Room makeover a family affair

  • By James Carey The Carey Brothers
  • Wednesday, January 30, 2008 4:31pm
  • Life

In anticipation of her 16th birthday, our daughter Jamie decided that her bedroom needed a new look. The light purple walls and deep lime trim were suitable during her middle school years, but now a sophomore in high school, she had visions of something new.

Jamie found her inspiration during a visit to her aunt’s home, where she fell in love with a white cotton comforter overflowing with pink hearts. Her aunt made that the first contribution to the bedroom makeover.

We decided that this would be a weekend project, with prep and painting on the first day and cleanup, touchup and putting things back on the second day. Ambitious yes; impossible no.

First was a trip to the local paint store to select wall and trim paint that would complement the comforter. Jamie decided that she wanted her walls to be a shade of pink, but nothing too stark. She settled on a dusty rose for the walls and a candy apple red for the coffered ceiling at the perimeter of the room. She couldn’t wait to get home.

What began as a dad and daughter event soon became a family affair, with Mom and Jamie’s 8-year-old brother’s help.

The first step was to remove everything — furniture, pictures, posters, more pictures, more posters — you get the idea. Armed with a screwdriver, Jamie began removing switch and outlet covers and applying blue painter’s tape over the remaining switches and outlets. Though her little brother was ready to begin painting and wanted nothing to do with the prep work, he reluctantly agreed to spackle nail holes and dings.

Being intimately familiar with the devastating consequences of paint sspills, it was my job to meticulously cover the carpet, baseboard, built-in furniture and trim using plastic drop cloths and lots and lots of blue painter’s tape. I wanted my kids to learn from me what I had learned from my dad; 70 percent of a good paint job is in the preparation.

Meanwhile, Mom was off in the garage with her staple gun and red fabric, recovering the headboard and bench that made its home at the foot of the bed. She also used a can of red spray paint to transform the tired old bedside table and make it a special part of the new look.

With the prep work complete, it was time to paint. I volunteered to work up high and paint the coffered ceiling. Jamie would cut in the corners with a brush while her little brother was chomping at the bit to begin rolling paint on the walls.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I wasn’t so sure that I liked the idea of having a couple of inexperienced youngsters making a mess of things. Boy was I wrong! What I feared would be a nightmare turned out to be what has become one of my most memorable family experiences.

I marveled at the great care that the children took in applying the paint. By the end of a very long day, the painting was complete and Jamie’s room had taken on an entirely new look. She grinned from ear-to-ear with approval.

The following morning we began by removing all of the drop cloths and painter’s tape. Jamie reinstalled the switch and outlet covers while the rest of us began replacing the furniture. Jamie sorted through what seemed like hundreds of pictures to create several collages, which her mom and I hung — being careful not to mar our new paint job.

Jamie used the makeover as an opportunity to get rid of a lot of clutter.

A couple of decorative throw pillows and a few stuffed animals were the final touches.

Jamie’s room looks great, but it can’t even begin to compare to the satisfying feeling that each of us has for what we accomplished.

For more home improvement tips , visit or call 800-737-2474 Saturdays from 6 to 10 a.m. The Careys are also on KRKO (1380-AM) from 6 to 10 a.m. every Saturday.

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