Happy September everybody! We have officially hit my favorite month of the year! Back to school time, first day of fall, football season, my birthday…a girl couldn’t ask for anything better! My kiddos went back to school this week, so today I wanted to share with you a little project I have been diligently working on over the last month in our home. I have high hopes that this will make our school year run a little more efficiently.
But first, I should probably explain how this whole thing started in the first place…
There are times at night when I am lying in bed, trying to fall asleep and my brain just isn’t having any part of it. Can you relate? Much like an indignant toddler, I will tell my brain it ‘needs to go to bed now’ and ‘that it’s time to settle down’, but again, it’s sometimes just got a mind of its own (no pun intended!)
It’s times like these when my thoughts are prone to wander, and I will start brainstorming different ideas I have for projects around the home, the blog, my shop, etc. I even keep a notebook on my nightstand so I can write them down when they come to me and won’t forget them by morning. Every now and again though, I will be hit with a sudden epiphany, which will then cause my brain to get even more awake than it is already.
This happened a few months ago when I was trying to fall asleep late one night and thinking about ways to change-up my kids’ play room and my office to work more efficiently. The answer came to me so suddenly, it was definitely one of those “well, duh!” moments…just switch spaces!
We have two rooms in the front of our home that are exact mirrors of each other and sit across from one another. The only difference between them is that one room has 2 doorways – one leading into our kitchen – and the other room has only 1 doorway.
Ever since we’ve lived in our home, we’ve used the far room with 1 doorway as a kids play space and the second room with 2 doors, attached to the kitchen, as an office. You following me so far? Stay with me here…
But since I had been looking for a way to close off my office and make it more private – it’s especially fun to try to concentrate on work when you’ve got 3 children running wildly around your desk and banging on the piano simultaneously – switching the two spaces around seemed like the perfect solution.
I knew I could easily install a door that would close off my office in the “old play room space” and re-design a fun, new space for my kids to hang out in my “old office space.” It’s sort of like that old TLC design show, Trading Spaces, where two sets of neighbors trade a room in their homes and re-design it. Remember that show? I may be dating myself because I think it first aired when I was a senior in high school, but it was awesome!
Annnnyyyywhhooo…this may be the longest explanation leading up to a play room reveal in the history of blogs ever…the “switcherro” – as I’m affectionately calling it – happened about a month ago and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the end result. And the fact that I got it done just in time for the start of the new school year made me pretty happy as well.
I apologize for the lack luster photos of the before shots…but this is basically what the “old” play room space looked like after emptying it (minus that large black entertainment center that is now serving a new storage purpose out in our garage.)
And here’s my old office…partially deconstructed as well.
This room used to be the same color as our kitchen was prior to its recent paint job…sage green. I wanted to brighten up the space so it ended up getting a new coat of the same Beach House Blue that we used in our kitchen. What a change! It literally brightened up the space tenfold.
I switched around some existing curtain panels that had been hanging in our kitchen with the ones from my old office. I knew I wanted to incorporate lots of navy & orange into the space. I found this navy and white tepee on clearance at Kohl’s for $10!! I kid you not, this thing was originally $100 and it was literally the last one left in the store. Don’t you just love when that kind of thing happens?
This has been made into a reading zone for my kids to grab a book, a blanket and snuggle up with the paper lanterns overhead. My oldest just started reading the Harry Potter series this summer and is almost through the second book. She has definitely become a fan – even requesting a Harry Potter themed birthday this year. We found this cute Harry Potter costume on Amazon for her to wear at her party, as well as this year for Halloween. She’s been sporting the glasses and wand ever since it arrived.
I kept the piano in this room for my daughter to practice her lessons.
And added some fun new artwork that I found at Hobby Lobby…these silly cows reminded me of my 3 kids’ personalities. And since we live in the country, it fits in with our house’s vibe perfectly.
I wanted to create a few things to go in this room as well to make the space feel more personalized and special. First project was painting the frame of a plain wood bulletin board that I found at Goodwill for a few dollars. *my tip of the day: I do a lot of shopping at my local thrift stores and find some amazing deals on things to re-purpose!
It got a cute coat of orange paint and looked good as new.
I also found this awesome desk at a rummage sale for $10 and had to snag it up. With my oldest starting a more intense homework regimen this year in third grade, I knew she would be needing a place to quietly work after she got home from school.
The desk was in need of a good scrub-down, and most definitely a fresh coat of paint. It was sort of a sad-looking moss green color before.
So my daughter & I spent one Saturday afternoon painting it navy blue and it turned out adorable! I put a nice thick coat of wax on the top to seal it so no scuff marks show while she’s working here so diligently.
What do you think? Totes adorbs right?
The orange side table was another rummage sale find this summer and it fits in rather nicely next to the desk. On the top is sitting this awesome vintage globe I found at a resale shop. I love the bright colors it brings into the space.
Above the desk I hung a fun chalkboard frame the kids can write messages on, with a mini peg board I found for $5 at Target when they had their back to school stuff in the dollar section. A few tin buckets filled with chalk, stampers, glue sticks and scissors make this a really useful homework station.
But the best part of this space has got to be the fact that this is now a “quiet toy only” zone! We moved all of the kids’ big/noisy/messy play toys down to our finished family room and only the “quiet toys” are available and left to play with in here.
Some of their favorite “quiet” things to play with in this space are:
Magnet Board – that’s a tin oil drip pan that we bought at the home improvement store for a few dollars and the kids love using their magnets to design funky stuff on it.
Puzzles – the entire lower portion of our storage shelf is full of them!
Coloring – our kids have massive quantities of coloring & activity books. They love to color. I found these awesome navy and orange bins at…you guessed it…Goodwill! For only $2/each!
Chalk Table – Again, a rummage sale find – $5 coffee table – added some chalkboard vinyl paper to the top and it’s a chalk drawing table! This one we’ve had for a while now and it’s starting to look like it might be time for a redo of its own.
Constructive Play – My kids love to play with building blocks, Lego Duplos, toys with gears and these fun new connecting toys called Brain Flakes that they got for Christmas last year. Even I love to sit and create something with these!
And last but not least, one more thing that was added to this space were these custom burlap signs I designed and framed to remind my kids of how they should be playing together and treating each other daily.
These were so much fun to create, that I’d like to share the images with you too, in case you’d like to print some for your own family room or kids’ play space. They are good reminders for all of us – big and small alike – how to treat one another. Both signs are sized for an 8 x 10 frame.
So, after what has seemed like a marathon post today, I have finally reached the end. Did you make it through with me?
And of course, you haven’t seen the other side of this switch, which would be my office…but that’s still a work in progress. I’d love to be able to reveal that space to you in the near future…so stay tuned!
This “back to school switcheroo” has left our family feeling energized for the new school year as we charge full steam ahead. I pray it has started well for you and your own kiddos as well!
Ellen Loeser says
Very Nice Katie!! My favorite is the teepee! I want to curl up and read a book in there! Love to see your thoughts become reality! 🙂