I love creating rooms for young people.
Children have boundless imaginations and interviewing them for a room redesign is a lesson in possibilities. Whether tweens, teens or preschoolers, they have no fear of color and they know exactly what they love. Nine year old Hailey wanted purple, hot pink, butterflies and fairies.
Oh, and her other favorite - turquoise.
Her mother was a little worried about that combination.
She feared that Hailey would grow out of a theme room and
wanted something that would grow up with her daughter. Here is Hailey's new room.
Fit for a beautiful princess, it is sophisticated enough to grow with her with minmal changes,
and has all the elements she wanted in a room of her own.
We started with the walls. A soft lavender with a touch of grey.
More subdued than Hailey first wanted.
I convinced her to 'wait and see' on the wall color.
If she didn't like the finished product, walls were easy to paint over.
What I wanted was a wall that complimented the room and didn't overpower it. Next came the fabrics. Mini check and larger checks in lavender.
Solid hot pink in the softest minky,
soft pink and white stripe.

And one wonderful floral with pink, hot pink, lavender and purple to pull it all together.
I was careful not to use juvenile patterns.
These fabrics were fresh and grown-up enough to last for many years.
I designed a simple cornice box valance for the smaller window in the room and had it covered in the larger check. A scalloped bottom added a feminine touch and the puffy posies - a fun little project I did myself - added a touch of whimsy and youth. (They are removable for when she is a little older down the road).
The room had a large window in an alcove that was a natural spot to create a window seat. We built it and framed it with draperies.I added floor length drapes to the scalloped cornice valance there. On the inside edge I repeated the scallop detail. We flanked the window seat in bookshelves.
Note the detail of trim and larger check fabric on the bottom of the curtain. Next to the curtain is a pompom pouf - one of Haileys favorite things in her room. Hot pink pompoms in varying sizes were glued to the lid of this soft pink ottoman, creating a very girlish and very soft seat.
Here is the finished window seat. I wanted it to be inviting, so covered it in a soft hot pink cushion and filled it with fabulous decorative pillows.
The window seat is a wonderful focal point and draws you into the room. Adjacent to the room, a private bathroom gets the same valance treatment and a shower curtain in the same fabrics as the bedroom. Above the doorway is a series of photos we had taken of Hailey at Blue Moon studio in Laguna Niguel. The studio provided wings, dress and floral wreath for her head, transforming her into a fairy. The photos were magical! Not only does she have a room fit for a fairy princess, she IS the fairy princess. Each time she looks at these photographs she will see how beautiful she really is.
Here is a close-up detail of the window seat pillows and a fairy doll I created from a pattern. Oh, and don't forget the turquoise our princess requested. We didn't forget the turquoise - I created a butterfly pillow in turquoise minky fabric and trimmed out some of the bed pillows in the same color.
The fairy doll has butterfly wings and pointy toes - and hair the same color as my little client.
The crowning touch for the window seat is this chic little chandelier, complete with pink crystal beads, clear droplets and soft pink shades.
We added wall sconces to match at each side of the bed and draped the bed curtains around them.
Our growing girl needed a bigger bed. We removed the twin size bed from the room and brought in a queen sized mattress and box spring, elevated with risers to allow for possible storage underneath. We turned the bed sideways because of space concerns and so that the bed didn't completely block the beautiful new window seat. I created and upholstered the headboard, in deep purple corduroy. The darker color adds a little drama, a little sophistication and a little depth to the room. We added a plush chenile shaggy area rug in the same color at the foot of the bed.
The crowning touch of the room is the bed cornice and draperies. My carpenter created the cornice from my drawings and specifications. Painted white and trimmed with decorative molding, it holds the beautiful draperies and valance that frames the bed. We used the pink and white stripe against the wall and repeated the same curtain as in the window seat area.
Our valance over the bed is trimmed in 3" long lavender, pink and white sparkling beaded trim for drama.
It is a little girls dream.
While Hailey wanted butterflies and fairies, I didn't want to create a 'theme' room.
So we brought in the fairies and butterflies in more subtle ways.
I created butterfly appliques to add to pillows on the window seat and made the fairy doll with golden hair and butterfly wings.
A bronze fairy sculpture sits on the nightstand (along with the most perfect lamp with a glass shade that has hand painted flowers in pink and purple).
Hailey's favorite thing in the room was the fairy garden under a glass dome that I crafted. The base is a soup tureen, minus the lid, and the pedestal is a scalloped bowl, turned upside down and epoxied to the tureen to give it height and the importance it needed. The glass dome fits it perfectly.
I love to add a personal touch to a room, and in Haileys room I was able to add several things that I created. This fairy dome was a delight to make.
I found the tiniest silk flowers, tiny ivy and mounds of dried preserved moss.
I had previously attended a fairy garden class at MandM Nursery in Santa Ana with a friend.
There I found Flower Fairy figurines, a little gated metal arbor and a tiny brick pathway.
This indoor version needs no watering!
It is difficult to see because of the glare on the glass, but if you look closely you will see the arbor covered in ivy and the fairy standing beneath it.

The adjacent bathroom has a large bronze fairy sculpture on the vanity,
bringing the fairy realm into that room as well.
Another view of the bed.
The picture on the wall is another portrait of Hailey
taken at the Blue Moon Photography salon in Laguna Niguel.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this room.
My client and I think it is magical -
which is after all what we were going for.

The very nature of a kids room is over the top as far as color, pattern, drama, whimsy and creativity,
and is the better for it.
Where else in your home can you have as much fun with as much abandon?

I would love your comments!
Please click on 'comments' below to leave yours.


HOME DECOR: The GREAT outdoors... Alana's New Resort

Alana's home was built in the early 80's. A typical tract home when they purchased, but with a nice size back yard and within a couple houses of the end of a culdesac. Over 20 years after it was built, her home was worth well over twice what they paid for it, but it still looked like a typical tract home. With a teenage boy and a nearly teenage girl, Alana wanted a pool and spa with entertaining areas to appeal to the kids and their friends, and enjoy family time together. Since we were beautifying the back of the house, we decided to give the front of the house a facelift at the same time. (Feel free to click on any photo for a closer look).

We interviewed 3 recommended contractors and agreed on Sean Ponce of Ponce Pools. I liked him because it was evident that he took pride in his work, and the more we talked to him, the more excited he became - talking about space planning and materials and design ideas. Alana felt the same way. We felt he caught and understood our vision, and had good ideas and suggestions of his own. His work was impeccable and his site was clean and tidy. His design was beautiful and exactly what Alana wanted. Inspections passed flawlessly. We thoroughly enjoyed working with him.
Front walkway - before picture. I wanted to have a wider and more direct walkway to the front of the house.
Front courtyard entry - before picture. The front of the house is barely visible.

To make a more beautiful entry, we decided to redo all the hard surfaces (walkways, patios and driveways), center the front walkway, remove the overgrown trees that were blocking the front of the house, put stone on the garage columns, walls and gate pilasters, and redo the ironwork. 

Stonework in progress.
Newly completed front landscape and hardscape with curb appeal! You will notice we also added a new roof to the equation, getting rid of the orange terracotta tile roof that clashed with the color scheme.
The new front walkway of lavender and blue flagstone, prefab steps, and beautiful stone columns and planter bowls.

I In the courtyard, herbs are grown on a sunny windowsill. A musical wall fountain was installed on the wall in the courtyard. A custom iron trellis frames the beautiful new fountain in the courtyard in stone and travertine. This photo shows the stonework pattern on the inner patio. View of gate from front door looking out to the street. We filled the charming courtyard with perennials, climbing roses, and topiaried trees.
Walkway leading to front door.  We made no less than 6 trips to stoneyards before we found the perfect stone for the columns and walls.
Front steps, pilasters and planters.
In the backyard we added a large curved deck to the upper story, which created an atrium beneath, perfect for family and entertaining.
Progress on the deck.
The contractor elevated the pool area to enable a 9 foot depth. The waterslide is visible at the far side in this photograph.It was important to me that the view from the living room was beautiful and inviting.
With the deck finished, it created a new space large enough for deep seating, a pingpong table and teenage slumber parties.
View of the finished ceck. We also added curtains to close off the patio area (not yet installed in this photo) for privacy or protection from the weather.
Under the deck: A full outdoor kitchen with granite bar, 48" barbecue, hot plate, icemaker and refrigerator, with room to spare for a large dining area, a fireplace and deep seating.
Ceiling fans for cooling and infrared heaters for warmth were added.

A flat screen television makes watching the 'game' a fresh air event.
The sliding glass doors were replaced with folding lanai doors (top left of the picture) for easier access to the outdoor space.
The rockscape for the pool and the slide (top of the photo) in progress.
And completed, with waterfall and pebble coated saltwater pool. An 8 person spa (not visible in this photo) was completed at the other end of the pool
Alana's cookie cutter tract home goes from blah....
to Beautiful -
the showcase of the neighborhood.


HOME DECOR: Spa-Like Master Bath

Barbara's master bathroom hadn't been touched since the 80's when her beach-close home was built. While she and her husband had made beautiful changes to most of the rest of their home, the bathroom remained locked in a time warp.

Navajo white with 1980's brass fixtures, white cultured marble countertops and a roman tub with white tile surround. Barbara's style was dark woods, minimal decoration, clean lines, and contemporary european style cabinetry.

There were changes to be made! We did away with the 80's vanity, replaced it with custom cabinetry, raising the height and extending the cabinetry to the floor to maximize storage. The before photo here shows the dated style vanity, cultured marble counter top, contractor's standard glued-to-the-wall miror and white tile floor.
A beautiful difference! We chose dark chocolate (a custom color stain) european style custom cabinetry with brushed nickel contemporary handles.  The countertop is a solid travertine slab and the floor is 18 inch noce travertine tiles. We chose an opaque lustre glass tile backsplash in tones of honey, gold and brown. Brushed nickel single arm faucets continued the contemporary spa-like feel .
Barbara loved her roman tub, and since it was in excellent shape, decided to keep it. The brass faucets had to go, as did the dated mini blinds.  However, privacy was an issue with the oversized picture window and neighboring homes just a few feet away.
So we put in a new vinyl window with opaque glass for privacy. We carried the mirror and the backsplash wall to wall to open up the space. The tub surround was tiled in 12 inch noce travertine, which we carried up to backsplash height and partially framed the window. To change things up a little, we selected an oil rubbed bronze contemporary faucet (not an easy thing to find - oil rubbed bronze in contemporary style) for the roman tub - an idea that Barbara had seen and liked in an upscale hotel. The old plumbing resisted being removed and I was afraid we would have to replace the roman tub because I was certain it was going to crack before they got the old faucet off. In the end, we had to saw the old faucet off, and managed to do so without destroying the tub.
Here is another view of the roman tub as it appeared before the renovation.
Note how the area - sink, tub and shower - is unified with the backsplash and carrying the backsplash into the roman tub area, and eventually into the shower.
The room is full of light, but warm - not sterile.
The shower was white 6 inch tile with brass framed sliding glass doors. The shower head came to the neck of anyone of normal height. We demolished the entire shower and to our surprise found that the subfloor beneath had not been waterproofed. We hot mopped the shower pan and waterproofed the shower. Since we had the wall open, we checked the 20+ year old plumbing and made any repairs needed. (A wise thing to do when redoing a shower - can you imagine putting in all that wonderful tile or stone and THEN having a leak in the pipes?)
We created a shower nook for soap and shampoo and used the opaque lustre glass tile inside the nook and as a border in the shower. The walls are tiled in 12 inch noce travertine, the floor in a 4 inch version. New shower head, thermostat and a separate hand spray in brushed nickel were installed. We raised the height of the shower head, so that washing hair didn't require a stoop.
Frameless glass shower doors allow the beauty of the tile to shine through. The door swings inward or outward and the glass was customized to wrap the tub surround. Unseen in these photos is a built in seat inside the shower.

At the entry to the bath, white painted linen cabinets and counterspace were demolished and custom cabinetry and drawers in dark chocolate installed in their place.

The same european slab front cabinets and drawers make a rich toned statement with brushed nickel pulls. We also added valuable storage here by installing drawers and doing away with the countertop.

The photos here are devoid of the finishing accessories, added after I took the photos, but I think you can see how beautiful the project turned out.


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