Ever since we put Mateo and Harper in separate bedrooms at 13 months, their rooms have been one long-ass transition in becoming actual bedrooms. And so far, 21 months later, Mateo’s is the only room in the house that looks like the space it is intended to resemble. It’s been a long time coming, his room having been the former nursery, first documented here to its own completion, looking like this in its final form, just two weeks before birth:
But within five short weeks, Mateo and Harper were projectile vomiting with every feeding and we were forced to cover ourselves, the furniture, the floors, and sometimes the walls with protection in the form of mismatched sheets and blankets and towels, a reality check I documented about our living room , and the nursery this time last year, which left the kids’ room looking like this:
Due to Mateo's more disruptive sleeping patterns and Harper's absolute need for undisturbed sleep, thirteen months ago, or more specifically, after six hundred forty two days of being together , we separated them and the nursery became Mateo’s room.
We knew we didn't want to use the cribs past two years, so we purchased twin mattresses, placed them on the floor, and began doing naps there. Oh, we still used cribs at night, simply because Jennifer and I were very afraid of what letting them sleep out in the open at night would do to our own sleep.
Their rooms were dull and sparce: a crib, a mattress on the floor, and a chair. The only thing keeping Mateo's room from looking like a dorm room – or a prison cell - was the lack of a bookshelf fashioned from 6”x1” wood scraps and two cinderblocks. And believe me, I thought about it.
At 19 months (November 2009) with both Mateo and Harper well-trained to sleep on the mattress, Jennifer and I took a collective deep breath and we converted their cribs to toddler beds. It was blissfully uneventful. Even upon waking each morning, they stayed in their beds until we went to get them. And that worked well through the winter/holiday season, until at 22 months, we decided to shop for twin beds be done with the cribs altogether. Timed purposefully with the receipt of our GoBedBug bumpers, we took delivery of their twin beds, said “bye bye, baby bed” and hugged the cribs, placed them in the garage, and braced ourselves for their first night in the big girl and big boy beds. And once again, the anxiety was unwarranted.
Over the last month, Mateo’s room has completed its transformation into his little boy-cave. It’s simple in form, with a shelving unit containing a few books, a few soft/quiet-play toys, and a bed to sleep in.
The bed is a Kendall twin in Rustic Sun Valley Honey. It, as well as the Universal Trundle, as well as the Dustin Bedding Quilt are from Pottery Barn Kids. The valence was made from a coordinating 42” single pane blue gingham curtain that we got on clearance for $19.99. My mom then generously cut it down to three panels and we replaced the old animal valence with this one. With the leftover fabric, she made a square pillow cover, which can be seen on the bed.
The shelving unit is the Expedit from Ikea, which retails for $99.99, but that we purchased on sale for less than that, after having stalked ads for months, and then having stored them shelving units in storage until we were ready. The product’s Montessori-like accessibility, sturdiness, and functionality appealed to me, and at 94 lbs, it wasn't going to be a tipping hazard any time soon.
The fabric storage bins can be found at Target for under $12. We've used them in our own closets for a while, so we just picked up a couple to match his room. The blue PBK Chenile Braided Rug we had purchased used from someone in our neighborhood for $40 last year just wasn't helping to pull his room together, so we went about a search for something better coordinating, and decided on feels-good-to-the-feet A Little Of This FLOR tiles in Russet/Taupe.
I have to say, though, that my favorite part of putting his room together was the prints above the shelving unit.We knew we wanted pictures in his room, but we weren’t sure of what. And it was Mateo, actually, who revealed to us what the prints should be. We knew how much he enjoyed looking at pictures from family gatherings and experiences, including the ones from him on the tractor when we went to visit Jennifer’s golf course, and the one of my brother driving the firetruck when we went to visit his station over Christmas. He also loves emergency vehicles of any kind, so I figured if I just kept my camera close by, I would eventually get a shot of a parked police car. The colors of those items - yellows, blues, reds - would also go well with his room.
So we decided on three shots, and I then took those photos and used my PhotoShop Elements 8.0 Filters>Artistic>Cutout Filter to achieve a desired posterized, construction paper collage cutout look, an effect that I thought would suit a toddler's room well.
Below, you can compare the original photo of my brother driving the fire truck...
...with the final product.
And here's the photo of Mateo sitting on the tractor in the maintenance area at the golf club...
...compared to the final print.
The matted-to-fit-11-x-14-print frames are from Target. Here's a close-up of the final product:
If we really wanted to complete his room, we’d re-paint the walls, but for several reasons, HELLNO being one of them, that’s just not going to happen any time soon. For now, I'm brainstorming what to take pictures of to hang in Harper's room. It's hard to find a lizard or ladybug that matches lavender and green.