Farewell, Fleshy Walls and Gangrenous Trim. {Spare Bedroom Progress}

In the continuing saga of “Frantic Nesting at Erin and Rick’s House,” I present to you the latest installment of upstairs progress: the formerly fleshy and gangrenous spare bedroom.

spare bedrm during 10

When we first moved in, we non-affectionately referred to this room as the Rope Room because A) the previous owners had decorated with thick rope all around the perimeter and trim and B) we are clever. In case you ever decide to glue rope to your house, the method they used involved giant staples AND glue—you know, in case the staples got lazy and decided to take the day off.

Picture2In the name of all things original plaster and trim, please do not glue rope to your house. Thank you.

They also should have gotten a refund for that color match paint job there. It’s like when you put on sunscreen and miss a spot and get burned there and only there.


Soooo the following is a list of tasks completed in this room in the past 2.5 years:

  1. Rip down rope.Picture2
  2. Install mess and weird light fixture.DSC_1662
  3. …that’s it.

But NO MORE. Because a few weeks ago, the poor, neglected spare bedroom became the final victim in our Get the Upstairs Ready for Carpet scheme. Just like the nursery, the original plaster walls were pockmarked and rough, and the trim was gangrenous gross and bumpy and peeling. So just like the nursery, the room got the skim coat treatment along with sanded and painted trim. Carpet was also removed.

spare bedrm during 2

Also just like the nursery, the walls are Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl mixed at 50% lighter, and the trim and ceiling are Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. The same-old same-old color choices go along with my plan to not spend so much time making little house decisions. I knew both of those were tried and true so I just went with it.

spare bedrm

The closet also got some love.


This room will eventually become somebody’s “big kid” room, but for now, we’re just going to try not to let miscellaneous junk take a dump in there. Other than that, we have no plan for it.

spare bedrm 2

Hope everyone is having a good week! This pregnant lady begins school in a week. Time flies when you are turning your house upside-down…or watching somebody else do it for you. (To be fair, I did don a mask and do some painting through all of this.)

Psst…want to see the rest of our upstairs progress? Check out the newly drywalled common room, the closet Rick and relatives built, the herringbone accent wall, and the nursery curtains and paint!


Seven Lighting Specimens That Will Die on Craigslist

Sometimes, my mind is boggled. Like when we’re discussing political parties and my students decide that the two major parties in the United States are the Democrats and the Americans. Or when I see signs like this:


Ooooor when I am innocently scrolling through Craigslist and all of a sudden I scream in fright.

Behold: a recent round-up of seven lighting specimens that will die on Craigslist…because nobody will buy them. Unless they are going to play a cruel practical joke on someone.

1. Giant Greek Goddess. Stands at a towering 76” tall and basically a steal at a mere $550. That’s only $7.24 per inch. Says the seller: “I’ve never seen anything like it, but it must be worth a lot!” Yeah, okay.


2. Carousel of Non-Progress. I don’t know what to make of the giant protruding bulbs. They hardly seem kid-friendly. I wonder if it actually revolves around like a real carousel?


3. Moldy Beehive. This has been listed and relisted for over a year. It is like the song that never ends. And for some reason, the sellers occasionally increase the price. Maybe they know something about selling moldy beehives that I don’t. Admittedly, I am no expert.

00808_bWNFyOPMr4o_600x450 150 first 95

4. Dead Orange Chicken. My friends and I went through a boa phase when we were in middle school. We probably would have wanted 10 of these lamps each.


5. Cookie. Don’t get me wrong. I like cookies. But not enough to decorate with them. (Rick does that every time he has a snack on the couch, anyway. HiRickIloveyou.) Besides, it would just make me want cookies all the time.


6. Question Mark. Because I’m not sure what this is supposed to be. Perhaps it’s modern art, you know the kind, where it looks like a blob and yet art critics stand back and find all sorts of deep meaning in it. Ah yes; now I see it. It is a poor farmer planting crops under the light of the yellow  moon, with a tsunami brewing dark and dangerous in the distance.


And last but not least:

7. Deer Feet. Real ones. BLEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Excuse me while I squirm. I’d never be able to function in a room with deer foot lamps.


Now, usually I can find potential in hideous unusual things if there is potential to be found. But I’m coming up short.

How about you? Anyone think any of these are salvageable? Who has cash to burn and wishes there were two of that first Greek goddess one? If you had to choose just one with which to start a bonfire, which would you pick?


Lessons from a Color-Blind Senior Citizen at the Paint Counter











You all know the drill: it’s time to pick a paint color. Cue the internal groan. Trudge to the stack of swatches. Tape a bajillion on the wall. Come back and visit them in every possible form of light. Compare one to the next. Repeat 85 times because it needs to be *perfect* and this is, you’re told by countless experts, how to do it. Hem and haw and refuse to make a decision for weeks because you don’t want to waste money—and, ironically, time—redoing it.The life of a person who cares what their house looks like, right?

And yet.

There I was, standing at the paint counter at ACE Hardware, waiting for my gallon of flat Simply White to be ready. An older gentleman approached the counter with a coupon for a free quart of paint, and, when asked what color he would like, he replied, “Brown.” I smiled a little to myself, finding humor in his oblivion to the thousands of Benjamin Moore color choices laid out in a rainbow behind me, a rainbow that had sucked me in even as a child, enchanting me with its fantastically immense variety of hues. Just “brown”? What was that? He obviously didn’t do what every “How to pick the perfect paint color” guide tells you to do.


The worker kindly showed him that rainbow of swatches, instructing him to pick out which specific brown he would like. A few seconds later, the man reappeared at the counter with his chosen swatch, at which point he was informed by the worker that the “brown” he had chosen was not, in fact, brown.

It was purple.

So back the man went with the worker, who selected a few brown swatches from which the man grabbed one, thus ending the quest for “brown” paint. It took him mere seconds.

As I stood there taking in the whole scene, I thought how freeing it would be to have that kind of contentment about a paint color. To simply walk up to the counter and ask for brown, without taping half a million swatches to the wall, without googling images of said brown, without needing the perfect brown to be called something like Mink or French Press. Just brown. And to even be content with it not being brown at all, but purple.


And then I thought, Benjamin Moore carries nearly 3,500 paint colors, not including the shades blended for annoying customers like me who ask for it mixed at 50% strength. And dear old Ben is just one of countless brands of paint, each with their own versions of Mink and French Press. At what point did we begin needing hundreds of thousands of choices for our wall colors? At what point did things stop being just brown and start being Chocolate Truffle and Timber and Autumn Dusk? At what point did I decide that it was okay for me to spend a whole lot more than mere seconds agonizing over decisions that don’t actually matter?

I walked away from the paint counter with my Simply White—because just regular off-the-shelf white was not acceptable; I had to have that extra ounce of black added to the gallon—and asked the Lord to not let me forget what I witnessed with the older gentleman. I prayed that I would have the same kind of contentment with the choices I make for our home, not constantly wanting to change or scrutinize or worry about them being “perfect.” I prayed for constant reminders that neither perfection nor happiness actually comes from the “perfect” color or chair or curtain fabric.  A fleeting feeling of perfection and happiness, maybe, but it doesn’t last. It’s not supposed to. This is just stuff of the world.


This is not to say that I’ve stopped caring what my house looks like. No, I have been blessed—and cursed—with a critical eye, and I doubt I will ever give up on trying to make our home beautiful. This house is a creative outlet and hobby for both me and Rick, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not just a matter of “finding balance” with things like hobbies; it’s a matter of prioritizing. Because I can balance a 16 pound bag of cat food, two gallons of milk, four shopping bags of cereal, and my man-eating purse all while attempting to unlock the house door, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Something will always demand the brunt of my strength. And which of those things wins when they all go crashing to the ground?

See, I want to pick my just brown and move on with life. This goes for every house choice, not just paint. At the end of it all, I want to be able to say a lot more than, “Well, I sure did have some great-looking walls in my house after I painted them 42 times each, and I once spent a lot of marvelous days staring at pages and pages of fabric options.”

Because let’s face it. That’s lame.

The new drill: it’s time to pick a paint color. So I pick one. And am content with it. And learn how love and thankfulness and joy look with those walls as the backdrop.

And with that, “just brown”—yes, even “just brown”—can be perfect.


How to Paint Herringbone on a Wall (and Live to Tell About It) *TUTORIAL*

I have a bad habit of taking forever to post about things. Just check out the “Favorites” listed in the right sidebar. Every one of those snippets begins with something to the effect of “Many eons ago before the world began.” (Maybe my bad habit is just discussing my tardiness in the beginning of my posts. Note to self.) Anyway, I’ve finally pulled together the tutorial for how we created our herringbone accent wall. Like I mentioned in the reveal post, our method was a bit simpler than the tutorials I perused as I tried to wrap my brain around this process. There was no trigonometry. Just simple addition. My English teacher brain likes that.

How to Paint Herringbone on a Wall (and Live to Tell About It)

How to Paint Herringbone on a Wall AND (say it with me)…LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT

You’ll need:

  • painters tape (we used a combination of Scotch Blue 1” and Frog Tape 2”—the 2” wide tape is how we got away with simple addition and a simple layout)
  • paint
  • pencil
  • patience
  • peaches (It starts with P and I figured I had a nice little trend going there, so. Besides, peaches are delicious.)

1. Mark and tape your vertical lines. Start by measuring the width of your wall and dividing that width into equal vertical sections. The more sections you make, the more herringbone Vs there will be, and the skinnier they will be. I measured ours into 6 equal sections so that the whole design was centered on the wall, but you could be wild and crazy and do whatever you want. I’d recommend marking these measurements with pencil and then checking and re-checking your measurements BEFORE you put up tape and step back to find out the tape is crooked because your measurements were off. I am obviously not speaking from experience.

how to herringbone an accent wall_thumb[2]

2. Mark and tape your diagonals. Don’t be fooled by the brevity of this section’s title, because this is the most time-consuming part—and also where the process got tricky and I almost gave up. Luckily Rick came home from work right about when I was about to have a meltdown and eat an entire carton of ice cream, and together we returned the ice cream to the freezer and figured out a good plan of attack. Basically, what you have to figure out is how deep you want your V angles to be.

How to Paint Herringbone on a Wall

I wanted somewhere between the top two, so I put up the first piece of 2” Frog Tape (beginning at the top of one of the vertical lines of 1” tape) and just adjusted it until I got an angle I wanted.

how to paint herringbone on an accent wall

The next thing we had to measure was the distance between the left end of the tape and the ceiling so that we could replicate the same angle in the other vertical sections. For us, that distance ended up being 10”. (Again, this exact measurement will vary depending on how deep you choose to make your Vs.) I don’t have a picture of the next few steps but it looked something like this:

tutorial for painting a herringbone wall

From here, you do a lot of measuring. But because we used the 2” Frog Tape, our measuring was simple. There was no need to confusingly tape off the alternating sections like we had to when we painted stripes in our bathroom. And there was no need for trigonometry or other mind-numbing calculations. Using the 2” Frog Tape was key here because it allowed us to easily create a 2” space (that would stay white) between each desired V. Each of our exposed diagonals (that would be painted navy) was going to be 2.5” in width. Therefore, to determine where the second piece of tape needed to be placed, we simply measured down 2.5” from both ends of that first top piece of tape and marked it off in pencil on the 1” vertical blue tape.

herringbone wall tutorial

All of the remaining marks within a vertical section were made 4.5” from the previous mark (2” for the tape and 2.5” for the desired white space). As I was putting up the tape (Rick did all of the measuring/marking), I knew that the TOP of my piece of tape needed to line up with the pencil marks on the blue tape.

how to herringbone an accent wall (2)_thumb[2]

For those pesky pieces of top and bottom tape that touched the ceiling/floor versus the vertical lines (which means you can’t easily measure to the 2.5” mark), we just held up tape and eyeballed it until the angle seemed to match. This is where having a helper comes in handy (again).

herringbone tutorial

3. PAINT AND PEEL AWAY THE TAPE! The fun part. The part where you cover your eyes, cower in a corner, and maybe wet your pants a little in fear of the whole thing not turning out the way you wanted it to. Sort of like the first day of middle school. We painted one half of the wall at a time and worked quickly, applying a second coat just a few minutes after the first (the navy was too dark to get away with just one coat, but allowing either of the coats to dry would guarantee a messy, peeling edge when we removed the tape). Within a few minutes of applying the second coat, we removed the tape so that it wouldn’t peel the paint away.


And presto, a herringbone accent wall that took around six hours to create.

herringbone accent wall (3)

I think it would have taken less time if we had 100% known what we were doing—but as it was, we had some trial and error, and obvious breaks for peach-eating and cat-petting.


Before and after of the room? Okay. (For more details on this room’s progress and updates, go here and here.)

herringbone accent wall

We’re getting there. The only thing left before furniture is carpet. Orrrr we could just leave the floor as-is. It has sort of a rustic, shabby chic vibe.

How to Paint Herringbone on a Wall (and Live to Tell About It)


So…is your mind numbed? Truthfully, it’s a whole lot easier to do it than it is to explain it. It’s like the time I gave Rick and his family “great directions” to my college (via a route I had driven hundreds of times) and they ended up in West Wang-Doo, which was, incidentally, nowhere near my college. Oops.

*Linking up to Thrifty D├ęcor Chick and Home Stories A to Z!*

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