The Closet Changeover

Starting Points

Starting Points

We have this interesting closet in our new home’s den that the little guy has taken a real shine to… its oddly dimensioned and not needed for storage, so I’ve decided to turn it into a little nook for him.  He has plenty of places to play– between his very average-sized room, the downstairs playroom, and the large floor areas in the den and living room.  (I’m going to make the living room a no-toy zone just a soon as we get some furniture in there, but right now, eh.)   But as of right now, he has been doing all of his doodling at the kitchen table, which has been– more often than not– covered with whatever I’m sorting at the moment, like glassware or vintage children’s books.  Not very inviting.  He’s such a fantastic little artist, I want that to be something he can plop down and get at, whenever he wants.  I am turning this odd closet into his little office nook, and hopefully it will grow with him as he begins to need to actually buckle down and do things like homework.

As I’ve been unpacking our stuff, I’ve been formulating plans for each space and stashing stuff accordingly.  There were a few things from his last room’s decor that I’m not going to use in his new room, and so they have piled up in a sort of i-dunno-zone, waiting on the decision to be pitched or upcycled for another area of the house.  This cool green arm lamp is a good example of that, I have a cute little fifties one that will be going on the dresser in his room, and the bunk beds won’t really allow for this on a bedside table, so its up for grabs for use elsewhere.  I got it at a thrift store about six months ago, such a great deal– its nice and heavy, so he’s unlikely to pull it over, but the shape is compact and the kelly color is fun and funky.  It’s perfect for this little area.

Another such thing is the pinboard in the foreground.  It started its life with us as a thrifted picture frame, painted orange.  At some point it got repainted several times, and then I accidentally broke the glass…  Saddish, but I moved on.   This is a great way to repurpose a really sturdy wooden frame in a very useable way.  I simply used the cardboard insert found already in the frame to trace and cut out two rectangular layers of foam-core board (and I upcycled old used foam-core from an old presentation, this is a great way to use those again).  I stacked them with their used sides together; wrapped them in plummy fabric that I had trimmed to be 3 inches or so longer on each side of the rectangle; and simply duct taped the fabric tight, right to the board.  After it got a little sandpaper distressing, everything pops into the frame!  Its maybe not as durable as a corkboard, but it is really great for arranging a few loved images in a fairly-static display to change out every so often.  And since I plan on coming up with some sort of magnetic board for him as well, I’m not super-concerned about him wanting to play with this one.

I had revamped this thing not too long before our move, but now that I’m here I’m refining his space a little by trying to cut out the purples and the reds… my thought is that it should make his room look a little more mature and a little less like he’s just learning his colors.  But that means that I’d need to redo this thing– again– so I’d like to keep it like this and use it in his office nook instead.  And then I realized that his two marker caddies are also purple (markers must stay in a delineated zone in our house!), and it seemed fitting to make that a prominent color for the nook….  but I also consider that maybe I don’t need it screaming, “HEY, I’M PURPLE” or dictating every other color choice I make for the den.  So.  Now I need to use purple, but I need to use it with great discretion.

Green is obviously a choice I’m going with, because of those things above, and as we have a bunch of the storage bins in that color as well.  Orange should be in there, its his favorite, and easy to tie into our home.  And we already have orange paint.  So, I’ll use the secondaries!  That should be bold!  How is this kid going to get any work done?



I headed to JoAnn’s to look for inspiration fabrics for this nook and the guest room.  And let’s face it, I sorta just wanted to.  (No-go on the guest room.)  I know you’re thinking, “Its a tiny little closet, what does this loon want with fabric?!”  Oh, I have my reasons!  I was starting to get dejected when I found this lovely blue-based yardage with all of the action words.  It is so. cute.  Love the colors, it has just the littlest bit of purple (The WOWs) and orange (SLAM) and lime (SNAP) along with other colors I’m more certain to be mixing in to his Dad’s adjacent man cave.  Sigh. Of. Relief!

I had also made the call while at JoAnn’s to go ahead and paint the closet– which really needed it, the walls were scuffy– with some of the leftover Ben/ “Pike’s Peak Gray” from the master bathroom.  If I’m going to fall madly in love with expensive paint, I’m going to try and stretch it as far as possible.  Plus it would let me throw all of these *action colors* in there and it not look all crazy.  Minutes after making that decision, I saw this dotty wonder with all these different shades of grey and little bits of black and white.  So lovely.  I got some of it, just in case (my friend is having twins this summer and using grey in their room, so if I can’t use it here….) along with some purple extra-wide bias tape.

The shelf’s height is great for desk use, not in the standard chair sense, but still, plenty enough low to be appropriate for a kid.  I was a little worried about finding a chair the right height, as kids chairs are too short (or all the ones we have are) and the standard-size is too large.  I was pondering trying to shop for something just right, but I’ve decided to upcycle a thingy I have.  I kind of don’t know how to describe it.  It was owned before us by Pan’s grandfather Don, a very handy and resourceful man, and he had at one time two identical lingerie chests.  He took one of them and cut the two top drawers off, finished both parts of that chop, making three total stairstepped chests that would fit under the sloping eave of the house for better storage.  We ended up will all three parts….  we used this tiniest chunk when Fox was a baby, learning to stand and walk as a sort of home base for him, it was sturdy and steady and just the right size for him to pull up at and play.   At that time, I painted it all crazy and decoupaged the top with striped tissue, to match his circusy room of the moment.  Then it moved to the bathroom beside the tub, because it was the perfect height for us to sit on while we bathed him.  The bathwater splashes sort of wore it out, though.  Now we no longer need to watch him in the bath, and it seems too brightly colored for his room in its current incarnation.  I was thinking of repainting it, and I vocalized that, and I got threatened with a rumble if I did any such thing.  My family, I’m tellin’ ya.  They decide they like something the way it is, and they don’t want me messin’ with it.  But that left me in a position of not having any idea what to do with it, thinking I’d eventually put it in my closet or some such storage use….

The Best Pic I Could Get Of This Thing

The Best Pic I Could Get Of This Thing

As it got removed from the garage, I decided to check the height of it against that of the closet’s shelf, and whaddya know?  They’re perfect together.  Even better still is that the chest makes sort of a stationary bench that he just steps over, almost like a picnic table.  And the drawers– there are only two, they both look like three drawers– are just a wee bit larger than a sheet of paper, so the ream of it that Pan scooped up at the recycling bin (featuring the company he works for’s old letterhead) is ready for grabbing and making instant art.  I need to work on the top of it somehow, that decoupaged tissue is looking terrible, but I can leave the colorful base of it unchanged and keep everyone happy.

I’d love to use chalkboard paint in some capacity, I have some in pink, but that’d never do.  I’ve seen posts on pinterest about how to make chalkboard paint from any other paint, and that sounds kind of awesome.  What color would I do, though?  I’m not sure about that one….  I’ll have to think about it.  But things are coming along!

Mar 10, 2013 | Category: Home Journaling | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , , , ,


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