The Cupboard Under the Stairs

There was something about this house that stood out the first time I walked inside… it wasn’t the normal things that people might notice like a kitchen, bathroom or storage space… it was The Cupboard Under the Stairs that stood out for me.   Immediately I knew I would have some pretty big plans to carry out. As an elementary school principal and former teacher I know how important it is for children to have a space of their own to read and do school work, and a space where they feel comfortable.  Clearly I took my inspiration from the famous cupboard where Harry Potter spent most of his childhood.

The project took about two weeks total to complete (as I was doing a little bit of work each night after Jackson and Oliver went to bed).  The first and most difficult part was the actual planning of the project.  With so many amazing Harry Potter related ideas floating around in my head it was hard to narrow it down to a few so that the boys could actually fit in there.  The before was a blank canvas… just a bare, cold storage space that was not very inviting:

I wanted to give the room a warm feeling, especially since these cold winter months here in CT are a great time to get comfortable and read your favorite book.  I chose to go with Harry’s school colors: Gryffindor maroon and gold. The Harry Potter series provided us with so many amazing quotes, so I wanted to have some of my favorite visible each time you walk into the cupboard.  They are a good reminder for the boys… “have fun, work hard, and stay true and honest.”

The walls had a few scribbles from the previous owners, but were otherwise bare and white. What better way to get to know some of the most beloved characters in the series than to have them represented collage style? The Daily Prophet front pages provided a perfect way to feel the ups and downs of the seven books… from Harry Potter winning the Tri-Wizard Tournament to The Dark Lord Returning… these front page newspaper headlines did just that!  (I used Mod Podge to seal the walls in case sticky little toddler fingers sneak in a snack at some point!)

Completing the walls and with the Daily Prophet headlines, brought us to a big decsion… did Jackson (as the oldest he had final decision making powers) want a window in his newly created Cupboard Under the Stairs????  Of course the answer was a resounding, “YES!” and why not… its not like his dad lacks any type of real wood working skills… (just kidding, I had no idea what I was doing!)  But, honestly it wasn’t that hard… I found a really cool looking picture frame that utilized a window shutter design and just installed that on the existing wall and presto (magical pun intended!):

… add in some faux brick to give it a, “your about to enter Diagon Alley look” and the cupboard was complete with a working window:

The ceiling was full of nails and staples from the hard wood above… and if my sons inherited any of the “clumsy gene” from their father, it would not be long before we were bandaging children’s heads… so with some work from a hammer and a great second hand find, (Harry Potter Quidditch sheets), the ceiling seemed safe enough while also providing a great view of the Golden Snitch about to be caught! (I covered the header beams with parts of the Marauder’s Map in case the boys needed to see what was going on at Hogwarts as well.)

Of course no reading room can have a hard wood floor… you need a plush carpet to curl up and read on… if you take out the face that the guy at Home Depot needed three hours to figure out how to work the carpet cutter… this part was pretty easy to do.

Lastly, no Harry Potter themed room is complete without its very own Hedwig, and as Prof. Lockhart would say, a troublesome Cornish Pixie. Add in a few pillows and a Marauders’ Map blanket and Jackson and Oliver will be off reading about Harry Potter and friends in no time!!!

Now we could just get the kids to dress like this all the time we’d be all set! LOL

PS: why does the Harry Potter series resinate with me so much… read about that here:

https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2016/07/26/visiting-with-an-old-friend-harry-potter/

Visiting an Old Friend: Harry Potter

Story Time

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I’ve read 45 million books to children in my life. As a first grade teacher, I read every single Caldecott and Newberry Award winning book to my students. I’ve written countless lesson plans on every single one of these stories that I practically know everyone by heart.

But every once and a while you come across a new book or new author that does something to you when you read it. Add that to the fact that I’m reading a bed time story to my own son and you have this perfect storm of emotional electricity coursing through your veins.

ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN was just that book. Holy crap did this story
conjure up some flashbacks of great classes and students, a little mix of my own parents reading to me along with some of my favorite teachers from years past… And stir in the fact that in now the one sharing these stories with my own little one… And you have one great
memory.

Had to blog this one. Couldn’t let this experience slip out of reach without documenting it. I know, I know…
It’s all cute and mushy. But hey I’m a sucker for a good children’s book.

Bath, Book, Bed

BATH: First bath in his big boy tubby! He did great… And didn’t even pee on anything.

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BOOK: As a dad and former first grade teacher, there’s nothing better than listening to an amazing mom read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to you son. Literally I know this book by heart… He was so engaged in this book, I’m going to have to go get done more Eric Carle books. Great job reading with expression mom!!!

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BED: Why are their snaps on PJs? It’s 3:45 AM I’m lucky my feet are able to shuffle into the nursery. Off snapping = easy… Like old school Adidas wind pants. On snapping = Impossible… like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands.

 

Finally… all bathed… booked… and now in bed!

 

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Successful daddy night! #Dinner #Bath #Binky #Bed