Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Zak's room, before & after

When we fell pregnant last year, we figured we better actually finish a room! So I spent a LONG time emptying out the spare room of, well, crap, and spent even more time getting the walls ready to paint. When we moved in, almost every wall was covered in wood veneer (which is actually having a revival at the moment, but there’s no way I was keeping this stuff!). Underneath the veneer were very bad walls: cracks, holes, chipping plaster - some even had several layers of wallpaper, each layer worse than the one before it.

Before: bad wallpaper and cracked walls.

Luckily, the room that was to be the baby’s (who was born in November and is named Zak) was the best of a bad bunch so with a little help from my father-in-law, Cliff, we had the ancient carpet ripped up and walls prepped, primed and painted in a few days. Of course, as is Murphy’s Law - the one area of the house we wanted to re-carpet had beautiful boards; the space we wanted to sand and polish was a disaster, but that’s another story…
I didn’t want to go too crazy with baby colours - we didn’t know what the sex was going to be and I’m not into majorly decorated kids rooms anyway, so earthy and airy was what I was after. We went for Dulux Whisper White for three walls and the ceiling and painted the only full wall a neutral feature colour - Porter’s Paints Donkey Grey.

After: with a greyish brown feature wall and white furniture.

I was lucky enough to score a relatively new cot for free, my sister’s boyfriend lent me his own baby wardrobe and my mum’s rocking chair would come in handy nursing and rocking baby to sleep. All I bought was a chest of drawers for the change mat and some cheapie bookshelves for $20 each from The Reject Shop (of all places!) which I painted white - several times. That laminate stuff really soaks up paint! I really wanted the IKEA Lack cubed bookshelf but I’d already bought one for the living room and another $269 was better off spent elsewhere. Like on my pram, which was really the only expensive thing I bought. I splurged on the Bugaboo Cameleon and yes, it’s ridiculously expensive at $1499, but I personally think it’s worth it. And I got it on sale. That’s the trick to buying baby stuff. You’re pregnant for so long, you get to take advantage of at least one major sale throughout the year. And most department stores have huge annual baby sales or expos which is a great opportunity to grab everything on your list at a reduced price. Also, if you buy a whole heap of nursery gear from the same store, ask if they’ll give you a discount - it works sometimes!
On the shopping-for-baby topic, I wrote a Bringing Home Baby article for the June issue of real living and some of the extra info is online at the website. So check out my essentials list at
Back to Zak’s room. Now that he’s here I’ve rearranged the room and am in the process of jazzing it up a little - pictures, decorative touches and personalising his space a little more - stay tuned.
I also have a tip: by placing the cot up against one (or two) interior walls, rather than an exterior wall, it’ll keep baby warmer in winter and cooler in summer. You really feel the cold/heat through a wall (especially if it’s not insulated like old houses often aren’t) and this helps a tiny bit.
And another: a shelf above the change table isn’t the most genius of ideas as I discovered when a little bottle of baby shampoo fell off and landed on Zak’s head. We both cried. He got over it, but I still kick myself.


Dani & Mezza said...

:O horrible about the shelf
Love the room, looks fantastic. Black white and grey baby rooms are making a revival.


belinda graham said...

Great find, thanks Dani. Will have to do a post on those gorgeous pictures she's made. x