Kids: 6 year old girl, 5 and 2.5 year old boys
Location: Madison, WI
Room Size: 10' x 10'
Meg is the creative force behind the popular blog Elsie Marley and the creative mom behind the three siblings who live in this room. We loved it back when it was just a little nursery for one, then Meg made space for another child, and then another. Sharing a 1,000 square foot two-bedroom home in Wisconsin, this family of five has done more than simply making do with a small space. This is a masterful study in working with what you have, efficiency, resourcefulness and beauty.
Inspired by another 3-in-1 kids' room she saw on Apartment Therapy, Meg was certain that she could make this space work for three kids to coexist comfortably with room for a desk and a dresser. The starting point was the spectacular cloud rail loft bed that Meg enlisted her carpenter brother to make. That's where the five year old sleeps, and big sister sleeps on the IKEA bed below. Baby brother's crib is opposite the clouds. The white changing table has a little surprise when the drawers open, and wooden boxes hold useful stashes in the storage shelves overhead.
Confronted with the challenge of making a small closet work for three kids, Meg made the strong choice of ditching it altogether. Off came the doors and in went an art studio, constructed with cloud bed leftovers. Each child has a dresser drawer and they all share the fourth. All remaining clothing and stuff is tucked away in abundant stealth storage. Linens are stored under the crib along with dolls and puzzles. The hairpin leg ottoman serves as a toy box, and dress up clothes and PJs belong under the twin bed. The underbed storage systems consist of vintage boxes on casters and a rockstar road case found on the side of the road. Here's what Meg told us about bringing together this incredibly thoughtful and fun room for her kids.
What is your favorite element in the room?
The cloud bed is everyone's favorite, but I've discovered I like the big blank wall the best. It allows me to change the room with the season. There really isn't the option of rearranging the furniture in this room, so switching up projects on the wall makes the room seem new again. The waxed leaves we did in the fall was my favorite project so far, but the Christmas tree was good too, and I love the flowers now. I guess I like them all!
What was the greatest decorating challenge?
Actually getting it done! We couldn't work during nap time or after the kids went to bed, because well, the bedroom is where they do both. A little work here and there and nine months later we were finished.
What do your friends say about the room?
They say it looks smaller in person :) But no really, my friends are lovely and they have nothing but good things to say about it.
What is your proudest DIY?
I'm very happy with how the neighborhood map turned out, even though it's not exactly finished yet. I borrowed an overhead projector from a friend and had a map printed onto a transparency (at Kinkos). Then I traced the streets onto an old quilting board that we screwed to the wall. I painted it with acrylic paint and after it dried went over the whole map again, outlining everything in pencil. It is still waiting for railroad tracks and street names and bike paths. I'm sure they will come in time. I also really love the dresser drawers and the art supply storage and of course the cloud bed.
What was your biggest indulgence?
There wasn't really much we spent money on in this room. The cloud bed was probably the most expensive, because of the lumber.
What advice would you give to someone designing a child's room for the first time?
You will need to change up the room every three years or so: a newborn, a 3 year old, a kindergartener, they all need very different things. Try to think about how the room can change to meet their growing needs and possibly your growing family!
If money was no object, what would be your dream source?
If money was no object, I would hop on a plane to Istanbul and go shopping in the Grand Bazaar or maybe to NY to shop at ABC Carpet & Home.
• neighborhood map, cloud loft, art studio desk and supply wall, changing table cover, bumper, lightening bolt balance board: DIY
• twin bed: IKEA
• nightlight, hamper, toy box: thrift store
• dresser, underbed storage, mirror: curbside finds
• cutebot wooden robot: The Century House
• tooth fairy shadow puppet: Owly Shadow Puppets
• art studio chair: TJ Maxx
• rag rug: local hardware store
• fake flowers: Joann's
Thanks, Meg! See what Meg and company are doing and making at Elsie Marley.
(Images: Meg Spaeth)