Tween gets an Ocean Themed Room


Mission:  Give kid a new room

Length it took:  Forever

Results:  Pretty damn good.

I’ve been promising my older son a newly decorated room for about a year, or longer.

First, his brother needed a room so once that was complete, it was time.

Space Room

 Space was an interest of his for about 4 months but he ended up with a space room for about 5 years.  This is the before I took when I started dismantling the room.  There were planets mounted on boards in planetary order around his room with the name of each planet listed underneath in the silver stripe.

I didn’t start right away on his new room because he kept changing themes.  He went from Mario to jungle, and then settled on “The seven layers of the ocean.” room.

We had different ideas about what the room should look like.  It’s not that I didn’t let him have some say but I am the one doing the work and my kids have this idea that I can do anything.


My thoughts:

I knew I didn’t want the room to be cartoonish. I also knew that I wanted it to be a space that reflected him now and that it could grow with him.

His thoughts:

His original idea was to stripe the walls with the different layer colors. Or he thought I could paint it to look like an aquarium and the ceiling would be his actual room.   Ok then.

The colors he originally picked were SPECIFIC to that ocean layer and ranged from black, to grey to aqua.

Besides costing a fortune in paint, the end result would have looked like a mess so I guided him to picking a color palette to work with.

Layers and wave wall

 I made a “wave” stencil and used a sand  tan color to ground it all.

Then I used 4 colors on the one wall and sort of blended them instead of striping them.

I told him it’s like five layers if you count the ceiling color.

He picked out that ocean fish poster from

He picked out that ocean fish poster from

Fish Skeleton

He loves to collect those plastic sea animals and I used a fishing net to display them on this corner in his room.

He loves to collect those plastic sea animals and I used a fishing net to display them on this corner in his room.

I build that shelf to hold all of his ocean books. The map is for marking all the Aquariums we visit in the United States.

I built that shelf to hold all of his ocean books.
The map is for marking all the Aquariums we visit in the United States.

When he was 5 he said he wanted to be a marine biologist. (I like the rope detail I put on there and painted grey to tie in with curtains and bedding)

That shelf cost less than $15 to make.
The rope trim gives it a nautical feel.
I painted it grey to match curtains and bedding

I was originally going to make a mobile with these but ended up using these shell xrays above his bed.

I was originally going to make a mobile with these but ended up using these shell xrays above his bed.

He picked two different pillow cases. I got them on Etsy. Narwhal and Octopus (next photo)

He picked two different pillow cases. I got them on Etsy. Narwhal and Octopus (next photo)


When my son was 5 he declared he would be a marine biologist.

I guess some day we’ll see.


Doing this room took longer than I thought it would.  But if I have one piece of advice when it comes to doing a space it’s this:  Don’t rush just to get it done.  Sometimes building a room takes time to find just the right elements and design features.   It’s often when I rush a project that I decide in 6 months I don’t like this or that.  By taking your time you’ll end up with a room that you’ll enjoy for longer than a year.

Oh, and never paint a ceiling a dark blue!


Dear Martha Stewart,

Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve got a “thing” with you.

The twitter name.

The blog name.

But how did this start?  The Martha thing.

I’ve always been creative.  As a child, I often would rearrange my room monthly and dream up new designs for it.  I also used to sew my own Barbie clothes.  I took shop class AND home economics in middle school.   Doing and creating has been a part of me for as long as I can remember.

Then I “met” you.

It was fall of ’94 and my future husband and I lived in an apartment.  A gross, roach infested, shady complex.  It was all we could afford at the time.  I made the most of it.  I hung pictures, new curtains, blinds and bleached all surfaces on the daily.

One day I was watching tv and the next show to come up was yours.  I don’t even recall what the name was then.  Living, with Martha Stewart?  I started watching the show and my head could not even keep up with what I was visually seeing.

WHO was this woman and HOW do I become her?

Then I bleached the couch.  Again.

At the end of the show it showed this magazine that I could subscribe to.


It was like I had hit the creative craft jackpot.

I called on the phone (isn’t that cute?) to subscribe immediately.

And then it began.

Seventeen years of Living magazine. November ’94 on the right. But you already knew that didn’t you?













Cooking, creating, and building all had a new energy in my life.

This new found love took many forms.  Hosting dinners, baking, wrapping beautiful packages, home decorating, gardening  and of course,  Halloween.

They became more than ideas in a magazine.

They became my life.    (cockroaches not included)

And you know what? It turns out I’m good. I’m really good. I often extend my skills out to family and friends and I don’t even ask for payment. Well. Maybe a pie IS excellent payment but I don’t ask. When something is your passion, you want to share. I answer any questions asked of me on the twitter. I help paint rooms, pick out décor, redo gardens, and spread Halloween spirit throughout my neighborhood.

Heck, I even had your hairdo at one point.

So after all this, how could you not want to meet me?

Sure you do.

Guess what? YOU CAN.

You and I will be at Blogher, New York in August.



So have your people call my people and we’ll make this happen.

So How did our Bathroom Turn Out? (Part 3)

Because I’m super obnoxious:

Part One is HERE

Part Two is HERE

The only thing holding me up with part 3 was cleaning the bathroom so I could take after pictures.  So. Yeah.



After 6 weeks of back and forth with the permit situation, we were ready for them to actually start working.

Half-Baked called and said that he needed to come, take measurements, and finalize our product choices.


::Doorbell rings::

In walks Half Baked and a new person.

My hopes rose immediately because after dealing with Half Baked there was no way this guy was worse.

First, Half Baked wanted to look at the bathroom.

I figured this was fair because he actually hadn’t seen it.  As we walked upstairs, I crossed my fingers that the gold would burn his eyes and Mr. Perfect would just HAVE to come back to us.

HB “So you want to replace the sink area and a new light fixture?”

Me: “Actually, we want two sinks and two light fixtures over them”

HB “Oh, really?”

In My Head:   AreYouFreakingKiddingMeDude.DidYouHitThePipeBeforeYouCameInHere?ThisWasAllWrittenDownByMr.Perfect.CANYOUEVENREAD?!?

Pause.  Deep Breath.

I told him about the shower area, floor, toilet, new cabinetry with TWO sinks, TWO new light fixtures >>CENTERED<< over those sinks.

I talked as he measured and mumbled to himself.

He was probably mumbling stuff like “What’s this number again?  How many inches equal a foot?”  But I couldn’t really hear him so I’m just guessing.

He then piped up and said “I’m not sure we’re going to be able to center the lights over the sinks”

“Oh, oh YES, you WILL.”

“We’ll do our best, if you want to add another sink, that’s going to include adding plumbing and I don’t know if it’s all going to be able to line up.  It’s going to be more work”

“Mr. Perfect said there was no problem doing this when he was here.  I’m SURE it’s written down as such.  I’ve lived in this house for 10 years with the other light fixture not centered on the sink.  You’ll do it and if you can’t?  You can just stop and I’ll find someone else who can.”

::table check::  I win.

With that, we go downstairs where his partner in dumb had stayed with my husband.

Johnny Half Baked and Obtuse Moron stumbled over their papers looking for stuff.  They struggled trying to find the products that we had already picked out.  It was embarrassing.  For them.

We asked about Mr. Perfect again. Why didn’t they just go over stuff with him?  He informed us that he was still on leave or maybe this time he said that he retired.  I don’t recall but that Obtuse Moron was there to learn the ropes and would take the place of Mr. Perfect in the company.  (I may have snickered)

(This is side info which will add even MORE so you can skip it if you want.  After all of this, I believe that Mr. Perfect either A) DID leave the company because once the father retired?  He didn’t want to deal with his pipe stoned son running this company into the ground.   OR that B) Half Baked let Mr. Perfect go because he had been with the company for many, many years and was probably a high paid employee and thought they could get Obtuse Moron up to par.    The worst part is that I’m SURE that Mr. Perfect would have got a % of the job that he won for the company and I’m also sure that Half Baked and Obtuse Moron took that % instead for more smoking pipes.)

We start going over the shower area.  He asked about what we wanted for the shower door as he opened the catalog filled with GOLD SLIDING DOORS.

::eyebrows raise::

“No, no, no……it’s written down.  We are going with a frameless shower door.  It’s written down.”

::Flip, paper, flip, looks, finds it::

“Oh, well a shower door like that is going to have to be custom made and the door company themselves has to come out to measure because it’s a very specific thing and that’s going to hold up the job”

It’s funny how THEIR time matters but our time not so much.

We want that door.

From time to time Obtuse Moron would ask Half Baked questions about the process and products.  They interacted like they were old college buddies.

I think it went like this:  

Once Half Baked inherited the company he said:

“Dude, my dad totally gave me this company doing like showers and stuff, you should totally come work for me.  We’re going to be dealing with PIPES MAN!”

We get to the sink products and he shows us a bunch of samples.

Ugly samples.  Every. Single. One of them.

“What is this material?” I ask

“It’s cultured marble”

“Um. No.  That is what I have now, it’s ugly.  I want an under mount sink.”

“Oh, I think you can do that with this”

“uhhhhh..I don’t think so.  Besides, it’s ugly.  Don’t you carry a product that’s not granite but a composite stone alternative like Silestone?”

“Oh, you want that?  I don’t think you can do an under mount sink with that”

“Yes you can”

“You sure?”

“Actually, yes, yes I am sure.  Would you like me to Google it for you?”

(Ok, here’s the deal.   I read DIY and watch HGTV like it’s my job.  Products?  I know them. K..n..o..w….t..h..e..m.   Don’t even try to tell me something when I KNOW what I’m talking about.  I’ve never smoked the pipe.  Ever)

He then calls “someone who knows more than them named anyone” on the phone to ask, in front of us, if what I was saying was true.

Not even kidding.

You should know that I’m not the best at hiding my facial expression.

Pretty sure my face looked like this while he was doing it:













We end this meeting with my husband and I looking at each other like “Did that just happen? And are we really going through with this?”

The only thing that we had any hopes for was the person actually doing the work.  We prayed that he would know what he was doing.

And he did.

Thank the bathroom gods!

I really liked SavedOurAss Mike.  He was a hard worker and really seemed to know what he was doing.    Anytime I had a question or concern, he was able to answer.  I was kind of surprised that Half Baked could even have such a great worker.

But you know what?  He didn’t.  SavedOurAss Mike didn’t even work for Half Baked’s company. He was hired as an outside contractor and actually had his OWN Company but had no jobs this particular week.

And you know what?  We were totally ok with that.

Did our bathroom end up perfect?  No.  Does any construction project end up perfect?  Doubtful.

In the end we found the permits paid off.  The electrician did not pass inspection because he used the wrong gage wire.  He had to pull his wires and re do them.  The plumbing also had two issues come up in inspections that had to be fixed.  And after many, many calls the plumbing did not technically pass final inspection.  Half Baked would not call us back.  I should probably report that to our city inspection office.  ::Rubs hands together::  We found out later that neither the electrician nor plumber had a certified license registered in our town.  Where Half Baked got the numbers for the permits, we don’t know but that explains why it took nearly 6 weeks for him to submit them.  Why did he want US to fill them out?  Apparently there is a loophole that if you are the owner of the house doing the work yourself, you don’t have to have a license.

Looking back what would we have done different?

We thought we did the right things.  We DID ask them relevant questions in the beginning.  We DID look them up in the Better Business Bureau and our Local Angie’s list.

If you can, find honest contractors.  Getting a personal recommendation would have been a good start as well.

And if you do end up with a Half Baked?

Stay strong and remember:  You’ll always win the table check.










I’m probably done writing for the year after this.

You’re welcome.

P.S.  My ass?   Fabulous in this new mirror.