The room of doom: before and after

When we moved into our house, there was a room I tried not to think about. A lot of the houses around here come with an unfinished room over the garage, kind of like unfinished basements in other areas.

Well, the people who owned this house before us finished the room. All by themselves, if I guess right. Get an eyeful of this:

The year we moved in. What a mess! And I can't believe Red Chief was ever that small. I think he was two here.

Baseboards and trim: applied with liquid nails and a bad sense of straight vs. crooked.

Flooring: no comment. The kids enjoyed pulling it up and making towers from it. At least it was easy to uninstall, all but the five or so tiles fastened down with more liquid nails.

Closet: primed but never painted.

Who needs a windowsill?

Mind the gap. And the shade of red covering the walls and ceiling that made the room feel like a creepy cave.

Closet: framed but no apparent plans for a door. Also, a screw, the former homeowners' fastener of choice (behind liquid nails). We found them everywhere, in walls, in the sides of cabinets. They leave big holes.

First we took everything out—flooring, trim, etc (we meaning Mr. Mordecai). There wasn't much we could work with. We donated the flooring to the local Habitat for Humanity store; nothing else was salvageable.

Then Mr. Mordecai primed the walls with very heavy primer, because we were going much, much lighter. I was ready for white after the awful dark red everywhere (I actually like dark red, but not for a whole room!). Then he painted the walls.

Then he added the trim—windowsill, baseboards, closet trim, closet doors. I am so impressed that he figured out how to do all that stuff himself. He did it properly, and it looks amazing!

Then he painted the trim. For the walls I had chosen white with a grey tinge—I am inexperienced in this area, but I quickly learned that there are all sorts of shades of white. Anyway, I chose a somewhat darker but still very light shade of grey for the trim and doors.

Last, I had to choose carpet. This is so not my thing. All the greys we tried out looked brown next to our paint. I couldn't find a color I loved, so I just went crazy and picked out something that makes me smile—and that I hope will wear very, very well. The carpet was installed on Wednesday, marking the end of the project.

Next comes my part. When we moved into our house, we just put all the boxes in this room, and anything we didn't use just kind of stayed. When we started working on the room, we just moved it all. I have been putting off the big purge for so long, and now it's finally here. I have no more excuses, and I'm very much looking forward to having it done. I started yesterday, and I've already relegated several things for donation, and puzzled over several others.

Where do you draw the line between sentimental objects you should keep and sentimental objects you shouldn't? I want to get rid of stuff, but I don't want to regret anything years from now.

I also get to set my sewing stuff back up in our new room! I'm going to set it up right by the window, where the best light is (it's where my back is in the picture, so you can't see it). I also want to set up a little station or two for the kids, so they have something constructive to do while I sew. I know they'll just want to play with my sewing things, though.


  1. Wow! Good job, Mr. Mordecai! That looks so great! I hope you enjoy your new space!

  2. It looks very nice! Congrats on having such a nice dedicated sewing space!

  3. When deciding whether to keep things or not my mother always asked three questions: Do you love it? Do you use it? Do you need it? If you can answer yes to two of the questions then you can keep it, if not, toss it.

    Also, congratulations on your do-it-yourself remodel!

  4. We have a nice sized room above our garage that we use as a toy room/craft and sewing room. I love having all the kids toys in where I sew or scrapbook so they can play while I do my stuff. I just have to make sure and put my scissors away when I am done! :)

  5. Sounds like so much fun! Do you think you will have a garage sale? Kids always want to play with sewing stuff. Annalise has been asking me when I am going to sew again, just so she can watch.
    BTW, I was thinking before just how much of my grocery shopping trip yesterday was inspired by your blog posts. Lemon Koolaid for the dishwasher, brown rice was on sale for 39 cents, nutella for the nutella cookies, gallons of drinking water to fill up the freezer (and water storage!).

  6. I'm too lazy to have a garage sale, I just give all our used stuff to a thrift store with a good cause.

  7. Oh my goodness! Mr. Mordecai has done a fabulous job! I can't wait to see what you do with it now.

    Piper probably offered the best advice on how to purge.
    The problem I run into is sentimental items. They're so hard to get rid of. Good luck!

  8. Stopping by to say hello and to thank you for leaving a comment on my blog.

    Your room now looks great. Looks like the previous owners were DIY-ers gone bad. I hope there isn't any plumbing in that area or I would fear that duct tape and coat hangers would be involved!

    Purging the sentimental stuff is not something I can advise you on since I have a hard time doing that myself.