Project Update – A Church/Community Center Kids Space + Nursery

As you know I started going to church last year with my kids, plot twist, which I wrote about HERE. So naturally, I had to insert myself into the design of the space. Like I said in the post, I’m nothing if not enthusiastic and like to be involved. Here are the facts – It’s in Silverlake (SLCC – Silverlake Community Church), it’s an older building with a ton of potential, ran by a new pastor, Kyle and his wife Brittany who recently took it over, and has a small but growing congregation (with a little less congregating right now). The kids’ room was desperate for some design help and, since my kids were going to be in there it just felt like a really fun project that I felt very compelled to do. Could I design a room in a Church? If so, does that make “God” my client??? And if God is my client then could my payment be a trade, for say, eternal salvation for myself, husband and my kids? A VIP table in heaven? We struck that deal and I got started. This church is also very much a community center, helping a lot of homeless families, hosting a lot of AA meetings and generally always trying to help those in the community. So while designing for a religious organization for free felt odd for me, helping make a community center happier for those they serve felt exactly like what I should be doing. I also really love a community project, where everyone helps and I remember loving this a ton as a child in the LDS church. So I suppose I was also trying to recreate something for my kids. I pitched the idea of a feel-good community makeover for the blog to the pastor Kyle and his wife Brittany and they were very excited.

Here’s how it looked before – kinda. I think that might have been a day when we were organizing, but you get the idea – an older building, with adorable vintage windows, painted a few different colors of blue pastel – most of which was chipping off. The floor was pretty gross and was the biggest and most expensive problem. Most of the furniture was leftover and while some of it was cute (those industrial school tables and chairs were great!) it needed cohesion and to feel fresh and fun (and just clean and more modern). Since it was a newer pastor and small congregation I was really hoping for the “if you build it they will come” and we could attract more local families, with young kids.

I wanted it to feel appropriate for a church and be fun for kids, but I didn’t really have a big design plan or even an inspiration going into it. This was a project that needed to be fast and affordable. And since there was no budget it was something that Brian and I would do on nights and weekends, with the help of volunteers (yay!). The hope was to make it really cute and work for the simple needs of two hours a week for 10 – 15 kids during Sunday school. It would be a down and dirty project, hopefully, done by easter (a real pipedream in retrospect).

Although I didn’t have a full design plan, I knew it needed to feel fresh and clean, happy and joyful, but simple and due to budget not overly designed. There are two spaces – one for the bigger kids that would be more for crafts and learning and one for moms and babies (more of a nursery).

The nursery (above) is smaller and the paint color was actually pretty cute and in way better shape, it was just the doors and windows that needed fixing.

So on a Saturday, Pre-Quar, a ton of us volunteered to organize everything and start putting together furniture, as a volunteer painter would come the next day. I had reached out to Target to see if they could donate product for this (thank you always, Target) and the next day ordered a lot of really cute Pillowfort furniture and storage for them. There were about 30 volunteers, including Brian and the kids. My team knows this but in case you don’t know my favorite saying its – MANY THE HANDS MAKE LIGHT THE WORK. Because it’s so true. I couldn’t believe how little time it took to put together all the furniture with that many people working helping.

But now to the flooring … on the big volunteer day, I pulled the trigger on the flooring. I went to Linoleum City and bought some click together laminate flooring that was strangely attractive (and in stock). But the problem was that the building is old and definitely not 90-degree angled so the attempted install was a disaster that I won’t bore you with. We wasted about 4 hours and likely a few hundred dollars of flooring that we opened. It was a case of “Emily just wanted fast results so didn’t do any research”. I want to give a huge shout out to Linoleum City for letting us return everything that same day and not charging us a restocking fee (and being unbelievably nice about it).

So what were our other options? We didn’t want to spend a lot on material OR labor and yet it needed to be durable and easy to clean. We needed something we could do ourselves and that would accommodate a lot of wonky walls and floor unevenness. I’m sure there were other options but when I asked Linoleum City what they would do that was fast and affordable they said “wall to wall carpet or carpet tile”‘. I knew that wall to wall would be harder for upkeep (both of these rooms had exterior doors) so carpet tiles would offer some flexibility for replacement and besides, tile doesn’t take a ton of experience to install. There are a lot of simple or dark affordable options out there, but I pulled some strings, reached out to Flor Tiles to see if they wanted to partner on this project (I had already picked out what I thought would look awesome) and they said yes (THANK YOU). Also, remember when we used them in our old studio?

This became the design inspiration for the room, this carpet tile. I thought it would reference “the heavens” but in a playful fun way that wasn’t overly JESUS, although I joked and threatened about more dramatic murals. The star pattern had this celestial star vibe, but at the same time was dark and busy – so super good for a commercial space to hide dirt and imperfections.

Since we were moving really fast (and only had access on certain days) we chose the paint colors in one day (the volunteer painter was only able to paint the next day). I wanted to do something I wouldn’t regret, but fun – which is a hard combo, guys. I have historically loved a blush and blue combo, but this time would be salmon + navy. And to not overwhelm the room we would only paint the salmon color up to the window point, then paint the window frames and the rest of the wall a white. The exact colors we used were Gracious Rose and High Reflective White by Sherwin-Williams.

I loved the painted doors (that we did in semi-gloss) and it was feeling SO FUN and happy. Just enough color to say “this is for kids” but not busy, plus doing the 1/3 or 1/2 wall treatment was super easy.

Now to the installation of the Flor tile. I need to give Brian Henderson a huge public thank you. He spent almost a full week, 3-4 hours each day installing the carpet somedays by himself, others, Kyle helped him. On these days Brian got to ask him all our secret questions about religion and Christianity which they both actually very much enjoyed. The install of the carpet wasn’t hard, but with that much square footage, it did take a decent amount of time. The interior tiles went in fast, just the cutting the tile around the perimeter, with our wonky uneven walls, had to be more exact. I was just so proud and grateful that he was willing to do this – like I didn’t even ask him, he just volunteered and really enjoyed it. A few of the days he would pick up the kids from school and they would all go over and help. Yes, I’m bragging about my husband and that’s ok.

So where are we now? Well, right before all this happened we had moved everything into the smaller room and planned on finishing them both the following week, when you know, God had other plans 🙂

So I had Kyle send us photos of how it looked with the paint, floor and a lot of the furniture installed. Here we go AND BECAUSE OF OUR KIDS ROOM UPDATE POST I FEEL THE NEED TO SCREAM THIS – THIS IS AN UPDATE POST, THIS IS NOT DONE AND I HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN HERE TO SEE IT IN THIS STATE:

Gray Sofa | Kids Cloud Bookcase | Cubbie Cabinet | Wire Baskets | Wood Bin | Y-weave Bin

Obviously it’s just a storage room right now, but with way cuter flooring. We left the walls the same color but painted the doors, door frames and window frames. It made SUCH A difference. We put together that bookcase shaped like a house which I LOVE and when we get back will organize.

Here’s a quick video update if you want to check it out:

I’m also considering doing some sort of playful rainbow mural. There is a ton of wall space and while not every wall needs to be covered, it seems like we could have fun with something like these:

from top left clockwise: image source | image source | image source | image source

As far as the pink room, they set it up with the furniture that I had ordered and it’s looking cute already – BUT AGAIN, THIS IS NOT DONE – this is an update post and we have lots to finish:

Buffalo Check Sofa | Buffalo Check Chairs | White Metal Chairs | Media Console (no longer available)

I love the Flor tile so much. And in terms of furniture, we’ve kept the vintage school tables, but plan on painting the legs at some point. We ordered a bunch of those stacking chairs and how cute are the plaid sofa and two chairs.

Cubbie Cabinet | Wire Baskets | Wood Bin | Y-weave Bin

I love the blue, pink and yellow palette, and now I want to add even more pops of yellow everywhere (keep reading).

Buffalo Check Sofa | Buffalo Check Chairs | White Metal Chairs

If you are wondering why there is a TV, I guess it’s to play the cute videos about the message to the kids. So we bought that credenza to put it on, but I’m not like “ooh I love this setup”. I might try to figure out how to minimize the TV set up (or hey, if Samsung wants to send a Frame that would be awesome:)).

Now I want to add more color, accessories, a grownup seating area but mostly a sun mural. We designed the pink line almost like a horizon so I thought it would be really fun to play off of that and do a huge playful sun mural. These are the ones that I pinned.

top row starting left: image source | image source | image source, middle row starting left: image source | image source | image source, bottom row starting left: image source | image source | image source

Julie mocked up a couple of options that are pretty darn cute, but I want to be in the room to decide which direction it could go.

I could limit the palette like that, or add more tones or just go a bit crazier and more fun.

I think once we get in the room we’ll have a better sense, but remember we’ll do this ourselves so it needs to be relatively simple (but it’s just paint so we aren’t stressed about it).

Here are a couple more before and after because they honestly just make me happy and excited…

So that’s where we are at. A huge thanks to Kyle for taking and sending these photos. I can’t wait to see it in person. Designing under these conditions is obviously difficult and since this project is not “essential” (no one is using it for a while) we’ll get to it when we can, but listen – for now, it’s a massive improvement that is already SO CUTE. I can’t wait to finish it. Let’s just hope the big guy approves 🙂

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