*Disclaimer: 1) not a designer, 2) it’s not styled and 3) it’s a playroom.

With all projects there is a kind of “Big Bang Theory.”  Everything sort of explodes before it comes back together.  I pushed everything to the center of the room and painted, moving the ladder strategically through the two foot border I had created around the perimeter.  I tried Benjamin Moore Aura for the first time with great results.  It covered the yellow, which should have been named Acid Trip, in two coats.

I taped off a red border around the ceiling to give a little more structure.  It’s horrible to paint with red, by the way.  It took at least four coats to give a solid stripe and it might have been five.  I’m quite impatient and more than three coats makes me grouchy.

Once that was finished I made a few samples to scale to decide how close the dots and starbursts should be.  Then I measured it out with a yardstick and marked the pattern with pencil.  

I did the dots first with a black paint marker.  For me, I have to save the best for last or I abandon the whole thing.  If I’d started with starbursts I might not have finished the dots.  The rubber stamp worked great and survived to stamp again.

I’m not going to be glib.  It took a long time.  Though low-skill, as all of my projects are, it was often tedious.  And the pattern of the dots did make my eyes cross now and again.  Also, for the record, the boys did not help in the least.  

But I had fun.  This is the kind of thing I want to do.  I just told a friend the other day that the thought of playing tennis or bridge makes me want to hurt myself.  I’d be eternally happy painting one room after the next, but fear my family would commit me.

I picked up the vintage goose decoys at Suzanne Cooper’s.  Mr. Blandings thought I might reconsider and let him take them to the Duck Club; I did not.

I replaced a reproduction pine hanging shelf with these shelves from West Elm.  Cleaner, lighter, fresher, better in every way.  
Of course, I didn’t hang them, I just stood and directed.  This is where Mr. Blandings’s enthusiasm for my projects begins to wane.

This housed the built-in ironing board.  The rectangle to the left is metal and folds down as an iron rest.  When we had the rooms painted I wanted to take these out and fill in the opening but the painter somehow talked me out of it.  I can’t even remember the explanation of why it wouldn’t work but in hindsight it was stuff and nonsense and a mistake.  We mounted L brackets here to create more book storage which has proved handy.

I ordered incredibly inexpensive white cotton curtains from Pottery Barn and added a black grosgrain ribbon.  I used hemming tape because I can’t sew.  Frankly, sewing would probably be just as easy.  

The issue, of course, was never the blue and red, but rather the green and red.  The white of the wall cuts it enough that I do think it escapes looking like a Christmas display.  The room could use a little grounding and I wanted to paint the floor black.  (Please don’t tell Mr. Blandings; he might come undone.)  But in an email exchange with frequent commenter Toby Worthington about the curtains he suggested painting the baseboards a dark grey.  A better solution, especially as he reminded me that a black floor would show every speck of dust.  
Maybe over Labor Day.
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52 thoughts on “Execution*

  1. Nicely done! Red IS horrible to work with on a wall, and the dots would have made me crazy, but it’s totally worth it.

  2. I have to say this is perfect- or as Mary Poppins would say- Practically Perfect in every way (she is an idol and style icon of mine) Jane and Michael Banks should be so lucky- in fact it has the Banks vibe-
    Great. LA

  3. I love it!!! I am just like you…love to paint. The thought of bridge or tennis and golf makes me nervous. Painting is relaxing and you have something to show for the time spent doing it. It takes 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf. Think of all that could be done in that amount of time. Great job here.

  4. OH my!!! You need to be designing wall paper!!! this is the cutest room ever! I am seriously impressed with your skills. unreal. just unreal!!!! love love love.

  5. WHAT A PROJECT!!! I cannot imagine stamping all of those stars- a true labor of love for your boys. Great job… bet you’re glad that one is behind you!

  6. impressive work – i can’t imagine lining up all those dots and stars- can’t say i like painting – it took me months to finish my daughter’s room – but gratifying every time I stop, look, and think about the project.

  7. Fabulous results here Mrs. B! This is a room I could quite readily spend many happy hours in. Glad to know I’m not the only one who failed Sewing 101, but your creativity in getting around that small glitch is awesome!
    Millie ^_^

  8. Great DIY! I love this and your starburst pattern looks similar to the cute Hinson wallpaper at a fraction of the price. Great addition to the curtains too.

  9. Patricia! It’s terrific! So, so chic and definitely suggests the Hadley room. But it looks comfortable for the boys. I’m really impressed. You are invited to come down and help me out any time, since you love painting so much.

  10. Mrs. B. – you are patient beyond measure. LOVE this transformation!!! Please start a tour across the country…to paint our rooms. Just wonderful!

  11. Dear Mrs. Blandings, The room turned out great! Personally, I am a big fan of the occassional tedious project. A person can solve some pretty major issues when given the chance to let the mind wander. And then “poof” you have a happy and airy room to show for it.

  12. I love it! I am exhausted just looking at it though. I can’t even sort out the baby clothes by size for two girls… how am I ever going to finish their rooms let alone a playroom. I can only aspire to this height. Be well, Mrs. B. and thank you for your kindness yesterday.

  13. The walls look terrific – well done! You’re a girl after my own heart – I love to paint, too, and find it therapeutic.

  14. I love how the starburst and dots turned out. This is my kind of project too! I’m wondering how you managed to make the starburst disappear into the trim around? Beautiful detail.

  15. You all are terrific as always. Thank you.

    David, you would know about red, of course, and this was my painter’s long awaited revenge for my indifference when we discussed the stripe in the boys’s room.

    AL – this kind of thing, from you, will keep me going for days.

    LA- what finer role model?!

    Joni – I need your enthusiasm!

    Courtney – truly, this must happen soon. Be forewarned, I’m messy.

    Mrs. G – I’m sure that is what the elder Mr. G was thinking as he was having your husband build walls and such.

    Hostess – 12, 9 and 6 do not equal 2 and new. They fix their own snacks, put away their own laundry and with enough fussing pick up after themselves. What you are doing right now is the hardest part. Until they are teenagers (from what I hear.)

  16. What a great alternative to painting a solid or hanging wallpaper. I think it does a wonderful thing to the playroom. I also like the West Elm shelves.

  17. Now you musn’t be so modest, Mrs B.
    That room is a triumph of skills over pocket book!
    Don’t you just love beating the system that way?
    So what if it took weeks? It’s totally charming and I remain thoroughly impressed.

  18. wowza. that’s impressive.

    even with the measuring (which must have taken forever), I have no idea how you kept the lines straight. I’m sure the house has settled and so you had no straight horizontal. incredible.

    It looks great. I agree, go with the black floor!

  19. Love the results…such a happy room. Sunny and bright even on rainy days. I can just see the cars and trucks zooming around.

  20. Toby – a little elbow grease can take the place of an unlimited budget. Or ease the pain, at least.

  21. Megan – it’s harder to tell with a broad view, but there are lots of places were the pattern needed to be adjusted. I just sort of chalked it up to quirky.

  22. Kathy – I forgot, and forgot to mention, that I had a half-starburst stamp made as well to manage any border issues.

  23. I don’t know about the grey baseboards, but a very pale turquoise on the ceiling would be perfection! ~Mrs. Sellers

  24. fabulous! honestly, it’s appropriate for the needs, the ‘clients’, the setting, everything. just fab. cannot even imagine how long that took you. didn’t you feel like jumping ship mid-way??? anyway, from an outsider looking in, all i can say is brava! those are some lucky boys, Mr.B included.
    ps. thank goodness you didn’t take away the ironing nook!

  25. Oh, such a charming room! I am awed by your design and layout skills–all those tiny dots and small stars, perfectly aligned along the walls. So unique and fresh. Deborah

  26. I love your room. You’ve given me much to think about – I have some rooms and some time. You never know what may happen. Thanks for the great ideas.

  27. I am very impressed! The time & concentration to do all those dots and starburst…I would still be making the first turn. You should be very proud.

  28. I have done many home improvement projects that my husband thought was nuts.

    But this, this, I am in awe! Amazing – getting the design to line up the way it does – a millimeter out of whack and that would be all you’d see.


  29. *Disclaimer: 1) you ARE a designer, 2) it’s styled perfectly 3) it’s a playroom i’d be proud to have in my home!

  30. perhaps a career of decorative painting is in order.
    I did this for many years quite happily transforming room upon room and still run into clients who tell me the nursery ceiling aviary is intact. It can be physically more taxing than tennis, but hey, I did it all for “love”
    Now I am focusing my time and efforts on illustrating.

  31. Way to go!!! And personally, I’m glad you left the iron rest and the little cupboard. It is a charming old house, after all!

  32. Mrs. Blandings you deserve a Medal of Honor, given to you for patience, vision and fearless fight in combat against blandness…

    Fellow fighter on the home improvement front – Victoria!

    We should create a bumper sticker…

  33. Your design vision and your patience amaze me. Fabulous job, both in design and execution.

    If you go back to wanting a black floor, why not try a floorcloth first to see if you like the look. Much easier to take up a floorcloth than to sand the floors. There is a floorcloth blogger with good ideas.

    Where did you have your stamps made?

  34. No, not black! I stained my steps ebony and regretted in within days. You really do see every little speck, within seconds of cleaning the floor. I don't know how the magazines get such lovely shots of black-floored houses – they must have industrial-strength air purifiers going full blast just off-camera.

    The room is lovely – congratulations on your tenacity.

  35. Very nicely executed. Very.

    I'm staring at two colours painted on my foyer wall. Neither is right. Want to come over? It all seems very daunting at this point.

    Mr. Worthington is entirely correct. Black shows every speck. Believe me. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

  36. Bravo Bravo!!!! I am in total awe.

    The wallpapering and painting gods are bowing down to you at this moment….do you hear the angels singing too?


  37. Love how this room turned out! Found you via the Skirted Roundtable podcast. It must have been kind of exciting watching the room slowly develop. I admire your stick-to-it-ness! I think I would have found this almost therapeutic…the repetitive nature of it…lots of time to think and dream. Off to visit more of your wonderful blog.

  38. I enjoyed hearing you with the other fabulous ladies of the Skirted Roundtable this week and had to come check out this playroom you were discussing. I've got a playroom of my own I need some inspiration for, so I'm always looking for ideas. Don't think I have the patience to do the walls like you did, though, I'm afraid!

    You're so right about painting red. I painted a powder room dark red once, and never again. Even such a small space took forever to get right.

    Looks great. Love the West Elm shelves! That's what I think I need for my playroom, so I'm off to look them up. Thanks! 🙂

  39. Mrs. B. Thanks for sharing your room. I'm glad to know other people finish decorating projects as slowly as I do. I like that you didn't use wall paper. The stamp is inspired…and inspiring.

    Say, I'm having some trouble deciding on living room sofa fabric. Would love your (or anyone's) input on my 6/9/09 post. Thanks.

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