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Playroom, April 2009
The playroom is a large room divided by different floorcoverings into a play section and a sleeping section.

It’s wonderful to have a dedicated room in the house just for toys and playing, and one day it’ll also function as a schoolroom. The girls have quickly adopted this newly renovated space as their own, and it’s far enough away from the living room that we can carry on a civilised conversation without the noise of the children interrupting.

The playroom is what used to be our old Blue Room, a large room common in Australian homes often known as the rumpus room. It’s usually used for a pool table or recreation room. We’ve had ours as the guest room with several stints as a junk room, storage room for David’s floorcoverings business and even our master bedroom while we were renovating our room and ensuite.

In creating a special place for the children, I still wanted it to be adult-friendly. I don’t like the kindergarten look, and wanted to avoid creating a style that wouldn’t adapt to the children’s growing ages.

I hate all cartoony creatures, avoid merchandised characters and loathe the tired old repertoire of what passes for children’s decor. I wanted to decorate for the children, but without compromising on good taste. With such a neutral background of grey walls and wood-look floors, I also needed splashes of bright colour to liven up the room.

Aisha, 4yo, April 2009
The open-display bookshelf means that I can select and display titles that I think the girls should be reading. (Most recently, we've been learning how to tell the time.)

And because children need a place to create and display masterpieces, we added a small art table near the chalkboard. There’s a cable across the top for displaying artwork, and yet this side of the wall isn’t visible when you glance into the room so it doesn’t scream “KINDERGARTEN”.

Playroom, April 2009
A large chalkboard is mounted on the wall under the cupboards that hold art and craft materials. The girls' artwork is displayed along the top of the chalkboard.

Playroom, April 2009
Silver clips along a cable provide an easy way of drying paintings or displaying masterpieces.

Playroom, April 2009
Art and craft materials are sorted into containers and tucked away in the cupboard.

Of course, this playroom is the ideal setting for my super-easy storage boxes, which provide extra seating and storage and then wheel under the table to create more space.

We chose hard-wearing vinyl for a large portion of the room and looped carpet for the sleeping section. The vinyl is in a rustic timber pattern and provides an easy-clean surface for spills while being smooth and soft enough underfoot for little feet.

Playroom, April 2009
On the main wall, a long shelf holds the girls' collection of Playmobil toys. Upholstered boxes provide seating as well as storage for other collections of toys. In the corner, a large pantry cupboard hides bikes, games and other large toys.

The large corner pantry also means that I finally can collect recycled materials in The Useful Box — cardboard rolls, yoghurt containers, bits and pieces that will be handy for making things with the girls. It’s great for storing our large collection of board games that previously lived in the bathroom cupboards (!).

Calista, 1yo, April 2009
Calista's toys are within easy access in baskets and on exposed shelves.

Brioni, 2yo, April 2009
The swing adds interest and movement in the room while still being a quiet activity.

Playroom, April 2009
A set of shallow drawers is the answer to easily storing and accessing board puzzles. It's on castor wheels, so I leave it turned around, facing the wall so the baby doesn't pull open the drawers and empty them.

Brioni, 2yo, April 2009
The older girls can play with their toys on the table, out of the baby's reach.

The playroom also serves as a bedroom for 2yo Brioni. Brioni is the first to wake up in the house, and with toys close by, she is happy and quiet until the whole household is up. She also sleeps very soundly, which means that after she falls asleep, I can come into the playroom, turn on the light and tidy up.

Playroom, April 2009
The sleeping area is separated from the main playroom by a curtain and bookshelf. The bookshelf that faces Brioni's toddler-sized bed contains a range of books suitable for her age as well as a drink cup and night nappies.

One entire wall is covered with windows and large, glass sliding door, and with the other main wall holding a long shelf, I was quite limited with the number of pictures I could put on the wall and had to find other ways to add colour.

Playroom, April 2009
Three Chinese ball lanterns hang from the ceiling to add colour over the wall of windows.

Playroom, April 2009
These matching canvases were created for the girls by a dear friend.

I just love this room. It gives me back my living areas (we used to have the swing in the living room), provides a place for me to send the girls when I need some space, and it’s large enough for all three to play independently without getting in each other’s way.