HOM Teen taps into love of music for room makeover

It's more than Max being a 'chip off the old block'

King Features Syndicate

Last week I began the saga of my son Max's first foray into decorating. After I had thrown a huge tantrum over the disgusting state of his bedroom, he turned the tables on me and took over a massive makeover that left me in a state of wonder.

Max had enlisted the help of his girlfriend, Hadley, and they had drawn up plans and a budget. As they tried to fill in numerous holes in the walls, they met and solved the challenge of runny plaster, and work continued.

Paint colors were chosen and mixed at the local hardware store. Tears fell again when the first coat of paint dried, and I was reluctantly allowed in. Large uneven patches shone through the paint.


"What have we done wrong?" they wailed.

"You can't put paint on fresh plaster," I remarked. I was frog-marched out of the room and they began over, this time with a coat of primer first.

I watched as cardboard boxes were cut into strips and oversized words came screaming off the printer. Were they making stencils by any chance? I anticipated the next round of frustration. "Don't look, Mom, but how do you stop paint from leaking under the stencil?" An hour later, Hadley was racing up the stairs after a frantic bike trip to a craft store with a roll of Mylar and a can of stencil adhesive under her arm. Soon the music was back on, and laughter returned.

The next few days continued at the same pace, with moods swinging from despair to delight. Packages started to arrive, and I began to wonder about my initial $150. The mystery was solved when a sheepish husband claimed he'd helped out a little with his credit card. Kids started to drop by and dump old skateboards on the front steps, and there was a constant stream of visitors.

Two weeks to the day they unveiled Max's new room. I was stunned. It was not just because they had worked so incredibly hard, or that lifelong memories were being created. This teenage room was actually good -- very, very good. Fantastic, in fact.

The theme of the room was music. The walls were divided horizontally with a light gray above and a dark gray dado below. This was highlighted with a stenciled border of large red stars. These actually move in a dizzying array if you turn your head quickly -- very cool. Oversized words and hip logos were either hand-painted or stenciled onto the walls. A giant notice board was created by gluing several sheets of cork to the wall and then adding a frame. (I wouldn't have glued the cork to the wall, as it is a nightmare to remove. Frame the cork first and then hang it.)

The old skateboards were attached to wall brackets and used as shelves in a variety of sizes. A collection of interesting bottles was displayed alongside his guitars. They bought black and white curtains and red and white bed linens with punchy, graphic designs, and a comfy new red chair.

This bedroom will never get into Architectural Digest, but my boy and his girlfriend are still walking around with proud, smug faces. Oh, and the room is still tidy.


When I tell this story to friends, they say that Max is a cut off the old block, but I disagree. This is a new era --15-year-old kids are doing up their rooms and having fun. Life never ceases to amaze me.

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