Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Room to Heal In

Sorry I was MIA this week. I took a last minute trip to West Virginia to visit my sister and help cheer her up. You see, a few weeks ago she woke up with a strange numbness in her feet. A couple of days later she was hospitalized and practically paralyzed. Needless to say were all terrified and baffled by her mysterious and scary condition. A spinal tap (that was successful after 4 attempts!) confirmed the diagnoses - Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). Thankfully, GBS is treatable. Unfortunately, it temporarily cripples its victims and requires months (sometimes even years) of recovery. All signs seem to indicate that my sister's recovery will be on the shorter end of the spectrum (not that a few months is a short period of time).

I got a teary call from my sister last Friday and I quickly made plans to visit her this week (Tuesday through Friday). In addition to helping with the cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my sis; I set out to organize and decorate one room in her house. How can a person recover if the space they are in isn't bright and comforting. I decided to tackle her basement/family room. I cleaned, organized and decorated. It was a big project, but well worth it!

The first area I tackled was the office. I rearranged the furniture, took the posters off the walls, created a gallery wall with framed art work the owned, organized the desk, created a giant pin board, and brought in some new lighting. To hide the cluttered storage on the wire shelves (below) I created a slip cover for the unit using the existing curtains in the room. I also found a new home for the mailing tubes - an unused planter I found in the yard (cleaned and spray painted of course).

Next, I focused on the area between the office and the living area. We brought a large bookcase down from their dining room, styled and organized the bookcase, and swapped out the concert poster with some wall hangings I found stacked on a shelf by the fire place. In addition to wanting to visual separate the office from the living area, I wanted to make the space more kid friendly. I found the perfect solution in a play tent. I used two twin flat sheets and  a hula hoop to make this tent. Check out my "sew easy" pattern here.

front of the play tent

view from the living  area to the office area
Next, it was on to the living area...

The living area felt a bit crowded with all of those bookcases and curtains around the TV. I moved the long bookcase on the left to a spot behind the couch and moved the one with the drawer to the laundry room. To add a little color to the room I painted the remaining bookcase a glossy green. A small stool/ottoman was placed by the TV to keep the little one from getting to the wires and a toy chest (a thrift store find I sewed a liner for) was brought in to store toys.

the toy bin (don't worry they'll baby proof the outlet)

bookcase behind the couch
I think the window treatments made for the biggest transformation. I lined bamboo shades with the brown curtains and sewed a simple valance for the existing curtain rods. They look so much cleaner and make the room feel much bigger!

The last area I addressed was the fire place...

I didn't really do much here. Just cleaned and organized. I used art and other objects I found around the house to dress up the mantle. The sliding door by the mantle (not pictured in the before photo) also had dark brown curtains. I whipped up some much lighter curtains (with flat sheets!) and hung them at the same level as the tops of the windows. I swear this instantly added a foot of height to the ceiling.

I am really glad that I was able to help my sister and her family. I loved working on her basement and its got me thinking about a possible career as a professional organizer.  Hopefully the next time I visit my sis we will be able to tackle a design project together.

my darling niece and her favorite new thing in the room


The Packs said...

Best room ever! thank you so much!! Love ya sis!

Joe G. said...


Better Browns said...

Awesome work; you're a great sis!


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