For much of my adult life, I’ve had the same recurring dream; I’m in a big house and I discover a secret passage or a secret room. It’s always quite thrilling and I always wake up feeling vaguely disappointed that there is absolutely no chance that my 1970s brick 3 x 2 in Perth suburbia will have a secret passage. Once I looked up what it means and apparently discovering a secret room symbolises your neglected, unfulfilled potential or an undiscovered part of yourself, which sounds about right.
During one of my DIY projects in the joke that has been the year 2020, I learned that my almost five-year-old son has been literally LIVING MY DREAM. Earlier this year, Dulux asked me if I would like to collaborate on some content with them by painting a room or project in my house to share the word about their new limited edition colouring-in book by Kylie Howarth, and I said yes, but asked if I could make over the guest room of my mum and dad’s house instead. I took Little Nerd with me to my parents’ house and we went upstairs so I could get his opinion on paint colours. We got to the top of the staircase and I said to him that I was going to use the toilet first.
My son, as I believe all children under the age of seven are wont to do, followed me into the upstairs bathroom and looked around him in wonderment. “This house has THREE toilets?!” he said in amazement.
I blinked at him (while sitting on the toilet, let’s be honest). “Did you not know there is a bathroom up here? You’ve been coming to this house since you were a baby.”
“No!” he cried happily, beaming at the vanity like it was made of chocolate (actually old, 90s white laminate). “I did not even KNOW there was a bathroom here! This is amazing.” He was literally living my cool recurring dream and he was so excited I actually felt a pang of jealousy. (Half an hour later he let me know, “Mummy, I’m just going to go do a wee in that awesome bathroom. Ok?”)
So, in this post I’m going to share with you the makeover of the bedroom that belongs to this awesome secret bathroom – my mum and dad’s main guest bedroom. Let me give you a ‘before’ photo of what the bedroom was looking like (not quite awesome yet) and give you a little house history.
My mum and dad extended their old 1950s house back in the 90s with a second-storey addition, with the aim of having guest rooms for my mother’s family from Germany to visit. Our German relatives spent a lovely lazy summer here that I still fondly remember as a kid, but after that we had guests so infrequently that these upstairs extension rooms mostly didn’t get used.
No-one ever went to the second floor, except my dad sometimes to get books from his new study. In fact my sisters and I were terrified of going upstairs when we were little. The staircase is dark jarrah with wood panelled walls, which is handsome but also gives serious Cluedo vibes. I always felt like there was a Freddy Krueger-style murderer waiting at the top of the stairs for me. So real was the fear that every time one of my sisters or I had to go upstairs on our own for something at night-time, like to use the computer in the study for our homework, we got in the habit of letting the whole house know. “I’M GOING UPSTAAAAIRS,” you’d shout bravely from the foot of the stairs so everyone would hear. Just in case you never came down again.