When my now 8-year old son was just two, he had one giant obsession: cars. That kid woke up talking about cars, went to sleep talking about cars, and he spent every moment in between either playing with cars or talking about how he wanted to play with cars. He was a fun little man, and Lightening McQueen was his hero. And if we are being totally honest, Lightening McQueen was my hero, too, because he helped get me through some rough moments as a first time mother.
So, I did what any crazy, DIY loving mom would do and painted a car mural on every wall of his room. The cars were cartoon styled to match his (then popular) bedding from Target. The delight on his face when he saw the room for the first time is one of those moments that, as a mother, I will never forget.
In the past few years, Zack’s obsessions have changed. Although he does still like to play cars with his 3-year old sister and has never turned down a chance to watch his buddy McQueen, Zack’s primary obsessions are now Lego, Minecraft, and sharks. When I brought up the thought that we needed to redecorate his room since he had outgrown the toddler car theme, I was met with a lot of resistance. Zack is a very sentimental kid (a trait that he doesn’t get from me), so the thought of his car room going away brought out the tears.
I gave him about six months to get used to the idea. One day, he came to me and said, “I’d like to have a shark room.” He wants to be a marine biologist – which is funny to me, because that’s what I entered college to be but I had never shared that with him. “Yep, we can do that!” I replied. “But, with a little mid century modern twist.”
“Huh?” he said.
Using Photoshop Elements, I put together a mood board using my ideas for his room. Since he outgrew his car room so quickly, I don’t want to go down the themed room route again (I should have listened to my friend Melissa back then). I want to make it “feel” sharky while having very few actual sharks in the room. Zack loves the above image, so I think we are headed in the right direction. This is really the first time I’ve ever done a mood board for one of my rooms, but I’m already thrilled that I put it together.
I have been collecting vintage furniture pieces for him over the last year, since I wanted to get rid of the super basic (and toddler friendly) Ikea Malm pieces that he uses now. I found a similar MCM bed to the one in the mood board and a matching nightstand on Craigslist and inherited a similar dresser that was my great grandmother’s. The bed and nightstand both need to be refinished, so I originally thought that I’d repaint them white to keep it easy. But, I’ve recently decided that I want to keep them truer to their original style, so I’m likely going to sand and re-stain them close to their current color. The dresser is in great shape, so I won’t have to do anything there.
To bring in some sharks, I want to paint a piece of MDF similar to the modern reproduction of the Jaws poster pictured in the mood board and hang it above his bed. For the wall color, I want to do an ombre white to teal look so that its wave line matches the wave line in the poster. I haven’t decided if I’ll do that paint treatment on all four walls yet, but his room is so dark that I need to bring in a lot of white paint to brighten it up. I’ll definitely have to paint the ceiling white.
For his window treatment, I really love the mid century look of a wooden rod with brass ends. A sweet friend gave me yards and yards of navy blue velvet that she used to have in her home, so I’m going to turn them into curtain panels.
Zack has helped me pick his bedding – a lot of which we’ve already purchased. I like to layer my beds, so we have a blue chevron duvet cover and a gray and white geometric quilt. We found some shark sheets that he likes, so I’ll probably buy him a set of those and then a set of plain white sheets (or some other fun pattern if I come across them). Thanks to our amazing public elementary school, Zack is a bilingual (he’s in the Spanish Immersion program), so the Hola pillow is a must. It really surprises people when the blue eyed, blonde haired, tall, lanky kid busts out a fluent conversation in Spanish!
His room needs a lot more light than it has now, so I need to bring in something large to hang overhead. I adore the chandelier pictured in my mood board, so it may become this room’s splurge (at $348 – GASP!) if I can’t find something similar for a cheaper price. I’ve looked at a lot of lamps styled like the one on the nightstand, and I’m pretty sure that I could build it myself. We’re also considering putting a skylight or solar tube in for him (his only window faces North, so he doesn’t get much sunlight).
I do have other things I want to add to the room – a giant magnetic board for him to hang his drawings, posters, and special papers; a desk for him to do his homework; a place for him to play with Lego that then folds away into hidden storage. Oh, and I need to completely redo his closet – it’s a huge walk-in closet where the builder only installed one shelf and one clothing rod. Needless to say, you can’t even walk in there most days, because there is stuff everywhere. Jimmy Hoffa may actually be in his closet, so I’ll let you know if I find him.
I’ve been collecting ideas for his room on a special Pinterest board, which I’d love for you to follow. Everything that I’ve been considering – plus the exact pieces shown in my mood board – can be found there. I’ll keep adding as I have new ideas.
I won’t be able to get started on Zack’s room until I finish the Mary Blair Project (not to be confused with the Blair Witch Project), but I’m hoping to get that finished before the end of the summer. Then, it’ll be time to get sharky!
What do you think? Do you think this is a good direction to head for a nearly tween boy? Any ideas for me? And if you see anything on Pinterest that you think I would like or should consider, tag me or send it to me! I love getting pins from y’all.