Six years ago, when our then family of three moved back to Nashville, we said we’d never leave the house we had just purchased. However, just over a year later, we heard about a house that was coming on the market on one of our favorite streets in the whole city. It’s the kind of street where hardly anyone ever leaves, the neighbors become family and the houses are dreamy, so real estate rarely becomes available. The particular house we were eyeing needed work, but I saw so much potential and loved the idea of making it our own. My very kind and patient husband agreed to move, and thankfully the owners took our offer, and just like that, I starting dreaming up our new plans (well, not “just like that,” but I’m sparing you all the boring details like stressing over contracts, selling our current home and figuring out where we would live during the renovations).
Anyway, we ended up doing more renovations to the house than initially planned (don’t we all), and I’ll share those details with you as I go through each room. For now, I’m going to start with the playroom. The playroom was one of the first rooms I wanted to completely finish so that my kids would have a fun space to play, and it would hopefully make them feel like they were “home” in the new house.
We basically ripped off the entire front of the house, which affected the dormer window in the playroom. It was initially very wide and long, and we ended up making it a much smaller window with a bench seat and storage underneath. I was sad to lose a bit of the natural light by making the window smaller, but it did allow us to add bookshelves to either side of it for additional toy storage, not to mention, it helped improve the exterior appearance dramatically.
The kids have since turned the bench into their little music corner, and I often find G standing on the bench with her microphone singing her heart out.
That was really the only construction done in that particular space, so with it finished, I could focus on the décor. You know my motto is “delegate,” so I called up my friend Hannah Ozburn to help me pull the space together. Hannah is an incredibly talented decorator who is never asked to work on projects as small as mine, but she was uber-sweet, and I got to be her “exception” since we were friends – and she knew I would ask her a million questions anyway, so why not make it official? We decided on a “theme,” which needed to be something that was appropriate for boys and girls (since I have one of each) and could be something they would grow into for a while. Both of my kids love wild animals and the zoo, so we ran with that idea. The best decision we made was to cover every wall in the room in “Tanzania, Blue” wallpaper by Thibaut. It makes a big statement, but because the dots are so small, it actually doesn’t feel too overwhelming when used in mass. It was the most expensive “décor” purchase, but it is by far the most impactful and I have yet to grow tired of it.
For the rest of the space, it was all about the details. On a previous trip to the home décor market in Atlanta, I discovered small felt animal heads that were both cute and chic. I didn’t need them at the time, but thankfully, I saved the vendors card and was able to purchase them for our playroom. I bought a ton of them and hung them all around the massive TV in the room, hoping to help distract from the black box. Small grey bookshelves (purchased from Overstock.com), served as yet another spot to house toys which we stored in navy felt bins from Target.
On the opposite wall from the TV, is a large window that will hopefully one day get a pair of French-pleated curtains, but for now, it is flanked by two blackout linen curtain panels from Pottery Barn Kids. I’m sure one day we will need to change the space into more of a “teen hang-out” spot, so I didn’t want to splurge on custom curtains. I also needed curtains that were thick enough to block out sunlight when we watch TV there during the day (the glare was a problem), so the blackout drapes from Pottery Barn work out perfectly. On each side of the window hangs yet another felt animal head above a framed watercolor painting. These animal heads are larger and from Target, and are still available. These watercolor prints are no longer available, but so many artists on Etsy now offer watercolor animal prints at extremely reasonable prices.
As for the furniture, I knew I didn’t want to over-crowd the room with seating, since the kids rarely sit down at this stage in their lives, and we need as much play-space as possible. We purchased new furniture for our den, so we used our old sofa, which is from Restoration Hardware, in the playroom. It’s actually perfect for the playroom as it’s super low to the ground and it’ slipcovered, so it’s easy to clean. I ordered a bean-bag chair for each child from Pottery Barn Kids, and they’ve been the perfect additional seats for the kids because they can easily move them wherever they want to (or throw them at each other without seriously injuring someone).
I didn’t want to break the bank on a new light fixture, but we had to replace the old ceiling fan. We added a lot of brass fixtures in the new house, so I decided to go for a faux-brass semi flush-mount drum light that I purchased locally from Hermitage Lighting Gallery. They offer many options at various price points, and thankfully they had something that worked in the space and with the rest of the house, but that I wouldn’t cry over if a football or other thrown object destroyed it.
The rest of the décor for the space was purchased over time as I found things I loved. The knobs on the cabinet doors are all white ceramic elephant heads from Anthropologie, and the grey-washed wooden elephant artwork is from Pottery Barn Kids.
The free-standing giraffe was a gift to Georgia on her first birthday, but it’s from Melissa & Doug and still available. My children still “ride” on it daily, and I’m sure one day its legs will finally give out.
We opted for an affordable, soft but durable carpet that could be easily cleaned (but most likely just replaced after a few years). Since the carpet was more function over fashion, I added a blue cotton run from Target that again was budget-friendly, but needed to help ground the space around the sofa. I hope one day to put in hardwoods, but right now, while the kids are rolling around, doing cartwheels and wresting each other, carpet is the perfect choice.
I continue to add colorful baskets for storage and fun toys, like this zebra tent (from Target and currently on sale!) that add to the décor but also serve a purpose in the room. It turned out to be such a happy space that we all use daily, and I hope you enjoyed seeing it too!