A designer designing a cool 9-year-old girl’s room is like Kobe Bryant playing one day for the Harlem Globe trotters; It’s all the same skills, all the same challenges, but somehow just way more fun (or maybe it’s a total joke to him, I don’t know, I’ve never made a sports analogy in my life and don’t really plan to again). I mean, it’s always fun, but there is something about designing a kid’s space that lets you not take it so seriously, which can be refreshing when you obviously do have to take it all pretty seriously normally.
I pretty much just channeled my inner tween, then went back in time and designed my dream bedroom. Luckily my client, Grace, had a lot of great opinions, totally enjoyed the process, and helped me along the whole way. It’s our dream bedroom, together, except I’m 33 and she’s 9. By the way, I’m 33, THIRTY THREE — that is just terrible. Where did it go? How? Why? Excuse me while I lotion the hell out of my face. While I do that, please look at my dream bedroom, AKA Grace’s new bedroom.
Here’s how it went down: I got a call to design a house, just the final layer, some paint colors/wallpaper, furniture and accessories, but no renovation. It came at the end of the year last year when we did 10 houses and we were kinda burned out, ready to take a break, but I met with the client and all the factors were there. The clients were super lovely, had great taste, had hired a designer before so they weren’t going to be freaked out at the fact that it cost money (because yes, some people are like shocked that it costs), and lived 1/2 mile away. It just seemed like the right project, and Orlando and I were totally excited to get back into the game.
The house had just flooded and the kids’ rooms were in shambles. Before they moved back in (after staying in a hotel for months), they wanted the kids rooms to be finished, spaces that would make them really happy. I had done a nursery and one kid’s room and loved it both times, so I was psyched. I’m pretty sure they wanted their other rooms done at the same time, but of course we honed in immediately on the kids’ rooms. And we finished them in a few weeks because they were so strangely satisfying.
Here’s what Grace’s room looked like before:
Well, technically that’s not fair because that is after the flood and even before the new floors. Obviously this isn’t where she slept before we redid her room. But this is what it looked like when we got our grubby little paws on it so this is my “before” photo. Basically, they already had the antique bed, nightstand (which is vintage and I LOVE IT), the dresser, and the Michelle Armas print. Everything else was our job to bring in.
Grace had a pin board where she pinned amazing photos of Hanna Montana’s bedroom, sofas in the shape of ice cream sandwiches, and gummy bear chandeliers, but ultimately what inspired the room was the Michelle Armas large canvas print. They had just bought it (which was another big clue that we should take this job) and we all loved the amazing colors that were in it. So that was the beginning of the design. Then as I was brainstorming and pinning for the project I realized I was pinning a ton from Land of Nod, so I approached them and asked if they wanted to partner on this project so I could show how to mix antique and big box store products to create a kid’s room that is totally unique and timeless.
They were into the idea and off we went. The color palette was inspired by the Michelle Armas print and that helped inform the shopping — remember that the easiest/fastest way to create a cohesive room with many different styles it so have a simple color palette. So for Grace it was hot pink and aqua, with hits of light pink, yellow, gold, and gray.
The curtains are Land of Nod and we bought the blackout curtains from them, too, but had them sewn together instead of doing a double rod because there were a lot of windows. Plus, two were close to each other so we didn’t want eight panels in that corner. But a word to the wise, even going to a tailor will cost you about $60 each panel just to sew, so it was not a cheap option and I highly recommend doing it yourself. Although I’m pretty sure it was worth every penny because she can sleep so much longer, especially on the weekends.
Note the ruffle on those curtains, VERY cute indeed. Not overly girly, but definitely feminine. That trunk housed her collection of dolls, which apparently is overflowing in the cutest way possible.
On the other side of the room is her vintage desk (that was her grandmother’s) that we dressed up with some adorable wall art, gold clip lamp, and of COURSE a fairy door. What is a fairy door you ask? Only the door that fairies can go in and out of at night, hello. There are two of them in her room, both kinda hidden but she knows where they are.
Finally for added storage we brought in this very adorable bookcase that houses her miniature Japanese eraser collection that is kinda amazing and her Sweet Valley High books, plus that toy on top that doesn’t stop talking or moving even when you turn it off. It’s totally insane and weird. In fact, if you try to cover its eyes or be really quiet so it will shut up, that’s when it sings the most. Baffling.
See, look! She loves doing her homework now, JUST LOVES IT. But seriously, she does love her room and wants to hang out in it, play in it all the time, and even keep it really clean. Every time we go by the house to check in on other rooms I pop my head in, just to say hello to my childhood fantasy, and it’s always so well kept, which makes a designer VERY happy.
Of course we, (thank you Tessa) made a video highlighting how to design a girls room that is both timeless and “kid” by mixing antiques and modern pieces. Check ‘er out, folks:
Here are all the resources, all Land of Nod except for the Michelle Armas print and the antiques:
Desk organizer: I Could’ve Been A Container. Curtains: Ruffle Curtains, map: Hue-Nighted Nations Map, hanging pendant: Perfectly Perforated Pendant, bedding: Singing in the Rain Forest , gold lamp: Between a Rock Lamp, gold pillow: Sparkle Pillow, teal poufs: Pull Up a Pouf, nightlight: Gummy Bear Lamp, pink rug: Rags to Riches Rug, trunk: As You Wish Storage Bench, gold clip lamps: Modern Clip Lamp, artwork: Fall Foliage Leaf Wall Art 15. Jenny Lind Bookcase
I was impressed with ALL of the Land of Nod pieces and what’s so great is that most of these are pretty ageless — she’s not going to need to redo her Dora the Explorer themed room in a year. This room will last her through her teens, with maybe the addition of some One Direction posters here and there …
But that’s not all:
Land of Nod has been generous enough to give away a $250 gift certificate to one lucky reader. All you have to do is tweet out this post, to get other people to read it, tagging both me and Land of Nod in the tweet (@LandOfNod and @em_henderson…make sure you follow us both, too!), and then come back and comment that you did. If you aren’t on Twitter, then Facebook this bad boy — the point is lots-o-readers. And yes, OF COURSE you can do both and get two entries. Contest will end next Wednesday at 5pm, winner will be picked by Random.org and will be announced on the blog.
Good luck, and what did you think of this room? I’m pretty sure this is why we have daughters — to decorate their rooms so we can relive the childhood of our fantasies. I can’t tell if my future daughter is going to be the luckiest or most annoyed child ever. But I’d be happy if she was a little bit like Grace. :)
UPDATE: Holly Foxen Wells, you are the winner! Nice job, entering twice. Your second one was the random one picked. Congratulations and Land of Nod will be emailing you soon!!!!
This post was in collaboration with Land of Nod, but obviously all those designs, thoughts, and words were totally mine.
All amazing photos shot by the very talented David Tsay, styled by yours truly.