Excuse my French, but ding dang darn doodly, this past week has been crazy: we drove home from our trip to the mountains, painted and decorated a room in senior living facility, and I made a painting for my friend’s book cover.
So let me backup a little and explain.
Recently, my mother asked for help with furnishing a space for her adoptive aunt, who was to be moved into an elderly living facility. Recently as in three months ago – there have been some technical difficulties. Things finally started moving and Jared and I got the green light to work on the room, which happened to be the day before the trip we had planned for our anniversary. We had already done so much prep work in the previous months – designing layout, gathering furniture and decor items, picking out paint colors – that we figured the 5 days we had to work in the room should be plenty of time to get it all together before my great Aunt moved in.
Spoilers: we were still decorating when she arrived. This worked out though, as she seemed enjoy all the bustle happening around her.
Like most of my carefully detailed and thought-through plans, I may have been a smidge bit over ambitious with this project. I had a master list so what could possibly go wrong?
Well, while chatting with my friend I remembered promising him a piece of art for a book he would be selling at a convention and, as it turns out, his deadline for getting his book to the printers was quickly approaching, so there went 24 hours. Also, it took the better part of five days to finish painting the room after I had planned on it taking maybe 7-8 hours tops. My project list quickly became less manageable:
- Paint the room and the bathroom
- Upgrade a simple Ikea night stand with paint and stain
- Upgrade Ikea bed frame with wood stain and build a padded headboard
- Paint couch sourced from goodwill to bring it from an intense floral to a soft neutral
Sew some pillows for the couch in matching fabric from the headboard Create a backdrop focal point over the bed
- Make some decorative art for the room
- Arrange a gallery wall of art and objects from her home
Upcycle a large wall clock with clearer numerals
- Sew curtain valances and an under sink curtain
- Install easy lift, light filtering shades for the windows
- Plants for the windowsills
- Add lights to closets and kitchenette
- Put all lamps on a remote power switch
- Build a simple desk/table
Anything else I can think of
The highlighted bits describe the timeline:
Green is a task we handled before we even got into the room,
Blue is a task we worked on in the room before my aunt arrived,
Red is something we did day of or after she got there, and
un-highlighted things we have yet to do.
Strike through portions are things that I decided to pass on / weren’t going to work out.
Despite the chaos, what came together is quite lovely. My Aunt is an incredibly sweet and feisty lady with a unique personal style I have always admired. She spent a large part of her life working in Africa and I am so glad I was able to incorporate her aesthetic and items into the room. With my mom benefacting the venture (within a reasonable budget), I was able to gather and thrift the rest of the furniture items and work on them to fit my Aunt’s style. Even though I didn’t get everything done that I wanted, the space we created for her was exactly what it needed to be: a breath of fresh air and a cozy place for her and memorable items from her home.
I really enjoyed the process of designing, even with the bits of chaos in between. I am incredibly proud of what was accomplished and my aunt seemed to enjoy her new space as well. I have several diy project tutorials to share now as well, so stay tuned!