I confess it took me a few months to do anything at all with Katie's room after she moved out. She left home in August 2010 and I don' t think I did too much just at first except fill it up with stuff that I didn't want in other areas of the house but hadn't gumption enough to take out to the shed. I'm not sure how it is I even have this photo of the room, because honestly I can show you dozens, literally dozens, in which I have carefully cropped the photo just so that you see a single item but don't see the room at all. This is where we began and this is how it stayed until along about January or February 2014, and then it was only marginally better.
Truth be told, I'd looked forward to being an empty nester...after all I'd been actively parenting for 30 years or so by the time Katie moved out. But I was completely and totally blindsided by how I felt after she left. Lost. Forlorn. Unanchored. Uncertain. Useless...the list went on and on and it was all negative stuff! I'd never been absorbed by my children, although I thoroughly enjoyed parenting for the most part, but I'd no idea how very closely I identified myself with the role of mama, mumma, mom, mumsie until there was no one here calling me by those names.
Well, I eventually decided the way to get over it was to get on with it. I started to call the room 'mine' and I eventually worked out that it would serve me best as creative play space and sewing room, but due to necessity would have to also be the guest room. There was budget to grapple with, mostly that there was no budget and therefore I had to use what I could scratch together from house and shed. The room was never pretty, was serviceable and when guests came I tried hard to make sure it was comfortably neat but I would never say it was welcoming or inviting.
I found this little table at the Women's Club yard sale last November. The moment I saw it I knew it was meant to be mine and no one else'. It gave me the first clue I had as to what this room might turn out to be. And that was where I stalled, with no more clues.
Early December last year, I had a pinched nerve in my back. Walking was difficult enough, but sleeping...well that was a new agony all over again. In desperation when I was hurting the worst and pain relievers were hours away yet, I'd get up from our bed and go lie down on the guest room bed to keep from disturbing John. I realized how many creature comforts were lacking in those wee hours of the morning. No radio. No comfortable reading lamps. No place to sit, not that I'd do much sitting, but still, there was no place to sit if I'd wanted to. Only one real bedside table. No pictures on the wall. There was absolutely nothing to suggest anyone might possibly be comfortable in that room. I felt ashamed for all the company we'd had who'd been subjected to the place.
But when I was all better, I was more interested in making the living room look fresh, decluttering a load of stuff from the house overall, redoing our master bath and bedroom. It wasn't until September I decided that absolutely positively the next project on my list was to be the guest/craft room. And naturally every single thing I thought I wanted for the room couldn't be found, couldn't be purchased with a budget like mine, or was sold moments before I arrived, sigh. I settled for rearranging and neatening things up while I continued to look. Then the room started telling me how it was going to look. It got sort of bossy about it. This was my first clue:
When this needlepoint and this toile fell across the desk chair together, it was a match no person could break up. I'd never dreamed of doing a project like this, never contemplated I would ever sew a slipcover for a desk chair, but it turned out all right. Not perfect, but a happy melding of two items. It sort of shot the whole "I'm going to have a red/white and blue room" thinking to bits, but I didn't believe it at the time. Stubbornly I continued to look for red, white and blue bedding even as things began to fall into place.
A bit more rearranging and my vanity turned desk, returned to it's former life of vanity. I moved the 'desk' to the guest room, brought the mirror out of the shed. Now I have no desk...but I suppose one is in my future if I just keep looking, right?
The plan is to strip and paint it unless my daughter in law decides it is indeed what she wants for granddaughter Hailey's room, in which case I shall look for another vanity. This piece really shows up well in pictures. In real life the details are not as obvious as they are in the picture. I hope to tackle it with some Liquid Gold this week...The stool under the vanity is actually my Grandmama's sewing bench which she used for years and years and years. It's sturdy as can be.
The tulip sconces were one of my very first purchases for my booth. They started life painted dark brown...Seriously. I think they are much nicer in white, but am thinking they might go pastel in future. And I am definitely going to try and keep to this style vanity/mirror if this one does go live elsewhere.
A closer view of one of the sconces.
Remember this picture? The one that said "GUESTROOM!" the moment I saw it? The one that did this
when I got it home (and that was just the day of. Two days later the bruises were black and had spread to the toe next to it, the back side of my foot and beyond the first joint. Hurt like a ...well I don't say those sorts of words but you can figure it out.).
In the meantime, despite what the room was telling me, I started making this:
Because I wanted a red, white and blue room...
And then this happened:
Cream and lace at the windows, deep ruby red shades for the lamps. A feminine room if ever one was and not country farmhouse and not red white and blue. I was still pushing my agenda though. Note the toile drape at the foot of the bed as a decorative touch. Well....
old fashioned, antique quilt decided to get in on the act instead. The bed cover is a make do piece for the time being and is more deep red than bright as it appears in this photo. The quilt looks fairly vibrant in the photo, too, but the colors are softer and more muted.
At this point I tossed my hands in the air and decided that at least I'd get art work on the walls. The pictures all came together on their own, I just hung 'em. Bossy, bossy room!
So there you have...Phase 1 of the room and it only took 2 and 1/2 months to get it all sorted out.
My costs to date:
$3 for the three frames for the magazine pages
$10 for the drop cloth that covers the sewing table
(and hides a world of thrifted stuff destined for the booth!)
$10 for the little side table that started the whole thing
$5 for the toe breaker picture
$1 for the lace panel behind the sheers
$14 for the two lamps. I've had the shades for several years.
$4 for the cream panel that replaced the sheers in my master bath
Everything else in the room was either on hand or bought for the booth and failed to sell there for nearly a year, so came home and accepted the room's bid to make it pretty. None of those items was over $5 each and most were less than that. I know the two plates above the two florals were exactly $5 each. Even figuring those things on the high side of $5 each (needlepoint, needlepoint seat cover, toile curtains used to cover chair, sconces and the two plates my total spent specifically for this room so far is $83.
What's on the list for the future? Accessories like an alarm clock and a nice little old fashioned looking small radio for sure. Accessories to go on the vanity table. I'm thinking perhaps a tray, some old perfume bottles, a doily or two or an embroidered table scarf. I'll search out my stuff and booth first, thrift for anything else. A comfy chair to rest in, maybe with a small footstool to rest the feet. A headboard or bedstead. Bedding for certain. Perhaps a feather topper for that pitiful mattress and some new pillows and maybe some bed risers to give the bed airs. Paint for the furniture and hopefully the walls. Better looking storage pieces for my crafty and thrifty stuff to hide in. All those things will come.
For now, the room is finally presentable.
It looks kinda nice the way it pulled itself together, doesn't it?