Kids’ Closet

Lately this has come up in more than one conversation. One of the biggest questions I get asked is “why don’t your kids have dressers?” Maybe it’s asked because in some of my before photos there ARE dressers, and now there are not. Or maybe its because it’s a little out of the ordinary to not have dresser for kids. I’m not really sure.

But to start off, you are correct. My kids DID have dressers. Both of them had dressers before we moved into the Dream Home and in some of our first Dream Home tour photos, you will notice they still have dressers. My daughter had a tall, slender dresser that housed her fish tank and all her “bottoms” (shorts, pants, underwear, socks, pjs). Her baby brother had a long horizontal style dresser that doubled as a change table.

The biggest reason for the change came from a lightbulb moment I guess. It drove me crazy that most of the time the kids’ closets were a mess, and mostly filled with junk. When I opened their closet doors, it was rarely filled with clothes and just seemed like such a waste of space.

The more I thought on the subject, the more I wanted to change it. When it comes to a kids’ room, let’s face it, most are small box shaped rooms. They are already short of square footage, and a dresser and bed pretty much take up 80% of the room. I felt like I was being cheated. I was wasting so much floor space that could be used for so many other things (a toy bench/box, a desk, a vanity, a reading corner, a doll house, you get the picture).

Now, a closet, you can’t really change. Even if you take the doors off, at the end of the day, it’s still a closet. You can’t really gain that sq footage back to the room itself. It will always be different. It felt like no matter what, I couldn’t change that divide of space. So my wheels started turning about ways that I could really cram as much as possible into that closet. That way, I could give my kids back their rooms and personal space. It felt like I was beating the system! Sticking it to the man, so to speak.

I started researching and pricing out new ideas. They had a tower/cube system installed in there when we moved in. Other than that it was a pretty blank canvas. I wanted to keep what was there but add to it to make it more efficient. I also decided to make the closets the exactly the same (but mirrored). This way it was fair, and easy for me to organize.

Let’s take a look at both, side by side. Sorry for the terrible photos (it was challenging to get a photo that showed both sides of the closet without getting crowded by the doors). I pushed the original tower system to one side (and kept their canvas cubes). I use this tower to store their seasonal things (they each have a “swimming” bucket, a “too big/too small” bucket, etc). Basically those are the bins I need access to, but don’t use regularly.

Each kid also has two closet rods for hanging. Let’s face it, kids do not hang bottoms, So this was pretty easy to organize. Tanks and t-shirts go on top. Dressers, sweaters and outerwear go on the bottom. As you can see, the rods were placed to allow lots of growth. I hung an adult size shirt on both of those rods before they were installed. Just wanting to make sure they grow with each kid.

Now, the only thing I had to buy to make this closet happen was a wider tower with drawers. This tower came with shelves and the drawers came in packs of two (sold separately). Each child got 4 drawers, although I did have drawer dividers that I used to provide even more options. The top drawers are for socks and underwear. The divider keeps them separated and organized. The bottom drawer is always pajama’s. The middle has a drawer for shorts, leggings and jeans. The kids are a bit different in that sense, but basically both have two middle drawers for their “bottoms” for going to school/daycare.

Now the shelves look a little different for each child as well. My sons contains the extra bedding for his crib, extra baby blankets, a shelf for his diapers and wipes and the top shelf holds two plastic buckets (I picked up from the Dollarama) which contain anything else I might happen to need room for. (Most of the time it’s clothes I’ve bought that are in the next size up).

My daughters’ on the other hand looks quite different. She is five, so there was no need for diapers, wipes and crib bedding to be placed on her shelves. Instead, her bucket contains mismatched socks, new clothing sets for spares at school and daycare, her middle shelf holds her duffel bag (which is now being used for her summer soccer stuff). And the bottom shelf we leave empty so that we can lay out her outfits for the next few days. I normally lay out 2-3. And let her choose which outfit she would like to wear each morning. It helps her express herself, but also allows me to make sure she is wearing the appropriate size, and that everything matches and is appropriate for the weather.

Now, I understand that these drawers may not scream “long term” to some. They are shallow and will only hold a few pairs of adult jeans for example. But when their clothes do start to get bigger, these drawers will convert to full “personal” drawers. Housing things like bras, underwear, bathing suits, and socks. The shelves above will then be used for folded stacks of jeans, shorts, or leggings. (The canvas cubes could also easily be removed to create space for pants as well if needed.)

Eventually hooks could be added above the entire unit for ball caps or school bags. Or a shelf could be added across the top for addition storage (suitcases and out of season footwear).

Having everything in one spot has made our lives so much easier (the kids’ included). They are learning where their clothes go away and can be taken out from. When putting away laundry, it’s a one stop shop to get everything organized and away. It has given them more privacy, to be able to close their closet doors on their personal things. And they have both gained so much extra room! They now each have a deacon’s bench filled with stuffed toys, a cube tower for their family pictures, piggy banks, and keepsakes. And overall it’s helped eliminate all the clutter that would previous gravitate towards the tops of their dressers. One of the best decisions we ever made. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, I was able to makeover both closets for about $100 each. Good luck finding a decent dresser for $100!

 

DIY: Hop Scotch

As most of my readers, I am a Pinterest addict. I am constantly looking for ideas, things to try, paint colors, organizing tips, etc. I always find something on there that I love and need, or want to try.

Since the birth of my second child I have been searching for ways to keep the kids entertained. But there are always challenges. Things need to appeal to both genders. So although my daughter is a princess and loves everything pink and full of sparkles, her baby brother may not grow up to feel the same. I also strive to find things that will last for years. A playroom that can adapt as they grow and be re used. A playhouse with options for baby swings, or big kid swings, etc.

And recently I stumbled upon a fun idea on Pinterest that brought me back to my childhood. Hop Scotch!

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I’ve read a lot of other blogs, and how-to posts and it seemed that everyone uses flat cement blocks/pavers. They paint the backgrounds and numbers directly on top. Some leave on the grass and others dig down to sink them into the ground. I knew this was a project I had to do!

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I used 11 pavers for this project. They were plain grey, and had a textured wave on one side. But I flipped them over and the back was smooth. I used that side for my painting. I really struggled with color selection for this. I wanted the rainbow, because it has all the colors. But then I began to think of all the different spray paint cans I’d have to purchase to create it. And then my quick and easy project turns into an expensive one, very quickly.

I chose 3 colors, blue, yellow, and orange. I decided to place the hop scotch squares in between our playhouse and our trampoline. And I pulled colors from both those items. (Yellow is the accent on our playhouse, blue is the color of the trampoline, and the straps we use to secure them to the ground are orange).

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We used spray paint and it took about 3 coats to really get a good color. I had picked up Krylon spray paint but I strongly recommend the Rustoleum spray paint instead (found at Home Depot). They have paint and primer in one and the coverage is a lot better than the Krylon. Especially since the pavers absorb the paint.

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The coverage for the yellow pavers was so bad that I actually went out and bought the better spray paint to finish the project.

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The yellow was slightly different, but it didn’t take long at all to have it re painted and looking awesome. Make sure you have thought out your design as well as your numbers before you start painting. It is a lot easier if you already know how many blocks in each color and which numbers go on which color blocks.

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I hand painted my number (because I’m a fool like that). I used a white exterior paint with a foam brush. It would have been a lot easier to use a stencil but I tend to always do things the hard way. I let them dry in the driveway, as they were in full sun and it took a matter of minutes for it to be dry to the touch.

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I was pretty happy with how the blocks turned out. Although I will be adding a black outline to the white numbers on the yellow blocks. I don’t find there is enough contrast with the yellow. I was pretty happy with how they turned out in terms of coverage and the intensity of the color. Do not get discouraged by coat one and two! The third coat really seals the deal!

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Then I placed them together! You can barely see the white numbers on the yellow in this lighting, but with the outline it should be perfect. I also decided I would sink them into the yard so I can mow directly overtop of them. That should make it easier on us in terms of maintaining our lawn.

Once the outline is finished and they are placed in the ground I will update with some new photos. But what do you guys think? Not too bad for some leftover blocks and 3 cans of spray paint. My daughter loved them (although she admitted right away to not knowing what it was). I quickly taught her how to play and now she’s out there constantly on it. Hopping around and counting as she goes. I strongly recommend this as a DIY, really easy and popular with the kids!

Kids Hallway

As you know I’ve got 2 little monkeys at home (under the age of 4). So with any renovation, or even decorating it is something I always keep in mind. Can the kids reach that? If they yanked on it would it hold? Could I clean it if they took a marker to it? And the most important thing, how to eliminate clutter and create “forever homes” for our stuff. I strongly believe that if items have homes, it will eliminate clutter. You simply place the item back where it belongs and avoid the “stray effect”. (Things that accumulate on tables or shelves that have no place else to go).

Well, as you’ve previously seen I have a play room for the kids on our lower level. We have tons of books and toys and lots of space to play and store. But that doesn’t stop toys from slowly creeping up to our main floor. Mostly small things but recently it’s been books! My daughter loves to read books before bed and even play with a few during the day. I didn’t want to discourage her from doing so but I was getting tired of the dumping of these books on my kitchen table, her bedroom floor or even the bathroom sink. So began the search for solutions.


It seemed like the best place to store some bedtime books would be the kids wing of the house. Both their rooms were at each end of the hallway, with their bathroom in between. Across from their bathroom is an amazing piece of art that was done by “Wee Love”. I’ve been looking for other things to put on the wall without interfering with that amazing piece and I found my storage solution!


I picked up 2 book ledges from Ikea in white. They sell for $14/each I believe and are perfect for books, picture frames and even small toys! I cleaned up the bedtime books that were scattered around our main level and gave them their home! These ledges are extremely sleek and only extend from the wall by about 2 inches. Check them out from the side.


I don’t have to worry about bumping into them or catching a hip on one when I turn the corner. And now both kids can benefit from the selection of bedtime stories. My daughter loves the placement. Once she’s done brushing her teeth before bed she grabs a book on the way out and off she goes to her room.

The Playroom… Phase 1 

This space stumped us for a while. It was an open area with two large doorways, three large windows, an odd ledge that hid some pipes and just seemed really long and skinny. We debated putting a wall up to divide the space into two equal square rooms. We would have used one as a playroom and one as a guest room. However, we thought about how often we have guests… Maybe one night a year, possibly two. Then it was pretty obvious a guest room (for us) would be wasted space.

  

These are the previous owners photos of the play space. (Used for hockey practice).

The key to making this space work as a playroom was to have many “stations” of sorts. I designed the room for multiple children at a time. Enough fun things to do without the kids having to share all the time or be on top of each other. It was also designed to be practical and functional. Storage is a must! Let’s have a look.

I started with 3 cube organizers (2X8). I then chose an assortment of colourful canvas cubes to fill this organizer. This is located in the direct centre of the room. It’s located at the far wall, directly between the two windows. (Take note of the mirrored design of the cubes). This storage was purchased exclusively for toys. I figured that this would be a perfect way to display and hide the many pieces that normally clutter.

I also labelled the cubes for easy clean up. And for the cubes that are closed off (without the plastic window) it would provide an easy way to find what you were looking for (without having to remove all the cubes to look inside). We also mounted a 32″ TV, a white, floating shelf with a blu Ray player above this structure for our children’s Disney blu Ray collection.

Next I added come curtains (more for color and privacy than to keep the sun out). I chose to stick to my “mirror” design of the wall. I chose a white sheer and a bold yellow. It was missing something, so I added a white panel to the inside. It doesn’t stand out very much now, but once the walls are primed and painted I think this wall will really pop.

Please excuse the mess of toys in the photo, we were in the process of organizing the canvas cubes and finding homes for the toys.

The next “station” was for the aduts. When monitoring a child, child size furniture just doesn’t seem to cut it. So we placed a pull out couch/love seat and coffee table opposite the cube structure.

This coffee table later turned into a pretty awesome Lego table… But we’ll save that for another post.

Next is the craft station! A place for kids to color, put puzzles together, play with play-doh or clay. Basically do anything they can think up!

We installed laundry room cabinets on the wall for supply storage. This made it easy to keep the items on hand, without having a child be able to have access. Hopefully this will keep the marker to the wall incidents at bay. I selected this photo because it shows the inside of the cabinets as well as the outside. Each door hides a single shelf. Where you will find everything a child needs for arts and crafts! We also re used our old kitchen table in this room for the kids!

Under The Sea… Part 2

Now that our Ariel room is painted it’s time to finish off the look with some accessories, oh and decals!

Decals are probably my second favourite thing for impact (after paint). They are inexpensive, don’t damage walls or paint and are extremely easy to remove. I searched the city for Ariel themed decals but struck out in my area. The ocean decals I would come across just didn’t have the right feel. I opted for Amazon.ca and purchased an entire set of Little Mermaid decals for $15!

I used the decals to create a mural type wall. I also saved a few decals to scatter around the rest of the room to tie it all together.

  

My $20 dresser got a few starfish – and a fish tank with lilac rocks keep my ocean theme going. 

You can see a few of my rogue decals, and check out my “clam shell” beanbag chair. (TargetCanada for $20)

When it came to art for the wall I was a bit concerned about how hard it would be to find an appropriate piece. And then I thought about price and weighed the options. I decided to go for a much cheaper alternative. I chose a few white frames and printed my own mermaid art. (The first frame is actually a birthday card!) I figured that when my daughters interests change I could re use the frames and put something new in there!

I also opted for an Ariel fleece blanket to put OVER a solid purple bedding set. It was a much cheaper option in terms of bedding, and again, much easier to change down the road.

The key to this room is duration! I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg every few years re decorating a perfectly good room. This room is designed for change, and at a great price. When Ariel is a thing of the past, a new coat of paint, a few new photos and we can move on to something else!

My daughter LOVES her new room and quickly settled in to our new home.

Under The Sea… Part 1 

Anyone who has ever moved, with children, understands the struggle of keeping a routine and normalcy in their life. Trying to prevent their belongings from living in boxes for a month, and making their new surroundings feel like home. It was pretty much at the top of the priority list for us when it came to my 3 year old daughter. We wanted her to have a room she would LOVE! That way, leaving our old place behind would be easy for her (seeing how much better the new place was!)

We started with a pretty blank slate. I’ll refresh your memory with the previous home owners photos of the room.

    

The walls were a pretty neutral grey… Standard in most new builds now. It has a beautiful, huge window with tons of natural light (being at the back of the house) and a closet that she will really grow into.

Anyone who knows my daughter knows that she is a princess through and through! She is obsessed with Disney (especially the princesses). Her favourite movie is The Little Mermaid. So for her new room we decided to go all out with Ariel! We essentially wanted to turn her room into a colourful underwater oasis that was fit for a princess. Oh, and we wanted to do it as cheap as possible!

The cheapest way to pack some punch is paint! Depending on brand, a gallon is about… $40-$50. So we decided to start there! We wanted something bright and colourful (it is a kids room after all!)

  

We chose Behr “Rushing stream” (P480-4). This color (being a lighter color) required 2 coats to really cover the grey.  The thing with bright coloured paint, is not to over do it! You don’t want too many things in the room competing for your attention. So if you decide to go with a dark color or something extremely bright, try to down play the rest of the room. In this case, we upgraded all my daughters furniture to white pieces.

  

I scored a captains bed on kijiji for $80 and a solid wood dresser on kijiji for $20! The perfect thing about white furniture for kids rooms is that you can freshen it up or cover blemishes easily with paint. And it will grow with them even once you change decor/themes.

Once the walls were done it was time to decorate! Check out “Part 2” for the remaining of the transformation.