I knew I wanted to get black and white floor covers for the lanai-playroom. As to whether I’d get a rug or foam playmat was simply a matter of timing – since Bo is going on 6 months, I had my heart set on the Skip Hop black and white foam playmats. I love the clean and graphic design – no numbers or animals! 

The problem was, I waited too long and the b&w went out of stock EVERYWHERE. Luckily, my suking Mothercare Magnolia texted to tell me that they had 2 packs of the b&w that someone else had reserved – but the mom who reserved them was taking forever to pick them up. I told them to reserve them for me in case the other mom doesn’t get them. I waited 5 more days to give the other mom a chance but on the 5th day, I called, she still didn’t go back for them, so I figured screw it, they’re mine.

Here are the kuyas putting the mat together: 

We have the grey and white version, too, actually but I plan to use that upstairs (with the wooden floor boards). For the terra cotta tiles downstairs, I like the b&w better. 



The first thing I have to do for the boys’ playroom is to CLEAN. Get rid of half of the toys, and organize what’s left. I had built in shelves made by Mang Ariel when we moved in – only to find out that the kids don’t use it much because they can’t reach it. (Gets ko na why Montessori encourages everything to be kid level). 

This is the view of our lanai-playroom from the dining table: 

It’s a tiny room (like the rest of the house) and it was a hot mess when I took these photos last February. 

We had our Muji lounger there, and my mother loaned the daybed. It’s good wood, but a bit dark for the space. There’s no back rest, so the kids don’t use it much for watching TV. 

Aside from the built ins, I also replaced the low shelves we brought to the lanai from our old house. I had Mang Ariel build this cabinet for toys right before I gave birth last year (October): 

As you can see, it’s been 5 months and I still haven’t gotten handles for the cabinet doors! It’s because I can’t make up my mind about what cabinet hardware to get. I thought I’d get handles from Vintage Hardware Manila but I wanted to see the hardware in person. Sigh. No handles meant the kids couldn’t/didn’t use the cabinets. So the playroom looked like this: 

That’s the box supposedly for toy donations. But Alo dug it up and so the mess! I came down to breakfast one morning last month and saw that disaster zone, aaaargh. 
I am on a mission to get rid of most of the toys. The kids have too many – mostly gifts from their Lulipops. Although you can’t tell from the photo, I honestly subscribe to that theory that kids do not need a lot of toys. 

The goal for this room is to declutter, organize, and make it a comfy and bright spot for the kids to play in. While I’ve really been inspired by Montessori homes, I know I won’t be able to go hard core Montessori here. We still do not have cable, so I can monitor what the kids watch. But they DO use the tv for videos, and I’d like seating, not a floor bed ala Montessori style.

Change out the curtains for blinds, get a playmat for when Bo starts walking, and get cabinet handles, remove the built ins, figure out if I want to paint the cabinets, get a new fan, organize the toys and DVD, paint the wall behind the TV – that’s basically the Bare Essentials List for this room!  Everything else is decor – I’m aiming for a monochromatic space – but hopefully still stimulating for the kiddos. 

HAULS: Kids’ Loot – Part 1

For the most part, I’ve been doing all right with prioritizing the bare essential items on my list – at least, for major purchases for the home. My 1 big downfall however is that I can’t resist kid decor! Even more so when it’s handcrafted children’s room decor! 

Like this pom pom basket from The Nifty Decorator. I got pillow shams too and these neat banners: 

I had the “Wild Thing” banner custom made by Angelica. It’s for Alo, hehe. 

I love this digital print from Walloh Designs so much I asked her to make a custom one for me too. It looks so great on my white walls. 

Playmats from Littlest Setter. Took a looong time to get them but they are so well made.

And Design Letters Kids tableware that I ordered from Dre and Art. They’re not decor, obviously, but I LOVE Design Letters. 

DINING ROOM: The Bare Essentials List

*I shared in this post how I realized I needed to quit changing and revising my to-do lists for the house if I ever hope to finish renovating and decorating it. 

It feels funny posting an almost identical photo of our dining room, but heck! Progress recently has been slow in this corner which, as compared to the living room, felt livable already.  I prioritized it since we use it all the time, quite obviously, and it was easy to feel like I’ve made headway here because we brought in the heavies – major pieces like the dining table and dining chairs.  Now it’s time to focus on all the other things – little details and the not-so-urgent but nevertheless important bits (like the missing pendant light, and the broken sliding doors).

I don’t know if I should get a rug there.  It seems like suicide, what with 3 boys and all (who are all such messy eaters – and by 3 I mean the 2 older boys and the H!).  I’d also like to declutter the Family Command Center even more.  And currently, the white shelves are no longer in that corner but back under the stairs at the other side of the window (because I couldn’t stand how it made the area look even busier).  Anyhoo!  Here’s the Bare Essentials List for the dining area:


Start of Living Room Project: 15 July 2016 (“Pegs for the Dining Room“)
End of Living Room Project (or “essentially finished”): 

  • Buy a 6-seater dining table (and return the one my mother loaned me)
  • Buy 4 white modern chairs
  • Complete my initial set of dinnerware
  • Repaint the base boards, beams, and window frames white
  • Replace electric switch plates and outlets, and cover unused electric sockets
  • Get a high chair (or booster seat) for Alo – and a splat mat
  • Replace the wooden curtain rods with slimmer black ones
  • Get 2 sets of sheer white curtains (1 for every day use, 1 for laundry days)
  • Get a sideboard or shelves or bar cart for the little O.C. essentials – and figure out where to put it
  • Get a high chair for Bo – and a splat mat
  • Buy a white standing fan
  • Find a stool or a step stool
  • Get new pendant lights or a chandelier, have an electrician install them, return the old lights to my folks, and have Mang Ariel patch up the ceiling after installation
  • Replace the broken sliding doors
  • Remove the overhead china cabinet
  • Mark the floor for table placement (for kasambahay’s reference)
  • Decorate: add a plant in a pot for the corner, add hanging plant or mobile, get a print, add plants to the sideboard/shelves/bar cart, get a clock
  • Storage Needs for O.C. Essentials: coasters in a dish, paper napkins in a container, container for center pieces (when I change them aorund), tray for existing centerpieces, storage for extra curtains, storage for anti-mosquito gear
  • Anti-Lamok Measures: plug-ins, have screen windows installed, get a mosquito zapping machine, anti-mosquito plants, and anti-mosquito room spray

Previous Versions of the Living Room Checklist:  List 1 – 08 July 2016 “Shifting Priorities (for Projects at Home)“; List 2 – 01 October 2016 “Re-Evaluating my Project Priorities (and Mini-Projects!“; List 3 – 15 October 2016 “Dining Area Windows and To-Do List“; List 4 -12 November 2016 “Brighter and Lighter“; List 5 – 10 January 2017 “Awkward Bits“; List 6 – 12 January 2017 “Midway Report“.

View all our Little House dining room posts and updates here.


LIVING ROOM: The Bare Essentials List

*I shared in this post how I realized I needed to quit changing and revising my to-do lists for the house if I ever hope to finish renovating and decorating it. 

Decorating and renovating our home has been much more challenging than I thought.  I’m not even talking about the costs – but when you’re not trained for this, you are bound to make a LOT of mistakes (as I’ve discovered!).  There was the mistake with the bar stool and the curtains (as seen here and here), for one – I can’t even say it was all rookie mistakes for both instances, because I should have learned better about measuring everything first!  And now, as I shared here, I think another mistake – a big one – was ditching the 3-seater sofa for the loveseat.

The loveseat did not go to waste because we moved it to the lanai-playroom and, thankfully, found that it was really better suited for that room.  But all this made me realize that I should first and always try to work with what we have before rushing out to replace something.  That’s pretty obvious I think for home renovations?  But I was young and foolish then, haha.

After we switched back the narra sofa for the loveseat, I finally feel that the living room is in a better place for moving forward (as I shared here).  Again: I keep chiding myself for dilly dallying – like with the living room curtains!  I was waiting to buy the replacement curtain rods, but in the meantime I lived with (and took photos of!) dirty curtains, argh.  I finally removed them, and had them washed.  I will live without curtains for now until I get the ones I like – and the place is suddenly much brighter:

Obviously there are so many things still so wrong with the living room, based on the photo alone!  I tried folding in the rug to see how it would look, and I know it looks ridiculous hahaha.  The emergency light is still sitting on the window ledge. The brackets from the old curtain rods are still up on the wall because Levis couldn’t figure out how to unscrew them.  Bo’s wooden play gym should be in the lanai. The front windows are filthy.   I need slipcovers obviously… BUT!  I am liking this starting point for the living room.  Yes, months after I tackled this area, I only just now feel that I’ve started, if that makes any sense.

All that being said (and yeah, I do get wordy I know hahahaha), here is my Bare Essentials List for the living room:


Start of Living Room Project: 06 October 2016 (the day the loveseat was delivered)
End of Living Room Project (or “essentially finished”): 

  • Repaint the baseboards, beams, and window frames to white
  • Replace electric switch plates and outlets, and cover unused electric sockets
  • Replace our old wooden couch with something smaller – but then I switched back the 3-seater sofa, so now I need to have new foam cut for the coach, and have slipcovers made
  • Get a small round white coffee table for the loveseat – now I am using our bench as a coffee table since we switched back to the larger couch
  • Figure out the cooling system – have our old white fan repaired, buy a new standing fan, or have a ceiling fan installed
  • Get throw pillows for the couch and chair, and buy 2 sets of pillow shams for starters (1 set for every day use, 1 set for laundry days)
  • Get slim black metal curtain rods (2 sets), take down and return the old rods to my folks, and have Mang Ariel install the new ones
  • Buy 2 sets of 6 sheer white curtain panels (1 set for every day, 1 set for laundry days); wash and return my mother’s old curtains
  • Replace the rug (and return it to my mother)
  • Get a white or wooden/rattan chair, and if the space permits, a black or another wooden/rattan chair – I got the white and wood bench for additional seating, but now I am using it as a coffee table
  • Buy an end table for the couch – and eventually replace or upgrade the Ikea table we got, and get a side table
  • Replace our large native poof with 2 or 3 floor pillows and/or a beanbag
  • Have Mang Ariel install a sturdy hook, and get a large handcrafted wall hanging
  • Find an oversized minimalist print to cover the outlet beneath the side windows
  • Return my folks’ hand-me-down Ikea floor lamp and get a new one
  • Add plants, prints and decor, especially for the coffee table
  • Storage Needs: for extra curtains and pillows shams, for Bo’s playmat and blanket, and for anti-mosquito gear
  • Little O.C. Essentials: coasters on a tray, a home diffuser, tissue in a container, and a discreet trash bin
  • Anti-Lamok Measures: plug-ins, have screen windows installed, get a mosquito zapping machine, anti-mosquito plants, and anti-mosquito room spray

Previous Versions of the Living Room Checklist:  List 1 – 23 June 2016 “Some Projects Around the House”; List 2 – 08 July 2016 “Shifting Priorities [For Projects At Home]; List 3 – 03 November 2016 “A Couch and a Coffee Table; List 4 – 21 December 2016 “Some Progress”; List 5 – 12 January 2017 “Midway Report”)

View all our living room posts and updates here.