Playroom Purge

When Spring arrived I had the itch to purge and organize. I’m not as much into the “cleaning” but I love a good declutter to start off the summer.

One of the biggest and messiest areas in our home is the playroom. No matter how many times I organize, label, tidy, it can be destroyed in a matter of minutes with the right amount of kids. Most of the time I don’t mind, I mean, that’s what it is there for, right? But it got to the point that new toys came in for Christmas and birthdays and nothing was going out. Those new items did not have permanent homes on the shelves or in the cubes, so the kids didn’t know where to leave them once finished with them.

I decided that I would take my Spring fever and channel it into organizing their toys. I already had put a lot of time into the storage ideas down there but it was long overdue for a refresh.

We went through all the toys, one by one. We created a box for donating and a box for garbage. Anything broken, torn, one time use, etc would be thrown away. All the “baby” toys that the kids no longer played with, we boxed up to donate so they can be loved by other children. Once the purge was completed it was time to organize and label for all the leftovers.

My wall to wall shelves made room on the bottom for all of our “Little People” sets. The kids still really enjoy them and our collection has grown. Craft supplies continue to be at the very top to avoid unnecessary messes. We added an “appliance” shelve for imaginative play, we also needed to make room for the new Home Depot toolbox set.

The day bed got all it’s bedding put in place. And some rogue accent pillows made their way onto it for a comfy place to play or watch cartoons.

Our Lego table got a new, fun rug added. This is the most popular play area when kids come over, and because there are only two stools, it can get crowded. Having the rug all around makes it a bit easier for everyone to play together and be comfortable, even when not on the stool. This entire table now stores Lego on one side, and Mega Bloks on the other. Previously it had imaginative play items (wooden food, pots and pans, etc) but that was integrated into the cubes under the TV instead. It seemed to work better with all building blocks in one place.

The kids had a new circus tent added this year so it was placed by the window as it needs quite a bit of floor space. Because all of the walls have designated spaces or centers set up, there were limited options for that.

The Barbie area got shuffled a bit to make room for the tent, and the car carpet now has actual ramps and cars to play with. When the carpet was originally purchased we had very little for vehicles, mostly the kids would use it to land their Little People plane.

And that is pretty much it for the purge and refresh. A few small tweaks here and there to the original plan made it work much better for the kids. And if you walked into our house today and headed down there, it looks identical to the pictures. Every toy now has a home, making it easier for clean up. (It also helps that Kennedy is now reading and can read the labels put in place for easy organizing).

 

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Basement Bar

I don’t know about you, but I can’t picture a Dream Home without thinking about some kind of mancave/bar. I’m not even a huge drinker myself but it just feels like something that should be there! Maybe it’s more about being social, or the thought of entertaining. It was an idea that Dave didn’t have to twist my arm to discuss. We were both very clearly on the same page when it came to that idea.

The layout of our home is pretty straight forward. Basically the top floor, is copy and pasted to make up the downstairs. The walls are in the same place, the room sizes are almost exact. There is a perfect match/pair for each room downstairs to a room upstairs.

For example, My daughters room, is the match to my office. My son’s room is our utility room. Even our laundry room has a match downstairs, being our walk in pantry. When deciding where to put a bar it was pretty easy to imagine. We were putting a family room/entertainment room as the match to our upstairs living room. Therefore, it only made sense to make the pair to our kitchen, a bar.

Of course we wanted to make this happen cost effectively and quickly. But of course, we made several wrong turns, tried lots of things that just didn’t work, until we finally found what we wanted.

I searched through photos for one that went far enough back to see the bare bones. These photos were taken when Dave was still installing the floor. It has a window that needed to be factored into the plan, and a walk out patio door.

But first things first, the floor was finished to match the rest of the space. Once the floor was in the whole room felt a lot bigger and left us with a good visual for planning out the room.

We grabbed some cabinets off of kijiji and set up a cabinet wall to see what it would look like. These cabinets were way too big. Oversized boxes, doors that went every which way. It needed a lot of elbow grease and we still weren’t sure it was what he wanted. And as you can see, the design didn’t exactly fit. Originally we thought it would be a great idea to have a sink. Once we had it all in there we realized a sink in the basement wasn’t really necessary. We had a bathroom sink if need be and I felt like the counter space would be more beneficial. With the same speed, we had the cabinets gone again and decided to design from scratch. We would choose smaller boxes for a cleaner look get exactly what we want for the same price as some second hand sets on kijiji.

Of course, yet again, we jumped online to IKEA and used their kitchen design tool. It made my life so much easier, once I designed the kitchen bar with exactly what I want, it provides me with an itemized list of what I’ve chosen. A few days later, it was here.

It took a lot of late nights to get this all together. I will say that after the first few boxes it got a lot easier. And I was extremely impressed with the quality and how well it was thought out. Once all the boxes were together it was easy to get them into place, mounted, etc.

This was the design I created. All the upper cabinets were glass doors (to match the glass doors I selected for the entertainment wall). The lower cabinets contained shelves and a recycling drawer, also a drawer for hard liquor. We opted for an island which has a wine rack in the middle. We are using the island for snacks (candy drawer and cabinets for chips), perfect for girls’ nights in, or family movie night with popcorn.

Next came the counter top. We ordered it to fit for both the bar wall and island. We picked the exact countertop that we have in our master bath. Mainly because its a perfect combination between greys, whites and browns. And that’s pretty much our color theme when it comes to cabinets, flooring and fixtures. We also got our hardware picked out and installed. I picked a minimal brushed nickel pull and simple knob. We didn’t want something too big or fancy, then it would take away from the cabinet design itself. They were fairly inexpensive at our local Home Depot.

The glass shelves were then added to the inside of the upper cabinets. We started unpacking and placing our many glasses and collections. There is still tons of space for new things to be added and moved down there.

Here is an updated photo of the cabinet wall. This will give you an idea of what the final product will look like. As you can see, the walls are not yet finished, ceiling and lighting will also need to be done. But we are in no rush to complete those tasks as we will be able to use the space in the mean time as is. Now, let’s take a look at the island.

We had the counter top cut large so it would overhang and we could place some bar stools. These two stools were picked up at Homesense and we love them. The seat turns to change the height of the stools. The island still needs its toe kick put in place and its back panel (which is white). As you can see, we already have a snack drawer started for movie nights.

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Here is the bar all together. We tried to keep it simple and minimal to not crowd the space. The idea is, that if you’re sitting having beer and nachos at the island with a friend, you can very easily still watch the game from the entertainment wall. The large lower cabinet is serving as our game cabinet at the moment. The large drawer holds card games, notepads for keeping score, small boxed games like “cards against humanity”, and the large doors (which open up to shelves) have all of our large boxed games (such as monopoly and clue)

As the drawers and cabinets get more organized, I will provide a follow up post with the best ways I’ve been able to do so. So, what do you guys think?!

 

 

Entertainment Wall

I haven’t posted much for progress downstairs lately. Mostly because it still isn’t finished, but also because we change our minds so often that it has been hard to keep up.

We knew what we wanted to put downstairs, and which area we wanted to put each designated room (office, playroom, family room, etc). But it was such a blank canvas when we moved in that we had no idea what we were doing for layouts. And for us, it’s always been a trial and error type thing.

I’m going to provide a little update on what is currently downstairs and how we got to that stage. Mostly to hold myself accountable to creating more blog posts, but also so you know I haven’t been slacking off all this time in between posts.

If I’m not mistaken, these would have been the last photos posted of the space, and a lot has changed since then. We struggled with where to put the TV. There was an outlet and a cable plug on the side wall seen in the photo above. So we automatically put the TV there, with a cheap kijiji fireplace underneath. Then we had two couches and a loveseat placed in an awkward “U” shape around it. It seemed like a good idea at the time because it accommodated a lot of people (perfect for entertaining), but it was terrible for movies and watching TV.

I had purchased some short bookshelves from IKEA to use for our DVD’s, a couple accent pillows, but we still weren’t in love with the design idea.

We decided that we couldn’t get our desired look or feel downstairs with this layout. And we basically went back to the drawing board and started over. We sold both couches and the loveseat, sold the fireplace, corner cabinet and even the large decorative pier 1 wooden cabinet and started again.

The first thing we decided to do was place the TV. Although the previous homeowners had it all set to go on that end wall, it just didn’t seem like the best place to put it. It turned the “family room” into a bowling alley that seemed small and closed off. Instead of the large entertaining space we wanted it to be. The IKEA shelves got moved to the larger wall with the TV, so we could continue to use them for DVD storage. But now that wall seemed empty with the large gaps on either side. And the space on the sides became wasted and useless. Another IKEA order was placed as we continued to transform the space.

To avoid losing the wall space on the sides of the TV to wasted space we opted for extra storage. I grabbed 4 cabinets that were the same width as my DVD shelves. I went with tall bookcases to make it feel more like a built in. Now, at first glance, all of the shelves and DVD’s make it feel busy and cluttered. Don’t worry, we found a pretty good solution for that too.

We picked up 8 doors for the tall bookcases. I chose a solid bottom door with a glass display on top. I have quite the collection of “display” items so I thought it would be the best of both worlds. I’d get the opportunity to put some of my favorite pieces on display, and also have the bottom of the bookcases to hide all the not so attractive items.

We set up the surround sound, cable, DVD player, and we were in business!

Instead of looking for another couch and loveseat combo, we opted for another Costco sectional. This one has all individual pieces that can link together any way you want! You can link the ottoman as a chaise, you can separate the set into two love seats, or add them all together for an extra long couch (which is what we did). We linked all 4 backing pieces together to create the best, family movie night, cuddle spot ever. And the great thing is, all seats have the same view! Which means no fights over who is closer or who can see better. Just like a movie theater. All we need now is a ceiling and some lighting.

We’ve already had some pretty great movie nights down here with the kids. And the nice thing is, even when you are on the other side of the room, you can still hear the music, see the show, or chat with your guests sitting down.

I told you we’ve been busy 😉

Third Bathroom – Tiling

As you know we have been slowly working on finishing our basement/lower level. We have a roughed in bathroom that we have added a door to and used as an extra storage room. Recently we decided that for this winter we would like to have it up and running as at least a powder room. Working toilet, sink, walls and floor.

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Here it is, in all its glory. A chair, hot tub chemicals, flooring material for the bar. You name it, it gets stored in here at any given time. First things first, is to start cleaning out the space so we can actually see how much room we are working with.

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We picked up a vanity that was nice and small on sale at home depot. Its white with drawers and a cupboard. White sink included. This bathroom is far from large. And most people would probably select a pedestal sink to utilize on space, but for us this will be a third bathroom, and mainly for our guests. And having a place for them to put a makeup bag, toothbrush or even a set of face cloths and hand towels was important.

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Here it is out of its box! I think it’s pretty cute. Nothing fancy, but it’ll do the job!

Next we chose flooring. I have had our flooring picked out for months. I took a photo of it in Home Depot to show Dave and when we finally decided it was time to look back into the idea of it, it was gone. I asked an employee there about it and she said with a sku number she could look it up, or see if any more was due to come in. Luckily I refuse to clear my photos off my phone. I went back a few months and there it was! And the sticker was in the photo… i zoomed in and Voila – a sku! She then checked the computer only to find out that they had some! It was apparently on a pallet somewhere, never having been restocked on the floor. And it was now a clearance item! So we snagged the exact tile I wanted at $10 off a box! Score!

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We laid it out first to make sure we liked it in the space and the colors were what we wanted. It is a porcelain tile made to look like weathered wood. There are lots of brown, beige, grey and whites visible in the tiles so it made it easier to decide on finishes, wall color, etc since we weren’t restricted to one color pallet.

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Next, Dave tiled the floor! It hasn’t yet been grouted or sealed but you’ll get the idea of the look of it now that it’s cut and placed. Not bad right? We still need to finish up the drywall in there (we have the sheets of drywall, just haven’t gotten it up yet). Then it’ll be hooking up the vanity and adding a toilet. Not a bad start if I do say so myself. Keep your eyes open for more updates on this bathroom as the winter fast approaches.

The Bar 

We have this vision to turn the basement into the ultimate entertainment space. That plan includes a bar area. A table for nachos and chicken wings during a game. Or to grab a drink on your way to the hot tub. 

   

As you can see, the vision was lost to home renovations and junk. Recently Dave has put in time to finally finish off the floor. 

   
  
It makes the room look and feel so much bigger! Such a large, open concept, entertainment space now. And with the floor finally done we could actually move in the bar furniture and begin a temporary set up. Obviously walls still need finished but it allows us to use the space in the mean time. 

  
We have our pub table, which is perfect for snacking. It’s also in the perfect place to still watch the TV while doing so. 

  
Next we have our beer taps for Dave’s homemade beer. It’s not yet set up but you’ll get the idea . Always cold and holds up to 6 different kinds at once. Perfect for a man cave. 

  
And we decided to steal our beautiful wood and metal shelf from the kitchen to use in the bar. It’s decorative and would make a great display for wine bottles and a large collection of beer mugs we have. 

  
It’s definitely not finished but Im trying to keep my promise to myself to get our lower level up and running. It’ll take lots of cleaning and there are still a lot of jobs to do (can we take a moment to check out the ceiling, or lack there of). However, at this point, any task complete is a victory to me! My ever growing to-do list now has flooring crossed of. Now to move on to the next item… 

The Key to Happiness 

I am blessed. And I say that whole heartedly. We have our health, we’re surrounded by love and family. The ambition and motivation that keeps us young (or so I like to think). We watch our family grow and evolve and shed tears at the beauty in each passing moment. And I have been dying for that constant reminder.

I have been thinking of doing a “brag wall” of the kids. But ultimately decided on a gallery style after helping my mom create one of her own for her grand kids. I debated what to include, and in the end I decided on a collection of my favourite family moments. My pregnant belly while expecting my son, my daughter a few hours old, Dave and I being silly together (which basically describes our relationship). 

Since we moved I’ve had a pile of frames without homes. And with an entire level that is unfinished it looked like they’d be homeless for a while. So I spent a few hours on my computer, picking my favourite prints and having them printed in the correct size. Next, I took to the floor to lay out and plan my design. Once I have a look that I like, I snap a few photos! I can refer back to the design, zoom in, compare, etc as my project gets underway. 

   
   

I also incorporated each family members first initial. I was nervous that all frames would be too boring (especially without colour), this spiced it up a bit for me. 

I chose to use a key in the centre. It’s a symbol for us as “the key to happiness”. This all comes back to perspective. Hubby always finds the perfect time to remind me of this. Whether it’s my daughter learning all the letters in the alphabet or my son laughing for the first time. Even a cold beer on the patio on a beautiful night. He always says “We’ve found the key to happiness”. So it’s kinda our thing now. 

   
 

The easiest way to complete a gallery wall successfully is to start in the very centre and build out. My centre is easy as I chose my symbolic key. Once placed in the centre of the wall I gradually marked frame by frame what would be to the left of the key. I used my reference photo of my floor design for spacing and positioning. 

   
 

This wall was extremely tricky as it is in a stairwell. Basically everything past the key was extremely high off the ground and required hubby to use a ladder on the stairs. A dangerous balancing act. I am so happy with the finished product! Glancing at my wall makes me gleam with pride. 

Please excuse the terrible lighting (it’s on my ever growing to-do list – I swear!) 

Here’s the finished product, hope you enjoy! 

   
       

So Many Toys… 

Just a quick refresh of the post I made not long ago about my terribly messy and unorganized basement. I told myself I would get it cleaned up (a little each day) so that it could become functional again!

Now, it’s still a work in progress but I have in fact been doing just that (although I admit, I haven’t spent as much time down there as I would have liked). I’ve focused a lot of my time and effort in the play area. It always seems to get messy and in order to have the time to work in other rooms I need that room functional to entertain the kiddos. 

Here are the chaotic before photos. 

   
    

I’ve focused a lot of my attention on a reading nook/book wall. That’s kinda my daughters go to right now.  So having it cleaned and somewhat organized was important. And with this many toys it’s always a challenge for me. What do I hide away, what do I leave on display? What can I donate and what should I hold onto? Until it’s done I really doubt I’ll have the answers to either of those questions. But let’s check out a few photos of my slow moving progress. 

   
   

Not too shabby! Soft circle carpets give extra seating for reading. A Lego table helps store and organize all those blocks. It’s coming along! So for the record I haven’t slacked off ENTIRELY….