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Branching out

Craft - inspired by Resene, from Little Treasures magazine

Lucky Lola’s got a new bed in a tree and a cool retro-dairy mural, thanks to her Dad’s late-night dedication to her room makeover.

Our Resene Room Three winner, dad-of-two Josh Cowley, is clearly a man who thrives under pressure. He finished this bedroom at 4am, the day our photographer arrived to shoot it. The Wellington builder and former signwriter had a clear vision for his four-year-old daughter Lola’s bedroom (see his detailed plans opposite) which encapsulated the feel of yesteryear New Zealand. But finding the time to execute it proved more difficult.

A treehouse bedroom

Most of the money for this project went on the one-off treehouse bunk bed, which has another couch-bed below for when friends sleep over.

Despite having several months to complete the room, Josh pulled it off in 11 days, obviously spurred on by our looming deadline. “All I can say is that people that seem to be really organised mustn’t fulfil in other parts of their lives!” he says with a laugh.

The main focus of Lola’s room is the treehouse bunk bed. Josh used the bulk of his $750 prize money to buy the timber for this, then cut it into its unique shape before fixing to the wall using big meaty screws. Underneath is a cute little couch which Josh made from marine plywood. Painted in Resene Ballerina it will double as a second bed for Lola’s guests when she has sleepovers. The steps leading up to the bunk were also built by Josh and painted by wife Lisa using Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Alabaster. The pretty blue of the wall behind was achieved using Resene Dreamer with a top coat of Resene Pearl Shimmer. An undercoat of Resene’s Magnetic Magic means Lola can hang up her drawings.

Bunkbed steps
*Lola on her bunk steps

Once the bunk frame was up, Lisa reports that Lola, four, and her big brother Jye, six, loved climbing up, donning earmuffs and watching the project unfold. “They would be singing at the tops of their voices with poor Josh hammering away below. They loved it up there and wanted to see it all.” Lisa, a part-time teacher who made the room’s soft furnishings, sourced her fabrics from Spotlight to make cushions and bunting and found cute extras such as the butterfly wall-hooks and a lantern which looks like it’s hanging from the tree. “The painting and sewing I did late in the evenings when Jye and Lola were sleeping, oh and there was a DVD hour or two in there!” she says.

The other outstanding feature of the room is the mural which depicts a Kiwi dairy of yesteryear. There’s a Tip Top sign on the wardrobe door and Foxton Fizz painted over the ‘window’ (a mirror), all underneath a faux corrugated iron roof overhang. This was where Josh could really put his 14 years’ signwriting experience into practice. Josh’s sister Rennee had picked up a load of old wooden boxes from the Foxton Fizz factory, and this is what had inspired him to run with the retro Kiwiana theme. “When we drew it up for Lola she didn’t know anything about it so I chose things that are cool. I like old signs and old brands. We put castors on the boxes and thought they would be great for storage.”

Josh used materials left over from old jobs as much as he could. “The window frame is from my parents’ house [which Josh renovated] and the mirror from another old job. I had the local glazier cut it in half, which he did for free, and I put it low enough for Lola to use. That would have to be my best bargain.”

A minor crisis was averted when Lisa spotted a mistake as Josh was hastily finishing the signs in the early hours of the morning the photographer was due. Instead of Tip Top Josh had written Tip Tip. “Luckily I had just done it in pencil and hadn’t started painting it,” he says.

Josh, who is a big fan of Resene paints after using them during his signwriting years, achieved the weathered look for the shop by using a combination of Resene Sports Star, Resene Blue Jeans and Resene Hopskotch with Resene Crackle Effect. The bedroom door was painted with Resene Hopskotch to resemble an old wooden farmhouse door, and coated in Resene Write-on Wall Paint so Lola can practice her writing and drawing skills. ‘It’s something different from having a blackboard,’ says Josh.

A retro dairy mural

Josh pulled up the old carpet and painted the particle-board floor Resene Villa White, then found a $99 rug which reminded him of the grass often found around old buildings.

He reflects, “It’s been nice to do something for my daughter that’s different from what anyone else has and that she will always remember. She’s been so good about the whole thing, never grizzled or moaned about when I was going to start doing it. Now she has her own special room after sharing with her brother for three years. She’s really happy with it and has slept in there ever since it was finished.”

Josh and Lisa are big fans of TV renovation shows, and had often thought about applying to compete, but Josh says this project has made him think otherwise. “That night I finished at 3am I had about 1.5 hours sleep. I’m not the best without sleep.” However, he does hope this project could lead to another long-held dream of his – to work in the movie industry. With Wellywood just a short commute away from their home in Pukerua Bay, he reckons his skills could combine well to make him an excellent set builder. But like most builders he has a couple of things to finish at home first... the kids’ playhouse, some decking, Lisa’s ensuite wardrobe...

*The retro-window mirror, Lola on her bunk steps, the dairy mural, Lola with her family, some of Lisa’s handiwork and a fizz box on wheels providing storage.

Resene products used

Main walls: Resene Dreamer plus Resene Pearl Shimmer

Feature wall: Resene Sports Star, Resene Blue Jeans and Resene Ballerina coated with Resene Crackle Effect

Floor: Resene Villa White

Door: Resene Hopskotch coated with Resene Write-on Wall Paint

Steps: Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Alabaster

Tree: Resene Aquaclear semi-gloss

Couch: Resene Ballerina

Josh's Handy Tricks & Tips


December 2013/January 2014

Kid's Bedroom Decorating Ideas
View more decorating ideas for kids from Little Treasures magazine in the Resene kid's bedroom inspiration gallery.

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