When we first bought this home last year, several large projects needed our immediate attention, meaning repairing leaks and holes and years of abandonment had to begin before we addressed any of our more aesthetic wants. Our children loved our last home (the only one they really knew in childhood) with its large climbing trees and playful indoor nooks. Most of the indoor spaces they loved so much, I had created for them in their infant/toddler years or even before their birth. Although I realize they were cultivated with time and care, it’s hard for them (even as they’re getting older) to always have such perspective. If life truly is always trying to teach us something, I suppose the lesson we are all working through is this: all good things develop with time.
Still, I want our children to attach here, to live and enjoy right where we are, to learn that home and beauty are within us, not always the space itself. With a little intention and several individual conversations, I have focused on the kids’ rooms more this new year. Here’s a few ways we’ve managed these changes.
begin with small, inexpensive changes | Even the smallest, most inexpensive changes can make a room feel like their own: fresh paint, new pillows or throw blankets, a piece of art, a few favorite images.
repurpose something | When we purchase or make something for our home, I like to choose something that could work anywhere. Several of the pieces currently in the girls’ room weren’t always intended that way. Shifting adult furniture or art around the house can give the room or the piece a fresh look.
create a cozy reading/play nook | Cozy nooks are quite necessary in shared spaces, especially for introverted children. They can be the perfect hiding spot to read, play, or enjoy a little quiet alone time. My friend Terri makes the sweetest play tents and cushions for her shop Blue House Joys. She recently made one for us and my girls are smitten with it, swapping sleeping in it at night and enjoying everything from reading to tea parties in it during the day. If you’re interested, I’m hosting
a $50 giveaway to her shop over on my Instagram page.find one special feature | If you spend anytime looking at other kid spaces, you might find yourself wanting to add too much in one room. Instead try to narrow down one or two (if the room’s big enough) special features that your child(ren) would love. In the girls’ room it is a play kitchen area and a play tent.
use multi-purpose furniture | I prefer kids spaces without tons of clutter, since they always manage making a mess all on their own. To help keep their spaces tidier, our children own minimal toys and their furniture easily tucks their dearest knick-knacks away to make clean up easier, like a storage bench or a play kitchen. Since Olive still adores pretend play and being in the kitchen, we found a used kitchen set on Craigslist for her birthday. I painted the pink panels and damaged corners and roughly sewed new curtains for the hutch–just like new. Both girls adore it and since it’s a little larger, I imagine they’ll use it for a while, enough to justify the space it consumes.
| sources |
Although I’m leaving the sources for all of the room details, I’m doing it more so that you can see how spaces collect and evolve with time in our home. We tend to purchase or build pieces that can be used in any room in our home, shifting as our needs change. For instance, Blythe and Olive currently share a queen bed, which belonged to me and Mark in the beginning of our marriage. It now belongs to them and also doubles as our guest bed when friends or family visit.
- headboard, a stained panel of walnut, formerly my sister and brother-in-laws
- side table, found on the side of the road and we refinished
- chair, bought at a thrift shop several years ago
- storage bench, IKEA, bought 10 years ago when toddler toys were stored in our townhome living room
- play tent and floor cushion, Blue House Joys
- play kitchen, Pottery Barn Kids purchased significantly cheaper on Craigslist
- table lamp without shade, Target
- floor lamp, Target
- shade, Anthropologie
- toys buckets, Target
- wood floor chairs (rolled up in the bucket), Howda
| art |
- Iso Satakieli fabric canvas (above kitchen), purchased for Blythe’s first birthday
- Instagram photos of the girls
- Palm tree painting , purchased on a trip to Cuba before children
- French flags print, purchased in Paris before marriage
- Chinese wedding scarf, gifted to us on our wedding day from friends who had lived there
- Floral tapestry bought when Olive was born, Anthropologie
- Framed watercolor, Blythe age 3
- “Joy” and “be strong and courageous” prints, The Lovely Words shop
- Dreamcatcher, Wildflower Dreamcatcher
- sheets, Costco
- Chinoiseri duvet and shams, Dwell Studio several years ago
- Kantha blanket, Uncommon Goods
- denim stars apron set, Odette Williams
- play masks, Opposite of Far
- wood blocks, Haba
- bunny, Anthropologie, bought when pregnant with Olive
- woven purse, thrifted
- dress-up and dolls, tucked away in the chest (wink)