In the room with Boy 2 and Boy 4 (ages 10 and 3), the walls were really in horrid shape, and the idea for the stripes came from wanting to try and draw the eyes away from the many flaws (we did try patching and re-texturing, but there’s only so much an un-trained mother and grandmother can do in the afternoon allotted to the project). I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I feel like it’s a simple way to pull the room together but still keep it uncluttered. What did make it on the wall is the big rice paper tiger painting my husband and I purchased on a trip to China several years ago, and a couple of jungle-themed wall-hangings I made around the same time. The colors worked, so they went up. If the boys decide they want something else, that’s fine with me.
The stripes weren’t really that hard to do. First, I experimented by taping up different-sized paper to see approximately what size of stripe I wanted. After painting the walls (which really aren’t as peachy as they look in some of the pictures), I measured down from the ceiling, then used those marks as approximate guidelines, depending more on my level than the uneven ceiling, for where to tape off. For the space in between the colors, I just used one strip of tape so there would be a little less measuring. I matched the colors to the dresser and the bedding. I bought a quart of the dark blue because I thought it would need at least a couple of coats, and only bought a tester of the green. I had plenty of both, and the actually painting went really quickly. (Oh, I do have to say that I really love the Olympic low-VOC paint sold at Lowes. You almost can’t smell it at all. Great stuff!)
I opted not to paint the stripes on the wall with the closet and the door into the room because I thought it would look too busy–and because I’m a bit on the lazy side and can only take so much measuring and taping.
A couple of weeks later, I had a friend cut the vinyl lettering for the blue cups (purchased with the rod from IKEA) that the boys keep some ready art supplies in. Boy 2 loves to draw and was tickled to have a space set aside just for his hobby.
Room 2, for Boys 1 and 3 (ages 12 and 7), is smaller, but has a built in desk space and some shelving (it used to be our school room) that my oldest son coveted. The walls weren’t in as bad of shape as the other room, so I opted to only wash them down and skip painting for now. But the plain white was painfully boring. While it was the school room, we hung a world map on on wall, and added an ancient history timeline around the top of the room. With that inspiration, I decided to cover one whole wall with maps.
I flipped the large map around to the “physical” side because it showed the blues and greens best. Then I added a couple of larger maps (the one of Southeast Asia, for example) that we got through our National Geographic subscription one year. For the rest of the wall, I was really tempted to tear up a 1960’s World Atlas that we inherited when my grandfather moved out of his home 14 years ago, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. In the end, I was thrilled to find a large-scale atlas from 1997 at a local thrift store for $6. I got input from the boys on the selection and placement of different maps (my oldest is taking French this year, so wanted the map of France by his head. He’s actually done really well in the class, so maybe it helped :-). It took almost every page of the book (that had a map on it, anyway) to cover the wall, and we opted to keep the timeline at the top so it would all be filled it (hey, as far as I’m concerned, history and geography can happily co-exist). I actually just stapled the maps to the wall, eyeballing their placement. Super simple. I figure the wall was no masterpiece to begin with, and staple holes mostly disappear with a new coat of paint.
Incidentally, because of the size of this room, I didn’t want to try and fit a dresser in it. Several years ago, my husband built shelves into the closet that would hold cardboard file boxes full of school supplies. This is what the boys have ended up using for their clothes–lots cheaper than a dresser, and we can close the doors on the mess–most of the time.
(Don’t we love the mirrored closet doors? I actually had plans to paint them over with chalkboard paint, but Boy 1 insisted that he doesn’t like the feel of chalk and chalkboards. His brothers agreed with him and the mirrors stayed. Any other ideas?)
Just days after I found the atlas and finished this little project, my October 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine arrived. And look what I found on page 165.
At that point, I stopped feeling bad about my hand-me-down bunk beds, lack of cool vintage desk set and sisal/jute rug, and actually felt pretty darn good about my map wall and my investment of $6 and half a box of staples!
Not too shabby for a “non-real blogger,” eh? Way to scoop, Martha! Thanks, Trina! Any ideas for the mirrored closet doors for her? Would whiteboard paint work? What paint adheres to glass? Ooh, maybe you could etch some cool frosted design–a globe maybe? Somebody stop me!
What would you do?