A Plan for Charlotte’s ‘Big Girl’ Room

Every now and again, I get a question from a reader asking why I haven’t yet shared photos of my kitchen, bathroom and laundry. My usual response is generally along the lines of “because they’re pretty darn crappy”.

Yep, I know it might seem hard to believe, though all of our ‘wet’ areas still remain un-touched. Without going into too much detail, our kitchen, bathroom and laundry all require more than a mere aesthetic update, and whilst there are always temporary cosmetic changes I could have made, over the past few years I’ve chosen to focus my decorating energy elsewhere, and have been happily chipping away at our less demanding ‘dry’ areas (and walking through my kitchen wearing blinker hands).

Recently though, I have come to realise two, well actually, three, things; 1) we have reached the last of our ‘dry’ spaces (inevitable tweaking and updating aside), 2) I think I have finally found the motivation, courage, commitment and decisiveness needed to tackle some bigger, more permanent room re-dos, and 3) our shower is about to fall apart!

At the moment, finishing Charlotte’s room is my top priority, though once it’s done I’ll be moving straight on to our bathroom (which I may, or may not, have already started planning – so excitement!).


As is the case with most spaces in our home, Charlotte’s room is pretty miniature. It measures just 2.5 x 2.5 meters (8 x 8 feet), has a small built-in robe and a full length window.

It was originally our guest room, which was never properly decorated, though it became more of a storage space/dumping ground after Charlotte was born…

Charlotte's Room Before 2012

Holy moly! I had totally forgotten just how bad these before pics were! In my defence, I only remembered to take before photos after I’d already purged the entire wardrobe. The room was ordinarily much less hoarder-ly (my inner neat freak is hyperventilating just looking at these shots!). Here’s a much more respectable pic from about five years ago…

Charlotte's Room Before

Ah, that’s better (kinda). As you can see, that standard double-sized bed consumes pretty much the entire floor area. It looks like the door is partially closed, though it opens onto an angled wall and is actually fully ajar.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that poor Charlotte has been in her new room for around six months now with little more than a solitary single-sized bed. Thankfully, that’s all about to change!

So, here’s my rough plan (furniture configuration and mood concept). Of course, the design of the actual room will be dictated by what bargains I can hunt down. Bear in mind that the virtual renderings are relatively basic. I hope to inject lots of personality with cute accessories and a sense of comfort with cozy bedding.

Charlotte's Room Overhead

Charlotte's Room Overhead Virtual Rendering

Charlotte's Room Overhead Rendering

Virtual Rendering Charlotte's Room

1 BED Deciding on the style and placement of the bed helped govern the overall scheme and layout. The best position for a single bed is against the window, and so it can be centrally aligned, a symmetrical ‘day bed’ style bed is ideal. As touched on above, and briefly blogged about here, I have already bought and re-finished (heavily modified) the bed (well, technically, beds – more on that to come!). I’m yet to finalise linen, blankets and pillows. The bed shown in the virtual plan is merely a basic representation of the actual bed which doesn’t have underneath drawers. I plan to create some large rolling baskets for storage instead.

2 CHEST OF DRAWERS To incorporate some warmth and character, and provide additional storage, I want a generously proportioned dark timber antique chest of drawers, similar to the one in our nursery. I contemplated using a free-standing cupboard or tall shelving unit instead though decided they would be too imposing in the small room. I also considered using a smaller, more traditional bedside table though figured a larger chest of drawers would provide more storage and better capitalise on the existing wall space.

3 RUG There is nothing wrong with our dark taupe carpet though I really like the dimension, texture and sense of cohesion a rug can bring to a space. Given the size and shape of the room, a rug with organic lines would be lovely (something like a faux hide or sheepskin). Failing that, a rectangular or circular jute rug would be almost equally as welcome.

4 WINDOW DRESSING This is brave for me! I generally like to keep window dressings plain and neutral, introducing sparing colour and pattern in more transient items, though I just can’t kick my craving for vintage style yellow floral drapes! I have been searching (slightly obsessively) for the perfect fabric, concentrating my hunt on affordable vintage bed sheets. I plan to hang the curtains from a natural bamboo pole. We have already installed a very dull, though perfectly practical, black-out roller blind which I plan to zhush-up with some textural fabric. The curtains will be functional though will remain predominately stationary, their main roles being to; hide the ugly ends of the roller blind, block the sneaky light creeping in from the sides, and look pretty.

5 CEILING FAN The big west facing window greedily consumes all of the hot afternoon sunshine, turning Charlotte’s room into a little oven! A ceiling fan is mandatory and we have already installed a simple antique brass one. I’m not a big fan of ceiling fans with attached lights though, as is the case with the fan in our master bedroom, Charlotte’s fan replaced the original ceiling light so re-incorporating it just makes too much practical sense (unfortunately).

6 WALL LAMPS I love the look of hard-wired sconces though given Charlotte’s room will likely see numerous configurations over the coming few years, I’m not ready to commit to that just yet. I’m contemplating installing corded wall lamps instead. We’ll see.

7 ARTWORK The wall décor shown in the renderings is simply suggestive. I like the idea of a big chalkboard, an eclectic gallery wall, small vintage prints, educational charts, large scale antique oil paintings in decorative gilt frames….I could go on :-) I’ll make a decision regarding artwork once the big elements are all in place and I can actually see the vacant wall space.

8 STUMP TABLE/STEP STOOL This is just a thought. I like the idea of placing a small, quirky element beside the bed though I’m yet to determine if it will realistically work in the space. We’ll see.

Charlotte's Room Virtual Rendering

9 TABLE & CHAIR To avoid impeding the flow from the door, quite a narrow table is needed. I’ve found that most kid’s tables are far too deep, so I’ve been searching for a petite hall or coffee table to use instead, however finding something with appropriate proportions has proven tricky. We just might end up making something custom from scratch. To reference the chest of drawers I like the idea of a dark timber table with simple lines. To contrast this I want a rustic white chair with some character. I have been hunting for a cute cottage-y style kid’s chair forever! If you’re in Victoria (Australia) and happen to stumble across one, feel free to let me know :-)

10 BOOKSHELVES To utilise the ‘dead’ space behind the door, I want to install a series of minimal floating bookshelves. Above these, a row of hooks can neatly collect strewn coats and hats.

11 BUILT-IN ROBE I have plans to clad the plain bi-fold panels with decorative timber trim to resemble antique barn doors.

12 WALLS Call me lazy, though we’re not painting. The existing soft cream (Chalk USA by Dulux) forms a great neutral canvas. In a few years time, when Charlotte claims greater ownership of her space, I’m sure the walls will probably wear some shade of pink (probably much to my dismay :-)

 Charlotte's Room Virtual Plan

Soooo, whadya think? This will be my first attempt at a kid’s room so any ideas, suggestions or well wishes are more than welcome.


UPDATE There has been quite a bit of interest in the program I use to create my virtual designs. I’m lucky to have Chief Architect software (which I received as a birthday present a few years ago). They offer lots of different products, ranging in price from $60 (for home enthusiasts) to over $2000 (for professionals). It’s a powerful and complex program which takes time, patience and persistence to master (heck, I’m still learning) though it is pretty awesome.


The Design Cookbook

A little while ago, I was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by Kelly Edwards, who wanted to include two of my projects in her new publication, The Design Cookbook!

The Design Cookbook

My Hacked IKEA Drawers and Baking Canister Labels are both featured in this design guidebook which includes an array of inspirational DIY ‘recipes’.

It’s still always a big treat to see my projects on paper.


PS Just a little note to say I hope these ‘Press’ related posts don’t come across sounding too conceited. I generally publish them, not to brag or seek congratulations, though as a means of documenting the places my projects have been featured :-)


Home Tour!

I know what you’re thinking.

“Home tour? What the? I already feel like I basically live in portions of your house I’ve seen that many self-gratifying photos of it”.

Yeah, I know. Sorry ’bout that. Though in my defence our little house is kinda the heartbeat of this here blog :-) And I think some of you actually might enjoy seeing pics of it too, which is why I don’t feel too narcissistic about having added even more!

Since re-designing and freshly launching my blog (almost ten months back now), I’ve been wanting to create some kind of virtual home tour which musters together images of all my finished* spaces and collates them in one convenient place. Well, I’ve finally assembled a dedicated slideshow which does just that!

*Finished refers to any one state of momentary completion in the perpetual evolution of a home bloggers abode.

Home Tour Slideshow

The above image is a still shot only. Click to go to the actual slideshow.

The slideshow will live in the ‘My Hive‘ page (located in the menu bar beneath my header). There’s no provision for leaving a comment there though if you feel so inclined you can always pop back here :-)

Sit back and watch it slowly graduate, pause it, speed it up by clicking the ‘Next’ button, choose a specific image from the thumbnail grid beneath it, or click on any full-sized photo to be taken to that room’s post excerpts (where you can explore the space further or head right back to the beginning and follow the room’s total evolution)…

 Post Excerpts

At present, the slideshow includes the most recent photos I have of our six “made-over” spaces though I intend to keep it as up-to-date as possible, which means adding new images as further rooms are renovated and updating existing pics as already included rooms are inevitably tweaked, and then re-tweaked!


Home Office Reveal!

As promised, here is the reveal of my transformed home office space! It’s nothing spectacular, and there’ll probably be some future tweaking, though for now I’m calling it done!

Eclectic Budget Home Office | The Painted Hive

Oh, and if you missed the awards ceremony, don’t worry, you can congratulate me later.

Huh, what’s that? You didn’t hear?

Well, I broke the world record for “Longest Running Room Makeover In History”. I got a pretty big trophy.

Yep, I managed to make this simple little room redo extend for well over 365 days! It has now officially been more than a year since the first of my ‘home office‘ posts. Phew!

Home Office After

Anyhoo, let’s get on with it. I’ll briefly outline some of the design decisions in this post though if you wanna better understand the thought-process behind the room you can catch-up on my previous home office posts here.

Home Office Before

Above is the space in its prior ‘make-do’ state…argh, cringe! To make way for the new room redo I sold the bookcases and cupboard on eBay and relocated the jute rug to our entryway.

I conceded early on that our home office is really more of a glorified computer nook. It occupies the only remaining free area in our teeny home; the ‘little-weird-nothing-space’ off our kitchen. It’s a small area with multiple personalities, acting as a; side entryway, playroom, library, main thoroughfare, laundry sorting station, general gathering space and impromptu dance studio, amongst many other things…

Home Office Floor Plan

Given we don’t have a spare room to act as a proper home office (with space for filing trays, paper piles and other office-y stuff), I simply wanted to create a pretty yet practical computer station (yep, we have a big, bulky, stationary PC in favour of a neat, little, portable laptop) which didn’t interrupt the homey flow of our house. It also needed to hold all our books and hide the ugly technological thingamabobs.

Home Office Cabinets

Please excuse the corner of my kitchen bench – it’s a tricky space to capture.

I mentioned in some previous posts my dilemma with finding affordable, appropriately proportioned cabinets (I scoured eBay for months and IKEA’s selection just wasn’t quite right). In the end we were fortunate to have an awesome friend of ours custom build the cabinetry at mate’s rates (‘course you could DIY something similar though, or get innovative with second-hand or shop-bought cabinets if you don’t have finicky size and storage restrictions). It’s completely free-standing and modular, with the desk, two upper bookcases and two lower cabinets forming five separate pieces, so it is easy to relocate and even reconfigure if needed. You can read more about it in this original post.

To keep material costs down we had it built from humble pine ply. Here it is before (so sorry, super lame photo)…

Computer Cabinet Before

I finished it with an acrylic low sheen in ‘Antique White USA’ (by Dulux) which I sprayed on using a compressor and air gun. The desk, which is simply a pre-fabricated solid pine panel, I finished with an acrylic all-in-one stain and varnish in ‘Marita Grey’ (by Cabots). Though it’s hard to see in the photos, I also painted the inside of the bookcases in a warm grey (I mixed up the colour myself from left-overs I already had).

I thought a wall of floor to ceiling cabinets might feel imposing and cumbersome in our little room though the tall, slender cases and long spanning desk actually help create an illusion of height and space.

Home Office Bookshelves and Gallery

I know it’s trendy right now to display lots of ornamental knick-knacks on bookshelves though I thought I’d be a bit different and use my bookshelves to hold, well…books. The cases are double-depth to allow for extra storage (so, if need be, some of the books we’ve already read can be housed at the rear) and the shelves are repositionable. I know to some people a mish-mash of books can look messy and distracting though I think their jumbled layers are warm and personable, and lend a real collected sense of ‘home’ to a space.

My hacked IKEA drawers (which I now have two of!) grace one shelf. They are prefect for keeping practical little stationery items within arms reach (and apparently they are also ideal for safely stowing away my husband’s prized hole-in-one golf ball!).

IKEA Moppe Drawer Hack

The power point is located behind the right lower cabinet which holds the computer tower and all associated components (like the modem, sound system and external hard drive). It has a mesh side to allow for extra air flow (this is something I probably wouldn’t have bothered with though hubby insisted on – it looks completely fine though is concealed beside the wall anyways). The lower left cabinet holds the printer along with some stationery bits and bobs and CD’s. All of the cables are discreetly concealed on the underside of the desk where they are neatly bundled in adhesive cord clips.

 Adhesive Cord Concealers

The rug is from Floorspace. It needed to be a pretty specific size and unfortunately I couldn’t find anything ‘off-the-shelf’. I considered DIY’ing something though really wanted a heavy jute to add some natural texture and warmth. To save on the usually extravagant cost of buying something bespoke I arranged to have it custom-made from an old off-cut. Although it was anchored by two heavy cabinets the rug still shifted and bunched-up like crazy on the carpet so I came up with a slightly weird solution which you can read about in this previous post.

Natural Jute Rug

The wall gallery is deliberately eclectic. It is made up of inexpensive thrifted frames, some with their original art and others with free images I found online and had cheaply printed (you can read about the owl print here). I like the way the unstructured collection of frames mimics the busyness of the flanking bookshelves, giving a sense of continuity to the wall as a whole. To further enhance this sense of cohesion, I also hung two pictures on the bookshelves themselves. They are attached with simple picture strips so they are easy to remove and replace if needed. This is a look I love though I’m pretty sure it completely broke my husband’s brain (bamboozled doesn’t even begin to describe his level of incomprehension! I actually had to jump on Pinterest and show him some other examples just to prove my sanity. Though, in his defence, I do get why he thought I was crazy – hanging pictures in front of books is a slightly weird concept).

Eclectic Gallery Wall

I also like that the collage of pictures helps camouflage the computer monitor.

The big windowed sliding door (which is hard to see in the photos) is dressed with a DIY rolled valance which hides a practical black-out roller shade (which we need to block the frequent afternoon sun and occasional penetrating cold). You can read all about it in this previous post.

DIY Faux Rolled Window Valance

After having used an antique timber kitchen chair at our computer for years the Chippendale carver is like heaven! I’d love a fully upholstered tufted chair (or similar) one day though whilst the kids still have chronic grubby finger disease, I’m sticking with something that’s easy to re-cover if needed. The soft green looks more vivid in person, though is still subtle – I didn’t want a pop that punched you in the face though in the future I might amp it up a bit!

As blogged about previously, I bought the Chippendale chair as a raw, un-upholstered frame and finished it off myself. See my tutorial for upholstering the drop-in seat here. Read about the the chair makeover in general here.

Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

The typographic pillow is a repurposed tea towel. You can read my simple tutorial in this previous post.

Tea Towel Lumbar Pillow

Whilst the ceiling light is central to the room it is not in alignment with the cabinets. In person, when you view the room as a whole, this looks completely fine though in the photos where the focus is on the cabinets it does seem to throw off their symmetry. Regardless, we almost never use that light anyways as the adjoining kitchen down-lights provide ample brightness, so one day I might remove it completely in favour of some subtle integrated cabinet lamps. We have pretty low ceilings and the light is directly above a walk-through so sadly there is no vertical space for a lovely hanging feature pendant. For now I’m happy to stick with the simple enamel shade.

Anyhoo, just to finish-up, here are some before and after comparisons of the space…

Home Office Before and After

Before and After Home Office

Like I said, nothing spectacular though pretty (enough) and practical. Have a fab week everyone.

UPDATE: This is mentioned in the body of the post though I also wanted to highlight it here due to the amount of interest it has generated….
One of the most loved elements in my home office space appears to be the owl print. I agree, it is pretty awesome! Good news is, it’s not a one-off original oil painting I salvaged from some dingy old antique store. It is a free printable! Soooo, if you’re truly crushin’ on it, visit my original post about it here for the download link, and get one up on your own wall – yay!


PS As mentioned in my last post, I now have one foot back on a pedal and this little bloggy bike is slowly gaining some momentum so hopefully posts will become more regular. Thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding :-)




Hello, Remember Me?

My name’s Kristine.

Apparently I’m the person who’s supposed to update this here blog on a semi-regular basis.

Seems lately I’ve been a little distracted…

Child Photography

…in a good way (I wish I could say Charlotte happily posed with her brother though the truth is I had to bribe her with the promise of a pink marshmallow).

Aside from fluking the occasional baby photo, I’ve been baking honey joys, reciting the alphabet, making play-doh dinosaurs and diligently training for the pre-emptive baby up-chuck Olympics. I think I’m in with a pretty good chance for the gold!

Baby Photography

Whilst I know there are many of you sweet enough to graciously tolerate my excuses of absence and irrelevant kiddie photos, let’s be honest, this is supposed to be a ‘homey’ blog, and I’m sure you’d rather see just that – ‘homey’ stuff. So, it might please you to know that alongside my motherly duties I have actually been doing some decorating (albeit mainly in my mind) AND even compiling a few new blog posts!

I know, shocking right? I hope you were sitting down.

My goal, now that the kids are a bit more settled, is to try (note; try) and publish a new post at least once a fortnight, starting next week with my loooong awaited home office reveal – yay – and continuing over the coming months with heaps of awesome* projects. I can’t wait!

*Perceived level of awesomness may be consumer objective.

Remember, you can also stay in touch with me between blog posts on Facebook or Twitter where I try to share project snippets, product finds and general randomness. If you already follow along on Facebook, you might have recently glimpsed this little guy…

Faux Deer Head Wall Mount

Yep, he’s my new faux deer head wall mount (AKA Chester) and I absolutely LOVE him to bits, especially against our vintage toile wallpaper.

Have a great week everyone. I’ll be back soon!