What a crazy few months at the Varghese pad. Four kids is…pretty real. I’ll leave it there. Speaking of the kids, it’s high time I share their rooms which I think by the time they are actually “finished”, they’ll all be at a totally different place in their childhood and I’ll need to start over. Yes, our kids share rooms. Well, actually Saylor doesn’t yet but that will be changing soon since I think Ronny is almost ready to kick Lachie out of ours. Let’s just say REM hasn’t been great. Ronny signed up for some sleep study trial some years back and received a free sleep monitor in exchange for reporting his stats and feedback to the company. I learned it’s actually a pretty expensive and cutting edge device when we were out for dinner the other night and a random guy sitting at the bar complemented his ring with envy – not his marriage ring but his sleep device ring – and shared how he badly wants one but his wife thinks it’s dumb. Well, uh….ya she’s right. You should listen to her. Why do you need an expensive ring to notify you that you slept like crap last night, should go to bed earlier and it’s likely in your best interest to relocate all your offspring to the furthest point on your property. So ya, Lachie is getting the boot soon. Which is also good cause Saylor is entering the threenager stage early and needs her days of basking in her own private lair to come to a screeching halt. This was made clear recently by her slamming the door in my face; when I stormed in with an “ah hell no” expression, she yelled “get out of my room”. I assure you, this poor behavior can be entirely attributed to her having her own bedroom. I really do believe sharing space is a must for a child’s proper development. Which is a good thing since we have a 4 bedroom house and 4 kids. And since I insist on having a guest room this leaves….2 rooms for our 4 children. Ronny, who works the vast majority of the time from home, has also been denied his own office and his desk resides in the playroom. His sales pitches are a real hoot sometimes. But again, it’s all good since great lessons are learned by sharing. It is truly essential to the prevention of entitled brats and aids in molding more thankful and responsible adults. I know this firsthand because I shared a room with 2 sisters and am now a wonderful human being. Ronny enjoyed his own room for most of his upbringing and trust me, he has quite a few things to work on. There’s the scientific proof for y’all.
So yes, Isla and Brighton share and while I’m sure it will change someday, they honestly love it for now. In fact, one form of punishment for them is simply a stretch of solitary confinement in there. They are very close and often the main issue is that they won’t stop laughing or talking at night which is actually a pretty great problem to have I suppose. Yes they have to clean their room daily and no it doesn’t always look like this. Today, prior to taking pictures, I cleaned it for them and banned them all from entry. At one point, Saylor and Brighton burst in, grabbed an essential belonging and started waving it around and I threatened to give away all their stuff to better behaved children if they snuck in again. You should also know that very little of the room is what they chose. If I let them make their own decisions, the walls would sport a garish hot pink color, it would appear as if a unicorn orgy had occurred and plastic princess crap would ooze out of every corner. So I control them and make their decisions for them. #freebrightonandisla
The changes to this room really involved that back wall. We redesigned the shallow closet from a wide bi-fold to a single door opening leading into a mini walk-in. Ronny put up rods and shelves on each side. We are leaving it doorless for now (less doors to slam on fingers and extra motivation for us to keep the space clean in there!)
We stole space from two odd hall closets on the opposite side to create their nook. I’m so happy with using the space in this way. They spend a ton of time in there and the storage space under the bench is super ample. I still need to paint those plywood shelves white, add hinges to the bench doors and order a proper couch cushion to fit the space. The butterfly wall was my first wallpaper project. I ended up going with super cheap peel and stick from target. The girls loved the print and I wasn’t sure how long it would last anyways (kids picking at it, sharpies, snot…etc). This project took a good while to do correctly. If you’re stupid enough to do something like this, here’s my tips: 1. prime the walls well with primer 2. buy 25% extra because you’ll need to line up the print (a good bit is wasted) 3. use a sharp X-acto or pocket knife 4. use a squeegee and go SLOW for those air bubbles.
At first I tried to tackle this project on drywall that only had one thin coat of primer. I had to stop and apply a second coat of primer since it wasn’t sticking well. After the first sheet I applied, I got balsy and started using just my hand to smooth as I peeled off the paper…not a good idea. Some annoying air bubbles developed and I had to redo a full strip. Go SLOW and use the squeegee (moving from center out).
The cuts around the shelves were no joke. I used a sharp pocketknife and mostly scrap cuts to piece this area together. Feel free to zoom in; I feel like my print matching and cut jobs around these shelves might be my greatest accomplishment in 2021 (and it’s very possible no one will ever see or care).
It’s no secret I love pink. And Isla shares the obsession so it was a fairly easy choice to go with pink walls. The color is Sherwin Williams “intimate pink” in eggshell and I adore it. It’s a very subtle dusty rose color. Recessed lighting was added and shiplap provided what I believe is the biggest transformation of all.
The crown and floor trim are in but still need to be painted; I have decided that it’s going to take an eternity to paint every piece of trim in this house with 4 kids so…I booked a painter for the new year. Not gonna lie, I’m already stressing a bit about if he will drape and tape well enough…I’m definitely going to need to leave the house.
I found their center light fixture from Walmart of all places. I was in love with the pottery barn kids Dahlia light but found this winner instead!
The ceramic birds are antiques from my great grandmother’s house. She lived with us for much of my early childhood and these were from her dining room. They provide a nice touch of vintage whimsy and the girls love them. I really like adding in old items as it makes a room truly unique and personal. Giving your kids treasures which used to be yours when you were young is really special. Now this only works if you were a hoarder…which is why Lachie will have none of his father’s treasures and my girls will have many.
I truly believe a room doesn’t work until it has a plant in it. I found this charming hanging pot at a local nursery and popped it in this macrame hanger (yes I’m a huge fan of the return of the boho macrame). For a while I had a pearl plant in there…til it died. Even though they are low light feeders, this side of the house plus blackout curtains just wasn’t gonna work for live foliage. So I have given in and put a fake IKEA one in there which kills me. The giant letters are from Hobby Lobby. I’ll be honest…I have a love hate relationship with that store. What exactly is going on in their checkout lines? Do they not use barcodes? They seem to often consult a jumbo binder with prices and entry codes as if it’s 1988…it’s all very odd.
I recently gave in and got the girls a very used bunk bed. It was a terrible decision and they have one more strike until I dismantle it with a chainsaw and burn it as firewood. Their perfect quilts were handstitched by my mother…eat your heart out Pottery Barn.
This chair is one of their favorite hangouts. Easy to install but obvi get that sucker in a stud. The cozy blanket is from PBTeen and the rainbow pillow from World Market. Isla’s desk was an old piece my uncle got rid of years back and the chair was from my mom’s bedroom growing up.
During our Thanksgiving break, Ronny and I stole away to IKEA with one, yes ONE child. It was sublime. We walked through the whole place and received zero judgmental glances…ok ronny got one from ME during our lovely Swedish lunch when he took a refill from the soda machine which clearly read NO REFILLS due to covid. Question, does the food at IKEA taste strangely good because it actually is good or simply because you’re so starving after the marathon through their showroom? I don’t know. Next time I’m gonna eat FIRST and see how it tastes.
The picture ledge above the girls’ desks are the “mosslanda” and IKEA’s “bekvam” spice racks make perfect bedside holders for water bottle, last chance night reading, and alarm clock – $4.99 each and no nightstands needed.
Here’s my take on the kid’s rooms; they’re mostly for sleeping, reading, and getting dressed. With that in mind, add a creative cozy space to delve deep into some good books. It can be a fun chair, a tent or teepee, a hammock, or beanbag corner. Minimize toy clutter. A toy explosion is overwhelming and stressful in an area which should be relatively calm. I try to keep their toy clutter in the playroom for the most part and only some “intentional” toys earn their place in the bedroom. I honestly believe they like this more in the end. It lowers the amount of mess they have to clean up in their rooms and helps make their bedroom a more relaxing and enjoyable space (clutter is a killer!!). Create a laundry routine and invest in them taking ownership of the process asap. This is a total work in progress for us but they are learning to manage their laundry and it gets done strictly once a week which helps make the folding and putting away very routine. I’m a big fan of hanging more stuff since it’s easier for kids to do than folding and tends to keep things neater while drawers resemble Mt Vesuvius every time that pair of must have shorts at the very bottom get excavated. And a few more control freak rules which I swear by and will leave you with: 1. no big decor themes 2. no storage of anything under the bed 3. I’ll take that door right off the hinges if I have to and 4. make your bed to win the day.