Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rooms: Basement Playroom--Hooray!

I couldn't be happier about this project! Finally, a playroom of our own! I feel so lucky to have a room we can dedicate to a playing space. Up until now (well, for the past three and a half years anyway) the toys have been strewn throughout the house and mostly piled in our family room, which has been fine, and pretty convenient, but the piles kept getting bigger, and as the kids get bigger and there are more friends and cousins around we were really wishing for a room they could play in and not get into too much trouble, and to be honest, not be in the middle of dinner in the dining room or whatever we have going on when they're all over.

So we took the plunge! Before Christmas we engaged a great contractor and talked about our basement space. This house was built in 1969 and the space had always been unfinished. It was convenient for storing large boxes and things we didn't know what to do with but was really a waste in terms of the value we could get out of it. So we made a plan for play room, large "storage hall," and art studio (which may end up being a storage room but I had to dream a little!).

Here is what this space looked like before construction: Totally frightening! And this was after we cleared out the empty boxes, and random things we were storing, and hadn't unpacked since moving in eight years ago. Feels like such an accomplishment to conquer this space!

Now we have built in storage and lots of space to run around in. We're even happier about it since learning we are expecting our third child later this year--phew! We'll need it more than ever.

I wasn't sure what to do about color scheme or theme... So far our girls aren't typically girly. Purple is Audrey's favorite color but pink doesn't show up all that often. We don't really have fairies or princesses or many dolls around. They prefer stuffed animals and live ones. Then with the baby news I thought I should hedge a bit on the girl stuff in case we have a boy and go with something that would be fun for girls or boys.

They say you should start with the rug, and we did. David gravitated towards these great wool rugs at IKEA. So vibrant and fun, and great quality (and great price!). So we decided to do interlocking foam mat tiles on the floor for cushion and top them with these rugs. The rugs have so many colors to choose from but I really wanted to emphasize red and orange so I ordered red and orange strapping storage from Land of Nod. I love these baskets--great sizes for shelves and floor and no hard edges for kids to get hurt on. I'm using the smaller ones to organize toys (baby toys in one, musical toys in another, wood blocks in another...) on shelves and the large ones to hold puppets, costumes, and aprons and kitchen play accessories.

We decided on this great sky blue color for the walls. I was really hoping to be able to cut in some windows but when they got into it they discovered a powerline running right along our foundation--bummer. So we brought the sky indoors. With the lighting and the colors the room is bright and cheery so it all worked out.

We moved the play kitchen down from Audrey's room and the girls were lucky enough to get a cute little grocery stand and a table and chair set from Santa for Christmas to add to it--now they can do the full play: shopping at the store, fixing dinner, setting the table, and sitting to eat. Hmm, who do you think is more excited about that?
I also love the idea of the puppet theater, which could double as a post office, or veterinarian, or some other thing... I hope the girls will play with it. We got a funny sound machine from my sister to go with it--all kinds of funny and strange effects (another good reason for a basement playroom!).
The little tent and giant ladybug came from IKEA too. (LOVE that place!) The tent is our best investment yet. We can fit the whole family inside and the girls love it. They fill it with toys, turn it upside down, you name it. We got some other things too for more acrobatics--swinging rings to hang from the ceiling and a rope ladder, but haven't figured out whether they're a good idea or not. Certainly increases some risk during unsupervised play but maybe we could just hook them up for short periods of supervised time. We'll see...
My favorite thing is this little "hideaway." We had a funky little corner in this room and weren't sure what to do with it so I asked for it to be finished with a little lookout window and lamp ( IKEA again). I'll hang a curtain for better hiding and would like to find a little ladder to attach on the inside wall beneath the window, and maybe one of those play telescopes to attach to the window. Audrey and her cousins filled this little space with a bunch of pillows and any soft thing in the room so they could stand on the pile and look out the window. It was pretty funny. Looked like a good place for a nap too.

Another thing I'm glad I thought of are these open bins in the storage area. It's great to be able to toss the bigger toys and balls in here and not have cleanup be such an effort.
We put full-light doors on the playroom and studio room in hopes of getting some light transfer from the windows in the studio, which will likely be closed and locked most of the time. I also thought it would be good to have the ability to peer in and out of these rooms without opening the doors. I love the look. A little concerned now about the practicality after having a bunch of nephews over, but we'll hope for the best. Thank goodness for tempered glass! And the doors are at a funny angle--would be hard to have anything come at them too hard (I hope).

And then there is the storage hall. Exciting in itself really. We stained the concrete floors for a simple, modern look. I'd like to eventually find some low-pile runners to put down, but I like this look as is. This hall space was too wide to just be a hall and not perfect for a room so put deep storage closets along both walls. I've got fixed and adjustable shelving behind all the doors and am hoping this is what I need to have a place for everything and put everything in its place. Hard (for me at least) to judge whether the space is adequate for the things we've had in boxes. I'm excited to tackle the organization project.
This was the hall before:
We've already debuted the playroom with cousins and friends and they seem to approve! So far they love playing down there and it made for a much quieter extended family dinner--hooray!
Now, in addition to organizing the storage hall, I would love to come up with something for the big blank blue walls. I was thinking of painting a mural but was worried about it being too much. Then I thought of paintings in painted frames on the walls... I'm not sure, but it would be nice at some point. It's on the list and we'll see...


Grace said...

I love this room!!! I love that hideaway. I love the walls, the built-ins, the toys.

I just came over from One Pretty Thing where you are featured today. I'll be back!

Megan said...

I love the toy room! I've been searching for a color for our windowless basement toy room, what did you use?

Anneliese said...

Happy you like it! The paint color is Pratt & Lambert's "Blue Stencil." It's a great, bright, sunny color--not too intense. Very much like blue sky. Hope it works for you too!

Missy said...

I love this basement playroom. I have been looking for storage ideas and your full wall storage is the best yet. It has given me so many ideas. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi - I love your basement playroom. We are just about to turn part of our basement into a playroom too. How do you like the foam tiles? Do the have an odor (plastic smell or off gasing? Are they easy to install?

I love you bright block color rug. That is exactly what I want in our playroom too.

I appreciate your thoughts as we are stuck on the flooring decision.


Anneliese said...

@Erika: Thanks for your comment! We really like these tiles. They provide a great amount of cushion and I don't remember thinking they were too smelly. The paint did more off-gassing than the tiles for sure. They were also easy to install--we did it ourselves. So I would recommend them! Good luck with your playroom. -Anneliese

Anna Battista said...

Ok I have a millon questions.. BTW LOVE THE ROOM. Where did you get the storage? The flooring/tiles? The workbench (I think that's what it is) and the ladybug??...Thanks

Anneliese said...

@abdragonfly: thanks so much! There are links to the floor ties and strapping storage in the post--Land of Nod for the storage and IKEA for the ladybug! Thanks for your comment.

Jenny said...

This room is beyond awesome!

Jodi Kay said...

I love love this room! What a nice job you did! In process
Of building a playroom now and I was wondering if you could tell me about your entertainment center and shelving? It' looks like its built in but I can't really tell. Would love to know how you did that.

Anneliese said...

@Jodi Kay: The shelves/storage is built in. I designed it and had my contractor build it. They used doors/hinges that one would purchase for kitchen cabinets but the rest was custom. I hope that helps! Good luck with your project!

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