Little kids' rooms today have a lot to say about the modishness of the mini set — and their doting, design-conscious parents.
Gone from trendsetting tots' rooms are predictable primary and pastel hues, banal bunks, and bland bureaus.
These pint-sized design divas and boys-about-town wave bye-bye to princess and sports-team themes. They've embraced sophisticated whimsy, so it seems.
More and more, parents are choosing grown-up looks for their children's private spaces. In part, it's about bringing high design beyond "public" rooms. It's also about fun — and even about saving money over the long run. Kids grow quickly. Tastes change overnight, but chic design lasts.
Here's how four Richmond families brought "haute petite chic" to the places where their children sleep.
LONGEVITY Plan for Now and Later Richmond designer Ryland Woodard's 19-month-old daughter, Carrington, is sure to sleep with lovely Chinoiserie-laced dreams in her all-set nursery. With pagoda-patterned stencils gracing the walls and a 1920s crystal-flowered chandelier (French via Palm Beach) holding court above, her nursery is both swank and sweet. As Woodard points out, it's also a room that will need little updating as her daughter grows. Though the round crib with its "China Rose" Scalamandré chintz skirt grounds the room for now, turquoise walls and a glossy Hollywood Regency-style mirror will continue to please, toddler to teen. So too will the durable, dog-hair-hiding, leopard-spotted carpeting. It's a room that's endearing and enduring. RESOURCES: Interiors by Ryland Woodard Interior Design, 366-7687, ryland woodard.com; round crib from PoshTots Inc., poshtots.com; crib skirt in "China Rose" toile by Scalamandré, (800) 932-4361; pagoda stencil by Sunny Goode, Sunny Goodtime Paints, 5703 Grove Ave., 287-8523; window treatment fabric is from Quadrille's China Seas Collection, (201) 792-5959; vintage chandelier, firstdibs.com; teal mirror from Willow Place Antiques Gallery, 5446 W. Broad St., 288-6301; Simply Shabby Chic bookcase (not shown) from Target, target.com; "Skins" carpet from Concepts International, Prestige Mills Inc., (516) 767-1110; wall paint is Benjamin Moore's "Antiguan Sky." SYNCHRONICITY Combine Pattern and Color Playfully Woodard also helped her friends, Whitney and Tad Melton, with their son Booker's bedroom in the Near West End. "Whitney wanted to use blue and orange," explains Woodard. A ceiling painted cobalt and a closet cloaked in high-octane orange deliver punches of her client's preferred colors in unexpected places. Woodard also designed swanky custom headboards for Booker's "big boy" beds. Upholstered in Victoria Hagan's "Summer Square" fabric (also used on a wide Roman shade), the headboards bring hip geometric kick to the white-walled space. Two twin beds (one is in the works while Booker remains in his crib) are perfect for future sleepovers and create a modern-boutique-hotel vibe for guests. The soft surface is also great for reading stories in bed. It's a room that's rhythmic and refined. RESOURCES: Interiors by Ryland Woodard Interior Design, 366-7687, ryland woodard.com; custom headboard by Dunkum Upholstery, 8420 New Kent Highway, New Kent, 932-5002; headboard and Roman shade fabric is "Summer Square" in indigo/periwinkle by Victoria Hagan, (212) 888-3241; Pottery Barn "Moorish Tile" rug in Clementine Orange; child's "Woody" rocker (not pictured) from Swank Baby, Lumina Station shops, Wilmington, N.C., (910) 509-2969, swankbabyinc.com; Benjamin Moore wall paint and trim is "Decorator's White"; ceiling is "Blue Lapis" and closet in "Rumba Orange." ADAPTABILITY Count on the Classics Four-year-old Sam O'Brien's cozy room in the Fan beguiles with antiques and classic storybook mystique. His brass bed, one of a pair, was purchased by his mother Lili O'Brien's business partner, Leigh Anne Muse (the two launched their interior design team in 2004), on a buying trip in New York. Its old-fashioned look and warm patina charm has never-go-out-of-style cool. An antique oak chest from England provides storage while framed animal prints purchased from a market in his mother's hometown of Aix en Provence add playful provenance. Sam's colorful quilt and vintage schoolhouse chair supply boyish levity. When ready for a change, these storied pieces could easily be used in other rooms in the house — if Sam's willing to part with them. It's a room that's touching and beyond trends. RESOURCES: Interiors by Lili O'Brien of O'Brien and Muse, 338-6019, obrien andmuse.com; antique chest, English oak from Kim Faison Antiques, 5605 Grove Ave., 282-3736; pair of vintage school chairs from V for the Home, 5615 Patterson Ave., 282-4275, and 315 W. Broad St., 344-0024; fabric for bed skirt is by Chelsea Editions, (212) 758-0005; sheepskin rug from And George, 3465 Ivy Road, Charlottesville, (434) 244-2800; vintage toy bowling pins from Sheppard Street Antiques, 103 S. Sheppard St., 355-7454; lamp is a recycled-newspaper vase O'Brien had wired; quilt is Indian cutwork purchased at Erica Wilson Needle Works, 25 Main St., Nantucket, Mass., (508) 228-9881, erica wilson.com; wallpaper is "plain stripe" from Farrow & Ball, farrow-ball.com; floor paint is Behr porch paint in "soft green" from Home Depot. WHIMSICALITY Fuse Fantasy and Function "The possibilities for designing kids' rooms are endless," says a homeowner who completed her 4-year-old daughter's room, a combination English cottage and "castle in the sky" room six months ago. Magic emanates from the custom Tudor-cottage bed/playhouse, handcrafted and hand-painted by the Delaware-based company Sweet Dream Beds, which dreamily dominates the little girl's space. Bathed in "Sky Blue" paint, the entire room enchants with fairy-tale details: a soothing garden mural by Jackie Rowan transforms a fireplace into a cottage flanked by "tippy-tall" trees; a chandelier with blue crystals evokes the sky; and white silk balloon shades billow like daydream-prompting clouds. The Tudor cottage bed includes stairs, lined with pull-out drawers for storage, leading up to a full-sized bed concealed behind a shingled "roof." Designed with guests' needs in mind, this functional fantasy cottage also conceals a twin Murphy bed and boasts a wood slide. Below the sleeping area, a whimsical play house beckons. Complete with bookshelves, window seat, Dutch door, window boxes and coordinating striped silk curtains, the charmed house serves as sleeping quarters, play place and posh-tot retreat. It's a room that's fanciful and fun. "This room is magical," says the homeowner. "It's precious and it's worth it — to give them this magic," she concludes. RESOURCES: Custom Tudor Style Cottage Doll House bed from Sweet Dream Theme Beds & Children's Interiors, sweetdream bed.com; paint on walls and ceiling, "Sky Blue" by Benjamin Moore; mural and painted fireplace by Jackie Rowan of JKR Decorative Painting, Chesterfield, 357-0166 and firstname.lastname@example.org; window treatments from MannKidwell, 6011 W. Broad St., 288-2819; chandelier from Reynolds Lighting Supply, 606 Research Road, 897-2300; table and chairs from Pottery Barn Kids.