3.14.2011

Itty Bitty Living Space Part 1: The Kids' Room

We live in very tight quarters here in SoCal. 1200 square feet to be exact. Three smallish bedrooms, 1.5 itsy bitsy baths, and 2 closets I can barely squeeze myself into on a good day. When we moved here over a year ago, we viewed our charming, albeit cozy, rental home as temporary. And until a few weeks ago we'd been house hunting for a new rental. That is until we realized that everything in our price range was either a lateral move, or a downgrade (gasp). So the new motto? "Make it work!" That's what everyone in our area is doing. No one is sitting around in sprawling 2500 sq. ft. homes wondering what to do with all the space, unless they are making the big bucks. So once we established that mindset, we were in a much better place mentally and emotionally about things.

Making an already organized and jam-packed-to-the-hilt home feel a little more roomy was quite the challenge. And I am sorry to report I didn't take any "before" photos, mostly because we moved furniture around so much over the past year that it was making my head spin. But we finally settled on a plan, thanks to hours spent "making it work" on a scale model I built in Illustrator:
 
We even have a backup plan, in case we are still in this house when a third little Johnson decides they are ready to join our brood (don't make me commit to that). We can all fit! Close, but comfortably. I thought I'd start with the kids' room. Want to see how it turned out? Click the image below, or "read more" to see the whole post:

 

When Maya realized she could propel herself head-first out of the crib at 20 months, we FREAKED OUT. And she was in a toddler bed that very night. So we knew she could handle a "big kid" bed. Finnn, on the other hand, had some attachment issues. Mainly to my pillow. In my bed. We went to Ikea, and Wes made the executive decision to buy a bunk bed with a full-sized mattress on bottom. We quickly discovered the kids could easily sleep together in that bottom bunk, turned like a day bed, and still roll all around and never even encounter each other during the night. The ladder was not added (Monkey Maya), and the top bunk is now fully outfitted for anyone who dares to sleep up there when they come visit. Or for stuffed animal storage, which is the current state. 

Maya essentially needed her own closet, seeing as the wardrobe they shared was INSIDE their current tiny closet. So we found a tall skinny wardrobe at Ikea, and bolted that sucker to the wall. We also happily discovered that the train table drawers fit perfectly under the bed, as well as three long storage boxes! Score. So the train table itself moved on to bigger spaces in the garage, while the drawers are still serving their purpose. I pared it down to as little as I could, while using the space as smartly as possible. I managed to move everything we were previously storing for the kids in other areas of the house, into their own room, and still hide it from view. 

I love color. Adore it. Especially green. So this is a very green room. It feels appropriately unisex, and works well since Finn is still so young. He loves the red fox on the fabric I used to make the curtains and long pillow case (another Ikea find). I used personal artwork from my shop to complete the whimsical woodland feel of the room (I didn't want a "theme" room, but wanted it to feel fresh, verdant, and fun). I kept the bookshelf and rocker inside the room, rather than divide them up, since both are mandatory to Maya's bedtime routine (a routine which now includes both children at the same time—sweet relief). 

So I know you are dying to know. How did they do in the bed together?  Well, Wes and I shut the door, and the containment—I mean safety—gate). Then we started telling each other that "it's only the first night," "let's expect a long, rough night," "it's going to take some adjustment." Then we sat down to watch a movie with a little hesitation. There was some quiet giggling from the bedroom, then silence. It was WEIRD. We looked at each other in amazement, then made out for two hours. Ha! They slept all night. It was the first good nights sleep I've had in four years. 

It's officially amazing. The kids love sharing a bed. Not just a room, but a bed. They both feel safe and secure. When Finn is six, he can move to the top bunk. I even have a contingency plan in place for when one of them gets sick in the night, or wets the bed (which I have already put into practice without a hitch). Let's just look at it as us forcing them to be best friends. ;) 

This is a 12'x12' room. Prepare to be amazed:
 
   
 
 
 

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Beth said...

Ah, I love this. Hey, we are still in our TWO BEDROOM apt contemplating a third baby (what???) and how it would work and for how long. Seeing how much $$$ we can save while we are apt. managers and pay no rent. Crazy what we do living here, and yet when Japan happened one of my first thoughts was "we have enough here, we are so blessed". Can't wait to see the rest! Love the idea of the kids sharing a bed. Audrey has been climbing up on the top bunk w/ Tyler (basically to bother him), so I need to find a solution to that pronto.

Beth said...

Question on the baby gate - Does Finn go to the bathroom at night? I've thought of putting a gate up to keep Audrey in the room, but Tyler still need to use the bathroom. Maybe I can teach him to open it - but not sure in his groggy state. Just wondering if Finn uses it.

Lyndsay said...

Finn can open the gate. And he usually won't go to the bathroom in the night. But in the few weeks they've been in this bed, Finn had an accident one night (but it was my fault because he was sick, and I didn't take him potty before bed). And last night he cried for me to take him potty. But those are the only two times in the last 8 months that he's gone in the middle of the night since being fully potty trained. So it might have been a fluke. I plan to get him used to the idea of going potty on his own in the middle of the night.

Crazy Lady said...

this is so funny cause we have just decided to have our girls share a bed (like in the last few days). but we are fitting 3 girls in bunk bed. not sure who will share with who long term, so far its just changed every nite. the toddler bed just made everything feel too cramped and i they love it so far. not sure how the young one will do, but whatever, she'll get used to it. we just have twin bunk beds though.

also, nothing is more pleasing sounds as to hear the toilet flush in the nite and never be woken up. i just told them how happy it makes me and then super praise in the morning.

sorry for a long post. we only had 1 bathroom for 2 1/2 years and 3 kids and it was hard, but then we knew a family with 6 girls and 1 bath so you do what you gotta do. good for you.

Hello*Lucky*Holly said...

We've just down sized and it was with enormous satisfaction that I culled, organised and transformed. It's wonderful to live on less and realise the light and airy unburdened feeling that brings!

Christy said...

I am in awe! It's so adorable and just perfect! We have the same towel hoodies for our kids - love them. Your style is just rad Lyndsay!!!

Amy said...

Love this shared space! Great work! Btw- I always find your blog very inspiring (but I don't think I've commented until now).

I am very curious about the colorful little kitchen play set. Where did you find it? Or is it a homemade project? :) Either way, I adore it.

I also love how you used your own artwork. I have plans to do the same, but ordering from your shop is my back-up plan. :)

Amy said...

Scratch that, I found the kitchen after more closely examining it had the little tikes logo.

And just wanted to clarify my last statement (in the comment above), I love when people utilize their own talents and incorporate that into their home decor. I have hopes to do the same with a talent I, at one time, possessed. But if I find that I can no longer draw as I once could then I will look into buying artwork, such as yours, for my home decor. I in no way meant I would be copying your work...just wanted to clarify that point because when I reread my comment, it may have sounded like that.

And even if I find that I still have a smidgen of talent, I still would buy your work.

Lyndsay said...

Amy, Thanks for your comments! I didn't think you meant copying my work at all! There's lots of super cute children's artwork out there. And if you can create it yourself, it's even more special! :)

My Favorite Things posts about great artwork for kids' rooms, as well:
http://www.afewofmyfavorites.com/

Here is my post about the play kitchens:
http://www.lyndsayjohnsonblog.com/2011/02/cooking-up-good-time-ok-that-was-way.html

Kelli Nørgaard said...

My favorite part is the "FM" on the wall....like they are the "FM STATION" you are always tuned into!

KatieJ said...

I am way behind on my blog reading, but I had to tell you how much I love what you've done with the kids room! It looks so fun and neat, and how GREAT that they are sleeping well together!!