WE LOVE DIY here at BiaMaith Home and we plan on showcasing projects from our readers on a regular basis. So whether it’s up-cycling a cabinet, breathing new life into an old piece of furniture or totally overhauling the look of a room, we want to hear from you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we’re chatting to 40-year-old Graham Coleman – an amazingly talented father-of-two and part time DJ who lives in Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan. Graham has built the bedroom that dreams are made of for his sons Travis (6) and Dexter (4). And he’s kindly agreed to share how he did it with BiaMaith Home readers.
Graham’s very first project was a circus room he decorated when his first son was born and after that, he decided on a swing set for the garden and broke all his dad and brother’s tools in the process. Soon after, he began watching programmes like Decked Out and Treehouse Masters for inspiration and he invested in his own tools. It was during the renovation at one of the venues he DJs at, Brubakers in Dundalk, that he got some of the main materials for his impressive Star Wars project.
He said: “They were throwing out the newels, which are large posts from the staircase. The owner was good enough to let me take them for free, which I will always be grateful for. I used four of them on the playhouse in the garden which I later regretted as they weren’t really for outside and the wood split. I had four posts still sitting in the garage when I decided to do up Travis’ room and I decided to use the posts to make a bed from.”
He used MDF for the rest of the bed. He said: “I probably used wood that was way too thick and that along with the fact the posts are so heavy means the bed is never moving! I assembled it in the room and painted it there, too. It was a two man job to lift each panel. The bed is bulletproof! Had I known how the bed would turn out, I probably would have used it for our own bed. I was basically making it up as I went along.”
He also also painted gold frames he got from the pub. He explained: “The red frames I painted turquoise first and then one coat of red so they didn’t look solid red and too new. Again something I just tried and it worked out.” His brand of choice is the Irish paint Colourtrend – it was the first he tried and he hasn’t deviated from it since because of the quality.
As for the cost of the project, Graham said: “The only really expensive part of the room was the Star Wars quilt which I found online in Pottery Barn in the States. It was expensive enough at the start but then the shipping and taxes, it ruined it altogether. I just needed to have it as the bed had turned out so well and felt and other usual duvet cover wouldn’t have done it any favours.”
He’s thrilled with how his project worked out. He said: “I was just delighted Travis loved it and still loves it. For weeks after he used just randomly say “thanks for making my bed daddy I love it.” That’s what it was all about for me.”
And of course after making one of his little boys so happy, Graham decided it was time to give his other son’s bedroom an upgrade from its circus stripes. He painted the doors, skirtings and floor himself but got a talented graffiti artist called Ominous Omin to do the artwork. Graham explained: “I wanted Dexter’s name and some sort of hip hop character on another wall. I didn’t want it too childish either as I’m not planning on painting over it for a long time. I knew no matter what was on the wall Dexter would love it as it was different and bright and colourful.”
Because his son loves Lego, Graham decided to attempt a Lego bed. He said: “I hadn’t seen any and wasn’t many even on the internet. It turned out to be fairly handy to make and put together but the painting of it took weeks. I used nine different colours and after making sure no same colour was next to each other I started painting. Each square had to be taped up which meant you could only paint every second square and the tape had to be pulled off while paint was wet. That meant the tape was pulled off after each of the five coats of paint for every square. It took an awful long time!”
After that I started on the furniture. I had a few old interior doors and had seen an idea on Pinterest that used an old door as a corner shelf. So I cut and made that up then painted with Colourtrend Satin Wood. I found a decorative glass handle for that but later found a film prop one from Alice in Wonderland which I knew would be perfect.” Next, came the locker, which was an old one his brother was going to dump. He sanded it down and took the front off the drawers and made new fronts to look like lego pieces. The finished room is so bright and exciting – every lego fan’s dream.
As for what’s next, Graham is planning on doing up his toy room. He said: “Watch this space. I’ll be back with more.”
So where did Graham develop all his skills? He explained “In school I was always good at art and when I left school I did a FAS course in Graphic Design and Mural Painting.” From there he got a job at a company that printed large format digital prints for graphic design companies in Dublin. He eventually got sick of the long commute from Inniskeen to Dublin so he retrained as a barber and his artistic side came out again as he specialised in hair designs and hair tattoos. He recently gave up his job so that his partner, Leanne, could go back to work as a manager in a busy hair salon. He’s also a part time DJ – so between that and being a busy dad, and his creative DIY, he’s definitely keeping busy.
All we can say is, WOW!