A lifesaving hero, a beautiful princess, a brave astronaut, or a graceful ballerina – what youngster hasn’t dreamt of becoming one of those? I know when I was a little kid I desperately wanted to be a ballerina (tutus – hello!)… well, it was either that or a forest fairy.
That is why I was immediately taken with the realistic yet playful bedding designed by SNURK, a Dutch company based in Amsterdam. They have put together a range of gorgeous whimsical duvet cover sets that feature life-sized photographic prints of children’s dream counterparts – from a pirate to a soccer player.
The bedding makes the dream a reality. When your little one is firmly tucked in, with his or her head resting on the printed pillow, they are magically transformed into their fantasy alter ego. It is a splendid way to dress up your child’s bedroom and encourage imaginative play at the same time.
SNURK’s co-founder Peggy van Neer describes their design style as sleek and realistic with a fun twist. Their kids designs are poles apart from anything the current children’s bedding market has to offer, which in Peggy’s own words, is “very loud and Disney-dominated”.
It seems SNURK takes the business of being playful very “seriously”. The images they’ve used on their bedding designs were not sourced from some generic stock website. Nope. The astronaut suit, for instance, is not from the costume rental shop around the corner, but from the Space Expo Museum in Holland. For the Ballerina duvet cover SNURK collaborated with the Dutch National Ballet – one of the top 5 ballet companies of the world.
I love the idea that your choice doesn’t necessarily have to be so gender specific. If your little girl wants to be a fire-fighter instead of a princess – more power to her.
The best news of all? The SNURK bedding range is now available in South Africa! Check out the Robert Thomson website for more info.
P.S. They even have double and queen sized duvet sets for all you big “kids” out there.
For many families the option of a separate bedroom for each child is a rare luxury. Homes are getting smaller, budgets are getting tighter. Even here in South Africa most of the newly built homes have tiny bedrooms. This means we most likely have to stuff two or more siblings in one room.
Sharing a room is not easy.
Organizing a shared room for two siblings can be quite challenging. Not only do you have to accommodate two personalities in one room but also the belongings of children that probably have vastly different interests. The last thing you want is kids stumbling over stuff in a too crowded room.
Bunk beds are amazing space savers. To quote the movie Step Brothers, it really opens up some much-needed floor space to do “SO many activities” (language warning).
To me though, bunk beds can often come across as a little tacky – a big clunky wooden / metal frame taking up half the room. I feel bunk beds should either be tastefully nondescript or otherwise a cool and unique feature. I found some images of really awesome bunk bed rooms which I will share below.
I also saw brilliant examples of rooms with loft beds – that is where the bed is on top with a desk or activity space below. Another interesting concept is that of multi-bunk rooms – rooms that contain four or more beds – I can only assume these are for vacation homes or really large families. I think we should have additional posts about these in the not so distant future.
What little boy wouldn’t adore this “lumberjack” themed bunk bed room. The L-shaped positioning of the beds allow for additional space below for a reading nook. Even though the beds have cool contemporary lines, the wood has been treated with vinegar to give it a more aged look – love the texture. By the way, if you want to make this bed yourself, you can follow the image link above for DIY instructions (it’s got plans and everything)!
The staggered design of this built-in bunk bed creates a sense of space. I’m sure the kid occupying the bottom bunk feels less crowded. And, I bet you that bottom bunk contains an additional pull-out trundle bed…
This tiny bedroom would never have been able to fit two beds, however the addition of a second platform bed above solves the space problem. I love the chunky wooden ladder that serves as a textured contrast against the white bed. This little boys’ room has a slight beachy / nautical feel.
This is so cute – a house-shaped bunk bed with a cubby-hole for each child. The drawer steps, while allowing for adorable storage, are perfect for younger kids and toddlers that might have difficulty climbing a ladder.
Gosh, I love this suspended rope bunk beds. I think it’s the coolest thing! The wooden bed platforms hangs from the walls with thick rope which are threaded through metal hooks. Each bed is also bolted into the wall for extra support. I’m also nuts about the grey and yellow colour scheme.
Want something a little more rugged? The these bunk beds are for you! The bed frame is made out of hollow steel pipe and matching cast fittings and joints. This bed would be perfect for a rocking Industrial-styled boys bedroom.
Now here is something you don’t see everyday – a bunk bed with a deep-buttoned (tufted) upholstered headboard and foot-end. Talk about luxurious! If you are creating a feminine and elegant girl’s bedroom fit for a French princess then this bunk bed is just what your little girl’s room is missing.
This bunk bed would not look amiss in a teenage bedroom – it will even do as adult sleeping space in the guest bedroom of a vacation home or beach house. The nondescript white painted bed frame and ladder fades into the white wall creating the illusion of space and light. The pops of bright blue in the décor accessories makes for a beautiful and fresh contrast.
Here’s an interesting idea. If you are tight on space with no possibility of a separate nursery for baby or toddler, bunk them in with their big brother or sister. In this image the bottom bunk of the bunk bed has been removed to make room for a cot. When baby is old enough remove the crib and replace it with a bed.
“We chatted with talented children’s book illustrator Liesl van der Hoven about her online children’s décor shop, Fairy Caravan, and her adorable range of products…”
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your work and Fairy Caravan…
I am an illustrator who loves to draw for children. I believe in the magic of telling stories with pictures and also that stories need not be confined to books, but should be found everywhere they can be enjoyed.
For my business, Fairy Caravan, I have my illustrations printed on a range of high quality decor items for baby and toddler rooms, such as 100% cotton bed linen and pillows as well as matching wall art. These products enable parents and grandparents to add the charm of a children’s picture book to their nursery or toddler’s room.
Q: How did you get into the illustration business? Do you have an art or design background?
Education and work wise my background is very diverse: I started off studying Graphic Design, but then ended up doing my Master’s degree in Philosophy by accident!
I worked in a number of different fields, including for a large book retailer, as an editor, and in marketing.
The children’s illustration bug bit when I did my first short course in children’s book illustration with Marjorie van Heerden at the University of Stellenbosch in 2009. Children’s illustration suited my artistic style and I was inspired to pursue this field. Another, more intensive course in children’s book illustration followed in 2010. I also did a children’s book writing course with author Marianna Brandt.
Q: Why and when did you decide to take the scary step into retail?
After two courses to sharpen my skills as a children’s book illustrator, I felt ready to start freelancing for publishers. I completed a few illustrations for the educational market, but quickly became disillusioned with the opportunities available to children’s book illustrators in South Africa.
I started looking for ways in which I could create my own opportunities for drawing what I wanted to draw and getting paid for it, and that was how Fairy Caravan was born: My illustrations could be printed on a multitude of different surfaces where children could enjoy them!
My diverse background in terms of education and work experience has become an asset in starting up my creative business. I knew enough about retail and marketing to take the scary step towards starting up a product-based business.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when designing?
I have quite a collection of children’s books that I love to page through for inspiration. Often I just look at the pictures and these pictures inspire new stories and ideas for new characters. There is always some kind of story idea behind my illustrations – even if the story is very simple.
I love drawing animals more than anything else. I am a big animal lover so my own pets are a constant source of inspiration. I love that animal characters appeal to people of different cultures – something that is important to me in creating products for the South African market.
I also love observing the way in which children experience the world. I have a little nephew who has inspired many of my illustrations and I am fortunate that many of my friends have little ones that I get to play with.
Q: Is there a certain style you admire or aspire to?
I have loved Beatrix Potter’s books since my very first trip to the library before I even went to school. My favourite has always been Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle!
I love the style of classic children’s book illustrations, and artists whose work look hand drawn. Emily Gravett, Quentin Gréban, Rebecca Dautremer, Marjolein Bastin and Lisbeth Zwerger (to name a few) all do amazing work and I love looking at their illustrations for inspiration.
Q: Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?
I love all colours and my favourites are constantly changing.
Q: Could you share your Secret Indulgence with us?
A visit to The Deckle Edge in Woodstock with lots of time to browse is a huge treat for me. I have a weakness for expensive watercolour paper and tend to overspend on quality art materials because now I get to say that it’s “for work”!
Q: What is your favourite current décor trend?
I love that the woodland theme for nurseries and toddler’s rooms is not going away. It’s a classic theme and one that is open to a multitude of interpretations. Over the past few years we have seen rabbits, owls, hedgehogs and foxes have their moments, and I am loving the sweet little deer that have lately started showing up in nurseries and toddler rooms.
Q: Tell us five things on your Bucket List…
1. Visiting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona with my husband once it is completed (in about 2026 – 2028) We visited in 2011 while on honeymoon and vowed that we would go back.
2. Spending at least a week in Paris visiting the Louvre as many times as I want.
3. Having one of my stories published – with my own illustrations.
4. I would love to have a garden big enough to keep as many pets as I like, I’m thinking a rabbit or two, a handful of chickens; I’d love to have another big dog and a giraffe!
5. Owning my dream car – a Jaguar.
Q: What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?
My Kindle with hundreds of stories, my smartphone and every morning my husband brings me a cup of tea – I am very lucky!
Q: Future plans? Can we expect to see more Fairy Caravan products?
I have already started planning my 2015 collection of illustrations, I’m not going to say anything about this just yet, but I can’t wait to get started on the drawings!
My plans in terms of products are to add more décor products to compliment the products that I already have, for example cot bumpers to go with my cot duvets and baby pillows.
I really enjoyed creating the animal pillow toys for toddlers this year, and they have also sold very well. I have a few ideas for adding more toy products to my range this year and am excited about where this may take me!
Be sure to check out more of Fairy Caravan’s gorgeous products on their website: here. You can also follow Fairy Caravan on Facebook: here.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate instant fun and playfulness into your child’s bedroom or playroom is to buy a roll or two of quirky wallpaper. I think one can easily underestimate the power of well-chosen wallpaper – it has this amazing ability to tie all the décor elements of your room together.
Rose and I were recently reminded of just this fact. We are currently working on a very exciting interior design project and had a striking wallpaper custom designed to fit the space. Boy oh boy, did that wallpaper tie it all together – it complements our design perfectly. BUT more on that later, we’ll be sure to share the project with you once it’s completed!
Now, back to wallpaper! As we’ve said in past posts on kids’ bedrooms (read them here & here) it is very important to gift your child with a unique space that will encourage imagination and make your little monkey feel extra special! Wallpaper can add the interest needed to make your little boy or girl’s room the envy of the whole neighbourhood. You don’t have to paper the whole room – just a small feature wall can make the world of difference.
Need a bit of inspiration? Check out these funky wallpaper designs –all from local South African designers! I have to say I’m super proud of our local peeps – they are SO talented! The wallpapers below are either available through Robin Sprong or Design Kist – please see the image captions for more info…
Last week we discussed our annoyance with children’s bedrooms that lack colour, playfulness, and general cheer. We also shared some gorgeous images of inspirational little girls’ bedrooms and a handful of handy tips and suggestions.
It is only right then that we do the same for boy’s bedrooms! Most of the principles we touched on last week are universal and in order not to repeat things already said I strongly suggest reading our post on girls’ bedrooms (here) first.
Go colour and go bold! And just like a girl’s bedroom does not necessarily have to be pink, a boy’s room does not necessarily have to be the stereotypical blue. If however, you are going for blue, consider using a combination of different blues with bold contrasting pops of colour like orange, green, yellow, or red. Using a palette of more than three colours will add amazing depth to your child’s bedroom.
Little boys are rough-and-tumble, they love to play hard. Appropriately these characteristics can be echoed in a boy’s bedroom interior. The patterns we identify with boys are often harder and more angular – stripes being one of the most favoured. Contemporary, simplistic geometric patterns could also work brilliantly. In addition, one can easily incorporate rustic finishes and textures – exposed brickwork, worn wooden planks or pallets, even metal and concrete. Another awesome way to add pattern to your child’s room other than wallpaper is wall decal / stickers – you get some seriously cool designs!
Like I said in last week’s girls’ bedroom post it is important to include your child in the creation of his or her room. If you are looking for ideas or inspiration the web is filled with child-friendly DIY projects – Pinterest especially is an excellent source. One of the best gifts my dad bought my brother when he was a little boy was a kiddies toolbox – he used to love spending time with my dad in the garage and hammering away at little “projects” for his room. Not only is DIY good for hand-eye coordination and skill development, it’s also a bunch of fun!
I think it is waaaay easier and much more fun to theme a boy’s bedroom than a girl’s bedroom (where it often seems a toss-up between princess or fairy themed rooms). Browsing the web, I stumbled across a heap of boys’ bedrooms with stunning, original themes. Some of my favourites were: Circus and sports, vintage cars and aeroplanes, surf shacks and tree houses, African safari, and of course… pirates! Nautical or industrial themes will also look right at home in little boy’s bedroom.
In last week’s article we emphasized the importance of playing – creating a safe and exciting space for your child to have fun in. Your child’s room should be interactive – allow space for discovery. I don’t know if you noticed, but little boys love to climb… all over everything. Why not include something like rope ladders, climbing walls, or sliding poles into your son’s room – just be sure to add some fun beanbags or floor cushions to break his fall… it is also makes for decent informal seating for a reading nook. Boys will love something like a tree house bed or tent fort – somewhere where their imaginations can run wild! And remember… have fun – designing an imagination playground shouldn’t be a chore!
Can I share a pet peeve with you? Super trendy, super stylish children’s rooms. Are you scratching your head? Please let me explain. Some parents get so caught up in creating a cutting-edge, trend-conscious interior that slots in with their tastes and sense of style that they forget the phrase “children’s bedroom” actually contains the word “child.” Rose and I have often discussed this issue – she hates it as much as I do. Super trendy, super stylish… super boring. If I see another colourless, bland, or black and white nursery or child’s bedroom on Pinterest I’m going to slap somebody.
Visual learning is a fundamental facet of a child’s development. To a kid, the world is a fascinating place – so many things to discover and explore. Therefore, it is vital to offer your kids as many opportunities as possible to learn from the environment around them. Why then create these serious, grown-up rooms that lack cheer, playfulness and the general fun that we generally identify with children?!
It is totally possible to create a beautiful room you AND your child will love. Today we are focusing on little girls’ bedrooms. Here are a few handy tips and a handful of gorgeous girls’ room interiors to inspire you…
Did you know that, other than instinctive emotions, colour is one of the first external factors a child will react to? Colour plays a considerable role in engaging a child, assisting to both inspire them and pique their curiosity. Then why on earth would we give a child a room devoid of colour? Now I’m not saying your child’s room should like a clown that ate a rainbow but pick an exciting colour scheme that your little girl will love. And by the way – who said girls’ bedrooms should be pink?! Introducing tasteful amounts of colour is not difficult even if you refrain from painting the walls. In fact, white or neutral walls add a sense of open and uncluttered freshness and makes it very easy to transition your little girl’s room into a more grown-up teen room – it’s the blank canvas concept. The colour can be all in the accessories – quirky cushions, cheery bedding, bright rugs, and painted furniture (why no try the ombre effect).
It is said that in kid-friendly spaces, there’s no such thing as pattern overload – and I fully agree. Combine stripes and polka dots, florals and prints. Somehow, pattern-on-pattern madness, that would have hurt your eyes in any other room of your house, does not look out of place in a child’s bedroom. My favourite pattern combo for little girls would have to be happy polka dots and pretty florals – cute and feminine! The use of pattern does not have to be restricted to your fabrics – consider an interesting wallpaper, either for a blank wall or a piece of furniture like the front of a chest of drawers or the inside of a bookcase.
There are SO many awesome and easy Do-It-Yourself projects on the web – anything from how to make your own bunting to a step-by-step tutorial on how to transform an old TV cabinet into a child’s play kitchen. If you have ten thumbs and DIY is not your bag, at least allow your child to partake in the creation of her room. Have a “decorate my room day” – crafting projects like making paper chains, fabric garlands, or just painting fun artworks is not only easy and entertaining but will add that personal touch to your child’s bedroom… not to mention a sense of accomplishment! Also, think about painting a wall in chalkboard paint – that way your little girl can continuously change an aspect of her room while having a ton of fun!
Themes can be scary… one can so easily cross the tasteful line and stumble head-first into corny and kitsch. However, choosing a theme can also make the process of decorating your child’s bedroom easier. The most important thing to remember is: don’t overdo it! Sticking a pink princess on every surface is definitely overkill. One can create a perfect princess room without actually using any princess imagery – think child-sized French furniture pieces, a glitzy chandelier, a billowy canopy bed, and velvety pink fabrics. Sounds classy right? We have created such a little girl’s room for one of our clients in the past – princess room without the cheese. Another thing to consider is staying away from stereotypes. Ask your child what theme she wants for her bedroom – the answer might surprise you… I knew a little girl who wanted a racing car room – and her parents pulled it off perfectly without compromising on the room’ s femininity.
This must be the most important thing to remember when decorating your child’s bedroom… just play. Developing your child’s imagination is important, so use your own imagination when you set up her room. Create a space your kid actually wants to spend time in, a space where she can play and discover… not some starchy stiff room. Make your child’s room as interactive and tactile as possible. Create an area for her play-kitchen and her dollhouse (or whatever interests she might have), add a reading nook, build a tree house bed or tent fort – remember your child’s room should be her sanctuary, the place she feels most safe. Set out to design a room your child will have fun in… and please have fun while doing it!