If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I took a train into New York City on Monday to visit the #nodfamilyhome — a gorgeous 5-story brownstone furnished entirely by The Land of Nod. While I was there, I got a sneak peek at Nod’s Spring ’15 collection (amazing!) and got crafty with the incredibly talented Lotta Jansdotter.
I had so much fun exploring the kid-friendly home and getting ideas on how to create spaces that are both playful and sophisticated. While I was there, however, I started feeling nostalgic for our house in Omaha, especially for the boys’ rooms and our basement playroom. Our home wasn’t architecturally interesting or even that fancily furnished, but it served us well over the years as our family grew and changed.
Earlier this year, I shared a glimpse of the basement playroom makeover that began in the spring of 2013, but at the Nod house I realized that I never posted the entire reveal. We spent a lot of time in that room as a family, and it’s one of the spaces I miss the most in our Omaha home.
If you remember, the basement was originally a dark, masculine man cave with maroon and taupe walls. The first thing we did was paint the walls. I would’ve also liked to have painted the wood trim a bright white, but unfortunately, trim work wasn’t in our budget.
The color palette — teal with cheerful red and yellow accents — was inspired by a Julia Rothman poster that hung in our dining room. We wanted the basement to feel playful but not juvenile, and one of my favorite things in the room was that very adult-looking Land of Nod rug. The color and pattern were unexpected in a playroom yet worked so well to anchor the space.
For toy storage on the left side of the couch, we jazzed up two simple pine storage units from IKEA with glossy red spray paint. The white plastic buckets held art supplies (washable markers, construction paper, stickers, etc.), plastic musical instruments, wood building blocks, hand puppets, and an assortment of balls. We used an empty clear food container (protein powder, I think!) for crayons.
Hanging in the opposite corner was a Land of Nod’s canopy playhouse — and no, there’s nothing wrong with using a pop of pink when decorating for boys! Levi loooooved his tent; he’d make us all take pretend naps inside of it with pillows, blankets, and stuffed animal “friends” to snuggle. It also doubled (tripled?) as a house and as an airplane when we played make-believe airport.
Preschoolers have the best imaginations.
Of all the basement toys, Levi’s play kitchen probably got the most use. His food was stored inside the oven and on the red Jenny Lind bookcase next to the sofa. He loved preparing meals for us (he even set the table!) and would make coffee to order with his pretend Keurig machine. Although now we probably need to buy him a pretend Chemex…
My parents have a 1980s plastic Little Tikes kitchen and refrigerator set in the basement, and all of the food and dishes get tossed together in a big storage bin. At our house, I was (surprisingly) anal about sorting Levi’s kitchen toys when he finished playing — with his help, of course. Taking a cue from his Montessori schooling, it was important to me that there was a sense of order in the basement, that it wasn’t overrun with toys, and that Levi knew exactly where to find what he looking for.
This 9-cube bookcase first lived in Levi’s closet and then in my closet before finding its way into the basement. I moved it downstairs because I wanted another piece of white furniture besides the coffee table to brighten up the room. Directly across from the couch was a hulking black storage unit/filing cabinet that we also used as a TV stand. I chose not to include a photo of it in this post because, truthfully, I didn’t care for it in the space.
If you look carefully in the photo below, you can see some of the TV wires coming out from behind the white chair. That chair, which sat opposite the red Jenny Lind bookcase, served dual purposes: for seating and to conceal a wall outlet next to Levi’s play workbench. We also used the ikat storage bench as a seat, but mostly it served as additional counter space when Levi was “cooking.” (We ate a lot of strawberry pancakes, hamburgers, and birthday cake.)
And there you have it! Our basement playroom back in Omaha. If we hadn’t moved, I would’ve hung more artwork on the walls, swapped out the coffee table for something a little more baby-friendly, and replaced the big black filing cabinet/TV with something that worked better aesthetically. And if we were planning to be there longterm, I might have even replaced the god-awful overhead fluorescent lights.
What else can I tell you about the room? Since this is my first “home tour” post, I’m not sure if I’m missing anything important! Please leave a note in the comments if you’d like me to share anything else about the basement playroom.
And if you are inspired by any of these images, please pin them!
- Tidewater (top) and Lagoon (bottom) paint, c/o Sherwin-Williams
- Sofa, Nebraska Furniture Mart (similar, here)
- Coffee table, IKEA (similar, here)
- Rug, c/o The Land of Nod (similar, here)
- Upholstered storage bench, c/o The Land of Nod
- Photo collage, c/o Minted
- Storage units with drawers, IKEA
- Table and chairs set, IKEA
- Canopy playhouse, c/o The Land of Nod
- White chair, West Elm
- Hape Master Workbench, Amazon
- White stackable 9-cube organizer, Home Depot
- Mirror, Bombay Company (similar, here)
- Hape Gourmet Kitchen, Amazon
- Table lamp, Target (similar, here)