From nay to PLAY!

When we first walked into this house and saw the sunroom, we both instantly turned to one another and said ‘Gabby’s Playroom- perfect!’  Sure, we’d love to have an additional adult space to hang out in and read a book on a lazy Sunday morning or drink a martini on a Saturday night, but lets be real for a minute.  We have a toddler who has a LOT of toys and if we’d like the rest of our house to try and resemble any semblance of a put together abode, creating a room that was dedicated to toys and playing was the only way to go.  Its location just off the living room and within eye and ear shot of the kitchen and rest of the house made it perfect.  It got great light, was on the east side of the house (so it wouldn’t get too hot),  already had some built-in shelving, and was the perfect size (8 feet x 16 feet) so it was a go.

Getting from the before to the after seemed daunting.  We didn’t want to spend a LOT of money on the transformation because we ultimately have big plans for the room including more / larger windows along the front and side walls and some more serious built-ins (along with and addition above for a master bath and walk-in closet).  With that, here’s what we started with:


Beautiful, eh?  It doesn’t look THAT bad in the photos, but believe me, it was dark, dingy, and just generally unpleasant.  There was a leak in the roof that was repaired but some of the ceiling tiles were damaged.  Of course, we could not find the same tiles at any of the big box stores, so we used a piece of 1/4 inch plywood to patch the spot and painted the rest (I told you- we were going for affordable and quick!  This room needed to be up and running by the time we moved in).

Step one- clean, remove the remnants of the old carpet, oh, and CLEAN!  I was in charge of the cleaning while Naomi used a crowbar, hammer, and screw driver to pry up the old carpet bits and glue.

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After we collected a nice pile of dirty, stinky carpet scraps, it was time for a coat of paint.  We wanted something clean, fun and the option to use what we had.  Since we had a lot of flat, white ceiling paint left over from the rest of the house, we used that on the walls.

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Told you the room was dingy! That is white paint on the ‘white’ walls. GROSS.

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Once the walls were done, we turned to the brick wall.  Coming from our rowhouse, we LOVED the little bit of exposed brick in this room, but because the room itself was not that large, the dark brick made it feel too small, so it got a coat (or 3!) of white paint too!

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And since we had the paint out, the built-ins got a coat of white too… just for good measure!

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The difference was incredible- finally starting to feel clean enough to store G’s toys!

With all the walls done, it was finally starting to feel like a real room.

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Rather than creating a white box, we wanted to add a subtle surprise in the room.  We had some left over grey-purple-ish paint from another project and thought it would be great on the ceiling to clean up those existing acoustical tiles.  So up it went!

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Just a hint of color!

Once the painting was complete, it was time to clean up and get the flooring in.  Now, in full disclosure, we had chosen the flooring before we started working on this room-not that it would have really changed what we did paint-wise.  But all along we figured we could get away with a very simple painting plan and really let the floor be the star in here!

When we finished the basement in our former home to create a ‘playroom’ we used Flor tiles and really loved them.  They were the perfect mix of modern and fun and worked GREAT over the concrete floor.

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Our former abode- basement renovation.

When we thought about flooring for this room which would have the same purpose, we immediately went back to the Flor catalog in search of a new look.  We didn’t want to recreate the same space as before and learned that although the standard tile was comfortable to sit and play on, we wanted a tile that was a little more ‘cushion-y’ for this room.  We also wanted to go a little bolder with our choice here since the room was bright enough to handle it.

Or course, being architects, we modeled the room in 3D and created flooring plans which laid out different tiles in different configurations.  I’ll spare you the details and minutia and since we unveiled our choice in a previous post, you know we decided on a bright bold border with a simple, thicker pile field tile.

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We knew we were going to use 1/2 tiles to create the border and you can pay to have the tiles pre-cut in half for you, but since we’ve used Flor tiles before and knew how easy they were to work with, we just cut the tiles ourselves.  Installation was a breeze!  We started with the perimeter tiles and then worked our way in.  Since we had laid out the room before we ordered the tiles, we knew how they would fit and where all the cuts would be.

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Bye-Bye nasty… Hellooooooo sassy!

A quick shot of the floor once all the tiles were in.  The photo shows the lines of the individual tiles, but once we ran the vacuum over the floor to pick up the loose pieces, most all of those lines really disappeared.

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Remember the before:


And the after:









The photos are not perfect and we still have some touching up to do (like another coat of paint on the built-ins and the window trim) but if we waited until that was done, we’d never get this post up. Oh and of course, replacing that fan will happen at some point in the  future too (at least it sort of blends in with the rest of all white surfaces!).  Everything in this room is recycled- the curtains are from our old bedroom, the couch and pillows are from our old basement/playroom (and before being pillows, the green zebra and pink flower fabric were used as G’s weekly photo fabric…!) and we had all the baskets and artwork from our old house too.  We did buy the 2 lamps (because we literally didn’t have any).

We’re surprised that we like this room as much as we do.  The photos don’t really give you a sense of the bright space (they were taken after work yesterday) but with all G’s toys, its just really fun to be in.  Having the couch in here is kind of temporary until our basement is redone and we create a family room down there, but for now, it’s nice to have a place to spread out and there’s still room to play on the floor.  The most important person of all, Gabriella, LOVES it.  She runs in there saying ‘Play, play…’  She’s finally able to see and get to all of her toys that were previously hidden away in ottomans and behind closet doors.  They are all at her level so she can take them as she wants.  Yes, by the end of the day, especially on weekends, it looks like a bomb went off, but that’s the beauty of this room, you can’t see the mess until you actually poke your head in!

Hope you enjoyed the update- now it’s back to painting.  We’ve been painting and painting and painting for what feels like forever (painting what, you ask? oh nothing big, just the one room in our new house that didn’t exist in our Port St. house but we so desperately wanted…how’s that for a clue?)!  There are not enough hours in the day!



June 19, 2013 · 2:19 am

2 responses to “From nay to PLAY!

  1. Joanne

    Wow! It looks great! And so homey 🙂

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Jo! 🙂 We seriously love sitting down on the ‘FLOR’ and playing with G in this room…can’t wait to show you in person!

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