Before and After: A Long Narrow Room Becomes a Montessori-Inspired Haven for Two Siblings
Only a few months after buying our first home and moving into this 1927 fixer-upper, I found out that I was expecting my second child. We knew it was going to be a big project, but we didn’t realize just how urgent it would be for us to transform this darling little house into a home for two little ones. So almost immediately, we shifted gears and got to work on a shared nursery and toddler room for our now 2.5 year old son, Adam, and 3.5 month old daughter, Edie.
Our project started with a truly blank slate. The house had been left relatively untouched since it was built in the 1920s, except for one renovation in 1970. It was a year that ushered in sea foam green paint and sad, matching drapes. But the best part? Lifting up the filthy brown carpeting to reveal the original hardwood floors beneath. It was a few hours of labor with a huge reward. And it’s also how we discovered that this massive bedroom was originally two rooms with closets between them (and at one point, there was even a commode in there, yikes). And while we do hope to eventually replace the walls in hopes of restoring the home to its original state, we’ve decided to take advantage of this large, light-filled space for now.
The main inspiration for the decor was actually born out of my interest in the Montessori method. Our son goes to a Montessori school where they’ve really inspired us to transform our own home into a space designed for independent learning. The basic idea being that we can shrink everything down to a child’s size so that they have easy access to all of their toys or activities, including their bed and clothes.
Since the room is relatively long and narrow, I knew that I would need a big feature to separate the room into two distinct spaces. The answer? This adorable house frame for the floor bed. It’s fun and whimsical for the kids, but also works as the perfect room divider while still allowing lots of light to fill the room. I didn’t use a pattern, but this is a really great tutorial by The Hanna Blog.
With the bed in place, it was just a matter of finding some low shelves to fill with books and activities. I tend to find a lot of inspiration in European decor, so I was immediately drawn to these large art posters by Swedish brand, Fine Little Day. They were originally a part of Adam’s nursery when he was a baby, and I love the way they’ve transitioned with him into his toddler room.
Keeping in line with the floor bed, we decided to construct a child’s size garment rack so that Adam can dress himself in the mornings. I don’t have a DIY example for this, but it was very simply drafted-up with supplies from the hardware store. We duplicated the design on a smaller scale to use as a wooden play gym for the nursery side of the room.
Since Edie is still quite young, we decided to go with a more traditional nursery for her side of the room until she’s big enough to start crawling. The crib and dressing table are by Babyletto and were purchased when Adam was a baby. With our first nursery, we used a lot more bright colors and juvenile themes, which I really did enjoy.
But the second time around, I decided to be a bit more practical with some of my design choices, so I picked a rocking chair by Nurseryworks that can easily transition to any other room in the house. And rather than something specifically for a baby, I found a vintage-inspired shell mobile that could also be at home amongst the greenery in our side patio.
Both area rugs are indoor/outdoor poly kilim rugs (by Kosas Home, which you can find at Overstock) that are easy to clean and durable enough to take a beating, but that can also be used in any room of the house well after they are babies. From there, we simply filled the room with lots and lots of house plants for a very calm and organic feel that is so perfectly pleasant as the evening light starts to pour in.
This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before & After: A Long Narrow Room Becomes A Shared Solution