When we were new parents, we couldn’t wait to design Curt’s bedroom. Finding just the right crib, paint colors, fabric, and rug was fun. I could pick out the pictures and the accessories that I wanted to use in his room. Then about the age of five, he started to let me know he wanted his room his way. It started with wallpaper-a stripe in muted colors. Curt would have nothing to do with it.
“I’ll hate that paper. Every time I see it I’ll hate it more.”
The more I tried to convince him that he’d like it, the more he resisted. While I was visiting a designer-friend Al, I shared my frustration over this. Al told me to let Curt do his room himself. I gasped. I was picturing Star Wars sheets and posters everywhere. How could I let my son do his own room? Al suggested letting Curt be in on the planning just like I would with a client. So I did. I interviewed my son asking what he liked about his room, what he didn’t like, favorite colors, furniture styles, pictures, and things he wanted to display. We worked together.
Here’s what we did- a chalkboard-paint border around the room about eighteen inches down from the ceiling, cork strips just below the chalkboard border, a large rag rug from Ikea, an antique Eastlake bed, and a retro chest-of-drawers that he chose. No, his room does not look like a Pottery Barn room, but maybe that’s the whole point. It reflects his personality through the furniture, collections, drawings, and his perpetual scattering of books.
The antique bed Curt chose for his bedroom. The clip-on light and storage basket are from Ikea. The camp blanket is from Land of Nod.
We picked up this old school desk at a local shop in town. The top lifts up for more storage. An original Boby art cart holds supplies like crayons and markers. The ten year old chair was from Pottery Barn.
On Curt’s vintage Haywood-Wakefield chest of drawers is a display of his present interest- owls.
Note- I love the book Cool Kids’ Rooms by Hisashi Tokuyoshi. Most of the bedrooms are in small Parisian apartments. These are real kids’ rooms, not staged sets. I think you’ll find the book inspiring.
(Photos- Martha B.)