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Soundproofing the kids (room)

9 Jul
Wobedo soundproofing panels

Wobedo soundproofing panels

Thankfully, no one in the four 750-square foot apartments in my building has taken up the drums (yet).  But I (sometimes) feel for my childless neighbors who have to deal with us, especially during that twilight hour before naptime, when all bets are off and the stairs to the second floor take a half hour to maneuver.

Leave it to the Swedes to invent soundproofing equipment that comes in the guise of ‘wall art.’  As far as I can tell, they don’t yet have distribution in the US, but I’m sure someone’s going to figure out a way to bring it over here.  The company is called Wobedo, and it bills itself as the manufacturer of ‘decorative soundabsorbents.’  I think it’s intended for office spaces or libraries, but I see no reason why we couldn’t replace our decals with this foam town:

 

In this room, no one can hear you scream.

In this room, no one can hear you scream.

And check the circles, squares, and mod shapes.

 

60s redux

60s redux

I especially like the freestanding one, but looks a bit too much like a gong for it to have any chance of remaining upright in my house.

big bubbles

big bubbles

There are some other brands listed on this site, but Woolbubbles (TM) are definitely my favorite.  Wonder if they offer bulk discounts?

 

he’s finally getting wall decals

20 Jun
It's A Small World - Gold Moroccan Facade, available at Oopsy Daisy

It’s A Small World – Gold Moroccan Facade, available at Oopsy Daisy

I’ve totally caved.

Over the past few months, our lives have changed again.  Me getting comfy in my big city job, hubby moving offices so we sometimes even see each other in passing or on the way to the subway, and buddy boy strollering-then-scootering-then-walking his way off to preschool.  Now it’s the summer and it’s time for another momentous shift in our lifestyle.

It’s big boy room.  For reals this time.  And we’re living the twin-sized life.

The loft bed

The loft bed

I’d never heard of Cymax before, but I found this South Shore Treehouse loft bed there for the best price – $540.  Cool thing is that it’s got the trifecta of young kids’ options – higher sides to prevent roll-outs, drawers and hiding storage spaces for all the toys that somehow mysteriously end up in our house, and the best part… a space underneath for hiding, reading, and playing.

A little bit of wall space back there...

A little bit of wall space back there…

We put in one of those battery-operated slap lights, Fionn’s little Cosco booster, some storage stuff.  But it just lacked something.

So Mommy gave in to the decal monsters.  But here’s why I’m OK with it.  It’s going UNDER the bed.  And to Fionn, under the bed could very well be under the sea.  (Whatever works, I say).

Gone fishing, via zulily.com

Gone fishing, via zulily.com

That’s my answer.  (Found these at Zulily.  They may appear again soon.)

But I think there are three basic ways of doing decals that don’t offend my (not very delicate, after nearly 4 years of parenthood) design sensibilities.

One: Keeping them in a confined, limited space.  Framing a crib, OK.  Filling a gap under the bed, fine.  Adding some great outdoors to a non-great-outdoors-facing space, ingenious.

Flowers from allposters.com

Flowers from allposters.com (obvs)

These Growing Flowers are adorable, and purposeful, in a modern, interesting way.

Two: Complementing and reflecting a design theme already chosen for the room.  Skip*Hop has some really bold, kid-friendly  decals that match the bedding designs but, even when put together, don’t go over the top into cutesy territory.  (Criteria one probably applies here too.  Think about placement to avoid ‘floating giraffe’ syndrome).

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 5.05.53 PM

Eames, Hirst, or hot air balloons? Courtesy Skip*Hop

Skip*Hop giraffes

Giraffes & shapes, courtesy Skip*Hop

And, three: Finding a GORGEOUS piece that takes the place of a framed artwork.

I’ve never heard of Oopsy Daisy before, but this was truly a find.  Branded “Disney’s It’s a Small World” collection, this line of ‘fine art’ decals are “inspired by Mary Blair’s iconic mid-century modern imagery and vibrant color blocking techniques.”

It's A Small World neutral facade

It’s A Small World neutral facade

Whatever.  All I know is that they’re amazing. Sadly, you’re going to pay for the amazingness – a small one (18×24, I believe) is about $100 and the 20×30 is about twice the cost – versus the $20 average you’ll probably spend.

It's A Small World regular

It’s A Small World regular facade

It's A Small World Indian facade

It’s A Small World Indian facade

If you’ve got a room where these work, I’d soooo go for it.  They’d probably be the perfect size to fit under a loft bed.

mod tree wall decals

25 Jul

Araiya and Tallis's room, featured on Ohdeedoh

Wall decals are everywhere.  And tree wall decals show up all the time on nursery tours and in beautifully-designed kids rooms.  But anytime something becomes really popular, the market gets heavy and over-saturated with less-than-stellar examples of the same item.  As readers of this blog now well know, I’m not a huge advocate of decals – I think they have their place, but I hate when they’re just thrown on the wall to fill empty space.

That’s why one of my favorite nurseries has always been Natalie & Matt’s shared kids’ room (crib image at top), featured about two years ago on Ohdeedoh.com.   Although not a decal (the trees are painted), it fits all my criteria: modern and simple, perfect for the color scheme of the room, and purposeful, filling the space perfectly.   In her post, Natalie wrote that she was expecting child #3 at the time – I’d love to see the progress made since then!

But back to trees.  If you’re looking to do a similar thing without stenciling and painting, here are my three favorites, all super-mod (no woodland creatures here), color-customizable, and large-scale.

"In the Treetops" by Single Stone Studios

1. “In the Treetops” by Single Stone Studios.  Available on Etsy,in a variety of colors, $125.

The Trees by Boodalee Wall Decals by Blik

2. The Trees by Boodalee wall decals by Blik.  Available on the Blik website or at Velocity Art & Design (one of my favorite shops), in three colorways (shown in snow/charcoal), $55.

"Circle Tree" by Leen the Graphics Queen

3. “Circle Tree” wall decal by Leen The Graphics Queen on Etsy, and color-customizable $40.

Have any tree decals of your own? Send me photos!

animal-shaped corkboards

30 Jun

Chalkboard jungle

By now, I’m sure we’ve all seen the chalkboard-like animal-shaped wall decal stickers like the ones at Wallcandy Arts (above).

But I’ve never seen corkboard fashioned into unique shapes before.  Enter Lucky Magazine, who featured the following item in its July issue.  I thought it was too cool not to share.

migrating bird, kikkerlandshop.com

I’d never heard of Kikkerland Design before, so I was pleasantly surprised to view the items for sale on its website, which reminds me of a cross between Charles & Marie and Uncommon Goods.

corkboard frog, kikkerlandshop.com

As is the custom these days, the corkboards have a back story.  Designed by Petz Scholtus, each animal featured represents a species affected by global warming.  The website says that “2% of the proceeds is donated to treenation (www.tree-nation.com) to support the cause of desertification, climate change, proverty and CO2 reduction by planting more trees in the world.”

corkboard polar bear, kikkerlandshop.com

Coming in at over a foot tall and ranging in length (I think the bear is the longest), these corkboards can fit in spaces where regular square bulletin boards (with their wooden frames) would feel too imposing.   Oh, and I forgot to mention… at $20 each you can create an entire aviary, or jungle, or arctic home on your kid’s wall.

handmade musical wall murals

8 Jun

Fiddle-playing giraffe in Eliot's nursery

My friend Marcia’s got an incredibly beautiful new baby boy (Hi Eliot!) and a very talented husband named Lee.   Although both Mom & Dad are veteran advertising ‘creatives,’ I’m sure they’ve never had a client like this before!  I can just imagine how satisfying it was for Lee to design and paint these wonderful musician animals, transforming an empty room into a personality-filled nursery for his baby-t0-be.

Horn-playing elephant above crib

What I especially love about the room is how well the furnishings fit in with the custom artwork, and how beautifully the colors are coordinated.  The tall giraffe is perfectly nestled in the corner near the tall dresser and vertical bookshelf.  Shades of blue from the elephant are reflected in the crib bedding and other textiles, and the brown Monte Luca chair (my favorite) offers a beautiful contrast.

Bongo-playing lion

I’m so excited for little Eliot to learn that Daddy made these pictures just for him.

So for the rest of us, who have other skills to offer beside mural painting, here’s a tip.  When you’re shopping for wall decals, measure out your space (and the decals to occupy that space).  Pay special attention to the shapes between furniture (like in the giraffe corner) or above dressers (like the changing table, above).  Then, instead of just ‘floating’ on your walls, the decals will look like they’ve been custom-designed just for you.

sincere flattery and flag bunting

5 Jun

Olivia's room

Fionn's room

Browsing Ohdeedoh yesterday morning, I discovered a very interesting room tour; it’s the first one to feature exactly the same poster, crib set and arrangement of those items as in Fionn’s room.  It could be a total coincidence.  Or it could mean that someone actually liked Baby Daley’s room enough to want to have some of the same stuff.  And that’s really cool.

So in that vein, I wanted to share with you an amazing nursery decor trick that I’m just dying to ‘borrow’ myself.

Craft paper bunting, The B-line

If you haven’t heard of Amy at the B-line, please check out her blog.  It’s a beautiful and impressive website, apparently an offshoot of her Etsy business.  I believe she’s just had a baby – so the blog (and Etsy store) aren’t currently up-t0-date.  (Amy, if you read this, I’m hoping everything’s going wonderfully for you!)  I discovered Amy through her nursery photos posted on Flickr.  But they’re also featured on the blog, where you can read all about the amazing nursery she crafted and created – especially the bunting, made from scrapbook paper, contact paper and spray adhesive.

Frog made of custom-designed fabric

This woman does everything. Designs her own fabric (via Spoonflower – an amazing company that lets you do just that), makes jewelry, pillows, stuffed animals, wall decorations, among other things, and that’s when she’s not teaching during the day.   I love this frog – and check the pattern!

So onto finding cool bunting inspiration elsewhere.  I’ve uncovered three items, two from Etsy, and one from IKEA, all of which are interesting takes on the triangle flag theme.

1. Flags and garlands made of vintage children’s books

Sailor by Dick Bruna

Dr Seuss bunting, Richard Scarry garland

Bunting by LeJeune, Etsy, $8-$22

Alexandra LeJeune of Sydney, Australia, creates what she calls vintage storybook bunting.  She takes children’s books from the 60s and 70s, cuts and then sews them together with cotton tape.  I absolutely ADORE the Sailor images, and Richard Scarry is one of my favorite children’s book illustrators of all time.

2.  Bunting, illustrated

‘Bunting’ original illustration by Moonbeam Ice Cream, Etsy, $35

An original illustration by Edinburgh artist Kathryn Sutcliffe, this drawing is one of a kind — a real pen-and-colored-pencil piece of art.  And if I had somewhere to put it, it’d be mine.  If someone doesn’t buy this drawing within the next day or so, I’m afraid my PayPal trigger finger might get a bit twitchy for it.

3. Bedding textiles

Vitaminer Vimpel twin duvet and pillowcase, IKEA, $10

I couldn’t not mention this cute (and cheap) child’s duvet set, sold at IKEA.  Don’t know how well it’ll hold up after a few washes, but it’s worth a go. Start with this piece, and you’re room’s all figured out for color, too.  Basically, it’ll match any bright/primary shade – get a red rug and paint a wall sunshiny yellow, and the rest of the brightness can come from all the toys on the floor.

modern art, inspired by disney

17 May

Print inspired by Sleeping Beauty, One Kings Lane, $29

Let me just start off by saying this: I’m soooo not a Disney person.  Yes, I went to Disney World as a kid, and I loved all the movies as a kid (and again, as a college student).  But today, not so much. I know this will change when Fionn wants to watch his video for the fiftieth time, when he wants to see Lion King on Broadway (which will probably still be playing) and when he gets old enough to recognize licensed characters.  But something about buying into the whole Disney machine just makes me uncomfortable.

So I have to hide my face a little bit while I show you these prints.  And fast, because the sale is ending on One Kings Lane tomorrow. (If you’re not signed up for this interior design sample sale site, let me know and I can email you a referral code).

A company called PTM Images was commissioned to create prints ‘inspired by’ famous Disney animated features.   Some of the images directly correspond to actual animation cels (such as the Alice In Wonderland image, below), and others are said to capture the mood or tone of the film.  The Sleeping Beauty print, at top, is especially atmospheric with a mid-century touch.

Print inspired by Alice in Wonderland, OKL, $29

The images come unframed, but at $29 for a 14″x18″ (give or take) you really can’t beat the price.  All prints also include a drawing of the original inspiration for the artwork, which is pretty cool.  Redesigning a room?  These images could serve as great inspiration, especially for color choices.

Print inspired by Johnny Appleseed, OKL, $29

This image (above) is said to be inspired by Johnny Appleseed – a sequence in a film called Melody Time.  Not familiar with the movie;  I’m just in love with the green-blue and lavender color combination.  

In marketing, this type of project is what we call “extending the brand.”  And Disney seems to be doing a lot of it lately.  In addition to the print work, they’ve also hired York Wallcovering to riff on the movie Fantasia.  The results are some stunning (and sparkly) wallpapers, surprisingly un-cute and great for a big boy or girl’s room.

Sample of Fantasia-inspired wallpaper

Glisten, York Wallcovering, $69/roll

I think the Glisten pattern is my favorite – it’s not overpowering, yet it has a dash of glitter to add visual interest to a white room.   I couldn’t find some of the patterns from the top image on the York website, but I hope they’ll become widely available.