October 12, 2010

On to the Next

What's that phrase, no rest for the wicked? I must be crazy bad then because even as the dust settles from the chaos from the last month, my fingers are itching to tackle just one more project. No I promise, then I'll take a break. Ok I wont. But that's what I tell myself, and Will, and the kids. After this one, we'll take a break. After I fix up the kids closet, I'll rest. (HAHAHA!)
This project has been on my radar for a while now but we've been so engrossed in other things that I haven't gotten very far. But now that the house is (mostly) painted and while we decide what we are doing siding wise with the mudroom (could take months) I'm going to get moving on this. Because here's the thing.

When I was a girl I had probably the most fantastic bedroom possible. No, it wasn't one of those frilly, decked out rooms. In fact, the furniture wasn't fancy, well made, well loved, but no canopy beds or jeweled mirrors. The decorations were pretty basic, I chose wallpaper with my mom and after that my parents pretty much let me run with whatever. It was the room itself that was so great, and most specifically, the closets. Yes, closets. Plural. I had two closets as a kid. I know, you're jealous. I'm jealous.

But it gets better. One of the closets was HUGE. I mean gigantic. It was as long as a normal bedroom and about a third the width. It was so big it had it's own window. Along one side were enough bookshelves to satisfy even my book obsession and a long hanging bar where I was supposed to hang my clothes (but didn't, it was so much easier to leave them on the floor) The other side was lined with deep, over sized drawers, big enough that even at seven or eight I could fit inside one with all of my dress up clothes and still close the thing. I'd like to say that closet was wasted on me back then and that I would appreciate it more now, but I don't think that's really true. I loved that closet back then. I could spread out my games into it, shove all the stuff I was supposed to be putting away in it and, best of all, when it was just too freaking cold to go outside (it was Northern Idaho, so that happened frequently) I would put one of our old green nylon sleeping bags at the entrance to the closet and run at it from the other side of the room, hopping on as I reached the bag and sliding wildly all the way down to the end where a pile my pillows kept me from getting a concussion whacking against the wall.

So that was closet one, but as I said, there was another closet. A teeny, under the eaves closet that was the real gem for me. It was my castle, my tree house, my ocean cave and my cottage in the woods. I spent hours in there, not caring that it wasn't really even a finished space. The insulation poked out in places, the floor was plywood (probably put down by my dad so that I didn't fall through the ceiling below) and a single bare bulb hung from the ceiling. I loved it. My little yellow kitchen was kept in there along with my most precious treasures. Rocks and feathers and a freeze dried turtle that my parents thought was gross but that I loved. A raccoon skin, a cat skull, a giant set of letter stamps that I made my own newspapers and stained most of my clothes with. My favorite dolls and favorite books. I once almost burnt down our house in there when I hung strawberry shortcakes dress over the bulb so that it could be my "darkroom" where I developed pictures in the cracked sink of my play kitchen. It was my space. All mine.
I want my kids to have that. When we moved in, Briton and Evie choose to share a room and have a playroom. And when Will and I started working from home they lost the playroom so that we could have an office. They haven't minded at all. In fact, they seem to prefer having their toys in their room where they can sneak them at night and play when they are supposed to be asleep. But they don't have a space that is just theirs, no grown-ups allowed.
Their closet is tiny and under the eaves much like mine, and when we moved in it was one of the first places that they hung out. In there all by themselves with a lantern and a bucket of toys. I've been planning to make it a real "space" for them for a while, have gone so far as to move out all the clothes and junk and put in the play kitchen and a few other things. But that's about it. Briton and I have decided that it should be a house. A house inside a house. So that is next on the ticket. Because I want them to look back and remember that they had that magical, special place where they could play and dream and laugh. All kids need that.

I'm thinking they need a little faux window and a braided rug and a cookoo clock. I'm obsessed with the cookoo clock idea for some reason but haven't found one yet (well, not one I'm willing to put in the closet for the kids to mess with). They have the kitchen and a little rocking chair and Evie has her doll high chair. There isn't much room for more but some small things could be squeezed in. I want to do something fun with the back wall, something red. Maybe stencils? Maybe wallpaper? Probably not wallpaper actually since my budget is ZERO, but something. And they need a light. Because it's dark in there. But any ideas would be much appreciated. What do you think?