We recently turned my son Kaleb’s room into a world of aquatic goodness. Poor Kaleb spent his first six months or so in what was previously my home office. We finally moved the boxes, desk, and computers out to give him his own space. But he was left with shoddy red walls (leftover from a very inexperienced paint job from when we first bought our home six years ago,) and a room that didn’t fit him or his personality.
While the Zanzibar decor we originally bought for his nursery was certainly cute, it began to feel unfitting and a little too “babyish” for a spunky toddler who thinks he’s one-going-on-four.
So with both toddlers at their grandparents’ for the weekend (thanks, Mom and Dad!), we embarked on an adventure that resulted in quite a transformation.
First things first, we had to rid of the red and redo the walls, which included among other challenges, removing two shelves that the previous owners were apparently very set on securing. Screws, nails, glue and layers of paint came down along with them, so that set us back a while on prep time. What didn’t set us back was the absence of taping, since we decided to include the trim, doors and window in the “ocean” that we painted. No tape = happy Hubby.
I use Behr Premium Plus paint almost exclusively. I have nothing against other paints in particular. I just happen to like this brand and have had nothing but good experience with it. The colors I chose for the room were Cerulean (dark blue) and Jamaican Sea (light blue/aqua).
We painted the ceiling first with Jamaican Sea and rolled down about two feet or so onto the wall. My meticulous nature really had me questioning “our” decision not to tape, or at least mark, the space to which the first color should go “down” to. But for once, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do something a little more freehand (much at Hubby’s urging.) By the way, yes that is the Hubby painting, and if I don’t say it enough elsewhere, while The Fix Chicks is geared toward the female of the house, we welcome fix dudes as well. Teamwork is not gender-specific!
With the top color dry (1 coat on the previously-white ceiling and 2 coats on the walls), we then painted the Cerulean color, making sure that the two colors overlapped just a bit - and again, somewhat haphazardly. (I was still nervous about all that at the time.)
Then came the fun part! After a lot of “are you sure I should not use some sort of template?” discussion, I went in with an artist’s brush (I am supposedly an artist, after all) and the Cerulean paint to make some waves. And waves, I made. I’m really glad I took Hubby’s advice and chose to freehand the waves. Ocean waves are not perfect, and neither should my waves be!
When our painting was done (at 2:00 am), I was dying to load the room, but other parts of me were dying to go to bed, so we got to work on decorating the next morning.
I’m a firm believer in “do the best with what you’ve got”, (plus, I’m a broke, stay-at-home mom) so we used furnishings we already had. We moved in a few things from another room and had The Great Toy Divide of 2006 (a divying up of toys between the rooms of our two kids.) I had some items I had purchased new but never used and some items I purchased new (I LOVE THE IKEA!), specifically for this room. All in all, our total cost was about $200! (If you’re wondering, that does include the cost of paint… we already had rollers, trays, and that sort of stuff.)
Kaleb’s reaction to his new space was priceless, and we were lucky to get it on video. The room has been redone for a week now, and he still gasps, points and smiles each time he enters it!
Here’s the “after” pics and the low-down on the new digs:
IKEA Korall Bubblor bedding (quilt cover & pillowcase) $9.99
Turtle with a fancy name, also from IKEA - $5.99
By the way, that crib is probably the single most expensive piece of baby gear that we’ve ever bought. My daughter Kaya used it her first year before we got her a new one and handed this one down to Kaleb. It’s sturdy, fine and has held up well, but honestly I cannot believe now that we spent so much money on it when there are perfectly good alternatives for a third of the price or less! Chalk that one up to inexperience and baby anxiety.
Here’s a Kaleb’s-eye-view of his favorite corner of the room.
Lounging in the net are a beach ball, a funny crab hat and an octopus with another of those fancy swedish names which was $5.99.
The dresser came from Target and was also hand-me-down from big sister. On the dresser are two lamps that you might not be able to see. One of them is a very cool aqua-colored glass globe that serves as Kaleb’s night light. Both lamps are from, you guessed it, IKEA. The rectangular lamp is a Grono (smaller of the two pictured at that link) and was $4.99. The glass globe ($4.99) I mentioned is lit by a Block accent light which was $9.99.
The cute, orange crab chair cover ($3.99) is on a Mammut stool that we already had ($6.99). We also already had the Glis storage table, which is sadly no longer offered in the cool color combination we have.
The small fish and other sea creatures (affixed to the wall) were a whopping 49 cents each. I suspect we may get more of those.
See the accessories photo and details below for information on the barely-seen-here seahorse wall light.
This really cool shelf (now over the changing table), IKEA’s Lack wall shelf, comes in various colors (we chose blue, of course) and was super-easy to install. No brackets or hardware are visible, which I really like! $12.99
The big tiki is one from my bobblehead collection, and who knows where the surf dude came from? I don’t. Diapers and such are shown here in a cheap plastic container which I have since replaced with a cooler-looking basket.
The new light fixture is an IKEA Santir - $5.99
And here are a few of the accessories:
Patrick and the frog are sitting atop a toy storage chest (soft-sided) that I cannot locate at IKEA’s website, but I believe it was $12.99.
The orange seahorse wall light ($14.99) can be found here, and there is a cool sea shell light that we may add later. Or maybe we already have enough on the walls? I was going to add some bubbles, but I don’t want to end up with ocean overload.
I have my eye on a rug, and as I mentioned I’m still working on the window treatment, so hopefully I’ll post about that soon.