One of the biggest challenges in making the historic downtown apartment of our dreams work for us involved the layout of the bedrooms. When you walked through the front door, there was a short hallway immediately to the right that lead into a spacious master bedroom.
Beyond that was a gorgeous balcony that you could enter by way of two sets of charming french doors. It was perfect- until we realized that the “second bedroom” the listing referred to was actually a very small room off of the master. It felt more like a closet than anything, and the lack of separation between the two rooms (you would have to walk through our room to get to the girls’ room) made for a major lack of privacy. The one redeeming quality of the small “bedroom” was that it too had a lovely set of french doors leading out onto the balcony.
Still, it was so spatially challenged that I knew we would be lucky enough to get both of the girls’ beds into the room, let alone clothing storage or a place for toys. We eventually decided that since our master bedroom was much larger than we really needed, we would simply have to borrow some space from there for toy storage. Creating a separation in order to allow for privacy was necessary to make a separate walkway between the bedrooms and also a place to store toys. We didn’t want to look at a messy play area when we were trying to relax at night and feel like grown ups, so we ultimately decided to use a folding screen behind our headboard, floating the bed in the middle of the room facing away from the walkway and play area. I will show you more of our master bedroom in another post, but for now let’s take a look around the play area.
In addition to the built in storage in the hallway, which houses most of our craft items and games, we used wood cube shelving to store the rest of the girls’ toys.
These cube shelves are so great for storing toys- they get them off the floor while still making them easily accessible for the kiddos. Because this was essentially our bedroom as well, I wanted to decrease the visual clutter as much as possible, and baskets helped a ton with that. Beside the shelf is a simple white metal table and chairs. I loved the look of it and immediately bought it from Overstock when we moved in, but since then Target has come out with one that is practically identical and a fraction of the price, so definitely check them out if you’re looking for something similar.
Above the activity table is our artwork display frame, which is functional, corralling the art that Penny would otherwise be taping all over our walls (which she still does, but not quite as much as she might), and it also helps distract from the door to nowhere (there are a number of those in our apartment, as the building used to be a single family residence back when it was built in the 1850s).
In the far corner between the door to the girls’ bedroom and the doors to the balcony, I also squeezed in some book ledges. When you are tight on space every little bit helps! Now let’s step inside the girls’ shared bedroom.
Arranging this room was like a jigsaw puzzle, only much more difficult to manage, as each piece is heavy and large and involved lots of lifting and sweating and brow wiping to rearrange. We ultimately came to the conclusion that there was just no way we were getting their cute antique armoire into the space (it ended up in our master bedroom instead), as there was barely enough room for a crib, bed, small table, and chair.
Penny’s twin bed fit perfectly into the nook to the right (notice the large letter “P” trying to disguise yet another door to nowhere), and Lucy’s crib was narrow enough to place along the wall near the french doors (and look at that, another door to nowhere!). At the foot of Penny’s bed, we took advantage of the wall space to display more books, and there is just enough room for the girls to squeeze their tiny tushies in to get one.
The play kitchen was a last minute Christmas project I did for the girls, and fit like a glove in that tiny corner bedside the french doors. I found the bedside table (already painted!) on Craigslist for $30, cut a hole in the top for a bowl “sink,” added some wooden knobs and a corkboard trivet for the stove, a cute little curtain, and voila! I’m pretty sure I was more excited about this gift than they were.
Hopefully the cute and cozy factor helps to distract from the small space and awkward layout! I will share the rest of our master bedroom, as well as what lies beyond those french doors (our favorite place in the whole apartment), in my next post. And in case you missed the tour of our living space, click on over. Thoughts? Comments? Would you be willing to share your bedroom with kids’ toys? How might you have arranged this space differently? I’d love your input!
Photographs by Amanda Seifert Photography, and many thanks to her and apologies for all the acrobatic like maneuvers she had to do in order to get wide angle shots in this tiny space!