Last week, I started telling you about the stages a child and their bedroom go through from baby to college years. You can find last week’s post here. This week, we’re going to dissect the College Student’s Bedroom Makeover.
I’m to take you on the journey of an actual project I’m working on with long-time clients whose son has been in college for a couple of years, but spends holidays and summers at home.
To protect the innocent, I’ll call this young man Biff. And I’ll call his parents Kandy and Trevor.
As most people are these days, Kandy and Trevor are busy. Biff’s busy. In fact life has been so busy for all of them that once Biff reached adolescence, his room didn’t keep up with him. It just became a repository for *stuff*.
I have a great understanding and sympathy for this plight, having a college-age son myself, as you may have seen in last week’s post.
When they leave for college, it’s hard to come to grips with the fact that they’re not home anymore, since all the stuff they accumulated for years is still stuffed into every nook and cranny of their room. But most of it is stuff they don’t care about anymore, which is why they left it behind. So it’s then up to Mum
& Dad to decide what to do with it. In my case, and in Kandy’s, the room became frozen in time and nothing happened with it. Until Biff came home for the summer. Then it became clear, SOMETHING had to be done. Hence, the bedroom makeover.
So this is phase II…
Two years ago, I re-designed the family’s basement, and the only bathroom in the house. The basement had been a very rough cellar for many years, and it was finally time to turn it into a comfortable family room with laundry, storage and add a much-needed second bathroom.
I warned Kandy and Trevor before we started that they would love the basement and new bathrooms so much they’d hate the rest of the house when we were done.
They were skeptical.
I was right.
My husband could have told them I was right. I’m always right.
So when they called me this spring, they said, they wanted me to design a few more things.
On their list was:
- The kitchen
- Dining room
- Living room
- Master bedroom
- Guest bedroom
- Biff’s room
- Front porch
- Back porch
It was clear we needed to prioritize. So after much discussion, we all agreed that Biff deserved to be first in line for the bedroom makeover. A room that would reflect his status as a young adult and one that would serve his needs should he ever move back home. Which he swears he won’t. But I’ll reserve judgement on that one.
The first thing I do when I’m starting a project, is take photos of the room with dimensions, so I can draw up a plan to see the actual space I’m working with and figure out how and where all the furniture will fit in.
Then I ask the clients a lot of deep, probing questions to find out how the room will be used so we can figure out what needs to be accommodated. The biggest priority here was to get some more storage space so everything could have a place to be put away, and have an attractive feel so it would be welcoming when he comes home. Even though he swears he won’t. You and I know he will, but let’s not tell him yet.
So, the next step is to gather photos for inspiration. Usually the homeowners do that, but in this case, Kandy and Trevor loved what I did with the basement so much, they said, “you do it.” Cool! I’m up for it! So as I was looking around for inspiration, I thought I would start with a palette of black, white, grey and red with light wood furniture. So these are some of the things I found:
A place to work quietly is important, so we’ll get the most of the very compact 9′ x 11′ room by building in furniture rather than using standard store-bought sizes. This way, I can maximize every inch of space.
A good desk chair is important, and in this case, we needed one without arms so it could be pushed right under the desk when not in use to free up much needed inches of floor space.
A light oak night stand in a contemporary style will provide a surface and storage with clean lines to minimize the look of clutter.
A fun, contemporary patterned area rug runner will lie beside the bed so the first thing bare feet hit in the morning is not a cold, bare floor!
Good task lighting is so important at a desk to avoid eye strain, so I try to always use ones that direct the light right onto the work surface for maximum brightness.
The bedside lamp is a bit more decorative and I’ve chosen a red vase base with a white shade to give a punch of color and a bit of zip!
The next step is to do a plan and elevations of the room to figure out how things are going to be configured and exactly how much clearance we will have.
We have a problem with the existing closet, and a lot of the space is currently unusable since it’s over the stairs which means there are a bunch of levels of stairway bulkhead that are pretty much inaccessible. I’m going to try to figure out a way to recess some built-in cabinetry into those levels through the wall in the bedroom to maximize storage space.
So my plan is not only to try to make better use of that space as well as squeezing in a desk, bed and a bedside table in the rest of the room. I start with a concept drawing, which is not dead accurate, it just gives me and the clients a feel for what is possible as a point of discussion so I can start the planning somewhere. In this case, I think I can open up the wall between the bedroom and the stairway bulkhead and recess a combination of drawers and shelves into the space and then open up a door to the rest of the space from the hallway.
It’s tight, but it looks like it could be an interesting solution. Hopefully, Kandy, Trevor and Biff will like it!
Now I put it all together onto a virtual presentation board that I can show them on my iPad when we get together for our meeting….
So my next step is to schedule an appointment with the clients — all three of them — and present the concept. Hopefully they’ll like it!
If you have a room that you want to make over, you can work with me virtually online no matter where you live. Or, if you live in Toronto and want to work in person, we can do that too. You can see your options here. If you decide you want to work virtually, when I specify product from my online vendors, I donate 20% of my revenue to Covenant House, which is an organization that helps kids on the street. I spend a lot of my time making homes comfortable and beautiful for my clients, so I hope you’ll help me bring some comfort to a kid who has no place to go.
And, if you want my posts to come straight to your inbox every Tuesday without going through a search and rescue operation on the web to try to find it, you can sign up here, and as a thank you, you’ll get a free copy of my kitchen e-planner.
I hope to work with you soon!