Monday, August 9, 2010

Room Inspiration - Boy's Room

My son's "room" is actually the playroom off of the living room.  Although there's a door frame between it and the living room, there's no door - and to add one would make the living room feel a thousand times smaller than it already feels.  My son doesn't sleep in there - he sleeps in a toddler bed in our room.  I know, I know - he's 4.  But this house has funky wiring and was built by handymen according to whatever mood they were in that day.  I don't think that we're living in a death trap, but I am a little too paranoid to trust him sleeping so far away from us.

Anyway, a while back I decided to finally pay some attention to this room.  Up until then, we had basically shoved all of my son's toys onto a mismatched collection of shelves and called it a day.  It's a small room - 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 - so I decided I needed to really concentrate on designing a room that was functional and had lots of organization.  But first I needed some inspiration.

My son is really into cars.  REALLY.  He has a huge Hot Wheels collection thanks to his older brother and a dad who can't take him grocery shopping without buying a new one.  So, obviously a car theme would be appropriate.  But I didn't want to go to "kiddie" theme in the room - it is exposed to the living room and there are already a gazillion toys in there to prove that it is a playroom.  Plus, I'm sure my 14-year-old stepson (who sleeps in there when he visits) would enjoy not sleeping under a cartoon animal of some sort.

I started looking around for some cool artwork.  I really liked these type of vintage racing posters from

I played with the idea of fixing them to a board backing and distressing them to make them look truly vintage.  But I realized that what I really found appealing was the mix of futuristic and retro.  Have you ever been to Disney World?  Some years ago they gave Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom an overhaul.  The theme was Retro-Futuristic.  Instead of the ugly modernistic landscape of Tomorrowland's past, they decided to give it the look of how early sci-fi comic strips envisioned the future.

I wanted to go more in that theme.  But I had a lot of problems finding art to support it.  And since none of the furniture we had was extremely modern, I knew the art would be the key to bringing the theme to life.  One day, a web search unearthed Steve Thomas on Zazzle.  He's an artist who designed an entire series of posters that perfectly embodied my Retro-Futuristic theme.  Not only are they beautiful with incredible colors, but they have a dash of humor to them as well.

I had found Zazzle a couple of years ago when we were planning a trip to Disney (it all comes full circle, doesn't it?) and I briefly thought of making my family wear matching t-shirts.  But I had no idea that they had artists who sold their work through Zazzle - it's called ARTSPROJEKT.  With Steve Thomas' posters, I had the choice of 3 poster sizes (all very reasonably priced - especially considering the prices I had previously been contemplating at  You can even have them custom-framed.  They print the posters for you when you order, and you can even pick what type of paper you want them printed on. 

I knew I wanted to do a row of 3 posters, although I would have gladly bought the entire series if budget allowed.  I ended up choosing Travel to Jupiter, Travel to Saturn, and World's Fair Shanghai - mostly because I felt their colors were very complimentary.  I bought the Portfolio size (roughly 10x16) and because I bought 3, I received 5% off.  Total cost= $27.25.  (Shipping was free, but that may have been a special at the time or a coupon I got off of - Sorry don't remember.)  Not only are they beautiful, but I love that they are fairly unique - I don't see them every time I walk into World Market.

Please ignore the bright yellow paint (haven't picked a new paint color yet - therefore the pictures are not actually hung) and the bedspread (haven't decided it if will actually work or not).

A quick word about the frames.  I like standard frames and mats - they're cheap.  However, the posters are an unusual size and I was having no luck finding frames off the shelf.  Sadly, the posters sat in their shipping envelope for months while I half-heartedly looked around for an option we could afford since custom framing was not in the budget.

Wal-Mart to the rescue!  Sometimes I am amazed by Wal-Mart.  I rarely shop there because I find it to be a fairly unpleasant shopping experience.  They are improving a lot with their selection of home goods, and sometimes their prices can't be matched, but I always do much better on groceries shopping in grocery stores.  So Wal-Mart is not the first place I look to find something, but when all of my other searches were coming up empty - I gave it a whirl and found these babies:

$11.91 for 3 frames with free shipping to my house.  Not a typo:  $11.91 for 3!  I read the mostly positive reviews and made my selection ($12.89 after tax), but was still a little worried that they would show up cracked or really cheap-looking.  I was pleasantly surprised when they came in.  The frame part is black plastic, but that makes them really light so I don't have to worry about using anchors when I hang them up.  Behind glass, the posters look much more like high-end art.  If you notice, the frames are actually a little larger than the posters.  Instead of doing custom mats, I simply turned the white paper that came with the frame around, centered the poster, taped it, and framed it.  It looks like a more expensive floating treatment and works with the frames.

The frames are front-loading.  This picture shows how the glass pops out of the frames.  I don't know if I'm crazy about this style, but it was easy to install and hurt less than bending those little pieces of metal down to keep your picture backing in place.  And yes, that white stuff on my nail is paint, and not the nail polish variety.

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