Parents: Kele and Chris Bourdeau, Kids: Sons Phin, 7, and Zac, 5
When Kele Bourdeau moved into a house in Burlington's New North End two years ago, she wasn't a fan of the wood paneling covering many of its walls. In the living room, she painted the planks a soft grey and was surprised by how much that lightened up the space.
She took a much bolder approach in the bedroom shared by her sons, Phin, 7, and Zac, 5. Inspired by their love of the 1960's "Batman" TV series, Bourdeau painted a Gotham-style cityscape with bright yellow windows. She covered their paneling with purple and black vertical stripes. Light beams bearing Bat-Signals emanate from two of the skyscrapers. Inside the rays of light, Bourdeau used glow-in-the-dark paint to spell out her sons' names — a fun feature when it's time for lights out.
Bourdeau — who took art classes in college — did the mural freehand. Painting, she says, provides her with a "creative release." She let her first grader and preschooler pitch in, even though it meant a less-than-perfect paint job in some spots.
The caped-crusader motif extends to other parts of the room: Batman-themed blankets and sheets adorn the twin beds, and a retro-looking bat light scored at Big Lots hangs on the wall. A bright purple blanket, knitted by the boys' grandmother, adds a personal touch. And there are plenty of Bat-toys scattered around, including a plastic Batcave, and a Joker alarm clock Phin recently got for his seventh birthday.
But not everything adheres to the theme. There's a cat poster on the wall, and Superman stickers are strategically placed inside each Bat-Signal.
Bourdeau's philosophy: "When it's your room, you can do what you want."
Bourdeau bought the mural paint on sale at Lowe's. The yellow hue used for the light beams and windows came from the return shelf and cost less than a dollar.
Bat lanterns hanging in the corners of the room and little strings of bat lights came from a dollar store.
Bourdeau pulled apart a sparkly black bat wreath she got for 15 cents at a drugstore after Halloween, and affixed the winged creatures to the wall with poster putty.
This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.