We moved into our tiny retirement home in Florida a little over a year and a half ago. The home was much in need of love and updates, so we rolled up our sleeves and commenced. Bedrooms came first, with fresh coats of paint and a little ingenuity to make the small rooms work. We landscaped the yards, and a lanai was added in addition to new windows and a roof. Things were finally starting to wind down before I spent an evening just staring at the “bonus room” at the back of the house, looking for inspiration.
It was added to the house by some former owners. In northern climates, it would have been considered to be a mud room. But, this is southwest Florida, and we have no mud, so that didn’t work. It’s tiny; no more than 8×7. Very little wall space was available, as the original outside doors were kept to separate it from the dining room, it has sliding doors that lead out to the lanai, a door to my husband’s music studio (i.e. man cave – save yourself and do not enter!) and a window to the outside. We didn’t even know what to call this room, as it lacked a function, so, we just called it Loretta. Loretta was quite a conundrum for me.
You can see that there are built in shelves in the corner. They really had no purpose, other than a place to catch clutter and home for a litter box. We put the cat food on one of the lower shelves so the dogs wouldn’t get it. (They could totally reach it, but for some reason, decided to leave it alone. Bonus!) Our kitchen is itty-bitty, and there’s very little cupboard space, so we put a cheap cabinet along another wall to use as a food pantry.
My brilliant plan was to turn the corner-clutter-catching shelves into a pantry. My long-suffering husband helped by building my crazy dream around the already existing shelves, plus adding a couple of extra ones inside. I used the paint that I had leftover from this crazy project on the lanai, since Loretta leads right outside, and I’m cheap.
This is where I think I started to go off the decorating rails. Before long, it became the anything goes room. I used pink spray paint for the lace effect, which I accomplished by laying old, lace curtains over the corners, then spraying over them. A peacock feather is used on a chain to close the doors. We now had a pantry.
Because that wasn’t crazy enough, I painted the walls light green, then added this bird cage that I made during what I can only call a psychotic episode. It reminds me of a cage in Whoville. I call the bird Nathan Lane.
Here’s the “before” shot of the next wall. The door leads to the man cave, a room I’ll never touch; not even with a dust rag. Or a camera. The cheap cabinet that used to serve as our pantry was moved to the garage, and now houses bales of paper towels and toilet paper, not to mention lots of crazy stuff I use for artsy projects. This is also where Ruth sits. (For the 20 people in the world who don’t know what a Ruth is, she’s my mannequin.) She was obviously dressed for Halloween when I took this picture.
Let the games begin!
Ruth now sits in the chair from the first picture, opposite what I now use as a computer desk. I picked the desk up at a flea market. It was actually an old library table, but this room is so small that I had to figure out how to make it fit. So, my husband cut it in half for me and mounted it to the wall after I went insane on it.
I made it tall enough to serve as my desk by putting it in leopard stiletto heels that I found on sale for $5.* Then, I also put fishnet stockings on it. I was on an insanity roll.
* The fact that Ruth is dressed in leopard is just a happy accident. She was dressed that way before I found the shoes. What? You don’t regularly change the outfits on your mannequins? face/palm
I used the same old, lace curtain to jazz up the top, and had a piece of glass cut to fit it. I “laced” the front of the drawers the same way. Beads are my drawer pulls.
I created a crazy sign to fit the flavor of the room.
And what funky room is complete without a funky, faux chandelier? I created this from Mardi Gras beads, fake pearl necklaces, and leftover Christmas decorations. I did buy some fringe from a fabric store, but the frame for it was salvaged from a discarded chandelier in our… uh… hallway. Yes, there was a chandelier in both of the tiny hallways when we bought this house.
I’d already painted the doors purple in Loretta right after we made the insanity that sits out on our lanai.
Basically, I just want to prove to y’all that the rest of my house is decorated with some kind of class.
Not a lot has changed from this view.
It’s brighter and cleaner, though.
The colorful decals on the door are to keep certain Jack Russell terriers and certain adult males from walking through the glass on the rare occasions that I actually clean it. The sign above the door was moved from a different wall to its new home.
This is Bobby. He’s lived with us for many years. He often wears hats and/or masks, along with an occasional wig that Ruth loans him. I just spiffed his corner up a bit.
I needed a place to put our beach towels for handy access when pool season starts back up, so I made this odd pouch out of fishing net. I spray painted it blue (yes, I painted the net!), then hubba-hubby hung it with strong, plastic-like string. I wound some fluffy, purple stuff through the top loops and up the strings. When it’s floating season, the damp towels hang off the hooks that you can see on the back of the door.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with my little oasis of insanity. I’m finally off the dining room table, and into a space of my own.
My new view doesn’t suck tremendously, either.
The whole project only cost about $150. We saved so much by using paints we already had, flea market finds, and bizarre things throughout the house that had no home. I hope I got all this craziness out of my head, because it really scares me that it was in there for so long. I could have exploded.