Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Red and Co-Ed: Creating a shared kid's room

When we moved into our house in 2010, we had two parents, and Auntie, a son, and a dog.  Now, three years later, we have two parents, no Auntie, a son, and a daughter.

I think a house is really always a work in progress.  A standing piece of work that reflects your place in life at that very time. Just think of how much a house says about a person.  Is it neat and organized? Comfortable and loungy? Modern? Void of live things? 

So when our daughter was born, we had to figure out just exactly where should would fit into our work-in-progress home. 

Though large, our house is only a three bedroom, and the third bedroom is a second master which doesn't make much sense for a toddler.  We had two other options: convert the loft to a livable bedroom, or have my son share his room. So, we asked our son where he thought she should go, and he was thrilled with the idea of having a roommate.

The only problem? Well, our son is ALL BOY, and we wanted this room...
To look like these rooms...

Here's where my mistakes have been made in the past: I always choose a theme that the kid's outgrow.  For Noah, first we did the monster theme...

 And then we did the Cars theme...

But this time, the theme was going to much simpler: RED. Yes, just a color.

So, here's how we turned a boy room, into a red co-ed shared room...

First, we had to make more room, so we turned the "L"-shaped bunk beds into stacked bunk beds.  This freed up a lot of floor space - AND - bonus! after the conversion we were left with practically a whole other bed frame which we put into to the loft thanks to hubby's handiwork.
The beds had to be retrofitted to go from a "L" shape, to a stacked set of bunk beds
Once stacked, there was so much more room!
I really like older homes because they have so much character.  That's so hard to find in a new home. I noticed that a lot of the rooms I liked so much had sort of a barn-like feeling from painted paneling, so I thought, "we can fake that!"  I found sheets of plain paneling at Lowes for about $9 a panel and had my husband nail them to our bland drywall walls.
Paneling was $9/sheet. Perfectly cheap, but it did require sanding and a primer in order to get the paint to stick.
We cut the paneling 7' tall, and added wood trim to the top and seams to give that sort of barn/attic look.  The wood trim was from the fencing department at Lowes, and only cost about $1.50 each.

Paneling and trim is up and ready for paint.
Great find!  This corner shelf was at Goodwill for $7.00 and fit perfectly in the corner.
Once the walls were finished, we sanded, primed, and painted the paneling and trim to match the antique white satin trim that already exists in the room.

A red candy-cane-striped rug became the inspiration for the decor.  I spotted it for $129 at Home Goods and couldn't resist.
I started placing items back in the room but noticed it still felt a little crowded.  The configuration of the room does not allow for a bed without at least partially covering the window (and, incidentally, it's the best view in the house). I experimented with a few things...
By pushing the bed away from the window a couple feet, I found that there was a whole new open feeling.  The room now gets more light, and the view is much less blocked.
Pushing the bed away from the window made a huge difference in the way the room felt and how much light comes in.

The final touch was adding the details.  I bought some pre-cut wood letters in both a girly font (for Nicollette) and a boy-ish font (for Noah) and painted them red.  Since Nicollette has 10 letters, this was a pretty spendy part of the makeover--almost $20 just for Nicollette's name.

 I finished off the look with two Pottery Barn comforters I found on Ebay, some flannel holiday pillowcases, a festive throw pillow, and two lanterns from Lowes.

Add some red canvas toy bins and some old-school antique toys, and you've got yourself a co-ed room that both kids can grow into.

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