House Tour: The Play Room (Process)

We moved into our forever home at the end of March 2015. We loved the layout, the potential for space, and the upstairs hardwood floors, laundry and two walls of windows in 2 of the bedrooms were (literally) breath taking.

But down in the basement … well. It wasn’t quite so lovely.

(The following is the story of the playroom & the process – the finished photos are coming tomorrow, followed by a post on how to organize a playroom for a creative kid on Wednesday!)


The wide open space featured a bar with a fridge in the wall. This was actually kind of exciting, until we realized that we’re homebodies who rarely host, and when we did host, it wasn’t in the basement.

I opted to turn the back half of the basement into a studio-office for my creative and skilled wife:

Before – the back half, featuring an open hole in the corner for a sump pump, some really horrible green paint and a bunch of stuff. The bar had been moved at this point.

She had taken up sewing but was fighting with the cat to keep her fabrics and projects in order. Plus, I couldn’t handle seeing the piles on projects-in-progress (I’m a little difficult in that department, although my studio-office is worse!) and at the time, Kingsley was just starting to get into EVERYTHING. I put up some walls and built her the studio, with the intention of finishing the other half of basement so that it was one long family room.

And then we thought, hey, someday we may need an extra room for an office or bedroom. Before I knew it, we were pregnant and rooms started shifting around! Upstairs, we had a playroom that we’d never decorated – it was just a dumping ground for toys and stuff. It was originally the master, but we took the room with bigger and better windows for our bedroom, so the option was either: No more playroom, Baby gets Kingsley’s room, and Kingsley gets a gigantic bedroom and ends up being a spoiled brat who melts down in a couple of years when he needs to share; OR, I move my office-studio out of the tiniest room and into the current playroom and Baby gets my office as a room – still no playroom. So we went with that option, because we decided: if I am going to finish the drywall in the unfinished section of the basement, I might as well build the extra room and we can make it a playroom for the next ten years or so.

I spent less than $300 to build the wall, buy paint, and make it complete.playroomprocess.jpg

It started with this wall in the summer, and I only finished the studio-office. The rest was unfinished. I had to mud, sand and paint. But we were adding a room, so it was a bit more.


So, I took out a part of the massive hearth we no longer needed:



… and added a wall:


This is the view from the bottom of the stairs, looking across the family room and into the playroom:


I had a very skilled assistant throughout the job:


The door is wider than a typical door. We did this to allow for the natural light to flow through the playroom, where there’s a window, and into the family room, as well as the allow us to see in more easily. Coming this summer, I’ll be adding a sliding barn-style door.


Next, I painted out the brick – first, with a primer, and then with a latex paint:



The next job was to paint in the bottom of the mountain peaks:IMG_6238.JPG

Once this dried very well overnight, I taped out the hard edges to create a sleek look, before painting the top.


Then came the top portion. We always paint our ceilings the same colour as our walls, for a number of reasons: it makes an easier paint job, it is way nicer than white ceilings, and it creates the illusion of height – a definite plus in the basement. Oh – and if you’re worried that a dark colour in the basement is a bad idea, then don’t worry. It’s actually a great idea!


The first coat was finished. This colour required 3 coats on the white primed walls, but only 2 where the darker wall colour already was. In retrospect, I should have tinted the primer a darker colour.


The next step was to build the mantle on the fireplace. This wall used to have barn board on it, so I wanted to pay homage to this in a small way and create a mantle to hold books and paintings out of the board board. It was a simple construction. I  attached a 2×4 to the wall, sitting it just over the bits of brick that stuck out where the shape changed. The, I drilled one foot long 2x4s along the piece, and added another 2×4 on the edge of the 1 foot pieces. I secured it all with additional screws until it felt sturdy.


Next, I cut a piece of barn board down to size for the top and used a finishing nail gun to attach it.


Want to see the rest? Check in on Sunday for the reveal!

2 thoughts on “House Tour: The Play Room (Process)

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