Hi guys! How are y’all doing? I am finally coming down and catching up from all of the excitement of Easter/Spring Break and having the boys home with me for a few days. Not only did I soak up every last minute, it was a huge reminder that it is finally time to get their all new big-man space done. Or maybe I really should say that it is time to get it started…
About six months ago I finally decided that enough was enough. I had put together an office I quite liked (after a lot of trial and error), yet found that I was continuously hauling myself and all of my work gear up to the kitchen table on a very frequent basis. And I would leave it there and we were always shifting it around for our family meals. The main reason that I preferred to sit upstairs? I was drawn to the windows just as a moth is to a flame! I love bright spaces and being able to gauge time by what is happening outside… When I would work down in my office, my mornings and nights blended. There were even days when I didn’t even see daylight. It wasn’t good for me, yet I would fight it because I finally got my office done in a way that I liked and I felt like I should just be content with that. There is that always-too-hard on myself thing again…
Over time, the boys were using their playroom less and less for building big toy cities, and more and more for hanging out with friends, watching movies and playing video games. Of course, that applies more to our oldest two, but the youngest always tries to keep up with his big brothers. They are currently 14, 11 and 9, and as much as I personally fight it, they are growing up.
With them in school all day, their playroom wasn’t seeing a lot of action during the week. Yet there I was, working from home full time in a cave. I initially picked the larger side of the basement for their playroom because a) it was larger for their imaginations and b) I liked that I could keep an eye on them from the family room and our master bedroom. So as long as I can still give them enough surface area for their favorite activities, they are old enough that I don’t need to be watching them 100% of the time while they play and craft.
At dinner one night I decided to check in with the boys and ask them their thoughts on trading spaces. They were so much more excited than I thought they would be; it must have been the mention of a mini-fridge and a spot for making popcorn. Now that I had them on my side I could let go of that mama guilt; I just had to learn to let go of my personal guilt.
The day I did, I stayed up all night moving everything out of the playroom into piles in my office, and all of my office piles into the playroom. And that is how things have sat for the last five-six months.
I can’t begin to wrap my head around how fast that six months has gone. I was intentionally on a DIY break for quite a few reasons; it has given us more time to enjoy the home we have worked so hard on, we have been re-building our home project budget, and most importantly, focusing our attention on our family and relationships. It has been so good for me and my rebuilding process to take that time off from major house updates, but knowing that the kids will be home from school for summer break, I am feeling a fresh fire inside of me. And I kind of like it!
My office still needs a whole lot of work, and I think I am finally ready to say goodbye to the birch tree stencil, but the kids come first! And really, that window has made such a difference in my days, that I really don’t notice my piles and unpacked bins.
I am going to preface the next part of this post, the room ideas and our plans, with the fact that I don’t believe the boy’s new space to be lacking in its current state… As you can see, we are really trying to re-use as much as possible from our previous setup, and they have been getting along just fine this past few months. In fact, the only thing I took with me is my craft cart… everything else stayed and has worked OK for putting away all of the boy’s belongings. But I also want to be sure that it not only functions well for crafting, board gaming, puzzling and playing with Legos for hours, but it also is a cool place for my
little big dudes to hang out! I want them to feel excited to spend time down there together, with their friends, and even with mom and dad. I also want to note that this space is open to our family room, and we have some plans for that space that will also trickle over to this one.
So let’s dive in!
The first thing I did was look at inspiration spaces with the boys, and save a bunch of images to my computer. I took note of the things they pointed out, everything from lighting to furniture pieces to textiles and finishes. It is funny that the boys typically don’t care about these details (or at least they don’t act like they do), but with this space they are all pretty excited. Which of course, I totally love. There were a couple of things that I already had in mind for the attached family room, like a floor to ceiling wall treatment, but there were elements that I wanted them to take part in deciding. Yet, after talking about if for the past few weeks/months, there are still so many things we probably won’t know the answer to until we really start diving in.
What we do know is that the space has to:
- Remain relevant as our boys continue to grow – I hope that the area can be simple, timeless and cool for any age.
- Function for both the youngest and the oldest – Although the oldest isn’t into toys, his youngest brother still plays with them. The room still has to store the toys he decides to keep, but it would be nice if they weren’t all out on display at all times.
- Become a space they all want to spend time in, either together, or with their pals – It has to offer a place to sit and play games (table), eat snacks (do boys ever stop eating around the clock?) and also a view of the TV in the family room.
- Provide them a place to remain creative through arts and crafts – Storage for all of their supplies, as well as a surface that can handle craft messes, are both important.
- Remain Lego friendly – They don’t play with too many other toys, but Legos will probably continue to be a hit around here up until they all move out. I will forever be stepping on those pesky little pieces…
|( style one | style two | style three )|
- Style one – Moulding only on the lower half, or even 3/4 of the way up, and then just painting the upper half to match.
- Style two – Straight floor to ceiling board and batten.
- Style three – Floor to ceiling board and batten with a few additional panels and cove moulding details.
|( one | two | three | four )|
|( option 1 | option 2 | option 3 )|
- Option 1: Install a pantry cabinet that matches the existing cabinets. We would then outfit the interior with toys, art supplies and games.
- Option 2: Build a true nook and install floating wood shelves, adding decorative baskets for toys, books and media storage.
- Option 3: Build in a small closet and update a set of bi-fold doors like we did to our coat closet.
|( credenza 1 | credenza 2 | credenza 3 | credenza 4 )|
|( one | two | three | four )|
|( option 1 | option 2 | option 3 )|
Updating the bench would give us a chance to redo the skirt (or nix it and redo the base) and maybe bring in a fun colored fabric instead. If we decide to get rid of the bench, we can turn the table to run parallel with the back counter, which does seem to flow a bit better, but would also mean that two people would always have their backs to the family room television. Either way, we need to add at least two chairs. Here are a few of the options we are considering.
|( one | two | three | four | five | six )|
And just when you thought this post should finally end, here are a few more final thoughts on the space.
With the walls going white, we are thinking about painting those back cabinets once they are updated to run wall-to-wall. A few color options we are considering are navy, light gray, keeping them white, and charcoal gray.
|( navy cabinets | light gray cabinets | white cabinets | charcoal gray cabinets )|
There is no sink in this area, however, we hope to update the nearby laundry room sink to be used for any dish rinsing/washing. Even without the sink, we still may consider adding some backsplash, just for a little extra texture and style.
If not tile, I would really love to add some wallpaper to the space. Either to line some open shelving or a closet, or to supplement the backsplash, or maybe even to add a wow moment on the ceiling?! Here are two I have had my eye on for months now, but I am still exploring a few alternatives as well:
|( buffalo check | otomi )|
And finally, I would love to DIY a game table topper; something like this would be loads of fun right?! And would maybe even score me some extra awesome-mom points with the boys!
Hi again, are you still there? Talk about months of brain dumping on you all, whew!
The school year finishes up in about eight weeks, so that doesn’t give us a lot of time to try and get this space summer ready. #wecandoit The boys casted their personal votes on most of these ideas/options this week, but I would also love to hear all of your thoughts and votes as well! We are all so excited to see where this room ends up!