Into the Woods We Go…

(Apologies to all Sondheim fans out there.)

One of those first “this tiny thing really does have his own likes and dislikes” moment with our son came about one week after his debut to the world. At home, we were doing everything we could to soothe a fussy baby. We even borrowed from Mr. Maslow and created his own hierarchy of needs that we’d run down when he would inexplicably cry: diaper clean? Fed? Too hot? Too cold? All that new parent stuff. Then, in a moment of genius, my husband stepped out into the yard with him. And the crying stopped. It wasn’t the change of atmosphere that did it. He wasn’t asleep, either. He was staring at the line of trees around our yard. No matter which way his daddy would turn, that baby’s eyes were locked on the treetops.

Being outside is a perennial enjoyment for him. Even when a biting wind blows, he’ll just tug up his hood and face into it, eyes closed, smiling.

You can see why we had to work trees into this room somehow, right?

The one windowless and doorless wall in the room has a little jut-out where the chimney from the fireplace on the first floor runs. Since there was a much darker shade of purple we wanted to incorporate, and a pretty neat stencil of trees I had found online, this was a unique opportunity to make the jut-out a feature while bringing a little depth and dimension to the otherwise-flat expanse of wall.

It had been years since I’ve picked up a stencil. The one I ordered was made of a heavy stock, laser-cut, and on large sheets that covered a lot of wall at one time. Which was good, because by the end of the process I was inventing new expletives for corners and mourning the brain cells I had lost in keeping the pattern from wavering off at funny angles. But at the points of deepest frustration, all I had to do was take a few steps back to look at the wall in progress to know that it was totally worth it.

After the first pass, I noticed some parts of the pattern that needed a little touch-up – so, while the original stenciling took about 3 hours to complete, it was another two hours or so over the next couple of days to go over the wall with a couple of tiny paintbrushes to freehand a line here or there, stipple a lighter patch, and find peace with the imperfections that would definitely tell anyone scrutinizing the work up-close that this was no wallpaper job.

With that done, my husband was in the clear to hang the crown moulding. We had moved all those pieces to a couple of sawhorses in the basement to put a coat of paint on them. Once it was hung, I went back to fill in nail holes and caulk the occasional gap between the wood and the wall (it’s still an old house, after all), and apply a final coat of semigloss white.

I knew that the moulding would make the room feel much more finished, but seeing it over both the lighter purple and the deeper hue of the stencil had me dancing my own little jig. Just look at it!

It looks ready to move in!

It looks ready to move in!

A view from an inside corner towards the bedroom door.

A view from an inside corner towards the bedroom door.

How much of a difference, you wonder? Check out these two corner shots.

Pre-moulding

Pre-moulding

Post-moulding

Post-moulding

This was about the time that our boy was standing in the doorway, holding a few items from his old room, ready to move in. We explained that there were a few more things to do before he could. He cheerfully agreed he could wait a little bit longer.

Then he threw us a curve ball: instead of using the furniture from his “baby room,” he decided that he really liked the bed that was already in his big boy room. And he wanted to use that furniture instead.

This decision automatically crossed off one more item on the punch list (figuring out bedside storage), which was steadily gaining more check marks. What’s left, you ask?

  • Replace ceiling light fixture
  • Install curtain rods over windows
  • Spot/steam clean carpeting
  • Sew curtains
  • (Once carpeting is completely dry) install curtain panels and bring in furniture for room
  • Frame coin map and hang near desk
  • Order, assemble and hang moose trophy
  • Assess other art/storage needs and research for future
  • Move leftover furniture into spare room
  • Clean out closet – swap out items between rooms as appropriate
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