Blog, Montessori

CREATING A DREAMY SHARED PLAYROOM AND OFFICE SPACE

Switching our bedroom from the master to one of the junior bedrooms was a decision six months in the making. The battle to stay in there was lengthy, and we fought hard. By day, the scorching summer sun. By night, the glare of a nearby LED street light. Four restless nights in a row with Oliver, the tipping point.

Two days ago we shuffled our bed into the junior bedroom up the corridor from Oliver’s bedroom, previously the office. And transformed the master into a dreamy, bright front room. It gives the feel of a 70s family den or a 90s rumpus room.

Our home is a modern cookie-cutter build; a bit boxy, not quite enough windows and inadequate storage/kitchen space in favour of an expansive master bedroom, walk in wardrobe and en-suite. With an outrageously huge shower.

Sometimes I feel a bit hemmed in – I grew up on a half acre in a renovated cottage. If it’s not too hot, I spend half of the day in the back garden (which we also transformed from a paved in patio to a toddler play oasis).

This new setup is ideal for me. As modern family homes seem to center around the TV and we are seeking to avoid screen time as much as possible, it seems we have found an anchor. A space we can share means a great deal more unity as a family; I can blog and browse whilst Ollie builds with blocks. We can do art together and have snacks at his little table.

Together we can gaze out at the world, watching magpies and passers-by.

My nose is twitching at the fact I can see the drawer knob that Ollie must’ve taken upon himself to remove under the desk in this photo. Anyway! I’m so excited to have a fully functional office space again so I can blog. This is the only piece of furniture that remained from our bedroom. I couldn’t use it during naps or at night after Ollie goes to bed because the ferocious tapping of my keyboard wakes him.

The desk itself is a Marketplace gem, much like Ollie’s shelf, and is a beautifully crafted antique. Just behind the shelf I have a basket full of books.

Oliver’s infant Montessori shelf appears to be a junkyard salvaged bedhead that was advertised on Marketplace as a Montessori toy shelf. If it is, it’s the world’s most inappropriate one. I had to spend hours sanding back crude graffiti. We also cut off the extra tier recently and it serves beautifully as a room separator for the office and play spaces.

I’m not too caught up on keeping things Montessori these days, we stick to a mix of wooden toys and open-ended materials. As you can see, there’s plenty of plastic toys that have crept in – but Ollie loves them, they serve a purpose. The dinosaurs are a particular favourite right now, along with cars and stackers.

We’ve mixed in some Steiner/Waldorf style toys and materials to foster creativity and imagination. I adore our silk scarves and rainbow ribbon, plus they really soften the space. Our quilted Warren Hill french linen play mat – pricey but worth it – doubles as a work mat.

Forgive the unclothed state of my son here, for he is allergic to any and all clothing.

Another Marketplace find! Sensing a theme? I love buying secondhand. This appears to be old IKEA, back when their products were made of solid wood. It’s nicely crafted, and the perfect height for a toddler. We’re big into art lately. The art supplies are on a trolley – I keep any scrap materials I think will be good for craft, and we’ve built quite the poster paint collection.

The table and chairs aren’t from Marketplace but were a secondhand gift from extended family. Jack cut down the legs so that it is toddler height, with plenty of room to grow. He currently uses the stool more than a chair. We do snack time here and more focused, Montessori-style activities. The indoor plant we care for together is really taking off with a hefty dose of vitamin D!

Ollie has an IKEA kitchen in his bedroom, but this one is more for quick play pretend such as cafes and restaurants. I’d really love to add a doll bed here and another small table, perhaps even a child size washing line or ironing board. The block cart is from Ed Resources, and is surprisingly neglected (actual dining chairs are a lot more fun to push about).

Possibly the classiest part of the room is Jack’s space. He built his PC himself. The desk is the double ALEX from IKEA in the now-discontinued blue colourway. I also just checked the website and it has gone up in price by more than $50! (Marketplace is the future)

Hanging on the wall is a Gathre play mat that needs a wash, stat. I believe this is the Midi in Fog. I chuck it under the easel when we do art. Indestructible.

Importantly, everything is toddler height and accessible. He’s never in here unsupervised so there was no need to make it a “yes” space just yet, but it is in keeping with Montessori. Hanging some wall art is the next step! And then onto the front garden, for an even more beautiful vista.

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