Revenge of the Bedroom Renovation

Geek Culture

Time passes, kids get older, and the wicked-cool bedroom you built for them becomes too young.  They start banging their heads on the ceiling from their platform beds, the fireman’s pole goes unused, and they never use the desks that fit underneath.  It becomes time for a change.

The GeekWife had last week off, and made the decision that the time was right for renovating the boys’ room.  It was time for an older boys’ room.  No more platform beds, no more "Toy Story"-inspired color palette.  Indeed, it was time for a room that tweens (and eventually teens) could hang out in.

But first, the deconstruction.

The people that owned the house before us were a lovely couple with two boys of their own – that was probably one of the reasons they had accepted our offer so many years ago, when multiple offers were the norm for sales in our area.  The one thing we curse them for, however, is the extensive use they made of wallpaper in the house.  And their habit of redecorating a room by putting new wallpaper up over the old.

Over the years we’ve lived in the house, we’ve re-done every room starting with taking the wallpaper down.  With the last redo of the boys’ room, we’d ignored that habit, and simply painted over the existing.  This time, we were determined to do the "right thing" and remove the wallpaper, starting fresh with bare walls.  What a terrible mistake.

I won’t go into the gory details, but it didn’t work.  There were multiple layers, plus our older paint job, and when you got every layer off in a section, you basically ended up with the torn paper of the original drywall.  After two days of effort, we abandoned the goal and patched up the damage as best we could.  New paint and plenty of art on the walls would have to do.

The second major problem with this renovation was, sad to say, Ikea.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many things to like and enjoy about Ikea.  The prices and European style are great, and the meatballs…  But their shelving systems can be a bit complicated.  Now, I’m an engineer, but it took me and my teacher wife quite a while to sort out all the appropriate pieces we’d need to get to make the wardrobe that would work in the room.  And of course, when we got down to the warehouse area to load everything ourselves (even through we wanted to get it all delivered), there were key pieces out of stock, and nothing to fill in the gaps because of the peculiar choices they make about what comes in what sizes and what colors.  We actually got so frustrated, we abandoned the dolly of stuff we’d loaded up and walked out, heading to a "real" furniture store instead.  Sure, we ended up paying about 30% more, but dangit, someone will actually be delivering the pieces and setting them up, all without my having to pick up an allen wrench or disposing of any cardboard. (I’m not even going to bring up what my thumbs went through – if you were following me on Twitter, or listened to the podcast, you’ve already heard that story)

My wife is back to work now, and the room is *almost* done.  They have a small sofa and a decent-sized LCD TV hooked up to their computer (not to cable/satellite), and will even be getting a mini-fridge to make the hang-out complete.  We’ll move the old X-Box in there, too.  We learned a couple lessons: sometimes what seems like the "right thing to do" isn’t, especially when it comes to wallpaper; and sometimes paying a little more for service will actually save a lot of frustration.

It’s going to be a great boys’ hangout.  And a constant reminder of how badly some renovations can go.


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