July 31, 2020

New Playroom Makeover with Crate and Kids

I’m proud to share with you about our partnership with Crate and Kids to welcome a new stage of life into our home! These last two years have gone by in a blink of an eye. If I knew how quickly today would come, I would tell my younger self as a new mom to take time with everything - keep my baby in my arms a little longer, stare at him a little closer, and hold his little hands more. I know how hard it can feel in the moment with the exhaustion and postpartum, but wow I can say it's a harder, bittersweet emotion now knowing that that chapter is gone and closed. But now, Jacob, Kyle, and I are in this new phase of childhood together and it is more fun than I could ever imagine. Jacob takes off the couch cushions that are bigger than him and creates an obstacle course across our living room. He stacks his wooden blocks up tall, only to knock it down with a swift kick a la Dad’s taekwondo move. He loves to run and spin, a lot. When it's a little too quiet, we find him playing with his trucks or cooking in his little kitchen. A lot is changing quickly, especially since we are spending all of our time at home during quarantine. We found ourselves needing to re-imagine a more cohesive and multifunctional space for a very active toddler and parents who work from home. I'm grateful to collaborate with Crate and Kids, not only because I’m already such an avid shopper of their baby and kid home goods, but also because they’ve shown such incredible service from the start of the design process all the way to safe and easy home delivery and setup. I think you’ll be just as amazed as we are at seeing the before and after of our home.
Our Home, Before
Over the last half year as Jacob rapidly grew into the toddler phase, his toys and activities inadvertently took over our living area. Our home is an open floor plan, so our living room, dining room, and my work desk were sectioned out in one large open space. The layout we had had worked for us when it was just the two of us, and when our son was small and barely crawling. However, we didn't think far enough ahead to plan a child-friendly space for him in the living area, when our home was designed before birth. It's hard to know as first-time parents how much space our child will need and what they'd need. Jacob’s bedroom/nursery has some play space, but it is a cozy spot and we spend so much of our day together in the living area. A few crates and bins for his toys and a soft mat were haphazardly placed behind our sofa for a designated play area. While we tried our hardest to keep his area tidy, his toys usually ended up everywhere around the dining table and living room. I'd often walk through his play area like a minefield to get to my desk. It was also apparent that Jacob started feeling confined to this little area, that’s really just in the middle of a walkway. It was time for a change. As parents, we want to provide our son a beautiful, safe, and inspiring space for him to play freely and independently. A place that beckons him to stay and explore. Since this is our living area as a family, it is important to include aesthetically-pleasing solutions for toy and book organization.

The Design Process 
While I’ve been shopping at Crate and Kids and Crate and Barrel for years, I admit this is my first time experiencing Crate Design Studio, their virtual design service that you can take advantage of at no cost. You can be sure this won’t be my last time! Kyle and I are not intuitively design-inclined, so we absolutely needed a design expert to inspire some ideas for our home. You get started with Crate Design Studio by simply filling out the online form. We connected with our Design Expert via webcam and took them on a virtual home tour. Our Design Expert took notes from our visit and asked for inspiration images or pins. The Design Expert packaged two unique designs for us (fairly quickly!), each complete with a personalized mood board, product list, 2D floor plan, and 3D room model. One incredible feature that Crate Design Studio can do is create a 3D model of your space, in which they can render with your wishlist of Crate and Kids products and you’ll be able to see a complete picture of your newly designed space. I love this so much, because it’s a foolproof way to see what works and what doesn’t without the hassle of ordering and returning pieces. See how easy this process is? Below, you’ll see the rendering we loved, along with the moodboard and select shots of our 3D model with their notes for our design. I highly recommend you to take advantage of their design service for your next home renovation, because it is so easy and literally no cost to you to receive expert guidance and feedback.

The New Space 
The trickiness with an open floor plan is giving each area, or room, its distinct character and space, while balancing a delicate flow between each zone. When you add in a child and their ever-growing needs, transitional functionality is key.
When it came to furnishing his playroom, our goal was to invite coziness and creativity. All it took was a simple switch of my desk and Jacob’s play area to give him the sun-drenched space by the large window. This side of our home gives ample room for unique storage solutions, like the rectangular open storage unit that doubles as his sightseeing bench for trucks that pass. I chose an open bookcase with large cubbies to accommodate small storage bins for miscellaneous toys and puzzles, while giving him the independence to explore toys and books on open shelves at his reach. Jacob’s play kitchen anchors a cozy, artsy nook with pops of color from a textured weave and his own artwork. He’s just started to play peek-a-boo with himself in front of a mirror, so these star mirrors are lots of fun for him. Right in the middle of his playroom is Jacob’s favorite addition, I suspect since he spends all of his time there: a stylish, contemporary kids table with two chairs for him to use as his very own and to foster confidence and independence in his playtime. Jacob sits at his table every day to read, snack, and play with toys, while I’m just a few feet away sitting at my desk. I know he loves it, because he rarely bothers me to climb onto my desk anymore. There are so many things that I personally love about Jacob’s playroom, (easily would’ve been my dream playroom as a child!), but what I love most is that his playroom feels intentional, unique, and like a place that will foster creativity and community.

─────   SHOP THE PLAYROOM   ─────


I mourned the loss of my window view from my desk, but to remedy that, the Design Expert suggested this beautiful, expressive art print that reminds me of warm dusk over water. I very much appreciate the ability to see Jacob in my peripheral vision as he plays, rather than have my back to him like I previously did while I’m working at my desk.



My personal favorite, transformational piece in our family room is the Ever Sofa by designer Leanne Ford for Crate and Barrel. The only criteria I had for a new sofa is that it needed to fit the three of us and feel like a bed. As a family, we spend lots of time reading and watching movies together on the sofa, and after Jacob goes to sleep, Kyle and I relax here too, so ultimate comfort is priority. There's elegance and beauty in the soft, natural shape of the Ever Sofa and it perfectly fits the aesthetic we have. The cushions are plush and the depth of the seating is very comfortable. It's big enough for all three of us to lay down comfortably for cuddling during a movie. There have been many nights when we resisted falling asleep right on the sofa. You may be internally screaming at the choice of white fabric for a family household, but the best part is that it is a slipcover sofa, so the slipcover is removable to spot treat and machine wash. This is truly our dream family sofa!

─────   SHOP THE LIVING ROOM   ─────


The Leanne Ford for Crate and Barrel console table behind our sofa gives the living room definition. The height of the fiddle leaf branches and the arc lamp offer the spatial boundary we needed to feel like this is the zone for relaxation and comfort. Under the console table is a gorgeous large basket that actually holds most of our son’s big trucks, balls, and toys. The Design Expert did an amazing job integrating beautiful storage solutions in multiple areas.

─────   SHOP THE ROOM   ─────


We couldn't have built the playroom and family room of our dreams without the guidance and expertise of Crate Design Studio. Let me know what you love most about our new design in the comments and any questions you have about the process. If you've been wanting to revamp your home or children's playroom, sign up here to start with Crate Design Studio virtually!


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