Wanna look at the nook?

Things are coming along nicely in 'project-big-boy-room' as outlined in my grand master plan. For those just tuning in, I'm working on turning my little guy Chace's nursery into his big boy room. He'll be three soon so time to de-crib and welcome him to twin bed-ville. As well as update to his older taste ('sniff) and activity level. (update- he now has a big boy bed and is OUT of his crib!)

First I dismantled his old closet and repainted the room along with his closet turned 'nook'. Next up was adding some toddler pinazz to that little nook. And here is how it looks now...

Now, the nook isn't finished but is certainly on it's way to earning it's stripes. Oh wait, it already has it's stripes... nevermind.

I still need to do his chalkboard area, add some storage bins on the top shelf and come up with some seating as outlined here (those pillows are just ones from our master bedroom) but it's certainly starting to take shape. It's amazing how a standard small closet (double door, about two feet deep - NOT a walk-in by any stretch) can seem SO much bigger when you yank the 'ol doors off and start playing.

So let me break down the elements for you and let you know how I "got 'er done". First up is the 'gallery wall' portion of ol 'nooker.

You can see that I added eight elements which I will break down in detail below. But first let me start with the frames and layout, as well... that is where I started! All of the frames were f-r-e-e as I either already owned them or they were graciously given to the Elaine-weekend-project-fund by generous donors. Such a great charity.

I began by coming up with a layout on the floor. Here is one version of 300 trys and in the end, didn't get used as I dumbly forgot to account for the lamps. But hey, this was my process and I'm sharing anyway. It did help me plan out what I wanted in each frame and what size I needed of each piece so it was usual for sure.

I sprayed the four brown/black/gold frames white and kept the two silver shadow boxes and one silver frame as they were because I thought the silver would play off the grey stripes nicely. Plus add some contrast to the white frames.

Then I was off to design some pieces (all were done in Indesign and/or Photoshop unless otherwise noted).

When I thought of what I wanted to put on the gallery wall I wanted to have a range of things to add texture and interest. I also wanted some pieces that were a bit interactive and could act as fun teaching tools so the idea for this 'number chart' was born...

I designed this piece using some little icons I found here and made the number of animals match the large number above/beside them. I also put the name of the animal. This way we can practice counting, number recognition, colours, words/names etc. And so can Chace ;). Ha.

Next up is this little owl art that I did as a subtle homage to Chace's big-boy bedding. I found the owl line drawing free online and designed the rest in Photoshop. I choose textures that were fun, interesting, textural and colourful. Then came up with the little tagline 'give a hoot'. Hoot! Hoot!

I thought it would be fun to put this into a shadow box frame because 1) I had it and it was free, 2) it was something different and added some 'layering' to the gallery wall.

Then I was on to this fun subway art that I can't take any credit for designing. I simply downloaded it from here, printed it and popped it into one of my spray painted frames.

Always a fan of inspirational quotes I loved this one by Dr. Seuss. Paired with this adorable chameleon (found here) and some of my scrapbook paper (the green circle strip on the right) it makes a fun and colourful piece for my little guy :).

Next we have a simple white letter 'C' (to stand for 'C'hace) found at Michaels Crafts...

And the cutest photo ever (in my humble opinion) taken of Chace last summer 'helping' me water the garden. Who's watering who? I did the words "so. much. fun" in Photoshop for a little designey touch . I then got it printed at 8"x6" which is a unique enlargement size. The 'matt' is scrapbook paper - the same as used in the quote/chameleon image above. And look, his shirt matches the stripes. Totally planned (not). And yes, I totally just said "not" à la 1989. sweet (not).

I love how the wood grain comes through the letters. This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Then I was on to making some robot fun because Chace likes to say 'R.O.B.O.T' in a pretend mechanical voice and I think it is hilarious... so I wanted to encourage that ;). I found my little robot shape here and did the same type of treatment as I did on the owl. I also put him in to a shadow box frame to match his little friend. I made my R.O.B.O.T smile by changing his mouth shape and then added the words "smile every day" to the piece.

And last but not least is a cheery piece that I made just because I wanted to... and I love the message. My mom used to sing me that song when I was little so why not pass it along to MY little sunshine.

I love how the 'grunginess' of this font plays off the crisp graphic nature of the rest of this piece. I also added a subtle little heart in place of one of the rays.

After the images were all up I turned my attention to the lights. Since I did not have them when I put up the gallery pieces, I made 'space' for them by cutting out 6" round circles to use as place holders. Since I knew which lights I was getting I was able to find this information on the website (Ikea).

You may have notice that the 'C' and picture of Chace have swapped spots since this step. I was planning on running the electrical cord behind the photo of Chace but it ended up working better in behind the letter 'C' so I switched them. I know. I'm a rebel.

Here is a close up of the light I chose. I love this light for a few reasons: a) affordable ($19.99 each), b) adorable - bright and cheery colour with a sweet little cloud motif and c) 'tamper proof' so perfect for little two-year-old hands. The light bulb is actually enclosed so little fingers can't get in to trouble. As well, the 'on/off switch' is a easy to use push button. The lamps are Skojig from Ikea.

Installing them was very simple and easy, needing just a few plugs and screws. I used my paper template to line up the base and marked where I wanted to drill with a pencil through each screw hole. Lucky for me, each lamp hit a stud with one of the screws. Not that it would have mattered too much as these are really light and I did use plugs as mentioned, but always a bonus! Oh, and I found the studs by using my studdly husband stud finder. Very similar to this one - love that guy tool.

You can see how I ran the cord straight down and behind the letter 'C'. I did the same on the other side (but behind the R.O.B.O.T. image) and also used a few of these little clips to keep it all straight and tidy.

Of course Murphy's Law dictates that the cords aren't long enough to reach the electrical outlet so I brought in my friend Extension Cord for the job. I was able to tuck the cords under the baseboards along the carpet line (yay) but when I got to the plug we had a bit of an eye sore. Add to that the fact that these 'child proof' ones were very 'odd' (for lack of a better description) we had an even bigger eye sore.

Avert your eyes. I warned you.

I wasn't overly concerned about it (as that would drive me crazy) but what I didn't like was that it could be tempting to a certain toddler (cough-chace-cough) to 'play' with this new toy. Plus, with cushions and such getting pushed up against it I didn't want to worry about it becoming partially unplugged.

So a quick trip to Home Depot yielded this dollar piece of plumbers tubing. Now, I know it's not "pretty" but did the trick to help me make this little obstacle safer. Chace's fingers can't get in there to
unplug and I don't have to worry about the plugs becoming dislodged creating a hazard. And, with the pillows in front of it (I'll remove our master bedroom ones and do something different there in the future) it's not noticeable. (um... I don't need to remind you that I'm not a professional but it kind of works right?)

Moving on to something prettier, let's talk about the new book shelves - which are really just the Ribba picture frame ledges from Ikea.

Being 3.5" deep they are perfect for showcasing books. Plus at 21 5/8" wide they fit my closet depth of (about 2') perfectly.

To centre them on the wall I marked the centre point of one shelf (on the back) to use as a template.

I then marked the centre point of my wall using each stripe as a placement guide. Each stripe is about 13.5" tall so perfect height for books (yup, that was planned)! I then matched up the two centre points, held the shelf in place (very easy to level when working with already levelled stripes) and used the tool above to make a depression mark through the holes (one on each side) - marking where to drill. You can see one of the depressions and the centre point mark below...

I then repeated this times five and simply drilled and hammered in my plugs. Followed that up with 10 screws and the shelves were up! These shelves come with little white circle stickers that you place over the front of the screw hole marks so that they are disguised and the shelf looks more seamless. Although they were missing for one shelf... grrrr.

But regardless, we now had shelves!

Time to load them up...

And we were done!

Not bad right!? Speaking of bad, let's revisit the "before"... as I hang my head in shame.

And to save you from scrolling, here is the the "after" (with a lot of little work)...

Chace loves it! We read his bedtime stories in here and he asks to sleep in it every night. So cute.

And his first reaction when he saw it? Well, he did what any little boy would do. First he played with the 'mechanics' - light on/off, light on/off, light on/off... and then he grabbed all his blankies, yanked most of the books off the shelf and made himself comfortable.

And so he should.

So that's how my little plan is slowly taking shape. What about you? Yanked any closet doors off lately? Painted any stripes? Used rany andom pieces of plumbers piping for child proofing?

UPDATE: Here is how it looks now (after a few more tweaks). Details here.

















See all the Big Boy Room upgrade posts here!

Creating with the Stars

Weekend Bloggy Reading

linking to: addicted2decorating

The Shabby Nest

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating


  1. Love it, it's so you and am happy Chace loves it too!
    I love the Dr. Seuss saying, might steal it :)

  2. That is absolutely adorable! My kids are (almost) already getting too big for something like that. I love it though!

  3. oh my gosh, i can't believe that before. this is so fabulous, i wish this was my room! i want a book nook!

  4. Ooohh how sweet! It looks so cosy and comfy, a perfect little nook for reading!

  5. Love this space! I just told my husband we need to turn his hall closet into a reading nook! Haha he said! This is so cozy!

  6. Hi there! Visiting you from the feature at Serenity Now. I love this space so very much! We just finished our son's Big Boy Room (you can see pics on my blog!) and I still have the closet to do. I organized it but it needs a makeover, and I was thinking stripes (similar to Courtney's at athoughtfulplaceblog.com). You have inspired me!! I absolutely love everything you did, you are very talented and your son looks so precious sitting in his book nook.

    I'd love it if you stopped by to check out our big boy room! I will stay tuned to your blog so I can see the big boy room progress.

    Have a great weekend! :)

  7. Looks great! Isn't it so fun to turn closets into something more useful than hiding junk? :) Stripes are just so great, they look fab in the reading nook, love the shelving and the gallery wall. I just made our little guy a book nook but it isn't nearly as big as this. Great job!!!

  8. So cute! I'd definitely love to hibernate in this nook with a good book and warm cup of tea!

  9. I went CRAZY for this when I saw it at The Shabby Nest, it's simply awesome! This project would be perfect for our linky party featuring "Transformations" called Repurpose-Remodel-Reveal, I know our readers would love to see it too! (It starts Friday, March 2nd 2012 at 7:00 am MST and reoccures every 1st and 3rd Friday)

    -Whitney @ TheRoosterAndTheHen

  10. This is turning out amazing! Love the stripes and the shallow little book shelves. Can't wait to see it finished!!

  11. This is so awesome, love the stripes. I have too many closets in my house and this would be a great idea for my daughter.

  12. Just wonderful! Just came over from Better After's blog. Would you care to share some of the art you created? I love it!

  13. Hi Riki - thanks! Yes, Feel free to drop me an email to visualmeringue@gmail.com and I will send you the ones you like as pdfs :). Sorry, your comment came through as 'no-reply...' so I could not reply to you directly.

  14. I knew it! My husband loved your project too and we'll be featuring it as part of the RRR roundup tomorrow am. Congrats, well deserved!

  15. I LOVE your idea for the plugs!! How clever!

  16. this totally made my jaw drop!!!!! Absolutely amazing. And I LOVE the So.Much.Fun picture. DARLING! I'd LOVE for you to share this over on Kammy's Korner for Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday if you get a chance. http://kammyskorner.blogspot.com/2012/03/trash-2-treasure-tuesday-party-23.html

  17. Love this! Just saw it on Pinterest and I may need to head to Ikea for some photo ledges!

  18. Luckiest little boy!!!

  19. This is SO perfect!!! I love it :)

  20. I love the reading nook and the whole room is just adorable! I'm sharing it on my facebook page tomorrow!

  21. Love this space! Do you have the name of the white paint color you used on the wall?


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