Category — Basement Project
[Note: check out this family’s blog for a cool adoption fundraiser – it’s a calendar with GORGEOUS photos from Vietnam]
Today is long overdue post about the Toddler Disneyland we built in our basement this summer. I have a few more posts for the basement series and a couple giveaways to get to as well, but I’m going to revisit the basement by first highlighting the most creative part, the playhouse. I stored up every ounce of creativity I was born with, which wasn’t much to begin with, and used it all up on this little pet project of mine. I’m SO proud of it, if you can’t tell!! To give credit where credit is due, I found inspiration in this family’s playroom, and we found an amazing contractor, looking for work on Craig$list, who completed the most incredible, cheap, skillful execution of my design. [To be fair, Travis did a lot of the work, including all the trim and the cute touches.] If you are in Colorado and would like info, he comes with nothing but the BEST recommendations Travis and I could ever give anyone, so feel free to drop a comment or email me.
In the process of designing the playroom, I spent countless hours googling “creative play spaces,” or “basement playrooms,” etc. Which gives me an idea…how fun would it be to do a post on creative kid play spaces that exist in the homes of REAL PEOPLE in REAL LIFE, as opposed to homes featured on HGTV? As in YOUR homes (unless you’re a celeb, in which case I’m full of $hit because I’d totally want to feature your playroom here too;)?! Everyone who has a kid(s) knows creating a playroom / play area is about how to use the (sometimes) little space you have in a way that maximizes its function. I don’t care if it’s a tiny little corner, a big basement, or a nursery…email me a picture(s) of your creative play space with a short description and your blog address if you have one, and I’ll compile it all into a post on CREATIVE KID SPACES belonging to REAL people in REAL life! Email that to me (laurie at goodhappenings dot com).
Back to our basement playhouse…we had a small, awkward space to work with downstairs in one area that was sort cut-out like a closet, and at first, Travis and I were inclined to put a desk there and make it a study nook. But that was when we planned on using the basement as “adult” living space. We had plans to build a wet bar, where the kegerator would live, a media center, and Travis’ fusbol table was going to have its own special spot, like it did back in the old days (pre-tots). Bwahahaha!! An arts & crafts table, playhouse, slide, train table, and 3’x 4’magnetic chalkboard later, we are glad we didn’t use that space for ourselves because our kids really love their playroom, and so do we. And it’s going to be CLUTCH in the winter.
I wanted the playhouse to look like a real house, like a replica of ours, so it has trim, roof shingles, windows, a working doorbell, their own little light switch that control recessed lighting on the 1st and 2nd story (a special type that doesn’t get hot), a ladder going upstairs with a slide exiting the 2nd story window (because all real houses have that feature, of course;).
The doorbell…pushing that thing just never seems to get old:
The downstairs playroom (kitchen, ladder upstairs, recessed light on a kid-controlled switch):
Here’s a view from upstairs looking downstairs (the slide is on the bottom, lefthand side of this picture):
So, I’m serious, send me your pictures!! Your creative playspace doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just highlight an area you made kid-friendly and fun. It’ll inspire lots of other ideas from lots of other people who need a creative spark for their homes. Someday I’ll re-write this post and do a Mister Linky so we can all share the cool bars, media, and wreck rooms we built for ourselves and our adult kids! But for now, it’s all about the tots.
November 10, 2009 7 Comments
Ok, so I’m finally going to start posting about our basement playroom, which still has some final touches to go, but is mostly complete! I’ll do this in a series of posts, since I have a couple fun giveaways to do along with the unveiling of the different areas of our playroom. The areas include “the schoolhouse,” “the playhouse,” and the “train station.” This post is about the schoolhouse.
The “schoolhouse” area of our basement has a few corresponding giveaways that I’ll do 1 by 1, and in the interest of full-disclosure (always my advertising policy), we did receive Rust-Oleum paints so that I could use and review their specialty product line while making a magnetic chalkboard for this area of our basement. The giveaway posts will follow.
I am so excited about how our little “schoolhouse” area turned out.
It’s basically an arts and crafts area with a built in table where the kids can work on projects, and a magnetic chalkboard we constructed ourselves.
If you’re interested, here’s what we used to make it:
- Rust-Oleum Magnetic Primer
- Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint (we used a green tint, but can choose from 12 different colors)
- Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) from Home Depot (ours is 3’ x 4’) / Lowe’s – Travis drilled this into the wall with his favorite power tool
- Baseboard trim we picked out at Home Depot / Lowe’s – cut at 45 deg angles to frame the MDF
- Wood glue to hold the baseboard trim and brick molding (see below)
- Brick molding to hold the chalk from Home Depot / Lowe’s – incidentally, Finley noticed this would make the perfect stepstool and the boys decided to copy her. As it turns out, the weight of 3 skinny toddlers was apparently too much for the wood glue and the brick molding fell off. We’ll have to try drilling it in.
All we did was paint the MDF with the Rust-Oleum magnetic primer (3 coats), then paint over that with the green chalkboard paint (3 coats). We would have just done an entire wall as a magnetic chalkboard, except that our house has a knock-down finish, which is textured, so it would not have worked well as a chalkboard or magnet board! Also, the primer and paint from Rust-Oleum are cheaper than the versions by their higher end competitors, but they are still pretty expensive (too expensive to do an entire wall). We found that it really takes several coats to have decent magnetic properties and make the chalkboard finish look smooth. If you don’t have a wall you want to devote to a magnetic chalkboard, and you don’t want to buy MDF (it’s not super expensive, but not that cheap either), you can also consider making a chalkboard out of a kids’ table by painting the top or even just using a piece of cheap cardboard. We’ve never used the spray paint version of chalkboard paint, but Rust-Oleum does make that too, which is probably a less messy and much quicker project.
As an aside: Rust-Oleum also makes a dry erase paint which would also be cool, and we may end up painting the crafts table top with it because they’re always drawing right on the table anyway…might as well be able to erase it instead of always having to repaint it!
August 15, 2009 10 Comments