It’s a vulnerable, if decidedly lucky, exercise to photograph a room in the place you call home and share it with perfect strangers. Especially when the room belongs to your kids. Especially when you want the photos to show the room as you yourself see it, but more than that, how you feel in it, which is peaceful and cozy and safe. How to convey in pictures, the particular sense of a weight being lifted when, at the end of the day, you ease onto the bed with your four-year-old to read one last bedtime story?
Green trees outside our attic apartment throw heavy shadows in this time of year, and I tend to focus my lens on small details, but I hope I’ve captured at least the sense of the place in these shots. Over the past year I’ve been strategizing ways to make Faye and Silas’s shared room feel a bit more intentional, a bit more homey, and a bit more functional. It’s a privilege to be able to put any thought at all into this sort of thing and even though moving out of our apartment, and immediately back into it this spring was decidedly not something I’d call fun, it did provide us with a good opportunity to assess our things and our space and finally implement a few of the little changes I’d had turning around in my brain. I’ve tried to make a space that feels peaceful, but not austere; childlike, but not cloying.
Here are details, in case they’re useful to anyone who’s curious. This little room is such a joy to be in these days.
+ We choose simple white sheets as the base for our kids’ beds. Silas sleeps very hot and so he’s still sleeping on his crib with just a crib sheet and his baby blanket—but we recently added a pillow and a mattress pad to try to cozy up the bed a bit and—hopefully—encourage him to sleep comfortably in it for a while longer until we decide what to do about a bigger kid bed in this space.
+ On Faye’s bed, we traded a feather duvet for a simple cotton blanket. For now, she’s sleeping without a top sheet—we just wash the blanket every other week or so and switch out the fitted sheet for a clean one weekly. The blanket makes for clean lines, easy bed making, and a cool kid in a small space that’s always a bit on the warm side.
+ On each bed, we added a bit of color in the form of cheery linen pillowcases from local shop, Collyer’s Mansion. (The bolster pillows on Faye’s bed are several years old from Muji. The small walnut-dyed pillow on Silas’s bed was one of my very first Etsy purchases, from the since-closed shop of Liane Tyrrel.)
+ The new-to-us tall gray wardrobe has proved incredibly helpful in terms of creating storage in this skinny room. (Lots more about it this way.) We made the little rack below before Silas was born, using a found piece of one-by-four and three iron hooks from Rejuvenation.
+ We keep toys in a combination of baskets, and found wooden crates (with felt pads on the bottom to help them slide noiselessly across the floor), and drawstring pouches. We also have a few baskets from Acorn Toy Shop and Indego Africa.
+ The tall lidded basket was a gift from Misha & Puff. The blocks were all gifts: colorful alphabet blocks are available from Acorn Toy Shop; the painted gray set were a collaboration between Wilson and Willy’s and Beka Blocks; the natural maple set are from Maple Landmark.
The most impactful change in the room visually has been swapping out two bright navy striped rugs for rugs that are brighter and softer. My internet friend, Kim Woods, of Willaby, works with Amish rug makers near her Ohio hometown to weave upcycled and zero-waste rag rugs. She sent along a few for us to try in our space. We chose the striped Oyster rug for this room and the subtle grey stripe is exactly what I’d hoped for in this room.
+ Taking everything down from our walls gave us a nice opportunity to start fresh. Lots of the art in our apartment falls into this graphic, black, and white category and when we had everything lined up against a blank wall during our move, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have it all live together for a while. I was nervous about a gallery wall overwhelming a small space, but it actually makes the room—and Faye’s bed in particular—feel cozy but not crowded.
+ Print details for the curious: Peace Print; There is an Alternative; Homestead; Outside No. 2: Yard Birds; Outside No. 3: Gingko Leaves; Moon Calendar (2014 edition). All of our framed prints have custom frames. We’ve used local shop Make A Frame as well as Framebridge and Simply Framed. Unframed prints are hung up using small metal clamps.
+ Kids’ books live behind a small curtain on our crate-turned-bookshelf.
+ We still use our homemade blackout curtain!
+ Our wooden music ball and Faye’s piggy bank are no longer in stock, but both came from Over The Ocean.
Special thanks to Coyuchi, Collyer’s Mansion, and Willaby for providing the recent bedding and rug updates in this space. Where possible, I’ve made use of affiliate links in this post, which means Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.