Red Wall

No, this is not a reference to Brian Jacques novels about cute, furry animals (

Red Wall is a reference to my beautiful office. My place of work and sanctuary from the household chaos that surrounds and occasionally paralyzes me. My office of clean white paint, crisp white curtains, (faux) maple desk, and polished steel fixtures. It’s not much, but it is my space during the day and I share it reluctantly with Ian at night when he works or surfs. My office has two features that I love: a beautiful, dark red wall and Marc Chagall prints.

I’m waxing poetic about a room in my house in which I sometimes feel imprisoned because I’m soon to lose this room to a new Wilson boy. Try as I might, wish as I may, I cannot expand my house to add another bedroom through my (considerable) mental or magical powers alone. I guess I haven’t learned that spell yet. We have neither the cash (don’t want the debt, thank you) nor the time to expand our home the hard way, through construction.

And so, am reluctantly facing the inevitable. Much furniture moving is in our future. Soon, I’ll be moving my office into the living room and screening or curtaining it off from the rest of the great room. (I suppose one could now say, “If only you had a wall in the middle of this vast space, you would now be able to carve out a nook for your desk and everything.” One shouldn’t say it, however.)

I’m facing a choice to paint over my glorious red wall—the one I had to beg and bargain for in the first place—or to leave it and try to make a baby’s room that embraces the red wall.

Lately, I haven’t been too keen on baby stuff—an internal rejection of the inevitable, I suppose. But with time ticking down, I realize we’d better get started. So, the decorating question of the day is, what do we do? What theme do we choose for this baby’s bedroom? Can the red wall (and the effort that would be required to cover it over) be saved?

I’ve considered the following themes, all of which could have liberal amounts of red in them: circus, jungle, farm, tropical frogs, bugs, sailboats, firetrucks, trains, and rockets/space.

I realized this past weekend, that what I really want for this baby’s room is to paint murals on the wall in the style of my favorite picture book author/illustrator, Elisa Kleven.

(image from The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven)

It’s a totally ambitious idea. I have no idea if I could really approximate anything like her work with my very limited painting experience, skills, and time. But, damn, I’d like to try. I think the first question is, how does one lazure walls with watercolors? I have two walls that I could paint murals on. (Wallpaper is the devil’s work.)

(another image from The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven)

3 Responses to “Red Wall”

  • miss_emelia
    October 30, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    Random thoughts to maybe help:
    1. Does the baby need a whole room of his own at birth? Could you set up a baby station for changings and such somewhere else (or even in the office), and have a crib in your own bedroom to make late night feedings easier? The whole concept of one room per child is terribly modern. Previously all the children shared a bedroom until puberty at least, even mixing genders in the typical Victorian home.

    2. If you want to do a Kleven image on the wall, find a projector (an old overhead, or a digital projector if you can borrow one) and project the desired image on the wall, then sketch it in in pencil. Then play paint-by-numbers.


  • chilipantz
    October 30, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I have lazured many a wall with watercolor, but I had doubts about the ability to wet-wipe after. The exercise is sheer creation in action, and makes me quite blissful, by the way. If you don’t get suggestions from the art teacher at Steiner college, I can send abc directions. Love you!


  • sarabellae
    October 31, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about space and what’s required for all of us to live comforably in this house that used to be huge and soon will be much smaller.

    No, the baby doesn’t need a whole room at birth, especially because I don’t intend for him to sleep apart from me (at night) for the first 6+ months of his life (for many good reasons including safety, comfort, peace of mind, easier nursing, etc.) But I am not a huge “family bed” advocate. Ultimately, we will want to have our bed and bedroom to ourselves again.

    I’ve thought a lot about having the boys share a bedroom, but I worry that the age difference between them is too great to make that workable. However, with that said, they would adapt. To make that work, we would probably have to move both kids into my office because the room is bigger than Lucas’s room. I’d still have to move my office, and I would have to displace Lucas in the process.

    I dunno. I don’t really like any of the options. I want that second story NOW, but I don’t get it.

    And thanks for the projector idea!


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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