The Playroom Grows Up: Part 1

My latest project involves a total room transformation.  What was once a playroom is now slated to become a home office and creative work space rolled into one. One of the first questions I ask myself when decorating is “what is the primary function of this space?”  In some rooms it is more obvious than others but nowadays, many rooms are multi-purpose.  The dining room, typically a place to sit down and enjoy a meal, can also function as a communal work area. The living room can be a place to read, entertain or watch television. The point is, many activities can take place within a given room. However, when it comes to changing the primary function of a room from a play area to a work space a complete overhaul is in order.

This was an awesome playroom and served two children very well for almost six years. The pink soft tile floor, the striped walls, the yellow ceiling, the (over) abundance of toys produced a whimsical and inviting yet perhaps mildly overwhelming environment to the younger crowd.  We re-thought our approach to what a child’s surroundings should look and feel like and so designed a Montessori inspired space for the growing siblings in the basement (more on that to come). It was quite therapeutic for parents and children alike to take a more thoughtful view of what we have and why we have it. Many things were donated or passed along to other friends when we transferred the playroom down to the basement.


Imagine, if you can, the floor covered in these.

IMG_4038 IMG_4035 Even with most of the contents moved out it was far from feeling like a grown-up work environment. Painting was a necessity. We wanted to create a simple backdrop so opted for white walls and a white ceiling.

Below are some “in the middle pictures” because I’m often so eager to get a project started that I neglect to take “before” pictures. The pink floor-to-floor soft tiles have been pulled up at this point and the games, instruments, costumes etc. have been moved to the basement. Little bits and pieces remain upstairs during this phase while we strategize regarding final placement of chore charts, assorted beads, box o’ random play things and cheap party favors that certain people have become attached to.  At this point we just needed space to set up a paint station so we could get rolling, literally.IMG_4301


Here we see the fan blades removed, first paint coat, inspiration board and low bookshelf constructed.  I decided to keep the black chalkboard wall for the time being. I like the contrast and depth it gives to the space and who knows, it might just come in handy during a brainstorming session. The next (final?) phase will include the newly installed light fixture, area rug, shelves, wall decor and perhaps additional seating.


The goal is to forge a fresh and bright, sparse but inviting work space to inspire and enliven creativity and foster productivity. White walls serve as the perfect blank canvas for artwork, vision boards, a backdrop for photos, shelving and decorative objects. The floors, which were re-finished a couple of years ago, have finally come out from hiding from under the pink play mats. The time has come to replace the (visually offensive) ceiling fan-light. No tears will be shed when this monstrosity gets escorted to the trash. Make way for new light source. I am a sucker for a good ceiling medallion so we’re going to slap one up to impose a sense of architectural history. I also love the combination of modern design and classic details so my dream ceiling lamp will have clean lines and juxtapose nicely with the decorative medallion.

For lighting, I’m considering a George Nelson Bubble lamp or something in that style. I also have a weakness for the black Mantis Serge Mouille ceiling fixture, though I have concerns that it would overwhelm the space. After all, we aren’t working in a prewar apartment with 13′ ceilings. A girl can dream.  I am scouring Ebay, Etsy, Craigslist and various other resources for the perfect vintage Turkish, Persian or tribal rug. I will know it when I see it but believe me the search has been exhausting. Finding the right size, with the right colors and pattern at the right price is my perpetual challenge when it comes to rugs




Vintage Lilihan Area Rug


I’m excited to get the space finished a share the big reveal!

Thankful for: Work spaces that inspire a love for work.

Wanting:  The perfect rug. Really, is it too much to ask for?

I’ve learned: There is no such thing as perfect and waiting for it only delays progress. Wah-wah.



The Playroom Saga Continues

4dedf5e018efea829c5cbe87758c62a9Since the last post I’ve made some headway in terms of getting the two playrooms in order. I’ve also realized that the idea of more than one play area in a house with two children is not that absurd. In fact many friends have told me,( and I’ve seen for myself) that their entire homes have become over taken with kid gadgets, toys and gear. One friend even commented that his boys have “destroyed everything that was once nice in their home”. Yikes.

The basement has been cleared except for one corner of piled up junk, it is a basement after all;) All of the toys and furniture that are going to live there just need to be arranged. The main floor playroom is really taking off. It has been simplified and the base furniture and decoration is very neutral and calm. I think the space looks very inviting and the girls are totally into my plans to build a fort/tent/tepee hideout and to install a hanging chair (low and over a soft rug). I’ve added some work in progress pictures. Feast your eyes on some of my inspiration pictures for the tepee and hanging chair or better yet head over to my kids board on Pinterest.



My first choice hanging chair from Pier 1. At $400 with the stand I’m going to go with the $69 Ikea chair. See below.


Our Ikea Stuva storage system.


The Ikea hanging chair that will mount from the ceiling or a handing stand.


My beloved poufs. I need to find a new home for these. The rug is visiting from the kitchen but I like the way it looks. My other ideas are a boucherouite or plush ivory Moroccan style rug.


Love all of these.


Classic Moroccan style rug


Lace curtains from …you guessed it, Ikea $9.99 for 2 panels. These will become the tepee/fort


A little sheepskin throw to add texture and coziness. The girls already love lying on it:) Dress up clothes in the roll out storage bin.


Assorted baskets from the good will. A little more character than your average storage bins and boxes.


I’m thinking about using this neon hula hoop to create a canopy fort if the tepee idea doesn’t pan out.

And now for the gorgeous and perfectly styled inspiration pics from the interweb.

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A Two Playroom Household?!

4937de043f31d2dc6c40fb3e25a5ec02One of the (many) things on my list of priorities while house hunting was to find a home that had a contained play space. We found that and then some. Decorating what is now the playroom was the first project for me once we moved in. The challenge was making it look fun and inviting while being functional. Easier said than done when it comes to a room that is in constant use by little people with evolving interests and needs. The kids will always be growing and changing and their play space will have to reflect and encourage that development. Unfortunately,  my need to constantly fix, edit, change and re-organize stuff  has made the playroom project an endless source of  frustration for me. The beads, stickers, paint, costumes, trains, puzzles, essentially all the things that kids want to play with, were either being played with, needing to be cleaned up or just left out to drive me crazy. “Playrooms are supposed to messy and disorganized ” my husband says. Deep breath. We had talked about the idea of moving the playroom to the basement which is actually a good-sized usable space but I had two concerns.  What to do with all of the things that are currently being stored down there and do I want the girls alone in the basement while I work upstairs? Here’s the solution that I think will lead to everyone’s contentment. The playroom as it is now will serve as a place for games, dress up clothing, chalk board wall and concealed storage for not-in-use toys. The basement will become the free-for-all zone where we put the arts and crafts, work/play table, play kitchen, kid furniture, trains and beads, beads, beads!!! I swear there are a million beads in my house. Basically, the ground floor room, that I have to look at on a regular basis, will be an organized and functional play space where I can theoretically work on my computer. The basement playroom will be an open space to do arts and crafts, “cook” and serve food from the play kitchen and jam on instruments all without sending me into a dither.

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As far as my concerns. The creation of a second play area is forcing us to reevaluate our things and to do some purging. We probably don’t need to keep the majority of the stuff we have stored down in the basement and it’s yard sale season anyway so…that’s the first solution. The girls are now at an age where they can play together  without causing too much damage to them selves or each another. I would not have done this a year ago but I think they are ready for a little independence and I need to let them have it. It will be good for all of us.  Here are some amazing play areas that have inspired me.

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