Tackling the captain’s bedroom and the project spiral

The captain’s bedroom has been on our list as a possible winter project because we saw it as a relatively easy project with a big payoff. The only thing we planned to do was get rid ofย  the horrendous paint scheme. Pumpkin orange + bright blue = not our jam.


Based on the pictures from the real estate listing, the previous owners used this space as a man cave. So maybe these are the colors of a sports team? I can think of no other reason why you would choose them…


Whatever his rationale for choosing this color scheme, the previous owner REALLY went for it: painting doors contrasting colors, accenting random bits of trim, making the window frames blue, slopping some parts of a piece of conduit with orange paint, highlighting the duct work with more orange paint… Thank god he left the original doors to the room and the bathroom untouched.

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So, we decided to paint this room. No big deal, right?

Except as we were standing in the room discussing the project, Aaron pointed out that if we were going to paint, we should probably install trim. True to form, the previous owner didn’t finish something. In this case, he failed to add trim around the entire room after installing a (cheap and ugly) floating laminate floor.


Adding trim sounded like a lot of money and work, especially since we don’t really like the (cheap and ugly) laminate in this room. We did some exploratory work in a corner of the room. Pulling up a loose square of laminate revealed that the texture one the floor is similar to what is exposed in the pole closet.

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Aaron had the bright idea to spray some paint in the pole closet to test how the floor might look. It really cut down on the texture. We reasoned that the entire floor would look great painted (assuming we didn’t come across any surprises when we took everything out). This would give the floor an industrial vibe, but by now you probably know we would prefer that over faux suburban laminate.


Then I said, “Since we’re going to take the floor out, can we talk about removing the closet?”


Next to the pole closet, the previous owners decided to construct a standard closet.


We always felt like this was unnecessary, because the room has an attached bathroom, which can never be a bathroom again. Let me explain. At some point in the firehouse’s long history, someone decided to cement the pipes in this space. We don’t think it’s worth the time or effort to bring this back to a functional bathroom because our guests can just use the awesome bathroom next door.


We also don’t want to tear out all the beautiful stone and period tile. Which means the space in the back (former shower stall and toilet area) seems like a really perfect closet.


And the space near the door with the really great window light seems like the perfect place for a vanity of sorts.


Long story long, we don’t need or want this closet that wasn’t part of the original footprint. So we did some investigation.


Up top we didn’t find any surprises (unless you count a random sock and a piece of plywood) or any reasons we couldn’t rip this out.


At that point we decided to go all in. So we’re also replacing the duct work to get rid of the orange and so we can install the proper vents. We’re also going to address the severe lack of lighting with another custom fixture.


So that’s the project spiral that turned “painting the guestroom” into a project list that looks like this:

  • Remove laminate floor
  • Demo closet
  • Scrape loose paint from windows and caulk
  • Paint window casings white
  • Paint captain’s room and bathroom (We choose something other than white! Gasp!)
  • Scrape the paint off the conduit
  • Texture the random metal panel in the ceiling to help it blend in
  • Paint the bedroom floor
  • Replace the duct work
  • Install trim along the brick wall
  • Design and install new lighting
  • Replace all electrical receptacles and switches (we do this in every room we work on)

We also decided that this would be a weekends only project. Aaron has been mostly focused on keeping the trailer construction going during the week. Then on the weekend, we’re both working our butts off to get this room up to par.

  1. Do you guys ever sleep? That is one serious mountain of work. Sounds fab, though. Can’t wait to see it!

    1. Ha! Aaron would say I sleep more than I should… It’s not that I’m lazy, I just need more shut eye than he does.

      We just have a hard time slowing down. Running a successful wedding photography business hasn’t left us much time for hobbies. The firehouse is basically that – a giant hobby… err project.

  2. Ambitious but it’s going to look so cool! I love your plan for painting the floors, really curious how that’s going to look when it’s all done. Down with blue and orange! (but Go Bears?)

    1. Spoiler: It looks so good we’re already planning the same treatment (but maybe in black) for the workout room (whenever we get to it.)

      Ha! Da Bears ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. That color scheme is exactly what my husband is obsessed with. He bought an orange parsons desk in just that color and thought I’d love it. I don’t understand the orange obsession he has but I think those people who have it must also love that blue because he just bought an orange and blue pair of shoes that would go perfectly with that room.

    Thankfully it looks like my new house will be free of that color scheme and hopefully yours will be soon. I’m always amazed at how the littlest projects can become so big but I get it, don’t want to just throw a bandaid on something when you can just add everything to a list and do it now. I can’t wait to see you go through it all!

    1. That is so funny! I love that it’s even seeping into his wardrobe. What does one wear with bright orange and blue shoes?!

      Exactly. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Before we pulled the trigger we decided that the whole project had to come in under $500 to ensure it was an affordable makeover. I think we did really good with that number until we decided to buy a rug and a new duvet cover… oops! I think it will look so good all together!

  4. Well, if you’re going to do it, do it right! I can’t wait to see the after pictures!

    1. Ha! Exactly!!

  5. You guys always have some of my favorite updates, and I can’t wait to see this come together! The same thing is happening to me with my entry. It’s like a total remodel… paint, new tile, new light, ceiling treatment, door paint stripping and it’s only 20 square feet. I blame it on the snow days here and keeping me cooped up. Your work ethic for getting things done and what you accomplish is so inspiring! Please don’t stop!

    1. Aww! Thank you! We are on a run of super nice blog comments (not that we get mean ones, but these have been really, really nice)! Thanks so much!

      It’s SO easy for a project to spiral! I knew we weren’t alone in this. I can’t wait to see how your entry turns out ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I am so excited to see the after! I have loved following your blog!

    1. Thanks, Cassie!

  7. ‘relatively easy’ HAAAAAAHAHAHA

    But it does make sense to take the time to make it what you want to be, since it’s not a room you use every day where a ‘temp’ fix will have an enormous impact. Also, orange and blue is the Denver Broncos or the Chicago Bears, possibly a college team?

    1. I know, right?

      Ha! For some reason I didn’t realize those are the Broncos colors. Maybe they use a lot of white in their uniforms so I don’t notice? I looked back through the pictures I saved from the original listing (b/c I’m a creeper) and didn’t see any visible sports memorabilia. I’ll just chalk it up to bad color choices….

  8. […] our expanded list of projects set for the captain’s suite, we got to work on a few items that needed to be checked off […]

  9. Oh, man, do I understand the Art of the Spiral!

    To be fair, orange is actually my favorite color – bet you wouldn’t have guessed! We had a bedroom painted orange in our condo at one point (and a few of my college day rooms as well), but it made me feel angry when on the walls. We no longer use it in decor (obvs) but that color still has my heart ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, BEARS!

    1. I figured you would ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I actually like orange, too. But maybe not this shade and maybe not this MUCH… and definitely not with blue accents. Ha!

  10. […] the lighting and HVAC to the list for the captain’s suite renovation was an easy decision. The ceiling in this space was just messed up. True to form, the previous […]

  11. […] furniture was not on the list for the captain’s bedroom makeover. But when everything was painted (walls and floor), new duct work was hung, and a cool light […]

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