Living Room As Playroom

The concept of having a small place that’s stylized, uncluttered and clean, (with a toddler) is a problem scientists have been trying to tackle for centuries. Regina and I clean our home on average a twelve times a day.

We’re also artists, meaning we’re ridiculously picky about our space. Before kids, achieving this was effortless (aside from the hours spent rearranging picture frames, rugs, furniture, as well as building furniture, staining furniture, re-staining, etc.)

We live by the beach and love the warm feel of farmhouse style and rustic modern design. Whites, reclaimed wood and splashes of muted tones. Keeping our “beachy” style wasn’t a problem in our living/dining/family room until our new baby graduated from tummy time and began walking, climbing and pulling things out of every drawer, basket and cabinet in her reach. Now we needed a playroom for our “Tiny Destroyer.”

The idea of adding a large piece of bright plastic that would dominate the room gave us both night terrors (or was it the sleep deprivation? It’s hard to remember). Desperate to hold onto a sliver of original zen, we envisioned a play kitchen that matched our style: real wood, vintage hardware, rustic French farmhouse vibe with sea foam green accents. We also wanted fun nooks and crannies to inspire and delight. We added a light switch, a mail slot, a pull out drawer, and secret hiding spot under the sink. Then…I made it. It worked! Grace plays with it every day. It solved the design element, but we’re still working on the sleep deprivation part.

The kitchen is a piece of furniture that’s also a toy. It looks like an heirloom we picked up from an antique shop in Maine or a set piece we stole from Little House on the Prairie. When she outgrows it, we’ll fold down the tea shelf and store it until she wants it for her first apartment (nightstand? potting station?) or…for the day she has kids of her own (!). Like a fine wine, it only gets better with age.

-Mark

 

 

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