Before and After: Kitchen to Toddler's Bedroom!

Our house was originally two apartments so when we moved in we had an extra kitchen upstairs in what would eventually be a bedroom. Now while this was massively useful when renovating the downstairs kitchen (because it was a huge mess for aaaages), it meant MORE tiles to chip off and more plastering, sob! Luckily for me the in-laws came for a visit and were keen to help, the helped remove most of the chipboard kitchen cabinets leaving a tile covered shell behind, some exposed plumbing and a boiler in the corner by the window.

Removing tiles is messy and tiring work - thank goodness for the SDS drill with tile remover! Getting the tiles off easily depends a lot on what was used to stick the tiles to the floors and walls and what is underneath. All the floor tiles upstairs that we removed had been simply laid over the original house tiles laid in the 60s, so they came up easily and left a fairly smooth surface for re-tiling. Now we were advised not to tile over other tiles when we started re-tiling downstairs so we dug everything up and smoothed the floor with concrete to be able to lay the new tiles on an even surface. But - once we discovered some old Italian builder had happily laid tiles straight on to the old tiles upstairs some 20 years ago, we decide to follow suit. If the floor could take two layers once it could do it again right!

The walls were another matter. The adhesive used previously was super difficult to get off, and I made quite a mess of the walls removing the wall tiles which we obviously didn't want in a bedroom so it was a necessary evil.

Once you made a mess you can begin to make things look nice again, hooray! Plastering walls is quite therapeutic - I like anything that makes mess look not messy anymore! Before this house renovation I had never plastered before, but there are so many videos and tutorials to watch anyone with some time (and is not looking for a super perfect finish!) can give it a go. You can see the old tiles in the corner of the room here round the boiler which we left as we planned to box the boiler in and build a small cupboard underneath.

I decided I wanted to use traditional terracotta tiles in all the upstairs bedrooms (but the configuration of the tiles is different in each room). I didn't want 'shabby chic' in any of the bedrooms as this look features elsewhere in the house, so chose a vibrant yellow for the walls. If anyone is wondering why tiles everywhere - we live in Italy and this is pretty much all that is available in terms of floor covering! The boiler needed boxing in and as this room was going to be a child's bedroom, we decided a sink unit in one corner would be useful - after all we had the kitchen plumbing already! The skirting for the floors is just ready made wood which I glued in place - actually screwing these in place would make this far less of an irritating job as the battiscopa (skirting board) pops off in random places, warps or won't stick so well to a wonky wall. However, screwing anything into our concrete walls is also a lot of hard work (another story!). Hey ho it's all there in place now as you can see (note in the photo above the boxes of tiles laying about, well heavy boxes of tiles make great tools for keeping battiscopa in place :)).

We built a wooden cupboard from floor to ceiling to box in the boiler and provide some useful storage space underneath; we also filled the upper half of this cupboard with sound proofing material as boilers do inevitably hum sometimes so this helps muffle this. Once the more hardcore stuff was finished we got down to the business of dressing the room for our son. I found this cute children's toy chest in a local mercato usato.


I made a changing unit top to fit on an existing chest of drawers that we had which can be removed when we no longer need it.

I found the Hakuna Matata decal for the mirror online as this was an old mirror from our bathroom that I felt needed to be a little more fun! I wanted to create a mini library look in the corner of the room so these book display shelves were great for that.

My son loves the teepee which I've dressed with rugs, soft toys and bunting. The large shaggy rug is great for him to play and roll about on and essential when the whole house is tiled with hard tiles! I only needed to use some light blinds at the windows in this room to dress them as both windows have external shutters to block out light (VERY important when trying to convince an 18 month old that it really is night time when it is light still at 9pm, and that it is NOT morning at 5:30am!).

This perhaps isn't traditional decor for a toddlers room but it feels bright bright and fun, and it's dressing of the room that make it obvious it's a child's bedroom. I really wanted to try not to veer toward too many 'boys are blue' stereotypes and cartoon characters - I'm sure he'll let me know soon enough when when he wants to pick his own colours!

Hakuna matata everyone!

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