Progress in Nora’s New Room + Playroom

posted by Andrea | 11/12/2013

When we found out we were expecting baby #2, one of my first thoughts was, “So where are we going to put this kid?”

Not that our house isn’t big enough — we have plenty of extra bedrooms around here. It’s just that we hadn’t started any renovations upstairs yet, and we really didn’t want to move anyone upstairs permanently until the space was renovated to our liking.

We only have two usable bedrooms on our main floor (we turned the 3rd bedroom into our office and knocked down a wall to open it up to our living room), so we knew we’d need to get our butts in gear working on at least one of the upstairs bedrooms this Fall.

We did toy with the idea of having the baby sleep in our room — but neither Dave nor I liked that idea. And if Nora was a better sleeper, we might have tried putting them in a room together — but the combination of an infant and a toddler both regularly waking up all night long in the same room just seemed really stupid (especially if we had multiple extra bedrooms siting empty.)

So, we decided to tackle part of our upstairs… a new bedroom for Nora and a new play room for toys and crafts!

Here are a few pictures of the two spaces from the day we moved into our home (almost 3 years ago):


This bedroom is the most purple room I’ve ever seen in my entire life… and in another week, there won’t even be one shred of purple left!

It’s also HUGE. It’s 16′ x 22′ and has vaulted ceilings so it feels nice and open. It’s literally big enough to be a living room, so we’ll most likely have kids share this room in the future — depending on how many of each gender we have.

Some of you might rememberΒ this as the room Dave and I lived in for the first 8 months in our house while we renovated the bedrooms and bathrooms on the main floor.

It was plenty spacious enough for us to sleep, work, watch TV, etc. all in one space — and I LOVE all the light!

It will be the perfect room for Nora… especially since we’re planning to have some toys, books, and a little table and chairs in here for her.

As you’ll see by the photos towards the end of this post, this room is totally torn apart right now — but I have big plans and am super excited to show you the finished room!



This is a large landing area at the top of our stairs — it’s about 12′ x 15′ and has plenty of wall space for lots of bookcases, a little craft table, and Nora’s new play kitchen (it’s finished and I’ll be sharing photos next week!)

We’re putting in new super soft carpeting, new trim, new paint, and we’re replacing the spindles with a solid half-wall (mainly because Nora can easily fit through those spindles, and I know toys would constantly be falling downstairs.)

This area was one of the selling points of the home for me. The very first time I saw it, I immediately thought “kids play area” (and then future study area down the road). It’s so cozy with the sloped ceilings, it’s really open to the entire upstairs, and has super easy access to the living room below.

Β .


Although I was (and still am) really excited about expanding our living space and starting renovations on the upstairs, I’m also remembering how much I hate living in the middle of construction — especially now with a fully mobile little person around who gets into EVERYTHING, finds every tiny drywall crumb in the carpeting, and wants to be in the middle of the action at all times!

Here are a few pictures of our mess…

A little drywall/plaster repair before we started the full-on demolition

Our temporary workshop set up in the garage

Another bedroom upstairs that’s NOT being renovated — filled with everything from Nora’s new bedroom, the future play room, the future nursery, and even some furniture from the main floor.

The bright purple carpet and walls are finally gone (this is not the final wall color), we’re starting on the new trim, and getting ready for the new window.

Yes, our entire upstairs is a disaster right now, but it’s really not THAT bad. It could be much worse — like last summer when we had half our main floor closed off for the huge kitchen renovation.Β At least this time around, MOST of the mess is either in the garage or upstairs.

I have rugs everywhere, trying to cut down on the amount of dust and debris that gets tracked through the house; and our vacuum is getting a daily workout in attempts to keep our living room carpet relatively child friendly.



My current plan for Nora’s new room is (drum roll) SUPER NEUTRAL πŸ™‚

I really wanted to do reclaimed wide plank dark wood floors like we have on our main floor, but I know that wouldn’t be practical for a kid’s bedroom — especially if I want it to be a comfy, cozy place to sleep and play. So we’re going with a neutral super soft carpet with some speckles in it to hide any spots or stains.

We’ll be painting the walls white (yes white), and all the trim will also be white (I’ll explain more about this choice when I show the after pictures). I have some fun decorating plans to bring in lots of color with furniture, textiles, and artwork.

I’m also dreaming of giving a little TLC to this quilt and somehow using it on her bed.

It was made by Dave’s great grandma or great aunt (I can’t remember) and it’s so cute!

I have a friend who quilts, so I’m planning to disassemble it somewhat, wash the fabric, fix the ripped spots, get new batting, and then have her quilt it for me. Then I’ll use the many colors from this quilt as decorating inspiration for the rest of the room.

It’s totally my shabby farmhouse style, extremely useful, AND an awesome way to showcase a family heirloom!


My plan for the play room is a little “brighter” than the bedroom.

We’ve already painted it a brighter blue color, which looks awesome against the crisp white trim and neutral carpeting.

We’re planning to put Nora’s kitchen and a kid-size table/chairs along one wall, bookcases with toys and books on two two other walls, and then I want to transform one wall into a “gallery” to display Nora’s artwork, crafts, drawings, etc.

We’ve started on the half-wall already (don’t mind that old wallpaper peeking out from behind where the old trim was removed) and we have a really cool idea of putting a built-in half door/gate at the top of the stairs — think “really attractive farmhouse baby gate”!

So obviously, I’m not sharing many progress photos because I really don’t want to spoil the “before and after” posts that will hopefully be coming in a few weeks.

We’re not sure when exactly we’ll be moving Nora upstairs — probably in January some time — but we’re hoping that by playing upstairs, exploring upstairs, and seeing all her new fun stuff upstairs, it will make the transition easier.

The other day, I told Nora that I was working on her new big bedroom upstairs. She looked at me, got a big scowl on her face, and shouted, “No, Nora not go upstairs! Nora bedroom stay by mommy’s bedroom”.

So we’re not super optimistic that she’s going to love moving upstairs — but maybe she’ll surprise us!

Filed under: HomeOur FarmhouseRenovations

Leave a comment


  1. Cindy


    Andrea if the quilt doesn’t work & you use part of it as a doll quilt you may be able to frame part of it too. Just a thought.


  2. Tara


    Oh wow. That transition for Nora could be interesting! You know, for what it’s worth, we ended up waiting to move our oldest to her big girl room until her little brother was a few months old. During that time he slept in a bassinet in our room. Honestly, he was such a better sleeper than she was as a newborn (and sometimes he slept better than his 3 1/2 yr old big sister), it wasn’t really a hardship at all.

    Once the newness of having another person in the house began to wear off, and we’d spent those three months reiterating how much bigger she was than her baby brother and how she could do so many things he was much too little to do…well it segued really nicely into her moving into her big girl room on her 4th birthday (we surprised her with her big girl room – she went to grandma’s for the weekend and when she got home we had set it all up). Granted, she was 4 at the time, not high needs and her new room was only about 10 ft away from the old room. So none of this may be useful your situation. πŸ™‚

    Still, if there’s anything I’ve learned to embrace with child #2, it’s that it’s ok to give yourself a little wiggle room. Plan the move. See how it goes. Feel free to adjust as necessary for your sanity. πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait to see the new spaces in your home. At this rate you’re almost completely done with your home renovations (from my observations at least). I am definitely envious of the play area. We don’t have one of those.


  3. Janice


    Be sure to give us a post on what you are doing with that quilt. I was shocked to read your plan for fixing it. I have several quilts from my mother and grandmother which are in bad shape or at least somewhat worn shape. Really would like to use them but I know they need some work. As usual you have inspired me. Love to read about Nora as she grows, especially how she refers to herself in third person. πŸ™‚ Pray all goes well with her move upstairs.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Janice. I’ve never done anything like this with a quilt before so I have no idea if it will work or not. However, we aren’t using them at all right now and I don’t like having things we don’t use — so I figure it’s not a huge gamble. If worse comes to worse and the quilt is ruined, I’ll salvage a few pieces of fabric and make a doll quilt for Nora πŸ™‚


  4. Siobhan


    Lol that’s great! My daughters’ room is neutral with color accents. They love it and it is easy to change up. My daughter almost always shouts No at the mention of something new. However, she usually ends up loving the new idea over time. Looking forward to seeing the progress. Good luck πŸ™‚


  5. Shelly


    LOL @ “Nora NOT go up stairs!” That was my favorite part. It tickled me, sounded familiar, amd I love that you put it in your post. Honesty, warts and all, kind of thing. I think that’s why I read your blog so regularly. It’s like having tea or coffee with a friend. πŸ™‚ I was just asking myself why I read your blog every day when I have friends and acquaintances with their own blogs and I don’t read theirs nearly as regularly. (Shhh.) πŸ˜‰ I just look forward to my daily update of what you’re up to and what sweet Nora has done now. Keep up the good work and keep posting frequently, even after baby, please.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Shelly — yes Nora makes me laugh many time every day πŸ™‚

    And yes, the plan is to continue posting when the new baby comes. I’m sure I’ll take a little time off — but I figure this one has to sleep more than Nora, so I’ll blog while he’s sleeping!! I probably just jinxed myself right now though πŸ™‚


  6. Katie


    I love reading your posts in the morning to start my day!
    They are simple, informative or just a good read.
    My favorites are the renovations are your farm house. I love that kind of thing.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Katie — sometimes I wish we had more renovation stories to share — but we have to take it slowly for our own sanity. We need large breaks between renovations so we don’t get burnt out πŸ™‚


  7. Chris


    I would love to hear more about your quilt “restoration” when you get it done. Both my Dad and Mom made me a quilt when I was a girl, but I used it a lot when I was young, and it is VERY bad shape. (maybe irreparable?).


    Andrea Reply:

    Definitely Chris — if/when the quilt thing happens, I’ll do a full post about it πŸ™‚


  8. Catherine


    Oh the transition to a new big girl room!!! We just went through it with our 3 year old daughter… as baby number 2 is expected first week of January!

    I really really wanted her to move in her new space a little while before the arrival of baby so she wouldn’t feel like we are kicking her out of her room for her sister!

    So far so good…!! I made her new room ultra special! And I too went with a very light color for the walls.. (light light grey.. almost white!) but her furniture (her great grandma’s furniture actually!) got a good paint job in bright turquoise, yellow and hot pink! And use those same colors for decoration around the room! Its just so fun! I also packed the room with her favorite books… lots of them! She is a real bookworm!! The new room also has a really fun closet so I kind of turned it into a spot she can dress up in, play in, read in.. she loves that little nook!

    So anyways, we did all that and moved her up there… and a few weeks later we started asking questions like “so what will we do with your old room?” or “where is baby going to sleep when she comes home?”… And that has really really helped! Lea has been in her new room for over a month now and we just started working on the nursery again this past weekend..

    So I wish you a smooth transition too! I know your little one is younger, but hopefully she will get really excited about her new ultra special space!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Aw, her room sounds lovely. We’re planning some special things for Nora’s room too — including a little “nook” inside her closet πŸ™‚

    our main issue is that she still wakes up ALL the time at night, so part of the reason we’re hesitant to put her upstairs is for our own convenience. We’d rather walk down the hall instead of tramping up the stairs and across the house every time she wakes up.

    Hopefully it will go better than what we are expecting!


  9. MrsD


    Lol! “Nora Not go upstairs!” I literally lol’ed at that! It’s so funny that such little creatures already know exactly what they want:) She is adorable! I hope it goes smoothly. Maybe when she sees it all put together she will be excited:) Happy Birthday (soon) Nora!