Thursday, June 20, 2013

Which way to the beach?

School's out and summer vacation is upon us.  It's time to head to the beach for a week, or better yet, for the summer.  This delightful Marin County beach cottage was published in House Beautiful last year.  For me, this is the epitome of a beach house; clean and simple architecture, exposed insulation, no sheet rock, no air conditioning.  No one chooses to build this way any more...even for a beach cottage.  So there is something special, which harkens back to a simpler time, about this look.  I'm imagining, though probably erroneously, that this house has no cable, no TV, and no internet. Hopefully it has plenty of board games, decks of cards, and paperback books.  Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Blackberry Winter

Last week we had a cold snap here in Connecticut.  Every year around this time, just when you think it should be summer once and for all, we get a very cool day or two.  And then I remember, of course it's cool, as my mother would say, it's Blackberry Winter.  This is actually a southern term referring to a cold snap when the blackberry bushes are in bloom.  In the south, this usually occurs in late May.  In Connecticut it is usually the first week in June.  Sure enough...when I looked around last week, the blackberries were indeed in bloom.  I found some great images of the deep purple black the reminds me of blackberries.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Decorating a Child's Bedroom

Designing Like a Child: Decorating a Child’s Bedroom
Just like your bedroom is your sanctum from the troubles of the world, so too is your child’s bedroom the center of their daily life.  Designing a bedroom for your kids can be great fun for you and them, and a great opportunity to bond with them.  It’s a perfect chance for your children to express their personalities and impart their own style to their little corner of your home.

Get your kids involved
While the general principle with home design and décor is that it should always reflect your tastes and personalities, designing a child’s bedroom is something that should match their styles and tastes.  Ask your kids what they like and what kind of design they would like in their bedroom.  Your kid knows what colors they like and what they would like to show off in their room.

Build at kid level
Unless your kid has already outgrown your height, they probably don’t have the reach that you do.  Adding plenty of storage space like storage chests and shelves goes a long way for helping a kid keep a room from becoming a cluttered mess.  However, if your kids can’t reach the toys on their shelves easily then don’t expect things to get put away all the time.  Make sure that the room is accessible for their height.

Light for any occasion
Children use their room for everything.  They’ll host tea parties, command their armies to fight evil dragons, hunt for treasure, and at some point they might even do some homework.  Just like any other room in the home, lighting a child’s room should consider both fashion and function.  Strong centralized lighting works for letting your kids clean up their messes, while adding some desktop lamps can help them do their homework or recreational reading.

Plan for the future
Try as you might, that kid won’t stop growing anytime soon.  It’s the dreaded future my car lives in fear of every day.  How you design the room should take into consideration the fact that your kid will keep getting bigger.  Buying a tiny little twin bed might be cute for your four year old, but it’s a bed you’ll just have to replace once they outgrow it.  It might save you some money to just buy them a larger bed now.
Wall decals are popular decorations that are perfect for the ever changing tastes of a kid.  Most wall decals are safely applied and won’t harm the paint when removed.  Having a magnet or a cork board where your kid can stick up pictures and projects can also help give their room design evolve daily without forcing you to remodel with their whims.

Get them involved
Not only is decorating a child’s room a great bonding opportunity for you and your kid, but it is also a great opportunity to put your kids to work.  You obviously shouldn’t trust a four year old with a power-saw, so you have to know what your kid can handle.  Let them paint a corner of the room, put together part of a shelf, or even just help clean up some of the mess.  If they learn to love working early on, it’s that much easier to trick them into mowing the lawn for you in a few years.
You’ll have a great time designing a room and your kid will love spending time with you.  Get them involved in the design, put them to work, and let their room become the manifestation of their creativity.

Ross Donald is a writer, designer, and father, specializing in interior design and lighting aesthetics. He currently writes for Lighting Sale who specializes in light fixtures.