It's week two of the One Room Challenge and while most participants are totally off to the races, I'm still hanging out at the starting line. Tortoise and the Hare, baby.
There are three things that you really need to have when you start a design project: an idea of the needs of the inhabitants and challenges of the space, an idea of how the space needs to feel and how it will flow with the rest of the home, and a budget. Let's start with the easy thing first: needs and challenges.
I’m not sure that my girls think there is anything specifically wrong with their room. Sure, my older daughter would probably prefer a queen bed to a twin and I’m guessing she’d love a closet. She’d also probably like to not share a room with her six-year-old sister. I'm just doing my part to prepare her for dorm life. My youngest daughter would probably like an entire room made of Legos and painted green. And she is dead set on this reading chair. You can’t always get what you want.
Practically speaking, my oldest needs a place to do homework and a place to put all her stuff. The girls are currently sharing a six drawer dresser until a closet is built into this room. Yes, that’s right. There is no closet in a bedroom shared by two girls. All of their clothes are either in that dresser or on the floor. Storage is the ultimate problem here. The good news is that the room is fairly large (13’6” x 14’2”). The bad news is that my younger daughter is a bit of a hoarder. Not only does she keep all the things, she also wants to display all the things. Legos, artwork, dolls, animals, books, etc. I don’t kid about hoarding. And I can't stand going into pack-rat central. So really, this is all about my needs. Let's call it like it is.
Number 2: the design concept. What kind of feeling does the room evoke? How is it used? How does the room fit into the rest of the house? The challenge with this room is that while the girls get along very well, there is no way a 17 year-old and a six year-old are going to agree on what they want their room to look like. Their needs are different, their tastes are different, their wants are different. And let me just state the obvious here that even assuming they could agree, there is no way that whatever they came up with would actually fit into the style of the rest of the house. I don’t care who you are. Your teenage and grade school age kids do not have the same taste in furnishings as you do.
So what do you do? You come up with a concept and let the kids pick from a selection that fits the mood. In this case, I’d like the room to feel clean with pops of color, lots of texture, and excellent storage. It needs to be conducive to study but also to creative play. It needs to feel something like this (but for older kids):
Clean background, nice rattan texture, all the colors because all the stuff that gets used.
I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m really stumped about this room. Part of the problem is that we are actually working on a remodel of the whole house and I’m only slightly overwhelmed by the decisions that need to be made in every single room. When I get overwhelmed, I just want to paint everything white and call it a day.
Another part of the problem is that the girls are only sharing this room for one year since Abby is off to college next year. We haven’t decided for sure, but this room will probably belong to one (or both) of the boys next year, so anything in it needs to either be able to relocate to T’s new room or be used by the boys. The parameters are killing me. Oh, and budget. Good old number 3 on the list of need to knows. I need to stay at a reasonable budget, which I think means this amazing green shelf is off the list.
So we start with rugs and a floor plan and go from there. I think I've got a good idea of what needs to be in the room and it hopefully will come out looking something like this:
Eventually, the existing dresser (similar to the image at the very top of this post) will be gone and a closet will be built in its place. But that's going to be awhile. In the meantime, a second dresser would help and maybe some hooks along the wall behind the door. The tall bookshelf is making me nuts with the clutter next to the bed, so that will go and be replaced by a more interesting bookshelf on the wall next to the windows. I'm definitely coveting that green shelf above but could go with something else if I have to (which, who are we kidding, I do). Abby really liked this desk, so I may have ordered it awhile ago when it went on super ridiculous sale. And don't forget, we need to put T's Barbie House somewhere.
So on to rugs. We have not been able to agree on the color issue but I think I'm wearing the girls down with my incessant questioning about whether this rug or this rug will work. I'm currently down to these two (or a plain white shag at Home Goods - I'm telling you, I go white when I get stressed) and need to decide quickly.
While you are thinking about it, check out the other good times going on with the guest participants and selected designers in this fall's One Room Challenge. I absolutely love everything from this project at Making it Lovely. And these beds by Chris Loves Julia? Putting the rest of us to shame with their project.