Outdoor Summer Reading Nook Challenge with Pottery Barn Kids

Fun project alert!  A few weeks ago the folks at Pottery Barn Kids emailed me about creating a Summer Reading Nook for my girls and for their PBK and PBS Kids Summer Reading Nook Challenge.  5 other bloggers were included and we were given access to specific PBK staples for us to use in our nook,  the rest was up to us.

I don’t know what doing Dylan’s room did to my brain,  I think it unlocked my inner daydreaming child, because right now everything I am doing sort of has the perspective of someone roughly 3.5 feet tall.  (what do you know, maybe I am a good mom…if you ignore all of the cereal/toast/ramen that happens in this house.)

So here is the thought process for this fun project.  I don’t so much have a spot in my little house right now for a reading nook, so the obvious choice was to make something that was well,  not in my house.   When I told Court the plans he was like…”Dude.  This thing is going to be so heavy, and cost a million bucks,  can’t you just repaint a wall?”  To which I replied “I mean, I understand, but if you saw what I see in my head you wouldn’t be able to shut it off either.  Plus its freaking Pottery Barn.”

He then saw the light.


Summer Reading Nook Project @vintage revivals

Doesn’t it look like childhood in a jar?  I am SO in love with it, and more importantly my girls are too.

The design is a mix of thrifted treasures (the light and accessories),  family heirlooms (the amazing oil painting by my Great Grandma),  handmade flair (obviously the pom pom tassels),  and Pottery Barn Kids Furniture.

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-12

(Bookcase / Rug / Beanbag / Dalmatian Bookend / Pink Task Light)

The build went really smoothly and I will have a quick tutorial with guidelines and info about the structure up this week.

Playhouse Build

The canvas tent is made from a drop cloth, sisal rope, and grommets, and was SERIOUSLY simple.  And because you guys love to know the behind the scenes nuggets…the original plan was to use wooden dowels instead of the rope.  But then the whole, running, screaming, tag playing scenario ran through my mind and I knew we needed something that was a little more forgiving (as in forehead forgiving).  So rope it was!  If you are a hardcore Vintage Revival-er you will remember the curtains I made for Hailee’s Living Room with this same idea!

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-9


My favorite piece is the gray and white striped Rugby rug.

Summer Reading Ideas


Of course my girls love the beanbag.  Also, Ivie’s hair?  Super jealous.

Colorful Summer Playhouse

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-39

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-43

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-52

Pottery Barn Kids Lighting

Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Nook

And what would be a photo shoot without a few Dylan Outtakes?

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-2

Oh Dylan

Summer Reading Nook @vintage revivals-29

That girl will be the death of me.

Reading with my daughters is something that I cherish.  I love reading books that have a great lesson in them, like The Giving Tree.  My favorite series of all time though is Skippy Jon Jones.  I can do a MEAN Spanish accent Skippito.


Summer Reading Nook Project @vintage revivals



If you are itching for more kiddie inspiration, check out Dylan’s Bedroom.

Little Girl Bedroom Ideas

Or if you are in the market for something a little more grown up (I use the tern grown up loosely around these parts) check out my living room.

Orange Tufted Couch Living Room Makeover @ Vintage Revivals

Love Your Guts





I partnered with Pottery Barn Kids and PBS to create this project.   Pottery Barn Kids sent me specific items to use in this challenge.  The project ideas, cost, and opinions are 100% mine.


  • Jennie Larsen 17.06.2013 at 16:23

    WOW! so adorable in every way. I just love it! Your girls are darling and your little ones expressions kill me! Mandi- you totally have a decorating/designing gift! you should have your own magazine. XO, jen

  • Joanna 17.06.2013 at 16:43

    That is really truly gorgeous! Makes me want to break out my miter saw that’s still in the box after 3 years and make one for my kids! Oh heck never mind the kids. It’s all about me!

  • Adrienne Gibbs 17.06.2013 at 16:47

    So cute! Your girls are absolute dolls! Go ahead & high-five yourself. Oh the Little House book is a family favorite.

  • Allison Miller 17.06.2013 at 16:49

    This is the moment when i wish i had a yard. Super cute and creative :)

  • Allison Miller 17.06.2013 at 16:50

    This is the moment when i wish i had a yard. Super cute and creative :)

  • Michaela 17.06.2013 at 16:52

    Just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Love the pops of fun color! I’d totally be hanging out in there (and I’m 22!) :)

  • Lindsey Allen 17.06.2013 at 16:56

    WOW! Your creative genius just kills me! Great job Mandi, I want one in my size!


  • Megan @ Megity's Handmade 17.06.2013 at 17:15

    Oh that is happiness in a bottle!

  • Heidi @ Moms Crafty Space 17.06.2013 at 17:20

    So cute! We have a playhouse fort frame that is pretty similar, but only about half the size. We were talking about recycling it since it doesn’t get much use anymore, but now I’m feeling inspired to dress it up and give it new life!

  • {Hi Sugarplum!} 17.06.2013 at 17:28

    Another homerun, Mandi!!!!

  • Fletcher @ High Cotton Style 17.06.2013 at 17:31

    I absolutely love that you did an outdoor book nook!! Such a great idea:)

  • Little Paper Dog 17.06.2013 at 17:35

    I thought the lattice wall was a nice touch in making it not seem so enclosed … but then when I saw the picture with the drop cloth rolled up too … Kaboom! You blow my freekin mind! :)

  • .tessa. 17.06.2013 at 17:36

    I LOVE the Pom Pom tassels. I will definitely be making these for my sons first birthday party- fiesta theme! This is a dream space, great job Mandi! And I feel like you should have your own hgtv show!!

  • Genevieve Chambliss 17.06.2013 at 18:05

    This came out so freakin’ cute! Love the rope holding up the canvas and the pom poms and that pink lamp is adorable!

  • Baby McLaughlin 17.06.2013 at 18:18

    This is SOOO cute! Totally adorbs. Ok, maybe an obvious question/answer… but, do you take the drop cloth off and on every time it rains??? Or, will the drop cloth withstand a summer’s worth of wetness? (I live in IN.)

  • Roxana Tarcau 17.06.2013 at 18:19

    i went over and checked out the rest of the “nooks” and yours is hands down the best and most original. And I’m not just saying that bc i love your blog :) Its the truth. Also, Your actual blog layout is my fav. I don’t think you should change it. Some of the other blogs I’ve been to are so cluttered! Coming ver here is like a breath of fresh air.

  • iheartorganizing 17.06.2013 at 18:35

    Seriously, will you be my mom too? Those girls are so lucky to have such a creative genius like yourself. Love everything about this sweet little outdoor space. Keep rollin’ with that 3.5 ft self, it’s definitely working out! <3


  • Karah @ thespacebetweenblog 17.06.2013 at 18:45

    that is so stinkin cool I want one … and we don’t have any kids!

  • Kerri Muffin 17.06.2013 at 18:55

    Oh my goodness this is adorable!
    xo Kerri at HollyMuffin

  • astr!d 17.06.2013 at 19:41

    i love this!!! how awesome would it be as a tree house?!?! im a little tree house obsessed right now….
    anyway- dylan has the most animated face! reminds me of my kids! :)

  • Jennifer@The Chronicles of Home 17.06.2013 at 19:54

    I think I would love this as much as my little girls would! So fantastic, brilliant idea to move the nook outdoors.

    • Lorrie 19.07.2014 at 21:24

      ive got a great one i did last month on the inside for my grand daughter birthday, i would love to share.

  • Wendy 17.06.2013 at 19:56

    This is so precious! Just beautiful! I would LOVE something like that for me. heehee

  • April Nielsen 17.06.2013 at 20:06

    GiRRRRL! You NAILED it! absolutely the BEST project (and those girls! seriously to die for cute). FANTASTIC job!

  • Nat 17.06.2013 at 20:53

    This is wonderful…as in wonderland wonderful! I went and looked closely at all the other entrants, and while nice, yours is amazing! I love the outside take on it!
    What a cute little girly clubhouse for your cuties! :)

  • Teresa 17.06.2013 at 21:04

    what a great little space!

  • Nutbird 17.06.2013 at 21:23

    Yours is the best By Far! Some of the others just picked stuff out of the catalog and hang the stuff up. No imagination, etc. Some didn’t even give the reading area its own space. In a baby’s room? They would have been better off in the hall. Good luck, hope you win.

  • Chelsea Asermely 17.06.2013 at 21:37

    Um you are AMAZEBALLS. K that is all. Just kidding, its not! I must say there is no way you are not winning. Yours looks like a freakin’ photo shoot ready for the PBK catalog. It is crazy imaginative fun and total perfection. I am so proud of you!! <3

  • Bettsi McComb 17.06.2013 at 21:38

    Too bad Nutbird couldn’t give you a compliment without tearing down the efforts of the other contestants.

    Mandi, as usual your talent astounds! Love this space! Only problem? You need a bean bag for each of the girls. You and your sweetheart deserve a big pat on the back for this amazing space!

  • Julia Konya 17.06.2013 at 23:18

    Seriously awesome! Love the picture of her holding the Olivia book. Olivia is our favorite!
    What a sweet idea!!!

  • Lisa @ Shine Your Light 18.06.2013 at 00:43

    Mandi WOW!!! I want my very own Reading Nook, no kids allowed!! Bookcase, beanbag chair, pink lamp all included. So cute and FUN!! You are so stinkin creative.

  • Kae 18.06.2013 at 01:08

    I can’t say I am the biggest fan of the pom-pom things on the outside, but I LOVE it!!! Everything you do just keeps getting better! :)

  • jhulon 18.06.2013 at 02:09

    Amazing!! so cute…I’m in the middle of making a reading nook for my kids—wishing I could do it outside now :) Great Job!

  • Diana Miller 18.06.2013 at 02:30

    I am in love with this! Seriously – it is beautiful and your girls may never want to come inside again!!! They are adorable too – oh my goodness! I shared this with my FB fans and stumbled it. Amazing! :) XOXO

  • katie gavigan 18.06.2013 at 03:19

    very, very cute, creative, playful….love it all!! i would not hesitate to spend my summer in this space :) great job!

  • Mandie 18.06.2013 at 03:21

    Yours is the clear winner!

  • Katie Murphy 18.06.2013 at 03:59

    This is so awesome, I want one for myself!

  • Anah 18.06.2013 at 07:01

    Oh my GOSH, Mandi! I looked at the other entries, and most of them didn’t even post a picture of the entire space! I wanted to see what it looked like. Their photos were cluttered and confusing. And all of the other nooks were so bland and drab. Mostly they made me feel like I didn’t want to be there. At. All. But yours I want to run away to! It’s so colorful and inviting. And I love the pinwheels in the front. It’s totally a place you can hang out during summer showers (wait – this is southern Utah. No rain for us!) and get lost at sea with Captain Ahab. This would definitely be my happy place.:) Obviously I voted for you, and you were winning at 39% when I did. So, I hope you take the cake, and eat it, too! :)

  • Deneen@dreaming-n-color 18.06.2013 at 13:27

    You are ah-mazing! Wish my daughter had this when she was young. She loved reading and still does. Shoot she would love this now. Can’t wait to see the plans!

  • Brittany Helen 18.06.2013 at 13:47

    that looks so fun!!!! Such a great project!

  • Lynn 18.06.2013 at 14:58

    Okay…. you’re killin’ me Gubler. This is AMAZING! and I want one!!! I must tell you that *YOU* are amazing. I have been with you pretty much from the start (can you say orange kitchen back splash?) While EVERY project has been a delight, you are now officially OUTSTANDING. I am blown away by your growth, design style, delightful spirit…you’re the real deal girl. And speaking of girls, Ivy is SO grown up! And Dylan? Well she’s a hoot…& the spitting imaging of her dad. LOVE your blog and love your guts.

  • Tanya Runkle 18.06.2013 at 15:35

    Mandi this is fan-freaking-tastic!!! Oh my goodness my little readers would love a fun little spot like this to spend time in, you guys are just amazing.

    xo, Tanya

  • Miss Charming 18.06.2013 at 15:41

    Seriously? You blew the other competition away. What a super fabulous reading nook and club house! Amazing! Your girls are lucky to have such a crafty mom.

  • Colleen 18.06.2013 at 15:50

    Got my vote….why? Because you created the exact type of place that promotes a good read….somewhere removed, a place that is quiet and most of all, a spot that will capture a kid’s imagination and then let them run with it. Serious kudos mama!!

  • Sean C 18.06.2013 at 18:12

    STUNNING! Great space for the li’l one.

  • Alina Conn 18.06.2013 at 18:13

    Unique in every way. Love, LOVE, LoVe!

  • Shannon 18.06.2013 at 19:00

    Not just saying this because I love you the best (but I do!!) but your project blows the others out of the water! Love it! :)

    Fabulously Vintage
    Shannon Loves Design

  • Shelly 18.06.2013 at 19:52

    Wow Mandi. Fantastic Job! The little reading nook you created is not only creative and functional but cute as a button too. All the bloggers in the contest did a great job but you knocked it out of the park.

  • Court 18.06.2013 at 19:55

    Ummmm hands down your is the best! I feel like you invite them in to this place that just screams imagination, dreams and magic! Not really much of a contest! I want to come and read!!!!!

  • Nutbird 18.06.2013 at 19:57

    Could you please remind us every day to vote? I think you had better get ready for a complete diagram of the complete plans for this thing. Also, you could restyle it for all sorts of things. Thanks.

  • { amy } 19.06.2013 at 01:13

    Um… WOW. Seriously A.MA.ZING. Loving ALL of it!


  • Kami @ Sweet Charli... 19.06.2013 at 04:07

    WAHOOO! This is just incredible! You did fabulous, may I come down and rest in your nook?! What a great opportunity for you! :)

  • Dawn 19.06.2013 at 05:02

    I love the structure/tent aspect. A fort! Who doesn’t love a fort!!

  • Sarah Westover McKenna 19.06.2013 at 06:18

    Amazing. As usual!!

  • Shannon 19.06.2013 at 13:51

    I voted for your nook before I realized I could see which nook belonged to which designer. Totally love your style, and this is more proof, right? :) Rock on!

  • Dear Emmeline 19.06.2013 at 14:19

    so so cute! I just love everything you put together. You definitely have a way with color lady! yes you do!

  • Lindsey 19.06.2013 at 15:57

    I have a crush on your house. And now your backyard too. I’m going to get my hubs on board this one!

  • Lydia 19.06.2013 at 19:10

    Love this so much, can’t wait for the post on contruction details!

  • Amber Feller 20.06.2013 at 14:24

    Wow! A little girls dream! For my little 9 year old reader, she would sure love this little hang out spot! Great job Mandi! You rock!

  • homefornowblog 20.06.2013 at 16:33

    That is just about the cutest thing that I have ever seen! I would love reading in there as an adult!

  • Brandi 21.06.2013 at 17:47

    First, your girls are ADORABLE!!! I love what you did with the challenge. You are a creative genius!

  • Serena Appiah 22.06.2013 at 05:06

    I think you’ve just inspired me to try something like that with my boys. Outside, though, I’m nervous. The mosquitoes might eat us up! LOL Maybe inside?

    Thrift Diving

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  • Jen Ketcher 22.06.2013 at 19:24

    This is really cute. Maybe I’m the only one to ask the obvious question: Do you have to take everything down every time it rains? Can’t ruin the books/book case/rug/pompoms, right? I love the idea, I just think it’s a little impractical for a continuous-use book nook.

  • keshakeke 23.06.2013 at 00:51

    So Adorable! I voted for you!

  • Sweetpeas and Mom 23.06.2013 at 17:42

    Feeling impatient for the tutorial! Hands down the best reading nook of the contest. Well done! Your girls are adorable!

  • Sarah Pennington 23.06.2013 at 18:20

    This is so neat! Best nook I have seen!

  • Sarah Pennington 23.06.2013 at 18:20

    This is so neat! Best nook I have seen!

  • Our Learning Collection 23.06.2013 at 18:54

    What a great idea! Everything looks so inviting for reading! Thanks for all of the inspiration.

  • Cristina 26.09.2013 at 18:13

    First time I see this blog. Smart stuff. Beautiful girls :-)
    Won’t be last.

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  • Lorrie 19.07.2014 at 21:17

    I love it! My grandaughter wanted one for her birthday “Chloe” beautiful name and beautiful child. She turned 8 the last month. I used just what I had the only thing I bought was the small storage/shelf I used for the seating and the rug. Even tho I had to give up a corner of my craft room I enjoyed making it for her after all the moving and cleaning up. But hey she is very happy I love having her in the room with me and the cost was around $45.00 woohooo, the husband was happen too…
    Would love to show you the before and after…

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    Omg so much love!! I want this for ME! Haha :)

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    Wow. That is such a cool idea. I don’t have a garden only a balcony (sadface) but something like this would fit snugly on one side.

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  • Danielle 11.02.2016 at 00:37

    Beautiful outdoor space. You can never have too many reading areas! 😉

  • Bob Sethi 15.04.2016 at 01:13

    Just built this for my daughter’s 9th birthday present. She’s a voracious book reader and this was the perfect gift. Built the whole thing over two nights in my garage with some help from two of my neighbors and best friend who also helped me carry it out and set it amongst 90′ cotton woods on our 1/2 acre property. Had the auto upholster next to my office stitch two 8′ x 12′ laminated drop-cloths down the long side. Used furniture pins to secure the cover to the structure and voila! On her birthday morning she and several of her friends who had a slumber party all came out and played in it for the day. Thanks for the great idea and let me know if/how I could submit you pictures! – Bob


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