Fall of 2020 we realized that our new normal would be mainly spent indoors over the winter season. We live in Canada and we basically have half of our year in a snowy cold winter wonderland. I had an active 2.5 year old that I was nervous to spend the majority of our days indoors with. We utilize the bedrooms and main floor areas, and are privileged to have a home with a designated playroom that we designed with a lot of storage, but I was envisioning big things for our basement!
Our list of wants:
- Separated office/ gaming room for my partner with a door and some sort of sound proofing
- Work space for my business that I was launching, it needed to have counter space for packing orders and lots of storage
- Full bathroom since we already paid extra for the rough ins
- Open area that I can design a gross motor area, dramatic play area, shelving for toys and space for table top activities
My partner spent most of his off season working on finishing the basement and we contracted out the pluming, electrical, custom cabinetry and finishing coat of paint. Thomas moved the rough in to another area of the basement to create the open concept basement we were hoping for, the strapping, drywall, flooring, molding and even made his office desk out of steel and concrete.
Since finishing our basement and sharing little moments in my stories many have asked how I put Amadeo’s space together and how I set up each area for intentional play. So I thought I would throw this blog post together to share the finished product and how we use the space on a day to day basis. As we find ourselves as parents evaluating and pivoting how we utilize the spaces in our home to accommodate spending more time inside this can provide some ideas for our own projects.
When you enter our basement you come into the gross motor area of play. We have beautiful local handmade items from Wood By JL,they have always been fabulous to work with and they’re the sweetest parents who live just outside of ottawa. The pikler triangle with the rock climbing wall and slide has been a favourite of Amadeo’s for a few years now and still finds so many ways to play with it aside from gross motor play! He uses them to make forts, turns it into a bridge to avoid falling into a lava pit when pared with the large wooden rocker, the possibilities are endless with his imagination.
You can see I added coloured silk scarves to the wooden rocker from Wood By JL and turned it upside down to have a fun play space for Azzura to explore who is just over two months old.
You can see the entire open concept play space for Amadeo and Azzura from this side and the bathroom is directly behind me and out of the way. Creating opportunity to fit all gross motor items in the basement was done by grouping everything in an L shape and it creates opportunity to present it like an obstacle course . Starting with the mini trampoline then the pikler triangle , rocker and the carpet with the beautiful wooden balance beam ( also made locally by Wood By JL) a farm hopper and our wobble board which I put Azzura on in her snuggle me organic and rock her on.
Putting the Ikea kitchen and table on a side wall in this configuration allows for a visual separation for them even though its still apart of this open space. Amadeo is huge into dramatic play and even asked for this bakery/tea shop set up. Other favourites are an Italian restaurant, ice cream shop, farmers market/grocery store, breakfast/ brunch spot and we theme this area to celebrate many holidays like Christmas, Valentines day and Chinese New Year. We often use this kitchen area to create other places like a veterinary clinic, doctors office, space station etc.
When thinking about what we were going to do for my counter and shelving for the space I put out a request for local wood workers and recommend recommendations and went with Summer Gates, they’re talented local couple who are growing their custom wood working business and all of their pieces looked beautiful. Justin and Jessie were amazing to work with, professional and the craftsman ship on the pieces we commissioned are perfect. With months of these pieces being in this space we are so happy with them! I highly recommend visiting their website and contacting them to order their staple pieces and or custom work https://www.summersgates.com this piece is perfect for packing and prepping my orders for exploration by invitation and if I want more space they can be folded down!
These are the other beautiful pieces commissioned by Summer Gates, I wanted the shelving unit to have two shelves for bigger trucks and larger toys as well as a place for baskets and loose parts. I wanted the shelving unit its self to be at a hight that when Amadeo and Azzura would be playing they can interact with the invitations on top on their knees or standing. The custom floating shelves are a perfect edition to display our beautiful bright wooden toys and loose parts as well as they are easy access for me to bring down and set up for play! Justin found beautiful brass brackets to match the brass handles on my storage unit and they look AMAZING!
We are very fortunate to have been able to create a space in the basement that accommodated all of our needs and its a great space to play, create and burn off some energy for the littles!
Have you renovated any of your spaces since spending more time at home?