Hey all, I am Corey from Sawdust 2 Stitches, and I have a serious problem. I cannot leave well enough alone. Have you ever started a seemingly simple afternoon project only to end up to your elbows in sawdust three days later? Well, I do often! My kids play space was no exception.
When moving into our home, there was a decent size closet under the stairs that presumably was intended as a storage closet. I absolutely intended to use it for storage! I planned for it to contain every single toy, book, action figure, car, and lego! Although it did solve the problem of where the toys would be stored, it still begged the question, “What about when they are in use?”
Thus, the playroom under the stairs. I knew full well that there was not nearly enough space for the kids to play and store their toys, but with some careful planning, anything is possible!
Luckily, in my adolescence my dad was a contractor and my mom was an artistic DIYer. In no time, I was wielding power tools and paintbrushes. In fact, my shop is my favorite room in the house! So instead of making do with the stair space, I decided to create more! I built a platform that would make it a split-level play area.
I had a general idea of the layout, but I was still a little foggy on the overall appearance. My sons happen to be infatuated with all things firefighting. So much so that when I asked my oldest son what he wanted for Christmas, he responded, “A fire alarm!” Yes, he wanted a fire alarm! “Are you sure you don’t want a drum, or an electric guitar?” I wondered. Coincidentally, a few weeks later I was at a garage sale and happened upon an old school alarm bell! How could I pass it up? I am so glad I snagged it because it became the inspiration for the entire playroom.
The “upstairs” has a fairly open play area, but it also had a small nook. It was the perfect space for lockers for the kids’ turnout gear and all of the necessary firefighting gear!
A fire station would not be complete without a pole! There is a pole and a ladder that serves as access to both upper and lower floors. The lower level contains most of the toys. I used our original storage bins and built a table top that would prevent the bins from toppling as well as provide a sturdy play surface.
My husband and I also discovered some additional dead space under the stairs that was not being utilized. So we utilized it! I created a door frame, put up drywall, and laid down carpet. This space was shaped a little awkward, but it was PERFECT for laying down and watching a movie! I mounted a television above the door frame, so the kids could lay back and easily see the television without fearing they would knock it over.
There was only one small area of dead space remaining. It wasn’t very big, but it was perfect size for a firetruck dashboard! As often as the kids pretended to respond to 911 calls, a “firetruck” seemed necessary. I do have more detailed plans showing how I made the fire truck dashboard.
Overall, I walked away from this project feeling like I successfully utilized and maximized every square inch of space. Once it was complete, I put it to the ultimate test … my kids. The verdict? They love it! They spend hours in there, the toys stay contained, and it is set up in a way that is easy for them to keep it clean! A win-win-win.
This entire project was so much fun, and having the great folks from Better Homes and Gardens come out and do a photo shoot was a total dream come true! I can’t say it enough, it was one of the funnest experiences ever! See the entire tour of the play area here!