When it comes to renovating a kid's bedroom, some parents change the bed spread or paint the walls, but one Wisconsin dad turned his daughter's room into an entire Super Mario Bros.-themed world.
Dustin Carpenter, 38, of Green Bay, Wis., spent weeks painting the walls of his 13-year-old daughter AJ's bedroom with her favorite Mario characters and scenes from the classic '80s Nintendo game series.
"She wanted to kind of redo her room and [first] she asked if I could make a bat cave," he said. "And then she asked about a Mario room and I said, 'yeah, we can do a Mario room,' and [in the beginning] it certainly wasn't as detailed as it ended up being."
While Mario, Bowser and the Gumba on the walls are vinyl decals, Carpenter said he hand-painted everything else, including Boo, the Piranha Plant, the clouds, the pipe and the bricks. The only help he received was to have someone come in and paint the blue base color. AJ, who helped choose the characters she wanted, also pitched in with filling in some of the bricks, he said.
"I can do the small, tedious stuff," Carpenter said. "But dragging out the paint on rollers … for the whole room is not for me."
The room also includes a flag pole, which pays homage to the triumphant moment in the game when Mario raises a flag after each level is completed, as well as Mario-themed bedding, blinds and character plush toys and pillows.
And what helps make the room come alive are the various push buttons that play different sounds from the game, such as the "1 Up" sound and the "dum-dum-dum" when Mario goes down a green tube. The light switch - which is designed to look like the vintage Nintendo controller - plays the classic Super Mario Bros. theme song.
"It was relatively cheap," Carpenter said, referring to the push buttons. "It's a little circuit board connected with two wires to a very flat speaker."
The buttons are similar to the noise makers found in greeting cards, he said, but the greeting card ones are light-activated, and his play tones with a push of a button.
The project started in mid-August. Carpenter, who has a full-time job at a telecommunications company, said he worked on the room "bit by bit," with a few hours at night during the week and then some on the weekends. In total, he said it took 60 to 70 hours to complete.
Carpenter declined to say how much the renovation cost, but said he bought the bedding at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The push button equipment, character decals, pillows and plush toys he found on Amazon and eBay.
Although the classic Super Mario Bros. games came out decades before AJ was born, Carpenter said she fell in love with Mario after his wife gave his daughter her old Nintendo console and games about four years ago. He and AJ play together, he said, especially when she needs help with the harder levels.
"We have a Wii and other systems and the only game she played is Mario," he said.
This crafty dad certainly deserves a "1 Up" for his creative room design, and his daughter thinks so too.
"She's loves it," Carpenter said. "She said it was amazing, and she sent me a text saying how cool it was and how thankful she was for what what I did for her."