I have about a hundred different weekend hobbies. One of my pet projects is selling vintage children's books online. Right now, my inventory is low, so I'm uploading a bunch of new stuff and hitting some estate sales tomorrow.
I really want to be this woman, who figured out how to make a real business out of selling vintage dresses. I also want a tattoo.
This weekend was terribly exciting. What did I do? Well, I cleaned three toilets that were ravaged by two boys. I listened to teenage angst. I went to a fund raiser for Ian's autism program, where Steve won an autographed picture of John Travolta. I went to the gym to work off the winter pudge. Damn, Laura, you live a goddamn awesome life!
We also made a major life decision. We bought a big-assed TV.
Downstairs, the previous owners put an extension on the house. The wife needed an art studio. It has a large closet that was set up as a drying rack for her paintings. Because it was an art studio, the room isn't anything fancy. The linoleum floor is cracking.
We set it up as a playroom for the kids, when we moved in. Some crappy hand-me down furniture and IKEA bins of Lego. I didn't do much more than that. The wall is dotted with holes from old painting hooks, and one wall has some cheap shelving.
In a house that needs lots of TLC, we decided to put our energy into this room. We wanted to set up a teenage zone for our teenager, who is having a tough time. What does a teenage room need? A big-assed TV.
We never thought we would be the big-assed TV family. It was a lifestyle choice. So, this purchase was a major reversal for us.
We went from this....
We will need several more weekends to get the room looking awesome. A new floor isn't going to happen soon, but we will slap on a coat of paint and fix the cushions on the sofa that we picked up at the yard sale. Maybe we have someone flatten out that back wall for us and mount the TV on the wall. In the meantime, the teenagers have their big-assed TV. And so will we.
My sister has a beautiful Stickley entertainment unit. Fine oak. E.J. Audi label. She paid about $3,000 for it a few short years ago. And nobody wants it.
She listed it on Craig's List for a few hundred dollars, and the only nibble was some weird, Nigerian-style, spammer.
It was built for a fat TV. It has wide shelves for vases and books. Nearly six feet high and wide, it was meant to be a statement piece. The trouble is that nobody wants to make that kind of statement anymore. Today, a TV is supposed to lie flat on a wall like a picture frame with a simple credenza underneath to hide the cable boxes and xBox remotes.
Partially this change from the statement entertainment unit to the subtle TV has come from technology. They learned how to make a skinny TV. But I also think it has come from a change in how we watch TV.
Television is no longer a family activity. With access to entertainment on our iPhones, iPads, computers, and other devices, we're consuming entertainment alone.
Growing up, Saturday morning cartoons involved intense political negotiations between my brother, sister and myself. Who got to the TV first helped to determine who was Master of the Channels. Height and weight also figured in. I could assume the role of Master of the Channels simply by sitting on my brother. Waking up my parents to intervene in these complex matters was simply not an option. Bringing in the parents was the atomic bomb of solutions, because there would be mutually assumed destruction. So, I suffered through Land of the Lost with my brother and he had to watch the Brady Bunch.
Now, if someone doesn't like the offerings on TV, they can simply wander out of the room. Ian doesn't have to sit through Pawn Stars on the History Channel. He just goes to the computer and pulls up some super exciting You Tube videos of walkthroughs of his favorite video games. (Some walkthrough YouTube stars have huge followings and make a nice living at that.) Steve and I are watching old episodes of Downton Abbey on my iPad, which streams Netflix movies better than the TV.
While I was never the fan of the entertainment center, my sister's misfit furniture makes me a little sad. I'm sad for that such a quality piece of furniture could end up in the trash. I'm also sad that TV watching is no longer a family activity.
What? Do I hear a request for more house porn? You got it!
This was the original real estate picture of Ian's room. I really do need a wide angle lens. This photography hobby is like crack, dudes. Don't get started.
Then we unpacked and just put things randomly in rooms. Ian pasted pictures of video game figures and his favorite words on the walls, dressers, and doors of his room.
I think this wallpaper was original to house. Circa 1959. It's not a horrible pattern, but it just isn't appropriate for a boy's room.
Here's the new room. Benjamin Moore Moroccan Red. Ian's room doesn't have the white built-ins like Jonah's room, so we had to buy more white accessories. Like a white board, which was positioned low enough to be an easel. It was from Target.
Mid-century houses are lovely in many ways. We're saving $400 a month in energy costs for a home that's double the size of our old house. But then we have to deal with tiny windows and character-less moldings. I'm not a big fan of curtains, but this room demanded them. These are all from IKEA. It's cheap, but there were meant for drama, not function.
All the new accessories in this room, including the paint, probably cost $150. The labor was the pricey part. Two guys worked full time for one week to remove the wallpaper in two bedrooms, fix the cracked plaster in the hallway, deal with the painted over wallpaper glue in the bathroom, and then paint everything. I could have done it, but it would have taken three years.
The wall over Ian's bed is too blank. I thought about hanging a framed poster over his bed, but then what if there's an earthquake and the picture falls on his head? Because earthquakes happen every day in New Jersey. I though about putting up one of those huge wall decals. But then I decided that he needs space to tape up his stuff. An area that he can totally trash. Waaaah!
We have an unofficial formula for decorating - 1/3 investment pieces, 1/3 IKEA, and 1/3 knackered old thing. Those framed train prints are investment pieces. We bought them for $25 at a train museum in Virginia. They're signed and numbered by the artist. They remind us of a stage of our lives when the boys were obsessed with trains and we visited every train museum in seven contiguous states. The frames were very expensive, but they are lovely prints and they have great memories associated with them. The lamp cost $7 from IKEA. The desk is a beat-up hand me down from Steve's folks. The glass blotter comes from IKEA, too.
The duvet cover is new. It's from Garnet Hill. I like getting duvet covers from fancy places and then using sheets from Target. Because it is better to look good, than to feel good. Jonah has the same one. I like that the life preservers are blueberry and maroon. I bought this from their clearance catalog. $44.
It's a slow news day. So, it's time for some girlie, home renovation pictures!
When we moved into this house a year ago, we didn't exactly decorate the house, as much as unpack. We're slowly getting around to it now. The boys were getting pissed off about their flowered wallpaper, so we called in some pros and repainted. I bought some white accessories and got rid of some crap. Call HGTV. I'm ready for you.
Here are the before and after pictures of Jonah's room.