When I closed my daycare over the summer, we really had no idea how we’d use the space.  After all, it’s a huge room!

Our first thought was to pull up the carpet and put down laminate flooring and move the treadmill and weight equipment into that space, but then after putting some decent thought into it we decided that would be a bad idea.  If hubby is pounding away on the treadmill where it’s currently housed, we don’t really hear it because he’s at the opposite end of the house. But if he was doing this alongside our bedroom, well, that might be annoying if it’s early in the morning.

The ceilings aren’t vaulted in there (like they are in the current office/exercise room) so that seems kind of weird to be on an elevated treadmill with a steep incline and being 6′ tall with a ceiling fan spinning above you, um, no.

The other catch with that is he enjoys watching Netflix while he runs and the volume has to be loud with that…. so…. again, no.

Even if we DID move the treadmill and set up a workout space in there, what do we do with the other 2/3 of the room?  We nixed the idea.  For now, let it just be a bonus room.

One of the first things we did, after getting rid of all (well most) of the daycare toys and furniture was to re-purpose the room into a craft/art room for the girls and a workspace for me (our office is too messy).

This picture is phase one:

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Jim took back the oak rolltop desk as “his” desk.  I ended up trading out the small black metal desk (pictured above) for the big white desk that was in Riley’s room.  The cubbies in the room- one section house art supplies and kids games/toys, the other section housed my real estate stuff.

Still not completely happy with the look of the room, I decided we should neutralize the colors a bit- so I painted over all the apple green on the north wall, but kept the one bold deep turquoise wall. 

This new big space worked out great for Riley’s birthday party- I hired a friend to come teach a painting class!!  We had room to set up several tables and I loved having this huge space.

Simultaneously, my closet was getting smaller since I was buying more shoes and dresses, so I moved my dresser out of my closet- and into the playroom.  I figured it would look more “normal” to have a dresser in there, rather than a shoe rack!

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Fortunately it only stores my ‘extra’ stuff like work (paint/yardwork) clothes, rain gear, swimsuits, workout clothing, etc.  Nothing I need to access on a regular basis.

We took down all the daycare artwork and tried to ‘update’ the walls with a more mature look, but still allowing our girls’ to display their newest creations.

Another rearranging of the room and the space was working well, I had all my Real Estate stuff organized in one corner, a large desk that I could use- with a pull out extension that the kids to use if they needed (we actually use it for our home manicures- shellac polishing!).  We still had the big giant open space that could work for yoga…. or bring in a table for crafting.

Problem is, it’s hard to do workouts on friese carpet.  And crafting is hard to do on friese carpet.  One night I got super frustrated because I needed  large hard surface, which meant dragging everything into the kitchen to work on the floor- and that’s when I decided we needed to change the flooring.  That carpet was about 10 years old anyway and had baby spit-up and pee accidents (ewwww).

This photo is from THAT moment.  The moment I decided it was time for the carpet to go.

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Fast forward a few days and here’s the new floor!

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Having the room empty, and looking at all the furniture that we had in there previously, much of it didn’t work “quite right”, and still not fully knowing how we were going to work the space…..it allowed me to really focus on what do we NEED.

The rolltop desk that’s now sitting in the living room?  You know, I think it looks just fine in the living room, let’s leave it there.  It goes with the antique oak headboard piece that we have in there behind the IKEA cubby (hey, it works for us!).

The upper cabinet above the rolltop desk- mostly empty.  It had special books that the daycare kids weren’t supposed to touch, a few art supplies, and that’s really about it.  Hmm…. I can better utilize this space.  Do we turn that into a liquor cabinet?  Or art supply storage for the girls- out of sight that way rather than in cubbies….

Hmmm, the bathroom cabinet that Jim just took out of the main bathroom, well, it matches the upper cabinet in the bonus room so let’s move that in there and throw a counter on it and have a work table!    I’m thinking white marble or something….ooooohhhhhh.

The old white cubbies that currently house all my Real Estate stuff… maybe I can get rid of them and instead take over the big black IKEA cubby…..yes, and move all the kids’ art stuff into those old kitchen/bathroom cabinets.  And get a countertop for it as I mentioned above.

Area rugs.  We need area rugs now.  I don’t want the rainbow rug in there anymore, I want to ‘mature’ the space and make it look really cool….cozy.  Now that we have REAL wood floors, I need to be careful what I put on them.  So I’ll need to get a felt rug pad (did you know that rubber-backed rugs are damaging to real wood floors?).  Price shopping for those- IKEA had everyone beat at $14.99 vs $60.99 for the same size.

IKEA also has good prices on area rugs.  And our old IKEA desk chair is broken, maybe I’ll get another desk chair while I’m there.  Looks like I’m going on a shopping spree!!

My trip to IKEA resulted in 2 medium-gray colored area rugs, 2 rug pads, a new desk chair, a few other minor trinkets and a bonus find- a discounted table top that would work great as a top for the old bathroom cabinet!  In the same Espresso Brown/Black as the other IKEA pieces in that room!

Here’s where I admit that I had a hard time NOT buying MORE.  I wanted curtain panels and a new sideboard or TV stand so that we could use that room for kids gaming and movie watching.  Of course we’d also need to pick up a sofa for the space. But, that can come later.  For now we’ll just move the sofa from the living room into the bonus room….the living room can sit empty for a while.

When I realized I was going to be moving the old bathroom cabinet into the bonus room, along with the old kitchen cabinet that was already mounted to the wall, my thought was to paint them both a dark espresso color to match the rest of the ‘details’ in the room, but after seeing it all put together, I like it “two-toned”!  No plans to paint either!

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I love how it perfectly fits our old black filing cabinet, too- and now ALL the kids craft and arts stuff is fully concealed- in both cabinets, with paper stock in the black filing cabinet!

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The black IKEA cubby on the other side of the room which was primarily arts stuff post-daycare is now exclusively MINE.  I found some great bins at Lowe’s for $9.99 each, picked up a 2-drawer set from Target $5.99 each, and some black file boxes from Office Depot for around $8 each.  Now all my stuff is concealed as well, in tidy looking ‘mature’ boxes, rather than colorful plastic bins!

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At the other end of the room (the entry area) we had a short shelving unit there housing kids’ books, games and toys.  I took most of those items out and am still temporarily housing this shelving unit.  Long term plan is to get a sideboard or short wide dresser to use as a TV/entertainment stand- hiding some of those items within that.

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SO MUCH BETTER!!

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For a refresher… here’s the space when it was a playroom:

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and the initial “after”

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And the final “after”

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UPDATED APRIL 2020:

This room is still a work in progress.  GEESH! I’m still not happy with it because it’s just such an awkward space. We ended up moving a sofa into the room, eliminating ALL the toys and games, incorporating some of the antiques from Jim’s mom, set up an entertainment center…. and….. meh.

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