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!

 

Wilderness Wall

I can’t hide my love for gallery walls. I’m always looking for an excuse to put one up. So far I have one up in my laundry room and the stairwell. Naturally, when I was pondering ideas for the toddler’s little man cave, I felt like I could create a gallery wall to really take my theme to a new level.

I used painters tape to help me out with the design. I first put a piece of tape where the door would close to. I didn’t want the gallery wall to be hidden behind it, so it gave me a guideline of where to stop. I create a design (on the floor below the wall space) to get an idea of how I want it to look. Then I added tape for each frame located on the ground. This helps me keep everything in proportion.

For the wall, I created some dark stained wooden signs. Two of which contained some of my favourite “wilderness” themed quotes. The other wooden boards contained silhouettes of arrows, a teepee, and bear paws. I also picked up five frames from the local dollar store. I painted two thicker framed ones the same color as my middle mountains on my mural. And three thinner frames the darkest mountain color (to tie the opposite walls together). The five grey frames contained watercolor images of animals (fox, bear, deer, rabbit, and a hedgehog.

Here it is all put together. I hang my gallery walls with command strips (the picture hanging kind). I find it easier to get the placement right without having to put a ton of holes in the wall. However, from personal experience I can tell you that command strips don’t work well on plastic frames. So be cautious with what you’re hanging. In the gallery above, all my pieces were flat and wooden. Making it easy to press in place and hung flat against the wall.

Mountain Mural

As my sons second birthday fast approaches I got the urge to begin the transition of his room. I wanted to slowly make some changes from a baby’s nursery to a little man cave. Something fun but a little more grown up. Peak his curiosity and sense of adventure.

As you all know, paint is my favourite place to start. For $40-$50 you can transform an entire room. It seems well worth it to me.

IMG_0387

As you may remember, I went pretty bright in the nursery before the baby was born. A nursery should never be dull or boring. The decals came down, the walls were cleaned, and a base wall color was picked.

Went with a Behr paint (of course)… called Zero Gravity (N450-2). Its a soft grey. Can we take a moment to look at that coverage! One coat of pale grey over a bright green, magic! One of the many reasons I love this stuff.

Once the entire room was painted we moved on to the accent wall. I had seen many versions of the wall on Pinterest. I decided to just eyeball it and use painters tape to get some clean lines.

When choosing the next color I decided to stay on the same paint chip and go two shades darker. Moonquake (N450-4) goes on like a silver and dries slightly darker. I was a bit nervous I wouldn’t get the effect I wanted. It’s hard to really see the vision until you have more dimension. ***Hint: Always remove painters tape when paint is still wet. Otherwise you risk peeling edges.***

Once the middle color was dry, I took it 2 shades darker for my third and final layer of mountains. I wanted the dark mountains to be closer, so there are less of them. Darkest mountains are painted Binary Star (N450-6).

Voila! My mountain mural is complete. Could easily add snowy mountain tops or stars in the sky, whatever you’d like. I wanted to keep mine very simple. This wall is the far wall when you walk in, and will also have the bed against it. So I felt if it was too busy, it might take away from the bedding, accent pillows, etc.

Stay tuned for more updates on our toddler room transformation.

 

 

 

Baby Lair… Part 2

Now that the walls are freshly painted and furniture is in place, it’s time to take this room to the next level and get it across the finish line!

We’ll start with my love for decals! I purchased a white tree decal from Kent (I don’t recall the exact price but I seem to remember it being on sale for about $20-$22). Originally it was to be placed behind the crib, however the tree did not go all the way down to the baseboards, and you could see the “floating” tree through the rails on the crib, which just didn’t work for me!

I made a last minute switch and placed the tree behind the long dresser/change table. That way you couldn’t tell where the tree actually ended on the wall, as it was hidden behind the dresser.

Next I used 2 packages of decals that matched my crib bedding and created a “border” type strip on the crib wall. I also saved 3 smaller animal decals to use as framed art. I picked up three 8X10 white frames and three pieces of scrapbook paper. I framed the paper and then placed the decal on the outside of the frame glass. It creates a floating/shadow box effect and is easy to switch out the paper or re use the frames over time.

I also purchased a cube organizer system and some multicoloured canvas cubes for additional storage. I’m a huge fan of these (used them in our playroom as well). You can keep the shelves open, fill them with cubes, or a little of both. Again, it’s a piece that will grow with the baby, and his toys, books, etc.

The third 8X10 frame was also placed on the wall above this storage system. A small lamp allows for a night light type glow when early morning feedings are underway.

And of course, every nursery needs a rocking chair! I searched far and wide for a good chair, and rocking chairs are hundreds of dollars (not in my budget!). I finally stumbled upon a greyish/blue rocker and recliner on kijiji for $20! You read that right! It was an elderly couple who upgraded to something new. The chair itself is old but was still functioning and in great shape. I put it through a pretty extensive cleaning process but it came right back to life and is perfect for baby boys room!

Now that we’ve covered the main points I’ll let you see the finished product! The bedding is in, frames are up, changing pad is covered and in place.

My son is now three months old and we still have the nursery exactly as seen here. We love it!

  

  

Baby Lair… Part 1 

This next room is a flash back for me as its already finished and has been for quite some time, but I still love it and am extremely proud.

When Dave and I found out we were expecting we had mixed emotions. Disbelief, fear, excitement and obviously wonder as to who our little growing human would become. We waited for the gender before decorating the nursery because I’m a big fan of “themes”. And although gender neutral nurserys are beautiful I find them a bit, impersonal. A baby will have a nursery until they are, let’s say, three. So I try to create bright, fun and kid friendly rooms that will grow with a baby until that age.

Here are the previous owners photos. (It also served as a nursery for them).

  

  

It has a large window, great size closet, and is overall a decent size for a kids room.

I had bedding options picked out for both genders, and we waited until the ultrasound results were received by our family doctor and then placed our order! It’s a boy!

This was my selection. It has tons of fun critters (giraffe, elephant, alligator, birds, turtles etc), tons of different colours (yellow, green, blues, greys, etc) and seemed like a great jumping off point! I felt that it would give me tons of options and I’d be able to go in several different directions in terms of design.

As with my daughters room we decided to go with white furniture. Easy to paint and cover blemishes, will match future decor options a lot easier than a wood tone and helps break up some of the bright, crazy designs that we love in kids rooms!

Next was the paint color choice! Now this is where our decorating took a long stand still. I couldn’t make up my mind! I brought home swatches from all the major colours present in the theme. Yellow, orange, grey, green, light blue, dark blue and none of them seemed right. I was nervous that it would blend too much, or stand out too much, there just didn’t seem to be a happy balance! I debated patterned walls, accent walls, and painting the ceiling. Hubby (after many trips to the paint section) finally gave me the encouragement I needed to get it moving. He told me to go with my gut and develop from there. I still had decals, accessories and accents to purchase so he believed I would find a happy medium in those objects, instead of in one paint color. So I picked what I liked and just went with it!

  

I chose a Sico paint (the only one in this house!) named “Mint Cocktail”. It’s bright, really bright. And as soon as Hubby had it up on the wall I was questioning my decision! I just kept reminding myself that once the room was filled with furniture it wouldn’t be as “out there”. We tried to keep everything else fairly neutral to down play the walls and keep it fresh.

The next thing was furniture placement. I placed the long white dresser (doubling as a change table) where the previous owner had put the crib. When you walk in, it’s right there! Having the crib there means that in a few months, once our son is standing, he’d be able to peek out into the hallway and could easily receive free entertainment from his crazy sisters room just down the hall. Not really what you want your (suppose to be) napping baby to be doing.

I placed the crib on the furthest wall from the door, and it is also the only wall with no obstruction. (No window, closet or door opening against it). When thinking long term it made the most sense that that wall would house a a twin bed and eventually a queen as he grew. So why place the crib anywhere else?!

Check out Part two for the final decorating touches! We’ve got decals, frames, lamps, and more!