Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Claire's Reading Nook

I've been working on this space for a long time. Longer than I would have liked, but sometimes DIY projects just aren't always a priority. C'est la vie.

Nearly a month ago I primed, painted, and caulked the wall and repaired the window. A. Month. Who knew that a space so small could take so long, but then again I kept putting it on the back burner for a while. I had some pretty lofty stencil plans after checking out the amazing $5 sharpie project from Owen's Olivia blog. I took inspiration from this amazing project she had completed in her daughters room. It seemed serendipitous that she used one of my favorite patterns: Ikea's Green Birds print (which they, sadly, no longer make). I loved it so much that I purchased a couple of yards on Ebay a while ago so that I could use it for a future project (Or hoard it in my fabric stash. Same difference, really).

My husband and I purchased a projector a few months ago after we had moved in so we could watch TV in our bedroom without having the eyesore of a big screen television on the wall. We also have been fantasizing about hanging a sheet up and hosting movie nights in the backyard. It also would allow me to make my very own Ikea Green Birds stencil in the closet. In my mind, this project was meant to be.

But it just wasn't turning out as lovely as I had hoped. We had a few years of thick, goopy paint on the wall which didn't exactly leave the smoothest texture, and I was too lazy to skim coat the plaster. I started with a Sharpie fine point, but I had difficulty getting a smooth, even line. The stencil felt really thick and heavy, and I just wasn't happy with it. So I bought some Sharpie ultra fine point pens and gave it a whirl hoping it would turn out better. It did look much cleaner, but it still looked like someone drew on the wall. I'm not sure if the Sharpie markers just did not agree with the type of paint I had used ( Valspar Ultra painter/primer in White), but they did not work very well. I had to keep going over the same lines several times to get them to show up, and I was really disappointed. I gave up in frustration, and went back to the drawing board.


I really loved the contrast of the black and white in the closet. And I thought it would be great to not only make this a reading nook, but a fun little place where she could draw, practice her letters, and color. I also added a little bit of fun versatility with the magnetic primer.

Six coats later, we had good magnetism. The can said to use three thin coats, but after reading some "horror stories" about the disappointment that the magnetic paint had been so a few other bloggers I wanted to make sure my $20 can of metallic primer wasn't a total waste. I asked the gentleman at the Lowes counter to shake both cans for me to ensure the paint was well mixed-- much easier than stirring it by hand. Let me also say that the metallic primer was uber smelly. Apparently it's also oil-based paint, and it made quite the mess. My arms and hands qualified me to join the 102 Dalmatians (Ignore the coke nail that I've got going on in the picture above). But we weren't out of the woods, yet. I still had two coats of chalkboard paint to apply.

We still had good magnetism, but we also had quite the dusty mess. Oy! Once I wiped down the walls and added some seating and books, we now had a fun little space for Claire to enjoy. It wasn't the space I originally envisioned, but it turned out to be perfect.

I love the way this has come together, and I cannot wait to see how it evolves as my little one gets use out of it. The seating I provided is a storage ottoman that I purchased on clearance at Target. Its a perfect place to store her basket of Play-Doh and accessories. I also purchased the pink and orange polka-dot magazine holders at the dollar spot at Target. It holds her coloring books and a few smaller paperback books. The garland is something I made for Claire's 5th birthday party this year, and the CS Lewis box set is from my childhood.

I still have a few things that I would like to add to this closet to make it more functional for her, including a few ledges on the bare wall to the right so we can add more books to the space. I'd also like to make the chalk more accessible, so a tray would be great. Maybe a little table that folds up and down from the wall would be nice, too. As she grows older, I can totally see this transitioning into a space where she will do her homework. We might need to add some lighting at some point for that.

I also want her to be able to make more use of the magnetic part of the board, so I want to make some letters kind of like this for her to use:

Found on pinterest via Etsy shop: CrunchyFarmBaby

I think my favorite part, aside from being able to doodle on the walls with chalk, is the ottoman. Got to love multitasking furnishings! What's your favorite part? Anyone else succumb to the chalkboard craze that has been going on lately?

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