Giving Young Twins a New Space, Growing Individuality

 

 

This room really bothered me.  It had too many functions and nearly nothing got done except my girls making another mess in one more room!  So that was it, this past Friday night I just dug right in.  I had too, how often do you stare at a mess in your house and pretend that a little elf named Rosie will fly in, wink, and Poof your mess is gone!  It’s never going to happen and your husband isn’t going to magically clean it up either.  I’ve learned in marriage to at least start the project and my husband naturally follows and offers help and support where needed.

My daughters had a playdate that day and I didn’t want to cancel.  Here is my go at keeping things together and managing all the fires in the skillet while attempting to keep my daughters emotionally healthy……

First, I get my daughters excited about having their own rooms!  I ask them for help and surprisingly they seem interested at first and so they begin to help and here this is the key, after their attention span starts to wane, they find something else they like to do and leave!  Thus giving me and my hubby the time to tear apart the “craft room” and organize the soon-to-be bedroom-giving it it’s one and only function, a separate sleeping space for our older twin (by four minutes).

In the book “Emotionally Healthy Twins” author Joan Friedman, Ph.D says to “give elementary school-age twins as much emotional and physical space as possible.  If they can’t have their own rooms, provide space for individual expression within their shared room.”

I couldn’t agree more.  I wish I had granted them their own rooms earlier but at age six this is a ripe age to explore who they are and what they love in deciding who they will become!

To start we pulled everything out of the closet and took down the classic wire shelving and then we went to Home Depot.  This allowed us to look at the closet in an honest way to gauge how we wanted to approach the space.

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Not sure these would work?

I’m at Home Depot a lot and it stresses me.  I don’t blame Home Depot it’s just I’m a creative person and I also love their gardening center (most of the time) so if I know I’m going there, I just have to have strong coffee.  I thank my husband for the amazing Starbucks espresso I had while pondering this purchase-just holding the cup gave me some calm!

We ended up finding some pressed boards by Rubbermaid and decided to use two, one for extra storage up top and another for shoes. I didn’t want to add a manufactured shoe rack or hang anything on her door.  The room has a closet that is on the smaller side so I wanted to maximize the space inside the closet which the pressed boards allowed.

I’m not the handy man (woman) in the relationship.  I’m the idea person and the decorator.  We putty the holes from previous work installs and lightly sand for a smooth surface.  We like our mouse sander because it can handle medium work around the house in addition to pieces of furniture I sand in my garage.

The paint I choose for the closet is Behr Ultra in Wispy Pink.  I wanted to paint the inside of the closet to bring some depth in.  It was just enough color to set off the closet.  With a basket for dirty clothes in a soft grey with liner for texture (another great find at Marshall’s!) and a little organization, my twins physical space is now created!

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Behr my go to paint

 

 

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A cleaner more polished closet

With just a couple of additions, new curtains from IKEA and some basic white frames for artwork, I had a room Sophie could fall in love with!  The curtains are awesome-they wash well, they’re cheap and look great in her room!  I love curtains to puddle and at 98″ in length, these curtains were the perfect addition to a room where a castle is the backdrop!  I wanted the room to have an air of whimsy and the curtains plus the fresh bedding gave it that touch!

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When I add the “art” side of the room, I will post a blog on how the frames and artwork and photos come together for a simplified art display.  Thank you again for reading and by the way, Sophie Grace loves her new room!

 

 

 

 

 


How we Winterized our Porch and Upper Deck and lived to tell about it!

Backdeck-Jan. 2014

Yes this is what our little home looked like when we came back from New York.  The yard was never fertilized and completely eaten alive by the various dogs our renters had (according to our neighbors there were up to eight dogs in our home at any one time).  We currently have one small dog Belle and she occupies the whole house!

Back to our house.  Here’s what we discovered: the yard was amass with holes and dead grass, dead trees, old chewed up dog toys that we found for months and flower pots galore. There are some you see stored underneath our deck but there were many more on the side of the house and in our neighbors yard; these items included trellises, pallets, stakes, and various garden accessories and in general trash. There was hoards of stuff!

Once we settled in and took stock of everything they left behind, we gave much it away to interested parties, including the forest green bird bath they left in the front yard.  What a relief!  Back to the porch, the boards were left untreated and looked to be in bad shape.  Wood was splintering and we wanted a smooth surface because we knew how much our daughters would be going up and down the steps to play outside.

before patio floorsdeck steps

This photo shows a clip of our family dogs face but also shows a glimpse of the condition of our deck.  Not just dirty.

The rails were left in good shape thankfully so fortunately for us we didn’t need to replace those.  We really pondered how involved we wanted to be in staining this deck on our own.  We rationalized we would have it professionally primed and stained later so just giving it a color was the first line of defense.  I leaned toward a grey finish that would pull from the pavers in the patio, unifying the color scheme.

PATIO

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This was a photo from my family baby shower in 2009.  This was six months into living in the home and that summer we had a patio customized to our lifestyle where we would host barbecues and family gatherings.  The pavers shown gave me the gusto to go with a weathered gray semi-permanent wood stain.

I wish I had a photo to showcase the work my husband and I put in to make this happen.  We stained both lower and upper decks and literally I was hanging off the upper deck, hoping I didn’t slip or fall by accident.  I started by layering the lower deck with old sheets and towels to keep the lower deck free from the dirt, mildew, and leaves that would fall as I was prepping. This would also cover any stain drippings when I began that process.

With a tire scrubber with attached handle and medium-sized bucket, I applied two parts bleach and four parts water and got to work!  In between the rails was a bit harder, where algae from the trees had taken root so I used an old toothbrush.  This took me one full week I’d estimate.  Scrubbing it twice was the prescription and once done, I reeked of bleach.

The staining process was set in motion with an extension paint rod and one small mini roller to get in between the rails and on both sides of the rails.  Like I said I really wish I had photos of this process.  Once we began, we were intent on finishing and it was messy so grabbing cameras took us backwards, literally.  It was late summer 2014 and the kids were due back in school.  A lot of preparations were needed.  The heat was on.

I did use a paint brush for hard to reach spots because I believe this lends precision and in the case of the underside of the rails, this was a must.  I finished staining the upper deck just before sunset.  I loved the grey look of the deck.  With some potted plants or Mums, it would help give the freshly stained deck some polish and friendliness.  For the upper deck, a friend gave me an aluminum table that I painted white and I bought an end of the year patio umbrella to complete the look.  I placed a pair of old Adirondack chairs that I refinished (a gift from my mother in law) on the upper deck so Patrick and I could catch a glimpse of the Severn River. Done.

Deck RedoDeck-finished

These photos were taken on nice sunny days but it shows an improvement over the last two years.  We plan to expand the garden and screen in the porch, someday!  One step at a time!  Thank you again for taking time out of your day to read my posts.  I wish you the best success in all of your home improvement projects!