Playroom Extravaganza!

The call came in. A mom, not desperate, simply READY and SUPER MOTIVATED. With two young, active, energetic, creative children she knew that the cluttered basement full of unused furniture, old paint cans, tools, and lots of gear had potential. Somewhere through the chaos, she envisioned a playroom. A retreat for her kids. A space of their own. A spot where they could go to swing, bounce, play pretend and dare I say, get out of her hair for a few minutes:))

So the motivation was there, but standing in the cluttered basement it felt way too overwhelming. The vision was blurry. How could this all come together? Was it worth the effort?

Check out the BEFORE shots:

Here’s where we came in. Standing in the chilly basement in the middle of December, we looked around, quickly figured out their lifestyle, asked questions of what needed to stay and what could go. We then asked one key question:

How does this space need to function?

 The answer was this: They wanted a playroom that could grow with their young kids, a family room for movie nights, a place for playdates and entertaining, and as a laundry room, gear room, and storage room.  No problem. There was plenty of space for everything if we designed it properly.

So right then and there we came up with the plan. It made sense to section off areas for gear and tools. Define the laundry area a little better. Install half walls to partition off the water heater and electrical stuff. Get rid of shelving that was acting as a resting place for dump bound things, create smaller spaces within the room for a reading nook, dress-up area, include a multi-purpose table area for tea parties and art, include items for large motor development and furniture for movie night. The overall aesthetic needed to be playful and bright, yet not too age-specific so it wouldn’t be outdated in a year or two.

Once we brainstormed the ideas, this motivated mom was ready. Typically this is when we start organizing, even subbing out junk guys, calling a contractor and painter. But in this scenario that motivation was the driving force of making things happen quickly. The motivation carried over to her oh so handy husband who was able to build walls, make countless runs to Good Will and the dump. They cleaned and organized, decluttered and downsized. Check out their progress:

Next, we picked out paint colors and she painted on nights and weekends. We suggested where to install walls and doors and her husband got to it. We decided on the perfect carpet tiles and scheduled the measuring consult and install. We encouraged a simple addition of faux shiplap on the divider walls for a little texture and interest and boom…done! As they worked, we worked. The homeowners were mindful of wanting to upcycle and re-purpose items they already owned. We found several items at ReSource, Good Will, and Boho Baby, a new kids’ consignment shop in Williston. We worked within a budget and helped coordinate the carpet install. Then once all the pieces were ready, we installed the art and shelving, laundry table, dress-up area, play kitchen, reading nook, and even a kid-sized clothesline. We suggested using chalkboard paint on one of the walls and the homeowner nailed it! This was definitely a group effort. Such a fun project. The reaction from the kids….”Pure bliss…they love it!”

The AFTER pictures answer the question. YES, it was worth it!!!

Check us out in Seven Days | Nest

The original print version of this article was headlined “Getting a Moov On”

Mudroom Madness.

If you live like we live, things are about to get real. In the lovely Green Mountain State of Vermont, November triggers quite a few emotions. It is the sad goodbye to the vibrant foliage, colorful hillsides, and crisp sunny days of October but it is also the anticipation of bluebird powder days, cozy nights by the fire and lots of laughs and snowy adventures. In general, November is a transition month with grey, rainy days and dark mornings. November can trigger the blues.

This year I have decided that even though I can already feel my body craving more vitamin D, I’ve lived here long enough to realize that November is when things need to get done.  Wood is stacked, summer clothes are put away, skis are dusted off and boots and jackets now adorn our coat rack as a bit of a permanent fixture until late Spring. In our family, winter means countless outdoor adventures; skiing several times a week, snowball fights and weekend road trips. And with the good always comes the ugly: wet coats, crusty mittens, muddy boots, and soggy duffle bags. Our house looks and smells like a ski lodge come Sunday night.

We have recently moved into a new-to-us house. And I say this because the house is 115 years old. Yep. Proud owners of a fixer upper with huge mountain views and beautiful maple trees on a dirt road surrounded by horses and friends and all things Vermont. It’s lovely, most of the time. And then it happens. I lose it. So, in an attempt to keep my clutter-free sanity this year, I am taking on a November mudroom project. My hope is to create a very user-friendly space where things have a place and gear and boots are not only easily accessible but also easy to store. I want it to be aesthetically pleasing so I find comfort when I walk in the back door and not a sense of utter chaos.

Here’s my other objective: to keep the costs to a bare minimum. We are planning to renovate our home in a few years and since the mudroom doesn’t even have a foundation, it will be completely torn down and properly rebuilt. So, knowing that, I need to put a few “pretty Band-Aids” on it to get me through the next few winters.  Join me as I start this project. I’ll keep you posted with pictures and updates along the way. For now, here are the before pictures: