Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ethan's Room Reveal {ideas to maximize space in small bedrooms}

There is an animal-loving five year old in our home.  He became a big brother a few months ago and, as big brothers so often do, he needed to give up his bedroom to his younger chubby-cheeked sibling.  This move was necessary earlier than we planned because the chubby-cheeked brother outgrew his basinette more quickly than anticipated. See chubby cheeks below:

We wanted Ethan's room to be special.  Not only was he moving downstairs (farther away from us), but the room was also much smaller than his old space.  So we got a little creative.  I have been extremely blessed in my choice of spouse (in countless ways).  One of my favorite ways is that the man can build anything.  I find this very useful.  I can say something like, "I was thinking a Murphy bed in Ethan's room would be a really good use of space." We'll talk about it for a few minutes so he can make sure he's caught my vision for the project and that we've ironed out any details I may have missed--because I'm not so good at the details.  Then Jason will think about it for a few days, take measurements, visit the hardware store several times and get to work.

Because of the small amount of space we wanted a bed that would open horizontally.  Jason was also very concerned about the bed not being able to accidentally fall on a small person.  So he modified a deadbolt lock (the gray thing in the top center of the finished bed) to hold it closed.  We have to turn the lock in order to open the bed.

We are thrilled with the result and, more importantly, so is Ethan. 
He chose the paint colors (with some help):  a muted blue for the walls and rusty orange for the bed.

The closet was our other space concern in this room.  It had two large doors that opened into the room.  Not a big deal as long as the doors are closed.  But 5 year olds happen to be bad at closing doors (maybe you don't have that problem at your house?) so much of Ethan's limited space was taken up with doors.  Jason removed the doors and trim and drywalled the opening.

He added built-in shelves along each side of the closet which serve as storage for clothes, books and toys. We also added a large bulletin board in the closet for Ethan to display his artwork and other important papers.

Including an animal print bean bag makes this a cozy spot to read a book.  We are of the opinion that a house cannot have too many cozy reading spots.

One of my favorite features of the room are the animal prints above the bed.  Ethan and I spent a happy hour going through Vintage Printable to find a stack of prints he loved.  I had them printed, bought some used frames from the thrift store and painted them all off-white and slid the prints in.  Easy. We have several prints left over that I'm hoping to use for a future project for the room. Any ideas?

 My very favorite touch is this animal curio shelf.  I traded our talented neighbor for this.  I painted a peg doll nativity set for them and he build this shelf for Ethan's room.  I think we got the better deal!

Ethan collects small animal toys. When he receives any "fun money", it is usually spent at the local toy store on a new addition to the collection.  We used to keep the animals in bins, organized according to habitat at Ethan's insistance: African animals, Arctic/Antarctic {this one was tough for him.  He had major intellectual difficulties putting the polar bear in with the penguins :)}, farm animals, "swimming animals", etc.  He pared down his collection a little bit and placed his favorites on this shelf.

We love this beautiful and practical storage solution.

The only other piece of furniture in the room is a play table, built by Jason a couple of years ago.  Ethan spends hours a day here, imagining complicated story lines for his animals.  

Now that it's all wrapped up, it's easy to forget the disarray and mess of the construction process.  I didn't take many pictures during that stage for a couple of reasons: 1) I don't like mess and disarray, why would I want to document it? and 2) I was busy spackling, painting and doing other work.  Trust me when I say that there was a huge mess in between the before and after pictures and it spread into multiple areas of the house.  Ethan had to sleep in the playroom, there were tools and debris scattered everywhere.  We're not so good at keeping huge projects tidy.

But just like so many other times in life, after the dust has settled and the work is complete, we are happy with the results.  All the effort and mess were worth it.  

(This also satisfies one of my 35 by 35 goals.  Hooray!)

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