DIY Awesome: From tiny prison cell to preteen hipster lounge.

This all happened because this happened first. So you might wanna read that one, but whatever…

I must start by informing you that I am totally unqualified for DIY projects. In the states, I relied heavily on just two things for all of our home decor and design needs – IKEA and Money. In the glaring absence of both of those things, I decided to try pulling together a room all by myself. Painting, building furniture, and noodling with whatever I could get my hands on for cheap/free.

Here it is, boys and girls: DIY Awesome
Try not to be jealous…


The room is so small that this is the most I could fit in a pic. It’s four walls, a window and a door, measuring aboout 8 feet by 7 feet. The goal is to make it into a bedroom for my nearly 12 year old. Soooo…..

All great projects start with a great outfit:
I chose this little number for it’s comfort, durability, and “no fuss” appearance and because I slept in it.

Next, you need to gather your supplies. You’ll need:

Two capable assistants.
A green ladder, a roll of tape, and a cup of coffee. (Technically, you only need the ladder to hold the tape and the coffee, so if you can’t get your hands on one, no worries.)
And that’s really all you need!

But, you may decide (as I did) that it will go faster if you also use these tools that I call “things for painting other things”.
I cannot stress the importance of having all of these items be color coordinated (shown here in hues of green). This is imperative! If you don’t do this, your room will be ugly… and I mean hideous!! And please note the magic wand to the right of that square- ish paint thingy, that is for stirring the paint. Only a magic wand that you find at the bottom of your umbrella stand will do. Steer clear of those ruler looking things they give you for free when you buy your paint at HomeDepot! They will make your room ugly.

Ok, so now you’re ready to begin:

Have an assistant tape off important crap and wooden stuff:

Now just paint…like this:
Paint about this much:
Then have a big fat fit because you hate, I mean HATE the color and it’s SO not the same as the little two inch paper that you asked for in really bad spanish at the store that’s just like Walmart, but not.

Then, drop your roller thingy in the tray thingy and tell your assistants that you’re going to go have a glass of wine and take a nap. If they try to remind you that it’s only 9am just shrug your shoulders and walk away. If /when all of your wine bottles are empty, drink a beer (sheesh…I’m only kidding! *awkward laughter*):

When you wake up, feeling refreshed, you will find that your assistants finished the paint, brought in the bed, and handled the clean up. Good girls!:

Whew – That was pretty easy! Now we can build a little shelf thingy!!

First, sit on the couch for a couple of hours to create a nice indentation which will hold all the little pieces-parts:

Then, have your assistant review the instructions really well:

Yes, you see correctly that we will be putting together a “CLASSIC”. A classic TV stand, made from classically laminated particle board, and metal tubing in classic black! Bet you can hardly wait to see this beauty that I picked up at the Costa Rican version of BigLots for just 7,ooo colones (which is like 13 bucks). Aw yeeeah!!

While in process, I noted that if you turned this baby upside down and slapped a couple of stroller wheels on the sides, it could double as a bag-lady cart. Um, Score!:
When it comes to the screws, you’re probably thinking this:

WRONG! I’m pretty sure THIS is how the pros do it:

Yup…that looks about right….:

Finding good help can be a challenge. This one tried to get away with an important part of the project (the long black screw at the bottom of the pic). After I fired her, she pooped on my lawn. Not classy, lady! Not classy!!:

By some miracle, we ended up with an actual, functional bedroom, complete with:

Under-bed storage for clothes and junk.

A “Classic” shelf displaying the IKEA boxes I stole from the office, the fruit basket I stole from under the lemons, and a framed black and white of a lovely couple I have never met, but who are clearly, madly in love.

A nifty, artsy-fartsy thing, I made with $1.50 frames and cool pics of letters I stole off the internet.

And a pile of these little geometric pieces of shell that I bought because I loved the colors but I have no clue what I’m gonna do with them, so they will most likely end up in an IKEA box under the picture frames that say “Dylan” cause I’m pretty sure I’ve run out of mojo for all things DIY and therefore will never actually finish this room. Do I care? Am I dissappointed that I’ll never see this mediocre masterpeice completed??

Well. I was gonna answer that question with a picture of Dylan, laying on the bed in his sweet new room, grinning from ear to ear. You know, like to say Look at how happy that kid is with things just the way they are! But then I asked Dylan to pose for the pic and he was basically like “No way! And when are you gonna hang those frames? Hey, what are these shells for? You know what this room needs…..”



  1. Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras on November 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Beautiful!!! And you know they say the best compliment is when you outright steal someone elses idea?! Yeah – I'm going to steal your name idea for Madison's room 🙂 I LOVE it! Don't you just miss IKEA/Target/WalMart?! Sigh…

  2. Kddad85 on November 7, 2009 at 12:11 am

    The icing on the sprinkles of my 48th birthday cake was to read your blog.

    Your Lakeside Costa Rica team loves you, I love you, God loves you.

    Thank you for all you share.

  3. thechurchladycooks on November 8, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Jamie, you've totally got the DIY thing down! In fact I think you are the one who inspired me to paint my bathroom cabinets "espresso" or some such? You inspire me in so many ways! You've encouraged me to be more "me" in my blog…..this could get scary!

  4. Cathimommy on November 9, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Awesome….you should see Brian's office–and Oreo was a similar assistant to your ladies!

    I need to talk to you–I've had a week with a big car and a gate that is possessed–or at least a tool of spiritual warfare….


  5. Kelly on November 9, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Really fun blog! I love show and tell!! 🙂

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