December 6, 2013

A Shared Room

When we decided that it was time for our family to grow, one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted our kids to share a room. Of course our home is so small that there really isn't another option, but I also do believe that it's important for siblings to share their space (and hopefully a few late night whispers). I realize that as an only child, I'm likely romanticizing the reality of sharing. I will let you know how it all really goes down once our three year old finally moves out of the crib and our baby leaves the comfort of our room. For now, we have worked to create a space that we hope will be fun for both of them in the next few years, and the rest is up to them!

I wasn't particularly daunted by trying to accommodate a boy and a girl in one room. I like to think of my own style as playful, strong enough for a boy with a few sweet feminine touches. I think that we were able to strike a good balance and create a space that's cohesive rather than two colliding themes. I am certain that this is easier with younger children, and likely it will change as the pink sparkly toys start drifting in (I am not ready!).

I spent a lot of time collecting (and pinning) images of children's rooms that appealed to me, and most of them were very white and minimal. We debated keeping everything subdued, but I just love color, so we used a geometric stencil on the common wall in a bright rainbow of colors (very, very time consuming to paint those 5 colors!), and kept the rest of the walls and furniture white. The color gets pulled through the room with the toys and clothes, and I'm really pleased that the space is both restful and fun. I loved lying in there during my final days of pregnancy.

We decided that Little Smith's 'big boy bed' should be a twin size, rather than a toddler, so that we could all climb in and read or snuggle. After considering tons of options, we DIY'd this simple frame on giant industrial casters. The wheels are definitely a toddler selling point, and doing it ourselves allowed us to keep the bed low to the ground, but still work with a few old soda crates that we had collected for underbed storage. 

Little Smith loves his books, so we gave him lots of options for stashing them; ledges over the bed, those crates on casters under the bed, and the cubby we DIY'd using skateboard wheels from his former nursery. I often find him sprawled out, thumbing through a book on his own (although it's sometimes upside down!).

We purchased a simple wardrobe from Ikea to add closet space and attached a magnet board for favorite notes and stickers. We also painted a dresser (a craigslist find- see the before here) and built custom shelves in the small closet. Actually we currently have way more space for clothing than we can fill, I know that will quickly change as we accumulate more irresistible girl clothes. 

I wanted to keep our baby girl's corner fairly simple. The crib is a hand-me-down and was reused from Little Smith's nursery, as was the shiny blue rocker. I was thrilled to give her our Henry Evans floral prints (always dreamed of hanging those over a crib!), and believe it or not, we already had the clock. It was in our kitchen and once I painted that wall, it clearly was just meant to live there. I had the quilt made from a shop on Etsy, and it also feels like it was destined for this space.

We hung simple floor to ceiling shelving (brackets from Ikea with wooden shelves) to showcase toys and collectibles. Little Smith is obsessive about putting his things away perfectly, we will see what he thinks of his sister moving treasures about in a few short months!

At the moment this is less of a shared room than a palace for a certain three year old. The floor is often covered in train tracks and he has full use of both the bed and the crib. I'm actually looking forward to working with him to share, and at least in theory he is excited about the company.

The are a few details that I would still like to add, a rug and some kind of ottoman mainly, but for now we are happy with the space. I'll update once there are reports on actual shared sleep and some decent summer light (it was such a struggle to photograph this time of year).

*all the posts on this project here


Most of the sources are peppered in the various posts, but since I've received several email requests, I wanted to share a little about the stencil. 

I purchased it on Etsy, but because I wanted each square to be a different color, I used all brushes and no rollers. It did mean a lot of saran wrap over brushes and paint plates to prevent them from drying out when I switched colors, as well as many laps on a step stool with a very pregnant belly!

The colors are all Benjamin Moore; lightening bug 340, rhythm and blues 758, party peach 139, petunia pink 1276, nova scotia blue 796


  1. This is so lovely! Your hard work paid off in an amazingly, inviting room.

    1. Thanks Emily, it's always tough to try to get in pictures, but so far we're enjoying the space.

  2. Lilly, this room looks like it was designed by a professional! I mean, amazing! It is so cheerful, inviting, and fun. They are going to have so much fun in there. You should be proud of yourself!

    1. Aw thanks Lauren! W really loves it which makes me happy. I just have to figure out how to make all those transitions required to get them in there together!

  3. this room is amazing, well done!

  4. It is beautiful from start to finish. I am inspired by you. We will be re-doing the kids' rooms this summer and I really want to research and pin and do it right. Of course, since they are 9 and 11, my kids will be having a big input, but hopefully they will succumb to some guidance! ;)

    1. I'm sure it's so much more challenging with older children and all those pesky opinions ;) I'll bet the process will also be extra fun though.

  5. You did such a wonderful job with their room and are so inspiring. We had to totally gut and redo Iz's room before she was born and now it's wonderful but has a long way to go in the cozying up department. For us it was a matter of easing into it as she still sleeps in our room and I'm trying to be so mindful of what "stuff" we bring into our home and her space but I hope one day it will fill out to be as simple but cozy as their sweet room. And that wall? Amazing. Those tedious projects are often the most satisfying when it's all said and done and it seems it had to have been worth all the effort because it is absolutely incredible.

    And I have to thank you because we have a couple of old wooden apple crates we use for toys, one specifically for the wooden blocks and as it becomes fuller I was wondering on the practicality of it due to weight. I now know we are just going to have to add some wheels. :)

    I know you are an architect and so creative by nature, so it should be no surprise, but this room is just so well curated on every level. Such lucky kiddos to get to grow, learn and love in such a space.

  6. Thanks for sharing the information and this will help full to all.

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