By Gabrielle. Photos via Trina herself and Yazy Jo Photography.
Seriously, Trina’s master bedroom is the hardest working room in her home. It’s equal parts a sleeping, working, relaxing, and exercising space, which sounds like a whole lot when I write it out. I had to see it more closely, and hear all about it from the one who spends the most time in there. Of course, Trina agreed to show us around. She’s so good like that!
Hi everyone! We’re the McNeilly family. We are a wild bunch, mostly because the boys tip the scales. There’s Stephen: Everyone tells him he looks and sounds like Matthew McConaughey. Except for the one time someone said, “Does anyone ever tell you that you look like….Owen Wilson?”
I’m Trina. I’m known to break into a British accent at any given time. My children are no longer amused by this.
Our oldest and singiest is Ella. If she isn’t singing, something must be wrong.
Then comes Luke: He is our resident sports fanatic from black flips to football, and he has a few scars to prove it.
Liam Brave is an old soul who has been giving me lessons about life since he was two.
And Rocco Royal is our social bug. Last year, I found out that he had smuggled one of my necklaces to school and gave it to a girl named Scarlett.
Theodore is our kitty cat who likes to bring me presents, and not the kind I like to get. Because of him I’m now a part-time animal rescuer.
I live in my childhood home. I never would have imagined that I’d be living in the house I grew up in. Some days it’s weird, but most days endearing. We’ve spent the last eleven years slowly making minor updates and decorating room by room. The house has seen many changes over the years, and I have really enjoyed making it my own.
Now, it’s not just the house I grew up in, it’s also the home my four children grew up in. As you can imagine, each room tells many stories, from then and now. I love how my stories are mingling with theirs.
My master bedroom is the hardest working room in my house. I’ve been asked if it felt weird to change up the room from when it belonged to my parents, but it really wasn’t. I think because my parents had been out of the house for about a year before we moved in and I had gotten somewhat used to it being empty. But also because this room wasn’t my parents’ room for most of my childhood.
When I was a senior in high school my parents had an addition built, which included this master bedroom, a bathroom, and an office. My earliest memories go back to their original bedroom, which eventually became my brother’s room, then a guest room, a nursery, and now Ella’s room.
When I think of this bedroom being my parents’ I always picture my parent’s nightstands. Particularly my dad’s side, stacked with books. Some things never change, I suppose, because my nightstand is stacked with books, too.
I think it all started with a desk. My dad’s old desk, actually. I painted it and brought it into the room as decor and before I knew it became functional. I like to keep the bedroom as a place of rest and relaxation so it’s not my ideal to work out of my bedroom, but I really don’t have another space of my own in the house.
The room is used for sleep and relaxing (I’m a fan of watching movies in bed on cold winter days), working, writing, reading, and exercise.
I love to walk (and surprisingly run, but after a half-marathon I learned my feet aren’t cut out for running). It’s exercise, but it’s also therapeutic for me. I walk outside in the warmer months, and in the winter I walk on a treadmill.
I started exercising in my bedroom last winter when I was having some health issues. I have a good amount of space on the side of my bed, with a beautiful rug, and it just so happened to be the perfect place to do yoga.
While I adore yoga, I was advised to start Pilates and have really fallen in love with it. I joined Robin Long’s The Balanced Life Sisterhood which is a monthly subscription that offers workout calendars, exclusive Pilates routines, recipes and community. I’m a fan of Robin’s 10-minute workouts and have learned to be really consistent with this program. So in my room, I do yoga, Pilates, stretching, and sometimes light weights. If the my younger boys catch me doing yoga, they always join in — for about five minutes, that is.
There are no unspoken rules for who’s in my room and when. I’ve tried the spoken kind and they don’t seem to work too well for our room, at least not in this season of life. Since this room was an addition it is right off of the kitchen, the main hub of the house, where there is always a lot of commotion. Besides that, my husband’s office is on the other side of our bedroom which makes it feels like a hallway, at times.
I’m a bit of an introvert so it’s really important to me to have my own space to escape to. I like to be able to shut the door and retreat. My husband is not an introvert; I think he thinks I’m high maintenance. I think keeping this space “sometimes sacred” is something we will be working on this winter; just as I’ll be working on remembering that it is a season of life and one day I will miss the interruptions.
My desk used to be right next to my bed, where my dresser currently is, and that did not work for me. I’d be laying in bed looking at it and thinking way too much. Last year, I was quite ill and I just couldn’t work. Getting my groceries was a big task during that time. The whole ordeal put everything in perspective for me.
During that time, I just wanted to spend time with my family and get well. While things tug at me, I’m truly learning that things can wait. If I don’t get to blog today or even at all this week, then life will go on. Summer is always a great practice for this new rhythm. I have to prioritize what is most important, get a few things done when I have a sitter, and let the rest go.
On a practical note, It’s also helped to take down my inspiration board (which could get a cluttered and messy) and replace it with a beautiful picture – I chose this beautiful cactus art because it reminds me of Tucson, where my family vacationed for over twenty years. It’s home away from home and it reminds me of relaxing and happy times — as well as making sure my desk is cleaned off most nights. Now it kind of feels more like a hotel desk, in a nice hotel room, which feels kind of luxurious.
I don’t know if I can name a specific project on the horizon that’s inspiring me at the moment, but I’m really just excited to work on my writing. It’s always been about words for me. I’m looking to write more on my blog and let words drive the imagery rather than the other way around. While I’m pursuing other writing opportunities, I want my blog to be a place where authentic and inspiring words are written and beautiful images help to tell the story.
I also have a reading corner in this room. It consists of a small blue chair that was my husband’s grandmother’s, a side table, and many books piled on the floor. As I mentioned, I love words. I not only like to write them…I love to read them. I wake up early, before the kids, get a cup of coffee — decaf for me these days — and start my day reading my Bible, a little bit from a personal growth book (I’m getting ready to start this one), and journaling. I’m a much better mom and person if I have this quiet time to reflect.
I hope my kids remember this room as a beautiful lived-in room. I think they will remember our big bed that they love to jump off of and snuggle in. Mostly I hope they can almost feel rest when they think back on this space. That it will be the very type of space they want to recreate in their own way in their own homes. A big squidgy bed for cuddling, books to get lost in, serene decor, and more books to get lost in!
If I’ve learned one lesson about making a space for myself among all the chaos of the kids’ spaces, it’s accepting that it’s not entirely my space — as much as I wish it could be!
It’s our space, because it is our home.
Children get into everything and bring everything with them. I’ve learned to go ahead and decorate as I like, with lots of calming white and even a few touches of pink among lots of boys. I think it’s like a living juxtaposition. A really beautiful one. Create the calming space you dream of and let the chaos live within it…at least for an hour or so a day. Then when the kids go to bed, light a candle, make a cup of tea, and take the calm in.
But truly? Let’s just say I’m really savoring this space now that school has started again.
Life could’ve been a lot easier had I learned to let go a little sooner. I tried to hold onto perfection for too long. I’m learning to let the mess go, the stress go, the unrealistic expectations that I place on myself go. I can’t do it all, and honestly, I don’t want to.
Trina! This: “I can’t do it all, and honestly, I don’t want to.” Most of us, if we’re lucky, manage the first five words. But if we’re really, really fortunate, we can easily admit the whole sentence. Thank you for showing us the hardest working room in your home. It was a tremendous treat all around!
What do you think, everyone? Do you have a room with multiple personalities? I’d love to hear about it, and possibly share it! Let’s keep in touch, okay?
P.S. – Are you living with your own kids in a unique way? Are you interested in sharing your home and experiences with us? Let me know! We love to be inspired! And it’s a lot of fun…I promise! I should also mention, I have a goal to bring more diverse points of view to Design Mom this year. So if you don’t see yourself or your community reflected here, let’s make it happen — send in your details, or recommend a friend! Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here.