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How a Graphic Designer Brought Her Ultra-Colorful Craft Into Her Kids’ Rooms
Step one: Start with rainbow-hued wallpaper.
Published May 30, 2020 1:00 AM
Two years ago, graphic designer Catherine Nice, founder of ultra-colorful British home accessories brand Kitty McCall, moved into a Victorian-style property in Kent, England, with her husband and children, Jude (8) and Ruby (6). Since then, she has brought in a trove of cheerful, whimsical pieces sourced from stores such as Oliver Bonas and Anthropologie, with vintage finds scored on eBay peppered throughout.
The true stars of the house, though, are the entrepreneur’s bold prints—which often start out as simple ink-and-paper drawings that are scanned onto a computer, where Nice can then play with color and texture. “I find my ideas flow easily when I can bring everything together and make changes on a whim,” she says. “I love that nature is wild and untamed, and my work often reflects that.” Her botanical-inspired creations hang on the living room walls; a bright upholstery of her own design covers the dining chairs; and a wallpaper she collaborated on with Milton & King features prominently in the home. Jude’s and Ruby’s bedrooms are no exception, but they presented a unique challenge: Nice had to figure out how to design spaces that were both kid-approved and played well with the rest of the home’s artfully layered look. Here’s how she went about cracking that puzzle.
Mix, Match, and Clash (Just a Bit)
To create a sense of balance, Nice offset the fluid wallpaper motif (her own Wilderness design) in Ruby’s room with an abstract artwork in similar hues. The clean white border prevents the two prints from getting tangled up, while a floral black-and-white bench picks up the softer, sweeping lines of the botanical wallpaper. The effect is a kaleidoscope of cool prismatic patterns that each have a moment to shine.
Find Your True Color(s)
Nice grounded both the bedrooms in blue, a shade that pops up throughout the home, from robin’s-egg to navy. For Ruby’s space, blue carpet and a sky-hued ceiling (a lucky leftover from the previous owners) do the trick. In Jude’s room, the painted shadow-box frame and comforter share the calming color—along with an underwater-themed pouf featuring upholstery that was printed from Jude’s own artwork, adding a touch of the life aquatic. Building on that monochromatic palette, Nice layered in Kelly green, bubblegum pink, and electric orange accents without worrying that the spaces would start to feel disconnected.
Make It Personal
Nice made sure her kids felt comfy and safe in their rooms by letting the pint-size clients help decorate. Ruby (who has a strong design point of view, according to Nice) decided where the furniture should go. And the Frida Kahlo portrait that hangs above the mini daybed is inspired by Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, one of Ruby’s favorite books.
Curate Thoughtful Displays
Nice displayed Jude’s toys and books on shelves like she would decor. The key to keeping them tidy? Organization and symmetry. Books sit next to the bed for easy access come reading time, and action figures get lined up by height and size above the desk (same goes for the summer’s rock collection along the windowsill). Rather than hanging all the artwork, leaning a few framed pieces against the wall allows for things to be swapped in and out—or when creativity strikes and something new is created.