Work on the Boys’ Room

WM pink and gray Rev3

Paint, 1

Paint, 2

Paint, 3

Paint, 4

(Sorry about the terrible instagram pictures! Yesterday was crazy, and I got home too late to take proper pictures. I know no one cares, and in the end it doesn’t matter, but they still bug me.)

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you are already familiar with the above pictures of the boys’ room. I’ve been painting samples on the wall since Christmas, and today the room is getting painted. Everything is in shambles. Furniture is all over the house, bedding piled up to the ceiling in the corner of Nicholas’s former room…I’m sure you can imagine. We have to paint the ceiling as well as all the trim and the closet. It’s a huge job, big enough that we paid for a painter for the 2nd time in 13 years. After the laundry room and garage and 31 days, we’re beat around here.

I better like the end result. I chose a soft white, even though everyone–including the Mister–thought a darker color would look better. I followed my gut so it better look great. If it doesn’t, it won’t be my husband that repaints, I can promise you that!

Mikey didn’t have an opinion on paint, but Nicholas did. He wanted a light color, and once I put the warm white on the wall, there was no changing his mind. I could have pulled rank, but it turns out that I was drawn to that color, too.

I’ve been craving a white room because I don’t want to be limited by a color on the walls. I love change so much; I don’t want to paint the room every time I get tired of blue and want green. Or get tired of green and want yellow. Besides, there will be plenty of color and pattern with the whacky bedding I’m going to make.

Yes, make! I’m crazy.

Paint, 5

Although making quilts for the boys is on my life list, I know picking the pattern and fabrics will take me years. I was about to call it a day and buy something I didn’t really like when reader-turned-friend Larissa suggested I make cheater quilts: one large panel of fabric with a thick border of novelty fabric, a little batting and binding, and done. We went to the fabric district in LA yesterday and bought the fabric. That’s it in the picture! (Like you didn’t already know that!)

I know it’s a lot of pattern, maybe a little crazy. It’s going to be classic ticking with a 7″-8″ border of fabric that represents the interests of the boys right now. Mikey is obsessed with military history, World War II in particular. Nico, of course, loves outer-space. The fabrics don’t really match, but that’s okay with me. It’s more important to me that the boys are thrilled with their mama cheater quilts, and I think (hope!) they’ll love them. I haven’t shown them the fabric or even told them I’m making their bedding. I want it to be a surprise. Also, if I totally screw it up and have to make a last minute run to Target for a bed-in-a-bag, no one will be the wiser.

Always a plan B. That’s the ex-attorney in me.


This post was part of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that details the steps I am taking to create an intentional home. You can see more of my goals and completed projects here. To learn more about this project, start here.


Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

  • Please link to a specific post, not a general blog address.
  • Your post must relate to your efforts to create an intentional home. I have a delete button, and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • No links to giveaways, please.
  • Let’s use this weekly link up as an opportunity to gather inspiration and motivation. Click links. Discover new people. Say hi and good job. I know I will.
  • //////////////////////////////////

    Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    fantastic idea to make quick quilts for the boys. They change so much as they grow up it could be a shame to spend forever on making them something that they grow out of quickly! Can’t wait to see the room finished!

  2. georgia says

    And I was about to say I quite like the patchwork on the walls 😉 But since you are going ahead with the awesome quilt fabrics you picked, going for white is the best choice.

    I would match the red ticking with the military fabric, sort of complements the flag.
    I’ve got a map fabric I would like to turn into window blind and is sitting there for over 5 months now… maybe I need a ticking fabric (and clock) to get on with it :) gX

  3. says

    Bravo! I’m very jealous of your trip to the L.A. fabric mart.. great fabric choices. Do me a favor- pull your quilt fabrics out and squint at them. They totally go together. You have paired stripes with a dot pattern, very advanced! Please don’t resort to plan B. Sewing is all about practice and you have to accept that the imperfections will make the quilt better. I have kitchen utensils from my mom that I use daily, not because they are the best tools, but because she had her hands on them…. that is what sewing is about to me.

  4. says

    I loved your photos–just because it made me feel better about some of my excursions into wall color choices. :-) I’ve become a convert to neutral walls, for just the reasons you say. Neutral might seem bland, but it allows you so many more options with everything else. And with boys who are growing and changing all the time, you want to leave options option. Looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.

  5. Missie says

    Love the fabrics and they totally compliment each other. Nice job, I know how hard it is to decide. I’m into sewing right now too, made 5 pairs of fleece pants for my 2 boys and 3 nephews. Easy project and fun to make something useful. As far as paint, my son has a bright blue on the bottom half and white on the top half with a Star Wars border in the middle. I love the white, it’s so clean looking. I think you’re going to be happy with it. Way to go Jules, fun stuff!

    • says

      Actually, believe it or not it wasn’t that hard to decide. Of course, there aren’t bolts and bolts of military and space fabric, so that helped. I pretty much decided between 3 patterns. :)

  6. says

    It’s going to be so nice and bright (and set off the big map so well)! I’ve been really drawn to white-ish walls lately, and keep showing my husband pictures of neutral walls for when we get around to repainting the family room (currently Hawthorne Yellow, which I love, but am ready for a change). As you say, I’m tired of being stuck in a color scheme when I want to change accessories. I would love to paint my older son’s room a similar color, but he is attached to the blue and lime green craziness. He does NOT like change. Maybe this summer I can convince him, especially if it comes with more bookshelves.

    • says

      Mikey doesn’t like change, either, but he loves clean, open spaces, which I think the white will do. I’m confident he won’t miss the poo-poo brown once he sees how fresh his room feels.

  7. Fairfax Avenue says

    Oh, here I come, feeding into your indecisiveness….you could make duvet covers. Or will these quilts be warm enough – or only for summer?

    Either way, the finished product will be well-loved. Their friends will ask, “Your mom made this?” and you will glow!

      • says

        Just in case it helps, I have a duvet (insert) from Ikea that is machine-washable, so that could be an option. Then you could make duvet covers (also easily washable) & not have to worry about knotting/ professional quilting?

  8. says

    I love the cheater quilt idea. They WILL love them. And possibly keep them for many, many years. There is something special about having something handmade by your mama (or Grandma). I have two throws from my paternal grandmother, who has been gone for 3 years. You couldn’t pay me to part with them. I just acquired one of them this fall, and when I unfolded it, tears sprung to my eyes. A whif of her came up and before I knew it, it was like she was there. {sniff, sniff}. ANYWAY, my mom has also made my husband and I 3 quilts (I’ve made one of my own – my first and LAST), and, like the blankets, I won’t be parting with them. You’re not making cheater quilts, you’re making memories. Memories that might very well go off to college with them. Proud of you!

    • says

      Oh! What a sweet story! I think they’ll love them, too. They’re at the perfect age. If they were tweens, they maybe I’d be more worried and include them in the selection process.

  9. Susan says

    They will be perfect! My mom made me a quilt just like what you are describing (solid beige center with horse fabric around the outside, backed with a fuzzy blanket and knotted randomly with yarn. I was one of those horse crazy 8 year old girls). I loved it for years and would have it still if not for a pesky flood in my first apartment. Enjoy making it!!

    • says

      Yes, what you described is exactly what I planned to do. I’m not sure if I will knot it or have it quilted. I don’t have a quilting machine, so I would have to send it out. That’s what I’m hesitant about–it’s so expensive!

  10. Jasi says

    if you use a solid color bed sheet on the back of the quilt, you can change it up and it’s already hemmed. i made a slacker duvet with two bed sheets and some creative puckering. no one knows..

  11. says

    So excited to see the results of the whole thing, but esp. the paint. I’m frustrated with my son’s room but not at the point to switch it out yet, so I’ll live vicariously through you. I’m also frustrated that I haven’t had a WM post in a couple weeks, but it’s been a busy month. Need to get back on the house horse.

  12. says

    I’m sure the white will be wonderful. So refreshing! Great idea to make the cheater quilts. I’d love to know how they turn out. Thanks for posting the Wm Morris posts–I’m pretty much cleaning and organizing justso I’ll have a blog post to link! The house is grateful, though.

  13. says

    You already know that I love white, so I’m thrilled that you’re going for it! There’s so much that can be done to add colour (like the great ‘cheater’ quilts that you’re doing). It will also look great against the wood of the bed frames (which is important). If you have enough of the novelty fabric left you could put a fringe/border, on the opening end, of the children’s pillow cases – because what you need now is more work, yup, exactly what you need 😉
    Can’t wait to see the room!!! Yay Nicholas for having a strong opinion and sticking to his guns :)

    • says

      Funny, I was just talking to Larissa yesterday how we would like to learn embroidery. I think embroidered trim around pillow cases is so sweet. :)

  14. says

    Are you using any sort of pattern for the bedspreads? I’ve been toying with the idea of making my own bedspread (my own spread is slightly too small for the bed, so I’d rather just make a spread than a duvet cover), but I’m worried about how to sew it so all the batting doesn’t just fall to one side or something. I’m a novice seamstress, so I’m nervous about the idea, but also so picky that I can’t find anything I love in my price range.

    • says

      No pattern! We’re making it up as we go along. To avoid the batting from slipping, you have to knot the quilt in places or have it professionally quilted. You could do it yourself, but as a novice (like me) I would send it out. Knotting it yourself is much, much cheaper.

      • Kendra says

        I wish someone would have taught those tricks to Justice. First time I washed the girls (expensive) sleeping bags (I didn’t buy them, don’t judge) all the batting slid to the end and they are pretty much useless now. :/

  15. says

    I love white for the same reasons as you; I get the itch to change it up about every two years. Also, I think the fabrics you picked actually go well together.

    I have a few quilts from my mother that I love and have kept for years. Ours is not the best relationship but those quilts are a tangible symbol of her love for me.

  16. says

    Can’t wait to see the boys room when it’s done! Love your William Morris series, I try to live by that quote around our house. I think simplicity is where it’s at with home design. :) Excited to see all the links that pop up! Thanks for hosting!

  17. Lisa in Seattle says

    Although you certainly don’t owe us an explanation of the white walls, it was very useful to read about your thoughts. Everybody says, “Oh, it’s only paint – if you don’t like it, you can always just repaint!” But somebody still has to spend hours agonizing over sample colors, and shell out for the paint, and move furniture out of the way, and laboriously tape around the non-painty bits, and apply two (or more!) coats, and and and. That s**t doesn’t do itself. If you don’t really love the whole process, then it’s *never* “just repaint.”

    I LOL’d about you getting over yourself re: the quilts deep in the boys’ room not “going with” the rest of the house. There’s a wise lesson for all of us.

  18. Kat in Canada says

    Based on the post about your writing group, I think the “Plan B” is also the perfectionist in you. 😉

    I have a quilt from my maternal great-grandmother- it was passed down from my Baba Catherine (my namesake), to my Grandma Sophie, to my mom, to me. None of the colours coordinate, and it’s scratchy as all get-out, and I don’t even know if I could wash it or have it drycleaned, and I’m scared to try, so I don’t use it, ever. The reason I keep it- despite being completely unusable and not display worthy- is because I know it was made from the clothes my Baba packed in her trunk, when she left the Ukraine and came to Canada in the early 1900’s. It makes me think of how brave she was, and how desperate she must have been to get out, that she would travel for weeks to end up on the Canadian Prairies where she knew nobody. And when I think about how people routinely wore flour sacks stitched into clothing, the fact that Baba had a trunk FULL of colourful clothes says so much about her spirit and personality. Needless to say, that quilt will not be leaving any time soon.

    So, what I’m trying to say is that A) the boys won’t notice any imperfections in your quilts right now. I mean, Nico splits his face open, and gets excited about the Band-Aids forming the number “7”- it doesn’t get more “see the silver lining” than that! And B) why would you want a quilt that is perfect-from-a-factory- this project shows your love for your boys, your desire to create a wonderful, comfortable home for them, and reflects the fact that you understand their personalities and want to display their uniqueness! I mean, if the Internet is full of pictures of furniture with chipped paint, and old-windows-used-as-art, surely there’s room for a loving mama with a slightly-imperfect pair of quilts?

  19. says

    Those quilts are going to be gorgeous and fun. I never thought of a ‘cheater’ quilt, but what a great idea. I would never make one if it meant piecing everything together. I made one once, in high school, for my cousin. It was smaller than a bath towel though. :)

  20. says

    I love “cheater quilts.” I cheat even more by making duvet covers out of flat sheets. I just sew them together on three sides and throw the out-of-favor twin comforter in there. TADAAAAA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>