make this window wider, but that's more construction than we can even dream about right now.

That wall is boring. Moving on.

The last wall, opposite our bed, holds our closet. Here it is closed:


(Bonus: See the line on the wall just underneath our wedding picture? That wall used to house the chest of drawers that matches our dresser; thus, the fade line. I CANNOT BELIEVE we had another piece of furniture in here at one time.)

And here it is open:


Holy swearing cuss, it's small. (And pink!) I promise, it's as small as our kids' closets upstairs. Most of the closet space is actually impossible to access, as it's hidden behind the wall just to its right. I actually have no idea what is back there anymore. Luckily we are not people who own lots of clothes. But if I find a cute shirt at Target, woe betide me, because seriously? Where do I put it? My dresser is full. My closet is full. I have no idea how to make it more functional, short of widening the doorway. And would that even work? I do not know and am weary just thinking of it. It makes me need a nap.

Even now, as small as it is, the door just barely clears the bed. I think the people who built this home must have folded themselves up and slept in suitcases at night.

Let's finally explore our poor bed. The mattress itself is another sad story. Once a top-name mattress that was purchased when I was in elementary school, it is now way, way past its prime and contributes to terrible back pain in yours truly. Every morning I wake up and shuffle out of bed, bent in half, in pain all the way to my feet. I could tolerate this pain without grumbling if my bed at least looked pretty.

But it doesn't.


You guys. Our bedding is a leopard print blanket I've had since freshman year of college and a fleece, no-sew blanket featuring FREAKIN' FIRE-BREATHING DRAGONS that I made for my husband junior year of college.

Let's see those suckers up close:


I am officially really embarrassed to be putting this on the internet.

I'd love a soft, pin-tucked white duvet with multiple fluffy, downy, colorful pillows. I'd love soft, high thread count sheets.This winter I plan on making a large quilt for our bed out of vintage linens, and I just can't put that quilt on the dragons. These dragons belong in our linen closet, dragged out for days the kids want to make a tent in the living room. Not on our bed. Not on our bed.


So that's our room, in all of its...sadness. I live with it every day and, as I said, have become almost immune to its terrible state. Truly, a hostage. I hate that I hate a part of my house; I want this room to be our sanctuary, full of fluffy bedding and easy, effortless storage and bright lighting and happiness. I want it to be a refuge, not a place I scuttle out of in the mornings as quickly as my bad back will allow. I would also like to be able to change into my pajamas in MY OWN BEDROOM without fear of peepers doing some seriously easy peeping.

As I understand it, submissions for this contest are taken until September 6th. The next day voting on the submissions begins, and I am shamelessly going to promote myself until you are so sick of my room that you send everyone you know to vote on it just to get me to shut up. (I love you!)

I know winning this contest is actually a long shot, so if any of you out there have some good suggestions, please do let me know in the comments. I'd love advice and/or sympathy, as I'm sure a lot of you out there are in similar situations with old homes of your own.

Now I'm off to dust my captor. Pray for me.


keight dukes said...

no you DONT sleep in that room. is this your secret shame? i am voting with you until my mouse asphyxiates.

Christine said...

Keight, I am shameless enough to bribe you to tell all your followers about it. I'll give of my children? Just think about it. They're pretty cute. H can blow raspberries and say 'buh.'

Vanessa said...

I can relate in many ways, but I'll just share one fun fact:
My husband hates flannel sheets. Thankfully, ours (mine from years before marriage) are so worn that they have no flannel left, therefore making them tolerable. :)

I hope you win!

Raechel said...

For the love of all that's good and fleecy, the dragons. Oh friend - we are here for you!

Will you literally remind me daily to vote for you? Because I will. And I'll ask my bloggy friends to vote for you too. Because of the dragons.

When does voting begin?

Christine said...

The contest closes on the 6th and voting starts the next day for...a week, I think? THEN the top ten get a chance to each submit a 'plead your case' paragraph--I guess the sponsors/bloggers get to choose the winner from those 10.

Mandi @ Vintage Revivals said...

Christine! You totally need/deserve this!! The dragons are something that I admittedly giggled at (sorry!!) Thank you SO much for entering and good luck!!

Love your guts

Candice said...

You are the most deserving of this makeover, by far! It needs to match the rest of your beautiful room and I was wondering about the spackling lovliness. I hope you get this, but if you don't, I will be there to help you paint, buy things, place things, etc. I love you!

-Your sister

Candice said...

"beautiful house". I totally meant beautiful house.

Candice said...

Here I am, voting for your dragon-filled room! Yay! I hope you win!