Our house is basically a side-hall farmhouse, but it has a fourth room downstairs that defies logic at every turn. We’ve been befuddled by it since we bought the house, and have finally made some progress in taming it. It’s the green area below:
Originally, I believe this room was R.A. Gray’s study, as he mentions having a study at home several times in his autobiography, and there’s really no other conceivable purpose for it. This room is 10′ x 13′, and originally opened onto a small porch, but a previous owner enclosed the porch part to make a nursery for his daughter (more on that in a moment).
When we moved in, Hollyn chose this space for her bedroom – partly because she’ll be moving out in two years, and partly because she’d have her own bathroom….ish.
This is the back wall of the room. The door to the right leads to a half bathroom with the World’s Most Ludicrous Toilet. There is a mere six inch clearance between the rim of the toilet and the toilet paper holder, which means that if you need to use it, you’ll probably want to sit side-saddle. The door to the left formerly led to a closet, and is now a shower. Just. A. Shower.
That was a choice, people.
The first thing we did was rip out that carpet, which had definitely seen better days. We were delighted to find beautiful hardwoods underneath…. but there was a huge patch by the half bath, and no flooring under the enclosed porch part.
We replaced the carpet with one-inch hexagonal tiles, which fit the time period in which the house was built. We were inspired by all the old hex tile floors we see in Thomasville, Georgia and New Orleans.
Next we swapped out the old fan for one that operated. Marvelous!
Then we painted the main part of the room. Hollyn asked for a neutral color, so we went with our old friend Steamed Milk.
Finally it was time to turn our attention to the most frustrating part of the room, which I will call the nook. Remember when I talked about the enclosed porch space that became a nursery? This is it. Hollyn has her bed at one end of the nook and her closet space at the other.
When I get stressed I find it helpful to make a list. I made a list.
- Paint the walls, which were pink.
- Paint the trim, which was also pink.
- Replace the light fixtures, which were… not good.
- Replace the roller shade, which was busted, yo.
- Cover cased opening for privacy.
We dug in. As I pointed out above, the doorway wall in the nook is the same cedar-shake siding that is on the rest of the exterior of the house – and it’s a pain in the buns to paint. But you know what else is a pain in the buns to paint? Beadboard. Sweet Fancy Moses. I had to use an artist’s brush to keep the beads clear of paint glops. Both the walls and the trim required three coats of paint. I listened to many hours of podcasts in that nook.
We left the ceiling blue. It’s a nod to the Southern tradition of painting the underside of one’s porch ceiling blue, but honestly I was just d-o-n-e painting.
The light fixtures were an easy swap. They’re on dimmer switches for Maximum Drama.
Originally, we wanted to hang some salvaged French Doors on barn tracks over the cased opening. But they would have hung at a very awkward height – and not actually done a whole lot for privacy. Instead, I hemmed the curtains from the master bedroom at our old house and hung them on a large dowel rod.
To add visual interest to this sea of cream, I stained the dowel rod dark, and chose a tatami style wooden window shade.
Here’s the nook after:
Hollyn’s room looks much more pulled-together. All that’s left is to paint her dresser – she’s selected a deep teal – and add more colorful art to the walls.
Since this room contains the only downstairs bathroom, it gets frequent traffic. But now it’s ready for company!