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Room To Grow: Tour An Eclectic Playroom & Two Hidden Hangouts

A full view of the eclectic playroom

This month, we explored an eclectic playroom and discovered two hidden hangouts with Jakobi (8), Maks (5) and Henrik (3) Anderson.

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

Featured photo:
Builder – Benjamin Custom Homes
Home Staging – Melanie Anderson, Benjamin Custom Homes

This month, we explored an eclectic playroom and discovered two hidden hangouts with Jakobi (8), Maks (5) and Henrik (3) Anderson. These three busy brothers live in the city of Moorhead with their parents, Ben and Melanie Anderson of Benjamin Custom Homes. Who else would have thought to use vintage toys as decor in kids’ spaces? Even more surprising is the fact that these toys actually get used on a regular basis. Keep reading for more family-friendly decorating tips we learned from these outrageously fun room tours.

Three boys in a tent in their eclectic playroom
Front: Maks & Jakobi Anderson Back: Henrik Anderson

That Looks Familiar

You might recognize these spaces from the September 2017 issue of Design & Living Magazine. We decided to revisit the Andersons because we felt that these rooms just needed to be explored in more depth. You may also recognize their home from the 2018 Spring Parade of Homes.

A boy playing in his eclectic playroom
This tent was lovingly stitched together by Melanie Anderson’s mother, the boys’ grandmother.

An Eclectic Playroom

Not ‘For Display Only’

Maks Anderson proves that the vintage rocking horse is not ‘for display only.’ “Isn’t it funny how the old toys are the ones that everyone wants to play with?” Ben Anderson said.

Two boys play and read in their eclectic playroom

Two boys read on the floor of their eclectic playroom

The boys playing in the eclectic playroom
Sofa & Chair – The White House Co.

The boys playing in front of the fun wall in their eclectic playroom

A wall of fun in the eclectic playroom
Vintage Letters – Moorhead Antique Mall
Vintage Flash Cards – Zandbroz Variety

Isn’t it funny how the old toys are the ones that everyone wants to play with? – Ben Anderson

Two Hidden Hangouts

the boys play in the closet for their eclectic playroom

The closet near the eclectic playroom

A secret hideaway
Gold Deer – The White House Co.
Assorted Pillows – Target & IKEA

Can You Spot the Secret Room?

A secret room is cleverly concealed behind a mirror in Jakobi and Maks Anderson’s walk-in-closet. “The idea of a secret room came up during construction when we saw that we had that empty space. I thought of it as a gift that I could give the kids,” Ben Anderson said.

A ladder leads up to a secret hideaway

“It’s custom-made, so you don’t need to worry,” Jakobi Anderson said as he climbed the captain’s ladder up to the loft. When building their home, the Andersons decided to lower the ceiling in the boys’ bathroom, which created empty space that was perfect for a loft. This elevated area can be accessed by climbing a ship ladder in the Andersons’ guest room.

The boys up in their secret hideaway
Henrik, Jakobi and Maks Anderson look down from the loft.

When designing their home, Ben and Melanie Anderson knew that they wanted a room where the boys could just be boys. “They know they have some level of un-supervision up here,” Ben Anderson said. Having a dedicated playroom helps the Anderson family isolate the chaos that comes with having three young children at home. The daily cleaning ritual that helps keep things somewhat organized is that the boys have to tidy up their toys at the end of each day.

Melanie Anderson’s eclectic style is visible in the playroom. She has incorporated family photos, as well as vintage toys and locally sourced furniture into the decor. We asked if she had any tips for decorating a family-friendly space.

Family-Tested, Kid-Approved Decorating Tips from Melanie Anderson

  1. Make sure the room is safe.
  2. Use toys as decor.
  3. Create lots of storage space to tuck things away.

The Andersons took safety into consideration when designing their home. You may notice glass windows in the playroom that overlook the Anderson’s kitchen. These were installed by Ben Anderson and are extremely durable.

Melanie Anderson has spread vintage treasures throughout their home, and the playroom is no exception. For example, the Andersons found an old rocking horse at an antique store that the boys have charmingly named, “Sparky.”

Finally, you will also notice that one wall of the room is devoted to storage. These built-ins mimic the look of wainscoting and provide much-needed storage space for three growing boys and all of their games.

Benjamin Custom Homes

4025 4th Ave. S. #1, Fargo


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