Maelle’s play space: a work-in-progress

This Spring, we decided it was time to give Maelle a spot of her own downstairs to play. We still had ‘baby jail,’ but we knew its days were limited.

I wish I could say the space is ‘finished,’ but I think it will continue to evolve as she gets older.

We splurged on a teepee from Crate and Barrel, and a carpet from FLOR to define the space. We even had FLOR cut some of the tiles to give us a ‘walkway’ near the stairs so we didn’t have constant foot traffic along one edge.

You can see a tiny bit of baby jail in the lower right corner of the photo, above. Baby jail is no longer downstairs, and is currently a smaller version of its previous self and in our bedroom for the few times I need a shower and Andrew isn’t available to watch her.

We first took down the teepee. While we love it and still intend to use it, it took up a lot of room and she isn’t really old enough to enjoy it. Thankfully, it can be used and will look nice in three different locations in our house: her room, this space, and a potential ‘play room’ in our upstairs office, so I’m not worried about it going to waste. In fact, once we don’t need a changing table in her bedroom, that would be a perfect spot for the teepee.

While I really liked incorporating our regular home decor (the tall accent table in front of the window), it wasn’t the best option. That table has a concrete top and couldn’t easily be lashed to the wall, so to the basement it went. However, without the table and the toy baskets on it, I needed a toy storage solution.

Enter the Ikea TROFAST unit with teal plastic bins for the win.

We’d recently been to Ikea in Philly with Abigail and Marvin, and I fell in love with the piece. It was perfect. Unfortunately, it was out of stock. After much hullabaloo, my father drove AN HOUR to an Ikea in Maryland in order to pick up this unit before their visit a week later. My hero.

I knew I wanted a piece that had a flat top in order to display larger and/or attractive toys, plus baskets or bins to conceal other toys. Bonus: the shallow white bins along the top are perfect for her trays of colored blocks!

Our second acquired piece is the white bench with cubbies for books. Maelle is really getting into her board books, and enjoys bringing us books and sitting and being read to. So, I also wanted to incorporate a place for her books, and Andrew really wanted a place to sit.

Some of what’s there now is temporary. I moved her plastic picnic table inside and covered the top with butcher paper to protect it from crayons when we color out there. However, she’s getting an actual table and chair set for Christmas from my parents (!!!), so once that arrives I’ll put that in its place. The pile of pillow and stuffed animals in the corner will have to go. I’m still considering a ‘bean bag’ chair for the corner to create a cozy spot, but I haven’t won Andrew over on that idea yet. My ultimate goal is to have a space where she can play and an adult can sit or lounge comfortably as well.

I’m getting so excited for Christmas…mostly because I get to experience it through Maelle’s eyes. She is going to have so much fun!

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