Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids

03/07/2013

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

We really loved our last house but sold it so we’d have room for our family to grow. Specifically, we wanted to have more bedrooms so we could continue to provide a home for children in foster care. At our previous home, I designed a room that could suit one or two kids ages birth to five years old, male or female. It was a big challenge, especially with a small room. This room is targeted toward 2-12 year olds in my mind, though we’re keeping an open mind about ages at this point. It felt much easier this time around, I suppose because we already had the super versatile IKEA KURA bed (which can be flipped over to be a low loft bunk bed) and I’m not set on putting a crib and dresser in here…yet. (We do need to add a dresser ASAP, we found out last week.) Other than the bed and bedding, the woodland creatures curtain was the only other element we started with from the previous house.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I chose the green wall color based on the curtain. Also, green is supposed to be soothing and it’s one of my favorites. I read somewhere that mirrors are good for self esteem for kids. Ali loves looking in the full length mirror in her room so I put one in this room, too. It was less than $10 at Target. See that house reflected in the mirror?

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I found this when we were unpacking. I colored this picture in art class in first or second grade. I pray that our next kids will feel at home in this room and at our home. I added some cuddle buddies to the bed.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I started adding bits and pieces to this room without any kind of theme in mind; just using what we had available. A friend gave us the headphones pillow as a housewarming gift. We had the other 2 pillows already. The rockstar flashcards are the only 4 letters I completed when I started designing the series 4 years ago. Maybe I’ll finish it one day…

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

This old acoustic guitar that was a gift from my parents for my 16th birthday narrowly escaped the trash during the move. (Jason’s guitars are a million times nicer so he doesn’t see this as fit to play. However, I think some tween or teen might love it!) We also have a collection of random, discount pile Hatch Show Print posters that I thought could help fill the walls here.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

There are a few vintage ReAbide items living in here. This Florence side table works for now as a night stand.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

And this Mack arm chair (below). Before we moved in, I ordered a Nashville road map. I thought it might work as a big poster for this room. It’s colorful and free (as an AAA member) and I thought it might be neat for kids to see where our house is in comparison to where they used to live. The rug is from a local IKEA reseller. I think it’s the only thing besides the full length mirror that we purchased for this room.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I have a pack and play set up in here. I’m hoping it’ll be enough to convince our case worker that we’re equipped to take a child younger than two. Ali still sleeps in her crib and I don’t have much desire to buy and set up a second crib. If we accept a placement of a younger child, we might consider getting another one at that point…or maybe moving her to a big kid bed.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com  Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

The book ledges also came from the previous house. These books (with the exception of Pop Warhol’s Top…which I don’t recommend) these books were are all specifically chosen to be in this room.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

So a really cool thing happened. This room developed a theme without me even realizing it! I suppose it started with the Nashville map, and then the Hatch Show Print posters, and then the guitar. The headphones pillow and the rockstar flashcards followed suit. The theme that developed—which happens to be something that every child who stays in this room, regardless of age or gender will have in common—is Nashville! Music City. Even the woodland curtains and botanical bedding and rug work. We live very close to a huge park so we see squirrels, owls , leaves and lots of trees in our neighborhood.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

It was important to me that I had thoughtful, personal elements worked into the design of this room. I didn’t want it to feel like a guest room. I want it to be a special room because it’s made for a really special kid…a kid we don’t know yet but I want him or her to feel comfortable, loved and wanted from the moment they walk in. I want him or her to know that we’ve been thinking about and praying for him or her before we ever met.

Here’s the floor plan of this room. It’s about 10×12.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

If you’re putting together a room for foster kids in your house, here are some things I recommend:

• Flexible sleeping arrangements
We have this room set up with a twin bed and a pack and play. Without much trouble at all we could flip the twin bed into a bunk bed and replace the pack and play with a real crib. Sometimes foster parents put together a really nice room for 5-12 year old kids and then God has a sense of humor and their first placement is a newborn. Flexibility is key for foster parents.

• Adequate Clothing Storage
This is one of our home checklist requirements from DCS. I’m hoping to add a dresser before too long but for now, we have a big closet ready with hangers and hanging storage for smaller items. We also keep extra blankets, pillows and sheets in the closet.

• Books and Toys
Admittedly, we don’t have toys in here but we do have a playroom right down the hall. It’s mainly because of the wide age range this room is open to that I haven’t put many toys in here. The stuffed animals are probably nice for any age kid, though. These books have been carefully selected to be in this room: Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care, I Don’t Have Your Eyes, I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, The Little Train That Could, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the Sleep Book.

• Nightlight
Some kids won’t want it on but we have it ready just in case. A new room can be scary and dark. The nightlight is enough to make the whole room visible. We also moved Ali’s constellation turtle light in here because she doesn’t use it anymore. It projects stars on the ceiling for 45 minutes before shutting off automatically. We’re also required to have hallways lit and to have flashlights handy. We got this 3-in-1 night light, emergency light (comes on automatically when the power goes out) and flashlight for our first foster parenting experience. It is in our hallway.

• A Place for Photos
The frame on the nightstand that says “Welcome” is actually a placeholder for a personal photo. Thanks for another foster mom’s suggestion, I also added (after taking photos) a bulletin board with pictures of “Who Lives Here” (me, Jason and Ali with names by our photos) and a photo of our first foster placement with her name and hand print. I will add a photo of each new child under either category.

• Curtains without strings or cords
Another requirement for our home safety checklist—not that we have a curtain but that there are no choking hazards dangling from blinds or curtains.

• Rugs secured to the floor
Yeah, I actually stuck this rug to the floor with rug tape. Another item on our home safety checklist.

• Smoke detector
Our list doesn’t require it to be in the child’s bedroom but there is one in there per codes for a new house build.

• Egress window
Also per codes, in order to be considered a bedroom, a room must have a window that can be opened for escape in case of a fire. Our home safety checklist also requires this.

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New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

03/05/2013

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This is the only room of the house that I couldn’t photograph during Ali’s nap so she’s demonstrating how she uses her room. She loves her pushing buttons on her CD player and yanking the pillow and blankets (for Mama’s comfort) off of her rocking chair so she can climb up in it to look at her books.

Here’s a floor plan in case anyone likes them as much as me. Her room is about 10×11 ft not including the doorway.

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About this room.

I fell in love with colored cribs when I was planning a nursery the first time around. This one (SOMNAT) is from IKEA a couple years ago, no longer available.

The pink blanket in her crib was made for her by her Great Aunt Janice. The white Care Bears blanket was her first baby blanket from her birth mom. The stuffed brown spaniel was bought by us for our first baby, before we knew she existed. The white bear was a gift from the magistrate who granted us custody of Ali. The aardvark was a gift from good friends and her birthday buddy Jonas has the same one.

The hand painted name banner above the crib was an adoption gift from a high school youth group friend of ours.

The flower on the wall and the “A” pillow on the rocking chair were adoption gifts from a co-worker. She made the pillow. The green quilt on the rocking chair was made for Ali by her Great Aunt Linda.

The crocheted toy and the two cross-stitch pieces framed on the wall were made by Nana (Jason’s mom). The butterfly wood puzzle above the frame and the owl wall hooks that hold her backpack were gifts from Aunt Jess (my sister) and Uncle Jeff. The monkey poster was a gift from the same friend who gave Ali the aardvark. The heart banner I made for Valentine’s Day and then moved in here because that big white wall was driving me nuts.

The Eames replica rocking chair was from here. (I love it!)

The dresser, night stand (painted by me) and yellow lamp are vintage. It took me months to find a changing table height dresser that was narrow enough to fit in the kids room at our last house. I’d be happy to have a longer one here now.

The curtains are IKEA and were discontinued. I based the whole color palette of her room on them before purchasing so thank God for eBay! They tie together the blue crib and rugs, pink wall and yellow lamp. The book ledges (RIBBA), rugs (TOFTBO) and toy boxes are also from IKEA.

FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room

New Home Tour: Dining Room

New Home Tour: Den/Playroom


Kids Room: A Theme Developed

02/18/2013

When I started pulling together the bedroom for our next kids, the ones who will join us through foster care, I really didn’t have a theme in mind. I was just trying to use what we had. The woodland friends curtain was from the kids room at our last house and what prompted me to use green for the accent wall color. The bedding was also from the previous room.

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I ordered a Nashville road map from AAA because it was a way to get a large, colorful, free piece of art for the wall. I also thought it might be helpful for older kids to see where our house is in relation to where they used to live.

As I was going through our art collection one day, I decided this room would be a nice place to display our Hatch Show Print posters. (Hatch is a historic letterpress print shop in downtown Nashville that’s famous for their concert posters.) Jason wanted to throw my old acoustic guitar away but I saved it, thinking again about older kids.


As I looked around the almost completed room, I noticed a lot of music related items and considered replacing the woodland friends curtain, even though it had been my starting point. Just yesterday it hit me! The theme of the room is the one thing every kid who lives here will have in common: Nashville. Our house is not far from Hatch Show Print in downtown Nashville. We’re also close to Shelby Park so we see lots of trees, owls and squirrels here. I love when something comes together organically like that.

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(I wrote this post from my phone so please forgive me for their weird formatting and any typos.)


The Nest is 75% Ready

02/07/2013

75% is enough for now. Enough to call our case worker to have her come out and do a walk-through. Enough to make me feel mostly prepared.

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Bedroom for Future Foster Kids Checklist:

• assemble KURA bed
• hang curtains
• hang wall art
• add a rug
• make space in closet for clothes
• dresser
• bookshelf ?
• nightstand
• lamp
• hang book ledges
• mount guitar hook for my old acoustic
• nightlight
• make bed look comfy and inviting

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The Rest of the House Checklist:

• mount TV to the wall in the den
• cover all electrical outlets with annoying plastic caps
• lock up all of our medications and vitamins
• lock up all of our cleaning supplies
• lock up all knives
• lock up all matches and lighters
• secure rugs to the floor (so they’re not tripping hazards)
• make sure we always have bananas
• have and know how to install car seats and boosters for newborn – 8 year olds

Our den/playroom:

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Art for Ali’s room

01/07/2013

I don’t feel like I’m ready to do a “real” photo tour of any rooms in our new house until we have art hung. Is that weird? Ali’s room is the closest to finished. I hung a few more pictures the other day. We still need to get a curtain rod… then I’ll take better photos with my camera! Hahaha… for now, this is how it’s looking with phone photos:

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She loves to look at herself in that full length mirror. She got the owl coat hooks as a housewarming gift from Aunt Jessica and the owl backpack for Christmas from Nana. The alphabet poster below is from Petite Collage. I won it from Design Mom years ago.

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Ali loves monkeys and immediately said, “Ooh ooh ooh!” when she saw this French Paper poster that was a gift from my friend Renata. The needlepoint art was an adoption day gift from Nana. The polka dot blanket on her rocker is a gift from Ali’s great-aunt Janice.

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The flower (below) and the A pillow (above) were adoption day gifts from my co-worker Dawne. The hand-painted burlap name banner is a gift from my high school youth group friend Emily. And you can’t really see it, but the quilt that she sleeps with in her crib was a gift from her great-aunt Linda. Wow! That’s a lot of thoughtful gifts!

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New Home: Kids Room Plan

05/23/2012

At our last house, I designed a combined nursery and kids room as we were becoming foster parents. It had to be suited for 1 or 2 kids, either gender, newborn up to age 5…all within a 10×11 bedroom. In our new house, we’ll have a nursery for Precious and another bedroom that’s set up for our future foster kids. I’m not really sure what parameters we’ll set next time around so I’m planning this room for 1 or 2 kids, boys or girls, ages 2-12. The room is approximately 10×12. We already own the bed, dresser, curtain, book ledges, owl, sheets and chair. The rest would be new purchases.

Sources

1. Sherwin WIlliams Mélange Green – accent wall color

2. Sherwin Williams Greek Villa – other three walls

3. IKEA VANDRING RÄV duvet cover and pillow case $20

4. Woodland shower curtain from Target Home (as window curtain) – no longer available

5. Owl wall art – vintage

6. Dresser – vintage

7. IKEA VANDRING RÄV Soft toy, set of 2 $8

8. Jimco orange lamp with drum shade from Lowes $40

9. IKEA KURA reversible loft bed $199

10. IKEA RIBBA picture ledges (to use as book ledges), x2, $10 each

11. Target Home 325 Thread Count Wrinkle Free Sheet Set – Blue Diamond $28

12. Chair – vintage

13. IKEA RINGUM 2′ round rug in green, x3, $10

Floor Plan (to scale)


Things I Love About This House – Wood Paneling

01/23/2012

One bedroom in our house—the kids room—has wood paneling. Thankfully, it was already painted when we moved in. I wouldn’t choose it for my new house but I have thoroughly enjoyed the texture it creates on the walls, the striped effect. Also, it’s solid wood which makes hanging art and shelving super easy—hooray for no hollow wall anchors!


Thank you, Design Mom!

10/27/2011

I was beyond humbled when Gabrielle asked if she could interview me and feature our kids room in her Living With Kids series on Design Mom. I’ve been a daily reader of her blog for years and have gleaned a ton of inspiration from her and her beautiful family. I even won a giveaway for goodies from Petit Collage through her blog and got the alphabet poster that hangs in our nursery. So click on over there and check it out!


Eames Inspired Modern Rocker

10/26/2011

Recently, I told you about our new rocking chair. Since a few people asked about it, I wanted to share that it’s now on sale for just $107 with free shipping. The price seems to change frequently on this for some reason but I’m not sure I’ve seen it this low.

Baxton Studio Letterio White Cradle Chair

Also, I just signed up to be an Amazon.com Affiliate since I shop on Amazon all.the.time. If you’ve been thinking about buying this Baxton Studio rocker, I hope you’ll consider doing so through the link above. (I get a small kick back from Amazon.)


Rocker

10/03/2011

I was so excited that I have something to share that’s not related to foster care or babies… it’s actually home related and mid-century modern, too! Then I realized it is still very much related to foster care and babies. Oh well. I tried.

Last Monday night I emailed Jason a link and said, “Can I get this? I want to rock my babies.” He replied back, “Yes dear. You can rock your babies in that chair. Go for it. Sweet mama and wife, I love you!” A couple of clickety clicks later on my Amazon iPhone app and it was ordered. It arrived on Thursday. Talk about rockin’ service! It took no more than 5 minutes to assemble and is exactly what I was hoping for. A white plastic-shell Eames replica rocking chair for our kids room. Precious and I have been enjoying it.

PS. If you want to get a real deal Eames rocker, you can buy one through Herman Miller for $479.


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