For years, I shared a room with my sister when I was young–one big bed, two dressers and a shared closet that was mostly empty because every piece of clothing we owned covered the floor which, on rare occasions, displayed purple shag carpet that looked like thick yarn. If our room had a tagline, it was, “Why do you guys even have dressers?”
Because of my childhood–or maybe it was Marsha, Jan and Cindy–“sister,” to me, is synonymous with shared room. And the moment I discovered Nella would be a girl, I started planning it out in my head–the big bed they’d share, the clothes they’d fight over, the Bop and Tiger Beat magazines I’d let slide because tweens gotta be tweens. For a short irrational moment after Nella was born, I let those dreams deflate. Pardon my silliness. But of course they’ll share a room and of course they’ll fight over clothes (Just did. Purple ballerina dress. Nella won.), and of course they’ll buy Tiger Beat because however else will they drive their mother crazy?
This is the room I dreamed for them. Some stuff we made, some stuff we gathered from other places in the house, and some stuff we bought, stretching dollars as far as we could and mixing discount with a few splurges (let’s call them thoughtful investments) to create a playful, homey nook that makes us all very happy.
This room was originally an office. We added built-in bookshelves and a corner closet to transform it to a bedroom when I was pregnant with Lainey. The bonus is that we created a lot of great storage space, but the trade-off is that we limited our possibilities for furniture arrangement. We chose furniture carefully, opting for a discount bed frame so that we could afford my favorite thing about this room: the quilt.
The quilt is made from seven years of baby clothes, maternity jeans, Halloween costumes, hats and nursery fabrics from all three kids. My dear friend Rebecca of Vintage Giggles designed and sewed it and included all these sweet details–pockets and buttons and straps and collars–to create a timeless gift for our family, one that’s already initiated nights of storytelling (“That square right there? That was your birthday dress. You wore that when…”). You can read the story of this quilt and find answers to more questions about it on Vintage Giggles’ blog this week.
Other room details (including personalized cloud pillows which many people asked about on Instagram) can be found at the end of this post.
Hair Accessory/Jewelry Box: The Adorned Adobe
(saw a retro “Imagine” pennant in a Land of Nod display and fell in love with it. Couldn’t find it anywhere, so we made one with felt)
One of my favorite things about decorating kids’ rooms is that the stuff they love–the toys and dolls, the stuffed animals and book illustrations and even the things they wear like their favorite sneakers or rain boots–works great as decor and naturally adds personality and whimsy.
Print details at end of post
I fell in love with these pillows as soon as I saw them–reminds me of something my sister and I would have had in our room. Except they’d be on the floor instead of the bed and covered with clothes.
The other thing I love about this room–and it took me a long time to master this with kids–is it’s really easy to keep clean. Everything has a place, and if it doesn’t, then something has to go before we make room for something new. I am by no means a naturally organized person, so when I figure something out like this, I want to jump up and down and drag anyone who might come into my house into the room and say, “Look! See? CLEAN.”
Look at that teeny tiny pocket on this quilt. Vintage Giggles is genious, I tell you!
Music was a must-have for this room because we need accompaniment for our bed-jumping and teenybopper tunes for sleepovers and, most important, a constant stream of Carpenters and Andy Williams to go with the little twinkly tree that will be hauled in at Christmas. We opted for an inexpensive record player because there’s something fun and tactile and memory-making about picking out records and watching them spin. Plus–chipmunk voice mode is hilarious–a childhood must. Nella likes to run the record player herself, but the stool–as you see–causes problems.
“Trouble Trouble” is a favorite bedroom soundtrack.
My friend Annie Flavin, who moonlights as a poet, shares my affinity for saddle shoes on kids, cozy quilts, children’s literature and getting sentimental about dreams and motherhood and making the best of life. We texted back and forth the day the girls’ bed arrived, and she knew how much I had looked forward to this sisters room thing. “Did you set the bed up yet? Send me a picture.” She shared my enthusiasm and yet remembered that this was a dream I stumbled over for a bit in the beginning. The night my girls enjoyed their first sleep in their new bed, she sent me a gift–a poem she wrote. And then our friend Tammi turned it into art, and now it’s hanging on the girls’ wall, and I couldn’t love it more.
This Beautiful Life
There will be beds in the room;
there will be one bed.
There will be a girl in our home;
there will be two girls.
and be like
and ooze life like
I thought I had imagined.
Only it is different.
Only it is better.
Only my soul
the bed and
oh goodness, the girls–
what I needed
to break open and build
this beautiful life.
I cannot wait for the memories my girls will make in this room. And, as all brothers should, Dash will squeeze in bed between them for bedtime stories and make fun of all the Taylor Swift songs they know by heart. It’s going to be fun.
Bed frame: Overstock.com (currently not available in white)
Heritage quilt: Vintage Giggles
Cloud Name Pillows and Heart Pillow Garland: Gray Moon
Wall Prints: Pooping Rabbit, Irena Sophia and Gingiber
Hot Air Balloon Mobile: Schylling
Lamp, mirror and mushroom pillowcase: thrifted
Retro fan and (Ralph Lauren) polka dot sheets: Homegoods
Owl Hanging: Darlybird
Tiny Photo Hangers: Target (in store)
*Several have asked about how the room sharing is going, particularly for nighttime. It took a while to get Nella used to the bed, and I spent a few nights sleeping horizontal at the bottom of the bed to make sure she stayed in it. We ended up using a very thin specially-made coconut mattress that a friend loaned us (small size that only takes up half of the bed) because she likes the hard surface (usually if she crawled out of bed, it was because she wanted to sleep on the floor). We keep the mattress under the bed during the day and slip it over the mattress on her side at night. She’s doing much better and hardly wakes up anymore. When it comes to transitions, I rely on “Patience, Grasshopper.”
Tomorrow’s Grandparents Day (Hoorah, Hooray! Hugs to all the grandmas and grandpas!).
I took my research notes from watching my own grandparents and made a little guide over on eHow…How to be a Grandparent. Click below to read.