Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Our Home | Andrew's "Teen" Bedroom

Last year I decided it was high time to make a few changes in Andrew's room.  He was turning 13 and his room hadn't been touched since he was 4.  We still had a white bookcase and dresser from his nursery furniture, red corduroy curtains that I hung as a compromise when we moved in (he wanted a red painted bedroom at the time since it was his favorite color), and framed vintage train bookplates for art on the wall.   If it had been tidy that would have been one thing but it was a disaster. All the time.  He had outgrown certain items and the space just didn't function for him anymore. In fact, when Midwest Living Magazine came to shoot our home a couple years ago, I declared the space completely off limits. Ha. So embarrassing!

When I suggested to Andrew that it was time to freshen things up, add some organization and declutter he wasn't very thrilled.  He liked his room just the way it was and didn't want a complete change.  He's pretty sentimental about his mementos (ticket stubs, travel souvenirs, photos, old cards, etc) and wanted to make sure it still felt like his space.  So we did all the planning together.  He choose the art, approved the purchases, and arranged his things the way he felt they should be.  We ended up with a room that reflects him so perfectly.  While the room now feels age appropriate and in better keeping with the rest of our home, it's still filled with the things he is passionate about in life.

Here is a breakdown of the changes we made.  All sources at the end of this post.

^^Let me start with a little background on his room. For starters, it is very large.  It was the original master bedroom in this home before an addition was built in the early 50s, so it has wonderful perks like two large closets and lots of natural light.  There is an magnolia tree right outside the window seat and tall pine trees outside the double windows.  We've always said it's a bit like a tree house with such pretty views. There is a charming sloped ceiling too - basically he's very lucky and we've already told Charlie he can get his turn in this space when Andrew goes off to college. ( ps. sorry I didn't iron the bedskirt and straighten the sheets - I was running against the clock and a low camera battery...)   The first change we made was replacing the former red curtains with bamboo shades.  They are not lined which works for Andrew.  It allows the most light in during the day. It is always dark when he goes to bed at night too, no matter what the season, so blackout lining isn't really necessary anymore.  Another change we made was updating the original ceiling light.  It was too horrible for words.  I'm usually a sucker for original hardware and lighting but not in this case.^^

^^ The burlap bedskirt, red nightstands, lamps and bedding are all old.  The slipcovered headboard, monogrammed shams and small print lumbar pillow are all new.  The early 1900's map of Cape Cod over his bed is new too.  Andrew loves the map and picked it out.  We've been vacationing on the Cape and islands since he was a baby so he has many special memories associated with this little corner of the world.  The reproduction vintage jockey on a horse was a a gift from his Daddy when Andrew was a baby and sat on a shelf in his nursery.  The antique chair is new to the room, an estate sale find.  The French bamboo hook is from a local antique store.^^

^^ The lumbar pillow was custom made locally^^

^^ A vintage, 48 star, framed flag replaced the train prints and an antique empire dresser replaced the white nursery furniture that was here.  The dresser is my favorite piece for the room and the one investment item I added.  My hope is it will go with him to his first home one day, it's a classic and I'm glad I waited until he was a bit older to purchase it for him (hopefully that means he'll take better care of it).    The flag was an eBay find, made in Ohio the same year our home was built with pretty hand stitched stars and stripes and brass grommets.  I had it framed with a white background in a black wooden frame with a thin antique brass border.  Again, this purchase was made with the hope he keeps it forever as well.  All other dresser styling was done by Andrew - original Kenner StarWars action figures, his favorite mini figures and a rare Batman Lego.  Ok, I added the old globe, but the rest is all him. :)^^

^^ An antique Bokhara rug was added at the foot of the bed.  I can't tell you what a difference this made in the room.  There is a lot of Ikea furniture in here that I wouldn't be terribly sad to replace but the truth is that they are functional and inexpensive and really practical with children (teens) but adding an antique here and there, plus some texture + layers with an old rug or an old flag really helps the room feel less juvenile, more cozy and more collected all at the same time. ^^

^^We added the window seat and swing arm lamp when we moved in years ago, but I updated the fabrics when we freshen up the room.  The bulletin board is a catch all for whatever Andrew wants to put on there.  Bulletin boards and shelves are two necessary items in all kid spaces.^^

^^Adding these shelves completely changed the room. Prior he had is favorite Lego displayed (I use that term loosely) on a bookcase, but the shelves were too deep so everything ended up looking like piles of junk.  I added the narrow depth open shelving to make this an ever changing large art feature in the room.  He switches it around when he completes new sets.  The wooden shelves are stair treads from Lowes and the brackets are from Ikea. (painted by me to match his trim) We did have them professionally hung because with plaster walls and the need for level and evenly spaced shelving this was a project we didn't care to attempt on our own.  Lego that aren't on display in his room are either on display in the playroom or stored in his Lego cupboard.^^

^^ Everything here - the ladder shelves, desk, chair, lamp - has stayed the same.  They aren't my favorite but Andrew likes them, so function and his preference won out for the time being .  I would really prefer a pine table for the desk and a wingback chair in this spot so it isn't such an Ikea explosion.   The only addition was the Star Wars movie poster. Originally we had planned to add the Cape Cod map over his desk and a trio of movie posters over his bed, but once we saw how busy the movie posters looked, we decided just to display his favorite and keep the map over the bed instead.  This is where Andrew sets up and conducts all his stop motion film making!^^  

^^ The closet to the right of his desk is the designated Lego cupboard.  I will not be photographing it anytime soon, but it is filled with a California Closet System of shelves that house lots of lidded plastic bins full of Lego.  It is a large closet with space for several rolling carts with, you guessed it, more Lego and film backboards, camera equipment, etc.  Basically, no clothes. The closet on the opposite side of the room has another dresser inside and racks for hanging clothing, though the top couple shelves have more Lego.  There are also 4 rolling bins under his bed. ;) ^^

^^ Again, having that old rug saves this little corner for me a bit.  Just a hint of something old nearby makes me like it a bit more. ^^

And that's it. For now.  No room in our home is ever finished.  There are still little changes that I will make here and there.  I'm still hunting for the perfect bedside lamps.  I have a pretty old engraving I bought of Paul Revere's home when I was in Boston that needs to be framed - a perfect print for this Revolutionary War history buff, plus it is a favorite North End spot for Jimmy and Andrew to visit when we are in Boston. The room will continue to evolve as more memories are collected and as his interests change and grow, which is often with young people.  Thanks for visiting! 


wall color: BM Manchester Tan
trim color: custom mix, formula: Y3: Ox 12.6875 | S1 1x 4.3750 | W1 Ox 22.5000 | R3 Ox 0.4375

flag, rug, dresser - antiques, estate sale or eBay finds


  1. Looks great! I found a similar Empire chest for my oldest's room when he was about 8, and it has survived, and now at 23 (gulp!) he plans to take it with him to his first place along with his 48-star flag, (which I never got around to framing). I love the Lego shelves and the Cape Cod map!

  2. It looks wonderful! Lucky Andrew! We are in the midst of redoing my oldest's room (a never ending project), & I've struggled with allowing her to keep what she loves vs pushing Mom'S design ideas on her. Glad I'm not the only one. Great job!

  3. Love this room Tessa! I think it's wonderful Andrew played such a big role in creating his new space - so important for kids, but (as I'm learning) difficult for parents. I also love how you incorporated some "forever" pieces for him!

  4. LOVE this room! My son is about to turn 14 and we have been working on his room for awhile. Like you, we have worked together but his taste is so different from mine it is hard! You've done a wonderful job blending the two of you so it still fits your home and allows him to have the things he loves too. Great job!

  5. What a lucky guy! I really like how you have used such a mix of furnishings and how it looks like you have collected them over time. Such a beautiful classic room with a boy's touch!

  6. I love the details in the room. You can see the love that went into putting the room together.

    Would Andrew be willing to share some information (with my boys) about making stop motion go films with Legos? :)

  7. What is the color of the trim. So beautiful


    1. The trim is a custom mix, I've included the formula above, hope that helps.

  8. My favorite part is the flag. Is there anything better than an American flag? I think not. Looks good!

  9. I love the casual warmth you bring to a space!

  10. I love the casual warmth you bring to a space.