Designing The Perfect Kid’s Room: Function + Form
How many times when you were growing up did you yearn for a stage – a real stage – on which to perform your daring interpretation of Grease, Spider Man, or insert favorite kid’s TV show here? My sister and I had this whole routine down: she was Olivia Newton-John (of course she was, she was the older sister with flowing blond hair) and I was John Travolta (I, the easily bossed around little sister who would play any role as long as big sis would pay attention to me…sad, isn’t it?!?).
But now, as a parent myself, I seldom think of the need for an actual stage. Why would I? I am old and decrepit, sleep-deprived and no fun! And yet, that was the first thing I was drawn to when I saw this brilliant re-design of a tired old room into a kid’s paradise at a decorator show house.
Real quick – what is a decorator show house? Well, it’s a house (usually a big mansion) that the owners “give over” to local interior designers for one month. The designers choose a room and then decorate their little hearts out, hoping to showcase their talents. “Lookie-loos” (aka the public) pay good money to then walk around this open house, gawking at how luscious everything is. My husband and I love to do this if for no other reason than to see how the other half lives.
This past weekend we saw the most recent show house in northern California and fell in love with the kid’s playroom. The design team created, out of a plain rectangular room with too many doors, a play space worthy of envy. They installed an undulating stage that was 3 steps high, complete with a back stage area and a chalkboard back wall for drawing the scenery. It wasn’t big so much as it was functional. I think the stage was close to 4′ x 10′ or with curves. Not hard to do – just hard to think of doing.
Then – and this was the best part – they turned a large closet into a secret room by making the door into a swinging bookcase. When the bookcase was closed it was a plain jane bookcase. But, when you swung it open it became the entrance to this hideaway that had a nook configured like a ramp to curl up and read on (or, if you’re a teenager, text and surf) next to a slightly less curvey and more slanted spot. Each ramp was covered in a thick shag rug, as were the walls – kinda like a padded cell. I wonder if these guys actually appreciated the visual pun of that? In any case, the designers created the ultimate kid’s hideaway out of a simple closet – a brilliantly simple idea executed to perfection.
The rest of the room was then completed with a large cork board on which to hang artwork (much better than the fridge) and a corner with an indestructible table. They used flying bird lamps above the table – very cute! What about storage, you ask? The toys all had homes on the floor (yes, the floor, but it looked perfect). Yet, you could tell that whoever used that room wouldn’t NEED toys – just their imagination.
The thing that resonated with me the most was that the room made one feel special, like anyone could be young in that space, that your imagination was the vehicle to great heights and all one need do is unleash it. I hope I can create a playroom like that for my girls!