"When my father in law first visited us in our new home he suggested that we see what was under the stairs and build a play room. After two years of taking on other projects we never thought we could do ourselves, Todd felt ready to tackle a playroom under the stairs.
"He removed the outlet and stuck our camera through the opening to get an idea of what was under there. From what we could tell there was nothing, other than contractor debris and garbage from over 10 years ago. So we cut a hole in the wall and set in on removing a stud, installing the proper support for a load-bearing wall and began to plan the details.
"Knowing that a small door would be too tempting for little boys and their friends to play with (i.e. slam over and over again), we opted not to put a door on this little playroom. That decision also meant that we needed to extend the hardwoods instead of using carpet. This wasn’t too hard to do since we recently put hardwoods in our kitchen to match the rest of the house and already knew what kind and color we needed. It only took one box to cover this room.
"We decided to build a cubby at the foot of the room as it slopes down into such a narrow space and we wanted to have a place to store toys and keep it organized since it is open to the hallway. We installed two small recessed lights, got all of the electrical work in place and hung the drywall.
"Imagine my excitement when Todd was the first to mention that we should wall paper the room (he’s usually against wallpaper in any capacity, but liked the idea of hiding drywall imperfections). While Todd got busy building the room, I was busy looking at wallpapers. We considered a few and since it is such a small room and would only take one roll we looked at some pricier options. We ultimately decided on this wallpaper from Ferm Living. We painted the ceiling Benjamin Moore Sweatshirt Gray to break up the wallpaper and used this same gray inside the cubby.
"Before installing the wallpaper we primed the walls with a water based primer which is recommended. Since Home Depot got rid of their wallpaper section they didn’t have the exact primer that we saw online so we went with a gallon of this one. Parker was able to help with this part which he was more than happy to do. I went to Sherwin-Williams after we primed the walls to buy the supplies we would need to hang wall paper. While there I found out that Sherwin-Williams makes their own water-based primer for wall paper and it comes in a quart size for about $15. I wish we had gone there first, oh well.
"Installing the wallpaper was an interesting experience. The first 10 minutes were frustrating as we tried to figure out the straight line of the wall. Walls and ceilings are never perfectly straight so you have to use a plumb (basically a weight you hang from a string attached to the ceiling) to find the perfect vertical line. You use this to make sure the first sheet is straight and then line each other piece up based on the first one. Corners are tricky (you can’t just wrap a sheet around or inside the corner) and there is a pretty detailed process involved. Thanks to some youtube videos we figured out one technique that made sense for the pattern in our paper and it worked pretty well. Of course, we picked a very hard room to wallpaper especially for our first try.
"We were surprised at how resilient the paper is. We chose a high quality paper so I’m assuming that helps but we would make creases in the smoothing out process that looked like they would never come out, but with a little reworking they always did. Overall, it turned out wonderful and I smile every time I walk by this little room which is probably 20 times a day. Parker loves showing it off to his friends and I like that it’s so close to the kitchen that I can hear the things they say when I'm in there.
"We originally planned on hanging a chalkboard that Todd built but when we put it against the wall I was surprised at how much I loved the wallpaper and didn’t want to cover it up with a big chalk board. Now, we’re thinking of making one of these so it won’t cover up the wall paper as much and doesn’t stick out in an already very small room."
Adorable right? I love that wallpaper so much. A HUGE thanks to Todd and Emily for letting us tour their house and for sharing the process of renovating and decorating a home! I think these two are a great example of how you can get a gorgeous home by spending money where it counts and saving on the other stuff.