Turning My Son’s Room into the TV Room (Part 1)

Why positive change in our homes can become an emotional process.

Dateline: April 6, 2021

My 1960s ranch is three bedrooms, one bath — all laid out in 960 square feet. It’s not large but it’s served me well all these years.

The smallest bedroom, which is currently my office, used to be my son’s room. When he was four, it was the perfect size for his junior bed, a dresser, and bins of LEGO, action figures, and assorted flotsam and jetsam of a typical boy.

Then one day (which happened in a blink of an eye), he was a pre-teen. “So Mom,” he said one day, “can I have your office? My bedroom is too small.”

My office was the larger second bedroom. By that time, I had been working at home for years and was going nuts. I found a funky office building nearby and rented my first commercial space.

My son moved into the larger bedroom. . . . and then life happened. My son became a teen. The commercial space didn’t work out. I moved my business back home and took up residence in the smallest bedroom — which had become what I called “the ironing board room” because that’s where I did my ironing (I never had to put the ironing board away — so convenient!).

Then, my son graduated high school and poof! off he went to college in New York. I went from Green Day blasting out of his room to an eerie silence and an empty house.

My son’s room after he left for college. (A little blurry, but it’s the only one I have from that time period. He wanted a spartan room, painted black, which I refused!)

After he left, I did an initial clean out of his room because he was a slob. But I left things as is because he would come home during holidays and vacations . . . that is, until he officially moved out in his junior year.

Still I did nothing. I missed him so much my heart ached. I kept the door to his room closed.

The hallway, as it looked for years, with my rescue Sheltie, Simon. The door to my son’s room, at the end of the hall, was always kept closed.

Visits from New Zealand

I’ve worked with my good friend and colleague, Rachel Cunliffe, since 2010. In 2017, she announced she was visiting in order to attend EASTEC, a tradeshow in western MA, with me.

Yay! I spent weeks preparing for her visit (even cleaning out the garage and restoring the wrought iron railing on the front porch!) — and fretted about my son’s room. He had insisted on having his bed sit directly on the floor without a bed frame.

I watched a YouTube how-to video from Rust-Oleum and repainted my rusted wrought iron railing in a weekend. Super easy!

“No worries,” said Rachel. “I can sleep anywhere.” She’s traveled around the world, but still, I made the room as nice as I could for her first official visit to New Hampshire.

I cleaned and painted, bought new pillows and window shades, and welcomed her with fresh flowers and chocolate truffles.

Painting and cleaning.

Rachel visited a second time in 2018 and then again in 2019. I loved having her visit and cooking for her, so my initial inclination was to make the room a guest bedroom. I could envision myself welcoming travelers.

My son’s room, now clean and painted, awaiting Rachel’s arrival.

I looked at getting new furniture, but didn’t make any moves to purchase any. I was vacillating: Maybe I should make the room a sewing room or a TV room.

It took me a long time to realize I didn’t want to let my son go. By changing over his room, I’d make his being a grown young man official. Do all moms go through this process?

For those of you reading who have young children: enjoy them — every minute, the good and the bad. They really do grow up in a blink of an eye.

Time to move on: Creating a TV room

In the fall of 2019, I finally decided: TV room. I actually don’t watch TV, or not much anyway. But, I do love movies. On the VCR. With DVDs I check out from the library. (I don’t do streaming because I’m tired of tech companies tracking everything I do).

I knew I didn’t want a TV in my living room (or “lounge,” as Rachel calls it) as I wanted it for entertaining. And I definitely didn’t want one in my bedroom.

Once I decided to create a TV room, the pieces quickly fell into place. The first piece I purchased was a vintage 1960 Danish office credenza. As soon as I saw it in the Boston shop, I knew I had to have it.

The shop owner would travel to Denmark each year looking for vintage mid-century pieces.

Creating the TV room has been a wonderful process, one where I discovered my passion for pattern, color, and texture — all combined with Made in the USA . . . which I’ll cover in Part 2.

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