Over the summer, I met a beautiful family of five in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas. They gave me the honor of designing my first gender-neutral playroom in their upstairs loft. From the very beginning, I was committed to knocking the project out of the park!
Originally from California, the Ortiz family built their home in the suburbs of San Antonio a few years ago. They reached out by email looking for assistance with designing their upstairs guest suite and a playroom for their three children under 10. From the minute they invited me into their home, I immediately noticed their eye for unique, colorful pieces and stylish décor that reflected their Hispanic culture.
As we arrived upstairs, I began to take it all in. The loft space had a small red sectional sofa and mounted TV on one side of the room, and toys, dress-up clothes and tons of toys on the other. It reminded me a lot of my sister-in-law’s playroom for her three kids – filled with items the children did play with and many toys they didn’t. The loft also served as an entryway to a half bath, guest suite and theater room, so whatever furniture we added could not obstruct those paths. The walls were bare with the builder’s original neutral paint and the large windows covered with white shades.
The Ortiz family had several asks for the new playroom:
Create a fun, colorful, gender-neutral space for three children to grow into
Custom built-in bookshelves, window seat and adequate storage
New furniture including seating, TV console and work table with chairs
Open to purchasing new sectional, repurposing living room sectional or new sofa and loveseat/sitting chairs
Incorporate culture, heritage, Fiesta and/or Disney characters in décor
San Antonio is famous for their two-week Fiesta celebration every April. The city is adorned with papel picado (or "perforated paper”) for this and many occasions year-round just as they are traditionally strung together to create a banner in the streets of Mexico. Originally I thought it’d be the perfect theme for the playroom to give the space a colorful look and festive feel. As I learned more about the family, they shared their love for Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo and Disney characters, cruises and movies, especially the movie, Coco. For those who haven’t seen it (I hadn’t yet either at the time), the movie is about a 12-year-old Mexican boy named Miguel who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living. His shoe-making family shuns Miguel’s passion for music, but he finds himself and discovers his ancestor’s same love for music along the journey. Fun fact: Coco is the first major budget film (nine figures) to feature an all-Latino main cast. Since being released in 2017 before Día de los Muertos, it’s grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide. Once I finally sat down and watched the movie (and cried about four times, it’s SO SO good!), we’d found our theme! It was time to bring the new playroom space to life!
Originally, the plan was to have a carpenter or contractor come in and build custom white built-in bookcases and storage around the four windows in the space. There’d be a window seat for the kids to sit on with baskets or drawers underneath and we even considered built-in desks and cabinet space on each end for the children to grow into. But after considering the additional costs, time and permanency of the construction, we decided we’d go with a less expensive alternative by adding stand-alone shelves from Wayfair in the reading corner and we’d create seating and storage with benches, baskets and a new TV console all found at Home Goods a few miles away. We painted the window wall Amidship, a beautiful blue I found in Lowe’s in the HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams collection. It would also be a perfect match for the new TV console and two colorful throw pillows I purchased for the sofa when the project first began.
Besides the sectional sofa that was brought in from the downstairs living space, most of the larger items in the playroom were ordered online. We purchased the sputnik chandelier and egg chair for the reading corner from Wayfair, and the new mid-century modern table for homework, coloring and crafting from Target. The beautiful Indonesian ikat rug from West Elm was our most expensive purchase, but its durable and shed-resistant design will outlast every activity imaginable for many years to come (it’s also now on sale if interested!). Once most of these purchases arrived, we went on a shopping trip to find some final decor elements to complete the room. Between At Home, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby and Target, we were able to locate everything we needed to decorate the remaining walls and surfaces in one afternoon. During my last visit at the Ortiz home, I painted an accent wall in the Amidship blue near the reading corner and a Walt Disney quote above the windows to give the space an unique stamp and personalization. Between all of the bold colors, gold accents and fun toys, there’s not a single design element in the space that won’t catch your eye. Check it out!
Ending 2018 with this project was a big highlight of my year! The Ortiz family is so pleased with the playroom and has already begun hosting play dates and festivities in the new space! The smiles on their faces and knowing they’ll build memories there for years to come brings me so much joy. Looking forward to knocking out the family’s guest room next!
Be blessed and Happy New Year!
Rug – West Elm
Sofa – Bassett Furniture
Pouf – Wayfair
Teepee – Crate & Kids
Curtains – Target
TV Console – Home Goods
Bookshelves – Wayfair
Lighting – Wayfair
Table – Target
Swing – Wayfair
Table Runner – At Home
Wind Chime – At Home
Benches – Home Goods
Vase – At Home
Clock – Wayfair
Picture Frames – Home Goods
Poster Frame – Hobby Lobby
Artwork – At Home
Accent Walls - Me :-)
Professional Photography - Laura Alexandra Photography