Tag Archives: kids’ rooms

Mera’s House: Playroom Before & After

The playroom is done!  For real this time (sorry about the ghost post last week, email subscribers)!  To recap, here is where we started:

Red House West || Playroom

Okay, so this was when the room was going through a particularly awkward/heinous phase.  It wasn’t always this bad, but during the holidays last year we realized that we needed the space to function both as playroom, and as an occasional guest room when we have lots of family visiting.  We cobbled it together, but the room was a chaotic, rumpled mess.  Definitely not a welcoming retreat for weary travelers, nor a space to spark the imagination of a preschooler.  Fast forward five months, through drywall repair, painting (the prettiest pale peach shade), wallpapering, and changing out fixtures, outlets, and switches, and here is what it looks like now:

Red House West || Playroom

When I think of playrooms, antique Persian rugs don’t typically jump to mind, but this rug totally makes the room.  It came from my father-in-law’s childhood home, and was in our living room for a while.  As it was in our living room, it’s too big for this room and curls up on the edges, but I think that adds to the magic.  To me it looks like the secret room you would stumble into when the back of the antique wardrobe you’re hiding in gives way.

The element I’m most proud of in this room is the playhouse.  It is a simple piece of plywood, with a caster on the bottom, attached to the wall with a piano hinge (I’ll be sharing details on how we made it soon).

Red House West || Playroom

It’s painted with chalkboard paint and folds flat against the wall, or can be pulled out so that Opal can play store or house, or do puppet shows, or whatever she can think of.  Turns out a lot of imaginary scenarios are made better and more fun by the addition of a window.


Red House West || Playroom

The daybed is from Land of Nod, and is really really useful in this room.  Having a bed for guests was a must, but it’s also nice to have a cozy perch for reading together, and it makes for comfortable theater seating for the audience at puppet shows.

Red House West || Playroom

Behind the daybed hangs a thrifted miniature painting.  It’s tiny, only 3×4, but the details knock me out, and the colors are just right.

Red House West || Playroom

The curtains are lovely, light, and informal.  I’ve never had a room with matching drapes of any kind, and I suddenly feel like I get it — they really do tie the room together.

Red House West || Playroom

Katie helped me hang the wallpaper during her last visit to Alaska (read our tips for wallpapering success here), and I’m still completely in love with it.  It packs a graphic punch, but doesn’t overwhelm the room, and is a great backdrop for Opal’s storytelling performances, which lately usually begin with “back in the olden days . . .”

Red House West || Playroom

Red House West || PlayroomI’ve had the string lights for a while, and I love them.  I like the look of bare bulb fixtures, but they’re usually too harsh for my eyes.  Not these babies.  I have them on a dimmer, and they give off a warm and lovely glow.  I’ll share some tips I learned about how to hang things on wallpaper in another post soon.

Red House West || Playroom

I’m really happy with this room now!  We all spend more time in here, and Opal is often engaged in deep, imaginative play, rather than digging through rubble and rubbish.  I love that the room is clearly a playroom, but isn’t overwhelmed by toys or loud colors or designs, and that Opal’s creativity is the star of the show.

Red House West || Playroom

Winnie is insufficiently impressed that my child wrote “Oprah.”


Thanks for reading along, and in case you’re curious, here are sources:

Daybed, Land of Nod; Mattress Cover, Etsy; Curtains, (print no longer available, but same style) Urban Outfitters; Mural Wallpaper, Anthropologie; Buffalo Check Pillows, Ikea; String Lights, onefortythree; Wall Paint, Peach Fade by Behr.

Mera’s House: Updates in Opal’s Bedroom

Opal turned three at the end of December, and from my completely objective perspective she is the smartest, funniest, sweetest child the universe has ever known.  For example, upon being congratulated for not having any accidents on a recent afternoon, she explained “my kidneys didn’t make any pee, so that’s why I didn’t have an accident.”  Also, she has told me several times that she writes a blog called “Brown House West.”

Her bedroom was really cute before, but definitely babyish, so we decided to start to transition to a look that can grow up with her.  Here’s what it looked like before, during the halcyon days of summer:

Red House West || Opal's Room

And here is what is looks like now, as we start to emerge from winter:

Red House West || Opal's Room

Opal helped me peel the forest creature decals off the walls and we painted over the green and blue with the same white that we used in the living room and kitchen (Pittsburgh Paint’s Mother of Pearl in the no VOC version).  I loved the green wall color, but we wanted to hang this vintage embroidered toran, and it has a lot going on so white walls were the way to go.

Red House West || Opal's Room

Opal’s room is full of angles and tucked-in spaces, and the toran (which I got from eBay) perfectly spans the bed nook area of the room.

I got this ceiling mounted curtain rod, and at first just used cafe clips to suspend the valance from it.  It looked droopy and a little sad so my mother in law, who was visiting at the time, suggested sewing a fabric tube to the back of the valance for the rod to pass through.  Actually, she not only suggested it, she offered to sew it.  By hand.  While Chester and I went to a movie.  Okay, if you insist!

Red House West || Opal's Room

The valance is beautifully embroidered and the little mirrors glint in the rare winter sun.  Opal loves to pick out favorite animals from it (her only complaint is that it doesn’t include more purple).

IMG_1805I didn’t expect that Opal would still be sleeping in her crib at three years old, but it’s great and I’m going to ride it out as long as possible.  She doesn’t climb out, and at this point she’s so big that she could probably do it safely.  At some point we’ll put the old captain’s bed that was built for this nook back in here.  I think the toran will look even better with a bed that fills the space completely.


The moon chart is a silk screen I found on Etsy.  Babar and Zephir were accidentally ripped out of the pop-up book “Babar’s Moon Trip” and this seemed like a good second home for them.


You might remember from my first post about Opal’s room that I was struggling to figure out what to do with the internal window between the bedroom and the little upstairs hallway.  It was previously covered by a  quilt made by a dear relative for Opal when she was born.  The quilt worked perfectly with the first incarnation of Opal’s room, but it clashed (as anything would) with the toran.  I wanted something that would let light into the hallway when the big windows in Opal’s room are uncovered, but that would block some light going into her room from the hallway so that she can nap during the day.

Our post about decorating with piano shawls was really my way of convincing myself that a fringed beauty (found on eBay) was the solution for this window.

Red House West || Opal's Room

It lets a little light into the hallway, doesn’t visually compete with the toran, and I love the way it looks from all angles.  Plus Cromwell likes to sleep on the chair below it and luxuriate in the fringe.

I’m still working on the rest of Opal’s room, and I’ll share a full tour soon.  For now I’m pleased with how things are coming along, and most importantly Opal really likes it too.

And here is the big girl herself, reading one of her favorite books, The Little Puppy.

Red House West || Opal's Room

What you can’t see in this picture is that Opal is wearing Spider-Man undies made for little boys, except she likes to wear them backwards so the Spidey image is on the front and the little boy flap is on her bum. She’s the best.

Have a great week everyone!

Look We’re Loving: Antique Beds in Children’s Rooms

We’ve been noticing a shift away from a purely mid-century aesthetic in the land of design blogs lately.  While we’re both mcm fans, the addition of looks from other eras is a welcome change.  We’re seeing a lot of vintage furniture in kids’ rooms, and especially antique beds.  We’re big fans of the look, so we thought we would share a few favorites from around the web.  Enjoy!

Speaking of rooms for little ones, I’ll be sharing a peek into Opal’s updated room on Wednesday–stay tuned!