“Smart” Design

Decorating a child’s room is getting easier and becoming more fun thanks to so many innovative products and an abundance of decorating websites for inspiration. One area that has really grown is the world of decals making it easier to make a significant impact in your child’s room for relatively low cost. There are decals for everything – even furniture or light fixtures that give the illusion of upscale design without spending the big bucks.

New to the decal world is a product I have recently come to love because it not only looks great, but actually helps your child learn at the same time!! Pretty genius right? Teachstix are wall decals of sight words necessary in learning to read. Click on the picture to get a better look:

teachstix

Sight words are frequently recurring words in text that children learn to identify by sight rather than by decoding them. Most of them cannot be phonetically sounded out and do not come with a visual cue (how can you illustrate, “what”?);  therefore, children must learn them through memorization. Even children who have mastered the skill of sounding out can have trouble reading if they have not learned the sight words.

Full disclosure: one of the women who created this product is a mom friend who, like myself, has two smart and curious boys who love to learn. She came up with the idea for the product when one of her boys was having trouble learning to read. Read her story here:

http://www.teachstix.com/a-mothers-story

As an early childhood educator, this product is a dream! I know first hand the importance of sight words, but I also know how tedious and uninspiring flashcards can be. Here, your children can be immersed in a print-rich environment and be learning automatically instead of through a painstaking process. And as a designer, I love how modern and cool they look!

For more information please visit,

http://www.teachstix.com/

10 ideas for turning your baby’s name into sentimental nursery wall art

Here are some cute ideas for how to display your baby/child’s name in their room and in doing so create a work of art. Courtesy of Houzz. (Some of the pictures get cut off so you are better off clicking on the green title below to view the pictures in their entirety and be able to read the article.) Enjoy!


Before and After: Under the stairs little girl secret hide away

The following is a tiny space I made over on a tight budget. I took a little girls secret play space that was drab and not particularly imaginative and made it magical and special. If you live in an old house that has a similar under the stairs nook but aren’t sure quite what to do with it, consider something like this!

Before:

While it may be tricky to tell in these pictures the space first goes down stairs and the wraps around to form a u shape creating 3 tiny spaces.

After:

(Important to note that these pics were not done by my professional photographer and the color is all off. The green is a soft cucumber and not  florescent as it appears!)

(The first part of the U)

       

The second part of the U:

The last part of the u:

In this space the window treatment, reading nook curtain and pillows were custom made.

Budget: $400

Source Guide:

Carpeting: Flor carpet squares, reverb, magenta

Curtain and large pillow: Owl print bedding sheet, Target

Flower light: Smila blooma, Ikea

Bird wall decals: Target

Name/butterfly decal: rosenberryrooms.com

Cherry blossom tree decal: rossenberryrooms.com

Handmade fabric wall flowers: Leilasflowergarden from Etsy

Pink storage bins: Target

Etched butterfly mirror: Ikea

Mirror butterfly hooks: Pottery Barn Kids

Sheer white curtain:Target, hand embellished with hot pink pom pom fringe

Paint: BM cucumber and

 

 


 

The Built-In Bed

 

Built-Ins have always been a sought-after feature in houses. If done well, they look stylish, save space, and most importantly create much needed storage. Increasingly, people are making built-ins multi-functional. Instead of just shelving or book-casing, they can also be seating and sleeping quarters. High quality built-ins add value to your property as they add a high end feel to an interior. Built-in beds can be a wonderful asset to children’s room but can be impractical if not designed with foresight. Because a built-in will be a permanent feature of a room (and generally an expensive one) the storage aspect should be designed to grow with your child. One must ask oneself what kinds of things will need to be stored in a few years or in many. It is a good idea to design both the bed and storage feature in a way that would be practical not just for your child but other home owners to come. Even if you know you will be staying in a home for a long time, the design should accommodate many scenarios. For example the storage may be used for toys now but text books later.

The best part about having a built-in bed in a child’s room (or any room really) is the cozy, nook-like retreat they create. Here are 2 of my favorite nook style built-ins:

   

The vintage style one on the left has particularly nice decorative storage features.

The following have nice but limited storage features:

  

The following have incredible storage features including full closet space.

This last one although not a true built-in but more of a custom bunk bed also had very creative storage features as well as being adorable!

If doing a built-in in your house, its important to have a trusted designer or architect design it rather than your general contractor. Built-in beds can be more complicated than they seem and as they will be a permanent feature, they must be well thought out.

 

Oh Jenny!

As I have a blog about children’s interiors I suppose it’s kind of imperative I have a post about Jenny. Who, or what, say you? About Jenny Lind. I know you keen observers of style and design have noticed too; Reproductions and modern versions of the vintage furniture are suddenly popping up everywhere! Okay- perhaps if your not always on the look out for trends in children’s furniture and design, it might not have caught your eye yet. But now it will. So let’s start with the what. Jenny Lind furniture is a style from the 1800’s characterized by its spindled wood. Jenny Lind the person was actually a Swedish opera singer of that time who because of being so damn popular had many things named after her, most famously furniture, after it was recorded that she slept in such a bed once. Ah, to be so lucky.

As I am a sucker for vintage pieces especially in children’s spaces of course I have been excited at the trend to bring this furniture back.

If you are lucky enough to find actual antique Jenny Lind furniture (and you can afford it) you wont be disappointed. Mixing it up with some modern pieces and bedding will look great!

 

But as many of us don’t have the time or money to rummage around antique fairs, luckily many furniture companies have brought them back and they look sweeter than ever.

I have to give props to Land of Nod for not only producing a lovely collection of Jenny Lind furniture but for actually getting more and more in touch with real designers and creating children’s room accessories of either, designer’s work, or that recall vintage designs of the past.

Ahh just a few more images to round it out.

Thanks Jenny!

 

“Grown-up” Nursery

Here’s an example of a nursery that looks great with mostly adult design pieces.

There are many great elements to this nursery. Here, a few simple design elements create an extremely pleasing, fresh environment, enjoyable for baby and parent. The accessories used are design conscious and could be found in any other room of the house and yet they work so well in this nursery too. First, the color palate is soothing with the robin’s egg blue and punches of mustard. Then, the addition of the black and white adds contrast which is known to be stimulating for young babies. Here we can see that a color contrast in and of itself can be the design element (no pictures necessary in the picture frames!) The addition of the zig-zag pattern creates even more interest for the baby in addition to looking chic. The pinwheels add an element of fun without being too sugary. Lastly, adding the flag garland gives the plain white crib a little bit of flare, reminding us that we don’t need to spend a fortune on crib bedding to make a crib look great.

What this nursery illustrates so well is how little one needs to create a great space!

Sparkling Twins Nursery: Miranda and Lauren’s Starry Safari

Take a look at this fantastic nursery that literally must light up these lucky twins faces.

     

There are so many features I love about this room but what stands out is the dramatic affect both the lighting and birds create. Here the stunning visuals must undoubtedly ignite Miranda and Lauren’s imagination and literally stimulate brain development in these crucial first few years of their lives! Luckily it is as aesthetically pleasing to grown up eyes too and that is really the key to creating the modern nursery today. Thank goodness we can say bye-bye to cutesie and instead design spaces that are cool and chic and yet still perfect for a baby.

Let’s talk about color for a minute. Those that know me well know that I have an obsession with both green and white as color palates but what I love about this space is that they didn’t play it safe and choose a soft green such as a sage. Contrasted with white, the bolder chartreuse green makes such a statement without being too garish.  Often people feel that soft, pastel, “baby” colors are the only choices for nurseries and these days that couldn’t be more wrong!

So Let’s find out how they created this look from their interview with Apartment Therapy:

So, tell us, how many stars are there in the starry night ceiling? And what are they made of?
The ceiling includes a few hundred twinkling stars via fiber optics, which were installed one-by-one in the crawl space. The stars were painted over to conceal them during the day, but they create quite a dreamy effect at night. The best possible nightlight, in our opinion. The stars do not brighten the room as much as they appear to in the extended exposure photos.

What is your favorite element in the room?
The starlit ceiling.

Before starting, what did you know you wanted to include, for sure?
Definitely the starlit ceiling.

  

What was your inspiration for the room?
We wanted it to be natural and safari-like, without being too literal or girly, while keeping it with a contemporary feel.

Were there any surprises during the process of designing the room?
There are too many shades of green to choose from. We brought home 12 samples of “green” and painted each as a large swatch on the walls to decide.

What was your biggest indulgence?
The Eames elephant.

Any advice for other people starting this process?
Sourcing and coordinating all of the details will consume you. Start early.

If money was no object, what would your dream source be?
I’d probably hire a team of Disney Imagineers to custom design and build everything.

Source List:
• KLIPPAN Loveseat Sofa: IKEA
• Wall Flowers: CHIASSO
• Animal Prints on Wood: Petit Collage
• Green Eames Elephant: All Modern
• Cribs and Changing Table: Babyletto Modo
• Fiber Optic Starry Ceiling: LED Starfield Ceiling
• Custom Lasercut Baby Names on Bamboo: Ponoko
• Leather Storage Ottoman: Ebay
• EXPEDIT Cube Storage Shelves: IKEA
• Paper Lanterns: Paper Lantern Store

(Images: John Burton Brown & Kristie English)