The last two rooms on our Coastal Living 2015 Showhouse tour are both bunkrooms located on the first floor of the home. When we first toured the house, our guide from Cinnamon Shores explained to us that since the community was a “more the merrier” type of place where you were likely to host different combinations of family and friends throughout the summer. Homes in the development needed to be able to sleep as many people as possible- while still providing comfortable and private spaces for your guests.
There were already two well-appointed masters on the second and third floor, so the initial thought in the plans was to have the two bedrooms on the ground floor serve as kids rooms- one bunkroom and the other with a pair of twin beds.
This arrangement would work well for families with older kids, but as a mom of young children- one of whom frequently tiptoes into my bedroom at night because of bad dreams, a potty break, or sometimes just to say a quick “hi!”- I immediately recognized the potential impracticality of that arrangement. While it is nice to have a separate space for the kids when they get older, the remaining sleeping arrangements needed to be flexible enough to accommodate families of all ages.
We would keep one bedroom as a traditional “bunk room” with a pair of bunk beds, and the other would have a queen bed- with a twin bunk above. If the house was hosting older kids the two rooms could be used as separate girl and boy bunks, but in the event younger families were staying there, parents could comfortably stay on the same floor as the kids- and even stay in the same room while maintaining some privacy.
Both bunks would be built-ins, and for the queen bunk I drew up a plan that placed the two levels perpendicularly.
Doing so allowed the top bunk to be it’s own private nook, and kept the bottom queen bed from feeling claustrophobic. I added storage cubbies on one side, a railing for safety, and individually controlled sconces at each head.
I wanted the room to feel fun and cheerful enough for kids, but not too childish for the adults, and chose an all-time favorite Sailboat print fabric by Katie Ridder in a navy & red colorway for the window shades and accent pillows. Katie Ridder is one of my all-time favorite designers. For that matter, her husband Peter Pennoyer is one of my all-time favorite architects. Check out both of their portfolios for some smart/fancy inspiration. I love Katie’s whole fabric line specifically, and have used her beetlecat as wallpaper previously; but also, in general, I enjoy finding whimsical offerings from otherwise traditional, or edified sources. Especially if you are nervous about incorporating quirkier touches in your homes, it can help knowing the source is grounded in good taste. Although, I do always love a little low brow in the mix.
As I’ve mentioned before, I consistently rely on textiles for inspiration in my designs, and this room was no different. As color inspiration I love picking out the weird or unexpected accent color you might not immediately notice in a fabric, and use it in a big way. Here we focused on the sail, which reads as a gray-blue at first glance, painting the walls Windmill Wings by Benjamin Moore, which mirrors & accentuates the funky periwinkle hue in the fabric.
The unusual inclusion of the periwinkle with navy & red is part of what makes the color combo in the fabric compelling, and so I chose a red grosgrain tape to trim out the window shades, our Katie red dot for the bedding, and a navy trimmed scallop from Peacock Alley for the euros. I am so happy with how the combination of colors and patterns came together, it is such a cheerful room for kids & adults.
For the kids bunkroom, and the last room on our tour, we really wanted to have some fun with color and go all out. The room is really small, and even finding a way to configure two bunk beds was a challenge, so to make it feel bigger I decided to paint the whole space- bunks, trim, and walls- the same color.
We knew both boys and girls would eventually be using this room, and I wanted to challenge the usual ideas people have of decorating “gender neutral” spaces. So many times people interpret gender neutral as either no traditionally assigned gender colors like blue & pink, or no color at all sticking to the neutrals. And I mean, if that’s what you favor then by all means, do you- I love a pure, soothing, gray nursery as much as the next pinner, but I wanted to demonstrate another way to approach the situation. And that is, I think if you want to do color in a gender neutral room, you can actually use pink & blue and any other color under the big beautiful rainbow your heart desires. It’s just about chosing the right tones of those colors, their application, and the overall balance.
I chose the color, fittingly named Dolphin’s Cove by Benjamin Moore, which is blue, or really turquoise, and is much to fun to be owned exclusively by either gender. Next came the bedding, our Marfa cactus print, which is one of our best sellers at Biscuit and I have used to great success for boys, girls, men and women the world over. So, IMHO, that meant two big choices in the room (wall color & bedding) were real crowd pleasers that didn’t cheer too loudly for either team.
I layered in an orange serape, which carries a lot of visual weight in the room and definitely adds a point in the “boy” column- and the be fair threw the little ladies a pink linen accent pillow with a yellow border trim. A bolster in a multi-color buffalo check- a fabric I used on the window shades as well- is another gender neutral element with its bright preppy print in predominately “boy” colors.
This seashell painting we brought in by artist Mary H. Case subtly echoes the color palette of the room. I love using “grown up” art in children’s rooms- art is ageless and I love juxtaposition of children’s items with a more sophisticated element. I have hung a special piece of art that I had collected in each of my kids rooms, with the intention that the piece will one day be the start of their own art collection. I love the idea that they will grow up with the piece, and then I will give it to them as a housewarming gift when they move into their own homes one day.
I couldn’t resist bringing in this precious, tiny, mid-century table & chair set which, yes, is pink, but I think its unusual hue in the overall combination of the room works.
Off of the bunk room was a teensy little bathroom that proved to be QUITE the challenge, but one that I am pretty pleased with. Through some unknown mix-up when we first toured the house the window in the bathroom was placed half in the shower, half out. It was peculiar. And obviously not functional. We tried every which way we could to reconfigure the bathroom so the window would work in its framed in location- it was too late to move it- but nothing worked so I suggested just making it a false window from the exterior, and drywalling over it inside.
Since there wouldn’t be any natural light in an already tiny, cave-like space, I thought why fight it? Why not embrace the constraints and make the most of it by turning the space into a wet room. I nixed the shower door, which would have divided the already small space and limited the placement of other fixtures since we would have to allow space for door swing. I spec’d a blue, matte glass penny tile from Ann Sacks for all of the walls and ceiling. The finish makes it look like sea glass, and the when you stand in the room surrounded by all of the tile it really does feel like you are surrounded by bubbles under the sea. A step down to the shower keeps water draining properly, and the owners could add a shower rod and curtain if they wanted, but we decided to keep it open.
The wall mounted sink keeps things open. A porthole wall-mounted medicine cabinet/mirror from Restoration Hardware provides some storage, and the outdoor grade sconces from Circa are a nice nautical touch and are designed to be safe and durable in wet areas. Also of note, the penny tiles matte finish and small scale which calls for more grout makes it much less slippery and more safe for the kids.
Sometimes you have to make compromises in design, and problem solve when issues come up. But if you can keep from focusing too much on what a space is not, and think creatively about what it could be, sometimes mistakes can become magical moments like this fun bath!
That’s all for our Showhouse recaps- I hope they were enjoyable! I’ll be back next week with more updates, so…talk soon? xo
Photos by Molly Miller