Today on Touch of Curl I am thrilled to share with you the most magical playroom I've ever seen, designed by my wonderful and talented friend Rachel!
I've mentioned visiting our friends in San Diego in past posts, and each time we visit it's such a joy watching our girls play together, whether outside in the year round sun, or inside their house in the hills. Their beautiful San Diego home is filled with colorful art in nearly every medium, each piece telling a new story. So it made perfect sense when Rachel told me she was undertaking a new project, turning their once rather neutral multipurpose room, into a fantastic playroom for her daughter and her friends.
Hey Rachel, can you tell the readers of Touch of Curl a little bit about yourself and your family?
Hi, my name is Rachel and I reside in sunny San Diego with my husband, 2 year old daughter, Orly and two dogs Nava and Kiki. We moved here five years ago to further my husband’s career, and never plan on leaving. I am passionately interested in art, and recently have been trying my hand at design. We spend as much time outside as possible which is much of every day. When we can’t be outside, we created a magical area for creativity, exploration and learning: – I can’t wait to tell you about it.
Ok first things first, this wonderland inside your home is my childhood dream, it's simply incredible! Tell me about what the space was like previously and what drove you to improve it?
Thank you so much Colleen, When I imagined creating a playroom, my goal was to create a space that fostered unfettered creativity whether through tactile play, art, music, dress-up or quiet time. The previous space was so non-descript it’s almost difficult to recall. The room was used by the previous owner as a combination study and entertainment area. Because the space doesn’t have a closet, it’s not technically a bedroom. When we moved in, we put an extra couch and all unused furniture into what quickly became storage space. We had an unfortunate event in our lives a little over one year ago, and to help get me through the grieving process I needed – and defined – an expressive “project”. Our home didn’t have a place that was Orly’s area to truly play. We use her bedroom as a place to rest and sleep exclusively – we removed all toys and stimulating distractions. I am a creative person and love all aspects of design, and during this painful time, I wanted to create something both externally beautiful in the moment and that would create beauty in my life for the long term – hence the playroom was born!
Let's talk first steps: how do you begin to approach such a comprehensive project?
This project was all-encompassing and included changes like custom cabinets and glass, mural paintings and new flooring. The thought of completely changing not only the feel but the physical space may be daunting. The first thing I recommend always doing with any design project is drafting a working budget – it’s a good investment in domestic tranquility! Things add up too quickly, and it helps to identify what is truly important (needs versus wants) and identify where to the majority of money will be allocated. I knew I wanted a mural and flooring that could withstand a toddler’s wear and tear, so I began by creating an exterior space. Flooring went in first: the floor is engineered wood and may be submerged in water. With this kind of flooring I don’t worry about spills, food, painting, shoes or any other “disaster” a two year old creates. This flooring allows for a “yes space” which was vital. Next came the mural: I used a website called http://thumbtack.com where you describe a job and people bid on it. I found an amazing artist who has done murals for kids all over the U.S. We got together and realized it was a great fit. Together he and I made a blueprint of what I wanted and in one amazing weekend he painted the entire space. As a sidenote he painted with both hands: I’ve never seen anything like it.
Next I worked on the accessory scheme. Colleen, after spending some time at your house we knew we needed a teepee. Initially I ordered the large size but it became the room’s focal point which was disappointing. I ordered the smaller size which fits Orly’s chair and books. I chose a dressing table because I played dress-up constantly as a child and thought it was a good starting place for imaginative play. The couches were inspired by our local library and I selected an easel for painting. The easel is also something that can be compacted or expanded depending on how into art your child is at the moment. The paint used on the mural may be washed, so I never have to worry about Orly getting into paints – remember, this space is all about the “Yes”!
I saved the two biggest pieces for last because they take the most time and space. The first is the family saltwater fish tank. When we found out we were expecting, my husband decided to start a fish tank as something he and our future child could work on and enjoy together. The fish tank is mesmerizing. Although it’s way more work than one would imagine, Orly feeds both her “Nemos”, Charlie and Roxy, every night before bed. Sometimes we look at the tank, other times we help dad clean it, and lastly feeding them teaches her ownership and responsibility at the age of two. Every kid that enters the room and most adults have questions and love to watch. Storage always seems to be an issue in any playroom situation, and I feel like every mom is trying to figure out a way to store all the toys. I designed an ENORMOUS cabinet with 3 features and brought it to a cabinet maker: the result was perfect. The cabinet has three shelves of sorted bins housing legos, puzzles, balls and other toys plus an additional shelf for oversized items and endless arts and crafts. The top has closed cabinets where I store things that we don’t currently use but migh tagain in the future, and some of Orly’s possessions that don’t fit in her room. Lastly, there is a dress-up area with a hanging rack for the innumerable costumes.
The murals are so unique and captivating! I would love to hear more about the design process.
I'm in love with the wall murals, and let me tell me you about the inspiration for each. I can’t think of anything more perfect than bringing a little bit of outside inside. The tree was the center and focus of the mural. The artist had full control in selecting animals and had a great idea to incorporate the bird house into the light-switch. I wanted a chalkboard on one wall to hang art and use later for any homework or drawing. The last wall was a floating bubble – something more basic, repetitive and complimentary to the treehouse. I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like bubbles!!
There are so many pieces to this whimsical room, which is your favorite part? And of course, Orly’s favorite!
My favorite part of the room is the enormous cabinet. It really allows the room to have organized chaos: it facilitates play with a universe of toys but each has a specific place for every activity. Orly’s favorite depends on her mood. Recently she is loving legos (a bin on the lower shelf so she can pull down, retrieve them, and return them herself), the chair in the teepee where she can read and rock her babies, and the art corner. Previously she spent lots of time putting on bracelets at the dressing table.
Artist Kyle @ Trudelle Galleries , Fish Tank @ David Carnick , TeePee @ Pottery Barn Kids , Couches @ Amazon , Log Seats @ Land of Nod , Rug @ Costco , Easel @ Melissa and Doug , Art Supplies @ Lakeshore , Toys @ Target , Table @ Homegoods , Dressing Table @ Pottery Barn Kids , Cabinet Corbin @ CCScabinets , Painted by Jeff Stroika , Cabinet Bins @ Target
Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your experience with us! And a warm thank you to our little models Orly, Asha and Isabelle and their mothers Neha and Sara for showing us just how much fun it is to play in this magical space! The finished project is straight out of a magazine (or a dream!) and we're so lucky to get a peek! If you have any further questions, please add a comment below so either Rachel or I can get back to you!
I hope you enjoyed this tour!