...because home doesn't happen overnight.

nursery after 13

Mabrey turned four last month. I think that means I can no longer call her bedroom “the nursery.” I also think that means it’s time to make some changes. The nursery setup has served us well, but our spunky girl is growing and I want her room to evolve with her. A few items can stay: the rug, ceiling light and window treatments. We’ll be letting go of other items to make way for more age/stage-appropriate pieces. Here are my plans for the space…

Big Girl Room

1 – I’m nixing the dark walls to create a brighter, fresher space that better reflects Mabrey’s personality. Two walls will be painted the same white that’s in the boys’ shared room. (It’s Benjamin Moore white dove.) I like the idea of the kids’ bedrooms having a common denominator, so we’ll be giving one wall the Stikwood bamboo treatment to mimic the boys’ wood wall. The fourth wall will be covered in Cavern Home’s tapestry zuni wallpaper for a boho vibe. In the past, I’ve installed wallpaper solo and also with Steve’s help. I thoroughly despised the process each time. I’m seriously considering hiring the job out this time.

2 – I’m replacing the crib/toddler bed with a twin trundle. I mentioned loose plans for the bed here, and just this past weekend Steve and I painted it olive green. It looks incredible! Look for a separate post on that project soon. I’ll be switching out the knobs on the trundle with robust leather pulls. (Initially, I considered brass pulls but later decided they probably aren’t the most kid-friendly option.) The room is tiny – not even 10′ x 10′ – so there’s minimal space for a bedside table and lighting. I’m forgoing the traditional nightstand + lamp combo in favor of a versatile wood stool and a midcentury modern wall sconce. I’m pairing simple white bedding with a colorful kilim pillow and an indigo throw.

3 – Currently, an eight-year-old IKEA EXPEDIT unit holds Mabrey’s clothes.  The piece has traveled with us from a large house to a small interim apartment and finally to our current home, serving as toy storage, a media cabinet and dresser along the way. Looking ahead, I think a squattier piece with drawers would better suit Mabrey’s needs. It will serve as both a dresser and bench for seating. A striped pillow invites sitting.

4 – I’m bringing in new accessories to spice things up. The wild & free banner is soooo Mabrey. The moody indigo watercolor pays homage to the nursery wall color. The felt letter board is a fun way to display Mabreyisms and quirky phrases. An oversize jute basket will corral favorite toys and provide some of that natural texture I love so much.

That’s the gist! I’m throwing in a few surprises to keep things interesting, and I’ll be posting progress pics on instagram if you want to follow along. As I mentioned, we painted the bed over the weekend. It’s off-gassing in the garage as I type. After the paint has cured and the leather pulls are installed, I’ll write up a little “how we did it” post. I’m so excited to see this room come together and watch Mabrey’s reaction. She saw Steve unpacking her bed yesterday and said, “Oh Daddy! Thank you! I love you.” So sweet.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 

Fair warning: You’re about to commit to a very winded post on the search for an ideal big kid bed. There are few images and lots of rambling. Words > pictures. What I’m trying to say is…you will have to use your imagination. Coffee might help. Or wine.

Reath Design

It’s official. Mabrey is a big girl. She potty-trained on her own over a year ago but didn’t stay dry through the night on a regular basis until recently. I learned the hard way with my first that making a deal out of potty-training before they’re ready just makes more work for me. So I was happy to let her figure out the nighttime thing on her own, and she did just that. My only incentive to her was a “big bed” once she showed me that she could stay dry through the night consistently. Well, the time has come.

Part of me is a teensy sad. I love her room the way it is but her needs are changing. She barely fits in the IKEA GULLIVER crib / toddler bed. It had a good, long run (nearly four years!) but she really needs something larger. The dark pewter on the walls is still one of my favorite hues of all time. It’s so conducive to sleeping and napping (oh naps! where have you gone?!) which makes it perfect for a nursery but I think it’s time for a change. Mabrey is spending more and more time in her room during the day playing, and she’s developed such a spunky personality. I’d love for her room to reflect these latest developments.

Of course, I can’t be sad for long because, HELLO, I get to tweak her room! I’ve started a very rudimentary moodboard and I’m already giddy about the possibilities. I’m channeling my inner Mabrey and having fun with some of the details. But before I get too carried away, I want to share my ideas for the obvious – the big bed!

Mabrey requested bunk beds. Of course. Her brothers have bunk beds. But her brothers also share a room that’s substantially larger than hers. Sure, bunk beds would fit in her room but that’s about it. It would essentially be a bunk bed closet. With her room being so small, I’d like to keep most of the furniture low to create breathing room. I gently broke the news to her and told her we’d find something she liked. She took it in stride.

Right off the bat I had several stipulations regarding the new bed: 1) Twin size. Her ~9′ x 9′ room can’t accommodate anything larger. 2) Extra sleeping space. It would be great to incorporate another sleeping surface into our three-bedroom home for sleepovers or overnight guests. The boys have a separate, pull-out trundle under their bunk that has come in handy over the years. 3) Clean lines. Not only do I like the look, but straight lines take up less space physically and visually – a necessity in a small room. 4) Not a bazillion dollars. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit drooling over Oeuf and Dwell Studio kid beds, but I just can’t stomach the price tags when I know there are other viable options out there for half the cost (or less). I’m more likely to splurge on items that will be used by everyone in our main living areas. Beds in kid rooms? Notsomuch. Which is probably why, currently, all the little people beds in our house hail from IKEA. We’ve had great luck with them. So it should come as no surprise that IKEA was the first place I browsed.

I looked at the TARVA and considered using a SVÄRTA trundle underneath it. The setup was most definitely budget-friendly but I wasn’t convinced of its staying power. I also looked at the BRIMNES which is a pretty smart concept. It’s a daybed / single bed / double bed / bedroom storage in one and includes two mattresses and two drawers. However, upon further inspection I noticed that the included mattresses aren’t standard thickness. Plus, we sometimes bring the boys’ trundle out into the living room for sleepovers and that isn’t possible with the BRIMNES. I couldn’t see paying $600 for something that didn’t check all the boxes so I nixed it.

That’s when the search really intensified. Ha! I searched craigslist and ebay for vintage beds but everything was too expensive, too ornate and / or didn’t offer a trundle option. I considered daybeds with trundles but I wasn’t excited about anything in my price range (<$500) which most likely meant I wouldn’t like them a few years from now. I stopped looking for a while. Then I started back up again just a few days ago and found this crazy affordable trundle ensemble. I know what you’re thinking.

WHAT IS SHE THINKING?! SHE ISN’T. SHE ISN’T THINKING! SHE’S FINALLY GONE MAD. IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE SHE QUITS BLOGGING. THANK GOODNESS AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

But wait a minute. Hear me out. Forget about all that brown for a minute. Take away the espresso finish and the really bad styling. (Is that a beige microfiber comforter?) Yes, the headboard and footboard are slatted but at least they’re relatively wide slats. Now click on the “natural” option. Things just got a little better, didn’t they? Now imagine the “natural” frame painted in a modern shade of olive green. Lose the country knobs on the trundle. Replace them with elongated brass pulls. Do you see it? Let me help you.

DIY big girl bed

Now look at the price. Subtract $10. Did you get $283.95? Great. You win another cup of coffee. Or wine. Go ahead. Pour yourself a second round. I’ll wait. UPDATE: The price has increased since this post was originally published. Grrrr. But it’s still pretty affordable.

Good? Good. Let’s continue.

So, yeah, I bought that bed + trundle setup for $283.95 thanks to a $10 credit on my Wayfair account. (You can earn store credit for leaving reviews on past purchases.) It checked all the boxes. Twin size. Pull-out trundle. No ornate frills. No commas on the price tag. I’ll actually be able to afford mattresses to go with it. Imagine that! The fact that it’s made of solid wood and can be converted to a bunk (with the purchase of another twin) are just bonuses. And with a fresh coat of paint and some killer hardware, it’s going to look way less vacation rental…especially against light walls…maybe some fun wallpaper? I won’t finalize the paint color and exact hardware until after the bed arrives so I can see how things shake out in person, but I’m diggin’ the olive + brass combo. Mabrey is stoked and so am I.

I bookmarked the first image in this post years ago as inspiration for a child’s room and it’s stuck with me. I’ll be loosely referring to it for Mabrey’s big girl room. More details soon!

Here’s to no diapers (cloth or disposable) in my house!

P.S. – A crib review & transitioning from crib to toddler bed.

images: 1) Reath Design 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Taylor who has the perfect spot for the “Torched” print!

Myra contacted me about adding function and style to her family’s foyer. Even though the entry is spacious, the family is having a difficult time making it work for their lifestyle. With two young boys in the mix, the entry needs to provide organization for shoes, outerwear, a diaper bag, pumpkin seat, mail, keys and other miscellaneous.

myra foyer 1

myra foyer 2

myra foyer 3

myra foyer 4

myra foyer 5

As is, the walls are only primed and the space is broken up by french doors that lead to a living room, an open staircase, a doorway and a coat closet. There isn’t enough storage near the front door so discarded shoes and hats turn into tripping hazards. A clunky bench blocks the french doors. The dresser was originally meant to hold small outerwear items but instead it has become a catchall for odds and ends, like board games and items left behind by guests. Myra isn’t sure it’s the best fit for the space. She and her husband recently spruced up the stairs with new paint and stain. They would love for the open staircase to be more of a focal point as it’s one of their favorite things about their home. And Myra wants the foyer to feel more inviting – both for her family and for guests – as it’s the main point of entrance. She leans towards neutrals, natural textures and hits of black and gold.

Here are my ideas for Myra’s foyer…

inviting + family-friendly entry

1 – First up, I would keep the wall color light. Benjamin Moore super white would look bright and clean. If white walls aren’t practical for Myra’s family, a light gray (i.e., Benjamin Moore gray owl or stonington gray) could be great. I think the front door would look more substantial with a few coats of black paint. Try Benjamin Moore onyx. Hanging two rows of hooks (one at kid height, one at adult height) on the sliver of wall just to the left of the front door as you enter would provide immediate storage for everything from jackets to backpacks to the diaper bag. These leather and peg hook racks are so handsome. A more affordable option would be to DIY similar racks using stained wood boards and black hooks from a local home improvement store.

2 – Since the staircase wall is the view that greets the homeowners and guests upon entrance, it should feel welcoming and act as a focal point. This is the place to hang art and add a few accessories. I would repurpose or sell the current dresser and bring in a narrower one with straighter lines so as not to compete with the staircase. A small teardrop lamp on top of the dresser lends warm ambience and makes the large space feel more intimate. The “Torched” art print has an organic vibe that helps to soften all the sharp angles in the entry. I would frame it and hang it a few inches above the dresser then lean the bird art (currently near the front door) in front of it for a casual, layered effect. A gold leaf-like bowl can corral everything from Hot Wheels to keys to the baby’s pacifier. Because it’s metal, it’s virtually indestructible. Greenery is always a good thing! Keep a large floor basket next to the dresser for miscellaneous items such as random toys, stray socks or a bike helmet.

3 – Textured rug squares in putty or taupe are perfect for high traffic areas. They’re so good at upping the cozy factor while simultaneously hiding dirt. The antique bench is too bulky and completely crowds another great feature of the foyer – those glass doors! I would like to see a simpler bench used elsewhere in the space. (More on that in a minute.) For immediate hidden storage near the front door, I would hang a slim shoe cabinet on the wall where the bird art currently resides. The cabinet is meant to hold shoes but it’s also great for smaller items like gloves and hats that don’t always make it into the closet or dresser. The plastic material is family-friendly (just wipe it down!) and inexpensive but could be dressed up by wrapping the sides and top in plywood. The top horizontal surface is a great spot for dropping keys or mail. Hanging a small round mirror above the shoe cabinet allows for quick once-overs. I love the leather detail on this one!

4 – Between the coat closet and staircase (on the window wall) I would provide seating with a bench. I like the simple design and natural materials of this one. The cork looks really organic and should be crazy durable, not to mention a little more forgiving to lil’ ones than the hard corners and arms on the current bench. A sturdy basket, shoes and/or the infant pumpkin seat can be slid underneath the bench and out of the way. I always think it’s a good idea to have a basket at the bottom of a staircase to corral items that need to be taken upstairs. Just grab the basket on your way up and go! A kilim pillow lends color and pattern. (Every room needs a pillow. Duh.)

5 – To finish off the space, I’d switch out the traditional chandelier with something more modern. I absolutely LOVE the lines and black finish of this blacksmith chandelier. The finish ties in to the metal legs on the bench, the black ink in the artwork and the leather loops on the hook rack.

Lastly, I would also encourage Myra and her family to utilize the backside of the closet door. A clear hanging organizer can keep extra pairs of shoes in check along with other small items like scarves, hats, gloves, etc. I know keeping an entryway (no matter how large or small) tidy with kids present can feel like a losing battle most days, but I’ve found that having a system in place is essential. It doesn’t take much to quickly throw hats in baskets and shoes in cabinets and hang bags and coats on hooks before walking away. When there’s a place for everything, it’s a cinch. I hope this gives Myra and her family – and maybe even you – some ideas for injecting function and style into one of the busiest spaces of a home.

After making it through all that, I’m excited to announce today’s giveaway! Minted is offering up some art for the taking. (I seriously can’t stop thinking about that dreamy print above.) See entry details below.

PRIZE: one $200 credit to Minted

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a physical shipping address. (No P.O. boxes please.) One entry per email address. This giveaway is open to international readers!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “MINT ME!”

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, November 15th. One random winner will be announced Monday, November 16th.

*BONUS* I’m throwing in a signed copy of Lovable Livable Home to the winner! John & Sherry were nice enough to send me an early copy but I had already preordered one. I met up with them when they were in town last month and asked if they wouldn’t mind signing my preordered copy for a giveaway. They were game so it’s up for grabs! Shipping is on me.

Good luck!

Do you have a space in need of help? You can email me at housetweaking (at) gmail (dot) com with photos and a description of your space for consideration for a complimentary mood board and blog feature. I’m not able to help everyone but I will do my best to select spaces with the best potential. Thanks for reading!