Saturday, April 16, 2011

Making a house a home

We were living in a 1,000 square foot apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan up until this past summer. Prior to moving to our new house and relocating to suburban Chicago, our kids, Jacob (4) and Madelyn (3) shared an 8’ x 10’ bedroom.  When we originally rented the apartment, I was pregnant with Jacob. We did not know if he was going to be a boy or a girl. His yellow room was neutral, which came in handy when Madelyn arrived a year and a half later. I never expected to have remained in that apartment for so many years, let alone with two young children, but somehow we made it work and I look back on that time in our lives very fondly. The kids’ room doubled as a bedroom, a playroom, an office and a storage facility for Dave’s  (my husband) extensive jazz collection. Our bedroom was basically a garage with three parked strollers, tricycles and luggage. We were lucky Manhattanites with an extra bathroom that doubled as a closet for our off-season clothing as well as exersaucers, art supplies and laundry in waiting (my fancy term for dirty laundry). Hey, that’s how you do it in New York City. As sad as I was to leave the Big Apple, I knew it would be a huge opportunity to finally decorate special rooms for each of my kids as well as for us and our guests. Even though Jake and Madelyn still routinely choose to sleep in the same room, I am very happy that they each have their own magical spaces. Six months after the move, we are settling nicely into suburban life. Having an entire house as my canvas has truly been a dream come true. While I can no longer walk twenty feet to get to the hardware store, grocery store and pizza place, I am embracing the calm and simplicity of life in suburbia.  Plus, I will never to take for granted the luxury that is a washer/dryer, closet space, and our very own outdoor space.

Although I was unable to decorate a baby girl’s nursery in New York, I continued to collect ideas and inspiration from the day I found out I was having a girl. The biggest challenge in decorating Madelyn’s space was restraint. I have a strong appreciation for many different d├ęcor styles, so it was hard to edit some of my ideas. Madelyn was adamant about wanting a pink and a purple room. At 3 years old, she has strong opinions and I wanted her to feel like a participant in the creation of her own space. While I might not have chosen pink and purple, I saw it as an opportunity to find a pink/purple combination that we could all live with. I used Benjamin Moore Lavender Ice 2069-60 for three walls and hot pink Benjamin Moore Springtime bloom 2079-40 for one accent wall. My main objective was for the room’s accessories to “pop” against a neutral background. Lavender Ice was the closest purple I could get to white. Against the hot pink, the lavender reflects some of the brightness and ties the whole room together.

When I found out I was having a girl, I began work on a mosaic mirror to put in her room one day. It sat under our bed in New York City for the past 3 years. Madelyn’s entire room is inspired by this mirror. I wanted her space to be a colorful, creative, happy space that she could grow with. I knew if I made the room too juvenile, I would be re-decorating in a few years. I truly believe she will still love this room in ten years.

Madelyn’s room was the perfect place to experiment and expand on some of my own ideas and projects. I painted the letter “M” as well as the mosaic marble cartoon table. I also made the gemstone tassels, which hang from the lanterns. They are made from some of my extra jewelry supplies and scrap wire.  Many of the gemstones are believed to have healing powers and hang above her bed to protect her while she sleeps. I repurposed the bookshelf by painting it the same color as the opposing wall and then used a glitter glaze to give it some texture and pazaazz. The valance is a repurposed  Pottery Barn Kids dust ruffle from Madelyn’s crib. The fabric was so beautiful, I knew it would find a place in her room.

Aside from being an artist, I am also a big supporter of other artists. The “good morning/good night pillow” is from an Etsy artist who worked with my colors and vision to create the two-sided pillow. 

I was lucky enough to have Roni Ben-Yoseph interview me about Madelyn's room. Check out the link on

Here are some pictures of the kids' rooms:

Jake's "window" treatment

Jake's bed

Jake's airplane ceiling fan

Jake's bookshelf

Madelyn's room

I made the mosaic for her when I was pregnant and found out I was having a girl

Jake's bookshelf

I made this "M" for Madelyn's room

close up of the mosaic i made for madelyn

1 comment:

  1. And it is truly a beautiful home. Good job! IU