Here's where the story gets a little gross. When we first moved into our house, we decided the huge bonus room over the garage would be the perfect "cat room" until we could afford furniture to make it worthy of human entertainment. We stored their litter box, food, and water in there and thought they'd live like king and queen with more toys scattered about than their little hearts desired. Well, maybe they felt a bit too entitled, because things went horribly wrong one afternoon when a terrible stench hit me at the top of the steps. One of our beloved feline friends had been peeing all over the perimeter of the room for what had to have been months! The carpet is that great shade of beige that hides everything maybe a little too well. I suspect there was a lingering smell of sorts from the previous owners that made them feel territorial, because they had never had litter box issues before. I didn't notice the problem until it was too late. It really stunk. Literally.
Needless to say, the cats' belongings were demoted to the furnace room, and the bonus room was upgraded with brand new flooring. We opted for a spill-proof, scratch-proof, kid-proof, cat-proof linoleum that looks like beautiful antique, grey wood. The new flooring paired with the arrival of little Eloise sparked my desire to set up the perfect room for adventure!
I always feel a little sad and claustrophobic when I go to friends' houses and their living rooms are overflowing with primary colored plastic. I totally understand that space is often limited and toys multiply faster than bunnies on date night, but I had personally always craved a separate space that would give our living room a fighting chance against the tornado that is toddlerhood. I thought setting up a playroom where my husband and I could witness the imagination of our girl together would be the perfect deployment project and goal. There's nothing like picturing your family together again to help make deployment days speed by.
My inspiration for the playroom came from Pinterest, the land of all great design inspiration. I wanted to focus on a travel theme with shades of ocean blue and pops of geometric black. A play teepee was a must for me, and I wanted to incorporate the old TV stand we had painted and stained before we were married to save some money. A big bookcase for our future bookworm (a genetic guarantee given both of our love for reading) and a fluffy area rug that you could melt into were also on my must-have list.
This room is where Eloise crawled for the first time. It is where my friends and their little ones all congregate for play dates. Eloise loves to dump an entire puzzle on the floor of this room, sort it piece by piece into her grocery shopping cart, and push it right into the middle of her teepee. Our 4-year-old neighbor Noah likes to host dance parties here to the tune of the hand-me-down ball-a-palooza toy that was once his. On many Friday nights, our family can be found in this room snuggling and watching a Disney movie together. On the day of his homecoming, I was so proud to show Brad this beautiful, safe space I set up for our daughter to play, grow, laugh, read, learn, and most importantly, adventure.
The top and bottom center pictures were captured by my sweet and talented friend Jill of Jillian Knight Photography on the morning of Brad's homecoming. I've added a few items since then, and as all good playrooms do, many things have evolved as Eloise's mobility and play needs have changed. Here is more of what it looks like now (after a massive toy pick up, of course).
I'm a sucker for bold stripes, so the teepee was an easy decision. My favorite part about is it's location versatility. The material is meant to be used indoors and outdoors! It's so easy to fold up, take outside, and set up camp in the backyard on a sunny afternoon. No biggie if you forget to bring it in right away, rain or shine. How cool is that? It is a total kid magnet, too.
I have to give my mom credit for the floor poofs. Not only are they adorable, but they have served their purpose in every way she thought they might. From foot rest, to extra play date seating, to husband video game perch, to cat bed, the poofs do it all and look great while doing it. They even served as Eloise's stabilizers when she was learning to pull to stand and taking her first few steps.
The matching aztec print woven bins and the bottom two drawers of the bookshelf are great for "organizing" toys without really organizing anything at all. Just scoop and dump. Stacking puzzles, books, and toys low within Eloise's reach encourages safe and independent play. I think both elements are key for a functional and cozy playroom.
I love looking down the long hallway to see an inviting, happy room with such beautiful natural light. Despite all past pee incidents (none reported since the playroom overhaul!), I also love spotting two of the playrooms most frequent furry visitors enjoying an afternoon nap in the sunshine.
What is the best part about your playroom, and what are your favorite playroom family memories?
I'd love to hear from you!