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A four-bedroom, 3,360-square-foot apartment in Chelsea provided one New York City couple with plenty of space for their two-year-old twins—and since then, a third baby. But they wanted to create a gender-neutral bedroom and play loft for the twins (one boy and one girl) that was safe and fun, so they decided to transform what was previously their home gym.

They brought in Homepolish designer Pippa Lee to select child-friendly materials and furniture including no-VOC paint (Lullaby Paints’ Nomadic Travels 0524), sustainably-sourced timber for the millwork, non-toxic glues and resins, and all-natural fabrics for the furnishings.

“While I have created a lot of things in my career, this was the first time I have custom designed and built a kids’ loft,” says Lee of the four-month project. “We really maximized every inch of space, working through the design together to ensure it would be an element the kids can use both now and well into the future.”

The lofted area features a bookshelf, workstation with a magnetic board, reading tunnel with a padded cushion, and LED strip lighting at the rear that changes colors (“the kids love it!”), rock climbing wall, ladder, hidden chalkboard on the inside of the closet doors, reading area with bookshelves, and a hidden hatch for additional storage like books and toys.

The most unusual kid-friendly aspect was a rock climbing wall. “This was our inventive contractor at work,” says Lee. “The holds were purchased on Amazon and fixed to a double plywood backing, then fixed to the wall and painted over.”

A custom wallpaper mural by Limitless Walls covers the walls alongside artwork by Anderson Design Group while Roman shades were commissioned from a seller on Etsy with fabric from Duralee. Knitted poufs from RH Baby & Child and CB2 dot the West Elm rug, and seating from Hayneedle Kidcraft and Pottery Barn Kids round out the room that’s both youthful and practical.

Related reading:

Creative Decorating Ideas for Kids’ Rooms 10 Rugs That Will Work in a Kid’s Room for Years to Come A Garden Grows in Brooklyn