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!
I’m super excited to be back on Style Spotters writing about our new Dream House! When we moved in the first weekend of November, there were still quite a few things that needed to be finished: the fridge and freezer were on backorder, as were the master bathroom medicine cabinets; there weren’t any window coverings; the paint needed to be touched up in every single room; and several light fixtures still needed to be installed. And let’s not forget the basement! My husband and I both look at the basement as something of a gift–we both grew up in places where basements are rare. So when we were designing our house, we wanted the basement to be made up of little luxuries, spaces that we wouldn’t normally have room for, but that we desperately wanted and would use a lot. A dedicated guest bedroom, a studio space for me, an extra bathroom, a playroom for the kids. Since these spaces were luxuries and not necessities, we opted to leave the basement unfinished for the time being. And then we realized pretty quickly, when all of the toys were left in unopened boxes in the dusty basement while our kids started going stir crazy upstairs, that we really needed that playroom finished, and quickly! We had some friends help us finish it in time to surprise the kids with a beautiful playroom on Christmas morning! You’ll have to wait just a bit longer for the big reveal, but here’s a gorgeous playroom inspiration board to tide you over…
- Our goal for the playroom was to create a bright, colorful space that was fun for all the kids, that wasn’t too girly or too boyish, and that the older kids would’t find too babyish in a few more years. And that could house all of the toys, of course. Photo from 6th Street Design School
- We spent a lot of time “researching” light fixtures for the playroom, which means I had fun looking at cute light fixtures on the internet for a few hours. We considered barn lights, vintage-inspired schoolhouse lights, and really colorful lights, but opted for some affordable industrial-style lights for a couple of reasons. #1) They had wall sconces and a matching semi-flushmount ceiling fixture, which were the two types of lights we needed, and I’m a sucker for things that match. #2) They have a wire cage covering the glass shade, so in case blocks or balls go flying, the lights are sort of protected. #3) Cute and affordable? Sign me up! We ordered the lights from Home Depot’s website.
- You could probably guess what wall color we went with even if I hadn’t included a paint swatch–I guess I like light blue! It is a great playroom wall color: light, bright, peppy, and peaceful. Our playroom is on the side of the basement with no windows, so we tried to find a color that wasn’t too dark because there won’t be any natural light to brighten it up. The color we chose is Water Squirt by Sherwin Williams, and it’s the perfect light, icy blue.
- One of my favorite things about our new house is all of the storage. I truly believe that if there’s a place for everything to be put away, the house will just naturally stay cleaner and neater. I’ve dreamed–and yes, this is very nerdy–of a playroom with a whole wall of cubbies. Not only does it look good, but it also keeps all of the toys, blocks, dolls, and puzzles neatly organized and off the floor. Photos from BHG and Young House Love
- What’s a playroom without some colorful accents? I love these rainbow lights from Bright Lab. They look great even when they’re not plugged in. I’ve also had my eye on this “Amazing” wall hanging from Children Inspire Design for a few years now. I love that it’s got bright colors on a black background–such a nice change from all of our other playroom prints that are on white.
- I can’t resist a good DIY project, and when I spotted this ABC wall art installation a few days ago, it knew I had to make it for the playroom. I’m not always good at finishing the DIY projects I start, so wish me luck! Photo from Project Nursery
- The mini climbing wall was my husband’s idea. We didn’t have a chance to put it together before the big Christmas morning reveal for our kids, but we have all of the materials and will hopefully get it up soon. Our kids love to climb, and I’m excited for them to have a place where they can climb to their little hearts’ content. Photo from Fun At Home With Kids
- Last but not least, the playroom rug! This was probably the thing I spent the most time researching. We wanted a big rug (8×10′) that was colorful, good quality, soft, affordable, and not babyish. That’s a surprisingly tough combo to find, but we managed. We love the rug we ended up with, this rainbow chevron rug from Mohawk, which we got for a steal from Overstock.com. Photo from Makely School for Girls
Stay tuned for more playroom details from the Dream House!
DIY Toy Bin Labels
We are headed toward the Christmas season, and if you have a kiddo that means a lot of new goodies to lay around on their bedroom floor. Not this year! We have been making over our daughter’s room (I’ll share some photos when we are all done, it’s pretty cute), so we have a bunch of new containers for toy storage. To help her out I made these printable toy bin labels so she can easily find any toy she’s looking for, plus these labels make clean up easier.
Supplies needed to make these labels:
- Toy containers
- Free Printable Toy Label Frames (I made a few for you to print out for free, or you can make your own) Blank, One, Two, Three, Four, & Five
- Paper to print the labels onto, or printable sticker sheets
- Optional: laminating sheets, yarn, or double sided tape
Decide what you want to do with your labels. Will they be stickers? Or, maybe you could print them onto paper and seal them with laminate sheets? You could also just print them onto card stock paper and use some strong double sided tape to keep the label on. Another idea: take some photos of the toys, print them out, and add them to each label (makes it easier for kids that aren’t quite reading yet).
Want some more ideas (or free printables) for toy organization? Check out these toy bin labels from around the web:
- Toy Bin Tags, from Lily Jane.
- Square Toy Bucket Labels, from BHG.
- Chalkboard Pen Tags, from Balancing Home.
- Laminated Toy Labels, from It’s Overflowing.
Have a wonderful Thursday!
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
TREND: A collected over time look for the home, even in kids’ rooms.
We continue to see a trend away from mass-produced and obviously new items when decorating, and that translates to all spaces in the home. Yes, even for kids’ rooms! There’s something wonderfully warm and homey about living among storied pieces with a sense of history, isn’t there? The dresser in the kid’s room above is most likely an antique, and several other elements in the room may be true vintage or antique finds as well, but you can get a similar look with the items below.
- Zebra Print Pillow, Pillows by Dezign
- Welcome to the Jungle Quilt, The Land of Nod
- Framed World Map, National Geographic Store
- Framed U.S. Map, National Geographic Store
- Eames Molded Fiberglass Dowel-Leg Armchair (DFAW) , Design Within Reach
- Ashby Dresser, Pottery Barn
– Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely
The first thing people ask me when they see me, or on my Facebook page, is…Nate, please come to my house! Because how we live really matters. Period, the end. It’s about living with what you love, in a space that reflects who you truly are. This show is about bringing high design back to television…design that I hope inspires people to think about their spaces in a new way. And that’s what you see on the show. Talented, passionate designers who are fighting for their point of view. Some of the choices you will love, some you won’t. And that’s the thing with design, it should always be about what feels good, about what speaks to you. That being said, there are rules…things that can help turn an okay space into a room that really feels special.
I love this living room transformation from last week’s episode. The mistake people often make is thinking they need 20 pieces in a room. But the thing is, if it’s well-chosen and edited, fewer pieces are fine. In this space they edited the book case and left only a few curated objects. I might not have made that choice but it certainly hits home the fact that more than books can live on your shelves. In fact, that’s one of the take aways for me doing this show; sometimes less really is more. People also think that they have to be adventurous with paint. If that’s what you love, I say do it. But freshly painted white walls will never go out of fashion. Keep to the same hues when you add color, like the grey and purple accents here. And don’t forget lighting. People, I can’t say it often enough…it’s one of the most important things to think about. Go flea market shopping and pick up vintage sconces or brass lamps. These are the details that will bring the room together. That will make it feel layered. And like a room you love to come home to.
How great is this wallpaper! Absolutely perfect for a kid’s room…that was my greatest takeaway here. It feels fresh, fun…but also chic. And a space that they can grow into. That’s important. You want your child’s room to evolve with them. I also love the seating area. A place they can do homework, or read a book. It’s about creating a beautiful space, yes. But also, is this practical…does this space serve us? This is actually a pretty small room. But proof that you don’t need a lot of space to live well.
I can’t wait for you all to tune in and watch the second episode of American Dream Builders on Sunday night at 8/7c on NBC. I would love to hear what your favorite rooms are; what you’d love to recreate and why.
Guest Style Spotter, Style Spotters | Tags:
American Dream Builders, bedroom, Better Homes and Gardens, color, Decor, decorating, Design, Kids Room, Living Room, nate berkus, wallpaper