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The Redneck Room Reno

As a child, my bedroom was my sanctuary, my haven from the harsh realities of having an annoyingly perfect little sister, a big brother who liked to throw me onto the floor, sit on me and dangle big wet loogies in my face and parents who obviously loved everybody more than they loved me.

Middle child syndrome, I has it.

I spent a lot of time in my bedroom listening to my stereo, playing my parents' old 8-track cassette tapes and staring at the posters of John Wayne and River Phoenix I had taped to my brown wood paneled walls while dreaming of the day I would wake up and no longer be a dork.

I'm still dreaming of that day, for the record.

After years of renting, one of the things that most excited me about home owning was finally being able to decorate my kids rooms. Living with brown wooden walls for most of my childhood made me want rainbows for my childrens' rooms.

It wasn't long before I fell into a paint can and soon a tradition was born. Every two to three years, I do a mini-room makeover for both of my children for their birthdays. I kick them out of their bedrooms for a few days while I toil away, and on their birthday I reveal to them their 'new' rooms and revel in their adoration and praise for how cool I am.

It's like Extreme Home Makeovers, only less extreme and more rednecked.

It's been three years since I last touched a paint brush and tackled the kids rooms and it was past time. I meant to do Fric and Frac's room last year but between the arrival of Jumby and hurting my back, I never got around to it.

But seeing as how I was starting to twitch every time I walked past Fric's room, I figured I couldn't put it off any longer. My daughter's room was driving me crazy.

Just looking at the pictures makes me itch.

Fric was 11, in love with lime green and pink. I did what I had to do to make my kid happy. And at the time, it seemed like a good idea.

I mean, who doesn't enjoy waking up to having their retinas burned out by bright lime green walls each and every morning?

So it was with great glee and gusto I kicked Fric out of her room to bunk with the boys and started the redecorating process.

After a day spent sanding the walls and painting two coats of primer on the wall to cover the darned dots, I was thoroughly annoyed and muttering about how stupid I was not to use vinyl stickers instead of hand painting each dot. This was definitely a home decorating FAIL.

But slowly the room started to take shape. After a mishap or two. Like spilling half a can of red paint on the linoleum. Or having the dog lick the paint off the walls just as fast as I could roll it on. And I don't even want to discuss how many times I tried to wire a new ceiling lamp in. My husband insisted a blind monkey could wire in a new lamp.

Apparently I needed a blind monkey because I couldn't seem to do it myself.

Twelve days after I started the room was finished.

Fric loves it.

I love the fact my eyes no longer bleed when I walk into her room. It's a win-win for everyone.

The ceiling lamp was the inspiration and jumping off point for the entire room. After listening to Fric ask me a gazillion times if she could write on her walls, and then seeing this lamp I knew exactly how I wanted to paint her room.

There is a black shag carpet on the floor. You can see the corner of it in this picture. You can also see every piece of lint and dirt on the carpet itself. It shows everything. Not my brightest idea.

The prints are from Story People. I adore their art.

My daughter is still laughing at my stick figures. I like to think they are retro chic.

God Bless the inventors of chalkboard paint. It went on really easily and it works like a charm. I have big graffiti plans for these walls when Fric's not looking.

Every time I paint the kids walls I always paint a heart somewhere in the room to remind them I may nag them, discipline them, bore them, annoy them, anger them and disappoint them, but I will never ever stop loving them.

Next up, the boys room. Except I've run dry on ideas. Feel free to pitch any you may have in the comment section. Because at this point, even polka dots are sounding good.

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Reader Comments (104)

You're so talented! LOVE the stick figures. Way to go!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

I really like it. Do I detect an Asian-inspired theme, as they say on Home Decorating shows? The red really stands out and reminds me of Chinese lanterns.

And did you really have a poster of JOHN WAYNE growing up? Kinda weird.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

I Love It!!! Came out great!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana, The Doggy Mommy

Lime green and yellow. It's bright, but in a good way! Or orange and red.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha Hughes

Great job, Ma'am. I have no ideas which is why my son's room is white, ur, wait Medici Ivory.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSoMo

Dude! That's awesome. Will you come down to decorate my place?! Pretty please?!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHip_m0m

I wish you were my mom! Gorgeous. And what a beautiful tradition. <3

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Yay!! I've been looking forward to the reveal. It looks fantastic! I love the chalkboard stripe and the color scheme. It's fun but still grown up. Great job!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill @babyrabies

Looks amazing I only wish I could be that creative!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

The bed we had that bed well two of them! Did not hold up to jumping from bed to bed. My retina's were sure burned from the dots, oh wait my friend is shipping me a ton of them to put up on Kendryk's wall for vision therapy.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

You are totally the coolest mom. That room is perfect for a 14 (ish?) year old.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I'm so intrigued by this. Growing up, my sister and I each had our own room, but we weren't allowed to decorate it ourselves. No posters, no knick-knacks, no toys on the bed. Our room could have been anybody's.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCorrin

It's amazing. I was the child that would request to redecorate my room as my birthday present. Drove my dad nuts but made my momma proud.

Your daughter is a lucky, lucky girl.


September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter@sweetbabboo

I love, love, love it! I'm redoing my kiddo's room this fall and I'm not looking forward to painting over the electric blue currently on his walls. Oy.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarin

I love the heart that you paint in the kiddo's rooms and what it stands for!!!! Very creative!!!!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterjustCarmell

it's absolutely perfect. i love decorating and painting too- my crowning achievement had to be painting my sons room at midnight. very nice pics!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternot blessed mama

OMG, it's gorgeous.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

Love it! Can I move in? I also adore your heart painting. Such a neat idea!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatrina

wow, fantastic!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommyNamedApril

Ha on the dots. My girls (only 7 & 9) share a room that is so pink that when the sun shines in the morning, the room glows. And, yes, it has big dots all over it.

LOVE the redesign. Love it. And chalkboard paint is the best invention. When I was Fric's age, my parents let me WRITE on the wall next to my bed. It became an autograph station for friends and where I could write big "AC/DC" and "the doors" logos everywhere. My poor father needed about 10 coats of paint to cover it all up when I moved out.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFairly Odd Mother

Sweet! My sister did her 14 yr old daughter's room in brown with pink dots so your before pictures reminded me of Moriah's room. I remember sis being wiped out from painting circles too.

Does your son have a favorite sports team? My sis painted her son's room orange and silver - I think those are the BC Lions colours. It looks really cool.

Have fun!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal

I love it! And I totally love the heart idea. I painted my son's room recently and while it was totally a pain in the ass, he loves it. Feel free to check it out. Next time I would just do a regular stripe though.


September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

We love it too! Follow Wikki Stix on Twitter, all about Moms, Dads, Kids, Education, and more!http://twitter.com/wikkistix/

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwendy

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tanis Miller, Mommy Ideas!. Mommy Ideas! said: The Redneck Room Reno @ Attack of the Redneck Mommy http://bit.ly/aT0EjX #Moms #gno [...]

I thoroughly LOVE her new room. You did a wonderful job.

I kinda liked the pink and green too, but then again I didnt have to look at it everyday for years either......

You have a great eye for decorating. Anytime you wanna come to my place and paint ANY of my rooms, just feel free ok? (I'll even provide the beer and the blind monkey for wiring purposes)

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkellyjean9

I TOLD you it would look rad. Perfect transitioning to hellion room, ever. And you put the bed right under her window - so it'll be really easy for her to take up smoking and hide it. ;)

Truly, I dig it a lot.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZoeyjane

Feel free to transform my hellhole, I mean, house anytime you like! I will make you cookies.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkasi

"Man! A writer, a fabulous mom, an "activist", and she's also a designer, carpenter, and painter!"

I just love you and look up to you Mrs. Miller!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTRUEMAN

Thank you so much for all of the laughs you add to my life.
First. Yes I can imagine that the lime green might result in your daughter's eyes wearing out and leaving her blind at the age of 50, but it was still pretty gorgeous!
The new room? Even better. You really are a talent!
My suggestion?, My dream for my new office.
Idea Paint. Google it.
It is paint that comes in a few colours, but you can write on it with dry erase markers.

For the record I'm a renter, but I'm thinking my landlord could be easily convinced to let me paint the walls white or some other pale shade. he doesn't need to know that I'm going to write all over them!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Ann Fraser

u should definately be in line for the coolest mom award. you'd win. hands down.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthat girl

Live it up girl, once my Damn Emos turned 14 I was no longer allowed to decorate/paint their rooms.

It was Emo Chick all the way.

About to start on Boo's room, he wants a freaking Scooby Doo theme.

I just want to paint the walls since he peeled the last lot off and ate it.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelley @ Magnetoboldtoo

What an absolutely brilliant idea decorating your kids rooms for their birthdays! The new room looks fabulous - I bet she loves it. The little heart idea is so cute!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie (Lady M) x

Wow, that is awesome! I think after this you can officially hand in your dork card. Congratulations!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Now I feel really embarrassed because I painted my 9-year old daughters room this summer and created an accent wall...with polka dots. :( Though I did use vinyl ones, so maybe I can go rip them off before anyone notices. (whistles nonchalantly, sneaks upstairs)

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSassyO

Boys room, easy

Sports illustrated swimsuit edition

Paint the walls sea blue, stick on those life size posters of pefect girls in swimsuits, enuf said!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlarrylilly

That is fantastic! I can't wait to be out of a rental and back in my own house where I can make all the choices on painting. I love, love, love the chalkboard paint and want to do it in the boys' rooms. Also: I am overwhelmed by what an amazing mom you are. That heart that you painted in to remind them is a wonderful touch.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy @ Bitchin' Wives Club

Hi, the room looks great, I'm glad she loves it. You did a fantastic job!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

What a fabulous room! My girls are clamoring for a room makeover and I have been dragging my feet. Looking at your photos is very inspiring. Thanks. I have to deal with stripping wallpaper before anything else can be done. Bleh.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarci

I absolutely love the chalkboard paint.. Dh is completely against it because he thinks it's going to make a messy/dusty room. Can you come back and report in a few weeks on how Fric's dust level is with the chalk in there? lol.!

My 14yr old has requested purple paint for her birthday.. She's easy, she didn't even request I paint her room, just give her the paint LOL!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMomma Chaos

This looks amazing! I love it!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnn

Wow. Honestly, that is just... fantastic. The chalkboard paint, the red door, the birds...

Man. I'm retroactively jealous of never having had a room that cool when I was growing up.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTwoBusy

I love it! The chalkboard idea is the best!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterali

Wow, that's seriously unblelievable - BOTH rooms! I've never done up a space quite like that - ever. And I was an art major. :)
Tanis, you win cool mom of the year.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

Wow! I love the way you did her room! So cool! Also, I went to college in the town where the 'Story People' artists live and work and I LOVE their art too! :)

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkate C.

Holy crap woman, that is so amazingly awesome! The drawings and the little heart thing there got me all emo for a second. I'm totally going to do that heart thing when it's my turn to redo some rooms. Will you come do my room next? It's beige. Just.....beige.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

Fabulous! And I love the heart idea.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertiffany

Very nice! My 3 year old is still very entrenched in the pink, purple and green phase, so I don't think we'll have anything quite as cool in our house for a while.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie @ PhD in Parenting

It looks great!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I say for the boys, go with a mural on one wall - whatever they love most, whether it's the beach, or the city, or what have you. I mean, you obviously have the artistic ability (oh shush, you so do), and that way you can paint all the other walls solid! It doesn't have to be the Mona Lisa - the more cartoon-like, the better! Good luck - this is why my kid still has bare drywall for walls (ad probably will until he leaves for college in 11 years).

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrish Smith

I love it! But I have to hide it from my kids, otherwise, they will start begging for a room reno too.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie @ The Mom Slant

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