Alma Project: Playroom Transformed

May 1, 2012

Hi all, it’s time to share what we accomplished during our weekend at the Alma Project, and I’m so excited about this space!  We started with this room which is dedicated to the kids but was acting more like a storage space than a playroom, and in need of practical kid friendly solutions.  Over the course of three days, the team took this room from totally drab to completely fab!   We had to work with the existing navy carpet and ceiling, but every thing else was fair game so we started with a fresh coat of paint on the walls on Friday (painted baseboards too) and then installed all the elements from the design plan on Saturday and Sunday.

A month ago, Cristin and I got on the phone together to brainstorm ideas to reinvent this space.  It had to be a gender neutral playroom to serve kids ages 2 to 10, and we wanted to make it as inspiring as we could within our budget of $1,000.  We started with the giant wall map in shades of blue and green, then found a modern wavy stripe for the curtains, and I sourced everything else after that, with various online purchases and trips to IKEA, Target, etc.

All of the families who reside share a bedroom (mom plus kids in one room, up to four families in this home) so there was a real need for a community space for kids to be inspired to create and play.  The kids playroom sits right off the kitchen and is also a place for parents to relax and interact with their little ones.

Here’s a look at the room before we began:

alma kids room

And how it now looks after our three day makeover:

alma project kids playroom

Wow, right?   So fresh, so fun, so filled with color! Here’s the grand tour of the new kids playroom at our Alma Project. 


It measures approximately 16’ x 12’ and is packed with plenty of practical storage, a bench for sitting or playing, a leather sofa, and a feature wall with an inspiring map of the world!

playroom view cg


On the left side of the room we installed a giant map to encourage the children that the world is full of possibilities!   The blues and greens established the color palette for the entire space.  We donated our gently used leather sofa to the space. 

map wall playroom cg


On the other side of the sofa are extra floor cushions in a medallion print for lounging, dreaming, or playing.

floor cushions and map cg


A giant (as big as the world) thank you to FLOR for donating the carpet tiles under the sofa, they’re the perfect match!  I also have one more row that we can use to widen or replace the existing mini area rug.

map wall and flor tiles cg


One of my sponsors, Shades of Light, donated the new Moravian Star fixture which is reminiscent of a compass star.

shades of light fixture


On the bare wall next to the door to the laundry room and garage, I saw the need for a library and toy storage so we added three built-in Billy bookcases (similar to this project) to maximize the use of vertical space and painted the backs to provide a fun grassy green color to brighten the room.  The bookcases are anchored to the wall studs to prevent any instability or tipping.

billy bookcases and play table


The color along the back is Glidden’s ‘Green Lane’ which is more like “Kermit the Frog” green to me!  Our local church group donated dozens of books which doubled the size of the kids library.  Thank you Nina and Chris for the collection!   The play table was a Craigslist find that I repainted.

play table and hooks cg

The hook rails were another generous donation by Liberty Hardware, who not only donated these hook rails for storage (for dress up and purses and backpacks!) but also many more hooks for the entry too.

On the window wall, we added an IKEA Expedit shelf to act as both a bench and a great place for toy storage.  I imagine its flat surface will accommodate a train or car race too.

ikat pillow expedit bench cg


I sewed the rod pocket panels with 12 yards of this outdoor fabric and they bring whimsy, plus sun protection when necessary.  The window opens to a fenced side yard, so privacy is not an issue.

playroom window treatments cg


The ‘You Are My Sunshine’ art is from The Ink Society, and is framed in a grid to inspire – the Melissa & Doug easel was another donation.  It can be moved to make space for a future TV stand and television for the kids to watch movies.

easel art window panels cg


That’s the grand tour of the new playroom space, hope you like it as much as the kids!  I’ll do a follow up post answering any questions you might have, and showing you the ‘behind the scenes’ projects that went into the transformation from the wall map to the Billys to sewing the window treatments!

 Here’s the Source List and total cost of the makeover:

World Wall Map:  $99

Trim for map: donated by COTS

3 Billy bookcases, IKEA: $151 with tax

Teal lamp base and shade, Target, $43

Wall and trim paint: donated by Glidden (thank you Sarah!)

Anchors, framing, and crown for bookcases; $45

Storage Drawers & Baskets for bookshelves, Target: $45

Carpet tiles: donated by FLOR (thank you Patrick!)

Stripe pillows, Target, $29

End table: our donation

Monrovian Star fixture, donation by Shades of Light (thank you Walter!)

Storage Ottomans, Target $50

Leather Sofa, Jennifer Convertibles: our donation

Medallion floor cushions, Costco: $40

Framed wall art, The Ink Society, $42

Wall Frames, Target, $43

Expedit shelf under window, IKEA, $64 with tax

Fiber storage baskets, IKEA, $49 with tax

repainted Pottery Barn Play table, Craigslist: $45

Richloom Indoor/Outdoor Poolside fabric (window treatments), 12 yards, $108

Ikat pillow, Target, $22 with tax

Lime green pillows, IKEA, $10 with tax

Hook rails, donated by Liberty Hardware (thank you Amy!)

Easel: our donation

Total cost for playroom makeover = $885


Before: alma kids room


blue and green playroom cg


Many thanks to FLOR, Liberty Hardware, Shades of Light, and Glidden Paint for their generous product donations!!

We would also like to personally thank these wonderful and generous PayPal and mail donors:  Stephanie Norris, Susan Luken, Heather Lynch, Lynn Nazareth, Michelle Hayward, Patti Hubbard, Laurel Friedman, Jodi Santimauro, Brandi Adoff, Shiori Constance-Fiedler, Sarah Springer, Rachel Wimpee, Christina Webb, Jean Mieloch, Laura Bettis  Christina Isetta, Jacqueline Blomberg, Kristin Schmidt, Cathleen Barstow, Caitlyn Cameron, Tracie Stoll, Claudine Kruck, Mary Robertson, Mary Ann Bassett, Dayna Dubay, Patti Zipper, Rachel Seavey, Deborah Milner, Karen Duffy, Emily Essig, Terah Shelton, Melinda Wyckoff, Cindy Braniff, Linda Hyams, Helen Tuggle, Sherry Hutchens, Gregory Bender, Cassidy Beyer, Jonathan Dunford, Keri Andrews, Laura Groff, Elizabeth Hunt, Lakeitha Duncan, and Sharon Johnson.   THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

We could not have done this without you!

But you know what?  We have less than $500 left in our PayPal account, and we need to raise more!  There’s a sad living room which needs some real solutions and a backyard that’s mostly weeds and in desperate need of help!  The kitchen remodel is underway thanks to a generous donation by Home Depot to replace the cabinetry (wow, amazing!) but we need to buy a new oven/cooktop, a range hood, and countertops.  We welcome your donations!   For more details on what the Alma Project is all about, read this post.

Click on this button in the sidebar to help!

alma project

Thanks so much to all the volunteers who gave their time and helped pull this space together, we’re so proud of this playroom.  Read all the details on the DIY projects in this space right here!



Pin It

Tags: ,

137 Responses to “Alma Project: Playroom Transformed”

  1. What an amazing transformation! I’m sure their imaginations will soar in this room. The map is so super fabulous and works so well with the window treatments. What a wonderful contribution to a good cause:)

  2. Candice says:

    The room is beyond amazing! What a fantastic job! the
    Expedit seems to be floating in the photos……did you add a row of legs in the middle of it or can we just not see the legs in the photo? Ding the same in a daughter’s room and I’m a little scared of the particle board….

  3. Jeanette says:

    Wow! What a beautiful job! Love the colors.

  4. Alisa says:

    I CANNOT get over how amazing that is! What a wonderful space for kids to play and explore. I can imagine them pouring over that map and picking out places to have imaginary adventures in. What a beautiful transformation! Bravo!

  5. Zobiana says:

    Great job. I love the colours. What a happy, cheerful room.

  6. It is perfect! I love every inch of it! The colors are amazing!

  7. WOW, Kate! That is one fantastic playroom. Congrats on all that hard work, it looks GREAT!!

  8. What a great space!!

  9. umm, ok, so you are coming to do my playroom, right? this is amazing!

  10. A beautiful job, and so filled with love – I’m sure the families that live there are over the moon!

  11. Wow! That was a huge transformation. It looks great and I am sure they appreciate it. Who would have ever though the navy carpet would looks so good in there.

  12. Alina says:

    it is a wonderful room! I love the fresh colors and the giant map is just awesome! Love love love!

  13. Charlie says:

    AMAZING! That before/after is just awesome. I was looking at the before thinking, “what in the world is she going to do with that carpet?!” You pulled it off perfectly. Justly lovely.


  14. Heather says:

    Looks great but I’d definitely add that extra row of carpet tiles. The FLOR rug as it is now looks too small (but maybe that’s the camera playing tricks on my eyes).

  15. Andrea says:

    It looks awesome. I love all the bright colors.

  16. Alyssa says:

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring room. I love this cause and look forward to learning more about the Alma project and how to get involved. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Chelsea says:

    fab transformation! This room is groovy and so usable! I am totally wowed

  18. Julie says:

    Amazing! You have lots of good karma coming your way!

  19. Such a beautiful, bright, cheerful place!

  20. Jen Migonis says:

    What a beautiful transformation, Kate and team! :) the colors are terrific and I love the Kermit the Frog bookcases… And how wonderful to be teaching them that they can go anywhere they want! What an empowering lesson! Love love love it all.

  21. Joyce says:

    OMgoodness!!!! What a beautiful transformation!! That is the perfect play room for any kiddo! I love the giant map! Where did you get it? Great great job!!!!!

  22. Kim says:

    I am blown away by this transformation….simply amazing! You are so talented! What a great gift to the families at Alma House.

  23. WOW! What a beautiful new room. I love the cheerful colors. Who wouldn’t want to sit and play in such a bright, beautiful room. GREAT JOB! ~Linda

  24. Kristin M says:

    What a beautiful transformation. I know those kids will love it. The bright colors make me instantly smile. Great job!!! ; )


  25. Kathleen says:

    That is so great! I used to work at a women’s shelter, and I know how much it means to them to have a beautiful space to live in. Great work!

  26. Eliesa says:

    Wow! What a gorgeous room! Love the curtains and the wall map! It’s so bright and cheerful and inviting. As always, you, and the rest of your crew on this project, are an inspiration!

  27. Sara says:

    Wow great makeover!

  28. Jimmy says:

    Very nicely done. I love that you embraced the carpet color instead of trying to downplay or hide it. And I love the combination of education and imagination in the room. What a great place for kids. Heck, I’d like a room like that for me.

  29. The Blanchard Family says:

    GOOSEBUMPS!!! What a gift you’ve given to these famillies! The playroom looks AH-MAZING!!

  30. Kate says:

    Wow!!! I’m so amazed!! I wish I had that kind of talent and could create beautiful rooms like that in my home. You should be incredibly proud of the work you did. Wow.

  31. Ellen S. says:

    Spectacular! Bright and cheerful, what kid wouldn’t love to spend some time in there! Great job.

  32. Whitney says:

    Kate, it looks fabulous! Those families are so grateful, I’m sure, for all your hard work.

  33. Amazing! Love the color palette. You turned it into such an inspiring space! What a fun place to play and relax.

  34. Paula S. says:

    I had to come over from my google reader to comment. WOW!!!! You all did a fantastic job! This space is so cheerful, inspiring and yet calming too. I love the colors. The curtains are awesome. The use of space is perfect. The leather couch is a great choice. Seriously this is fabulous. Bravo!

  35. L.Duncan says:

    OMG!!!! What a transformation, Kate! Love the color scheme and the map is perfect for the space! I really need to try those billy bookcases! Can’t wait to see the next space.

    PS, Antonio Duncan is me:)

    You’re totally welcome. I’ll try t to donate more soon!

  36. Love Love Love it! Where did you get the white shelves and the curtains?

  37. Angela says:

    Wow, there are a ton of great ideas in this room. It’s full of inspiration!! Great job!!

  38. Patti says:

    Wow is an understatement! Amazing space, you are truly inspirational.

  39. Peggy W. says:

    Absolutely ADORE that new room. Gave me a lot of ideas to change up the playroom we have for the grandkids. Thank you so much for sharing.

  40. Catherine says:


  41. Mindy says:

    um yes! wow indeed!! love the giant map and how all the colors coordinate without being matchy matchy. each piece makes such a statement, yet none are overpowering at all!

  42. This is AWESOME!!! And so budget friendly! I’m transforming our dining room into a playroom and you’ve given me some inspiration!!! Love it!

  43. Oh my Kate, you did an awesome job on this transformation. I bet the families just love it. I know things must be hard for them, and being in this room HAS to brighten their day and lift their spirits. I am so glad I was a tad part of this, you can count on me for another donation, it is money well spent. The way you pulled the colors from the map are so fun and fresh, great, great job.

  44. Absolutely fabulous!!! I love everything you did and that wall map is to die for. What lucky kids! :)

  45. WOWZA! What a transformation! The new play room looks incredible, so functional and inspiring, I love it! You’re so fabulous, Kate! Your designs are so cohesive, I love everything about this new space!

  46. Melanie says:

    Oh Kate! What a beautiful job you all did tranforming that room, especially having to work with the Navy carpet! I love that you chose to do the play area first. The map is the perfect bold statement (with some education to boot)! What a special place they’ll enjoy! Wonderful job!!

  47. cassie says:

    it looks amazing! love the map and love the colors- what a happy place!

  48. Tracie says:

    Love the map…love the colors! Great job!!!! Do you have a button for the Alma Project? I would be happy to place a donation button on my side bar ;)

  49. So amazing! I absolutely love the map! I also love that it’s a space for both parents and kids. What an amazing gift you’ve given these families!

  50. Destiny says:

    Such an amazing transformation!

    So inspired that you and your family have taken on this project for another year.

  51. Katie says:

    This room looks amazing now! So fun and beautiful. And such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing!

  52. This is such a great upgrade who wouldn’t want to play in here? I love how calm and soothing it is. I had to look twice to see if you changed the floor color. Just perfect. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  53. GOLLY! Just awesome! Such a cheerful place to learn and grow!
    Love it!

  54. Centsational Sis says:

    Sis, This is just plain precious. You guys did such a great job, and I’m very proud of you :)

  55. nicole says:

    love. every single thing about this. especially the giant map.


  56. Flippin awesome!!!

  57. “Wow” is right! This room is spectacular. So bright and cherry. Great job. It would have been fun to see the kids’ faces when they saw their new playroom.

  58. SDRachel says:

    Absolutely stunning!!

  59. Jenna says:

    It looks fantastic, Kate! I just love huge wall maps like that… they add so much whimsy to a room.

  60. That looks great! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the map!!!

  61. Juice says:

    Kate, this is beautiful! What a wonderful way to use your talents to the glory of God. I love that the world map is educational as well. A little more learning never hurt anyone. :)

  62. Everyone deserves a lovely, colorful, clean and inspiring home. Your efforts are helping to provide that Kate. You should be really proud of yourself, there is NO better way for you to be using your talents then this. I cannot wait to see what you come up with next.

    You inspire me.

  63. Cass says:

    Terrific job! The room is bright, colorful, and inspiring. The minute I looked at it I couldn’t help but smile. :)

  64. AMAZING inspired work…everything about it radiates happiness and light..and the generosity of spirit with which it was all created. You should all be very proud!

  65. Sue says:

    That is an amazing transformation! It looks bright, colorful and like it will house ‘a lot of fun’! Job well done and a huge thank you to all the volunteers involved with such a beautiful project.

  66. Morgan says:

    Wow wow wow, what a transformation!! You guys have done a beautiful job!

    PS I tried the pay pal link a couple of times but it seems to be broken :(.

  67. Sunne says:

    Fantastic job! You go girl!!!

  68. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hey Morgan, thank you (and thanks everyone!) If you look on the sidebar on the site, that takes you directly to PayPal, thank you in advance for your donation, it is such a worthy cause!

  69. Rachel says:

    This room looks FABULOUS! I LOVE your Alma Project and the whole feeling behind it. My favorite part of the room is the huge map. I’d LOVE to do that in our dining room turned playroom. i looked at the description of it on the store page and am wondering how high the ceilings were in this room? It says that the map is over 8 feet tall. I’ve got 8 foot ceilings, so with my crown moulding and baseboards I’d have trim off a decent chunk of the map. I’m wondering if that would cut into the image too much? Did you have to trip it at the top or bottom to fit in your room?

  70. Kathy says:

    I want to go play in that room! It looks so cheery and fun. What an inspiring transformation for an inspiring cause.

  71. Amber says:

    This is SO beautiful!! What a great project – def. want to drive up and help next time.

  72. Elizabeth says:

    I love it!! you should do more!


  73. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Rachel, the ceilings in this space are 8’8″ but we trimmed 10 inches off the bottom and 6 inches off the top so that there would be wall space showing – we also cut out two time zones on each side!

  74. Kate, this is wonderful. Stupendous. What an amazing transformation on a budget. It doesn’t look like a budget transformation, though–it looks like you had all the time and money you could have wanted to make this a special place. Way to go!

  75. Rachel says:


  76. Denise Z. says:

    WOW! Just WOW! Not only did you refresh and brighten that room, but I bet you’ve brightened a lot of lives and touched a lot of hearts with your makeover. Congratulations, on a job WELL DONE!

  77. It looks AMAZING. You guys did a fabulous job.

  78. deirdre says:

    Phenomenol! Like so many others I love the color and the giant map…will keep bookmarked for future inspiration!

  79. Christina says:

    Excellent job!

  80. Steph. says:

    This would be a wonderful play therapy room! What a great space for these kids!

  81. CHristina says:

    Love it! I could hang there!

  82. Amanda says:

    WOW! I love how it turned out – so beautiful!

  83. Bravo!!!! Fabulous as always only more because it shows your beautiful giving heart!

  84. Jan says:

    Amazing job Kate. What a great space for kids to play in.

  85. Jessica R. says:

    Wow!! You (and your volunteer cohorts) have worked magic again! Truly a HUGE difference; may it be a welcoming and happy place for all of those living in the home.

  86. Kate, it’s amazing! It would be wonderful for ANY family, not just the Alma family. But what a tremendous gift to them! Love it.

  87. So wonderful! Such an amazing and inspiring space for those sweet kiddos. I love it more than words can say!

  88. Laura B. says:

    You did a fabulous job! I want to live there now!

  89. Vel says:

    I so love it!!! Your color combi choice is perfect!!!!! You are an angel! :-)

  90. Allison says:

    What a fabulous room and a wonderful gift to these families. You all did a beautiful job. The colors are fun – a very cheerful and uplifting room.

  91. Sharon says:

    How could you not feel ridiculously happy in that room?! Really love it!

  92. Those curtains just did it for me! Appreciate you and the volunteers…very inspired.

  93. kristen says:

    i know you listed the floor cushions are from costco–but did they come in that fabulous print or did you re-cover them? $40 each or for the pair? I’m really hoping the local costco has them because I am in LOVE with their functionality/color !
    Beautiful job on the room! Those parents are going to be tickled pink to see their kids playing in such a bright, fun, space! Brava!

  94. Fiona says:

    It looks amazing! Love the map and the curtains and the bright colors. You’re very talented!

  95. Cheryl says:

    What a great room! Love the colors & patterns…SO CHEERFUL! You all created a wonderful space for this family! WELL DONE ANGELS!

  96. Lori says:

    What an incredible way to gift your gifts!! The room looks amazing and I will be so looking forward to seeing your other projects!! amazing!!

  97. you are very creative! keep up the good work. i would love to work with someone like you someday.

  98. What a beautiful and heart warming transformation!! The map (AND IT”S MESSAGE of possibilities) is my favorite design item within the room!!! Hooooraaay to you and the team for the long hours invested in making it happen … long hours and days that will turn to many years of happiness for the occupants!

  99. Clare says:

    Wow, that is simply fantastic. Amazing job! I shows what you can do on a small budget, with some hard work and creativity. How wonderful of you to do this for those families.

  100. Uta says:


Leave a Reply