Built-Ins for the Playroom

We have a playroom in our house that has its own set of stairs and resides over the garage.  I think it's the only room in the house that has not ever been on the blog (that I can remember).  For good reason, too, because it was a bit of a disaster when we moved in and has stayed that way for about 4.5 years.  

I cannot find a good "before" picture of the room, but here it is when we toured the house before putting an offer on it. 


Once the room was empty of furniture, we could tell how horrible the carpet was.  Something had happened to discolored it bad - was it green? Was it brown?  You couldn't tell.  And the accent chalkboard wall?  It had neon paint splattered on it.  We used the room as a place to drop junk when we moved in.  And over the last four years, more junk and extra furniture has just rotated in and out of it.

Now that the kids are big enough to go upstairs on their own, it seemed like a good time to give the playroom a makeover.  First on the agenda: adding in some storage for all of the toys.  And a designated spot for the tv too.

Just like I did with for the built-ins in Thomas's room, I sketched out my design on the wall in chalk.  


Last May (yes, that's how behind I am on this update!), I met with Cesar, the same carpenter that did the built-ins in our mudroom and in Thomas's room, and got everything squared away for him to build them while we were away at the beach.  I love letting him work while we're away because we leave with nothing on the wall and come back to it finished, and we never have to deal with the mess and sawdust. 

When we left for the beach, the room looked like the picture above, and we came home to it looking like this!


I know that's far from looking finished.  With Cesar, he does the carpentry and then we do the painting and finishing.  Then he comes back to hang the doors.  We had one small misunderstanding.  With plans to replace the carpet as soon as these are painted, we wanted him to peel back the carpet to build the unit directly on the sub-floor.  That didn't end up happening but it's ok.  It just means the built-ins sit on an inch of old carpet that will just be under it forever! 

Here was my progress after a full morning of painting.  Cubbies are always the WORST thing to paint. 


Finished the primer by the end of the afternoon.


I had to do 2-3 coats of paint after the primer to get a good even finish.  The picture above was taken on May 31st, and the finished paint job picture below was taken June 14, about two weeks later.  I worked off and on in the evenings after work.  


The nice thing about having the carpet removed and the room empty was that we could spread the doors out on the floor to paint.  


We let Cesar know that we were finished painting and he came to hang the doors for us.


That middle section is left open for the cable box and any future gaming toys the kids get.  The cords are able to pass through holes drilled in the back.  By the time these pictures were taken, we had also painted the walls grey.  


One of my favorite parts of the built-ins, other than the awesome storage they'll provide! - is these fun little boy and girl knobs I found.  I wanted something a little quirky and kid-friendly to use and these were perfect.


Since finishing painting, I've had lots of fun decorating those shelves with colorful toys and books!  But you'll have to wait to see that when I reveal the rest of the room.

Now, if you really pay close attention to detail, you might've noticed that in the picture of the doors laying out on the floor, there were three extras.  That's because while Cesar was at our house working on these, we also had him do a tiny upgrade in our master closet.  

This picture below is from the weekend we moved in, so before we did a first round of upgrades.  But it's the only picture I have of the tall set of open shelves there in the middle.  

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We were tired of those shelves always looking like a mess, so we had Cesar convert the bottom half of them to drawers.  We have LOVED having this upgrade in our closet. (Excuse the messy piles of clothes waiting to go into the drawers.)


So that's the built-ins in the playroom!  I can't wait to show you what we did to cover up that chalkboard wall.  Hopefully I'll have pictures of it soon.  

Coed Bathroom

The last post in this "catch up on really old things" series is about the bathroom in Katie Wynn's room.  When we moved into the house just before she arrived, we decorated the room just for her.  It was very pink.

When Thomas came along (yes, over two years ago - I'm nothing if not fashionably late on things), we converted an office to his nursery but it didn't come with a bathroom.  He would be sharing this one with her.  And even though it is right off her very pink and girly bedroom, I at least wanted the bathroom to feel a tad bit more appropriate and welcoming for a little boy. So we did a big ol' switcheroo with all the accessories to make this space a little more coed feeling.

Here's how it looks now!

The pink shower curtain got switched out for a grey and white one.  I like this it sorta looks like water streaming down.  Kinda.  Ish. 

Do you remember the Splish Splash sign that I painted with marshmallows?  (Probably not since I posted it back in 2014 back when I was a little more "on time" with things...)  It now lives above the toilet - a space that was previously blank - and I love that it fills up the wall and adds some color.  

My design plan for this room was to just use grey and white - neutrals - for the shower curtain, rugs, and towels and then bring in bright colors with the wall hangings.  The splish splash sign does just that!

I apologize for the blurriness of this photo.  It's the wall opposite of the sink and toilet and previously just held monogrammed towels.  Now, while I love a pretty monogrammed towel, it just wasn't very functional to have "do not touch" towels hanging there and nowhere for the damp used towels to go.  (Funny side note - at first, I did switch out one of KW's monogrammed towels for one that had Thomas's monogram so there'd be one of each.  But his monogram spells out the word WET so it kinda looked like the other towel should DRY.  Haha.)

I bought the pallet rack with hooks from Target and it made the perfect spot to hang used towels and hold wash rags.  The kids can drape their towels easily on the hooks too which is a plus.  

I bought the matching mason jar holder because I thought it was cute, but it really serves no purpose.  I filled it up with cotton goods but still haven't gotten around to writing on the chalk labels!  Pretend like they have a really cute handwriting that says "Cotton Pads, Cotton Sticks, Cotton Balls" or something like that.

I purchased the the print at the very top from Little Life Designs on Etsy.  I thought the sayings were cute and love that the colors tie in with the Splish Splash artwork.  Katie Wynn often asks for me to read it to her and always questions why Thomas comes before her.  "Because I'm bigger?" "Yes, I'm sure that's why."

The mirror was one of the very last things to change in the bathroom.  In fact, I started the redo before Thomas even made his debut, but just found a mirror the right size a couple of months ago.  I was not a fan of the fancy silver one (see it in the before photos above) and thought that plain white was more fitting for a little boy and little girl.  In a perfect world, this makeover would have also included busting up that tile counter and adding a slab of granite, but that just didn't make the to-do list on this go-round.

I've saved my favorite part of the bathroom for last.  The art on this wall:

I found these cute little portraits on Etsy by Phyllis Harris Designs.  They are just stock drawings she had - not custom portraits - but I like that they resemble both of my cuties.  They are slightly customizable in that you can pick hair, eye, and shirt colors.  Since I ordered these when Thomas was less than a month old, I actually have the boy drawing as a brunette with brown eyes too.  Who knew he would be a blond?!  Since the color has stuck this long, I finally ordered a new one this past summer to more accurately represent my blue-eyed blondie.  

And that's a wrap on our really difficult to photograph, tiny coed bathroom that was updated a couple years ago!  Now we can return to more current events.  :)

Big Girl Room

Last summer we switched Katie Wynn to a big girl bed and made a couple of other little tweaks and I've been meaning to show you her updated room ever since!  The problem is that I still don't feel like it's done.  But, better to show it now than when she's in kindergarten...at the rate I'm going it MIGHT be done by then!

The first step of changing her room was obviously finding a bed.  I was pretty sure that I wanted a wrought iron day bed, but man!  The prices were high online.  Especially when you added a trundle bed, which was another thing on my wishlist.  I did lots of online browsing and pouting over prices when one day, I just happened to see on Facebook a sneak peek yard sale picture that was going to be taking place the next day in my neighborhood.  In that picture was what looked like a wrought iron day bed!  I held my breath and crossed my fingers and hoped that I would get there in time to see it.

Fast forward to the next day and $100 dollars later, I was the proud new owner of a used wrought iron daybed, complete with pullout trundle bed!  Except...it was hunter green.  I didn't let that stop me; I knew a can or two of spray paint could work wonders.

I was fine going the spray paint route until I read a blog post somewhere where the blogger had had something powder coated.  Curious, I did a quick search and found a place that did powder coating in our area and the price to have my new daybed done would be $100.  SOLD!  Powder coating would be a much more durable and smoother finish than what I could have done with spray paint and spending $100 sounded a lot better than standing out in the hot sun working on it myself.

Here are pictures of the finish after the powder coating.  I chose a pewter silver color that was similar to what her crib had been.  Much better than hunter green for a little girl's room!

If finding the perfect bed was step one, then step two was acquiring bedding.  I did not want to have to repaint the room or change the curtains for this upgrade, so it was important to find bedding that was the same color scheme that her crib bedding had been - pale pink and white.  And our local Pottery Barn outlet had just the set!    

I knew their pink and white polka dotted sheets matched because she'd been using a pillow with that pillowcase in her crib for a while.  And I immediately fell in love with this pink and white quilt when I saw it in the store.  One mattress, two sets of sheets, three european pillows, two standard shams, and five pillow inserts later, she had bedding!  (It is not lost on me that she has a full Pottery Barn bed set up while I sleep under Steinmart covers...)  My mom made the bedskirt out of fabric we found to match.

I really wanted to keep the tall pink bookcases that flanked her crib in the room and thankfully, they barely fit with the bigger bed in place!  It's a tight squeeze but it works for now.  I love how the paper dolls fill up the space between them.  

Speaking of bookcases, they are part of the room that doesn't feel finished to me.  I just can't find the right accessories to style them with.  

As you can see from the pictures above, one shelf has just one polka dotted bin while the other has three.  That's really hard for my symmetrical-minded brain to accept.  But, the sole reason for doing that is what sits on the second shelf (from the bottom) on the left bookcase - this tea set:

The tea set gets played with ALL the time, both by Katie Wynn and her brother!  In fact, every friend that comes in her room plays with it at some point.  So it would have been foolish of me to move it for a bin just so the bookcases would match.  

One of Katie Wynn's teachers painted this Minnie Mouse canvas for her when she became potty trained.  She loves it.  I think it was sweet, but it doesn't go with the room.  :)  But, it's on the shelf for now and probably will be for a while since I can't seem to find anything to replace it with!

In addition, we still have small child accouterments (monitor, sound machine) that have to fit on the shelves and picture frames that haven't been updated and a big blank space in the top cubby.  So that's why they don't feel super cute to me.

The last "big" change in the room is that we no longer needed a changing table so this piece has converted to just a dresser.  It needs cuter adornments too but right now the lamp, lion bank, and fan are doing just fine.  

The tiny shoes that sat on the pink shelf in her nursery are long gone, sadly.  Right now three McCarty's Pottery bunnies sit there but I think I'd like to get a mini porcelain tea set to go there.  Still haven't decided.  Above that is still the Barbie gowns that my grandmother crocheted and even higher up is her name, also crocheted (knit? I don't know) by my grandmother.  

Flanking the sides of that dresser are two cute baby doll toys she got for her second birthday.  To the left is the baby bed that is always full of babies and stuffed animals.  I love that my Mom made matching bedding for it. 

On the other side is the matching stroller.  Or pram, as it was called at Land of Nod.  Katie Wynn's other grandmother, Lala, knit a tiny blanket for babies to use!

Her rocking chair still sits in the corner of the room.  I'm just not quite ready to part with it yet.  Plus, her clothes get laid out on the ottoman every night for school the next day!  I think the only change here since I revealed the nursery are the two frames that were added to the wall. 

And the wardrobe wall is still the same too, no changes there.

Some people have really cute growth charts in their littles' rooms.  Us?  We can tell how tall Katie Wynn is by how far up she has tried to erase on this chalkboard sign.  :)

Here's a view of that side of the room so you can see where that sign is.  It's between her bathroom and closet doors.

So that's how her rooms looks these days.  Probably the next time we make big changes to it will be when it converts to a guest room and she moves upstairs!  I'm not ready to think about that yet...

Paper Dolls

When the time came for us to transition Katie Wynn from her crib to a big girl bed (yes, over a year ago!), the hardest part of the switch was figuring out what to do above her bed!  I adored her alphabet collage but, while it was so cute above her crib, it just did not work with the lines of the new bed.  I had an idea early on that I couldn't figure out how to execute so I scrapped it.  After that, I was STUMPED.

Then, I found inspiration in these little girls that I cut out.

Big paper dolls on the wall would be so cute, right?!

I liked the shape and proportions of the ones I had cut out of paper so Mom and I measured and drew a larger template to use.  Then I passed it over to my Dad so he and Matt could cut them out of a thin wood.  (It's not really wood, I can't think of what the material is called.  It's what pegboard is made out of, just without the holes.)  After they had five girls cut out, I painted them the same grey as her walls (except the white plank wall that they would be going on).  The first one went on, centered above the bed...

And then the other four were lined up with her!

Mom's part (probably the hardest part!) was next.  We cut out triangles for the girls' dresses and picked out fabric that would match the room.  Then she fashioned them into dresses that would cover the triangle forms and attach to the girls.  Scroll through the pictures below to see the dresses she made.  I love that the middle one has KW's monogram...it's like a tiny nod to the alphabet wall that was there before it (that had her monogram in the middle).  

We weren't able to cut all five paper dolls out of one solid piece of wood.  And I really didn't want the seam where their arms met up to be visible.  So I purchased precut wooden hearts from Michael's and painted them pink.  They were the perfect finishing touch for our row of dolls!

Here's the complete view of all five dolls:

The dresses are just velcroed on to the doll forms.  I initially had thought it would be fun to let Katie Wynn take them off and redress them, but I still haven't told her about that idea.  Not sure I'm ready to encourage her to pull things off the wall.  And I know it would bug me if they weren't on straight or in the "right" order.  :)  Maybe one day...

I LOVE how this little project turned out and it was so easy to do.  This row of girls makes me smile every time I come into the room, especially when Katie Wynn names them all with her friends' names.  And this project just proves that sometimes you have to sit and wait and stare at an empty wall before the right idea hits you.  That's what I'm going to keep telling myself since there are still big empty walls in our house...

Gallery Grid

I'm back with another home project that is about a year overdue!  Technically, this one was just completed about three weeks ago, but I dreamed it up and received the frames for it for Christmas 2014.  Talk about dragging my feet!

Here was one huge holdup: I knew the project was going to take a LOT of frames, I just didn't know exactly how many.  And when you're using a LOT of frames, you need them to be pretty cheap...if you want to also buy groceries for the month.  I found the perfect solution from Ikea - their line of Ribba frames where the 5x7 ones ring up at a whopping $2.99 a piece.  Although I think they used to be just $1.99 apiece.  

So my Mom (and Dad, technically) gave me 20 of them for Christmas to get me started.  A month or so later, I finally sat down to figure up my grid and decided I would need 50 frames total.  Here's where the holdup comes in - I got on Ikea.com to order the remaining 30 and they were gone!  No longer available.  Whomp, whomp.

True story - Amazon was selling the exact same frames for about $11 bucks each.  No way was I going to pay that when I knew they were really only $2, and I needed 30 more of them!  I emailed Ikea to see if they were temporarily out of stock or if they'd never have them again, and they told me the manufacturer wasn't going to be making them anymore.  (Which is bogus since I just found them on their website today, but whatevs.)

I was pretty bummed out.  What was I going to do with those 20 frames since I was dead set on all the ones for this project matching?  (I guess I could've sold them for $10 each since that was cheaper than Amazon's price...)

Anyway, fast forward to April when Mom and I attended a conference in Atlanta and made our first Ikea visit ever.  We moseyed along looking at everything from cookware to bedding to storage racks to lamps.  When we rounded the corner to the wall art and frames section, guess what was the first thing to catch my eye?  Those dang $1.99 Ribba frames!!  

I decided to forgo my frustration and hatred for their Customer Service telling me they'd never have them again and instead just be excited that I had found them!  I needed 30 more.  After pulling out every box of them and grabbing every one of them on display, I was able to get 25.  Close enough, I could make that work.  I put them all in my cart and texted Matt: "Gallery grid project is BACK ON!"  I can only imagine his excitement when reading that.

I didn't intend to write this much about this project...

It took me a while to get pictures printed so that delayed the project some.  Then I realized 3 of the 20 frames that had been shipped to Mom (to give to me for Christmas) had broken glass in them so I had to get those replaced.  Another hold up.

THEN, we could finally get started.  I hosted a baby shower at our house the last weekend of January so I used it as my motivation to get these frames up on the wall.  But you guys, the math.  Oh, the math involved with this!  So many fractions.  Thank goodness I married a nerdy numbers guy who likes that kind of stuff.  :)

Ready to finally get to the project?  The idea was to do a full floor to ceiling picture frame gallery on the wall between Anna's and Wyatt's rooms.  Except that I wanted it to be a grid...with the frames alternating between horizontal and vertical.  And of course all be evenly spaced on the wall, centered between the floor and ceiling.  No biggie, right?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was the perfect opportunity to knock it out.  We were off work but the kids' daycare was open so we could send them there and have some work time without tiny helpers!  This project took place at the top of our stairs which is probably the hottest area in our entire house.  Especially when both of us are crammed into it on top of each other working closely together.  It was HOT!

First - double checking frame measurements.

Step two - finding the dead center of the wall and hanging our first picture frame bracket.  And testing for level, of course.

Ten-ish minutes later and the first row (of nine total) was done!  Never mind those sideways and upside down pictures...

We got into a good groove with our measuring and marking and worked our way up to the top in no time.  After testing the first two rows with the frames, we plowed through the rest of them with just hanging the anchors and crossed our fingers the spacing would be right!

Going down from the center was a little trickier; we had to adjust how we made our measurements.  Did I mention it was really warm up there?  And I was wearing fleece pants and two shirts?  So. Hot.  Matt took over for the bottom half.  In the picture below, you can kinda see how the anchors had to be staggered on each row to account for difference between the vertical frames and horizontal ones.  We were constantly asking ourselves, "Is this row three up and two down, or two up and three down?"

All the anchors were up which means the hard part was done!  BUT...would they be right when we set the frames over them?  

They worked!

MLK Jr. Day selfie with our project complete.  (Well, mostly complete.)

Here is the "finished" gallery that day.  I knew I had less pictures then I did frames, but that was by design so that I can add new pictures as they're taken.  And one frame was still with the friend that was cutting my new glass for the three that arrived broken.  

The frames can slide left and right on their anchors so we cut some small pieces of wood to use as spacers to make sure everything stays evenly spaced.  We'll keep those around since I'm sure they will need occasional adjusting.  

By the end of the week, I had the missing frame back, new pieces of glass, and scrapbook paper in the empty frames until new pictures are printed for them.  (Sorry for the glares from the sun.)

And, in case you can't tell, these are all pictures of Anna and Wyatt!  Seemed fitting since this gallery grid is between their bedrooms.  For the most part, the left column is all pictures of Wyatt since that's his room, and the right column is pictures of Anna since that's near her room.  The three columns in the middle have pictures of the two of them together (with or without other people).

Here's a picture from down in the living room so you can understand where this gallery grid is. 


For those of you into numbers, we hung 45 picture frames in the grid.  And we used 2 nails to hold each frame's anchor to the wall.  So that's NINETY new holes we put into our dry wall that will have to be filled if/when I decided to take the frames down.  Yeesh!

But it looks good, right?  Totally worth the 90 holes.  For now.