Disclosure: This is an unsponsored post. All opinions expressed here are my own. Any businesses listed are for your benefit, not mine.
I lost my father last October. I’m devastated. I will always be devastated. I miss him every day. I am beyond upset that my children won’t get to know him. When he passed he left me a small inheritance and although my first inkling was to pay bills with it, my husband urged me to do something meaningful and special to honor his memory. That’s when inspiration hit. We had a sun room that was once a special place for us to have coffee or a beer when we didn’t have kids, and was being used as storage once they came. I wanted to turn it into a playroom for the kids, somewhere my dad could foster their imaginations, and keep them safe. Here’s the result. Better late than never, right?
A picture I sneakily took on our last picture excursion.
I wanted to use a theme that would remind me of him, something that he loved. Immediately I thought of photography. He loved to take pictures. We used to go out early in the mornings and take pictures up at Seven Lakes Drive when he was in town. I spoke with some friends, and we decided on photography. Photography for kids…not easy.
I knew I wanted there to be an alphabet. I came up with a unique idea while searching pinterest boards. I wanted to have an alphabet with all different letters, and I wanted important people in their lives to choose, decorate and deliver the letters (see post with letter).
We needed a guest area. So we added a full size pull out couch which is perfect for “camp-outs” for the kids, as well as overnight guests. I hated the throw pillows. I found on Etsy this awesome shop REDS ATTIC that had camera inspired pillows made of fleece, soft and adorable, I ordered a few. I love the accent, and the kids use them all the time, on the couch, on the floor, and for pillow fights.
The shelves are picture shelves from IKEA that I use for books, they are great, they hold quite a few and are super easy for the kids to access. I did use heavy duty metal anchors so that they were safe enough. Above the books I found this amazing painted sign (again on Etsy) by Barn Owl Primitives. It not only connects the room to photography again, but it really has a mantra that resonates with me, and sounds just like my dad when he had his “deep” moments.
An upclose shot of the sign.
Next to that space is a frame wall where I display the kid’s pictures, artwork, whatever really. These I purchased from the local craft stores and painted. I painted clothes pins to match, and glued them on. I have since been recruited to paint a few for friends, it’s cute and the kids love to look at their own stuff.
Despite the small size of the room, storage was still a real necessity. I ended up hiring my old soccer coach (who interestingly enough did all of the furniture in my father’s office when he first started out) to make a custom built in. It needed to be deep enough for (A)’s giant Bruder trucks, and have space for a TV (for movie time, they do not have cable). It had to be sturdy and easy to clean (it is a playroom). I love the finished product, it’s perfect.
On the far wall we have a white board and chalkboard (both purchased from Amazon and affordable). In between there is a galvanized bucket with the chalk and eraser. I wanted to add another element of photography and was able to find these wooden cameras at Michael’s. We painted them, placed handprints and then added the kids’ monograms.
There are other little odds and ends, milk crate baskets to hold toys (mostly LEGO’s) from Target, because my husband’s family owned a local milk farm in Rockland. Toy cameras that my father sent (A) when he was small, and a few special mementos from the kids.
I love this room. When the kids are out there I feel like my dad is playing with them. I feel like he is teaching them, he would have loved to play LEGO’s with (A). He gets to play with them every day, in a safe and special place that is all their own. I would like to give a special thank you to all who helped me to make it this wonderful place. Firstly, to RNYD who encouraged me to do something special with the money, to my step-mother who helped me pick things out from across the country (and got to be the first one to sleep out there, Dad would have liked that). Thank you to my friends and family who put up with creating letters for my silly letter project. I look forward to so many more years of enjoyment and special times in this amazing space.
Disclosure: This is an unsponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.
We have all been there…. We have a project that we have been DYING to do around the house. It would be so great if…. I only need so much money… wouldn’t it improve our living situation? What about how much value it would add to the house??? How can I convince my spouse that this is a good idea???
My playroom project is no exception to this pattern. In my case I didn’t have to convince my spouse, he was already on board. I had great ideas and was so very excited to choose each item. I had it all set, I had picked out each and every detail painstakingly….
And so it begins. We are at the top of our game. We got the go ahead and the plans start. So optimistic about the outcome, we start having people come in and give estimates. We do our research and choose the best person for the job. There are so many possibilities… what can be added? What colors to use? What textures? What types of materials? We create a Pinterest board, ask friends and family to work with us on ingenious ideas to personalize the space…
My Pinterest board looks nothing like the real room. Like many other busy moms I first tried to do the bulk of my decorating online. I think that this is a big mistake, and a time waster. I could have pinned rooms that I liked, and moved on from there, but picking out a couch and carpet from an online source just didn’t work out.
The project starts and you change your mind because they can’t install the material that you have chosen, something is on back order, you saw the couch online and it was NOT as pictured when you went to check it out.. Now what? Your budget is slowly being BLOWN to smithereens (what budget, let’s get real, you didn’t know how much carpet was going to cost, and who knew you paid for the padding extra???). Why don’t cabinets come in the sizes I need? You want how much money for a custom cabinet in a playroom?
I had everything set, until I went to look at some of the items in person. Oh and might I mention, having to change it all basically doubled my budget. I am not sorry that I did it, I learned a valuable lesson. Most of my other renovations have been need based so I haven’t had this much time to decide on things before. It has never really been for FUN. I did learn some valuable lessons from it. Nothing beats the real thing. Go in person or you will be unhappy. I also found amazing local cabinet makers (after calling several) who worked with me and had reasonable pricing.
The windows go in, followed by the flooring and the furniture, things are looking up. You can finally remember why you started the project to begin with. Friends and family start returning their finished masterpieces, you can hang the decorations on the wall. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
That is where I am today. The carpet is in, the couch is in place. The custom camera throw pillows are adorable. I have mounted the chalk and dry erase boards and the kids are loving it. The first part of the cabinets are in (minus the trim and doors) and I can start to put things away. (A) and (D) even slept on the pull out bed already. When (A) plays he wants to go into that room. Wants to watch a Disney movie on his own TV. Additionally, I have a room to put guests in when they come to visit instead of on my couch. I am starting to breathe again and love watching the kids play through the kitchen window while I cook or clean up.
My roller coaster is starting to wind down and I can see the line of passengers waiting to get on ahead of me (I actually think it’s the endless list of other projects to complete in the house). But knowing where to start is half of the battle. I learned to budget 25% more than I originally thought and found some great ways to save money. I also learned where I am willing to cut costs, and where it is just not worth it (cabinets, carpet, couch).
This is the last “Peek” you will get before the project is complete (mid-May). I am loving it. I will also list all of the people that I used for those who may have similar needs, unsponsored. I just believe that if you find someone good, you should go with it and pass along their information.
The room is cleaned out, windows changed, ceiling painted, and heat source added.
(A) lounges on the new sofa bed adorned with the super cute camera pillows I found on ETSY.
The storage/media hutch construction begins….
Stay tuned for the finisned product! Including the amazing letters our family has been sending in!
Like many mothers, I always knew I would have kids. I knew I liked kids, and having them was just something to check off of my endless lists. There were a few things that I would come to realize when I had children that I was completely unprepared for.
1. Just how much you could love someone you had never “met”.
2. How hard it would be to leave them and go back to work.
3. How amazing it is to see the world through their eyes.
4. How awesome it is to just sit and watch them.
5. The unbelievable amount of crap that comes with them.
I have read countless articles about all of the above topics, and I promise to elaborate on each of them at some point in the future but today, I would like to focus on #5.
(D) and I were married in 2004, we waited 6 years to have children. The planners that we are we needed to have all of our “T’s” crossed and “i’s” dotted. We needed the house, my masters (I got two), his MBA, paid off cars, the dog, the whole deal. Before we had children we swore that our house would remain organized, neat and clean (HA!). We even had a little sanctuary, in the form of a sun porch off the back of our house, which was outfitted with lovely resin wicker furniture, and a ceiling fan. It looked out on our nice sized, quiet backyard. It was the perfect place to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, or a cold beer. A great setting for a long catch up phone call with a friend who had moved away.
Fast-forward, to 2014. (D) and I now have two children and two dogs. Mess comes with kids, I know that, and I love every moment of it. I would not trade Motherhood for anything in the world. However, I am tripping over toys in my living room, and spend more time “picking up”, cleaning, and washing than sipping coffee, beer or talking to those long lost friends.
Then there is my sanctuary. It has become a catch all, and transition area. Items that belong outside but we needed to store for the winter, shoes, party items from BBQ’s I never quite finished organizing. It’s sad really.
I have often thought of what I should do with this space, and recently came to a decision while attempting yet again to confine the toys to the corner of the living room that we lovingly call the “garage”. It would make a fantastic play room. (D) and I have discussed for two years now trying to find a space for the kids to play and keep all of the toys, often resigning ourselves to the fact that the basement project will have to wait; but will be great when we do it.
My father had suggested using the sun porch for a playroom several times, and each time I dismissed the idea. It was just recently that I realized he was right. It’s on the same level with the house, in close proximity with the main living space. The door can remain open and the kids would be close enough to feel safe and keep an eye on, while giving Mommy (and Daddy?) a space for herself (obviously to a point). A great plan.
My father loved photography, and I wanted to dedicate the room to him, and at the suggestion of a very smart Mommy from my Warwick, NY Facebook group, the room will be themed in his honor. I will be posting updates to show you all of the progress made in the room that will once again be a sanctuary not just for me, but for my children as well.
My sanctuary turned into a “catch all”. Sadly, I don’t even have pictures of its glory days. This is my “BEFORE” picture.
Like everyone I struggle with where to keep everything. This past year I lost my father to cancer and he kept telling (among other things) to make a playroom for my kids. Well I am finally taking his advice, and of course, dedicating the whole project to him. I have been researching and looking for ways to make the room unique, fun but sophisticated enough to grow with the kids, multipurposed (need a bed for guests), and nice enough to blend with all of the hard work I have put into the rest of the house!!!
I will continually post my updates on the project here, but I wanted to share my first project. I found an alphabet wall that I liked online, and decided I didn’t want to (A) decorate all of them myself, or (B) purchase a random set from ETSY or a store. I wanted them to be personal.
Take a look at the picture below to see what I came up with! As always, love the idea? Use It!