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M’s Train Station Bedroom (& My New Upstairs)

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When my son was born, his nursery was on the first floor of our house, the same as our master bedroom. We put his nursery in what could be described as a very small bedroom, or maybe a home office type of dealio. As the years passed, we converted his crib into a toddler bed. Soon it became clear that he was ready for a big-boy bed (and also a larger room to house his bounty of toys and Thomas trains).

Our house is about 118 years old. Upstairs are two bedrooms, a large area at the top of the stairs, and the attic. I repainted the one bedroom when we first moved in. For years, that was our guest bedroom, even though we seldom have guests. The other bedroom served as our hobby/craft room. Mostly, in recent years, it was a hoarders paradise. I didn’t repaint the walls because they were covered with wallpaper. Not just any wallpaper, but wallpaper with pink roses on it. Yuck. Not my style.

So, I got brave and decided I would remove the wallpaper and let my son pic the paint colors for his new room. The removal process wasn’t brutal, but it did take forever. And my overall thought while working on it was “why the heck didn’t I do this sooner!” The wallpaper was peeling anyway, and I really disliked it more than I realized. I got a crazy idea in my head one day to make it a “train” room. My son loves Thomas, but he would outgrow that too soon. So, I decided on a room based on real trains. I realized I had a whole bunch of items already that could be used to make a great “train station” room. I have included pictures below. Mind you, most of these ideas I got from randomly Googling, and usually the other people executed it better than I.

Before of the bedroom with wallpaper. Had to use this picture of my skinny puppy. She hasn't been that thin in 10 years.

Before pic of the bedroom with wallpaper. Had to use this picture of my skinny puppy. She hasn’t been that thin in 10 years.

Wallpaper being removed. A peek of the walls being white.

Wallpaper being removed. A peek at the walls being white.

I only chipped off the LOOSE paint!

I only chipped off the LOOSE paint!

Finished bedroom showing bench and train pics.

Finished bedroom showing bench and train pics.

Finished bedroom with lanterns over twin-sized bed. I got those lanterns at a garage sale years ago.

Finished bedroom with lanterns over twin-sized bed. I got those lanterns at a garage sale years ago.

Train arrival board. It is a black magnetic dry-erase board. All the letters and lines are removable for when he gets older.

Train arrival board. It is a black magnetic dry-erase board. All the letters and lines can be removed as he grows.

Railroad crossing sign coat rack. Really pulls the room together.

Railroad crossing sign coat rack. Really pulls the theme of the room together.

Clocks showing the different time zones. We already had the pay phone and rocking train.

Clocks showing the different time zones. We already had the pay phone and rocking train.

The frames I got on clearance in the craft dept at Meijer and painted myself. The pictures are from calendars and magazines.

The frames I got on clearance in the craft dept at Meijer and painted myself. The pictures are from calendars and magazines.

Cute child's desk I got for $10 at a garage sale. I think of it as the station master's desk.

Cute child’s desk I got for $10 at a garage sale. I think of it as the station master’s desk.

I bought the electric lantern years ago. Almost got rid of it.

I bought the electric lantern years ago. Almost got rid of it.

Made this a few years ago, but this toy box would fit into the room as well.

Made this a few years ago, but this toy box would fit into the room as well.

I also decided to repaint the stairway area as well. I have always HATED that pink-beige color that is all over our house (to cover up all the barn red that yet another previous resident loved). I have worried for the 11 years we lived here how hard it would be to paint over the stairs, where the ceiling is very high. It sucked, but I got it done. And yes, you might have noticed that I have a compulsion where I cannot paint a room all one color. Blame Punky Brewster 😉

The stairway before.

The stairway before.

The stairway after.

The stairway after.

Top of stairs before.

Top of stairs before.

Top of stairs after. I couldn't resist accentuating all the weird angles.

Top of stairs after. I couldn’t resist accentuating all the weird angles.

Attic hobbit door before.

Attic hobbit door before.

Attic hobbit door after.

Attic hobbit door after.

Also, I have always thought the wood paneling was hideous, but I believe it would be too costly to remove and replace with drywall. I’m pretty sure the paneling covers up crumbling plaster walls. And it goes without saying that I would like new carpet (low pile purple would be my dream), but I will just try to ignore the brown shag as much as possible.

This pic is from when we first moved in. Note the heinous brown carpeting on the shelf.

This pic is from when we first moved in. Note the heinous brown carpeting on the shelf.

Painted. Carpet removed. Signs outside the bedroom keep the train theme, as well as a trunk that could be waiting to be loaded on a train. Trunk was from Family Dollar, under $20.

Painted. Carpet removed from shelf. Signs outside the bedroom keep the train theme, as well as a trunk that could be waiting to be loaded on a train. Trunk was from Family Dollar, under $20.

When I removed the carpeting, what was left was plywood covered in glue residue. I covered it with more paneling, so that now I can use the space for storage.

When I removed the carpeting, what was left was plywood covered in glue residue. I covered it with more paneling, so that now I can use the space for storage.

I started these projects in May. It took me until the end of July to fully complete them. But I wasn’t working on them every day, either.

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Like Father, Like Son

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I don’t write much about parenting on my blog. Mostly because my blog is my escape from parenting. Also, I only have one 20-month old son, so what the hell do I know about parenting? I was an only child. I never babysat as a kid. There was never anyone younger than me in my family to take care of. So, my husband and I spend a lot of time winging it.

Today I wanted to talk about how my son is going to take right after his Daddy. My husband loves to disassemble things. He always has. (Ask any of his family members. They will tell you about the television he took apart and didn’t put back together again.) When our TV started smoking a few months ago, my husband had that thing unscrewed before it had even cooled off.

Mostly, I find this be an endearing quality. It is incredibly handy too. When our pipes to our shower burst several winters ago, he moved the tub surround (all one piece, mind you), replaced the pipes and the faucet, insulated them so that they would stop freezing every winter, put the tub surround back, and built a faux wall where before there had been an ill-fitting shelf unit. My passenger-side window in my car got stuck in the down position a week ago. While I didn’t want to put the money into getting the new part to fix it, he took the car door apart and put the window in the up position for me (especially nice since that is our only vehicle with working air conditioning).

There are a million examples like that. He is very handy. For all the things he actually fixes, there are only a handful of things, such as a toy remote control helicopter, mantel clock, or gun, that sit around endlessly, waiting to be reassembled. And usually there is a good reason they are not yet back together. Usually a piece has gone missing. Usually, that piece is a spring.

I can already see these traits of extreme curiosity in my 20 month old son, M. He has a Thomas & Friends book that plays sounds and songs, complete with a steering wheel that turns. Yet, often, I find him with it flipped over, trying to figure out how to get into the battery compartment. Lucky for both of us, it requires a screwdriver. So curious to find out what makes it work.

My child. Highly fascinated by the VCR. “What is this analog?”


The other day, M was laying flat on the living room floor, with both hands in the VCR door, checking it out. Just so you know, it was upstairs and we only recently brought it down. So it is new to M. And apparently, there is great mystery with what goes on inside of it.

The most obvious example of M being like his Daddy happens every time I vacuum the house. I have a Shark Navigator. I believe it is a pretty early incarnation. The one featured in infomercials about two years ago. I hope the company has fixed the design issues that my vacuum has. (One of these is that the sweeper exhaust, that goes through the hepa filter, blows directly in front of it. This caused me endless frustration chasing dog hair around the house I could not catch. So I had to rig it so that it vented to the side instead.) The dust cup is deceptively small. I have two dogs. Sweeping only the downstairs once a week, I have to empty the dust cup five times. And that is when M swoops in.

My Shark Navigator


When you remove the dust cup on my Shark Navigator, two foam filters are exposed. As soon as I walk to the wastebasket with the dust cup, a certain adorable toddler runs over and takes out the foam filters. Then he has dirty little hands and he leaves dirty little hand prints all over the house I am attempting to bring some semblance of clean to. Oy.

I have many more years of disassembling ahead of me. After all, my husband already has a mini bike and a box of random old engines in the garage for M to discover someday. It is a good thing we had a boy so that they can man-boy bond in the garage for years to come. But that will have to wait. For now, the garage is not child-proofed.

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