Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My last post outlined the huge, monumental and gigantic challenge we faced last month: how would we turn a hideous, moldy and all-around ugly room into a nice space for two little girls?
And we wanted it done as quickly as possible. We were tired of the mess and very short on space. CtRH was sleeping in the living room and the twins were sleeping on the floor in their older sister’s room. Sardines in a can seemed to have it good in comparison.

When we discovered all the nastiness hiding under the wallpaper, our plans for the room changed. The walls would have to be cleaned and treated. Two of the walls would have to be completely re-plastered and the front wall, we decided, would need to be repaired and then insulated.
Of course, I had none of this material on hand and this meant endless trips to the DIY store.. I’d drive to the store, buy huge amounts of stuff, drive home, find out that what I got wasn’t the right thing . Or that we now needed something else. Or that I’d forgotten something. Then I’d drive back to the store and repeat the whole process. In the snow. It was ALWAYS snowing.

We ended up putting cork panels on the wall to insulate it. The glue was really hard to work with and a can of it that was supposed to cover 8 square meters barely covered four. And need I add that the stuff was really expensive and I was extremely unhappy to have to go back and buy more?

CtRH repaired and replastered the two other walls that were in bad shape. He plastered and I got the job of sanding. It was tedious and time consuming, but if I wanted the apple green paint we planned to put on to look sharp, I needed to do a good job.
So, there I was studiously sanding away on a wall on Thursday evening, wondering if there was any hope of the room being done by Saturday night., when Alexa came in, looking a tad…flustered.
« Mommy? A man from the electric company is here. He says he’s going to turn off the electricity! »
I ran downstairs, still holding the sandpaper and covered in plaster dust. I looked like the ghost of a keen do-it-yourselfer. I found a little man from the EDF standing in the doorway. Behind him, I could see that night was falling, as was tons of snow.
CtRH was there, too, gesturing at Mr. EDF with his trowel, saying heatedly « You can’t cut of the power! We’re WORKING here! »
Mr. EDF was not having any of it.
My mind was teeming with questions: Why would they cut off our power? Where is the lantern? How many flashlights do we have? and Am I cursed?
Actually, it turned out NOT to be as dire as all that. The whole thing was a mix-up caused by the people that rented our house while we were gone. They had some unresolved issues with the EDF and then dropped off the face of the map. So, Mr. EDF did NOT immediately shut us down. But we did have some paperwork to take care of, which would have to be done at the EDF offices and …well, it all ended up being more complicated than you want to know. Suffice it to say that JP, instead of helping out in the house on Friday, had to spend it driving around in a blizzard.

CtRH and I WORKED. He was putting in 10 hour days, as was I . And that’s 10 hours JUST in the room. That’s not counting the meals, laundry, cleaning, snow shoveling and everything else I had to do. Little wonder my blogging was meager and measly that week.
But, somehow, it all got done. The wallpaper went up, walls and woodwork got painted. CtRH completely removed the old, rotten window sill and but in a new one made of oak. New plugs were installed and trim around the ceiling added. In short, by Saturday night, everything we wanted to get done was finished. I think the room turned out pretty smashing.
This is Alexa's dressing area.
Here you can see mallory's bed and corkboard. We didn't want the girls to mess up the paint and paper, but they LOVE posters, so we put up big corkboards over each bed. They definitely reflect the girls' personalities. Mallory's has mostly pictures of goats, sheep, horses, etc. Alexa's features pop stars.

I'm just SO happy it's over!


La Framéricaine said...

I am so impressed by all of the hard work up front and the beautiful results on the tail end of your projects. The twins' room is exquisite! I love the color palette and all the gorgeous wood.

I showed everything to Le Framéricain and told him that it should give him courage for what awaits us in the little house in Le Blanc! Thank you for that.

I hope that the girls are having a blast in their newly redecorated bedroom. And I thrilled for all of you to have retaken possession of your own home. Sounds like the renters were less than ideal.

Chapeau!, Mme BurkinaMom in France.

oreneta said...

Om goodness that is terribly epic. And I love that the French Electric company was kind enough to send in their man so that you could have a really great blog post rather than a ho hum one...

*shaking my head*

These things are amazing when they happen.

Beth said...

Thank you! I'm so glad you like it. I know that crazy colors aren't everyone's thing.

The girls love the room and had such fun showing it to all their classmates on Saturday when we had the birthday party. You should have seen it: 15 French children in the room, jumping from bed to bed and having pillow fights!

I do SO hope that your decorating efforts in your new home in France will go easier than mine. Make sure the electric bill is paid, is my best advice. Can't work in the dark!

Beth said...

Yes, it was nice of the EDF help add a bit of drama to the story.
My kids were all certainly a bit shocked by the incident. They stood huddled in the hall behind me, looking a bit like children in a Victorian novel about to be thrown out in the street. They were very happy when Mr. EDF went on his way.

somebird said...

i think you and the romanian need to submit a proposal to host a show on HGTV! the room looks fabulous, i love the blend of the old features of the house (wood ceiling and floor) and the bright colors and funky lighting fixtures. you've got some darn lucky little girls. i grew up in a room with horrible peach wall paper with matching peach carpet.
hope you're all doing well! as always, give my love to your family.