Mama’s Renovation Project: Liam’s Nautical Room

The most difficult realization I’ve come to in the last few weeks is that, soon, Liam will no longer have our undivided attention. He’ll have to share us with a little human who can’t yet communicate, cries a lot, and monopolizes Mommy’s time. He’ll realize that he often has to play independently to let us care for this new baby, and that he can’t always go to the playground or yell whenever he wants.

There will be new rules in our home, and, at first, many of them won’t be easy to accept.

I started feeling guilty every time we bought something for baby #2’s nursery, and constantly having to tell Liam, “This is for the baby”. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, I don’t know, but I decided that it wouldn’t be fair for this new baby to get a brand new nursery if Liam didn’t also get the chance to be excited about his own room.

I made it my mission to create a big boy bedroom from scratch, paint job and all. And, yes, this Mama did it all by herself!

I decided to move Liam to our playroom/office (one of our three bedrooms that we really hadn’t touched since we moved in) to make him feel excited about being in a new, updated space. This was the room before the renovation:

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Yikes, right?

The first step was to remove all of the toys, shelves, and ridiculous amount of “stuff” we’d gathered in this unused space. Then came the fun part: painting.

Ha. Just kidding.

Not fun.

Especially not 6 months pregnant and solo. It took me SIX hours.

Liam’s nursery was nautical-themed, but the color scheme was neutral (whites and beiges, mostly), so I thought it would be nice to accentuate this theme for his big boy bedroom. I decided on a navy, white, and grey color scheme with wood accents.

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I worked with some beyond talented Etsy vendors to decorate the walls of Liam’s room and I couldn’t be more thankful for their dedication to this project and its deadlines. They were more than generous and cooperative, and I will always be grateful. I encourage you all to click the links to their shops below, and check out the wide array of custom-made items they have available. You just can’t beat the quality and authentic look of  handcrafted artwork!

To really give you a sense of the space, as well as close-ups of the various wall accents, I put together a little video of Liam’s room. I am no videographer (as you can probably tell from this footage), but I hope you like it regardless:

Here are some of the links for the different pieces throughout the room:

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I found this simple, “Welcome Aboard” buoy on Amazon.

The anchor pillowcase and wooden helm are also from Amazon, and the plush octopus and blanket are from Target! They have a great kids’ nautical line at the moment.

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These “Drift Away Mia Stripe” grommet curtains were also from Amazon. I ordered and returned a few different styles, and have to say this brand is the way to go. They are thick enough to block out light (perfect for a baby or child’s room), and are the perfect length as well.
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.54.26 PMHow perfect is this “Let Your Dreams Set Sail” sign by BarnParty? Pictures really don’t do it justice. It’s so beautiful, and the perfect addition to the room.
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.54.22 PMUnless you have a nautical background, you might not realize that these signs read “Captain Riehm” in nautical flags. How unique is that?

Cindy, the owner of Ethel’sGranddaughter, has the most beautiful decoupage items in her Etsy shop. Decoupage is an old art form which dates as far back as the 12th century, but Cindy has applied her own modern twist to the process. The unique name of her shop is a homage to her grandmother, who taught her the value of creating things by hand, made with love. All of her items are created in limited quantities or even one of a kind. Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.54.17 PMI immediately fell in love with this custom anchor by DesignedSigns. I love the simplicity of it, and that it will most likely always have a place in Liam’s room as he grows older.
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.54.12 PMI couldn’t go the nautical route without incorporating this amazing octopus decal. It was actually the first wall accent we put up! Liam is obsessed with his “blue octopus” and love to share it with friends and family when they visit. Make sure you check it out (as well as other cool decals) on WallumsWallDecals.
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Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.53.22 PMMyDistressedLifeShop has been the most amazing discovery. Jamie and Robert, the owners, are two of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. I was initially interested in just a few nursery items (which I will be sharing with ya’ll soon!), and they went above and beyond this request, providing not one but multiple wall accents for Liam’s big boy room. The quality of their work is simply impossible to convey through photos… and they created all of the items in only a week! I love that this power couple works as a team: Robert is the woodworker, Jamie the painter. They truly are a pleasure to work with, and I couldn’t recommend them more!Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.54.03 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.53.52 PMDavid, the owner of DirtRocketDesigns, is always on the lookout for new ideas. If there is something you want for your home, he can make it! Large scale, quantity, you name it. Just shoot him a request! This beautiful navy compass is made from high quality durable steel and powder coated to last a lifetime – it can even be hung outdoors! I am obsessed with how it looks in Liam’s room, and definitely one of my favorite accents.

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.53.58 PMCandy, from GrayKeyDesigns, created one of the most special pieces in Liam’s room. I love that it includes my son’s full name, a homage to my father, true family man and man of all trades. I have admired him since I was a young child and only hope my son will be as great a man as he is. It is very touching to have this tribute up on the wall of my son’s room!
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.53.48 PMI was always a fan of porthole decals for a nautical-themed bedroom. Not only that, but it’s the safest decor to have right above a toddler’s crib! No one wants to go to bed worrying that a 10 pound sign will fall on their child in the middle of the night. No way. Liam loves pointing out the “fishies” and dolphins above his bed, and this Mama gets to sleep peacefully… at least for the next couple of months! StickItGraphix has a wide array of decals available. You’ll be impressed with their quality!
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 2.53.43 PM 1Me? Oar-obsessed? Yes, I am. I went with two different styles for above Liam’s bedroom windows: the top one, by MyDistressedLifeShop was one of the items they custom-made for Liam. I love the rope detail and slightly worn style. It looks beautiful!

TheShabbyShak has a ton of different oar styles available on their shop. I love the simplicity of this style, with just three thin navy stripes. But Angela’s store is way more than just oars: she offers a multitude of items, all so beautiful and delicate, from deer heads to farmhouse steel decors. You must check her out!
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 7.03.51 PMThese AlaskaRugCompany letters were a part of Liam’s nursery decor. They were actually up right above his crib, and we had to take them down when our crazy toddler started pulling at the letters and loosening the nails. The rope is refurbished Alaskan fishing rope, and I absolutely love the look. Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 12.23.58 PMI mentioned The Org Store in my October Picks post, but have to bring them up again as they are my favorite storage bins for Liam’s room. One of them is jam-packed with stuffed animals, and the other in his closet with the clothing my son is quickly outgrowing. They are so easy to fold away and store, too. Check them out on their website or Amazon!
Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 7.06.23 PMFinally, this beautiful painting was a gift from my grandmother before Liam was born. It will always be such a precious piece of art in our home.

I am thrilled with how Liam’s bedroom came out and have all of these amazing shops to thank for the result. Liam is in love with his “big boy room” and this alone makes all the hard work worth it.  I once again encourage you all to browse the Etsy shops above and see if anything catches your eye. I know I could spend hours checking them out!

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The Org Store

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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