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Melissa Molitor with husband, Derek, and sons Bodhi, Doak and Rowan (Photo by Ansel Olson)
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Temporary wallpaper adds graphic impact, is inexpensive and can easily be removed. (Photo by Ansel Olson)
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Let your kids write on the wall by applying chalkboard paint. A tepee from Land of Nod engages the imagination and is a fun design element. (Photo by Ansel Olson)
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An Eames-style rocker provided design inspiration for Molitor's child's bedroom. "I wanted to create a little bit of a bohemian, nomadic adventure," she says. (Photo by Ansel Olson)
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Photo by Ansel Olson
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Photo by Ansel Olson
It wasn’t a stretch for interior designer Melissa Molitor of MMM Designs-Interiors to create an inspired child’s bedroom at the 2016 Richmond Symphony Orchestra League Designer House. After all, Molitor, the mother of three young boys, has plenty of experience designing cool kids’ rooms in her own home.
Plus, as she was considering what room she wanted to tackle in the designer house, she was pregnant — baby Bodhi was born just four weeks before she began work transforming her space. “A lot of people thought I was crazy, but it was a great experience,” she says. She brought Bodhi along while she decorated the room, taking frequent breaks in the Eames-style rocker she included in the design. “That rocker was a savior,” she says.
She also credits husband, Derek, and friends Dan and Johnna Sheets for helping with electrical work, furniture installation and painting the room. “Everyone came together,” she says.
Molitor’s space is a reflection of her clean and modern design aesthetic, which translates well to a child’s room. Her neutral palette means it’s not gender specific, and a lack of stereotypical pastels, cutesy characters or kiddie motifs mean that it’s a room that can grow with a kid. “You don’t know if it’s for a 5-year-old or a 13-year-old,” she says.
Molitor, who does a lot of contract design work, wanted to create a fun room to showcase her style. She chose inexpensive, functional furniture such as a platform bed and floating nightstands, from Ikea. “It’s all practical, functional stuff,” she says. “I’m not going to spend a ton of money on a kid’s room. I would never put Farrow & Ball in a child’s bedroom.”
Instead, she treated the panels on the walls as art and modified them individually, with a chalkboard wall behind a play tepee from Land of Nod, herringbone temporary wallpaper in another location and a mountain mural (which she painted herself) behind the bed. “I get to use three different wall treatments in one space,” she says.
When designing a room for a child, Molitor advises parents to choose things they like themselves. “You've got to love the room, too,” she says, “because you will be spending a lot of time in there, particularly with a nursery — you are in there constantly.”
The room, with its cool gray and white palette, is sophisticated, but not so much that a kid can’t enjoy it. Molitor says a minimalist look works great for kids and is something she strives for in her own home, “so when they make a mess, it doesn't seem as insane and chaotic.”
Now that the Designer House has closed, Molitor will be moving the room’s contents to the third floor of her own home, which will eventually become her oldest son’s bedroom.