Saturday, September 03, 2016

Bringing Home the Boy

Our final weekend of summer. This is a long weekend for us here in Ontario, and kids return to school on Tuesday. My son starts his first year of college on Tuesday ... one day after he returns from two months working in Algonquin Park. Poor kid. It's going to be hard enough on him to move back home with his parents, but to have to start up in college the next day as well? Oh boy.

We're picking him up on Monday. Holiday Monday. The busiest travelling day this side of Christmas! And he works until 5:00 p.m. It's going to be a nice drive up to our beloved park, but the drive home will be insane. We already have an alternate route mapped out, but I know even the backroads will be full of impatient drivers trying to make it back to the city at a decent hour.

While we were on vacation in August (after our camping trip in Algonquin), we worked on our son's bedroom as a surprise for him. He knows we're working on it, but he doesn't know what we're doing. He did choose the paint colours (grey & orange), but that was all the input we asked for. This is what it looked like when he left in June:

He is a collector of many things, and he has many interests. But the last couple of years he has hinted that he would like to empty his room of all this clutter (a common desire here in my home!). We emptied the room to start on the transformation.

First the small cupboard had to be changed. My husband smashed out the framing for the original doorway.

An electrician was called in to fit in a new outlet at the back so that we could plug TV and other devices without having the cords dangling over the wall (as they did before). The electrical cord is hanging there with the outlet attached on the end. This will be fitted onto the back of the cabinet my husband made. My husband framed the new opening with 2x4s again all the way around.

It's a really good-sized cupboard!
Then he built up three separate units out of MDF, which I painted a light grey with bright orange on the back. Cool, right? And now you can also see my lovely paint job of the grey walls. All the trim was painted white again too.

Once all the front trim was in place (covering the rough edges of the MDF), I had to do some touch-up painting to cover all the nail holes. This unit is very secure and fastened onto the 2x4 framing boards that were fit into the opening.

A Friday night trip to IKEA (not something I would recommend this close to back to school...lots of university students/parents picking up stuff for their kids!!), and we picked up a roller blind with black-out backing. This thing really blocks any light coming into the room! 

A couple of nice details like the matte silver light switch and outlet covers we found at Lowe's. I'm sure my son will be glad the ceramic dinosaur light switch cover is gone!

I plan on making his favourite chocolate chip cookies to go in his Tardis cookie jar :)

We're down to the wire now, and my husband put the final molding around the entire unit. I think it looks fantastic! I can't believe the transformation with just this cupboard. My son is going to be so thrilled when he sees this! It's the highlight of the room. We even bought a strip of LED lights that glow different colours with a remote control. We'll stick that down behind the TV ... one of the colours is ORANGE! Yeah!!

Yesterday and today I worked on another small addition. We want to rearrange the furniture a bit, and this will leave him needing a nightstand beside his bed. We can't decide what to get there, so will leave that up to him to choose something on his own. In the meantime, I had this old stool in my garage and painted it up with grey spray paint to put there for now. I forgot to take a "before" shot, but it was the same in quality as this matching stool (below). My great grandfather made both of them :)

Below is the primer coat. I found a can of grey primer spray paint in the basement! I still have to give it a final coat of the actual colour.

You may notice a glaring discrepancy between his bedroom door (which is new) and his closet doors (which are old). 

I love the new door handles :)

We bought new interior doors for our entire house in August too, and got about half of them painted and installed. Then we realized that we needed to stop work on the doors and get cracking on our son's bedroom instead. The bedroom doors were all installed, but the closet doors here are still waiting to be painted and installed. Once this room is back together, we can focus on the door painting again and it will complete the room. 

the closet doors
Also, there's the matter of inside the closet ... care to see?

Yep, loads of carefully organized, but no longer used toys and other boy things. Not something anyone wants to deal with, but once your kid turns 18, I don't think we have the right to purge these treasures for him. Do you? I used to go through my kids' toys all the time and purge since we have limited storage space here. Now, however, we feel we have to ask permission first. I hope a lot of it goes out the door, but I know there are some things too good to lose (Lego, Brio & Playmobil!). It will all have to await its fate until my son settles into his new college routine though. Thankfully, he is staying home as the college he is attending is within walking distance of home ... one reason why we wanted to give him a new room since he won't have the same adventures as my daughter with living away from home for four years.

We still have a few details to work through. A ceiling fan has been chosen, but not yet purchased. It matches the finish of the new doorknobs perfectly! Also I may or may not make some narrow curtain panels to hang on either side of the blind. The closet doors need painting and installing. We also are still looking for bedding. I found some bright orange sheets that match the cupboard paint colour, but am still on the lookout for a new duvet cover in black or grey.

I'll show the final reveal photos when we get everything back in place. Thanks for stopping by today!



  1. What a great project Wendy, and I really like the orange/gray colour scheme. Your son will be thrilled. Yay for orange sheets! We had some when we were married in the 70s - glad to hear they are back. So cheerful.

  2. What a transformation! I'm sure your son will be delighted. I hope the trip is not too arduous.

  3. Hello Wendy! I think the makeover of your sons room turned out beautifully. I like the colors. It is good to downsize and purge, we have recently made lots of trips to the local goodwill store donating items. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  4. How nice! It's definitely a room for a young man now. I love the colors and he'll feel like he's in a new place. Best of luck to him with college! Hugs, Diane

  5. It looks great, better than a dorm room. I bet he loves it.

  6. What a lucky son you have. I agree about the toys. If they are stored in his cupboard then it is, as my friend would say, "his room his mess". My daughter has left home and left a lot of toys in our loft. She doesn't want me to touch them. But whenever I mention something, she has obviously forgotten about it. I'm keeping the precious things and rehoming the rest at the local charity shop.

  7. Hi Wendy, I've been reading your posts since your return to blogging this summer but have not had time to leave a comment before now. It's so nice to see you again. Your son's room looks fantastic. I love the idea with the LED's. My son would go crazy for that. We may have to do that for his room someday. I am glad you left his things for him. My parents ransacked my room regularly and threw away a lot of my things, particularly when I left for college. I often wish I still had some of the stuff they threw away without my permission, like all the school newspapers I'd written for in high school, prom corsages, toys and games, books, journals, etc. It still makes me sad and angry and I'm pushing 40 so I know your kids will appreciate your approach. I hope you're having a good long holiday weekend. Take care.

  8. Your son's updated room looks fantastic. Kudos to the parents! My brother moved out over 5 years ago and my mom still consults with him prior to disposing any of the stuff that he left behind at their house.

    Good luck with the drive tomorrow!

  9. I am sure your son will be greatly surprised and delighted with his transformed room! Everything was so well organized.

  10. Wow, you are fabulous parents! I hope the drive goes well today. x

  11. The room is looking so good I'm sure he will settle back in well. x

  12. What a fantastic makeover!!! I am sure that your son loves it a lot and is glad to see the new light switch especially now that he is off to college! I hope that he had a great summer and that he enjoys what is to come next. Do you want to come and give my spare bedroom a makeover? It needs it! xx

  13. What a special thing you did for your son, he'll feel like he's getting a fresh new start as he begins the next stage in his life. Your husband did a beautiful job on the cupboard, your son will love it.

  14. Oh wow you two did an amazing transformation for your son-he'll love it-good thing about living close to college-tons of money to be saved on housing and food. and if can walk-even better-good luck to him as he starts his new adventure going to college

  15. Looks great . I bet he will love it . Oh my the traffic on the roads on long weekends is crazy hope all goes well for you all and you get home at a decent time and safely to . I wish him the best for his college days . Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

  16. Referring to your comment on my blog about the snow beer - It is any beer frozen to a certain temperature and when the beer is poured into the frozen glass, the beer turns curd-like or slurpee. Have a nice day!

  17. What a nice surprise for your son to come home to! Yikes, I didn't need to see in his closet - better give him the book on purging stuff. lol
    I hope he gets first crack at the jobs in Algonquin next summer, a great experience.

  18. Wow, great work!! I bet your son is going to absolutely LOVE it!! ;) Hope you're traveling went smoothly and not too much of a nightmare. And hope he has a wonderful and blessed first year of college.

    I can't wait to see the full reveal!! Blessings on the rest of your week. xoxo

  19. Looks fabulous. Would you and your husband care to come and work your magic on my bedroom? It's long overdue for a refurb. I hope the drive home wasn't too dreadful. x


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