Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

Playroom Remodel – Phase One

I’m about to tell you a secret. A big ugly, scary, wood-paneled secret in my house. It’s the girls’ playroom and it’s the place where pink plastic toys go to die.


When we moved into the house, the playroom was one of the big selling points. You see, our last place was a newish townhouse. And for all the great things it did have — a massive walk-in closet, 2 1/2 baths, a pool included with our maintenance fee — it lacked any specific place for our kids to put their toys so we spent many years with a Tinkerbell kitchen in the living room. (I know you think I’m joking but that’s a fact, Jack.) And since we went from having one tiny 6 week old when we moved in to having 2 busy and growing little girls when we moved out, the toys were beginning to take over our lives. (Note: Yes, the girls had a bedroom where some toys could go but since they shared it and it was kinda small, there wasn’t a lot of space for a Barbie playhouse.)

Before we talk about how it got to look like the explosion above, let’s take a peek at what it looked like when we came to see the house. An elderly woman had been using it as a sewing room. And we even find straight pins in the rug to this day just to remind us of it’s former life! Brace yourself for the worst / most hilarious “before” picture. And yes, this is the only “before” picture I have of this room.


Please note everything that’s happening here. Pablo is telling Sophia not to touch anything. Lily is trying to get picked up and Sophia is checking out the massive magnifying glass — which she used to call a “magnet flying class”. Priceless.

I had a grand plan when we moved in (over two years ago!) and it was to create a bright, airy room. I wanted lots of white and some pops of bright color. And I figured the best way to do that was to paint the paneling white and add lots of art in bright frames.

But once we got into the house and really accessed how bad off the other rooms were (bad wallpaper galore!), the playroom just got pushed back on the priority list. And then the mistakes (and toys) starting piling up.

Mistake #1. No system. We were so excited to just have space that we basically just dumped their toys down there and never set up a real system.

Mistake #2: Bad layout. Note the tall white bookshelves in the before pic above. They were attached to the wall and our old loveseat fit right in between them so we just left them there and planned the whole layout of the room around that section. (All because I didn’t want to figure out how to remove them. Come to find out later that it took 5 minutes and a screwdriver!)

Mistake #3: Let laziness take over. Because the room is really more of a storage space and they rarely play down there, we haven’t been diligent about making them pick up everyday.

Mistake #4: No decorations. Sure we hung up some bulletin boards, a disco ball (it was a promise I made before we moved into the house — and a source of pride!) and got a cheap duvet (essentially a piece of fabric) to drape over the old loveseat but other than that, we did nothing. The room needs a little  lot of love.

Let’s take another peek at those tall shelves that were attached to the wall. Note that the girls couldn’t reach the upper shelves. Plus, we were storing Barbies on the bottom, even though the Barbie house was across the room. Not very smart, was it?


Recently, I finally decided to remove the shelves from the wall and lay them down flat to create one entertainment center area and one Barbie area. (Don’t question this, people. If you had a Barbie house, a camper, a convertible Jeep, a hot air balloon and countless dolls and clothes, you’d need a Barbie area too.) One afternoon, Pablo and I spent HOURS down there cleaning and rearranging and when we revealed the new playroom to the girls, here was the reaction. I think they liked it!


They were so excited that they could reach their games and puzzles in the “entertainment center” that they pulled one out and started playing right away.


So far, it’s been working well. The girls do a great  job of cleaning up after themselves and it’s a lot more functional with the shelves down on the ground. Just for fun…one more look at the “before” and “after”…

playroom remodel collage

So, the rearranging is complete but we need to do a lot more. There are still so many things that I hate about the room (the wood paneling, the fluorescent and hallogen lighting, the wretched ceiling) and I’m not sure what I can get to right away.  But there will be lots of cosmetic changes soon: new curtains, new art, a system to display their art better, and lots more function. Stay tuned!


Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

House Tour: Lily’s Room (Part 2)

I’ve already introduced you to Lily’s room, the space that underwent the biggest change in our house since we moved in. Before we take a look at the details that make up the room, let’s look again at that shocking before and after. Yikesy!


Paint – Benjamin Moore Shell Pink (trim is Cloud White)

Pom pomsParty Poms on Etsy

Custom “Lily” artMadeByGirl

Poster frameIkea

Toddler bed – it was a gift but you can find a similar one here

Duvet cover and striped pillow – Ikea (no longer available)

Polka Dot sheets and pillow – Pottery Barn Kids (no longer available)


Rocking chair – another gift (similar here)

I love how the pom poms look from below.

Elephant taxidermySquackdoodle on Etsy


Mickey Mouse chair – Toys R Us (similar here)

Lamp – Target (no longer available)

Heart mirror – Ikea (no longer available)

Reversible tissue box coverHead to Toe 2009 on Etsy

Ceiling medallionHome Depot

Light fixtureIkea (hung using this)

Curtains – Pottery Barn Teen (no longer available) Stay tuned for a curtain DIY. I need something more opaque and longer so I can move the rod higher up on the wall.

Dollhouse – Land of Nod (no longer available)

Dresser painted with the room’s wall and trim colors from Ikea (no longer available but similar here) with Ikea knobs (no longer available)

Laundry basket – Target (similar here)

Frames with Lily’s paintings – Ikea

Striped fabric – Ikea (no longer available)

Remember that hole in the wall that I showed you? To cover it up, I measured a piece of cardboard and cut it to fit in the hole. Then I just wrapped some fabric around it and taped it in the back. It’s a temporary fix but it’s working for now!

Bin – Lands’ End (similar here)

We repurposed the hooks that were hanging in Sophia’s room when we moved in.

Lily’s hair clips hang on a simple red ribbon.

Jacket by Crewcuts (no longer available) and purse from The Children’s Place.

Bins for books – Target (similar here)

Garbage can – Ikea


Lily’s birth announcementTinyprints

Custom “I Love” art – made for Lily by her Aunt Paola


Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Family, Home, My house

House Tour: Sophia’s Room (part 2)

Yesterday, I showed you the inspiration and “before” pictures of Sophia’s room. Now here’s my shopping list for how we put it all together. We had a bunch of elements already but we added the vintage bed and most of the accessories for under $700. But first, one more peek at that beigey “before” shot:

And now to the new room!


Hot pink crinkle curtainsPB Teen

Polka dot curtains – Ikea (no longer available but search ebay for Ikea Gronska)

Double curtain rodsPB Teen

Sheepskin rugIkea

Wall paintBenjamin Moore Spring Lilac (Trim is Cloud White)

Ceiling medallionHome Depot

ChandelierKohls (I hung a few extra crystals on it that I had from a broken necklace)

Vintage bed (we paid only $60!) – Autumn Antiques

Duvet cover and pillowcase – Ikea (this pattern no longer available but other patterns available here)

Polka dot sheets and pillowcase – Target (similar here)

Fuzzy bolster pillow – Home Goods (similar here)

Personalized striped pillow – Pottery Barn Kids (similar here)

Quilt (folded at the foot of bed) – Handmade by Sophia’s Aunt Jenn

Cashmere baby blanket (folded at the foot of bed) – Handknit by our friend Jules

Poster frameIkea

Poster – DIY made by Sophia’s Aunt Paola, inspired by Grace Hester Designs on Etsy

Small painting – by Sophia on a canvas from Michaels


Lamp – Target (similar here)

Lego alarm clock – Home Goods (similar here)

Reversible tissue box coverHead to Toe 2009 on Etsy (I love these and highly recommend them! I have one in every room.)

Framegift from Sophia’s 1st grade teacher

Corner shelf – Ikea (similar here)

Unicorn taxidermy (only $25!) – SquackDoodle on Etsy

LettersLand of Nod (They have the most extensive line of letters. All styles, lots of prices. I also love the kraft paper ones – you could do anything with them!)

Mirror – Hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. It was brassy gold and I painted it neon pink with craft paint. (Probably not the best paint option but it’s working for now!) I know it looks really low but it’s the right height for Sophia!

Dresser – Leftover from her nursery by Sorelle from Crib Outlet

Ledges – old ones from Pottery Barn

Small “S” art – by me on a canvas from Michaels

FramesIkea and Kohls (I really need to get rid of those black ones. They just don’t work. Maybe I’ll attempt a spray painting fix.)

Gold, navy and pink art – by me on a canvas from Michaels

Canvas bin for stuffed animals – Lands’ End (similar here)

Woven bin for books – Home Goods (similar here)

Sophia’s room sure has come a long way since the Great Wallpaper Stripping Event of 2010!  (Thanks to Sophia’s Uncle Steve and Daddy!)


Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, My house

House Tour: Sophia’s Room

(Update: I wrote this post last summer but today I’m linking it up to Emily A. Clark’s Kids Spaces link up party. I love love love Emily and want to say thanks to everyone who visited from her site! Click the photo links in the sidebar for more pics of my house. And thanks for stopping by!)

I’m excited to give you a tour of one of my favorite rooms in the house.  It’s so pretty and girly and colorful and full of lots of character – just like it’s inhabitant, our 8-year-old daughter, Sophia. Before we moved in, I knew that the girls would have their own rooms and I was trying to figure out how the rooms could both be super girly but also different. And it didn’t help that both girls were asking for pink. Lucky for me, Lily was also asking for red and Sophia was open to lavender…as long as she also got pink, of course.

I was stumped how to make a lavender and pink room for her and then I saw this picture on Design Sponge and it all became clear.

Even though I knew I didn’t want to use wallpaper (having to remove it from nearly every room in the house will kinda turn a person off to the stuff), I figured we could use this as inspiration. It was feminine and fun with antique accents but a modern feel. So, I focused on a palette of pale lavender with super bright hot pink and lots of white details.

Now, here’s a peak at what the room looked like when we first saw the house. Don’t adjust your monitor, it really was that beige.

And the walls aren’t just beigey paint, it’s a textured wallpaper…..zzzzz…….oh, sorry. I just fell asleep because that room was so boring.

It’s much happier now! We added a vintage bed, a bargain chandi, homemade art, and floor to ceiling curtains.

We reused lots of things we already had, like that corner bookshelf and side table (we’ve had both for 12 years!) and I even repainted an old mirror bright pink. Plus, we added something every little girl needs – stuffed animal taxidermy!

One wall is filled with art and photographs, plus her dresser which holds her many, many accessories.

Next, I’ll take you for a full tour of the room with resources so you can see how I put it all together for under $700. (Update: Click here for the resource list.) It’s enough to make you want to jump for joy!

Again, thanks for visiting but make sure you click back over to Emily A Clark to see all the other awesome rooms. And don’t forget to enter her $500 Pottery Barn Kids gift card giveaway. I know I will!



Sue at Home