From Castle to Classroom

Homeowners
Matt and Kiki Carpenter, Cort, 14; Lane, 11; Cason, 8; Quade, 5; Ransom, 2

Neighborhood, year home
was built, name of builder
Mallard Crossing. 2004. Rick Edwards

Boys’ rooms
Matt let the boys choose what kind of room theme they wanted. Talk went back and forth between airplanes and castles for quite awhile, and finally, Carpenter Castle won! We happened upon a few knight-style pillows and sword sets while shopping to accessorize, but the main part of the dreaming up came from Daddy. Originally, the Castle bunk room just had the two loft beds up high, but as we added to our brood, Matt built a crib, or “baby jail,” as it is lovingly called, and a toddler bed by the window. I was thrilled to find sweet, not scary, dragon-themed bedding for the younger boys’ new sleeping spots. “For several crazy and fun years, that one bedroom housed four Carpenter boys!” When we found out we were being blessed with a 5th (and final) boy joy, the two big boys got to start dreaming up their new room, and #3 and #4 boys moved on up to the bunk beds from the toddler and crib, making room for the new babe in baby jail.
From the beginning the big boys knew they wanted an outdoor-themed big boy bedroom. So, over spring break a few years ago, they loaded up in our backyard flat bottomed boat, grabbed a chainsaw and headed out to the creek for logs. No one is quite sure how Matt constructed the high bunks to be held up solely by the logs and walls, but so far, his engineering hasn’t failed! Animal skins from our trips to Africa are scattered around, as well as a shark jaw and python skin from Mozambique, and a crocodile head from Louisiana we bought after a swamp excursion. Our boys live for the outdoors, so their room is filled with knives and treasures, remote controls and drones, seashells and sand from various beaches, and the best part — a hammock or two can easily be hung up between the trees for friend or little brother sleepovers!
Classroom
We have homeschooled our brood for 10 years, and with that lifestyle comes many books and keepsakes that eventually beg for a space of their own. When we were ready to start schooling our third boy full time, we hit up the IKEA in Dallas on a summer trip, and brought home a trailer full of furniture and storage to brightly and easily convert our once home office into a schoolroom extraordinaire. It is a happy space now crammed with everything we need on a weekly basis to learn and grow throughout our school year!
Because we homeschool, we find that we are often home to enjoy our space more than many families with kids that are similar ages. Matt building during his free time to create our dream spaces makes for a fulfilling family home!

Tips for making a space multifunctional
Even though our home is not terribly large for a family of seven, I continue to find spaces that we can better utilize. For instance, we screened in our back deck, creating a porch space we now use year round for meals and exercise, morning coffee and even school on rainy days. Matt’s next project is to turn the boys’ bathroom into a glorified gym shower space complete with dual shower heads, where sweaty soccer boys can get cleaned up and avoid this momma of boys only safe haven — the newly renovated master bath!