When eight people share 1,600 square feet of living space, every corner counts. Our farmhouse is a two-story home, with a kitchen, living room, dining room, and bathroom on the main level, and 4 bedrooms on the upper level. At the top of the stairs, separating the master bedroom from the other three bedrooms, is a hallway nook. Wider than just a hallway, but not big enough to really do much with. Over the past 7 months that we’ve been living here, I’ve had various ideas for how to use this nook because dead space is not an option. The prevailing idea was to turn this hallway into a book nook.
This would serve two functions. 1) It would keep the ever-present book mess out of bedrooms and off the floor, making the bedrooms easier to tidy, less cluttered and freeing up space for other needed items. 2) It provides a secondary gathering space for the kids as well as a quiet place to read if younger siblings are napping in the bedrooms. This way, no matter where younger siblings are in their nap and play schedules, the older kids will always have a space reserved for reading to retreat to.
My only regret with this makeover is I didn’t get a proper “before” picture. I was sure I went around and took pictures of the entire house so I would always remember how it looked when we first moved in. Well, I took two pictures of the stairway, and none of the hallway nook. Apparently I thought the future stairway makeover was going to be really interesting. The stairway picture is a terrible “before” picture of the nook, but it’s all I’ve got. At least you can (sorta, maybe?) get an idea of where this nook is oriented and that it was just an empty, off white corner in our upstairs hallway. The master bedroom is around the corner to the right, while the three kids’ bedrooms are to the left. At the top of the stairs and to the right is our subject nook.
With the exception of the old, gross floor, which will soon be new carpet, and the old wood trim, which will be replaced with new white trim, here is the kids’ new book nook.
Ryan designed and constructed these rustic shelves for me. After Ryan cut the wood, I sanded and stained the pieces. These shelves were the perfect opportunity to work some walnut into this space, which we’ve selected to contrast the white trim and cabinetry we’re installing throughout the home.
I repurposed a galvanized tub for a book basket. I stenciled “books” on it and placed it under the shelves. This will be used for library books, keeping them separate from the books we own.
I decided to continue the soft teal, orange and earthy green colors of my kitchen throughout the shared spaces of our farmhouse. I just love how fresh, clean and cheerful this combination feels. I painted Frosted Jade from Behr on the walls and added in stripes on the angled ceiling. I love stripes. I have ways to work them in some fashion into pretty much every room of the house. 🙂 I threw a trio of bright orange bean bag chairs in the corner. I chose Farm Fresh from Behr to paint green letters for the wall. (OK, I may or may not have chosen that paint color based on the name alone.) The plain green letters didn’t feel fun enough for this kids’ space, so I made a lighter tone of green by adding in some white paint, then splattered it across the letters. I went back a second time and splattered with plain white paint.
This hallway is dependent on the bedroom windows for natural light, so when doors are shut for naptime, it can get dark. To solve this problem, I attached tap lights with Velcro to the angled ceiling to brighten up the book nook. These lights give off the perfect amount of light, effectively illuminating the space without having to open up the walls to run wire.
All in all, the kids are happy with their book nook. They use it daily and have been keeping it tidy. I’m enjoying having yet one more space in my house looking a bit more updated and inviting. It’s like a little oasis of style, color and organization in this desert of plain, off-white, dysfunctional mess. Each room completed gives me more hope that this house is not yet a lost cause.