what child is this?

People assume that because I have two girls, I've been having a grand time over the years creating beautiful, whimsical rooms. But the truth is, I have two individuals with rooms that reflect their respective taste: one a sweet, creative but fastidious tweener the other a sunshiny scribble of bon vivant. Except for bedding choice and a few other pieces, I've had very little input on their rooms.
Which is why, when asked last week by my oldest daughter if I would re-do her room {she of the neat~nic gene} I responded like the loner girl at school being asked to eat lunch at cool girls' table. "what? of course, of course!" I jumped, clapped and squealed, a bit too eagerly. "Oh, it will be great, I have the perfect wall covering, we'll do one wall, an accent wall and then we can paint your bed a beautiful green {and be bffs forever}" and then....I was cut off.
"I want all of my furniture to match." not blinking, she thrust out her little arm, clutched in her hand was a page from a mail order catalog. whose child is this? Before you chew me out: I'm good with a few pieces here and there. But, must we match the whole room?
Currently her room is a collection, of flea market finds. mish mash of things picked up over the years, her favorite treasures and yes, even, catalog bedding.
But I heard the message in her pleading voice: "help me make my room look like every other 5th grader I know. make it normal"
Que the after school special music, fade to commercial.
I remembered back to my own 5th grade room. Having a father as an architect, it was normal in our house for the kids' rooms to have a Bertoia chair next to the platform bed or a Calder mobile dangling over a crib. Not really "normal" by most standards, and certainly not appreciated by me.
Back then, I wanted Mary Ann Flatley's room. It was a yellow canopied, 'French Regency' extravaganza. Her bed matched her night stands which matched the gold embelished dresser. It was all so "normal" with her matching shag carpet tacked wall to wall.
I can empathize. However, this does not mean that I must buckle to her innocent design ignorance. No, as with any client, it is my duty to inform and educate rather to admonish and dismiss. Shake it up, throw it at her, let it land and see what sticks.
And so in an effort to prove to her, that 'normal', uniform and safe design isn't always best, I've gathered a few images to share with her.
If we're going to go the catalog route, let's do it right. Serena & Lily have some of my favorite rooms hands down :
no matchy, match, just beautiful, complementary pieces. Interesting, each of them on their own and together; perfection.
and if we were to stick with vintage, we're going to get rid of the "shabby chic" paint job~ that's a given {the dresser's done, now for the bed}
and we could even go, bright, creative, modern and young. Let's be realistic, there needs to be room for soccer trophies, art projects and favorite animals. It's a 10 year old's room, not an art director's version of a 10 year old's room.
photo thanks to lisa congdon of course, if I had no budget and a child whose design preferences weren't changing with the tides, I'd unload the cash on some incredible wall covering, and YES possibly a bed from a {gasp} catalog and even some vintage finds. Something beyond normal. Something perfect in all of it's non-uniform lovliness.
photo: domino photos top and bottom: designer, ruthie sommers
in the mean time, my job will be to convince her that, really, you don't want the bed that matches the night stands, that matches the dresser that one day you'll want nothing do with.


paperlily said…
Too funny. There's always a Mary Ann Flatley with her perfect princess room everywhere, and why is it that the canopy is always yellow!
Carrie Nicole said…
ha! you rock sister. i'm not a parent (yet) so no idea how to strike that balance. interested to see how it all turns out.
krista said…
oh oh oh
when i was about 7, my mom and step-dad told me they would let me design my bedroom. and that they would do whatever i asked.
i had the lavender bedroom you featured up there, with the matching paint, carpet, bedding and hideous gold-embellished furniture. except the canopy was lavender lace as were the curtains. and i had a garfield throw on the lavender eyelet comforter. yes, lavender and orange.
it was hideous.
and i lovedlovedloved it.
and i loved them for letting me do it.
of course, two years later i hated lavender AND my furniture.
i still hate lavender.
i think it's great that your daughter has you to save her from herself.
i'm sure you'll find a beautiful common ground :-)
Unknown said…
Ya know - Buffy also had that yellow canopied room. I believe in dotted swiss. Complete with a fluffy white cat that wasn't allowed anywhere else in the house.

you, of the olfactory factory, would really like yellow canopy avec fluffys litter box smell that was going on in there.
Karen said…
These are FANTASTIC inspirations! Serena and Lily has adorable bedding--I love the aqua and coral patterns. Digging the boho chic look from the vintage pics, even for adults!
That's hilarious. I'm sure you can steer your client in the rigth direction!
So much in common--I'm an architect's daughter with a 5th grader begging to redo her room. I just wrote about it on my blog! I'm sitting here with 10-year-old Claire looking at your post for ideas. She loved the patchwork wallpaper (although it won't work on her bead board walls, of course), and she thought the twin iron beds looked like an orphanage! Personally, I liked the iron canopy with the blue end tables and lamps (I bet beach8 does, too, you architect's daughter, you.)
Anonymous said…
great post Megan : )
beachbungalow8 said…
j~ of COURSE buffy had that bedroom. god. of course.

julia~ you're feeling my pain, right? and you know what? my daughter said the same, "orphanage". I sort of see that. but is that so bad? orphanage meets a 500 dollar bedding ensemble. pulleeeze girlfriend, in L.A. we call that 'IMPORTANT DESIGN' : )
I am feeling your pain. I was just putting Claire to bed _ and I was the one obsessing about her room. Instead of repainting the dusty pink walls, I'm thinking go with some black and white retro bedding...I just know that no matter what I suggest she won't like it. Ack. Can I guide her without her knowing it?
I do feel your pain. I just put Claire to bed and I'm the one obsessing about her room. She wants to repaint her dusty pink walls, but I'm thinking some hip black and white bedding and accents might look great. Of course if I suggest it, she won't like it. Can I guide her subliminally?
Mrs. Blandings said…
Megan - great post - I adore every image with an iron bed and just have a feeling that that is "right." Because your 10 year old and I are so tight, I can just tell. She'll come around and then be the coolest young adult who gets to brag about how fab her room was when she was younger.
Jenny said…
Oh no...I have two girls and and not looking forward to the day you speak of!
I totally feel your pain! I went the magazine page route with my 5 year old daughter, giving her a few "options" and its really helping. My favorite line of the day "...It's a 10 year old's room, not an art director's version of a 10 year old's room." thank you for that!!
northsidefour said…
My dream was a powder blue room with white plastic'y looking furniture from the JC Penney catalog. My mother, in trying to work with me, agreed to paint wood white. I was devastated, thank God for my mother and her overall good taste.
katiedid said…
Hahaha! LOVE it! You go! When I was a tweener, I convinced my parents to let me use black permant marker to draw a "mural" on my walls. Boy did they ever regret THAT urge to let their child "express" herself. But it did start me on the road to design...so perhaps not the worst decision they ever made. I can hardly wait to see the amazing results!
Karena said…
What a fun adventure for you and your daughter. It WILL be a dream room and Megan, you just make it all work. I do love the Serena & Lilly bedding!
I love your ideas for your daughter's room.
Thank you for the introduction to Serena and Lily.
I am in the middle of designing two girl's rooms and their web sight will certainly come in handy.
Your daughter is lucky to have you to learn from.
Although as a parent myself, I know that we learn much more from them than they do from us!

Ms Unreliable said…
Oh dear, convincing clients is tough at the best of times, but your own daughter? Tricky. Good luck with that one, I doubt any 5th grader will listen to their mum on any matter, let alone when they're told that "normal is boring". I'm still eternally grateful to my mother from stopping me spending way too much of my own money on a horrible bed that I loved at the time. She told me it would date quickly, and although I was shattered at the time, it was only a few years before I realised that she was spot on.
Anonymous said…
I actually came across a really nice website Spacify.com that has a huge variety of platform beds and furniture with really good prices.
Petit Elefant said…
I posted about your bedroom ideas on my site: http://petitelefant.blogspot.com/

Keep up the great ideas!
Anonymous said…
Ugh. I'm already getting commentary at 2.5 years. My daughter actually asked me to move her sock monkey to the right yesterday. Not another decorator in the house!
Brandie said…
LOVE this post! Please do share what the two of you come up with together. :)
mary said…
I love the thought/wish bff....it seems to take a while for the bff to emerge in mother/daughter relationships (a long while). My daughter, now happily married still has the antique c. 1830 chest of drawers that I bought her when she was eight--I think that she finally likes it.

Popular Posts