Wednesday, January 16, 2008

new year, new project

The new year has brought with it a new project for me. Even though there's a lot of work ahead of me, I'm really excited about it. In April, both Emi and Misaki will be going to elementary school and because of this I have decided to switch around the kids rooms. Right now Emi, Misaki and Sakura share a 6-tatami size room with a bunk bed and a single bed and Natsuki sleeps in a 4.5-tatami size room in a playpen (we just threw away her crib - sniff). Emi wakes up at 7:20am and is out the door by 7:55am and then at 8am, the other three wake up and I take Misaki to the bus at 8:55am and then Sakura and Natsuki have the house to themselves for the day. Sakura, our perky morning riser, usually wakes up when Emi does and I realized that once Emi AND Misaki are waking up early, Sakura is not going to be content to wait in her room until 8am so I decided that a room change was in order.

After much consideration, I decided that Emi and Misaki will go into the smaller room with the bunk bed and Sakura and Natsuki will share the larger room. Chikara has given me a lot of flack over this because logically Emi and Misaki, being the older sisters, should have the larger room. Of course I feel the same way but I know that if I put Sakura and Natsuki in the smaller room together, I'm going to have a lot more problems with them disturbing each other at night and in the morning. They just need more space in between them. Plus next year I want to start putting toys up in their room so they can play up there and I can reclaim some of the living room space. Emi and Misaki's toys get smaller and smaller each year and I want them to have a private space and not have to turn their room into the play area. So, in a seemingly unfair move, they will get the smaller room.

Not surprisingly, this news was not well received by Emi (Misaki didn't really care, of course!). I knew that she would feel this way so I told her that I am going to re-decorate the room just for the two of them. She was immediately suspiscious so one afternoon during the winter vacation I got out my interior decoration magazines and we looked through them together. I have two great special edition Better Homes & Gardens magazines dedicated to kid's rooms and after we looked through them together a few times, I started to notice a pattern of things they really liked. I wasn't sure if we would be able to come to an agreement since Emi is a sporty-girl and Misaki is a girly-girl but some of their tastes are similar so we zeroed in on those things.

This lamp is going to be the inspiration for their room. They both really liked the colors and Emi liked the stripes.

One of the reasons this whole project came about was because when we moved into our house, the walls were in poor shape. I knew that one day my babies would grow up and I would be able to make time to re-do the walls, but as a quick fix, we painted two of the upstairs rooms instead of having them re-wallpapered (I'm not a big fan of wallpaper). The family who owned this house before had two junior high aged boys who were obviously very rough on the house, especially the 4.5-tatami size room. There are one or two small holes in the wall which are easily fixable but there are scratches and little holes from screws and nails ALL OVER THE PLACE and it would be an exercise in futility to go around and try to patch up all of the wallpaper. I have had many dreams about fixing the walls in this room and I am using this schedule change as an excuse to make the time to finally just do it.

Just for the walls, there are four steps:

1. Pull off the existing wallpaper: easy
2. Spray the walls with a vinegar mixture to get the wallpaper glue off of the walls: a little difficult but mostly time consuming
3. Use putty to fix the holes and marks and smooth out the appearance of the walls and then sand: this seems difficult AND time consuming
4. Paint the walls: easy but time consuming

I have considered removing the wallpaper myself and then hiring someone else to re-surface the walls and paint them. I might still do that but once I started taking off the wallpaper I found myself really enjoying the work so depending on time and money constraints I may or may not do it all myself. I like a challenge but I have to consider how I use my time and how that will affect my family.

I love this lamp! I have a plain white one in my entrance that's similiar so I'm hoping that I'll be able to find something like it here in Japan.

The girls will need a mirror in their room and I kept thinking that I would try to find a funky, unusual mirror but when I saw this I liked the fact that that the girls could change the feel of the mirror with different colored ribbons so I'm going to look for something simple that they can change around depending on their mood (what will that be!).

I've written about it a lot but Misaki really loves to draw and I when I saw this, I knew I would have to re-create it for her. It's just a simple art frame with the glass glued in and the frame decorated. There is a clip attached to the glass so the girls can put their own artwork in the frame and replace it when they want to. This way their drawings are the decoration for the room. I think this'll be a lot of fun for them.

Another element that both of the girls could agree on was butterflies. These butterflies are just clipart that was downloaded from the internet, printed on photo paper, trimmed and mounted in a art frame. I saw lots of ideas for stenciling butterflies, etc. so I will definitely include this somewhere in the room.

So that's what's on the calendar for the next three months. Ikea is opening in April in Kobe (only 1 hour away) so I'm hoping to find bedding and little extras to complete the look of the room. After Emi saw all of the ideas she is really excited about the room, even if it is small, so the project has begun. My plan is to work for an hour each morning while Chikara is home and can keep an eye on the kids for me. Hopefully I will be able to finish the small room before my mom comes in February (did you get your ticket yet?) and then move onto the other rooms. Yes, Emi and Misaki's room is just the beginning. I want to do the larger kid's room, the hallway and the kitchen before March. I will be so thrilled when it's finished and I can enjoy the look of these rooms instead of just seeing the marks on the walls and dreaming about fixing them.

If anyone knows of any great interior decorating websites that will ship to Japan, please let me know!


Tigermama said...

Those are absolutely fabulous ideas! I really love the mirror AND the frame with the clip. I might have to steal those for my dd`s room when we move. :)

Here is a great website to get ideas:

I don`t know if they ship to Japan but thought it would be good for ideas.

Gina said...

Ohhh, I agree with Tigermama! Those are fab ideas you found in that magazine! I can't wait to see what your end result will be. And I am positive, your room will be even prettier then the magazines ideas, I know it! : )

Also, totally right about Pottery Barn, Tigermama was right yet again! PB has the best ideas!

Excellent ideas for your girls Sarah. Right on! : )

Oh and one more thing. I've taken off wallpaper before.At our home in Denver. We used a small platic portable tub/tray with warm water and soaked our sponges in the water and wiped over the wallpaper with that and used squirt bottles with plain warm water. It came off fairly easy. Good luck! : )

Trisha said...

Oh my gosh, I know it will be a lot of work, but it also seems like a lot of fun too. You have so many great ideas and with each othe girls giving their imput I am sure that they will both be pleased with the final result. Good luck and keep us updated!

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH SARAH! You have quite the project on your hands! I know what you mean about getting excited about it though, i do too. However... i always tend to give up half way and struggle to finish! But i know you will complete it all beautifully! Plus if it's not done by the time aunty alynne comes.. you can get her to help:) Tell her to bring her painting clothes!

Love Kim!

Mom said...

these companies may not deliver to Japan, but I do! There is so much fabric available right now in these themes, I think I should bring fabric for curtains or duvet covers and have a sewing fest, or else bring a suitcase of caulking compound for those holes!!!
Love Mom

Nay said...

Oh, I can't wait to see the finished product. The girls rooms are going to look fantastic!! As a kid I always wanted my room all done up how I wanted it - bright purple walls, but because we always rented, my dream never came true!! I'm sure both girls will end up loving their room once you are done. Good luck!!