Palmer House

Renovating and Restoring Our 1880 Folk Victorian

When Chris and I were brought through Palmer House for a showing, the one and only thing I remember wanting to change was the color of the walls in the mater bedroom. While standing in the room I remember turning to Chris and saying “These lavender walls have got to go!”. I have nothing against lavender…it’s my favorite scent of all time. It’s a beautiful flower. It is the essential oil that is constantly in my diffuser at night, but it’s not anything that I wanted on my bedroom walls!

There were other things that needed to be fixed about the bedroom as well. The ceiling fan in the room was off center, which didn’t make any sense to me. There was an odd pendent fixture on the ceiling, and the wall near the doorway was half sheetrock and half plaster with a weird cut in about halfway down the wall.


To top it off, the sheetrock around the ductwork for the central air was built up so thick, that at 5’4″, even I felt the need to duck, never mind my 6’1″ husband! It wasn’t attached to the ceiling properly…just mudded into place, so the entire thing was falling down!

We hired the man, the myth, the legend – aka, my dad – for the job of renovating this room. At this point, neither of us were brave enough to take on any part of the plan we put in place for my dad to accomplish. My dad has thirty plus years experience as a contractor, and there was no one else I would trust my house to. We wanted the sheetrock on the ductwork torn down and replaced with new sheetrock that would allow for headroom as you walked into the room – and we preferred it attached to the ceiling. We also extended it all the way across the room to the opposite wall, which made it a smoother transition and more continuous and natural-looking in the room. Once it was done, we gained almost three inches of clearance! I also wanted the wall near the doorway fixed, and we decided to cover the bottom half, which was plaster, with sheetrock. When we removed the pendant fixture, we found a capped, but hot electrical box underneath. Instead of hiring an electrician to take care of it, we hard-wired a smoke detector in it’s place.


We made the sheetrock hug the ductwork, and as a result we gained about three inches of headroom walking through the door. We also extended the sheetrock all the way across the room to meet the closet. This made the ductwork disappear into the room and the whole thing appear more fluid.



This is where the pendent fixture was, and where the new, hardwired smoke detector is. No more batteries here! But don’t worry – there is a battery-powered smoke detector in the hallway in case the power goes out!


Other, small changes were made. We tore down and replaced some crown molding that was either falling down or missing, bought covers for electrical sockets that were missing, and cracks were patched in the ceiling.

Then…came my mistake and my lesson. Paint. My love. My hate. Ugh. I found that I have no eye for paint color. If you look at pictures of homes from the Victorian era, there is a LOT of color. Bold color. Deep reds, golds, emeralds, and amethysts. Those colors are just not in my color wheel for my home. What I wanted was a tope-y tan color that would match the duvet on our bed. I picked a color that I thought would work – Milk Toast. OH MILK TOAST, HOW YOU FOOLED ME!! We did everything that every contractor, website, YouTube video and blog would tell you – we painted a patch of it on the wall, in the corner, near the window and watched it throughout the day for a couple days as the light changed. I swear, it looked brown. It looked brown! We planned on keeping the trim the same color, as we didn’t want to invest more money on either wood-stained trim, or more paint. I mean we just bought a house people! We needed to pinch a few pennies! Anyways…I decided I liked the paint color and told my dad to go ahead and paint the whole room. I came home from work, walking in the bedroom and said “Oh my God, it’s PINK!”.

That’s right. My tope-y brown, with two coats of paint on a full room, was actually pink. I quickly ran to the computer and looked the color up. When I was standing in front of all the swatches in Lowes, I didn’t even notice that I had gravitated towards the RED section! NOOO! I had paid for the paint and I had paid for my dad to put the paint on the walls! There was no going back now…the pink was going to stay.

The only other thing that we agreed to keep, at least for now, was the new carpet that had been installed in the room. We know that there are original wood floors under the carpet, but at the time, we just didn’t have the money to put into the floors. The carpet was new and it was in great shape, so it was also there to stay.

Most recently, the paint color in the room has been driving me CRAZY. The bedding that we had, up until last week, consisted of a blue quilt, blue throw pillows with various patterns on them, a tope-and-ivory colored duvet with a floral pattern on it and matching pillowcases. It’s very pretty, but in a Folk Victorian with pink walls (barf), it clashed on both the color and modernity counts. It got to the point where I was itching for a new project, and I was to the point where it was going to come down to me buying paint and doing the whole room over or me buying a new quilt and new covers for the throw pillows to make it tolerable until we have the money to re-do the floors and re-paint the room at the same time. In the end, that made more sense economically. So I purchased an ivory quilt off of, and throw pillow covers from Pottery Barn in muted tones that would work with the pink (Again…barf). The duvet stayed the same. Sometimes, I guess we have to settle for the temporary fixes instead of the whole shebang…



Here is what the bedding looks like now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of the old bedding…the consequences of starting a blog two years in! Here are some of the things I love about our master bedroom:



This dresser was in Chris’s parents house. When we got engaged and moved in together, we sanded it down and put a couple of coats of polyurethane on it. It came out beautiful, and it’s a piece that we will keep in the house forever.


I managed to catch two things I love about my room in one shot. The two small windows in our room are charming! The two Drambuie boxes came out of my late Uncles’ house. I use them like an end table and decorated them with books from his house, pictures of my grandma at our wedding, and my favorite shot of us at our reception venue.


But THIS. This is one of my new favorite things! This was a hand-me-down from a dear family friend.


And what’s more, it goes perfectly with my great-grandmother’s sewing stool! Plus it’s from the same generation! (Guest appearance by Cinder)

So what’s next for this room? For now, nothing. Renovations cost money and must come by priority, and this room isn’t our priority right now. But don’t worry! There will be other fun things to come! So stay tuned!

“Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, and with him rise weeping.”
– William Shakespeare

2 thoughts on “The Lavender Has Got to Go!: The Tale of the Mater Bedroom

  1. rebieswalley says:

    I loved reading this. I am in the process of revamping a house we just moved in and it is a slow process.


    1. It is! I thought that I would be able to post weekly on updates to our house, but we haven’t been able to do anything for quite awhile between budget, weather and time!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: