The House at Christmas

Our 1891 Victorian

The 'One Room Challenge'

Attic My Office Playroom The Victorian House

A Playroom / Office Switcheroo

There is a room on the first floor, behind the kitchen, that I’ve barely shown on the blog. It’s a former sleeping porch that was converted into what is technically counted as a bedroom (it has a closet), and we thought it would be a perfect office for me until we realized how cold it can get.

Just a couple of months after we moved in, Chicago experienced one of its coldest winters ever and when it had gotten to the point that I had to wear fingerless gloves to type, I said eff this, packed up and went to the third floor.

GUESS WHAT. The third floor was unbearably hot! I feel like I’m coming across as a Goldilocks here, but I’m talking major temperature extremes. It would be 45 degrees in that spare room, but 90 degrees upstairs. The problem was that the old furnace would struggle and struggle to heat the first floor, while the heat would rise, making the second floor comfortable but leaving the third floor roasting.

We fixed that issue pretty quickly with a new furnace for the house, and thermostatic valves for the radiators on the third floor. The house is evenly heated you guys! HOORAY!

Then I was pregnant with Calvin and incredibly uncomfortable. Time to move my desk again, this time into the bedroom. And actually, it was great while I was pregnant because I could quite literally roll out of bed and go to work.

It was fine for a while, but it’s silly that we have this huge house and I was working from the bedroom while other spaces were being underused. We kicked the desk out when I redid our bedroom for the One Room Challenge, and I was again upstairs.

We have this great playroom on the third floor. The kids played up there all the time when it was new, but now they prefer to spend time in their rooms or they bring toys downstairs. The playroom has shelves and bins full of toys! A dress-up closet! A play kitchen! Not a big enough draw, apparently.

Playroom with Flower Curtains | Making it Lovely

There was a desk along one wall with red polka dots behind it, and art supplies in wall-mounted cubbies. I imagined the kids coloring and painting up there, and guess what. A big fat nope. They liked the easel, but not the desk.

I’ve bounced around from the spare room to the guest room, then the bedroom, and now I’m in the playroom — this time, at the desk in front of that red polka dot wall. And you know what? I like it. But I don’t like being surrounded by toys that the kids aren’t even playing with.

A while back, we had a big hole cut out in that wall to rewire the house, and it has since been fixed (with an access door in case we ever need to get in there again). On a whim, a few days ago, I primed over the polka dots. I haven’t cleared out the whole room, but I did clear that side and put a couple coats of fresh paint on. Now I’m thinking about how I want to set everything up — what can I reuse, and what do I need to add?

I’m thinking the house is getting a big switcheroo. Playroom → office. Spare room → playroom.

As it is now, the kids use the playroom on the third floor occasionally but I’m up there at my desk just about everyday. That spare room behind the kitchen is still a bit cold sometimes in the winter, but it has been far better since upgrading the heating system and I think it could be put to much better use now. The kids prefer playing downstairs anyway, and I long for a proper office. I’m excited! I’m daunted! I’m diving in!