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A Huge Built-In Makes a Shared Kids’ Room Feel Twice as Big

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Sometimes a well-designed built-in is all you need to take a room from cramped to cavernous. That was the case in this nursery-meets-little girl’s room, at least. The space wasn’t exactly being used to its full space potential when designer Jennifer Verruto, the founder and CEO of Blythe Interiors in California, and her team were called in to come up with a plan of action. “This family of four was struggling to make their downtown apartment work,” says Verruto. “In fact, when we met them, they were even considering moving if they couldn’t make the space work.”

Their clients’ biggest challenge? This kids’ bedroom, which had to fit both a crib and a bed — plus all the things that come along with young children — and ideally be able to adapt as their littles grow up. “The main priority was to create a shared room that could comfortably accommodate their two daughters, ages 6 and 1, including all their toys, games, clothes, etc.,” says Verruto.

Finding spots to stash all those essentials would be of utmost importance, but Verruto didn’t want to forget about the fun part of functionality either. The room skewed a little too sophisticated, thanks to dark wood floors and greenish-beige walls, so she planned to lighten and brighten everything up with new paint, airy finishes, and a pop of pattern or two. “While the before certainly had the appearance of a little girl’s room, it lacked an extra punch of personalization and playfulness,” Verruto says. “It was also in need of additional storage and desperate for organization.” 

Fortunately, the room did have a large window that let in tons of sunlight and offered plenty of unused wall space, so Verruto knew she’d be thinking vertically to eke out all the space she could for the girls. “A bunk bed was a no-brainer,” she says. “Often, vertical space is overlooked, so this was the perfect solution to create two separate sleeping areas and maximize the square footage of the room.” To that end, Verruto commissioned a bespoke lofted design from a local cabinet maker, which packs hidden storage everywhere, including a desk under the sleeping loft and a bunch of little open shelves, both under the sleeping loft and at the foot and head of the bed.

For even more storage, the Blythe team looked to the perimeter of the space, where they had a custom under-the window storage bench built out. “There are enough drawers to fit every stuffed animal friend, tutu, and more,” says Verruto of the piece.

As far as finishes went, again, the plan was to go brighter and more youthful but still sophisticated. Lighter wood flooring was installed, and the walls got a fresh coat of white. One of Blythe’s little clients got involved here, too. “We presented the 6-year-old with a few wallpaper options and let her choose her favorite,” says Verruto of the Schumacher starburst style that provides a sweet touch on the wall under the sleeping loft. “She now feels a sense of ownership and connection to her new space.” 

Keeping the larger pieces and surfaces visually quiet — an acrylic Pottery Barn crib, white walls and cabinetry, light wood accents — allowed the team to layer in a bit of color with the textiles in the space, including printed sheets for the crib and bed, an Amazon rainbow pillow, a Target pom pom pillow, and a Crate & Kids Camel Pillow for the crib. These design decisions also ensure that the room’s color scheme can evolve over time as well. “We’d also recommend sticking to a more neutral overall palette and bringing color in with the smaller accessories, which will allow the room to transition with the ever-changing preferences of kids,” says Verruto.

Even better, the flexibility of the sleeping loft’s design can adapt alongside the girls, too. “While the area under the bunk bed now fits a crib, it can accommodate up to a queen sized bed, which means it can grow with the girls as they get older and work for them for years to come,” says Verruto.

The entire construction and decoration process took about six months, mostly to account for the build-out and the ordering and arrival of all of the new furnishings. Now, the room is calm, restful, and packed with functional storage that’s built to last. “The entire space just feels so much lighter and brighter,” says Verruto. “Even though we added this huge built-in unit, the room feels twice as big!

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