An Outgrown Baby Room Gets An Unbelievable Transformation
This is what happens when you give a child free decorative rein.
Published Mar 12, 2017 5:00 AM
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Quinn Berry leaves her mark in the parent-approved graffiti zone.
Photography by Jeremy Liebman
Produced by Elaina Sullivan
Who better to lead the redesign of a child’s outgrown baby room than its color-obsessed inhabitant?
Kool-Aid-hued florals and whimsical pieces, like a vintage ceramic mushroom, create a pint-size wonderland. PAPER FLOWERS by The Green Vase from $38
Quinn Berry wants to talk design. Or rather, as a 4-year-old whose aesthetic vision outpaces her vocabulary, she wants to draw it. When it came time to redecorate her bedroom at her family’s apartment in downtown Manhattan, Quinn uncapped her markers and sketched out her number one request: a bunk bed with a rainbow ladder. “It will be beautiful and curious!” she says with poetic brevity. Her developed sensibility is understandable, given that her parents are Domino style director Kate Berry and illustrator Ian Berry.
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Vintage art books line the shelves above the desk space, where Quinn can sit on crayon-bright stools and get to work on her latest creations.
The first step to overhaul Quinn’s understated baby room—too quiet for a girl now finding her voice—was determining what would go. Out went the crib and the neutral, alphabet-embroidered textiles, while punkier accents, like a constellation of fringed pendants by the creative studio Confetti System and a graphic Moroccan rug, proved their staying power. Then Quinn laid out her wishes for “hot pink walls with pretend flowers” and the aforementioned bed. With Domino style editor Elaina Sullivan acting as mediator, negotiations began. The walls were softened to pale rose, overlaid with color-blocked sections in Pop pink and orange. Flowers arrived via a hyper-stylized fabric by the Austrian-Swedish designer Josef Frank (Kate’s pick), which Sullivan used to transform the bottom bunk into a theatrical—call it “curious”—hideaway.
Quinn’s closet (like her room) mixes sweet with a bit of edge, from a gingham pom pom cat purse to a bomber jacket and shades. The mannequin puts her style on display—and makes post-playtime clean-up way easier.
Hair bows add to the decor when clipped to braided Guatemalan fabric.
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More than the culmination of Quinn’s budding art direction, the room is also a working laboratory, complete with standing easel, wall-mounted crafts area, and dress-up station stocked with pastel mermaid wigs. “She’s taking inspiration from everywhere now—it’s totally mind-blowing,” Kate says, describing a recent fascination with Yayoi Kusama (those spots, that hair). A polka-dot accent just might be the next design addition.
THE ART OF COMPROMISE
Encouraging creativity doesn’t mean your kid runs the show. Here are ways to strike a balance and create a space you both can live with.
Find the Hot Spots
Ask which two or three elements of the room matter most, and consider these non-negotiable—to a point. Granting a green light for, say, a canopy bed gives your child a sense of agency but also affords you some leverage to fine-tune the specifics. A bunk bed was high on Quinn’s wish list and low on Kate’s, so they settled on a built-to-last white model and dressed up the details, like adding the botanical Josef Frank fabric—a win-win.
Adapt the Vision
Not all questionable ideas are to be tossed out. Instead, treat them as a starting point, something to tone down, recast, or change in scale in a way that works for both of you. Here, in lieu of a wall-to-wall paint job, bright pink turned up in color-blocked panels and in a collection of handwoven Ethiopian pillows—accents, not oversaturation.
Follow Their Passions
The setup of a space should reflect how it will be used. Childhood is a time of growing (and waning) interests, so a room redo is a good time to nurture new pursuits. Quinn’s obsessed-over pink wig, once relegated to a bin, now has an accessible spot on a dress form; her guitar and microphone are primed for impromptu jam sessions; a designated worktable encourages come-and-go drawing. Let the habits inform the design, and vice versa.
Quinn’s impulse for color stems as much from My Little Pony as Agnes Martin, whose recent Guggenheim retrospective left an outsized impression (and just might have influenced the gradient effect on the ombré ladder). Floral curtains reveal Quinn’s new hideaway.
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