A New Addition
When you’re mandated to design a contemporary top floor addition to an Edwardian style house (that includes 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a study area) - and your dream clients are doing the asking - you can be sure that decor magic is in store. Although the architecture is traditional, this family favours a transitional style that leans towards contemporary taste. The home itself features beautiful tiered crown mouldings, high baseboards and gorgeous staircases… so, the third floor addition was conceived with the goal to create a kid-friendly area that’s modern and unfussy. Creating streamlined and sleek spaces with my co-designer Shannon Morrison was easy, in part because we knew exactly where to start - wallpaper!
One of These Things is not Like the Other
The new addition provided two rooms with identical dimensions earmarked for Atticus and Oscar, making the design journey easy to navigate. While both spaces called for essentially the same treatment, the major differentiation found in each was the decor scheme. Both rooms feature the same pendant, bookshelf, general furniture setup and paint colours - but, as Shannon and I craftily planned - each feature unique decor that reflect the boys’ individual personalities.
Scholars & Adventurers
While the paint colours are consistent in both rooms, the accent colours and wallpaper were curated with input from the boys. Atticus the adventurer loves maps and requested one in his room; so, as any true traveller might dream, an entire wall was turned into a world map. Wallpapered creates gorgeous customizable wallpaper maps - and, as you can see, the results are striking! Oscar’s love of reading was fused into the aesthetic through his up-cycled wall treatment featuring recycled newspaper clippings.
Clean, Contemporary & Full of Personality
The impactful wallpaper drove a clean, contemporary treatment for the rest of the room. Streamlined furnishings and simple white accents complimented the splurged upon focal points, while bookcases provided the perfect perch to showcase each kids' unique personality. I truly believe kids rooms should reflect who they are, which is why I opted to display their books, trophies and mix of eclectic toys in a way they could shine. The objective is never to hide it - kids want to see their cool stuff!
Connect the Dots
If there’s anything you can learn from a kid, it’s to be fearless in your decision making. Mixing patterns can often be a source of intimidation, but it shouldn’t be in a kids' room - being playful is key. Atticus’s room features fabrics that reference the map through the different colours and shapes. Oscar’s room required large scale patterned pillows to balance the small scale wallpaper, essentially acting as the connector to tie the whole look together. Finding a fabric pattern that connected the blue bedding to the speckles of red in the paper provided the finishing touch.
Splurge & Save Strikes Again
The yin and yang of design is most often budget - or as we call it, splurging and saving. The custom wallpaper and pillow fabric provided the expensive focal punch each room needed, while drapery fabric and bookshelves were economical additions. Most of the time we customize furnishings for our clients - but this time we were lucky to find a few great pieces that were ready to install upon purchase. Oscar kept the chair from his old room, while Atticus added a custom Carlu Chair to the mix, from the Sarah Richardson Design bespoke furniture collection.
Stick to a plan
My best advice for designing any kids' room can be boiled down to three points:
- Involve the kids. It’ll give them a sense of ownership and accomplishment when they finally get to stay in the room.
- Find your “jumping off” point. It’ll inspire the rest of the design and give you a reference for every other choice you make.
- Preplan your budget - and stick to it. In any design project, you have to know where to save and splurge. If you know wallpaper is going to eat up half the budget, do it - but plan for bargain hunting on the rest!
Room to Grow
This shared bathroom was a great exercise in illustrating how to use inexpensive materials in an interesting way. The double sink was a must, and bathrooms in general can be pricey - so, we chose a timeless palette (clean white with subtle grey details) that will still look great when the boys are in their 20’s. It’s easy to update kids' rooms - swapping sheets and fabric colours is relatively cost-efficient - but bathrooms should be built and designed to withstand growing tastes.
If anything, have fun with the paint colours in a bathroom. I like to commit to classic choices on the bigger elements, but provide occasional revisions through paint and accessories. We saved on the boys' bathroom by utilizing subway tiles at $5/ft, and splurged on a strip of penny-round marble tiles at $20/ft. The penny-round mosaic, round mirrors and round pendants provided the final connection to pull the space together.
wallpaper, ‘World Map’, Wallpapered | rug, ‘Denim Rag Woven Rug’, Dash & Albert | pendant, ‘NI002 24” Sphere’, Sescolite | paint colours: ‘Soapy Water’ P5223-14D (wall) and ‘Moon Walker’ P5211-24 (ceiling), Para Paint | drapery fabric, bolster pillow fabric, ‘EMB-4241’ White/Blue, Designer Fabrics | night stand, ‘Lark Side Table’, Serena & Lily | lamp, ‘Giraffe Table Lamp’, Jonathan Adler | bed, ‘Rory Queen Bed’, Crate & Barrel | duvet cover, client’s own | sheet set, ‘Organic New School Blue w/ White Dots’, The Land of Nod | pillow fabric: ‘Mint Julep’, LuLu DK | toy basket, client’s own | painting, “Unstable is it’s Essence” by Amy Friend, Art Interiors | side chair, ‘Carlu Chair’, Sarah Richardson Design Bespoke Furniture Collection | side chair fabric, ‘32792-5’, Kravet | bookshelf, ‘3.14 White Bookcase’, CB2
wallpaper, Weitzner ‘Newsworthy’ WNE113/01, lumbar pillow fabric, 'Lodge Blue 8860/02', Primavera | rug, client’s own | pendant, ‘NI002 24” Sphere’, Sescolite | paint colours: ‘Soapy Water’ P5223-14D (wall) and ‘Moon Walker’ P5211-24 (ceiling), Para Paint | pillow fabric, ‘21041-92’ American Beauty John Robshaw, drapery fabric, Designer Fabrics | night stand, ‘Traveler's Bedside’ PB Teen | lamp, ‘Rex Grey Task Lamp’, bed, ‘Rory Queen Bed’, Crate & Barrel | duvet cover, client’s own | sheet set, ‘Ticking Stripe Denim Sheet Set’, Serena & Lily | stuffed lion, Mastermind Toys | bookshelf, ‘3.14 White Bookcase’, CB2
paint colours: ‘Paperwhite’ OC-55 (wall), Benjamin Moore, and ‘Soapy Water’ P5223-14D (ceiling), Para Paint | floor tiles, ‘12x24 Carrara honed’, shower tiles (floor and walls), 3x6” White Bevel Gloss, and 1” Penny Round Carrara Polished (stripe band), Saltillo Imports | vanity, custom, Yabba Woodworking | counter top, ‘Pure White’, Caesarstone | vanity base colour, ‘Chantilly Lace’ OC-65, Benjamin Moore | vanity hardware, stainless steel tube handles, Lee Valley | vanity accessories: planters, Elte Market, and toothbrush holder, soap dish, Gingers | sinks, ‘Kohler K-2661’, faucets, ‘Rubinet R10 Single Faucet’, towel bar, ‘Rubinet R10’, shower system, ‘Rubinet R10’, Taps Bath | mirrors, ‘Metal Framed Round Wall Mirror’, West Elm | light sconce, ‘HVL 822PC’, Universal Lighting | pendants, ‘Blow Round Wave Glass Pendant 114276001’, Union Lighting | artwork, "The Golf of Mexico, #54” by David Ellingsen, Art Interiors | towels, client’s own