Make Room for the Kids
When it comes to creating bedrooms for the younger set, style is all about creature comforts and designs that grow with them (at least for a while). Join us for a visit with five Westchester kids who are proud to display their digs.
Sophie & Mimi
Double the Fun
Sisters Sophie, 6, and Mimi, 4, share more than a lifelong bond. They also share the perfect solution to sibling bliss—a bedroom layout with space for time together, as well as apart. When they’re in the mood for a meeting of the minds, a sky-high loft atop their two separate bedrooms is just steps away.
Masterminded by builder Jason Drake of D.A.S. Associates in Bedford Hills and Houston-based designer Edwina Vidosh, the two rooms are joined by a common bath and custom-built steps from each bedroom leading to a loft playroom. (The steps are as practical as they are clever, hiding two built-in under-stair desks and a slew of bookshelves and cubbies.) The two rooms connect visually, too, via coordinating colors that pick up shades of pink, blue, and white, such as bedding and window treatments from Harlequin. In this large space, informality rules: playful rustic hutches and custom closets replace traditional dressers, and bedside throw rugs warm up the hardwood floor on cold mornings.
“I like to play with color,” says Vidosh, who decorated the family’s North Salem country home (also built by Drake), where they spend weekends and summers since moving to New York City from Texas. By hanging complementary-colored Osborne & Little wallpaper on a single wall of each room—behind each girl’s bed—Vidosh created visual interest without covering the entire room. “This keeps it from beings over-stimulating.”
The color play continues in the joint loft, which is outfitted with a toddler daybed on one end and a child-size sofa on the other. An area rug scattered with hot pink, blue, and yellow posies creates a vibrant upstairs landing spot. And when sisterhood becomes too much of a good thing, each girl happily heads downstairs to her own room.
Designer: Edwina Vidosh, Edwina Alexis Inc., Houston
Builder: Jason Drake, D.A.S. Associates, Ltd., Bedford Hills
Architect for stairs: Lucien Vita of Lucien Vita Design, Milford, Connecticut
Fine point: Matching whitewashed wood bark beds from La Lune Collection, a company specializing in rustic eco-friendly furniture, help to unite the rooms.
What Sophie loves best: “Sometimes I like to be by myself, so I’m not bothered by my little sister. I can always meet up with her later in our loft.”
What Mimi loves best: “Meeting in the bathroom when we brush our teeth after breakfast.”
Welcome to the Jungle
Much to Mom’s chagrin, many a child’s room resembles a zoo, but Taylor’s jungle space in Armonk is one by design, taking inspiration from its owner’s passion for animals. To make the 11-year-old’s tropical vision come alive, architect and interior designer Beata Buhl-Tatka began by calling on green and earth tones and incorporating natural, sustainable materials, such as bamboo, jute rope, mosquito netting, and all-wool carpeting.
“I wanted to create a jungle mood that wasn’t too dark and that would fit well with the rest of the house, which is quite elegant,” says Buhl-Tatka, who worked with the owners to design other rooms in the home. “I wanted it to be a happy place for Taylor without being tacky or overdone.”
To accommodate fellow adventurers who opt to stay the night, the architect/designer brought in an oversized armchair sleeper. Buhl-Tatka’s custom-designed built-in bookcase—home to Taylor’s Nancy Drew and Harry Potter collections—wraps around the doorway, providing plenty of storage. A whimsical Brunschwig & Fils monkey-and-palm tree print used for draperies offsets dark bamboo nightstands and a leather trunk end table from Palecek. And scores of stuffed friends—monkeys, lions, tigers, and giraffes—surround the preteen with the animals she loves (minus the tedium of feeding time). Her room may be complete, but its animal population continues to grow—family and friends are never at a loss for the perfect gift.
Designer: Beata Buhl-Tatka of Beata Buhl Interiors Inc., Armonk
Bookcases: John Larkin of Willow Woodworking in Brewster
Fine point: A colorful frog-and-lizard-themed bathroom keeps the reptiles in sight when it’s time for a shower.
What Taylor loves best: “My jungle bed or the big chair,” perfect spots for cuddling with her scores of stuffed animals—or the real things, family Labradoodles Jazz and Jinx.
Out of this World
Houston, there’s no problem here. In fact, all’s right in the world from the vantage point of Noah’s Mars room in Mount Kisco, with its outer-space view of planet Earth, created by James T. Best of James T. Best Architect + Associates, the mastermind behind a Hundred Acres room (à la Winnie the Pooh) for the 11-year-old’s sister several years earlier.
The Pound Ridge architect wasn’t surprised when the preteen asked for spaceship style on the Red Planet. “Noah has been consumed with space for a while,” Best says. The architect usually designs his theme around a conventional bed frame so that it’s easy to make up. But, in Noah’s case, the head of the bed sits under the spaceship, with bookshelves built into the rocket’s legs or fuel cells. “I think it’s most important to give children space and let their imaginations run wild. For a kid, these things are pretty real.”
The Best-laid plans used plywood to create the rough texture of the planet’s terrain as well as for the intricate command center inside the rocket’s nose cone. Then, renowned artist and illustrator Kendall Klingbeil (whose clients include John Lennon and Richard Gere) went to work, enveloping the room in detailed red, orange, and gray scenery, including a spacecraft, planets, and glow-in-the-dark stars—even capturing the historical moment when American astronauts planted the U.S. flag on the moon. The signature of astronaut (and family friend) Sally Ride provides the finishing touch of authenticity.
Designer: James T. Best of James T. Best Architect + Associates, Pound Ridge
Decorative Artist: Artist Kendall Klingbeil, Pound Ridge
Fine point: Each step leading to a loft-like landing platform (doing double duty as a study nook) is a cleverly concealed storage drawer in disguise.
What Noah loves best: “I love lying in bed and looking at the planets.”
Sugar and spice and everything nice—that’s exactly the balance Jeanette Hubley-Lasher was after when she set about designing a Rye Brook bedroom fit for a princess. Especially a 6-year-old royal who harbors a penchant for the oh-so-girly shades of pink and white.
“I tried to create a kingdom where Tori could hold doll and teddy bear tea parties and stretch out on a window seat to read and reread her favorite books,” the New York City-based interior designer explains. “And enough floor space to spend rainy afternoons with board games and puzzles.”
To master the majesty, Hubley-Lasher began with a backdrop of Pierre Deux pink-and-white classic toile wallpaper that offsets a white-washed, four-poster bed from Country Willow Kids in Bedford topped with crystal knobs and swathed in an elaborate Princess canopy. A fringe-trimmed balloon valance from Tammy’s Curtains in Armonk that reminds the bubbly first-grader of “strawberry ice cream cones upside down” and a standing oval mirror tucked into a corner are fine flourishes.
To extend the life of the room and minimize the risk of its pint-sized owner tiring of the distinctive toile pattern, Hubley-Lasher opted for pastels over more intense shades of pink. The color scheme continues in the en suite bathroom with its dainty vanity and miniature rose chandelier with matching sconces, a pretty neat space for a pretty little princess.
Designer: Jeanette Hubley-Lasher of Hubley-Bass Interiors, Inc., New York City
Fine point: A white lacquered dresser, wood bench, desk, and end table from Safavieh Home Furnishings in Danbury, Connecticut, keep the focus on the distinctive wall covering and bedding.
What Tori loves best: “I love my big pink puppy on my beautiful bed. And the picture my Grandma made for me.”
As a gift for his upcoming bar mitzvah this spring, Noah’s parents decided to surprise him with a brand-new grown-up bedroom in honor of his symbolic entry to adulthood. After making some initial selections, Noah, 12, obliviously headed off to summer camp. In his wake came interior designer Elaine Mager, who transformed this Purchase space into a room masculine enough to grow with him, yet warm enough to suit the changing tastes of a teen-to-be.
“I envisioned a room that would be as comfortable for a 13-year-old boy as it would be for a young man—and with only a change of accessories,” Mager says of her challenge.
To start the transition, out went the young boy’s color scheme of hunter green and tan, replaced with mature shades of chocolate brown, taupe, and gold. A clubby leather double bed (found at Crate & Barrel) and Rosecore wall-to-wall carpeting with an understated plaid pattern offer subtle sophistication to a room that still houses a baseball-card collection and other sports treasures. Patton Wallcoverings’ natural grasscloth wallpaper adds texture, while a glazing technique transformed a ho-hum ceiling with its suede-like look.
Handsome and handy hideaways throughout the room keep clutter at bay. Mager collaborated with husband-and-wife team Alba Carrasco and Fernando Martinez of Chappaqua-based Go To Your Room to design and construct plenty of built-ins, such as a dark pine dresser and a floor-to-ceiling desk with shelves to hold Noah’s considerable trophies. They also devised a natural pine under-window storage bench to secretly stash his favorite games—old favorites that may seem too “babyish” for an almost-teen to display.
Designer: Elaine Mager, Timeless Interiors, Ltd., New City, New York
Built-ins: Go To Your Room, Chappaqua
Fine point: For middle-of-the-night brainstorms, dark brown Crate and Barrel nesting tables keep Noah’s pad and pen at the ready.
What Noah loves best: “The double bed—now I have a lot more space than I did before.”
Photography by Andre Baranowski