Friday, August 23, 2013

Before and After: Princess Palace

For the next installment of "Before and After," I'd like to treat you to a tour of Minnow's room, a.k.a., "Princess Palace."  Only, it's not just Minnow's room; you'll see we've already put two beds in the room because Minnow and Peanut will eventually share this space.  We want Minnow to know from the very beginning that this is their room, not just her room.  For now, we bring Peanut in for story time or to let her hang out on her bed, so Minnow can get used to the idea of a roommate.  It will be quite some time before Peanut is occupying a big girl bed like her sister, but it's never too early to teach the importance of sharing.

First, a refresher of what the room used to look like:

What could be more appropriate for a little girls' room than flowers and bows?  If only the wallpaper and carpet weren't from the year 1971...

Here is a picture of the room once we replaced the wallpaper with pretty pink paint (Benjamin Moore, Unspoken Love) and the carpet with the same ivory wool carpet we laid in the nursery:

And here is the completed room:

There are so many things I love about this room, but my absolute favorite is the beds, because they are my and my sister's oak beds from childhood.  These started as bunk beds and when my sister and I separated into our own rooms, our parents "de-bunked" them and had the bed knobs put on them.  Now that I have two girls of my own, I am so happy to pass down these heirlooms.  Having my bed from home (I slept in my twin bed until I went off to college, and even after, when I would visit during college and law school) in our new house is very meaningful to me.  

In my search for bedding I wanted something playful, in shades of pink, green, and brown, and evocative of nature, because my oldest daughter loves to play outdoors and could spend hours studying a single flower or bird.  This sweet quilt and pillow sham from Pottery Barn Kids, with its depictions of trees, owls, and butterflies, fit the bill.  

With two girls eventually sharing a room and a single closet, we needed a dresser with lots of storage.  The drawers of this chest, from Country Willow Furniture in Bedford, NY, are so deep, I've been able to unpack all of Minnow's clothes from birth to present, with room to spare.  I love that the dresser is two-toned; the body is antique white and the top is stained a honey-oak.

On top of the dresser, these charming owl bookends, from Pottery Barn Kids, support some of Minnow's favorite Dr. Seuss volumes.  

More reading favorites, and some cherished literary characters, are displayed in this adorable Land of Nod dollhouse bookcase, which Minnow received on her second birthday.  I like the dual functionality of this piece, and look forward to the day when the girls kneel beside it and play together.  

Perhaps the biggest splurge in the Princess Palace is the bejeweled chandelier.  My husband saw it hanging in the showroom at Country Willow Furniture and said, "We have to have that!"  It was amazing, because it was exactly what I was thining, but didn't dare say.  It was a splurge because not only did we have to purchase the chandelier and the lampshades (sold separately), but our electricians also had to install a light box in the ceiling and a dimmer switch by the door so that this very necessary lighting fixture could function.  

The wall hangings above Peanut's (top) and Minnow's (bottom) beds are original photographs taken by their grandmother and presented to each girl on the day of her birth.  I love that the photographs are very different, but complementary, as we hope our daughters will be.  

As in the nursery, we opted to do quasi-custom cordless accordion shades, rather than drapes, in the pink room because I'm a freak when it comes to baby-proofing.  On top of the nightstand, which matches the dresser, is a ceramic Blessed Mother nightlight- another relic from my childhood.  I'll tell you one thing I hate about this room: the AC unit in the window.  Unfortunately, installing central air in the house is a project for many years in the future.  Until then, we'll have to sweat it out.  

Besides the nursery, the girls' room is probably my favorite redesign in the house.  Isn't it good to be Princess?

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