Tag Archives: playroom

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.

Playroom Plans and the Woes of Living in an Old House

A while back I posted a poll about which of two rooms–one upstairs and tiny, the other downstairs and bigger–should eventually become our bedroom.  The results were overwhelmingly in favor (84% to be exact) of the larger downstairs room that is currently our playroom/office/junk room.  I hemmed and hawed, but ultimately I decided that in the short term (the next 6 or 7 years) we’re going to buck the crowd and use the upstairs room.  Before we had Opal I didn’t realize that kids don’t spend time in their bedrooms.  Now it seems so obvious–of course they want to be a part of the action.  Plus Opal is still too little to go up and down the stairs without supervision, and having the playroom downstairs also helps to curb the spread of toys in the living room.  It also means we can cook or fold laundry while she plays nearby and still carry on a conversation with her and pop in to be part of whatever game or story she’s come up with.

Here is what the room looks like these days:

Red House West||Playroom Plans

It’s a generously sized room, but it’s serving too many purposes at once right now.  I want it to be less of a dumping ground, and more of a dedicated play space.  I’m a huge fan of Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook (seriously, she’s AMAZING) and the playroom that she created for her girls is so bright and happy:

Red House West||Playroom Plans 39

I love that it’s bright and colorful, not theme-y, and leaves tons of space for imagination.  So I thought that I’d try to create something similar.

Opal loves to read and having a comfortable spot to curl up with her in the playroom would be great.  My plan this weekend was to move my old red chaise in here–it would be perfect!

Red House West||Playroom Plans

In its current position the chaise is cramped and not very inviting.  It’s awkwardly butted against the Broyhill Brasilia credenza that I recently refinished (which I would love to show you, but until I can get the chaise out of here the credenza is stuck in an unappealingly off-center position in the room).

I love the vibrant yellow curtains in Jenny Komenda’s playroom.  I found these cheery ones from ModCloth and I made a quick mood board to get a sense of how they’d look with the red chaise.  I think it would be really cheerful!

Playroom Plans
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  In this funky old house our interior doors vary in size, and the door into the playroom is just 28 inches wide.  We tried getting the chaise through the mini doorway every way we could think of.  The legs don’t come off and the frame is all one piece so cutting them off and reattaching them isn’t an option (I was disbelieving about this so I consulted a professional and he confirmed.  Boo.).  We explored taking the chaise outside and then getting it back in through a window.  But NO.  There is literally no way to get the chaise in there.  ARGH!
So, trudging onward through small-door frustration, I recalled that we have a captain’s bed in the basement that was in Opal’s room back when it was little-boy Chester’s room (for new readers, we live in the house where my husband grew up. You can read more about how that happened here if you’re interested).  We had to cut it in half to get it out of the room in order to fit the crib in there (see old house with small doors frustration explanation, infra).  I searched the web for images of kids’ rooms with similar day bed set ups, and came up with some inspiring images.

Okay so this last one isn’t similar at all to our captain’s bed, but I’m in love with the lacquered yellow paint, and now I’m inspired to paint our version a similar sunny hue (apparently I’m really determined to bring a lot of yellow into this room!).   And maybe you noticed that all of the previous inspiration images are the same daybed–I’m fairly certain it is from Ikea.  Ours was built by a handy neighbor decades ago, but it is really similar including the three drawers on the bottom.  Since it’s already in two pieces it will (fingers crossed) fit through the door, and Chester thinks that he’ll be able to reattach the two halves.

So I’m reimagining the playroom now along these lines:

Another Playroom

My image editing skills are nonexistent so you’ll have to use your imagination for the lacquered yellow daybed–hopefully the yellow pillows on the bed trick the eye at least a little.  The floral curtains are actually a shower curtain–you know what’s super expensive?  Curtains.  You know what’s not super expensive?  Shower curtains.  I’m hoping that with one cut down the middle and a little hemming no one will know the difference.

It’s worth it, but this charming old house definitely comes with the occasional frustration!  Anybody else out there been stymied by the quirks of an old house lately?