**this blog is in no way sponsored by any brand, but was written as a thank you to Amber Nicole Design for giving us her time and talent and Pottery Barn Kids for the sweet Finley Play table***
As with all my blogs, they pretty much start with “I am finally getting around to this”…..so here we go. We moved into our house April 29th, 2019, just 3 days after Hollis, our 3rd child was born. It was insane and totally crazy! A lot of life has happened since then. The only room that is complete in the home is our Playroom….. hilarious right. I fought super hard for this. Hot Ronnie wanted to leave it and get to it later, but I stood my ground and stretched our budget a bit farther than I should have to make it happen. Why you ask? because… WINTER comes every year to Calgary, and it last for 8 months!
Let me paint the full picture for you. The room is long and narrow, super dark and dated, with original carpet, some weird dance floor in the middle of the room, 4 dim lights along the side, and truly endless possibility. It was a mess, but I knew it could be awesome. I dream big – actually pulling a house together and designing rooms is not my thing at all. I just want it done. My goal for our playroom was to have an awesome creative space for the kids to grow into and play in, but most importantly, to use their imagination. I wanted a place where they could dream of travel, future businesses, to color, explore, and create precious memories.
Now most of my audience is from Calgary or Winnipeg so ya’ll get how long the winters are…..basically 8 months of the year. Its cold, and getting the kids loaded up some days just seems way too daunting …so I wanted a fun space that the kids can get to in a matter of steps – no coats required. I come up with these great ideas in my head, but usually have no clue how to pull this all together. Along comes my dream women. Amber Nicole Design.
I met with Amber – someone who I have known for over 15 years, and shared my vision with her over coffee. In less than 48 hours she had whipped up 3 vision boards that captured everything I dreamed of. I wanted something gender neutral with not a lot of colour that included travel, play, and imagination. I fell in love with her vision boards and very quickly picked what I thought would work best – I even let Hot Ronnie weigh in on this.
Now if you watched the video reveal that Marvel put together you will remember the amazing playhouse underneath our stairs – the stairs are dbl wide so we had a lot of space to work with. The team from Marvel worked with Amber to take my ask of having a hole in the wall cut out, to building a pinterest worthy play house that looks straight out of a magazine. It includes a dbl dutch door with the Lewiston heart, outdoor and indoor lights, planters with silk plants, real stone exterior, shutters, and little cozy chairs inside to read and relax in. The playhouse is perfect, and I love having Swayzie’s friends over to enjoy it. It already has gotten so much use.
On the back wall when you first come Amber got pictures of each of the kids blown up and framed. I love that it says this place is welcome for kids and includes them all. The frames are amazing and from Michael’s. We switch between this teepee shown in the picture and our dress rack which was custom built for Swayzie to hang her princess dresses for her birthday.
Next we then have the restaurant and cafe area. Before Lewiston went to heaven, we had set aside some money from our Go Fund Me to make a play place for Swayzie in our old house. We thought Lewiston would come home and wanted a special spot for her and him to play in and enjoy together. Lewiston never did come home, but those pieces we got were an investment, and some great money spent. Everything we purchased has moved to this new house. We selected the kitchen set from Pottery Barn. The Fridge, Stove, Oven and Sink are my fav – I never had a play kitchen growing up so this was a must have for me. I loved playing restaurant when I was little and now Swayzie and I love playing kitchen too. We got this cute Finley play table gifted to us from Pottery Barn Kids Chinook. If you want quality kids items this is the place to go – the staff is absolutely amazing, and they always have such an incredible selection.
Her latest restaurant’s name is “ABC.com” on the menu, it serves burgers and fries for $5,000, or pizza for $100, and has cran and soda’s, or coffee to drink. Super simple, yet pricey. My fav detail is this sign from our dear friend Meryl, at Inspired Findings who custom created this for us.
We have a feature wall where Amber used our names and had them done in a scrabble setting. I love the use of letters. It has been a great tool for Swayzie who is now working on letters and spelling at school. Lord knows I would have never had the creativity to do this.
Amber then added in some perfect baskets for stuffies. Somehow the collection grows continuously so we needed a smart solution for the never ending amount of stuff animals one collects over the years. And a simple way for Swayzie to be able to put them away so I don’t lose my mind.
The back wall has another table, (Carolina Craft Play Table) from Pottery Barn Kids – I bought this table for 2 reasons – it has 2 different heights for legs, so it can grow as the kids grow, and act as a coffee table. It has amazing storage as well, with bins that roll underneath it’s “so convenient”.
We had also purchased a storage solution system from Pottery Barn Kids for our old house – we talked about doing something built in, but we knew it was not our forever home, and I am so glad we invested in a system like this that could move with us to our next house. You can choose different options, open shelves, cubbies, drawers, baskets, doors and so on. We packed this up and brought it straight to our new house, and what do you know, it fits perfectly.
The next wall has a world map on it and is quite possibly my fav wall in the house. I have always dreamed of a map, but with no idea how to make it happen, and make it blend in to the design of a home. This was beyond perfect. Amber sourced so many different options, got a sample, and customized it, for not only our wall size, but the paint color too. This is where a designer comes in so handy. I don’t have a minute to spare, and would have gotten way too impatient and as a result, the map probably would have never gotten done. She nailed it!
On install day she had a full team. It was like another reveal day. We had left town for an overnight camping trip to Sundance Lodges in Kananaski’s, and her team came in and turned the space around in 24 hours. When we came home, we were blown away by the attention to detail. It literally looks like its out of a friggin magazine! She pulled the vision together, took care of all the details, and got creative, so we now have a dreamy space to play, create, and relax in. I love our new home and but especially our new playroom.
The biggest thank you to Amber and her team, to Pottery Barn Kids Chinook, for the help 3 years ago in selecting all of the pieces, and for Finley Play table (it was gifted to us), it has seen many tea parties, and I know, will see many more.