Brave New Home

creating authenticity where it matters most

Home Tour: Toddler Loft


We’re off to the second room in our place that I set my sights on decorating.  And by decorating, I mean adding functionality and de-cluttering cause it was a disaster in there!  This was technically Anak’s room, but when we initially moved in we put the crib in our room for easy access so this room quickly became that catch all for all our junk.Here’s a photo I took when we went on our first walk through with our real estate agent, Kin.  Happy memories : ]  And can I just say that I credit our find to my wonderful husband?  We spent weeks looking at places.  Nothing we wanted was within our price range, what we could afford was outside of our comfortable commute range and we were getting outbidd by investors.  I threw in the towel and said, “Your turn.”  And he found us this gem.  So thanks, Hubs!  You single-handedly found me an avenue to spend even more money!Some progress.  I wish I had some photos of the room when just entering was an obstacle course in and of itself but I don’t make a habit of taking photos of our messes.   Finally, some real progress!Again, a photo from our walk through.  And more progress!  Our toddler loft is also the laundry room.  We were able to score both the washer and dryer for $400 altogether from one of our real estate agent’s other clients who was moving from electric to gas or something like that (or is that just stoves?  Does that make any sense?).  I really wanted an in-unit washer and dryer and I didn’t shed a single tear about having to forgo some additional closet space for it.Let’s see…let’s get into some of the elements in the above shot.  We picked up the dresser from Craigslist for $20 and spray painted it with Rustoleum Sunshine Yellow. I like yellow, what can I say!  It took about three cans of spray paint so the total cost of the dresser came out to about $28.  After painting it, I was soooo over painting furniture ever again.  I had grand visions of buying and refinishing furniture for our entire home but those dreams were quickly put to rest.  Or to rest until I forget about how painful painting furniture is (kinda like childbirth!).  The waiting between coats was killer!  Luckily, we didn’t get dinged by our HOA for having my little project on our balcony for days.  The crib was also from Craigslist and cost $100.  The bedding was my most coveted baby registry item from Target’s Dwell line.  I was so excited about that comforter set I can’t even tell ya.  I decided on the set well before I even thought about baby names, that’s how excited I was!Here’s another in progress shot if mess constitutes progression (which sometimes it does!).The toy chest is also from Craiglist and was $5 which I thought was a steal but it’s not the best quality.  I sent The Hubs in to meet with the seller and pick it up while I waited with Anak in the car so I didn’t get to see it in-person until after we owned it.  The plan was to add knobs (which I did from leftover kitchen hardware), paint (I got so far as priming), and reupholster (I took off the old fabric but I don’t think this piece was worth investing in any further).  Simply put, this was one of those pieces that we should have politely said ‘no’ to once we saw it in-person.  It’s super cheap quality (something like particle board) and the bottom drawer isn’t easy to open which defeats the whole purpose of having a chest for a child to put their toys away (on the bright side, it’s child proof!).  So this is another place holder item until we find something more functional.  At $5 though, I can’t really say I mind too much.The poster that we picked up for free at the library is another place holder for a DIY captain’s mirror in the works.  The two boxes on top of the dresser for Cleanish and Dirrrty clothes are Ikea drawer organizers with some ribbon and craft paper to dress them up a bit.  I made little labels with index cards and aluminum foil.  And the bunting I made from white twine (Home Depot) and craft paper (Michael’s).  Supah easy once I got them to actually stick on the walls!Look, Domo has a new home!My little gallery wall.  I would have liked to bring the gallery down lower but that would have placed them in reach of Anak which conjures up images of broken glass and…let’s just not go there.  Some of these frames I had laying around and just needed a coat of black spray paint.  Others I picked up at the dollar store.  The prints are from Steve McCurry’s book, Portraits, that I picked up at Costco years and years back.  I thought it was a neat idea to include portraits of just children in a child’s room.  And because the children are from all over the world, it adds a bit of global flare.The lamp is a cheapy from Target (sung to the tune of less than 13 bucks!) but it gets the job done and I actually am quite fond of the design. I painted the art and had The Hubs make a simple wooden frame.  I don’t think the colors quite go with the room and am considering some text art as a replacement.  Design is never done!  The trinket above the art I picked up for like eight renminbi (which equals about a dollar) while horse trekking in Western China.  Here’s a close-up shot.  I loved that trip and am happily reminded of it every time I see this little trinket.  That particular part of China is known for yaks hence the yoke-like wood piece.This is a shot I took while trekking.  Pretty incredible, huh?  You can see why I might be happy to be reminded of that trip.  Back to Anak’s room!Ice Bat!  I <3 Ugly Dolls!  This is another stuffed animal from my collection that started long before I had Anak.  The pillow I picked up from Home Goods.  I love the subtly mustard color and geometric, almost bamboo trellis-like print.My bookshelf styling could admittedly use some help.  But as it stands, it’s oh-so-functional for us!A little piece of art I made out of craft paper.  An “L” for Anak’s first name.  And a live (I took a picture for proof!) plant.  You can see that we secured the bookshelf to the wall.  Earthquakes are very real and expected in our part.Another in progress shot.  A friend of ours had upgraded his shelves for his DVD collection so we inherited two Billy bookcases from Ikea.  I had the idea to turn one of them on their side to create some expedit shelving.  In this photo it’s awkwardly suspended between two walls.  The Hubs sawed off about a half inch and it squeezed in perfectly! The “curtains” are actually shower curtains I picked up form Target for our first/last rental unit.  We have sliding doors for our shower now so these were just sitting pretty in our linen closet.  I made a cut straight down the middle and voila!  Two curtains and no sewing.  I even went so far as using shower curtain rings.  Shhh, it’s a secret!I had the magnent board, also from Ikea years back, and bought some magnetic letters from Marshall’s for $7.  They were tacky in primary colors so I gave them a coat of either orange or dusty blue. The table we were wavering on at Ikea (ugh, where else?  I need to branch out more!) until some other customer came by and sang the praises of this little ensemble.  At $20 for a desk and two chairs, we didn’t need too much convincing. The Hubs made this coat rack from a three dollar piece of wood and four 99 cent hooks.  I love how it’s at Anak’s height so he can hang up and retrieve his own jacket (or dragon costume.  Whichevs).The natural room of Anak’s room adds a youthful and bright feel.  Most of our house is dark espresso wood so this was an intentional decision.Another photo from our walk-through.  You can even see the lock box on the door still.An after shot.  The clock from Target was originally white-on-white but I’m visionally challenged so I could never make out what time it was.  I popped of the face and painted the numbers a dark grey.  It works for now but I’m still contemplating a change.  It was a $7 purchase which makes it easier to take risks on.A good shot to get a sense of the room’s placement/layout.  A lot of our friends dig the open, loft-like feel but unfortunately it means that all the noise we make downstairs travels up.  It makes our karaoke parties challenging, I’ll say that.

I was really excited to decorate this room especially since Anak isn’t much of a critic.  It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized I never really created a nursery; I bypassed that stage altogether (design-wise).  I dunno, there is just something about the learning and interaction that goes on with a toddler that really inspires me.  And when I sense inspiration, I harness it and run with it!

What’s your favorite part of your child’s room?  Did you create the space keeping in mind you would be spending time in there, too?

Author: Jennifer @ Brave New Home

Hi! I'm Jennifer from Brave New Home ( I blog about overcoming fear and transforming a house into a home one DIY project at a time.

12 thoughts on “Home Tour: Toddler Loft

  1. Where did you get that adorable black mini sofa?

    • It’s the Ikea Solsta Sofa Bed. I just did a quick search for it on Ikea and didn’t pull anything up so hopefully it’s still in stock! You might want to keep an eye on Craigslist, I actually found quite a few on there. Retail is $150 and the color is a dark blue if that makes a difference. Hope that helps!

  2. WOW!!! You’ve been a busy girl! I love the transformation. Don’t knock your shelving placement..I thought it looks pretty great (love that little wagon). And that yellow dresser is fantastic. I’ve never spray painted furniture before, I’ve always hand painted with a roller….are you happy with the finish. I may have to consider for a future project if you recommend it.

    • Haha, well not quite. I did a lot of legwork for my blog pre-launch so I have a few posts I keep in my back pocket : ]

      If you’ve never spray painted furniture before, I definitely think it’s worth trying particularly on cheaper pieces that you don’t necessarily care about. I’ve read that some people sand others don’t. I skipped sanding (because I don’t yet have a sander and I’m the anxious type!) and just gave it a nice rub down with a moist towel. The trick to spray painting furniture is to “mist” whatever you’re spray painting and really allow ample dry time. I think I did four coats over four days. There are some spots where the paint flecked off but for the amount of time and money I invested into the piece, I’m quite happy with the results. Oh, and I didn’t prime at all either.

      Good luck and I hope you’ll give it a go!

  3. Jennifer,
    What a great job. I’m impressed with some of your bargains and your vision for making Anak’s room so cute. I’m with you on the furniture painting deal, I always think, Oh I can do that! And by the end of certain projects I’m ready to say never again, until you forget how difficult it was!
    Nice room.

  4. You have a wonderful sense of what you want your home to look like and you share my ‘thrifty’ sensibility. Congratulations to you on a job very well done!

  5. Very nice! I love the yellow accent from the chest of drawers. IKEA does come in handy for kids’ rooms. Keep on sharing your home transformation, Jen – I just love reading your posts! =)

    • Thank you : ] Ikea comes in handy for all sorts of things! I just need to incorporate some other brands so my house won’t look like an Ikea showroom (which sometimes I think wouldn’t be such a bad thing!). Thanks for keeping up with BNH!

  6. OMG, what an beautiful transformation!!!!!! Anak has a very creative and capable mommy. Lucky boy!

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