Our Home – Mitchell’s Airplane Room

I’m so excited to share Mitchell’s big boy room with you on the blog today! I’ve been working on his room since before we even moved in, and it hands-down took the most work. I absolutely love how it has come together, and it is one of my very favorite rooms in the house. 

All of the furniture in his room came straight from my childhood bedroom! My parents decorated the cutest rooms for my brother and I as children with this bedroom set, and I wanted to do the same for Mitchell. It’s been in a pastel crayon-themed girls room, and a green and brown dinosaur boys room. For more than ten years, my parents have been itching to get all of it out of storage. A few years ago, I finally gave them permission to sell it, after telling them for years to keep it because I wanted it for my children someday. I quickly retracted this minor lapse in judgement because it wasn’t long after that I found out we were pregnant with Mitchell and knew he would be in a big boy bed in no time. I didn’t quite think it would be at 19 months – but Julia needed his crib and I wasn’t about to get a second crib for a few month transition  I figured one of them could have slept in a Pack-and-Play for awhile if the sleep situation got too rough [but it didn’t and we’ve had lots of success with the big boy bed!]… More on that later.

It was originally a dark pine color, which I wanted to brighten up for our house since our walls and carpet are already tan. So I scoured Pinterest for ideas determined to make my childhood furniture look good in my child’s room. I decided on a grayish-white finish. I experimented with the small nightstand (low risk), which also gave me a glimpse into how big of a project I was getting into. So. Much. Sanding. It was necessary though, because as much as Mitchell loves his Uncle Colby, I didn’t really want his name scratched into the headboard he’ll probably be sleeping on until middle school. There are 100 Pinterest tutorials with different ways to accomplish this, but my basic method was (1) sand, (2) paint pure white, (3) sand again but very lightly, (4) paint with weather gray stain and wipe off with rag as you go, (5) polycrilic finish. It’s definitely some solid furniture, but I wanted it to look a bit old and used. The lighter finish will also make it easier to decorate for a girl someday if we decide to play musical furniture. These beds are cool because we can use them as bunks, two twin beds, or catty corner like I have them here. Flexibility is always good. Especially when you’re husband is in the military and you move every five minutes. [At least that’s what the last year felt like.] Don’t fret, the ladder for the top bunk is tucked safely in the closet for awhile longer. 

While all the furniture came from Grandma and Grandpa Brim, Grandma and Grandpa Martin sent a bunch of great decorations that really complete the room! Whenever I tell my mother-in-law a design plan I’m scheming, you can count on her to be scouring the antique shops and anywhere else she may find something I’ll like. Over Christmas, she sent us these amazing vintage airplane prints, and I instantly knew they would be perfect in his room! I found these frames at Hobby Lobby [originally $5 each and then 50% off all frames!] and painted them with a $1 bottle of paint. I’ve been doing my best to decorate on a budget and I’m realistic that this bunk will have three year old boys jumping around on it here in a few years. So I won’t be too heartbroken if my $11 framing investment doesn’t last forever. [I did us the velcro command strips so they aren’t coming down easily.]

As you’ve probably already figured out, the theme I was going for was airplanes. I was skimming through the Pottery Barn Kids website, like I do on an all-too-frequent basis, when I found this bedding set. I loved it! It was perfect! So I ordered it. Like a year ago. I didn’t want to risk it being discontinued [and it was, so I’m glad for my impulse purchase]. Another bonus is two twin beds [vs. one toddler bed] gives us the freedom to have two more adults sleep in the house. We do have a real bed in a guest room that fits two and doesn’t require climbing a ladder, but it’s there if we ever need it. Or if down the road Baby Martin #3 turns out to be a boy someday 😉

This stool was one I have used for photography and had in our storage closet. It gives him the perfect boost onto his bed and it was already painted a color that matched! 

The other side of the room has the bookshelf loaded down with toys.

He loves his bins of mostly garage sale and hand-me down toys. He pulls them all out and leaves them all over his room before he falls asleep, so I end up picking them up every night after he falls asleep and every afternoon after nap time. 

Another Christmas find from Grandma Martin – a personalized tool box. The grandma’s were thinking alike, because Grandma Brim got him an adorable little toolbox too, which is downstairs in his playroom! He loves carrying them both around and takes his little wrench out and “fixes” everything in sight. We’ve removed both hammers and screwdrivers for the time being, however, because everything was getting hammered. Apparently he’s been watching me hang up everything in the house because he knows exactly what to do with it.

One of my very favorite parts of the room are these vintage airplanes! Which are from Pottery Barn Kids, circa 1993.

 They actually hung in my husband’s room as a boy, and then our cousin’s, and have now made the flight from the west coast to the east coast to fly in Mitchell’s room! I knew I wanted to hang vintage planes, and I couldn’t believe my luck when my mother-in-law told me she still had these gems in storage. So. Cool. My inner-little-boy is really coming out in this room.

Another reason I loved the airplane these was my grandfather [Mitchell’s Great Grandpa Brim] was a pilot in the Air Force, and flew a ton of different planes during his service all over the world. The final touch on the airplane room were these curtains, which I sewed and then painted. With the hubby’s help, we picked the B-29 bomber and the C-47 silhouettes to stencil on the curtains, both planes my grandfather flew during his military career. 

And the room wasn’t complete without a picture of our family’s very own pilot. The colors are a little wonky but I am forever grateful for these pictures. Several years ago when my grandparents were moving closer to my parents and we were cleaning out the house, we came across several shoeboxes of old slides with pictures from before my dad was even born. I took them to a developing center, and they gave us digital copies of all the images. There were pictures from all over the world. Korea, Germany, Guam, Vietnam. There were pictures of my Dad as a little boy. Some of my favorites were the ones of all the military housing they lived in. Their love story and military adventure is strikingly similar to ours, and it’s something we connected with them over, despite being 70 years their junior. You can see more of those vintage pictures here

Over here is the nightstand [the original test piece for the furniture-finishing project]. Above it is a picture I took last summer in Pensacola of Steve and Mitchell watching the Blue Angels fly. You can see a bigger version and read about the air show we saw here

You better believe I’ve read each of those 100 times over. And when Mitchell isn’t ready to be done reading but I’ve declared it bedtime, they all get thrown over the baby gate into the hallway in front of Julia’s room. So funny.

Since the dresser is pretty much the only space safely out of reach from menacing toddler fingers, it was my only spot to decorate freely. The cute little piggy bank is from my friend Rachel, and it’s already halfway full with Daddy’s change we find laying around the house. He’s got another empty piggy from my friend Katie waiting to be used on the closet once this one is full!

A little more of the original inspiration for this room… While we were in Florida, we spent an afternoon in a random antique store, where Steve found a print of a vintage airplane he really liked. It originally came home with us and found an empty spot on a shelf above Mitchell’s changing table. I thought it was cute, and very boyish. Now it’s perfect for his new room!

 I found this lamp at Target and knew it was the perfect lamp for his room. I went back the next day and bought it. Mitchell has never slept with a night light, but I wanted to give him ample light to get in and out of bed safely. I found a 7.5 watt mini lightbulb [who even knew they made those?] and it’s the perfect amount of light for the room to be dark, but still be able to walk without stepping on 57 puzzle pieces scattered around.

I am pretty sure this clock came in Grandma Martin’s stocking last year, and the picture is Mitchell’s very first time ice skating! More on that here. We’re doing our best to make him want to play hockey, of course 🙂 

And for a little extra peace of mind, I highly recommend this Motorola baby video monitor. This was a baby shower gift from Grandma Martin for Mitchell, and we have gotten so much use out of it! Mr. Independent is happy to play on his own in rooms, in fact he prefers it quite often, and this way I can keep my eye on him. We have had absolutely no issue with reception in any of our last three houses [all two story], the picture is clear, you can scan the room, and it gives the room temperature which was great when he was transitioning into his nursery at a month old! In fact, we’ve invested in two additional cameras [one for the play room, one for Julia’s nursery], which can all be accessed through the monitor! I know they’ll be useful well into the toddler years too, so it’s a baby registry must in my opinion. And I’ll add that my husband and I have gotten some serious laughs watching that boy run around in his room after we put him down. It has a microphone feature that allows you to talk to them in the room, and when he hears, “No, sir…” he very solemnly looks to the magical white orb atop his dresser with the most serious, apologetic eyes. And we die laughing every time. 

Given that we were sleep training a year-and-a-half year old in a twin bed we realized this room would need to be baby.proof. We basically left nothing in his reach but toys. The furniture was strapped to the wall, outlets were covered, and a baby gate was installed. Which put a limit to my decorative imagination, but now we can leave Mitchell in there overnight and not worry about anything but picking up 4 baskets of stuffed animals and 87 board books and putting them all back on the bookshelves in the morning. I really liked the gate option, because it allows me to see into his room. Recently, though, he’s started shutting his door before he falls asleep for his nap. [It used to scare him when he shut the door, but now he’s perfectly content being in there and just knocks when he wants out. Cracks me up.]

This closet lock was worth every penny and more. I’ve forgotten to lock it before and he pulled off nearly every shirt within reach from its hanger. Lesson learned, Mitchell.

The closet organization never seems to end in this house. We’ve been so blessed by generous  friends with a wardrobe that will basically last him until kindergarten – and that’s after we shared a lot of it with friends who are mommies of boys. [This kid still has atleast 5x more jeans than me in every size up to 5T]. A sign I should probably go shopping and increase my inventory to more than one pair of jeans but we’ll blame that on mom life. 

I feel like every time I get a wardrobe that fits hung up, I am taking it down and relabeling tubs. But this is the system I’ve found that works best for us. Tubs with too small/too big clothes are stacked on the left [I hope to eventually move to the garage], and currently fitting clothes hanging. We’re not messing with the closet organizing system [1] because we have more than enough space, and [2] base housing is a temporary deal so who knows how long we’ll be living here. I try to invest in projects that move with us. I actually find this closet more convenient than his previous walk-in closet, because I can open it up all the way and see what I’m dealing with. Not a huge fan of the single-door closets in kids rooms.

I swear by these organizers, and we have them on pretty much every closet door in the house. This one is actually being used for it’s original intended purpose [shoes], but I put everything in them. Mitchell and Julia both have two in each of their rooms. 

And here is Mitchell to show off his cool airplane room himself 🙂 

Good golly, this boy makes my heart happy.

This room has been a labor of love… starting back in December. While we were in Kansas a few months ago, we rented a trailer, loaded up the furniture for Mitchell, and hauled it back to North Carolina. Which made me obnoxiously excited to decorate a house that I didn’t have. Little known fact – when you rent an enclosed U-Haul trailer and return it to a U-Haul storage location, you get a free month of storage comparable to the size of trailer you rented. So we got a tiny little unit, but big enough to fit the furniture and all of Steve’s military gear we didn’t want to store at our tiny little beach home. I only learned this because I overheard a person in front of me in line taking advantage of the deal when we were living in Florida, and you can bet your bottoms I remembered it when we moved to North Carolina. And since we ended up only storing the furniture for a month, it worked out perfectly! When we got the keys to our house, it was still ten days before we got our furniture. So my husband and my pregnant self moved the furniture out of storage into the new house. Granted it stayed in the garage for awhile because I knew I wanted to refinish it… there was no point in moving it upstairs until it was done… I worked hard trying to finish it before Julia came, to which I was mildly successful. I’m also pretty sure this project was what sent me into labor a week early… the doctor may recommend long walks and spicy food… but I personally recommend squating on an ammo can and painting furniture for eight hours a day. This picture was before we got any of our household goods out of storage, so I didn’t have anything to do but sand and paint and try to have a baby. If you look closely at the bookshelf in the background, that was the original color of the furniture. 

And just for fun, here’s a few pictures of me when it was my big girl furniture. There’s Mitchell’s Great Grandma Pendleton! And Uncle Colby. Both who have red hair just like my babies 🙂 

That wraps up Mitchell’s big boy room tour. I’m impressed if you’re still with me because that was a lot of pictures. Disclaimer: we live in base housing. We’re not allowed to paint the walls, and and even if we did, we’re probably going to move in the next few years and we’d just have to paint them back. So I decorated to the best of my abilities without painting the walls. For which I am sure I will be grateful later. Coming up next up on the blog – Mitchell’s transition from the crib to his big boy bed! 🙂 

11 thoughts on “Our Home – Mitchell’s Airplane Room

  1. OMG he is adorable and second his room is so much cooler than mine!! This looks like it took so much thought and love, it's simply awesome! I also love that you used furniture from both of you, makes it so much more special!


  2. THOSE beds! I love them! My son had a airplane themed nursery and I loved it. However, now his room is pretty plain because he's broken lots of stuff and drawn all over his walls. One day maybe it will be nice again!


  3. LOL Kassie I think it's inevitable for kids to “make their mark” 😉 I tried to keep everything important or breakable out of his reach, but I'm sure he will eventually find something I missed!


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