I absolutely love having a house with character. I look at people’s homes all the time and soak in the details as to what they have done with it. I notice what their photo arrangements are. I look to see what their taste in furniture is. I take mental notes of the color combinations, rug placements, accent decor, light figures, etc.
In my head, I have this awesome mental picture of what I want my little house to look like. I know what I like and am on the constant search for little pieces that will look great! I used to get anything that I thought was cute and try to incorporate into my house. However that was in previous houses, with a lot more space. Now, in a smaller home, I have to be extremely picky as to what comes into my house. If it isn’t going to look perfect, then I have to pass, no matter how much I love it. This way I am keeping my house on the track that I like. It is a different experience for me, but one that I am actually enjoying. It is like it’s own little scavenger/ treasure hunt.
The other road block that I run into is that my perfect little mental house bubble bursts once I realize that I don’t make millions with my profession. Go figure. Who would have guessed that teachers don’t make bank. So, where I want an elegantly carved entry table, my budget is really a lot more for a card table. So, what do I do to keep myself on budget? Well, I don’t buy new. Ever. In fact, thinking of my house, I think that I own four pieces in my entire house that were purchased new…. Well, RC Willey Scratch and Dent Clearance Center New. They are my couch, two chairs and my Piano (which was bought BRAND new and is my prized possession.) The rest of my house is made up entirely of pre-owned furniture that I have made look pretty dang cool. It is amazing what a little paint, stain, wax and elbow grease can do to make a piece look amazing.
So, that finally circles me around to my original story. I tend to be a little verbose at times. You will get used to it.
So, my story begins several weeks ago, when my youngest son thought that he would have a grand old time and jump on my bed. Well, that boyhood glee ended up breaking my box spring making it so that any time I sat on my bed, it sounded like mice were running rampant in my house. I couldn’t handle it any longer, so I took my mattress off the bed and threw out the box spring and the frame. So, I looked a little ghetto for a while sleeping with my mattress on the floor. It bothered me, but not to a great extent because I am single and hardly anyone knows where I live. So, no one ever really sees it but the kids and I.
Halloween approached and I thought up the upcoming events. I always host a party with my family on Halloween. We get together and show off the kids’ costumes and have soup, different breads and desserts. This year, Kelton was getting baptized. Yes, on Halloween. Talk about a day to never forget. This year, I decided to combine the two and have them at the same time so that I didn’t have to entertain twice.
Well, that added in a whole new dimension into my stress level. Some of my family hasn’t seen my house yet and I certainly didn’t wan them to walk into my room and see a mattress on the floor. To add a level of boost to my motivation, I had invited Kelton’s dad, his family and his girlfriend to the house after the baptism. Now, THERE is motivation. As part of the divorce, he kept the big 6 bedroom house, and I kept custody of the kids (totally worth it) and I wanted to prove that I could make my little house look amazing while they were here. A little prideful, yes. However, I consider it righteous indignation. Yeah, I am sticking to that story. So, the hunt for a new bed commenced.
I decided to go all out this time and treat myself to something special. A brand new bed. I mean, brand new, from a store bed. I looked all over the place trying to find exactly what I liked. I saw this one online and immediately fell in love. It was partly the design and partly the colors, as those are the colors that I have in my room anyway. It was out of my price range, but I bit the bullet and bought it. I talked to the company and told them that I absolutely NEEDED to have it before October 29th to ensure that I could get it all set up. They promised me that I needn’t worry and that all would be great
I was giddy. Wednesday, October 28th, my BFF UPS man showed up at my house with a HUGE 115 pound box. He smiled and teased me that my purchasing had reached new heights (I order almost everyone on Amazon and see him a lot.) I told him how thrilled I was and that this was going to be a very long needed change to the evolution of my bedroom. As soon as I got the kids to bed, I pulled it out of the package and went to work assembling it. I pulled the headboard out. It was GORGEOUS. It was EXACTLY what I was dreaming that it would be.
As I started to assemble the platform, I hit an unexpected obstacle. The sideboards had been misdialed and the headboard and footplate would not fit in sync with the sides. I tried every which way to get it to work. It just wouldn’t work. I called the company and explained to them what had happened. They apologized, said that they had had a batch of beds that had had that mistake, but thought that they had gotten all of them off the line before they could be shipped off. Well, apparently, the missed one and of course, it was destined to come to my house. They told me that they would send a new one out as soon as the old one was received. Well, as you can guess, the conversation only went downhill as apparently there was no way for me to get a replacement in time for Friday.
Thursday, my postman showed up to retrieve my 115 pound package. He looked at me with a “REALLY” expression on his face. He was sweet to sympathize with me as I lamented and mourned the loss of a perfect bed. I am sure after that delivery he has asked to be changed to a different route.
Friday, I still had not found a bed that I liked so, I went to the classified ads. Everything of any quality was taken almost as soon as it was listed. I was getting discouraged and thought that maybe I could lock my room to prevent any sort of entry.. then I thought, who am I kidding? It is my family… someone will find a reason to go in, not to mention the fact that my kids are master locksmiths.
I finally found a temporary solution with an ugly headboard and bed frame. Discouraged, it was better than nothing and for $20, it was a decent intermediary bandaid. I picked it up and dragged it home. I planned to paint it white and call it good. Then, brilliance hit. A friend gave me a tip on a bird stencil she had seen and thought of me. My mind leaped at the idea and thought, if I am going to paint it, I might as well make it Darci Style.
So, here is what I did:
I took this really ugly, old, 70’s, yet solid wood headboard and dragged it into my kitchen at 8:30 Friday night. Yep, 12 hours before the baptism. I pulled out the white paint, and realized that it wasn’t as fresh as I thought it was so, I scrapped it. I found some blue from a dresser that I had just painted and slapped a couple of coats on it. Yeah, let’s ignore the fact that my house is a mess in the background. It was a hurried day.
After a coat of steel blue chalk paint, I was kind of liking it. I thought that it looked soothing and much prettier than I had anticipated. I was very glad that I had decide against the white. I tried to lightly sand it to get rid of the grit of chalk paint. For some reason, it was sanding much more than I anticipated. So, instead of trying to get it even and repaint it, I took on the attitude of “When in Rome” and distressed the whole thing.
I gather up the bird stencil and placed it in the middle of the headboard and applied it. As I peeled it back, the birds came through and I gasped as to how cute it looked. I am a huge fan of silhouettes and this fit perfectly within my taste. I finished the headboard up with two coats of a antiquing glaze with an extremely subtle hit of gold in the light I stepped back and in my head though, “WOW, this is so me.”
My last step was to go and put my new bed together. Although I am completely and totally in love with the bed I ordered, and parts of me would still rather have that, I have to admit, I am in love with the blue stenciled headboard. I was so thrilled to get something new for a change, but when all was said and done, I felt a sense of pride knowing that I had made something ugly into something pretty and sometime very Darci, at a very low cost. As a friend told me the next day, that is how your life works Darci, everything just comes back to being better with your touch. That made my day.
Epilogue: Between cleaning, decorating and cooking, I got one hour of sleep that night. Kelton’s baptism went off without a hitch (post to come.) The party/ reception of sorts went off without a hitch. My family all came. My exes family all came. My ex brought his girlfriend. My little house look amazing. It was a peaceful, afternoon and no one killed each other. The best compliment of the day was when my former mother in law (whom I have seen only a handful of times in the 7 years since my marriage went downhill) looked at me and told me that my house was very beautiful and very me. She was sincere, and it was the nicest thing she had ever said to me. I call that a win!