One Room Challenge: Book Ledges, Wall-Mounted Nightstands, and More

I thought there was nothing I’d love more about my boy’s new room than the bunk beds I just assembled, but I was wrong.  Adding this wall to the room is everything:

kid room desk books clock

book ledges and bunk beds

I love the wall-mounted nightstands and book ledges, all the color, and all the function.  Really, cheerful and functional?  Probably my favorite combo.

Ikea desk ledges cubes

Let’s talk about the desk first.  Initially, I was planning on either having book ledges span the height of the wall or putting a small locker or baskets under the ledges.  But when I was in Ikea to pick up said book ledges, I walked through the office section and saw a narrow desk that I thought could be perfect (the Besta Burs). I called home, asked the kiddo if he wanted a desk, and got a resounding “yes!”  Kind of brilliant to trick a kid into thinking a desk is his idea and really using it as an incentive for him to do homework.

kid study desk with book ledges

As for the book ledges, I thought about building and painting my own but it is hard to pass up already finished ledges from Ikea for less than $15 a pop.  So I didn’t.  The best part of the ledges is that all the books on them just add so much color to the room.  Kind of takes away from the gray-on-gray (walls and bunks) prison look we had going in here last week.

Ikea ribba book ledges

The nightstand situation required a little creativity.  An ordinary nightstand wouldn’t work because it would block the under-bunk drawers and would be useless for the top bunk.  Wall-mounted nightstands were the perfect solution.  Again, I found these wall cubes at Ikea that were super easy to put together and hang on the wall.  Basically, this post should have been titled “The Wall Ikea Built”.

striped duvet gray walls

white wall mounted nightstand

I feel like the cubes might be a little “blah” so I’m still playing with painting the back of them - dark gray? bright orange? or be lazy and do nothing?

In addition to the Ikea wall, we also added some new lighting.  Not from Ikea.  The kids got clip on bed lights (Land of Nod) which has helped facilitate late night sneak-reading.

wall mounted nightstands clip lamps

And we installed a new industrial-style ceiling light (Lamps Plus).

industrial three light cage ceiling mount fixture

Best part of this light is the cage all around it – necessary considering the number of balls flying in this boy’s room.  #twss

Okay, so that’s the wall of awesome.

book ledges and bunk beds

kid study desk with book ledges

Next up is actually bringing the sports into this supposedly sports-themed room.  Next week.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out all the other great room transformations happening in just six weeks here!

signature Brit pale heart


One Room Challenge: The Gray Bunk Beds Are In

We finished up the largest project for our One Room Challenge makeover of my six year old boy’s room: the gray bunk beds.  And I must say, they rock.

gray bunk beds with drawers and stairs Bunk Bed King

We built these for my son but both kids have been sleeping in the bunks ever since we finished them.  Seriously, hearing those two kiddos giggling and chatting as they go to sleep and when they wake up in the morning is pretty adorable.  It might even be worth spending several weeknights and part of the weekend dealing with ALL THE PIECES.

bunk bed pieces

And those are just some of them.  The good news is that these bunk beds are super sturdy.  They are made of solid wood, have about a million long screws and have been subjected to lots of kiddo antics all without falling apart.  One of the best things about building them was the instructions.  Maybe I’m just used to Ikea picture directions or even no instructions like for our kitchen cabinets, but these bunk bed instructions were really detailed.  Every single piece was labeled, making assembly easy (if time consuming).  First we put together the bed frames and threw them into the corner for a night.

gray bunk bed frame

Then we added the stairs.  And mattresses.

bunk bed frame with stairs

Um, that’s a lot of gray on gray on dull happening there.  Next, over the weekend I finished building the drawers.  It is unbelievable how much storage is in this thing!  It has three huge drawers in the stairs and two under the bed.

storage drawers under bed bed stairs

It even has a couple of sneaky cubbies on the side – which I discovered the kids were already using to play cars.

cubby storage in bunk beds

The stairs are great not just for storage but also for making the bed.  Instead of balancing on a ladder while I made the top bunk, it is pretty easy to use the stairs.  Also, having no ladder blocking the bottom bunk makes it much easier to make that one, too.  To keep things easy, I also went for fluffy bed covers that don’t have to be tucked in.  Lazy or brilliant – you decide.

solid wood gray bunk bed with stairs

So now that the bunk beds are in, it’s time to turn to the wall next to it and work on adding the book ledges.  And a new light fixture.  And color – this room needs color.

unfinished boys room

You can catch the mood board (and sources) for the room here to see where this is headed.  In the meantime, I’m just glad the kids are loving “their” bunk beds.

gray bunk beds with drawers and stairs Bunk Bed King

Anyone else go for bunk beds?  Or take the lazy approach to bedding?  These cozy bed sure are tempting for me to crawl into…maybe I need to sneak a nap!

P.S.  Don’t forget to check out the One Room Challenge updates here and here!

P.P.S.  I think our kitchen backsplash tile should arrive on Friday – I may have to start working on the kitchen again soon…

signature Brit pale heart

One Room Challenge: Prepping and Painting

Right now I’m all over re-doing my boy’s room – sports town here we come.  I’m totally letting him plan his own room (with limited choices – duh) and along with sports, he wants all gray all the time.  On top of the gray bunk beds, he really wanted gray walls.  But before I could start painting, we had to do the prep work.  The first step was getting rid of all the unused toys.  After going through everything in the room, it wasn’t too surprising that the primary toys he wanted to keep were all sports-related.  By the way, I am totally going to crack up when he is anti-sports at age 16.  The first clean-up spot we tackled was his closet.  His closet is pretty awesome – big, interesting, sloped ceiling-ed, and a great play space for a kid.  But oh, so messy.

messiest closet ever

Those pics are proof that I am so about the reality, not the perfect “afters”.  Some people might be embarrassed to show messy life, but this is real and I am cool with that.

Mess aside, that closet used to be so much fun for the kids – when it was clean.  But around the holidays (10 months ago – eek!) we dumped a bunch of Christmas stuff in the closet and things never quite recovered.  The floor was covered with toys, play money, too-big and too-small clothes, and even leftover Halloween costumes.  So I cleared everything and then noticed the floors were seriously dinged up. I really wanted to paint the floors white (no surprise, I love our painted white bathroom and master closet floors) but again my kiddo picked a dark color.  We had painted the floors chocolate brown a few years ago but both time and toddlers took their toll.  So I just did a refresh with a couple of coats of fresh porch and floor paint.

repainted floors

 Then we moved the dresser in here.  It is such a great use of space – why did I never think about this before?  We don’t use the closet rod to hang clothes except for a couple of off-season coats, so using that space for a dresser opens up the bedroom and allows for more storage in the closet.  The shelves in the closet need to be organized, but things are looking up in here, indeed.

dresser in closet

Next up I went to work on the actual bedroom.  I piled everything in the middle of the room, patched up a bunch of holes, and then started painting the edges.

patching and painting green walls

clearing the room and edging

I love to vacuum the heck out of the usually hidden areas of the room so the vacuum in that last pic was in constant use.

The gray paint isn’t a a huge change in the room, but I like it so much better already.  After giving my kiddo a bunch of gray paint choices (the benefit of having lots of test pots of gray paint around) he picked Benjamin Moore London Fog.  I was happily surprised considering this is the same color we have all throughout the rest of our house (guest room, hallway, breakfast nook, entry).  Great minds…

And here you can see the fresh gray paint and fresh white baseboards, and a very sad mattress sitting on the floor after we Craigslisted the old Pottery Barn bed.  But what you can’t see are the freshly painted white doors.  Let me tell you, it is ridiculous how in just a few years kids can dirty up doors (and walls) sooo much.

london fog walls

Next up we are so onto building the bunk beds.  I mean, this kid can’t sleep on a mattress on the floor forever.  And we should probably also decorate.  A little.

I hope you stick around to see how the Fall 2014 One Room Challenge is going.  Follow along with a bunch of other folks linking up their one room challenges – I love seeing everyone’s ideas and am particularly loving watching those tackling a boy’s room, too:


Okay, wish me luck knocking out a new bunk bed this weekend…

signature Brit pale heart

Creating a Sports-Themed Six Year Old Boy’s Room (One Room Challenge)

You guys, we have hit the most dangerous point in every single big remodel project we undertake:  where things get functional so it is easy to move on without finishing the project completely.  That’s where we are with our kitchen .  I am so jazzed to have gotten to this point but soooo ready for a break from that space (aren’t you, too??).  So there’s that.  And there’s also the fact that our kids are begging for new beds.  So now I’m going to unleash my paintbrush and online ordering skills on the kiddos’ bedrooms.  First up is my 6 year old boy’s room.   Here’s the very basic plan:

six year old boy's room mood board

Sources:  1/2/3/4 sheets, pillow/5/6 sheets, pillow /7/8/9

Lots of blue, white, sports, fun, and maybe even some orange if I’m feeling wild.  The entire room re-do is based on the bunk beds.  This kid has been wanting bunk beds since he could talk.  Really.  And we promised he could get them when he turned six – thinking he’d totally forget by then.  But no.  His obsession with bunk beds has grown.  So we are caving.  We went for a twin-over-twin bunk bed to maximize the play area in his room.  Many a ball game has been played in here and I think he’d like to continue that when I’m not looking.  After narrowing down the bunk bed choices I showed him a few options and he picked this gray one.  He likes the color and the stairs – claiming “I always wanted this exact bed!!” – and I like all the drawers to maximize storage.  Kid win, mom win.

And because I am a crazy person and can’t stop at plunking in a bunk bed, we decided to re-do the rest of his room while we were at it.  We actually gave his room a few updates last year in the form of a framed map over his bed and then a small but very bright (!) mini gallery wall.

big kid boy room framed map

framed wall map + books + boy's room

boy room gallery wall

But those updates were a little more about what I wanted to put in there than what he wanted #badmom.  Not to mention he hated bumping into the book ledge over his bed and recently we took that down.  This past summer we also took over his second little closet (incorporating it into our master closet) and had to add in a wall where the old door used to be.  Here’s where things are now – one empty wall and another with airplanes he is sooo not into anymore.  Womp, womp.

messy boy's room

big boy kid room airplane decals


Clearly no staging in those photos.

So this time around, it’s all about him and what he wants for his room.  When I asked him what he wanted, he said:  SPORTS.  Sports everywhere.  Football sheets, baseball posters, a basketball hoop, soccer stuff, and more.  He is all over the Seahawks, the Sounders, and the Mariners (yes, we live in Seattle).  I am trying to give him the sports he wants without it feeling like a sports bar – he is six, after all.  So I’m letting go of my “woodsy, industrial, modern teenage boy” vision and embracing the sports.  And hoping I can do it in a way that is semi-tasteful instead of garish – we’ll see.

I picked a bunch of options for his room and the ones in the mood board above are what he picked from my limited choices #smartmom.  I spent one night this week online shopping so things should start showing up at our front door the beginning of next week.  While waiting for all the stuff to arrive, I need to paint his room and prep for the rest of the redo – eek!

To keep myself committed to actually finishing this project, I am joining in the One Room Challenge – with the goal of finishing this room in six weeks.  I’ve followed along while others have done the challenge in the past, but figured this is just the thing I need to keep me motivated this fall, so I’m in.  I hope.

Anyone else need a break from a big project just to do something fun?  Or give in to your kid’s design wishes?  Sports-o-rama, here we come…

signature Brit pale heart




And We’re Back to a Fully Functional Kitchen (and hosting Book Club)

Last month I agreed to host my September book club, which was just the kick in the pants we needed to get our kitchen fully functioning once again.  It’s not done (not even close!), but it’s functional.  Yippee!

cooking in progress

new 48 bluestar vent range hood

We had a long list of things to do to make the kitchen both more functional and less dangerous to the unwary guest, most of which we accomplished.  A couple of big steps were getting the rest of our appliances installed.  When M was out of town, I surprised him by hiring out installation of our 48” vent hood.  A few hundred bucks was well worth avoiding standing on a two story ladder or hoisting a super heavy vent over my head all the while trying to keep two kiddos out from under our legs.  No one wants to hear the swearing that likely would have accompanied that task.  But the pros I hired had it done in a day and it’s perfect.

installation 48 vent hood

new 48 bluestar vent range hood

In return, M came back to town and installed our dishwasher and hooked up our sink, which is a dream I tell you.  No more dishes in the bathtub, no more paper plates, no more asking myself whether quenching my thirst is really worth having to hand wash yet another glass.

I also finished constructing all of our drawers and moved into them.  Seriously, they will never look this organized again.

organized bowl drawer

organized cutting board cabinet

organized pot drawer

organized pull out cabinet

Moving into our drawers and cabinets meant we could finally get rid of our temporary kitchen, which was spread all out in the living room, dining room, and breakfast nook.  Here’s a look at how things were during the kitchen reno and how we got all the old cabinets emptied and cleared out of the house.  Goodbye particle board – I hope never to make your acquaintance again.

old kitchen cabinets in living room

cleared out living room

cleared out old cabinets

cleared out kitchen remodel

Once we got through those basic tasks, I had the girls over for our book club dinner last week.  It was pretty awesome to see how our new, open layout really made for a much better entertaining area.   All the months of dust, dirt, sweat, decisions, and general agitation at living in a construction zone were all totally worth it.  It is so great to have more counter space to prep meals, an island for apps, and  dessert.  Let’s just say, the night did not suck.

cooking in progress

strawberry basil sangria

cheese apps

flourless almond lemon ricotta cake

saucy napkins

We’ve still got a bunch to do to finish the kitchen (lights, backsplash, floating shelf, custom cabinets, deciding on hardware, trim work, etc.), not to mention the rest of the house, but it feels freaking good to have our kitchen up and running again.  I just can’t stop cooking in there…

signature Brit pale heart