Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Little E's Room Transformation: The Longest Post ... Ever

It probably seems like I haven't been very active since April, but I've been slowly whittling away at Little E's room. For months, I've been scouring catalogs, magazines, websites, and anything else I could get my hands on for inspiration. Designing a room for a seven-year-old is tricky because kids change so much at this age. If we pick her favorite color to design around now, will she still like it in six months? Not to mention finding storage solutions for all the toys and childhood treasures.

So let's start with the before pictures. Feel free to judge me because I'm already judging myself :)
In fact, I didn't even bother to tidy the room before I snapped these pictures - so brace yourself before scrolling.

This first shot is the view from the doorway. Even Minnie has resigned herself to the mess.

Up next, is her American Girl furniture. Little E loves her dolls, and up until now, they've been sitting out in the middle of the floor.

This next picture was shot from the back corner of the room. We bought this desk thinking that it was not only cute, but that it had a bit of storage as well. Unfortunately, the desk became a giant kid's junk drawer. You don't want to see what was on the inside, believe me.

And here's a view of the closet. Another design-gone-wrong, I thought it would be a good idea to hang a lower rod and hang all of Little E's clothing. While she's very adept at removing clothing from hangers, you can imagine that it's a bit trickier (and unappealing) to hang everything back up again.

Phew! I feel like I've just been through a therapy session! It is not easy to post your mess for the whole internet to see. The only thing keeping me sane is knowing that you're about to scroll down and see the after pictures :)

There were only two criteria with this room overhaul:
1) We wanted to surprise Little E - which meant collecting things over time, hiding them, and then putting everything together at the very end.
2) We didn't want to get rid of anything. About a month ago, she asked that we remove her dollhouse from her room. Other than that, everything stayed.

We knew that E would be living at her mom's house over the weekend, which was the perfect time to put everything together. Here's JP, in the midst of the box furniture madness:

And here's "The XO" (E's fish), alone in an empty room:

And here's her new bed, all put together (thank you, Handyman Tom!):

We were relieved to finish all the furniture assembly by Saturday night, which meant we had all of Sunday to add the finishing touches. We had so much fun with this, and were really anticipating Little E's reaction. Would she like it? Would the shock of it overwhelm her? But as we neared the completed room, we realized it was perfectly suited to her. So without further ado...

The first views when you enter:

While the rest of the doll furniture is tucked away, we left the dresser & bunk bed out. Her grampa hand-built and painted these, and they are her favorites.

And here is the straight-on view from the doorway:

A few more gratuitous views of the bookshelf:

And while we're looking at the bookshelf, check out this label-making madness (as if we needed any further evidence that I'm my father's daughter):

Did we buy her a new keyboard? Why no, there just hadn't previously been room for it. So it sadly laid in her closet, waiting for the day when it would be played again.

And I had to atone for my previous misjudgment for her closet (oh yes, the label maker came out again):

And hooray for under-the-bed storage! An absolute lifesaver...

Little E discovered her new room last night and kept repeating to herself, "This room is so cool." She even appreciated my labels! My heart leaps!

Mission accomplished.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Living Room Console: Aka, Why I Love Craigslist

Do you remember this pic of our "media center" in the living room?

It's an image that has been slowly eating away at my brain for ... oh, the last three years. :)

I've known that the next tv console would likely be a temporary one, since we're hoping that whenever we do move, our living room will be a bit larger than our current one. But at the same time, I was ready upgrade from the current bench (with accompanying baskets full of video games and dvds). Imagine my glee when I discovered a mid-century design, media console on Craigslist. Sirens blaring! Choirs singing!

Ok, the image is super small here - but this posting literally made my heart leap! This console would be a perfect compliment to the modern feel of our sectional. I always think the best rooms tie together a few different styles and look collected over time.

As you might know, most of my readers are my family, who are in the furniture business. So as I write this, I'm imagining much shaking of heads at my excitement over a used, outdated piece. But I love it! And who would want to come in the way of furniture love?!?

So, I email the craigslist people. And then I wait. And wait. Four hours later, the posting is still listed, but there's no response. This is like waiting a year in Craigslist time. I know someone else has claimed my beloved console. So I email them and offer them a (slightly) higher price than the listing. An hour later, we have already talked to our new Craigslist BFF's and Jonathon and I are driving to east Austin, hoping that our prospective treasure will fit in my car.

Let me conclude by saying that this is one of those stories that has a happy ending. Hooray! (Side note: the console does need a bit of refurbishing, but that's another post for another day)