Second Bedroom

Who would have ever thought that the first room in the house to actually be “finished” would be the guest room? Not me. But for some reason, leading up to the wedding it had been a nagging little priority- maybe more subconsciously than not. I think I wanted to make sure that Stan would have somewhere to study or do whatever (he gave me “the look” when I said “do his homework” as if I were his mom and embarrassed him in front of his friends… but hey, he’s in school!) even though in reality he rarely brings work/school home with him; he just stays at school longer if he needs to. But still, I thought it would be nice.

This room has to seriously multitask. Seriously. Our house is a scant 816 square feet, and I feel lucky to even have two bedrooms, but “first-world Amanda” says that one extra room is kind of minimum!

Here is a list of this room’s functions:

  • Guest room
  • Office
  • Sewing/craft room
  • Library
  • Music room
  • Bike storage room
  • Pet room

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Yes, everything is pushed up against the walls, which is kind of a decorating “no no”. But it’s really nice in this room, because there’s plenty of room to maneuver the bikes and plenty of room for the guest bed, and if you’re doing a craft, you can spread it out all over the floor and leave it for weeks on end finish the craft and put everything away in a timely manner.

Let’s go through these one by one, shall we?


I got this little drawer unit thingy from Ikea, and it wasn’t cheap. In fact I nearly puked paying $80 (yes I know I’m a tight wad) for it, but in the end I knew it was the best solution so I bit the bullet. I already had one of those cheapo $7 tabletops and the four legs from Ikea, so I just got another tabletop to make one long desk separated by the drawer unit. The shredder lives here for now, although we might move it to the bookshelf when we get an outlet on that wall. This is also going to be the permanent home for the laptops, so that the kitchen counter and living room aren’t cluttered with power cords. Hallelujah.

Sewing/craft room (see above picture)

Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory that the left side of the mega-desk is for sewing. See that sewing machine?

The other part of the sewing/craft function resides on the bookshelf, where some Ikea boxes hold extra fabric and supplies quite nicely.

Bike storage room:

Already blogged about that here.

Music room:

I stained a piece of pine to try and match the bookshelf, and my mom gave me those cool shelf brackets last time I was home. My music resides in those (you guessed it) Ikea magazine files, and for now is also the home of Stan’s guitar. Of course the piano is on this wall too, and my red hot bench.

Pet room:

My least favorite function this room must serve, but you do what you have to do. The cat box lives behind the closet door, and Blanche’s food lives under the bikes. (When we take the bikes down, we naturally lift them out, so there’s not really a danger of a bike landing in kibble.) One day, we’ll put a doggy door in the kitchen door (which stays closed most of the time) so we can put the cat box down in the basement. One thing at a time. Oh, and Jesse’s food is in the living room, where the floor is hard so Blanche is too scared to walk there to go eat it. True story. Proof here.


Yep, that’s a book shelf. Not much else to say about that. (Except that I obviously have a lot to learn about taking photos with a DSLR.)

The last function is the Guest room, and yes, I actually set up the bed for the sole purpose of taking pictures of it. I can’t believe it.

I even moved the piano bench over to serve as a night stand! I’m so hospitable.

It’s funny, because it didn’t really cross my mind that I should finish this room in time for guests- it just kind of happened that way. Two of my very best friends from growing up came and stayed with me for the wedding, so I’m glad that they got to sleep in an organized (though admittedly cramped and hopefully not too chaotic) room.

But even funnier (and a little sad) is that I could not for the life of me find the pump to the air bed! So they had to sleep on our camping pads. So sorry, girls! (I’ve found it since then. It was still in my suitcase from our Las Vegas trip.)

We’ve actually been sleeping in this room for the past couple of nights, because there’s something afoot in our bedroom. Stay tuned.

So there you have it. The guest/music/craft/sewing/office/library/pet/bike room!

We have bikes. Stan has two and I have one. They’re pretty nice bikes. I ride mine a reasonable amount when the weather is nice, and Stan rides his a lot even when the weather is not so nice. He’s hardcore. He helped start the cycling team at the U of U. Here he is looking dashing in his bike jersey after our Saturday activities of riding bikes and giving Blanche a bath.

Anyhoo, the garage isn’t the most convenient place for the bikes at this time, and I’m not a fan of them just standing out in the dining room where they partially block the hallway.

So we came up with a solution. We’ll put them in the guest/office/music/craft/dog/bike room! This room sure has to work hard.

We used some $0.79 bike hooks from HD. Finding a stud was a bit of a challenge, and once we did the placement wasn’t great. They’re about 2″ too close together for the handlebars to not run into each other. But then my handsome scientist had a brilliant idea to flip one of the bikes upside down. Genius. (I’m not sure what that has to do with science but let’s go with it.)

Look at those hott red pedals! They totally go with the theme.

"Hi. I'm an outlet that needs to be replaced and covered. Ignore me."

We still have some rearranging to do in this room, but I think it’s a pretty good solution for a couple of bike-riding yuppie hippies like us.

Oh and as for the third bike- since it’s fancy schmancy and is only ridden occasionally, it will probably have to live in the basement. Sorry Stan.

First, the after:

Now the before:

I got this baby at a consignment store, but the floral fabric and lime green paint job wasn’t really my style.

So I popped the top off and painted it a hott red (California Poppy by Behr). I didn’t use primer and I gave it three coats, in case you’re curious.

I got this fabric at Joann’s (I’m sure I used a coupon so it was probably $5 or so) and cut it down to fit over the cushion. I didn’t even take off the old fabric, I just put it right over.

I stapled the sides first,  and then just kind of fudged the corners. Maybe this helps?

Then I kind of sloppily trimmed off the excess fabric, because that’s how I roll.

Then I reassembled!

It looks pretty different in different lights. I like it in all lights- that’s called unconditional love.

I like the red punch in the blue room, an idea that started with the red clock. Now that I’ve hopped on the red train, I don’t know if I can stop…

K. Today I have the “after” photo. (Except around here you’ve come to know that “after” really just means “forever in progress”, but I’m still going to call this an “after” photo.)

Here’s the room a couple weeks ago after we de-storage-unit-ed it. I didn’t hate the color, but it was just kind of naked. Looked like naked skin. I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

Here it is with Plumage:

BAM! I like it. I love it. I’m fond of it.

Although it’s  a dark color, I find that it makes the white things in the room POP so much, that it actually feels brighter in there, in a way. I have a few more things for the walls that I’m excited to see POP as well.

I think it’s the perfect color for doing creative things, which is perfect since this is the art/sewing/craft/music room.

I also think it’s perfect for deep concentration, which is great because this will be the office too, as soon as we get a desk for under the window.

The animals just loooooooooooove this color (they told me), which is perfect since some of their paraphernalia lives in here.

Aaaaand it’s a good color for studying maps (I forgot to take a picture of the giant map I got Stan! Dang!).

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it will make our bikes look really cool when they’re hanging from ceiling hooks.

Maybe I’ll replace the curtains with a simple white roman shade one day. Thoughts?

I should probably buy another Billy, since this one is already overflowing and I still have more books. Or I could get rid of some stuff.

I also quite like the red clock. I may play up some more red in the room.

Thoughts on the color? Except I don’t want to hear your thoughts if you liked the naked skin color better- I’m not repainting. 🙂

This weekend was weird. It was the kind of weekend where I got to the gym for my second day back at running post-surgery, realized I didn’t have my Body-Glide (otherwise my fat sweaty thighs rub together and it HURTS), and I about had a Hulk moment right there in the locker room.

It was the kind of weekend where everything seemed to take me forever- I’ve been doing the same two loads of laundry since Friday night, I swear I spent 30 minutes unloading the dishwasher, and I didn’t remember to brush my teeth until like 2pm on Friday.

As I saw my weekend-end fast approaching, I just got more discouraged. (You know when you know you’re being a baby for no reason, and then that fact makes you even more sad and pathetic, so you’re even more of a baby?) It seemed like every item on my to-do list required two people, or one person + an electrician, or one person + a Stan + an electrician… and being the disorganized person I am, I hadn’t figured out a time when Stan the Man and his dad could come over to finish those projects, so I was at a stalemate.

But then I remembered that there was a project that needed doing, but was low on the list, but was the only one I could think of to start on all by myself! And was not weather dependent! Painting the second bedroom- aka the music/sewing/craft/bike/cat/dog room.

I knew that the color in the second bedroom was kind of a challenge, because it has only one tree-shaded north-facing window. That = dark. I knew that Maria Killam and other experts recommended not trying to fight a room’s natural lighting by going with too light a color, but I just hadn’t landed on which “dark” color to pick yet.

I’m nothing if not a shameless copycat, so I totally copycatted some of my favorite dark blue colors. Of all those linked, I chose Plumage by Martha Stewart, but only because I neglected to write down the formula for Reflecting Pool that Sara so awesomeley provided, and Home Depot doesn’t have Ralph Lauren colors. Yes, that really is how decisions are made around here.

On to the fun part. I moved all the crapola to the middle of the room…

And then I cut in around the edges instead of taping which took for-ev-er. However, by the end of it I was getting the hang of it and I think I may never tape again. Maybe.

Oh! And by the way I decided to give the Behr paint+primer a go, since it’s such a dark color and I’m lazy. It worked awesome! Really good coverage. I put on two full coats, but if I’d been more diligent with the first coat, I probably could have gotten away with just spot fill-ins the second time around. TWO COATS! For a color that dark! I’m sold.

Unfortunately, you guys don’t get to see an “after” yet, because I finished at 12:15am and the lighting just doesn’t do it justice at that hour, ya know?

In other news, I finally put the last coat of poly on that TV table I built forever ago.

I guess I should explain the title of the post- after so much laying around, and a vacation to Moab (which was awesome) I was feeling seriously behind and stagnant and grumpy. I needed a big project like this that I could tackle on my own while Stan was skiing. Since I managed to finish it in a day, I’d say I got a fair amount of self-esteem out of that can of paint!

PS- Does anyone have any suggestions for a cheap but cool light fixture? The boob has got to go.

You guys have seen glimpses of my guest/sewing/craft/dog/cat/bike/music room, but it is forever a work in progress. Back in December, the first order of business was getting rid of this monstrosity:

Be a friend and don’t judge me for that pile of crap in the corner. I’m working on it.

I’d like to issue a sincere public apology if you’ve ever stayed at my house and slept on this thing. It’s super uncomfortable. When I sit on it, my butt falls asleep after like three seconds. It tricks you, because when you first sit/lie on it it feels cushy and bouncy, but the reality is that if you weigh more than Keira Knightly, you sink down to an unpleasant layer of what I can only assume is concrete. Sorry guys (all two or three of you). So this thing got the craigslist boot (another apology to the poor sucker who bought this).

When I got the offer from CSN to do another review, I was pumped (such an awesome pun for this review). I resisted the urge to spend my money on something “fun” and instead invested in the Pure Comfort  Queen “Raised” Flock Top Air Bed. I’d seen displays of raised air beds in Costco (and been pushed onto them in the middle of the store by Stan- not in that way, just in a fun joking “I’m going to push you onto this bed and keep walking” sort of way). From those experiences, I had high hopes for the comfort of a raised air bed.

Raised = way better than not raised. Have you ever slept on a regular-sized air mattress that deflates halfway through the night? And your back and bum end up on the floor and your head and feet are up in the air? It sucks huh! Well my thinking with a raised one was that even if it partially deflates, you won’t end up with your bum on a hard floor- you’ll just end up generally a little lower (although admittedly probably still in the bum-down-limbs-up position). Was I right? Read on to find out!

I was pleased that it came with a pump. I’m a fainter (probably ’cause I’m so dainty) so me + repeatedly breathing large puffs of air into pressurized objects = faintage. So while I was pumped (tee hee) that it came with a pump, guys, that pump is LOUD. In-yo-face loud. Wear ear muffs loud.

But it beats the poop out of blowing it up by hand… er, by mouth.

That’s a lot of air in there! PS it inflates in about four minutes with the pump.

With sheets and blankets and pillows (is that what fancy people refer to as “linens”?), it looks pretty much like a normal bed.

Yes, that’s about the best I can do at making a bed- thanks for asking.

And it pretty much feels like a normal bed too! I’m happy to report that throughout the night, I never once ended up in bum-down-limbs-up position, and I slept really well! It held air like a champ. Although if I were going to sleep on it for multiple days, I would probably top off the air before bed every night (but don’t wait till people are sleeping or they will wonder why there is a shrieking tornado in the next room).

Since I keep my house cold at night, the air in the air bed got really cold too. I would recommend putting a blanket or two under the fitted sheet.

It has this extra border around the sides to keep you from rolling off, and it worked really well. I didn’t even have any of those dreams where you think you’re falling (okay, maybe that can’t quite be attributed to the air bed).

Since this room functions as a guest room about 1% of the time and a music/sewing/craft/dog/cat/bike room the rest of the time, I took a clue from Yellow Brick Home and ditched the piece of furniture devoted almost solely to guests (that sucked hardcore anyway). This air mattress is way better (come visit me guys!) and takes up way less space, and is really easy and fast to set up.

Overall I’m happy with the purchase. Maybe someday I’ll have a bona fide Guest Room with a real bed and an empty dresser and a carafe/glass set on the side table and empty wooden hangers in the closet but until then, my houseguests will get to enjoy this puppy. (Come visit me!)

I heart Ikea usually. We have one less than 30 minutes away, and I pity you fools who drive 4 hours to go to one (you’re not fools- I would probably do the same thing). Sure, some of the crap is, well, crap, but a lot of the time you can get decent essentials for el cheapo.

A couple weekends ago, we totally went through the second bedroom. This happened:

That’s right, Stan transformed into Niecy Nash and kicked my butt until I got rid of stuff. Then we went to Ikea to buy more stuff to hold the stuff I kept. Ah, stuff.

Anyway, I was delighted to find these inexpensive but sturdy Kasset boxes, which the Ikea employees assured us were for holding hanging files. I didn’t want to spring for an actual file cabinet, and these are cute, so it was the perfect solution.

Or so we thought.

Look at it there, looking so innocent.

“Yes, I’m here to hold your files! See, I have cutouts for hanging file holders and everything! Yay! Love me!”

I don’t love you, Ikea box. You are a major disappointment.

How do you explain this???

We even bought the stupid hanging file holders from Ikea (which was a dumb move in and of itself- they are way cheaper at Office Depot!). And don’t tell me that the box is for legal size- it’s not! Legal is 14″, and letter is 11″. This box is the uglier sister of a letter size box at an awkward 11.75″ or so.

I’m glad Ikea is only 25 minutes away and that Stan and I enjoy spending lots of extra time in the car together, because I put these sorry excuses for file boxes right back in the car and demanded a refund (and by “demanded” I mean “shyly placed the huge embarrassing failure box onto the returns counter and waited patiently while the guy inspected, re-inspected, suggested it may be for Legal size, offered to give me store credit, then changed his mind and gave me cash because he was embarrassed to work at an establishment that engineered such an asinine product”). So yeah, I got my refund, bought a few more magazine boxes (which are actually useful for holding magazines and magazine-sized objects), and proudly skipped the cinnamon rolls. Ikea victory!

As for the final solution for file holding, I broke down and bought a cute little file box from Office Depot for all of my 2011 papers, and stashed the old ones in some old plastic file boxes I had and hid them away in the closet because they’re not too attractive.

This is how the room was looking after we de-Hoardersed it, but before we got some new boxes to hold the stuff that’s just stuffed on those bottom shelves. I think I have a hard time with “styling” bookshelves, because I have too much stuff that I want the bookshelf to hold. Styled bookshelves are awesome, but a vase/picture frame/other trinket takes up the space of lots of books! Maybe that just means I need two bookshelves…

I reckon I had a nice little Christmas break… not from work, necessarily, but from a few things like blogging… and blogging. But thankfully the break was a productive one, so at least I’ll have a few things to write about!

First of all, if you’ve visited my I Want To page, you may have seen that one of my goals is to run a marathon. Well! (drumroll) I took a leap of faith/stupidity and signed up for one! In April! In California! With HILLS!


The training plan is as follows (note my diligence at crossing off the days I complete- but I wasn’t that diligent in week 1 ’cause it was Christmas).

So yes, yesterday I did run 7 miles with Carrie and Kristin. And you know, it wasn’t that bad. It’s funny- last year when we were training for the Salt Lake Half Marathon, we were all freaking out about 7 miles- heading down to Running Co. to buy gels and blocks and whathaveyou. This time, I woke up Saturday morning, rolled over and texted Carrie “Are you doing 7 miles with us” and dragged my butt out of bed to meet them 30 minutes later. No big deal!

Except really, 26.2 miles is a big deal. We’ve done 13.1

but let me tell you, by mile 12.5 I was thinking “Iwanttostop Iwanttostop I’mneverrunningafullmarathon thissucks makeitstop Stanstoptakingpicturesofme”. What is it about the human spirit that makes us want to torture ourselves? To push ourselves to our absolute limits by doing crazy things? And how, in that same body, can there possibly exist someone who sometimes only wants to watch 30 Rock all day and do nothing else? Fortunately I have some pretty awesome friends who had a crazy moment and signed up too, so now we’re all stuck in it together and can push each other. Fortunately too, it’s in Big Sur, and goes along the most beautiful stretch of highway in the country, Hwy 1. So between that, visiting the aquarium in Monterey, patching bloody blisters, and massaging sore legs, this should be an awesome trip!

And as this is Hip HOUSE Girl’s blog, I’ll share a little something we did in the house. Stan came over one day and helped me go through my front bedroom, which is where all the junk goes that doesn’t have any other place. We got rid of about 2 garbage cans full of papers (what papers you ask? Beats me!) and a carload of stuff for the DI. Where was it all?? I have no idea. He also set up my piano finally (so I can stop piling it onto 2 coffee tables every time I get the urge to play something), and we moved the desk out into the dining room.

This is the guest room before:

And after the removal of the desk and a whole lotta clutter (the sewing machine won’t stay there):

Yeah, I lift weights.

I’ll say it again: I really need to decorate. But the angled futon is an improvement, no? Not so tight in there now? I’m sure I’ll enjoy the space when I’m doing my Denise Austin DVD.

This is where we put the desk:

I guess I could put the skis somewhere else.

It’s right next to the front door, but I think with a little lamp and something on the wall it can be it’s own little desk zone.

And for those of you who aren’t impressed by a little furniture rearranging and a marathon, you just hold your pretty little horses because we also did some yard work, kitchen planning, and some more kitchen planning (March is coming right up!)

As always, I apologize for the bad photography. But I need some help! These are vaguely the colors in my guest room (the lovely quilt made by Aunt Soozie doesn’t have to stay there). So… basically black, white, and Desert Castle.

Here is the Desert Castle against white trim:

After I’d painted (of course) I found this picture in an old Domino magazine and I fell in love!

I never would have put mint green with red and black. Could my guest room pull it off? Can I keep the Desert Castle or does it have no place with the Domino colors? I welcome your suggestions!

PS- while this project is a ways off, meanwhile I’ve had some exciting pro-bono electrical work done that I will share with you when I’m able to photograph in daylight. Thanks Brad!

We’ve all had a room in our house look like this at one time or another, right? Right??

Oh fine, probably not. But my guest bedroom doesn’t look like that anymore! It looks like this!

Still cluttered!

But at least a guest could actually sleep in there. I’d been looking at futons for a while, and my realtor had one like this and I liked it. It’s smaller than most futons but two people could still sleep on it (cozily). I found one for really cheap on extreme clearance at Shopko. Yes, extreme clearance (I made that up). But really, it was so cheap that two store employees didn’t believe me and went back to check on the price. Duh. I don’t know what to do with those lamps. My grandma gave them to me and claims they’re antiques (if you’re reading this grandma I believe you!) but they’re just kinda… ya know… fifties or eighties, I can’t tell which. Those pink flowers are the worst part, so maybe if I just turn them around they could be cool.

Here’s the other side. I can’t find the hardware to put the legs on my piano for the life of me. But that’s where it’ll go if when I find it.

And here’s the view from the futon. Yikes, I need to do something about those wires. There is only one outlet in the room on the opposite wall, so right now I have a rather unsightly extension cord just running across the floor. I do plan on getting some electrical help to remedy that. But I’m happy to report that the following items were free: the TV (left behind by my brother’s tenant), the spider plant (Stan’s mom), the nightstand thingy (Aunt Soozie) and the plant stand thingies (Aunt Soozie). I found a DVD player on sale at Costco, but then I discovered that it’s too wide to put on the nightstand. Tear. But I don’t watch that many movies so I’ll probably just wait to hook it up until I find another TV stand. I’ll have to just do my Denise Austin workouts on my laptop until then. “Grrreat.”

I need some help though. Once I get the piano set up, is the room too small to keep the desk in there? I’m thinking of another place in the house where it could go, so it may not have to stay in here. Oh, and obviously- OBVIOUSLY- I need some serious decorating help. And I take really bad pictures and most of them are at night because I leave when it’s dark and come home when it’s dark (poor me). I told Stan that I wanted a fancy camera so I could make my house look prettier on my blog and he cautiously said something like “What about, um, photography technique?” So I asked him to show me how to take better pictures with the camera I have, which he will do between researching rocks and water and inversion theory (math, not weather). So yeah, you can get excited for slightly better pictures in the future.

Oh, and don’t forget what it looked like before.