May 21, 2013

A new "big girl" room

Over the weekend I had one of my redecorating, rearranging, cleaning and organizing frenzies. I have them every once in a while and when it occurs, everyone better clear out because there is nothing stopping me.

I had been looking at pictures on this blog that I spend way too much time looking at. I have mixed feelings about decorating and home blogs. I like them because they help me to get inspired and I love looking at the way people decorate their homes. But I hate it because afterward it always gives me an unpleasantly anxious feeling that I need more stuff, more money and a better, bigger, nicer house.

When that happens, first I close the computer. Then I get to work. I love re-purposing and moving around the stuff I already have so it looks new and different. Sometimes I buy one or two small things to accessorize (I'm a big fan of getting new pillows), but mostly I pride myself in doing the change-ups without spending any money. And sometimes, I even get rid of stuff while I'm at it, which is a real bonus.

My first big project was the nursery three years ago --really a space that was going to be a walk-in closet before we found out I was pregnant. Daniel finished working on it a month before she was born, we painted it pale yellow and I decorated the whole thing for a few hundred bucks using mostly thrifted, garage sale and flea market items. It turned into a darling little room for her and I loved doing it.

Our house has been a work-in-progress since we bought it six years ago. We've remodeled two bathrooms plus added a wall of built-in closets in the bedroom and then, June's nursery. But it's a small, open, Craftsman style bungalow that presents many challenges since all the rooms basically connect to one another. There is not much of a sound barrier anywhere and not really a second bedroom, not ideal for families. Which is why I am constantly changing things and moving furniture around to make it work.

my sweet, hard-working husband
Now my baby is a little girl--soon to be three (sniff sniff)-- and she's been asking for a "bigger bed." She never really slept in her crib and when she was 20 mos. old we took it out and replaced it with a toddler bed. She loved that but lately I could hear her at night thrashing around and hitting the sides all the time. She was getting too big for it. Also, I would like for her to be able to get up on her own (she's an early bird) and just play with her toys or look at books for a bit before I have to get up. Yeah, right.

June's new room was our living room until recently, then it became her play room since not much could fit in her bedroom. Now I wanted to move her in there to sleep too. But I wanted it to be special and look different for her, even though my budget right now was about zero. And I didn't want to wait.

I got to work and moved everything around, got rid of a small couch that didn't get used in there, put away a bunch of toys that never got played with and generally cleaned and organized the space. Daniel had taken June to the zoo so I could work like mad without interruption. 

I had bought the old iron bed at the flea market a long time ago and it was up in the attic. I bought the bedding and pillow at Ikea a year ago. The cotton twill curtains were all thrift store finds.

 I made a little reading nook, and a space for drawing and painting in front of the window.  I used all the existing curtains but moved some around since I now had to cover the two french doors separating the room from our current living room (This should be interesting at night. I also just ordered a sound machine). The dresser was in the nursery (used to be changing table) and I switched out the drawer pulls for some pastel crystal ones. Good storage bins are key and I already had these. The rug was my single purchase --$10 on clearance at TJ Maxx.

After my day's work it turned out really cute and when June got home from the zoo she said "I love my new room!" The transition was a little rough for her the first night, and made me a little sad because my baby is growing up too fast, but change is good.

I still would like to move to a bigger house someday. But for now, we are fine in our little "spatially challenged" bungalow. It's cozy and I feel good about living simply and with less because our space forces us to do so. It curbs my shopping tendencies too. And I've gotten really good at sourcing great things at local yard sales, flea markets, antiques and junk shops. Daniel will tell you I'm no Mrs. Cheap. But still, I am pretty resourceful. And it just feels good to make do with what you have.

Next project: turning the old nursery into a fab new office/hideaway.


  1. I love what you have done! This is so inspiring. Love to you all, McCollonough

  2. We just bought a small house and I am looking forward to making it work in a small space. Thanks for the inspiration. Ulli

    1. Ulli - sorry just getting back to you! thank you for the comment and how is the new house? would love to see photos. send me your blog address?

  3. The room looks amazing, Joy! I wish you could help me decorate my place in new york :)