Excuse the Mess in Our Playroom–The Monkeys Took Over

by hookedonhouses on October 21, 2010

Julia's Playroom 8-10

Thank goodness I took photos of the playroom after we finished giving it a makeover with the new board and batten a couple months ago. That clean and serene scene you see here didn’t last very long! The kids went right to work, breaking it in.

After my 8-year old daughter Lily had a playdate with her friend Olivia recently, I saw they had taped a sign to the playroom door that said, Monkey Town. I wondered what that meant, so I ventured inside to find out.

Sign-Monkey Town

Lily and Olivia showed me around, explaining that it’s a giant zoo, but the monkeys are in charge. Oh, and they have dinosaurs, too (cool!).

Monkey Town-vertical

Here’s the Giraffe and Elephant House (made by my son Jake for his little sister several years ago and played with almost every day since):

Elephants and giraffes

Next to the giraffes and elephants is a special section of the zoo called “Party Village,” and this dinosaur is the mayor:

Party Village

The King of the Monkeys surveys his kingdom from the pink ottoman and keeps a close eye on everything going on around him:

King of the Monkeys

The “Barrel of Monkeys” are now swinging from a string attached to the two light fixtures (Lily says “It’s a monkey swing–you swing from monkey to monkey to monkey!”).

Monkey Town-blue lamp

Lest you think my house is always put together, neat and clean, here’s proof that monkeys occasionally take over. And elephants and tigers and dinosaurs, too.

Monkey Town-Lily

Lily doesn’t seem the least bit concerned, though. She says they’re (mostly) friendly, so we can all live together in peace.

In case you missed it: Playroom Makeover with Board and Batten.

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Janell Beals October 21, 2010 at 7:37 am

You know, strangely I think it looks even better with all the toys thrown around the room! (Perhaps they are all in the right colors?! Ha!) Just looks like a very happy place. Someday when I have nothing better to do I’ll post a photo of our yet to be touched with any care playroom, yikes!!
.-= Janell Beals´s last blog ..DIY Bamboo Light Fixture – Good Enough To Hang =-.

amy@maisondecor October 21, 2010 at 7:39 am

This room looks so adorable with the monkey business! Happiness exudes!
.-= amy@maisondecor´s last blog ..A Romantic Hooked Rug =-.

Brianna October 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

lol, it never takes kids long to break in a room. I think you did a beautiful job with the room, it looks very colorful and inviting.

Emily@remodelingthislife October 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

I love it looking lived in and loved!!

MissCaron October 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

LOVE it! I’m so glad that she’s using the room and enjoying it… there’s nothing worse than a house that isn’t lived in. I’ve been in plenty of houses where the parents would never let the kids be kids and it was just sad. Now, of course, you still have to clean it all up when you’re finished… I mean it can’t be a giant mess all the time… but that’s a great lesson for children to learn, how to have fun and the responsibility of cleaning up. :-)
.-= MissCaron´s last blog ..Seawatch =-.

Farmeress October 21, 2010 at 7:43 am

A play room with character(s). I recall fondly the imaginitive play of both my children and the way their imaginations often filled up the formerly tidy space with Play ideas. It has proven to be among the best decorating imprint my memory offers. Kudos to the space that inspires!

Luciane October 21, 2010 at 7:47 am


This is just too cute! Lovely!
The playroom is just perfect! It’s super fun, comfort and bright! What a fantastic job!
And the kids are great too! :-) Very creative!!! :-)

This is inspiring…

Luciane, From HomeBunch.com

Melanie October 21, 2010 at 7:58 am

Perfect, I mean after all, it is a PLAYROOM right, it is NOT the living room :-)
It looks like it is getting a lot of use, and after all, isn’t that the purpose of our homes?

Courtney @ nesting instincts October 21, 2010 at 7:58 am

I love this! Kids always amaze me with their imaginative play. Now THAT looks more like the playroom at my house! Thanks for sharing this cute story!
.-= Courtney @ nesting instincts´s last blog ..master bedroom makeoverfor free! =-.

Teresa October 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

Ha! Looks familiar. Beautiful clean room reduced to rubble by a playdate. :)

Amber October 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

What is it about board and batten that automatically makes a room look neat and clean??
I love it, great colors for a playroom.
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Save the date- November 6- Holiday Open House =-.

karin/lifeinsmallchunks@blogspot.com October 21, 2010 at 8:06 am

That is EXACTLY how a playroom should look!

The Stucco Bungalow October 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

Oh to be a child again… When your first instinct is to throw everything on the floor!
.-= The Stucco Bungalow´s last blog ..Another Spray Paint A Chandelier Blog Post =-.

Desiree Leone October 21, 2010 at 8:18 am

What a blessing to have a playroom! I think it’s great how the toys match the room.

pk @ Room Remix October 21, 2010 at 8:20 am

I just love your playroom, EITHER way! :-) It looks like the kids really enjoy it too, which is the important thing.
.-= pk @ Room Remix´s last blog ..Whats behind the sofa =-.

Pat October 21, 2010 at 8:21 am

Keeping it real…love it!
How wonderful to have a room dedicated to children at play, makes for happy kids and happy parents!
I think that last little monkey named Lily is adorable!
.-= Pat´s last blog ..Unpacking my Luggage =-.

hookedonhouses October 21, 2010 at 9:20 am

I have to admit, she is my favorite monkey. ;-)

donna good October 21, 2010 at 8:24 am

thanks for sharing you REAL life…your kids have your creative eye.

Vanessa@Decor Happy October 21, 2010 at 8:26 am

Thanks for sharing – I love it! The creativity at this age never ceases to amaze me. Your room looks much better this way!
.-= Vanessa@Decor Happy´s last blog ..Steven- Chris and I Go Way Back! =-.

Rebecca Patel October 21, 2010 at 8:32 am

Love it! I also like you much better now :-). Now we have more in common!!!! LOL.

Gina at Temporary Nest October 21, 2010 at 9:12 am

I have the EXACT same ottoman but since pink wasnt really in my colorscheme anymore I whipped up a little slip cover for it! So if you ever decide you want a change, head over to my link for a quick how-to!! :) Oh and I LOOOOVE the choice of lamps in that room!!

.-= Gina at Temporary Nest´s last blog ..Hello- Beautiful! =-.

hookedonhouses October 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

That’s fun–thanks, Gina! -Julia

Cheryl October 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

In my house we call the play area “Crazy Town”. There are several neighbourhoods, Barbie Boulevard, Littlest Pet Shop Crescent, Webkinz World, and a miscellaneous area that Olivia calls “Anything Goes Town Square”.
In the beginning I made myself crazy picking up the toys every night then I remembered how my Mom would let me take over an entire corner of her living room with my Barbie mansion, and it had a lot of square inch-age. She never complained about how much space I consumed, she just wanted me to be happy. I now embrace my daughters Crazy Town. I figure in a few years she’ll be out of the toy phase of her life and on to bigger things. Childhood goes sooo quickly, they should enjoy it while they can. There will be lots of tidy rooms in our homes when they go to college. (Tear, sniff.)

Leah October 21, 2010 at 9:32 am

It looks like an episode of Toy Story! I love it.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints October 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

Looks like a playroom should…played in. What a beautiful space for them to do just that;) Oh and you should see our playroom right now. Holy cow!!!
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..One giant mess =-.

Karena October 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

Julia I love it it is absolutely adorable monkeys and all!!
Art by Karena
.-= Karena´s last blog ..Luxurious 300 Giveaway from Metis Linens =-.

Centsational Girl October 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

I’m with Janell! As GORG as it is all cleaned up, the monkeys, and Mayor Dino really give it that ‘pop’ it needs *wink* after all, it’s a playroom! So delighted to get a peek at your ‘real’ life and your kids’ creativity. Love this post!


hip hip gin gin October 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

This is just about the cutest thing ever! I actually prefer the room in its monkeyed state, I think that is the way it is meant to look! And I adore that little house your son made for his little sis, so sweet.
.-= hip hip gin gin´s last blog ..Hello There! =-.

LuxuriousLife October 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

Cute!! Princesses and fairies take over the playroom at our house. They have houses and dance floors made from blocks all over the room. I love creative play, however messy it is!!
.-= LuxuriousLife´s last blog ..Tickled Pink =-.

liz @ bon temps beignet October 21, 2010 at 11:20 am

I like it messy too! And I used to have the same cardboard blocks when I was little. My sister and I would build a ‘drive thru’ McDonald’s out of them.
.-= liz @ bon temps beignet´s last blog ..Happy Halloweenie! Free &amp Easy Halloween Cards =-.

jana October 21, 2010 at 11:29 am

I think a good description for this picture would be “aftermath” LOL. I too love their imaginitive play. And I am highly impressed that the bookshelf remains untouched! My boys would have everything pulled out and dumped on the ground and flung the books all over the room. Our playroom looks like this except is cars and trucks strewn everywhere! I have all of the components now to get the backgrounds in place and you are inspiring me to get it done!
.-= jana´s last blog ..Go-To Cake =-.

pollydove October 21, 2010 at 11:41 am

Oh that is too adorable!!! I love that kind of creativity in children! Good for them, and good for you for documenting that kind of fun!
.-= pollydove´s last blog ..Drumsticks one way or another =-.

Alycia October 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

Awww…. it looks so happy and I don’t believe any one really has a clean-all-the-time home anyway. (At least that is what I tell myself to feel better!)
.-= Alycia´s last blog ..My Halloween and Fall Decor =-.

Cheri@IHeartOldHouses October 21, 2010 at 11:46 am

I don’t think it’s possible to make that playroom look bad, no matter how big the mess…it’s just too cute!

Mary October 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I feel so much better about my house now. : )

Nancy@marcusdesign October 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm

How cute! I love the room and I love seeing that it is getting used the way it was designed to be!! How fabulous, and Lily is soooo pretty, what a sweetie.
Nancy xo
.-= Nancy@marcusdesign´s last blog ..a very sweet penthouse suite =-.

Nickki October 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I love your playroom and somehow missed when you posted about finishing it. Could you tell me where you found that gorgeous aqua lamp on the little green dresser? I have been looking for the perfect lamps for months and when I saw yours I loved it.


hookedonhouses October 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Target! :-)

Love Where You Live October 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

This makes me smile. I wish I had some monkeys!!
.-= Love Where You Live´s last blog ..Architecturally Designed Dog Houses -Bow-WOW!! =-.

Susan S October 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Adorable, mess and all! The best time of my life were when my two children were little and still “under my wings”.

Kelly, Arte Styling October 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

So, cute! I think it actually looks better with the monkeys, etc. Home isn’t home without a little crazy.
Thanks for sharing your great photos.
.-= Kelly, Arte Styling´s last blog ..Color in the Neighborhood =-.

Heather October 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

FABULOUS! Tell your kids that I think they should win an award for their creativity!
Ingenious design, and I love the the placement of all the accessories…. absolute

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... October 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm

That’s awesome. Long live the candy driven crazed monkeys!
.-= Juju at Tales of Whimsy…´s last blog ..I want to read that- An Unexpected Mystery &amp Fairytale =-.

Jamie October 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Now that is what a playroom makeover is all about! Such a fun space to play in!

Kathy :) October 21, 2010 at 3:05 pm

LOL what a doll and I love her imagination !!! Julia when my daughter was little for some reason only known to her she called those monkeys…Dinkies….she was only four and I thought it too cute so I didn’t correct her. So to this day they are Dinkies to us…. some things just stick….thanks for the memory !!!

All the best,
Kathy :)

Laurie October 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

So. Dang. Cute.

Enjoy the mess. My house is clean now, but empty. Wish I could rewind to “Wildsville” with my four boys again.

Kim October 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Great looking playroom. I love the special touches. The mess doesn’t bother me at all, because isn’t a playroom made for messes? That’s where kids go and play with their toys.

Lori-Anne October 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm

As lovely as the playroom was when it was just finished, it’s even more beautiful now with signs of life, imagination and old-fashioned play taking over. I truly wish more magazines had at least some controlled signs of childhood in them – aka a dose of real life!
.-= Lori-Anne´s last blog ..Taking Comfort in the Familiar =-.

Josanne October 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Your children are so creative! And I love that you have allowed some “fun” decorating in your home-I decided after my house burned that life was too short to have too serious of a home! =) I like that the kids can feel a part of it too!
.-= Josanne´s last blog ..A Poem =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now October 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I love it, Julia!!! It looks lived in and enjoyed. :) I love it when bloggers show us their “real” rooms. Your kids are so cute and creative!
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Willow House Giveaway from Southern Fried Gal =-.

Janet October 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

How creative is she? Adorable too. What a great playroom, I love the green lamps! ;)
.-= Janet´s last blog ..Not Your Mommas Pumpkin! =-.

KATHIE October 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Adorable! What great imaginations. The room simply invites fun…great job.

Karen October 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm

now this is my kind of playroom. brings back fond memories of the years we had a basement & my friends & i created ‘fort town’ with the pool table, the sheets, and my toys. Its wonderful to see that childhood imagination, unfettered by the faux imagination of TV cartoons & videos, lives on. I can’t decide what my favorite is–the Dino Mayor or the Monkey King surveying all from the ottoman or the Swinging Monkeys. what you did to make over the room is great, this makes it awesome.

Lauren October 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

The after-after looks even better – your very own Jumanji! The giraffe house bday present is one I’ll be demanding of my own brother next year — beyond belief adorable.
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..Nice girls don’t =-.

Rachel October 21, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Hilarious and so darn cute! I think our kids would get along well. I recognize many of those toys – Littlest Pet Shop – ugh – more like Biggest Mess Pet Shop. :)

Kelly @ JAX does design October 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I think your playroom looks fantastic with the monkeys & giraffes & elephants & dinosaurs! It’s fun, it’s playful, it’s colourful, it’s creative… it’s the perfect place for your kids and their friends to express themselves and let their minds run free :-)

Didn’t we all have a barrel of monkeys when we were kids? :-)

.-= Kelly @ JAX does design´s last blog ..Design reflections- Decorating with mirrors =-.

Tamara October 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm

What a wonderful post! I remember when my kids would do this in the playroom. One time they turned an upside down coffee table wrapped in plastic wrap into a fish acquarium!

Kate (Little Beach Bum) October 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

This is too cute! One of my favorite posts yet. I guess we have all been forgetting one important factor when we critique the decor of different rooms – which species of toy will be inhabiting it once it’s decorated! LOL!

By the way, the dinosaur mayor = HILARIOUS!
.-= Kate (Little Beach Bum)´s last blog ..Quote of the Day =-.

Sanity Fair October 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm

DARLING. Your kids are so cute and creative! The room is fantastic too – love the brights. The monkeys are the perfect compliment :)
P.S. I’m hosting a Marc Jacobs jewelry give away – I hope you’ll stop by! http://sfair.blogspot.com/2010/10/marc-jacobs-give-away.html
.-= Sanity Fair´s last blog ..WELLY WONDERFUL =-.

Bre October 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm

This made me smile. The playroom looks fantastic in use, I love the monkey zoo! It’s nice to see when a room is so thoroughly enjoyed, that’s what makes a house a home. Clearly Lily takes after her mother when it comes to both style and creativity. I still can’t get over how bright and cheery your playroom is. Mission success!
.-= Bre´s last blog ..Q &amp A with BB- Smoothing it Over with Exfoliants =-.

Decor Arts Now October 23, 2010 at 9:11 am

Totally charming Julia! Real life is best!! Xx Lynn
.-= Decor Arts Now´s last blog ..October 22- 2010- Foodie Friday- Salmon Baked in Foil =-.

Maggy October 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

Julia, this is beyond adorable! How creative! And I was thinking that they’destroyed the room; quite the opposite — the girls simply ‘embellished’ it! Looks like the playroom is serving its purpose very well :- )

And — just for the record — Lily is ADORABLE! What a cutie-pie!

Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving October 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I’m glad to see Lily is just as creative as her Kindergarten teacher remembers her to be! Again, the finished playroom is just lovely!
.-= Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving´s last blog ..Printable Links I Like =-.

le@thirdontheright October 25, 2010 at 6:06 am

that is so fab – she takes after her moms creativity :) best le
.-= le@thirdontheright´s last blog ..Bring me some roses and a cabbage too =-.

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