If you caught our house tour last month, you saw our dining room/playroom/ikea storage space/island of misfit toys, and it was "a bit of a work in progress." I loved the deep navy walls, the white chandelier, the antique buffet, the black and white rug...but the whole vibe of the space felt a bit too formal once we started adding more and more toys to the room. I wanted it to be dual functional for eating and playing, but it wasn't quite working. The furniture wasn't super kid friendly, and the paint color that used to feel dramatic and bold was seeming more dark and mature. I didn't want to overhaul the whole room (well...maybe I did, but I knew that wouldn't be wise) so I crafted a plan to make a couple tweaks to see if a fresh coat of paint, and some new shelves could create a balance between fine dining (ha!) and romper room chic. (double ha!)
We didn't want to spend a ton of money or time that we didn't have, but figured with a plan this simple, it wouldn't be anything a week of vacation (mine) and a bit of elbow grease (Dustin's) couldn't fix. I had some use-em-or-lose-em days at work, so I packed up the kids and headed west (Ohio, of course) while Dustin stayed behind to go to work, and then come home to work some more. We already had purchased some Ikea shelves from Craigslist, (and brand new doors to go with them!) so the plan was to cover the room in a bright white coat (or 4) of paint, assemble some shelves and bask in the glory of overdue makeover projects.
And it was just about that easy!
(for me. because I wasn't there.)
I gave Dustin explicit instructions to take pictures along the way, but he seemed to be too busy making progress to take progress pics, so I don't have a ton to show from the process. But I'm pretty sure it went like this:
Roll some paint.But on my end it was more like:
Curse Courtney for choosing such a ridiculous hard-to-cover color.
Roll some more paint.
Drink a beer.
Roll some paint.
Repeat repeat repeat forever.
Play with the kids.See? So easy!
Watch The Bachelor.
Request updates via text.
But when he did send me an update, I was blown away!
Even in a photo, taken at night, viewed on a 3" screen, I could tell how much more open and airy the room felt. The white was a perfect blank slate- not nearly as serious as the navy- and the shelves were perfect for the space. They practically look like built ins, without any of the work or expense!
I praised him profusely and looked forward to coming back to do the fun part- accessorizing!
Here's the after:
Nice, right? It's crazy what a big cloak of white can do!Here's the first pass on the shelves. It's maybe not perfect forever, forever...but it gave a home to about 75% of the white animal brigade (yes, there are more...) so we call that a win.
Some detail shots:
- Jonathan Adler squirrel ring box that Dustin got me for an anniversary present a few years ago (though he technically got me a penguin which I returned for store credit, and I bought my own squirrel two years later. Our love isn't bound by return policies!)
- A whole bunch of water goblets I insisted on registering for, that we have maybe used once throughout our entire 8+ year marriage.
- One million shutterfly and blurb books.
- A clock that is so horrifically loud we removed the batteries one minute after getting it home.
- Owl drawing from a friend, taped to an antique chalkboard (my grandpa took these to school with him every day! Is that the best!?!) I just did a little pinterest-special on that guy and wrote out all of our important dates as a family.
- A thumbs up. That you are jealous of, admit it.
Middle shelf includes:
- A penguin. Not the one Dustin got me.
- More pears. I have a thing for them.
- Storage boxes for camera type things.
- A squirrel nutcracker. Ridiculous, and totally non functional.
- An antique painting from Mexico via my grandparents.
- A Target "soda can" vase that has since been updated with a fake flower.
Right shelf includes:
- More random stuff.
- A terrarium I finally made after a minimum 5 year procrastination period.
- A glass elephant from my childhood nightlight.
- My birthday cheeseboard, and box of extra wine paraphernalia.
- Nesting dolls I got in a 2008 craft swap. (kinda makes me want to do something like that again!)
And for you really nebby (Pittsburghese for nosey...) folks. Here's what's hiding behind closed doors.
Piper's art supplies, and our printer/extra video games. (yes, extra, as in we have so many video games our cabinets overfloweth with dorkitude).
Toys. Toys. Oh so many toys.
(3 bins are Piper's. One is Fin's. Life isn't fair.)
Games. Games. Oh so many games.
Did I mention we're total dorks? Though we don't own Settlers of Catan, so there's still hope.
(Please take notice of the "jumbling tower" game that Dustin got me when we first met. Because apparently springing for Jenga would have been coming on too strong...)
So that's the big decor update.
In a perfect world we would finalize shelf placement and fill in all the extra holes, and maybe get some new curtains. But in the real world we sold the house, so we're 100% done. The awesomeness/bummer of it all is that the shelves are included in the sale, so someone else will enjoy the fruits of our labor. BUT...they look so good in here it would practically be a crime to remove them, and Dustin assured me we can recreate the exact same set up in the new house if we'd like. I don't have the heart to tell him that I will assuredly come up with a brand new harebrained scheme for that space. But something tells me he already knows.
If you're interested in the rest of the Bowden abode, you can check out the rest of our home here.