Thursday, August 5, 2010

The "Mini Livi"

Remember that horrible third bedroom in our apartment? The one which I said was going to be better someday?

Yes, that's the one!

[This is my story about how rewarding it can be to start from scratch and make a visible difference. Although, this room was so ugly, it would have been difficult to NOT make any improvements no matter what you decided to do. You can be the judge.]

Don't get me wrong--I love having a 3rd bedroom! We are very privileged to have three bedrooms in our apartment. Extremely blessed. But what in the heck were the previous owners thinking? What made the scary-demon-dog-balloon wall paper, as well as all the neon greens and blues worse, was the horrible lighting that made everything take on an unearthly "glow". It was like stepping into a tanning bed that doubled as a disturbed child's bedroom.

Initially, for lack of resources, language skills, and energy, this room went unnoticed and untouched by the Shenyang-Johnsons. The most it was ever used was to store props during "The Secret Garden".

There was also the problem of the furniture. Our Land Lord said that there was nowhere else for him to store the furniture, so he could not remove it. Furthermore, the furniture had been assembled inside the room, so it was too large to remove without severing it into smaller pieces.

There was the problem of the horrible, dirty wallpaper. I have never removed wallpaper before, although I have heard enough stories to make me scared of attempting it on my own. I also don't know where to purchase the equipment to carry out such a task. Plus, our land lord did not want us to paint the room--even if we used white paint!

These were the obstacles that stood in our way, but gradually things began to change. Our land lord started by removing the bed, and then giving us permission to remove the wallpaper and repaint the room WHITE. Later on, the desk was also removed. Progress could also be blamed on my ultimatum which I had given our land lord in May: "either let us paint the room, or deduct its square meters from our rental contract".

While we were in America, our school's maintenance department arranged for a painting crew to come in and fix-up the walls! It was a little eerie when we returned to our apartment. I knew something was wrong immediately because our front door wasn't locked, and when I walked inside, many of our windows were open (scary!). There were piles of junk in our guest bedroom, and there were dusty foot prints all over our shiny wood floor. The unexpected intrusion was worth having the horrible wallpaper removed; the walls looked so much better with a fresh coat of white paint!

This past week, I have been working on continuing the process of making our mini living room. I was hoping to have it completely finished by the time Adam returned Tianjin (as an anniversary gift--"hey Adam--look at all the cuteness, don't worry about the money it cost to get it this way, just look how different/cute it is!"). But alas, the couch could not be delivered until after he returned home.

It is amazing that we were able to even get that long/wide couch into our tiny room! The door ways are short and hall way is skinny--something I had not factored into my decision making process at the store. You know, as I was standing there, pinned against the hallway wall, trying to shove our brand new couch into our little room, I was stressing out about what the heck I was going to do with it if it wouldn't fit through the door. I couldn't even fathom how I was going to return it to the store with my limited Mandarin abilities--how would I even transport it back? I was really regretting my purchase and kicking myself for not thinking about this technicality. No matter how much we flipped, pushed, twisted, rotated---it just wouldn't budge!

...And then, a miracle happened--it just popped through the door! It was as if the door had birthed this piece of furniture and our room was its proud parent. In the end, I was very thankful that Adam was around when our couch was delivered---there is no way I could have done this by myself!

Cool lamp (just noticed the shade is crooked in this picture) to help conquer the disgusting lighting issue.

Everything in our new Mini Livi was either bartered for in markets (e.g. curtains, rug), was already in our possession, or was acquired through the wonderful franchise called IKEA! I apologize for the fact that all of the pictures are slightly out of focus. I had our camera on manual focus, but neglected to focus any of the shots--since I don't wear my glasses, everything always looks slightly out of focus anyway.

What do you think of our Mini Livi? Too girly? It's hard to tell, but the couch is BROWN. Also, many of the frames still need pictures...working on that one still...



  1. love the mini livi - not too girly - love it!!

  2. Cute! Huge improvement! Your decorating skills are impeccable! :)

  3. Adorable, just like you! You have great taste. You should come give my house a makeover!