Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a bit of unpacking - the playroom

I find that unpacking really goes on the back burner when there are two little children underfoot. We very quickly took out everything that we needed and left everything else boxed up in the garage. Well a couple of weeks went by before we even ventured in there for more boxes to unload. Just keeping everyone fed and watered and in clean clothes was enough. Adding more to the melee was unthinkable. It came to be, however, that the three books and one doll we had out was not enough fun for the kids. As much as I sometimes dream, we could never handle it Little-House-In-The-Big-Woods-style. So we unpacked the kids stuff (mostly - there are still some stuffed animal boxes that I (um) just can't find...yeah) and here is what we have.

The way the rooms work out there are two tiny bedrooms and two normal-sized bedrooms. So we have my midwifery office in one tiny room and Miryam's room in the other. Right now there is just a twin in there but we'll set up the bunkbeds this summer for sleepovers and for the future when Éamonn is ready to move out of our bed. The normal-sized rooms became the "familybed room" for Andy, Éamonn and I and the "play room". In general, I'm not very into the "playroom" concept as it is usually represented. Too often it is a way to segregate children (and their things) from the rest of the family. The whole "keep the toys out of the livingroom" theory. I think it is important for children (and their things) to be valued parts of the family, rather than closeted away is a basement "rec room" or some such. I have the benefit of a big plastic aversion so the vast majority of my children's toys are things that I enjoy looking at and are comfortable sharing my space with. It's important to me that my children respect their belongings and take care of them. I would find it hard to instill that value if I felt their things should be-out-of-my-sight. What you do, you teach, and all that...

That being said, it didn't make sense to have one big child's room and one tiny one. Especially because Éamonn really doesn't need a room right now. And how am I supposed to decide which room get's the play kitchen? No thanks. This way most of the toys are family-toys, rather than owned by one child or the other. The playroom is for play and the bedroom, which only has a bed, some books and a dresser, is for sleeping. Perfect.

So in the picture above you can see the play kitchen, the table (whose chairs are currently part of a fort in the living room), the dollhouse, doll pram and some rocking chairs. When I get some more daylight I'll take some pictures of the dolly sleeping in the pram - she is a waldorf doll I made for Miryam's birthday last year. The wall to the left of the photo has the closet you'll see below and the hidden wall on the right has a small shelf of toys and some baskets with blocks and balls.

The closet has art supplies, games and puzzles, and things that are best for when the baby isn't around. We tuck the horse in when not in use because it takes up a bunch of floor space. The horse was a thrift store find in Vermont. It's handmade and lovely but I've been meaning to give it some new yarn hair for a while. It's starting look like it should be put out to pasture, if you know what I mean.

I bought the stained glass butterfly, that hangs in the window, in Eugene, OR on our first cross-country trip in 2000. It catches the light beautifully in the afternoons.

I am making some plans for the room to work on during the April school vacation including a new rug (that one came with the house - they staged it for the sale) and curtins, some wall paint and a shelf that runs the length of the wall that you see behind the rocking chairs. Also some fabric-covered homasote boards to hang artwork on and a peg rack for dress up. I'll update with photos when we start working on it. Consider this the before.


kmahoney said...

Gilly! Where do you and your houseful live now? I'm going to be in WMass for much of next week and would love to maybe schedule a tea or something... email me your phone # and let me know when you're free! xoxoxoxox

laura said...

I must admit, I love your blog. You inspire me. I was looking at your pictures of the new playroom and I can't help but think how nice a little loft would fit right in that corner with the window ledges and all. That would be a lovely way to add space as the children grow and give them a cozy nook underneath!

Gillian said...

thank you laura! I love lofts and nooks and hideaways too. Unfortunately this room is a lot smaller than it looks so we have to keep the building at a minimum. My friend Lex's mom has a great hidey-hole under her stairs that is just the right size for kids and even has an old fashioned mail slot in the door. Oh to dream!