This Designer Created Her Book-Loving Son’s Dream Bedroom — Plus, Her Tips on Designing a Space Your Kids Won’t Age Out Of
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Name: Lina Galvão, her husband Adam, and her son Jonah
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Room size: 11’ x 11’
Sometimes, a designer’s hardest client can be herself (or her kids) — but in this case, Lina Galvão, of New York City-based Curated Nest Interiors, had no problem creating an effortlessly bright space that could truly grow with her 6-year-old son, Jonah. With its saturated blue shades and bright design touches, each corner is filled with whimsy — done in a totally fresh way.
Lina and her business partner Erin Coren first met at a moms’ group and united over a mutual desire to make family spaces work smarter — and thus, Curated Nest was born. About their mission, Lina says, “We start with the question, ‘How can your home function and perform better for your family?’ We take that lens to every space, no matter the specific priorities or problems.” For Lina, this meant highlighting Jonah’s book and superhero-loving personality, while making everything extremely accessible for the family of three.
On a kid-friendly, multipurpose bed:
Lina’s quest for functionality in Jonah’s room starts with a low house bed that also often transforms into another play area for the whole family. The bed, which leans against a corner with an adjacent window, is Jonah’s favorite feature: “He can easily get in and out, which was important when he was potty training. All kids love nooks and forts, and this bed gives you a little bit of that. We throw a sheet over it, or make it into a puppet show area.” Trend alert — this style of bed is gaining popularity for its playful design and ease of use for kids.
On turning books into art:
Another standout focus is the bookshelf wallpaper, created by Anewall, a company that specializes in large-scale removable wallpaper mural designs. “It’s a great way to change out the look of a rental, or a kid’s space,” Lina offers. The book motif is carried out throughout Jonah’s bedroom, on nearly every wall. When explaining her approach to the art in the room, Lina says, “I’m a big fan of children’s literature, so I wanted to make sure there were exposed book covers. We used the covers as art.” It’s an example of using something they already had — and loved — to highlight Jonah’s interests. By hanging acrylic shelves, and relying on a low-slung bookcase, Lina ensures that Jonah can easily access his favorite titles, like Bunny’s Book Club and Miguel and the Grand Harmony.
On the constant struggle for storage:
As many parents can relate to, toy storage was one of the main design challenges in this small space. “The toys get bigger when you go from baby to toddler! It’s a common problem with all my clients,” Lina laughs. To adapt to the need for more storage, Lina transformed the closet into a wonderfully organized yet accessible space for Jonah to grab toys and books. There are two sets of bins: The yellow ones up top are from Minted, while the ones on the bottom from KaiKai & Ash feature names of cities where the family has traveled. Lina says, “I rotate the bins, so Jonah can play with different toys occasionally.”
Lina’s advice for making the most of a family space:
Lina suggests bringing kids’ personalities into the mix. After all, their rooms are their cozy little kingdoms, and it’s important that they feel safe and inspired. Really think about what they’re interested in, and how you can translate that in a way that feels lasting. For example, Jonah loves dinosaurs, superheroes, and books, but Lina felt that a book theme would last longest. But she still found ways to incorporate the dinosaurs in little figurines displayed on the dresser, and the heroes in small art prints in the closet.
On a more macro level, Lina suggests tackling storage problems by developing different zones in the home, so kids have established areas in which to play and learn. “If you develop boundaries, they will stick to them, as long as you can be consistent about it,” Lina says. In your home, there may be an area for arts and crafts where all the supplies are kept, or maybe the living room is the place where you play with toys that are easier to clean up. Be thoughtful about the purpose of each space, and communicate that to your kids.
For small-space dwellers, Lina suggests, “Try adding concealed storage. By using adult furniture for toy storage, for example, you keep your home looking a bit more elegant. A beautiful credenza might be filled with bins of LEGOs, and you’d never know.”
If you’re considering a redesign of your space, Lina advises taking a hard look at your floor plan. “Think through the function of each space, without going with the default. The traffic flow of your house can truly change for the better with some thoughtfulness.” Lina suggests compromising when needed, and making conscious decisions about the furniture you bring into your home. For example, the coffee table you have had for a decade may not be the right one for this season of your life. When designing for kids especially, performance materials and surfaces are important to consider. Be slow and purposeful in order to create a space that can evolve with your family.
As Lina says, “Let’s think about how design can perform better for families and how the layout of your home can impact how you live.” For Jonah’s part, he still enjoys his room, and continues to make the most of his vibrant space — especially the house bed that still hosts many memorable story hours with the whole family.
Jonah’s Room Sources:
Mural wallpaper: Anewall
Bed (similar; theirs is discontinued): Pottery Barn Kids
Rocker: Monte Design
Rug: Bashian Rugs
Yellow bins: Minted
City bins: Kaikai & Ash
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