7 April 09
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.
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”.
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.
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 (!).
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.
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.
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.