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{big reveal} our boys’ reading nook.

Q-Reading-Nook

ages ago, i mentioned our plans to set aside space in our lower level for our boys to play, play, play {which is our motto for this summer; every day, when i ask L what he wants to do with our day, he responds excitedly, “play, play, PLAY!” – and yes, it’s as adorable as it sounds}.

in that post of yore, i had this to say about our intentions for the space:

after living with the space since we purchased our home in august 2013, one of the big priorities on this level of our home became creating a dedicated space in which the boys can just be boys and play their hearts out. namely, we needed this space to house a few big toy items [including Q’s jumperoo and L’s new workbench – a third birthday gift!] . . . a few sports-related toys . . . and the Thomas the Train table that the boys’ uncle so generously gifted the boys for Christmas. we also have a car rug that L likes to vroom his cars on and a few other miscellaneous items that we needed more space to house that our upstairs living room allows. so, the idea of a playroom area was born.

but, since L is such a voracious reader {like his English-teacher Mama}, we knew that we also needed a space where we could cuddle up as a family and read a book {L’s current favorites are Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and a Mickey Mouse “i-spy” type of book}. and after seeing many an adorable kids’ reading nook on Pinterest, including this one, which is from Lay Baby Lay, i was convinced: our playroom needed a reading nook, too.

i then shared this mood board with you:

Mood-Board-Playroom-Reading-Nook

well, it’s been a long time coming, but after living with the space for a few months and making many, MANY adjustments to accommodate the boys’ needs, desires + whims {and, of course, this Mama’s hopes for the space as well}, i’m super excited to share the reading nook space with you! and again, as i mentioned in my first post on the reading nook, we owe big thanks to Tiny Prints for the customized pillows that you see below. this is our second project with Tiny Printsclick here to see our boys’ shared bedroom reveal!

check it out – here’s our boys’ reading nook:

L-Reading-Nook

Reading-Nook

Reading-Nook

L-Q-Reading-Nook

Reading-Nook

Reading-Nook

a few details:

– the book that’s on display and open on the ledge above the bench is a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. using a cookbook holder that we received as a wedding gift {yay for retooling an item’s intended use!}, it’s open to the page from which, if you recall, one of our wedding readings was taken. i love this sweet detail! {p.s. in just a few weeks, Jord and i will be celebrating FIVE YEARS married – whew, time!}

– i quickly customized this white kids’ bench from my Mom {which, if you recall, was originally part of a kids’ store installation but was no longer needed} with some rope detailing on the legs to give it a bit of a rustic touch. hot glue worked like a charm, and 30 minutes later, the bench was ready for its close-up!

Reading-Nook

– i plan to use the fun patterned clipboards {which i found in the $1 Spot at Target a long time ago and secured to the wall using 3M strips} for reading lists, notes to our boys, artwork and more. the options are endless!

– the pillows on the bench are all from Tiny Prints, and we LOVE them! they add such a great punch of color to the space, and they are cushy enough to take off of the bench and lean against the wall when Mama and Daddy join the boys for snuggles and family books in the reading nook. i customized these three pillows for this space: Sit and Stay, Let’s Snuggle, and Vibrant Diamond.

Reading-Nook

– i’m still weighing out my feelings on the “house” paint treatment on the wall {as seen here and in the mood board above}…on one hand, it’s just so whimsical and playful and makes me imagine my boys reading beneath the “eaves” of the little play “house” and thinking that pretending to do so is buckets of fun…but on the other side, if i know myself, my mind changes in an instant and i worry that i’ll outgrow the “house” design far, far before the boys do. but then again, it’s only paint, and the “house” would add a great layer to the design of the reading nook…but what color to choose for the “house” paint? alas, you can see my indecision!

up next in this half of our family room = actually making decisions on an area rug and the “house” paint treatment, as well as printing and framing some engineer photo prints of the boys {inspired by these from Chris Loves Julia} for the wall above the television-stand-turned-changing-table, which is placed adjacent to the reading nook and is pictured in the mood board above. as soon as those items are checked off the ol’ to-do list, i think we’ll FINALLY be ready to show you the full playroom + reading nook space!

also, stay tuned: we’re nearing the finish line on the other side of the family room, where the sectional is located, and i can’t wait to show you all of our hard work! we’ve been making oodles of progress in the past few months, and the family room is finally feeling more like “us.” in the meantime, here’s a hint…three cheers for FINALLY hanging ART on the walls!

{mood board} boys’ playroom + reading nook.

when we last discussed our family room, we revealed our most dramatic change in this space to date: a fresh coat of paint. if you missed it, take a look below {the paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Woodland White}:

Lower-Level-Repainted

in short, we looooooooove how much brighter and more open this space feels now that the dark, dark walls are gone-zo. and, we can’t wait to add a few more things to this level of our home to continue to reflect what we love to do as a family and how we need our home to work for us.

after living with the space since we purchased our home in august 2013, one of the big priorities on this level of our home became creating a dedicated space in which the boys can just be boys and play their hearts out. namely, we needed this space to house a few big toy items, including L’s play kitchen {which we gave to him for his first birthday}, a kid-size table + chairs {which you can see in the picture above}, a few sports-related toys, such as the Little Tikes basketball hoop pictured above, which lives inside our home during the long {LONG} winter months, and the Thomas the Train table that the boys’ uncle so generously gifted the boys for Christmas. we also have a car rug that L likes to vroom his cars on and a few other miscellaneous items that we needed more space to house that our upstairs living room allows. so, the idea of a playroom area was born.

but, since L is such a voracious reader {like his English-teacher Mama}, we knew that we also needed a space where we could cuddle up as a family and read a book {L’s current favorites are Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and a Mickey Mouse “i-spy” type of book}. and after seeing many an adorable kids’ reading nook on Pinterest, including this one, which is from Lay Baby Lay, i was convinced: our playroom needed a reading nook, too.

since we want this space to be multi-functional {and since it is so large and open}, we want the play space to reflect our boys’ changing interests yet still fit in with our overall aesthetic preferences when it comes to home decor. so, to this end, i’ve created a little mood board to illustrate our hopes and plans for the space:

Mood-Board-Playroom-Reading-Nook

a few details:

* we’re SO delighted that Tiny Prints agreed to collaborate with us on personalizing reading nook space for our sweet boys! {click here to see our boys’ shared bedroom, on which Tiny Prints also collaborated with us!} specifically, i customized three of Tiny Prints’ personalized pillows for the boys’ reading nook to cozy up that space and provide a bit of whimsy. they arrived last week, and they are perfect – i can’t wait to show you the finished reading nook space soon!

* like many of you, i’m totally inspired by Pinterest, and i found the idea of painting a little “house” on the wall from here. i’m still trying to narrow down a paint color for this treatment – i want to do something bright and fun! – but i can’t wait to tackle this charming {and inexpensive – it can be done with just a bit of paint!} project.

* my Mom gave us an {adorable!} white kids’ bench that was originally part of a kids’ store installation but was no longer needed. i want to customize this piece with some rope detailing on the legs of the bench to give it a bit of a rustic touch. a little hot glue should do the trick!

* i’m on the hunt for a large {i’m envisioning an 8′ x 10′ size} area rug to help to ground and bring some color to the playroom + reading nook space. much like Katie over at Bower Power, i want something durable yet comfortable for little knees. while we’re still saving up our pennies and trying to track down just the right rug, lately i’m LOVING this from Rugs USA.

* when we were still renting, we purchased a television stand from Target {it’s no longer sold, but it’s similar to this one in black}. it’s made of wood and is still in great shape, but when we purchased a larger television on Black Friday in 2013, we needed a bigger piece to hold the television, so this piece has been in storage for awhile, awaiting a new use. then, when Q was born, we quickly realized the need for a diaper-changing center on the lower level of our home {in addition to the one in our master bedroom upstairs}. thus, this great piece of furniture is getting a new life! it’s the perfect height for a changing table, and the drawer is divided into three sections, which make it ideal for holding two different sizes of diapers {one for L and one for Q} and wipes, as well as a few burp cloths and swaddle blankets. plus, the glass-door storage underneath is perfect for additional book and toy storage! we’ve had this piece out in the playroom space for approximately three months now, and so far, L’s been very kind when opening and shutting the glass doors to access toys and books, but we’ll keep you posted.

* i framed a few of these fantastic Penguin book cover postcards that i received for Christmas – i was inspired by this project from Design Mom!

* i purchased a dreamcatcher for the boys on my return visit to Write: Doe Bay {recap coming!} from this fantastic lady; for your very own dreamcatcher, contact her here!

be sure to stick around – i’m on spring break from my teaching job this week {yes, i returned to work – maternity leave is over! more on that later…}, so i hope to get a few of these projects accomplished!

our lower level {sneak peek!}.

this post is long overdue, but i hope it’s worth the wait…it’s time to give you all a sneak peek of our newly{ish} painted family room in the lower level!

to help to jog your memory, here’s what the space looked like on move-in day {RIP, glass globe lamp on the table, which fell victim to L’s ball-playing}:

Lower-Level-Seating

Lower-Level

and after a coat of primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Woodland White {using BM’s Natura line, which we’re huge fans of}, take a look at the dramatic change! it’s amazing what paint can do for a space:

Lower-Level-Repainted

Lower-Level-Repainted

Lower-Level-Repainted

as a reminder, here are the plans that we have for this space, taken from our good ol’ Listy McListerson posts of yore:

– paint

– bring in TV {at least 55″}

– add a wood accent wall behind TV {like this}

– add a vintage sideboard/buffet/credenza {with doors for DVD/toy storage} under TV {repurpose 2×4 black/brown Expedit in boys’ closet for storage}

– add large area rugs in living space and in playroom nook

– add graphic curtains, art {there’s still a few bare walls that we’re working on!}

– add playroom area for L and Q, complete with a reading nook {i can’t wait to show you this space soon – we’re waiting on just a few more items to finish off the reading nook!}

– eventually add a fourth bedroom by adding a wall to close off part of the large family room {stay tuned on this – we’re a few years away from tackling this project}

– eventually DIY a drop-down double desk + two chairs for homework and art time for the boys + any future sibling(s); hang two farmhouse lanterns over the desk {in red? yellow? teal?}

Our Home: The Lower Level

{Click here to catch up on the reveal of our new home!

Kitchen

Eat-in Kitchen

Bathrooms

Master Bedroom

L’s Bedroom

The Exterior}

We bought our house after seeing a variety of different houses and setups over the years. One of the things that Sara made overly clear was that we needed a basement that did not “feel” like a basement. What Sara meant, as I eventually learned, is that the basement needed to be completely finished, could not have drop-tile ceilings (I also learned what drop-tile ceilings meant), and it needed proper lighting.

With our house, we found all of those things. The basement here has some character, the carpet was warm and inviting, the ceiling was finished, the walls were painted and the lights were a nice touch – they are on a dimmer switch, so they are completely adjustable, depending on what you’re doing (Sara’s been known to dim the lights slightly so L will fall asleep…and then she’ll fall asleep, too…) The large windows on either side of the main room allow natural light in when you want it, and keeps it out when you don’t. Along the wall there’s a built in ledge that so far has been an acting coffee table (we haven’t yet figured out how to use it, or not use it). Here are some photos:

Walking downstairs, I call it a lower level (super snooty!) , because it doesn’t feel like a basement…

IMG_6636

Going downstairs, turning left to see half of the main room. Don’t mind the curtains – they aren’t staying for long.

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Here’s the other half of the main room from the backwall perspective. The wall features built-in holes for hiding cords and mounting for surround sound (which seems likely to come down, since Sara’s sensitive ears can only take so much.)

IMG_6633

From the back wall again, you can see the hallway. Wyatt the dog is in between looking up stairs and at that under stair closet. On the left is the bathroom, the furthest left is the laundry/utility room, and across from that is the guest bedroom.

IMG_6634

So far, our basement has been a great relaxing pad. Baby L and Wyatt both have a good time to play, since there’s a ton of space to move around. We’re looking at mounting our TV to the wall, removing the surround sound fixtures, and building a computer desk to fill up some of that space. But the nice open play area is a feature we don’t plan to ruin.

Our plans for this space include:

– paint (Sara loves BM’s Gray Owl)

– bring in new TV (our current TV is 40″, but we’d like a set that’s at least 55″) and TV stand

– purchase a comfortable sectional (with at least one chaise lounge at one end) that maximizes seating potential (seats at least five)

– add large area rug near/beneath sectional

– add wood blinds, graphic curtains, art

– eventually add stairs + convert back windows into a walkout with French doors?

– create a “library nook” by installing wall-to-wall bookshelves {DIY? IKEA?} and organize books by color (like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/272749321155446995/)

– add a leather armchair with nailhead trim, a sheepskin, a ceramic drum table, and a pillow

– hang farmhouse lantern over the armchair (in red? yellow? teal?) (like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/272749321155439697/)

– add/build a desk with simple lines + a metal desk chair with a fabric seat

We’re also open to converting this space in a major way down the line, if we find that we need another bedroom (our home currently has three bedrooms – two upstairs and one downstairs). Currently, we’re tossing around the idea of just adding a large wall to the space to create a fourth bedroom; we would then repurpose/reformat the closet under the stairs into a bedroom closet/reading nook for L or other future kiddos.

On a grander scale, we also are open to the idea of building an addition to the front of the house, which would allow us to keep the living space in this room while still giving us a fourth bedroom downstairs. If we went the addition route, the upstairs room in the addition (which would be added adjacent to the living room upstairs) would be a den/library/homework central for our kids (Sara’s picturing a large work table in the middle of the room for the kids to work on, a small seating area/chaise lounge for reading and snuggling, a piano that we’re hoping to eventually grab from Sara’s parents, and bookshelves that span the entire perimeter of the room). Of course, this would be WAY down the line, but it sure is fun to dream about! We’re open to saving our pennies slowly and waiting for a LONG time to determine if this is a need that we truly have.

Up next: the guest bedroom, which is also located on the lower level!