Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Master Bedroom Reveal (in which a room is finally finished after more than two decades of planning)

Well, the time we have all been waiting for has finally arrived.

The master bedroom at my parents house is indeed finished. Well, mostly. We’re calling it done.

It’s come a long way. The wallpaper and trim used to look like this. Please brace yourself–I don’t want anyone falling off their chair in shock. Safety first.

old master bedroom wallpaper with butterflies and moths

Yes, that is butterfly/moth wallpaper. We spent HOURS scraping the gunk off the walls.

But now, Mom and Dad can rest easy (literally) because their room now looks like this:

antique furniture with board and batten, crown molding, and dark ceiling

Let’s recap a little, shall we? And we’ll go waaaay back this time…let’s say 22 years.

Mom and Dad moved into this house in 1992. I was just a lil’ tyke.

The first thing Mom said she would be changing was the master bedroom wallpaper.

That obviously didn’t happen for more than two decades. Time has a funny way of getting away from us, huh? Almost the entire rest of the house was remodeled first. It could be that Mom is selfless, but I think the real reason is that we were all terrified of the ordeal of taking off the wallpaper.

So, on the day I had surgery to remove a kidney stone and was completely bored, we ripped all the wallpaper off. That was last April, and nothing happened after that. Until Christmas. The sibs and I plotted and schemed and settled on gifting my parents with the labor for a master bedroom makeover. Since then, we’ve painted the ceiling a cozy dark gray/brown, painted the walls and crown molding and installed board and batten (and new baseboards), installed craftsman-style wood trim around the windows and doors, removed the carpet, laid variegated engineered hardwood flooring, made cheap $10 curtain rods, hung no-sew dropcloth curtains, and even made some nifty doorknob hooks. Whew. Say all of that three times fast.

Let’s dive into some finished room pictures, shall we? This is what Mom and Dad see first when they walk in the doorway.

ceiling fan, quilt, board and batten and dropcloth curtains

The dark ceiling makes everything feel cozy and warm, in my opinion. And even the dated textured swoops look kind of nice with dark paint.

One of the main reasons for the board and batten install was Mom and Dad’s antique bedroom furniture–we wanted it to really pop off the walls. And it does.

The cedar chest along the far wall serves as sort of a window seat. Dad made it for Mom as a wedding gift back in the day.

antique furniture with board and batten, crown molding, and dark ceiling

We upgraded the ceiling fan with some newer-looking glass light covers. It’s still a ceiling fan, but it looks pretty good, if you ask me. They fit the style of the room better than the frilly flowery shades that used to adorn those lights did.

Mom wove those two rugs you see on the floor (yes, like on a loom…she has three)…they normally live in the kitchen but we stole them for a bit until they find (or make) some rugs designated for this area. (I told you I lived in a crazy talented family.)

We used the ledge of the board and batten to create a couple of nice vignettes filled with memories. For example, do you see those flat round baskets on the ledge to the right? Those are from Mom’s time in Africa as a missionary, before she and Dad were married.

antique dark wood furniture with board and batten

Oh, and my very talented Grandma made the quilt…you can’t see it fully here, but it’s very intricately handquilted by her. It takes her hundreds of hours per quilt, yet she still manages to finish 2 or 3 quilts each year.

craftsman-style wood trim with board and batten

In the corner, Mom created a little reading nook with an antique Stickley chair from the early 1900’s and a bajillion pound antique brass lamp. We’re still looking for a shade for it, as the old one was a wee bit waterstained and gross and one that is on it currently is way too small and a totally wrong style for the lamp. Ignore the cord. We do. 🙂

reading nook with stickley rocking chair

So, there you have it! Let’s close the book on this one.

antique furniture with board and batten, crown molding, and dark ceiling

Now, let’s play a game. What’s your favorite part? The quilt is definitely stealing the show, but I have to say the board and batten still has my heart. And I love the little reading nook. Love.

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Master Bedroom Makeover: No-Sew Dropcloth Curtains (in which we use painting supplies to make fake drapes)

Well, my favorite part of decorating the master bedroom arrived last weekend! And that favorite part would be curtains. Call me crazy, but I think they’re the perfect finishing touch on a room…even if that room isn’t finished. Curtains can cover a multitude of sins, sort of like grace but not quite as good.

In order to be a good blogger and to try to continue to do things on the cheap, we decided to give dropcloth curtains a try. This is all the rage with home decor bloggers these days, as a quick search on Pinterest reveals. And if everybody’s doing it, we definitely needed to give it a try. So we picked up 4 of these “Blue Hawk” brand paint dropcloths from Lowe’s for about $10 each. We went with the 6′ by 9′ variety, though they did come in other sizes.

canvas drop cloth from Lowe's Blue Hawk

Now, the one downfall to using dropcloth curtains is that they are pretty stiff and scratchy straight out of the package. You’re not gonna want to rub your face on these right away, so the trick is to wash them once or twice with a bunch of fabric softener.

But then they’ll be all wrinkly, so you’ll probably have to spend several hours ironing these like I did…unless you’re into the wrinkly, unkempt look. But don’t fret. After you burn your fingers six or seven times you get used to it. 🙂

Then comes the fun part–figuring out how best to hang them. We had both of our DIY curtain rods ready to go, so it was just a matter of measuring where to attach the little curtain clippy things.

Oh, and Mom found this great solution that eliminated the need for cutting and sewing. Since the curtains are 9′ tall and the ceilings are definitely NOT, it stands to reason that we’d have to do some heavy duty dropcloth surgery right? Nope–we just folded down the curtains at the top and decided we liked it. I measured and folded them so that the bottom would just graze the floor and the fold at the top would be about 1 inch above the curtain rod.

new-sew dropcloth curtains with clips and rings

Then I began the very scientific process of attaching curtain clips. You know the type, right? Usually you clip them to the top of your curtain and they show, but we wanted to do a faux pinch pleat so that the rings wouldn’t be visible and so that our curtains would look a bit fancier.

tried  to use the tape measure for this step, but I think there was something wrong with it because I was just failing miserably at spacing these darn rings (it definitely couldn’t have been a user error). So I ended up basically eyeing it.

To create a fake pinch pleat look, you need to affix the clips about 2.5″ below the top of the curtain so that your rings won’t peek over the top of your curtains. I took a little pinch of the fabric (2 layers, since we folded the top down) and clipped those prongs on at an angle. You can sort of see what I did if you squint real hard at this pic. I did have to call for reinforcements because we chose the strongest clips on the planet and my poor fingers had had enough what with all the ironing and everything. Kenny was happy to help.

new-sew dropcloth curtains with clips and rings

Then comes the BEST PART: hanging them and seeing the fruits of your labor. I fussed and fluffed those dropcloths until they hung the way I wanted them to.

No Sew Dropcloth Curtains with a Faux Pinch Pleat

Inserting subliminal messaging: PIN THIS! Oh, hey, here’s a convenient button. (Will wonders never cease?)

I don’t think we could have chosen better fabric if we had tried. The dropcloths are a perfect natural color and are nice and heavy and textured looking, kind of like a really thick linen. They let a little light through, as you can see, but I think they’re a pretty great weight for curtains.

When it comes to hanging curtains, the general consensus is to hang them high and wide. Don’t be afraid to  go almost up to the ceiling…and we created the rods to go beyond the size of the window by 18″ on each side. That way, when the curtains are open, it looks like the windows are huge.

dropcloth curtains with board and batten and crown molding

As you can see, Mom and Dad might have moved back in to the room already! More on that later. There are a few things to finish up, but it’s definitely liveable and they love it. And no, I can’t stop looking at these pictures of the curtains. Mmmm.

UPDATE: THIS ROOM IS DONE! YIPPEE!! To see what we’ve done so far in this room, go ahead and go all click-crazy. Here, I’ll enable you by creating a nice little (read: long) list. And yeah, I did go a little “Friends”-like on ya here. So be it.

The one where we tore down the crazy moth wallpaper

The one with the dark gray-brown ceiling (and where I bemoan my haircut or lack thereof)

The one where we installed board and batten

The one with the craftsman-style wood-stained trim

The one where we removed the ancient carpet (I supervised)

The one where we went all crazy with hardwood flooring (okay, I wasn’t even there for this)

The one with Macaulay Culkin (aka, the one with the DIY curtain rods)

So has anyone else tried using painter’s dropcloths as curtains? It’s a little unorthodox (except in blogland, evidently), but that’s the way we roll around here. And what are your curtain hanging tips and tricks? I’m all ears. After all, this was just practice for when Kenny and I have a house with more than just three north-facing windows (I’m looking at you, apartment).

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Also. I’m linking up with House of Hepworths!