Room To Lounge

There is one room in our house that is in constant flux. The playroom. I’m ALWAYS in there cleaning, picking up toys, rearranging things to accommodate our (quickly) growing children. It seems like every few months the kids’ needs change, and thus, so does the playroom.

I’m so grateful we have a room to use just for the kids to play in. Especially since we don’t have a finished basement and our bedrooms are all upstairs, it’s nice for the kids to have a safe place on the main floor to play where I can keep close watch of them. I’m especially grateful for it this Summer because it has been too hot to play outside some days, like this ENTIRE WEEK. While it has been so hot, we’ve been having afternoon movie time. I turn the lights off, close the curtains, make a comfy pillow fort, grab some snacks and lay down and watch a movie, or two. This movie time is awesome because 1. it’s a cool distraction from outside and 2. both kids usually fall asleep!

I noticed that the rooms current layout was not very accommodating for movie time, or even just lounging, especially for us adults when we are in there. The room is large, but has two large picture windows and two large door openings. Our t.v. has been on the wall in the corner which made it tricky to comfortably place a sofa without it being in the center of the room. The t.v. placement was one of those decisions we made hastily when we first moved in, without really knowing where we would need/want it.

Here is a look at the previous layout. Basically the sofa was in the middle of the room, and the four corners were separate little play areas. I liked this layout while the kids were smaller, because they could both play with their own toys in separate corners. These days, they are more into the same toys and need more room to spread out and play.

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Since the room is somewhat long and narrow, I decided to split it in half and dedicate half to a ‘lounge’ area and half to the play area. This required moving the wall mounted t.v. and praying that the cable cord would reach to the new spot. Luckily it did with a little finesse.

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I moved all of our toy storage onto one wall and painted the old bookshelf a glossy white to make it look more like one unit. I got really lucky that it all fit nicely onto that one wall and then centered the t.v. above it.

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I also got lucky that our sofa/futon just barely fit along the back wall.  I wish I had a little more room for an end table or two, but I may end up finding a long narrow table to go behind it. I’m not too worried about it right now, because the futon will be replaced one of these days when the kids are older. Right now though, we are loving having a futon in this space for movie watching, naps, and when we have extra guests staying with us.

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I love that it feels cozy, but there is still plenty of room for the kids to get out their toys in this area. Lots of Duplo building goes on in this space. We had a hard time getting our tent out without moving things around before, and now there is plenty of room for it.

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Hollis did end up losing her painted house mural, but I promised I would fix up her little kitchen area as a compromise. The Ikea kitchen needed some paint touch-ups and while I was at it, I just ended up giving it a whole new farmhouse makeover. I still have a shelf to hang for her baby doll accessories and I let her pick some artwork to hang along the walls.

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Bowen is a big fan of the kitchen lately too. I have plans for a little tool/garage area for him on the opposite wall. He is getting a workbench for Christmas this year so I have a little time before I focus on that. I’m sure Hollis will enjoy it as well.

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I’m sure this room will change again, but so far I’m really happy with this new layout. The kids seem to be really happy with it too. It just feels so much bigger and more open. I love makeovers that just require a little furniture rearranging and minimal paint…and that are totally FREE!!

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Toning Down The Crazy

It has been a while since I’ve talked about the kid’s playroom. I thought I would give a little update on the little changes I’ve made. Now that Bowen is six (almost 7 months) old and can sit up and move around a little bit, he is really getting into toys. He is no longer content with sitting in one spot, he is ready to move around and explore…and get into as many of sisters toys as possible.

Up until now, Hollis has had the whole playroom to herself. It’s filled to the brim with baby dolls, princesses, and dress up clothes and accessories. I have been slowly moving some of her things out and finding a home for them in her bedroom or the toy closet, which she agreed to pretty quickly after I explained that they will be safe from little brother and his slobber. I’ve been replacing those things with some more toys that Bo might be interested in.

The last time you saw it, it looked like this.

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I tried out this scalloped, two-tone wall to add a little playfulness to the room. I liked it at first, but it started to feel a little too crazy after a while as well as the colorful curtains. So I decided to tone it back a bit. I did still really like the two-tone neutral walls so I kept those, but chose to ditch the scallop. I also switched out the curtains for a more neutral option.

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I added our old futon back into the space, because let’s face it, Mama needs a place to sit and supervise in the playroom. It’s also great for napping toddlers and movie watching.

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I tried to add some little nooks in the corners of the room. One nook is Hollis’s “house”. She loves to hideaway in the nooks and read books or play with toys and it’s nice that the kids can separate and escape each other when needed while still playing in the same space.

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That nice straight line makes me so happy. It feels calmer in here even at the most chaotic of times. There is so much color in the room from the toys and furniture, the walls really needed to be calmed down bit. I’m so grateful we have this room, I don’t know what we’d do without it!

 

 

Fave Outdoor Toys For Toddlers

My kid is OBSESSED with being outside. I love that she would rather be outside digging in the dirt than sitting in front of the t.v., BUT Mama can only play with rocks and sticks so long before I want to poke that stick straight into my eye. So I’m on a hunt for some new outdoor toys that we can play with this Summer. We have plans to buy or build a playground of some sort later on, but I want a few things the kids can play with now while they are little.

Favorite Outdoor Toys For Toddlers

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  1. T-Ball Set My child loves hitting things so this is basically right up her alley . I love that it teaches her hand-eye coordination and helps develop fine motor skills. It also breaks down and hangs on the wall for easy storage.
  2. Garden Tools We have some cheap, plastic versions of these already. And they get used ALL the time. Hollis loves to dig around in the garden with them so much that I’m not sure they will last long enough for little brother to get to use them. I really like these nicer, heavier duty ones. Plus they look just like the ones I use!
  3.  Garden Table We are in the throws of the terrible twos…but my toddler is also in a phase where she wants to be doing whatever mommy is doing. Since my time outside is usually spent working on the garden, I think she would love having a gardening table of her own. Throw some dirt in there and she would be in heaven.
  4. Sidewalk Chalk Paint I spend a lot of time repeating the words, “STAY OUT OF MOMMY’S PAINT” while working on projects. It would be so great to head outside and just let my little monster go to town and paint up the sidewalk.
  5. Froggy Toss and Grip  Another good activity for practicing hand-eye coordination. Hollis can throw a ball pretty good, but she hasn’t quite mastered catching. She seems to think every game with a ball is dodgeball.  I think this would be great practice before trying a ball and glove and safe for her and her brother to play together when he is old enough.
  6. Splash Pad So we have a little, above ground pool, but it’s too deep for the little ones to do much other than sit in a floatie right now. I like the idea of playing in the sprinkler, but hate how muddy and grassy we get. I love that we (me, toddler, baby) can all sit on this and enjoy splashing around in the water together.

What are your little ones favorite outdoor toys and activities?

Playroom Upgrade

I can’t believe the holidays are over. I feel like I just put Christmas decorations up and now I have to turn around and take them all down. Now without the holiday distractions, I’m very aware that this little babe is going to be here SOON. I’m also very aware of my mile-long list of things to do before he gets here.

One of my pre-baby projects was the playroom. I feel like it’s constantly in makeover mode. I’m always moving things around in there. Like daily. A couple of weeks before Christmas I had a slight panic attack when I learned some of the (big) things Hollis would be getting for gifts this year and wondered where the heck I was going to put them (first world problems, right?!). It also dawned on me that we are about to have another little person and all of the toys that come with said little person. Hollis has the playroom filled to the brim all on her own, so I don’t know how we are going to make space for even more toys.

Here is (basically) what the playroom has looked like for the last few months. Like I said I move things around a lot in there, but this is the last pics I took of it.

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The layout worked great for quite a while, but I really just needed more wall space. I decided the only way to get it was to get the treadmill out of there. So it has a new home in the office…for now. And while we really enjoyed having the sofa in the playroom, we just didn’t use it as often as I thought we would. I’m sure we will when the kids are older. We moved it into the living room for now, which has been really nice because we are short on seating in there. Moving these two big items out really freed up a lot of space. I also added some much needed storage shelves from Ikea to get some of the clutter off of the floor.

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I painted over Hollis’ little orange playhouse and upgraded her to a larger, pinker version.

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She was excited to pick out the color herself. She’s quite opinionated these days. Luckily I had just enough pink paint on hand to finish it. Now she has more room for her new kitchen/house.

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She really loves baby dolls and playing “house” so this is pretty much heaven to her. She’s going to be such an awesome big sister.

IMG_2886Hollis also got this sweet tee-pee as a gift. She loves to hide, so this saves me from digging out all my blankets for forts and tearing them down daily.

It’s crazy how quickly kids needs/wants change. I’m learning to be ‘breezy’ as Monica Gellar would say, and just go with the flow!

 

 

Kid’s Play Fridge/Pantry

Christmas is SO SOON!! I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. I’m so excited for Hollis to enjoy Christmas this year. I haven’t been this excited about the holidays since I was a kid. Hollis is 2 and she is obsessed  with all things Christmas. Santa, cookies, presents, carols, Christmas movies, ornaments, etc., etc. She  did the same at Halloween this year, just completely immersed herself in it and it is contagious. I find myself counting down the days along with her.  I think she is going to be really sad when it’s all over and the next major holiday is a few months away.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of Hollis’ Christmas presents was going to be a diy’d play pantry/fridge for her new play kitchen that she is getting from my parents. I originally planned on building one from scratch, there are a few plans on Pinterest, but ended up looking for a cabinet that I could make into one instead. I had seen someone take an upper cabinet, like one that would go above a fridge or stove, and turn it on its side to create a little play fridge. So I set my sites on that and headed to every home improvement store I could think of to find one. After seeing the prices of brand new cabinets, I quickly changed my mind. Then I remembered the Re-Store, they are full of used cabinets and other building materials from houses. As soon as I set foot inside the store, I knew I was going to leave with something that would work.

I found many small kitchen cabinets like the ones I had in mind, but then I stumbled upon a bathroom cabinet that I thought would work even better. It looks like a cabinet that you would hang above the toilet. Totally not what I envisioned, but once I saw it, I thought it would make an awesome pantry. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but after I considered how little work I would have to put into it, I felt better about the price. Literally all I had to do was paint it. Down the road I would like to add another shelf inside, but haven’t gotten to that yet.

IMG_2773I went with navy, because I love it, and also because her new kitchen will be navy too. The navy was a little too dark for the interior, it made it kind of hard to see, so I went with a light gray. The cabinet is solid wood and very sturdy, which was a big selling point for me. I sanded everything really good and gave it a couple of coats of paint.   IMG_2784 IMG_2786IMG_2787 IMG_2789 It’s really more pantry than fridge, but that’s okay. We desperately needed a place to house all of the play food and pots and pans. Before, we just had a small grocery cart to hold everything in. To find anything in it, Hollis had to empty out all the contents and usually I was the one who got to pick it up and put it all away….

IMG_2782Now it all has a home and we can close the doors and not see it! Everything is easy to find and messes still happen, but much less often. We ended up giving it to her before Christmas 1. because I’m terrible at surprises and 2. because I didn’t have anywhere to hide from her.

IMG_2801 IMG_2797So far she really loves it. The kitchen gets played with almost every day. She likes to rearrange all the things in her pantry.  Like I said, I think one more shelf in there would be really nice. There is plenty of room for it and there are already slots for adjusting shelves so it would be a really easy fix. I can’t wait for her to get her new kitchen to go with it!

 

 

 

Wrangling The Chaos

If you are sitting there thinking, ‘man, I sure wish this lady would do another closet post’, well then you’re in luck because that is exactly what this is. Although this closet is for much more important things than clothes. MUCH more important…..It’s for toys.

I know I’ve said this before, but we are super lucky to have the amount of closets we have in this old house. And especially lucky of the size of the closets. When we first moved in, these closets saved my sanity. I was able to stuff them with totes and boxes and pretend that everything was unpacked and in its proper place. Now that we have lived here for a while, things are (slowly) finding their permanent home and my closets are freeing up!

This particular closet is right under the staircase. It was the coat closet when the original front door was in this room. That door is now a window, and we have a coat closet next to the door that we use regularly. Lately, this closet has been used as a catch-all for the most random things. It has been housing our coolers, the vacuum cleaner, a couple of totes that still need homes, and the most random toys that I don’t want out all the time. (I apologize for these terrible photos, but there is only one bare bulb light in the closet and without it, the closet is pitch black!)IMG_2633IMG_2636 IMG_2639 I FINALLY got around to going through things in there and was left with a nearly empty closet. I decided the best use for this closet would be to house all of the toys that are overflow from the playroom or toys that Hollis can’t be trusted with, without supervision (ie. paint, markers, playdoh, etc.). It sits right across the hall from the playroom. My plan is to remove the clothes rod and make that whole wall shelves. It’s hard to tell from the pics, but that side is 24″ deep and 38″ wide. So I can easily fit some nice 16″ deep shelves in there. And since the door is petite, I have room to utilize the space across from it with some 10″ deep shelves.

IMG_2647In order to get my 10″ shelves in, I had to remove part of the existing wood coat racks so that I can get a shelf bracket on the left side. I also needed it removed, to add new cleats for my 16″ deep shelves.IMG_2648I just made my cut and pried off the unwanted section. IMG_2649Now I had room for my brackets and my cleats….after some patch work, of course. IMG_2644I used 1″x2″ for my cleats to hold my shelves. This is a really simple and cheap way to add shelving. Just cut them the depth and width of your shelves for them to rest on. I used wood boards for my shelves, but you could use MDF or sheets of plywood too.

IMG_2652 I used a 1″x 4″ and a 1″x12″ to make a 1″x16″shelf and cut them to the size I needed.  Next, I painted all the wood and shelves white. I patched all the holes and cracks and got out the paint. I usually do all white closets, but I wanted to add a little color on the walls since this closet is really for the kiddos.  IMG_2658IMG_2654I ended up putting back some of the wall hooks, because they are handy for hanging bags and they stay out of sight behind the door when it’s open.

IMG_2667 IMG_2666It is so nice to find a home for these toys that have been floating around the living room and playroom. Hollis loves going in there and picking out toys. It’s funny how if they are out, under her nose, she could care less about them, but put them in a closet out of sight and mind, and she suddenly has a new-found love for them!

More Playroom Fun

I’m sick.

Like knock you on your butt, sick. What started out as allergies, has quickly escalated to bronchitis….Hello mucus. Needless to say, I’ve been very unproductive this week. The couch, a box of tissues, and I have become best friends. I high-fived myself this morning for getting two whole loads of laundry done….just five more to go!

The only good thing about this is that we have been able to give the “new” playroom/rec-room a spin. There is a closet across from the playroom that I use to hide toys in. I like to hide things and then switch them out with other toys that are already out. Am I the only mom who does this? It sounds kind of mean to hide things from a toddler, but she has so many toys that she gets bored with them sometimes. Hiding them not only keeps clutter down in the playroom, but also keeps her toys exciting when she hasn’t seen them in a while. It has been a lifesaver this week, while I have very little energy to entertain my little one, she’s been able to entertain herself quite a bit with all of her “new” old toys.

Luckily, I finished a couple of projects in there before I started hacking up my lungs, and so far Hollis is really enjoying her new space. Here’s what the space looked like after I painted.

recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com I decided that the sofa was a little too close to the t.v., so I ended up flipping the treadmill around to face the wall.

recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com I really wanted the treadmill to face the t.v., but I just couldn’t make it work and this freed up a lot more space this way.

recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com I also added a small chalkboard wall for Hollis. She has had so much fun with the one in the entry way, that I thought she would really enjoy her own in the playroom. This is also her little art corner, where she can color and draw. (And how sweet is that little picnic table my dad made her?!) As you can see, we like moose a little bit.

recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com My favorite (super simple) addition, is Hollis’ playhouse. I just used some painters tape and a fun paint color to create a little house for her. I love the pop of color and it brings out the color in her growth chart, you can see more on that project here.

recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com So far, the little one LOVES it. Trying to keep her out of my shot while taking pics was almost impossible. I found a couple of small shelves I had in a tote and hung them on the wall for her to store her dishware on. Brian suggested adding a little window in her “house”, so I may have to make that happen too.

recroom // thegoldbrickroad.com IMG_1777As you can see I’m having a little too much fun designing the playroom. If I could just design kids rooms and playrooms for the rest of my life, I think I’d be happy!