My Back Bay Project: The Boys' Room

As a mentioned in my last post, the goal of the remodel of my best friend's Back Bay house was two fold; make it beautiful and more functional. When looking at the finished home, I don't think there is one room that exemplifies our success in those two areas as much as the boys' room does. Together, we took a lackluster space that barely could sleep two small boys and made it into a room that can easily sleep two teenagers, has more than quadruple the storage, and one that has a homework area. Oh, and it's pretty damn beautiful if I do say so myself. I think it's one of my most dramatic makeovers (EVER) and one that I couldn't have done without my BFF and her husband. Read on to see more of this incredible transformation!

Before  // After

This room, which is about 12 x 14 feet, started as a nursery for one. The furniture was small in scale and was perfect for an itty bitty boy and his itty bitty baby clothes. Over time the baby grew and along the way my my friend added three more kids to the mix, and when their last daughter was born, their middle son moved in with his older brother. My friend wasn't sure what they wanted to do with this room so at the time they just made it work, stuffing as much as they could into the tiny closet and existing furniture pieces. They bought a small bunk bed so the boys would have room to sleep and for a few years they were able to make this room work. And then, as kids do, those boys grew.

Before // After

When we started this room we had already wrapped the living room and master bedroom makeovers, and we were both really excited to finish up the kids' rooms so they would match the rest of the house. I have to admit, looking back I was really nervous about starting this phase. I knew it was going to involve a lot of construction and that I was going to need to make a lot of decisions that were not only expensive, but ones that were also permanent. It was a little overwhelming but my friend had my back and honestly, I'm pretty sure that was the only thing that kept me going. 

This room was challenging because it was just so small. I looked at it over and over and just couldn't figure out how we were going to get two beds that could sleep teenagers and a ton of storage in this room, and, oh yeah, her husband really wanted a desk as well. I tried over and over to think of a solution and really couldn't come up with anything. Luckily, my bff's husband had a plan. One night he got this crazy idea: what if we remove the closet and put oversized bunk beds in it. This would free up the corner space (where I had envisioned the beds) for a wraparound desk and we would be able to use any leftover wall space for built-in storage. It was perfect, it was genius, and once I heard the plan I was 100% sure it would work. 

Before // After

So, we did just that. They coordinated the construction with the contractor and I went to work on the finishes. While I was unsure how to make the space work logistically, I was one hundred percent sure that the key to making this room work aesthetically was paint all the new built-ins the same color. This is something people sometimes shy away from because they think it will make a room look too matchy-matchy, but what it does is make it look uniform and make everything visually disappear. When you are dealing with a small space, this is the one thing that can make it look larger. Seriously, if you take anything away from this post- this is it. 

The question was, what color should we paint the room. Most people think small spaces need light paint, but I definitely don't think that's the case. I often use dark paint in small spaces, and I've found that even if you do the walls AND the ceiling, it's still going to make the room look big. The bonus is that it will also make it look cozy. I had dreams of doing this entire room in navy and luckily, my best friend and her husband didn't even blink and eye when I suggested it. I had picked another blue that was a little brighter, but at the last minute I got cold feet. I had seen this shade, Farrow and Ball's Stiffkey Blue, online and I loved how rich the color was. I made the switch a few minutes before the paint was purchased and I'm so glad I did because it feel like this color was made for this room! 

Once the first coat went up, I went to work in choosing the accessories. I knew I wanted this room to scream "boy" and considering how much these kids love sports, I really went for it. I choose simple blue and white bedding, and sheets that had football plays on them that you could really only see close up. I chose a simple blue and white stripe fabric for the roman shade and used the leftovers to make some cute pillows for the boys. I really wanted to warm up the space so I choose hardware, lighting, and accessories all in brass. To give it a bit of a "manly" feel, I brought in the leather chair and the wood shelves. In my head I had a bit of a "man cave" going, and had selected a brown, wool, zebra rug, but again at the last minute decided that this room needed a little pop. The rug is from Jonathan Adler, and when I saw that you could customize it in Union Jack, I knew I had found my winner. I then had a vintage inspired football poster framed to bring in some more color. Most of the accessories were ones that the kids already owned and it was just a matter of styling the shelves with them.

football  bookends  //  poster  //  pencil case  //  shelving  //  desk chair  

This is a room where the construction is really the star and I wanted to make sure to highlight that with the decor. We took a room that was basically unusable for the boys and left them with one that is beyond functional. They have more than enough storage for their clothes and sporting goods, two beds, and a desk but beyond that they have a room they can really grow in. The best part is that there is still ample space to run and play. I'm so grateful to my bff's husband for his genius plan to put the beds in the closet and it just goes to show that there are no real rules with design. You do what you can with the space you have and if you are super luckily, you can get a room that is as beautiful as it is functional! Xx

photography by Sabrina Cole Quinn Photography