I have a very dear friend whom I care very much about. She is sweet and kind and one of the most selfless and devoted mothers I have ever seen. Her son has autism. His needs are high. Since his diagnosis, much (if not all) of her life has revolved around trying to understand and meet his needs. It's a complex, confusing, exhausting process, and just when she seems to get a handle on things, things change.
We had a conversation a few months back, where she told me that she would really like to have a nice space in her home - but with the needs of her son consuming the majority of her time and energy, her home had just dropped off of her list of priorities. Ever since then, I have wished that I could use my talents to do something special just for her - but the opportunity wasn't presenting itself, until 2 weeks ago . . .
I was able to do some work for her mother, and we got talking. I found out that her Mom also wished to create a special space for her dearly loved daughter, but she didn't know how to go about it. Previous attempts had just added more stress and work to my friend's already heavy load and ended in disaster.
The stars aligned and we conspired to create a surprise makeover for her birthday in the spring; however, we found out that she and her family were going away the following week creating a perfect opportunity!
We flew into action! We only had 7 days to pull everything together. Such a tight time-line was a challenge for me because I had to rely heavily on items that could be acquired locally (and selection was slim) - or that could be sent to us fast. It was also a challenge because I couldn't speak to my friend or her husband at all in order to keep the surprise, so I had to rely solely on input from her family.
Her mom snuck me into the house one evening while my friend and her family were out of town so I could take some measurements and come up with a plan. The bedroom was purely functional. One of the biggest problems was that there was just too much furniture in the room. This left it feeling crowded. I have come up against this problem before several times in master bedrooms (including my own). The dilemma to be solved entails how to get rid of some of the furniture in the room in order to create more space, but still retain enough storage options for all the stuff . . .
Part of the solution is down-sizing, and gratefully my friend has a sister who is great at it! Because we were doing this without her knowledge, I made her sister promise not to throw anything out. Rather, she kept the items she knew her sister used most, boxed up what she thought could go, and put them into storage where she could later go through them and decide what she wanted to keep and what she was ready to let go of.
With everything that was left we decided to maximize under-used space in the closet with a new organizational system and under-bed storage hidden behind a bed-skirt. This allowed us to loose 1 dresser. I really wanted to loose both of them, but found that we needed just a little more storage space. I found that a conventional dresser just ate up too much room, which would force me to off-center the bed in the room (which I can't stand), so I started looking at more unconventional options.
Originally, I designed the room with very glamorous mirrored pieces - but while her mom and sister loved them, they felt that trying to keep them clean with her son would leave my friend feeling stressed out, so we opted for much less glamorous, but much more practical furniture from the Hemnes collection at Ikea.
With Mom and sisters' approval of the final plan, we went straight to work and miraculously everything came together with only a few little blips!
It was a total surprise! My friend had absolutely no idea what we were up to while she was away! Surprise renos always make me a little nervous because I never know exactly how it's going to go over, but to my great relief she loved it (though she wants to ask her sister about where some of her things went!).