Sunday, April 19, 2009

Martini Mom: Home Edition

I don't normally do this for a couple reasons:

1. My house is not nice enough to be photographed, and
2. Even if it was, I can not take photographs.

But what the hell.

This is The Kid's room which, of all the rooms in the house, has gone through the most transformations. This makes a certain amount of sense, since the inhabitant of the room - now a nearly 8 year-old boy - began his residency at the wee age of 10 months. His needs have changed considerably since then; the room has responded.

The first make-over was during the toddler years, which moved him from a crib to a big-boy bed and took the room from baby-soft colors to its current red and white stripes. His favorite colors at the time were blue and red, and I surprised him with the new paint job for his birthday... just after the 4th of July... which was when I finally realized I was painting his room into an American flag.

Oh well. The Kid loved it. In keeping with his interests at the time, there were just the right amount of train references: the valances, a small quilt made by my mother, and a night light.

As he got older and his interests turned to transformers and super heroes and legos, the trains became too juvenile and the storage options (a small bookshelf and a large toy box) ineffectual. The trains we could pretend to ignore, but the mess that came from the wrong storage quickly became more than I could handle. Afraid of putting action figures and legos into his toy box where they'd too easily disappear, The Kid opted to make piles of his "special" toys on his nightstand, his bookshelf, the window sills, and, of course, the floor. Things were always either missing or wedged into the soft underbelly of my right foot. We were not a happy house.

And so, another makeover - this one with The Kid's full involvement. All of the decisions were his, so long as they fit within my budget. He elected to keep the color scheme and the stripes, but lose the trains. He wanted plenty of floor space to play, a special reading spot, and a way to keep his toys so they wouldn't get all mixed up. I wanted a fort. The Kid decided that was a pretty good idea too.

We moved the toy box and small bookshelf downstairs where they've since been put to good use, and rearranged the furniture to make our reading nook/fort. Then we hit Ikea, where The Kid picked out his giant new shelving unit. He picked the size and the color, and when we first got it set up in his room I thought both were bad decisions. It took a couple days, but once I got over the shock of that giant piece of dark furniture, I decided he absolutely made the right call. We picked out navy valances so the shelves weren't dark all by themselves and added a couple other bits of color here and there.

The best thing - if you're an adult - about the room is definitely the shelving unit. We loaded the shelves with drawer inserts and canvas boxes to organize The Kid's many small toys, and used some other metal containers as well, which were left over from the previous bookshelf. We also used anything else that looked useful from around the house: a fishbowl now holds his "minis;" marbles are stored in an glass iced-tea jar; collected rocks and shells in a jar that once held pistachios. Everything has a place and nothing gets mixed up, and The Kid - hallelujah - is no longer afraid to put away his special toys.

The coolest thing - if you're a kid - is the fort. His bed is a cheap captain's bed. The drawer unit is only half as deep as the rest of the bed. To hide this, most people (myself included) would normally opt to slam the non-drawer side of the bed up against the wall.


Why not pull it away from the wall a little, and let that empty space be used as a perma-fort? We put The Kid's frog chair in the nook that was created - his new reading spot. He added his sleeping bag to the floor under the bed, and now sleeps there more often than on the actual bed. We strung Christmas lights to the underside of the bed frame to serve as stars when he camps.

One other Ikea find: this cute little alien ghost. It's the perfect night light, its glow bright enough to illuminate the heavy darkness, but not bright enough to create more scary shadows. This one glows blue, but they're also available in red and green.

There are still a few details (new curtain rods, some things to hang on the bare walls), but I think it's not bad for a 7 year-old.


Smiling, Beguiling said...

First, I think your photographing skills are MORE than adequate, and second, what mess?


KB said...

Ha! I cheated and took those photos on a weekend when The Kid was at his dad's. But, really - his room stays SO much cleaner with that shelving unit. It's amazing. Very, very, VERY worth the money and the nightmare of putting together Ikea furniture!

Mrs. Limestone said...

Thanks for your post on my blog. I love the sound of the wall of sconces and would love to hear more about it! (you can email me if you don't want to post about it)

Anonymous said...

Cute room! The Kid has good taste, I have the same exact unit in my bedroom, only my bins are copy paper boxes :(

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