As we moved into the new year, I declared “Here We Go,” as the phrase that would push us forward. A phrase I could lean on when feeling uneasy about a decision or unsure where the path would take us. A phrase that has shaped my entire being ever since I said it out loud. One that has helped me focus on the big picture and the baby steps that would lead me there.
This journey of going began with a plan. A plan to make changes financially, mentally, physically, and in our home. Our home has always been a work in progress. Truthfully, all of ours are. A home is never really complete, and it’s up to us to choose to enjoy every stage of our homes. This year, I set a goal to complete old projects while freshening up a few new spaces to serve our family well in this season of life.
Jenna’s Design Struggle
Charley’s play kitchen area has always been at the top of my list. Centrally located under our stairs and in the middle of the main hallway, this playroom is one of the first rooms viewed by our guests and enjoyed by all ages.
Over the years, the storage area under our stairwell has served our family in many ways. When we first moved in, this area was structured as a storage closet with paneled folding doors to hide the clutter it held. As we homeschooled, the space was adorned with a decorative plush rug, pillows and books and dubbed as our “Reading Corner.” Then, as we transitioned back to public school, the play kitchen area stored shoes, backpacks, and an antique pew. And finally, for the past two years, our toddler has transitioned this space into her play kitchen.
Defining my design aesthetic had always been a struggle for me until I redesigned our dining room. While designing our dining room, I leaned into my love for timeless, transitional design and gained a confidence in not only myself but our home’s potential as well. Through the paneled walls, soft off-white undertones, and added warmth, I could finally visualize how our home could shift from four simple white walls to an oasis my family could retreat after a long day away.
Play Kitchen Mood Board Thought Starters
My initial thoughts when designing Charley’s play kitchen mood board was to treat it like it were my own kitchen. Nick laughs at how much thought I’ve put into this “closet.” What’s wrong with designing a playroom that is functional and beautiful? I want our home to flow from room to room and feel like one complete thought.
What I Love About the Space
First and foremost, I love the 1980’s vertical paneled walls. Who would have thought the 1980’s shiplap-like paneling would come back in 2022? Every space in our home should draw the eye in and create a sense of warmth. This paneling does just that. With subtle design, vertical shiplap draws the eye up that’ll make any small space feel much larger and cozier.
What I Don’t Love About the Space
Charley’s play kitchen initially held many flaws. First, the play kitchen itself was five years old. While the quality was sturdy, a few pieces were coming apart. Originally bought from Ikea and for our oldest daughter, Maddie, Pinterest inspired me to spray paint the faucet, sink and handles brass. While it looked beautiful for the first few days, spray painting plastic on a child’s toy was not the smartest choice. After five years, let’s just say that paint didn’t last.
Also, the space under our stairs has always felt thrown together in every stage. Much like many spaces in our home. Nick and I have been married for 13 years, and we’ve collected a hodgepodge of furniture through that time. From gifted pieces to hand-me-downs, our home has never felt like it was designed intentionally in one complete thought. And Charley’s play kitchen is simply an extension of that hodgepodge. As I work through the design process, I want to remember how designing a space with one complete thought helped me truly love the finished product.
- The clutter
- The basket of baby dolls
- The old artwork
- The white walls
- The paneling
Play Kitchen Mood Board
As I began to pull inspiration for the space, I quickly realized there wasn’t much beyond the Ikea Play Kitchen DIY inspiration. The idea of creating something new feels exciting and refreshing.
While this space is ultimately a playroom, my hope is that it’ll feel like an extension of my home adorned with timeless pieces, warm hues, and functional design. I want the transitional design to reflect through every piece that is chosen for the space. I hope Charley and every guest feels like they’re able to play without worrying and truly get lost in their imagination in the land of pretend. And most of all, I want it to feel like home.