This family was all ready to decorate their son’s room – but then had something bigger to deal with.
Stripping wallpaper is an exhausting process at the best of times. When our second Resene Dream Room winners Paul and Emma Anderson started preparing their son Roman’s room for its makeover they discovered three layers of the stuff dating back to the 1970s. Despite an enthusiastic start, Paul soon found he couldn’t even find the energy to keep up with his heavily pregnant wife – and the couple decided to wait until Paul took his three weeks’ paternity leave from his job at Harvey Norman to get stuck into the project.
Roman loves his new-look room
While normally alarm bells might have sounded about how he was feeling, the Palmerston North couple were distracted by the looming competition deadline – which was made even more challenging when the laptop containing all of Emma’s design files broke down – plus of course the impending birth of their second child!
Two days before Emma’s due date Paul, 26, got the results of his regular six-monthly x-ray and blood-test checks, learning that the Hodgkin’s lymphoma he beat five years ago had returned.
“It was a huge shock,” says Emma, 25. “We thought he was just going for the routine check-up and he’d be fine.”
Baby Vincent arrived one week later. “We had a really big conflict of emotions – we were really excited to meet Vincent and bond with him but all the while it was coinciding with Paul having treatment,” says Emma.
Organising a redecoration project while all this was going on would have made lesser people crumble but Emma welcomed the distraction.
The couple recruited friends and family from Wellington to travel up and help get the room finished while Paul attended multiple hospital appointments for chemotherapy and CT scans.
Emma says, “Everything unrelated to decorating made the process challenging but it kind of made everything else about the room seem simple after all the emotional stuff in hospitals. At times it kept me going. I’d finish one project then move onto the next.”
Once the wallpaper had been removed – thanks to Paul’s dad Murray and little Roman, 22 months, the walls were patched and smoothed over with a wonder product from Resene called Resene Broadwall Surface Prep & Seal Interior. They chose Resene Ziggurat for the walls which Emma loves as it switches from blue to greenie-grey depending on the light. “I like grey,” she says. “Roman has really blue eyes and charcoal makes them really stand out.”
Paul and Emma and their boys
While she has no design background apart from doing up her own bedrooms while growing up, Emma had very strong ideas on what she wanted for Roman’s room. The theme she went with was ‘Roman’s Empire’. “It’s really a play on his name. One of my brothers has called him the emperor since he was little. He’s not interested in one particular character or animal, it’s more the world around him.” She has reflected that broad interest, using their home town of Palmerston North as inspiration.
The main stand-out feature of the room is the screen-printed duvet cover on the bed. It includes motorbikes, buildings, bicycles and wind turbines, an eco-friendly aspect that the family associates with the city.
The other important items were the cute little desk which Emma bought off TradeMe and then painted in Resene Snap and Resene Sherbert. She pasted Cityscape wallpaper from Resene on the back. Some flat pack shelving in the wardrobe freed up more floor space in the bedroom. Emma paid $30 for the desk – her favourite purchase – plus $23 shipping, while the shelving and two drawers ended up at $229 and can be added to later.
At the end of the bed is another custom-designed feature – a magnet board and name plate (spelling ‘Roman’s Empire’) made from sheet metal. Emma designed it then got her brother Hamish to turn it into a CAD file. Advanced Sheet Metals in Palmerston North then water jet-blasted the design onto the metal. At $135 the cost was worth it for something different, says Emma. “Roman really likes it. I made some storage containers to represent [the city’s] FMG building, the pool, the library and the clock tower from an idea I saw on pinterest.com and he really loves putting his treasures in the boxes.”
Emma also made a skyline silhouette picture to go above Roman’s bed, purchasing the buildings ready-cut in black corduroy material for $28 from felt.co.nz. The plan was to have photographs of Roman’s family and friends peering out of the windows of the houses but that got put on hold, along with reinstalling a shelf and putting up some ceramic clouds and a clothes hook, due to the time factor.
Best bargains were the curtains from The Warehouse at $55 and a 100-percent wool rug, which was half price at $164, from Spotlight. Their complementary colours softened the look of the wooden floors as did a couple of throw cushions that Emma and her best friend Jess sewed from fabric, also from Spotlight. Emma’s mum Rayma also found a skyline magazine rack at Farmers, and Emma splurged $50 on an unusual stack of nesting blocks decorated with funny little scenes. “There was a risk of going over the top with the skyline theme,” she says, “so I tried to pull back and not buy everything because once we started lots of things popped up.”
The verdict from the little emperor himself? “He really likes it and plays in there all the time,” says Emma. “He has adapted from the cot to his new bed with no problems at all.”
Paul, who has been told the outlook for his recovery looks positive, adds, “The room looks great and functions well. It’s cool to see Roman enjoying it.”
Created by Maryvonne Gray. Photography by Nicola Edmonds.
Kid's Bedroom Decorating Ideas
View more decorating ideas for kids from Little Treasures magazine in the Resene kid's bedroom inspiration gallery.