January 1, 2004

The Big Girl Room

When I chose which room would be our nursery, I wisely, or so I thought, chose the smallest bedroom in our house. I figured one little girl wouldn't need much space and it was the bedroom closest to our room. Plus, it had north-facing windows that would filter out midday sun during nap times.

Well, one little girl was actually two little girls so we ordered another crib and somehow made it fit in the little room. But once the girls were ready for big girl beds, two twin beds literally wouldn't fit in their nursery. So began the "bedroom shuffle." The office became their new room, their nursery became the office and Linda the painter got tired of hanging out at our house.

When planning the girls' new room I really wanted something that was bright and whimsical but still feminine. I love pink and orange together because it just feels "happy" or maybe because it reminds me of Oilily dresses. I wanted to honor the girls' Chinese heritage without creating a theme room. I really love European fabrics and the way that European designers mix things together in a way that just seems to work. I knew that I wanted to feature the peasant paintings we bought in China -- the ones that hung above the cribs in their nursery -- prominently in the room. And I really wanted the room to be a functional space that would grow with the girls.

So, with all that in mind, I started putting together "The Big Girl Room."

So here are the details . . . The beds were my grandparents' who, in very "I Love Lucy" fashion, slept in twin beds for as long as anyone can remember. I had them painted white to match the dresser and bookshelf from the girls' nursery. The little antique side table that sits between the beds was also my grandparents and sat between the same twin beds in their home. I've ordered two chairs that I know will arrive someday -- although I'm no longer holding my breath. (I think someone is waiting for the cotton to grow so they can weave the fabric!) I found the quilts and thought they were perfect for the room -- the pattern's even called Chinese Peony -- and then scoured online fabric stores for great complementary fabrics.

We live in a house that was built in the 1920s and one of the best parts of the room is an arched nook with built in shelves and cupboards on each side. I wanted to highlight the area so I had a mural painted in the archway by a wonderful local artist. The image is taken from one of our favorite books, "Bear Wants More" by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. (If you've never read any of the "Bear" series of books, go to your library or local bookstore and check one out!) I had the artist add a tea pot with the Chinese character for Double Happiness for obvious reasons! She also added the girls' monograms to the cupboard door. The mural is definitely the girls' favorite part of the room and they often point out Bear and all of his animal friends.

I replaced the light fixture in the nook with a vintage chandelier and I'm still looking for additional fabrics for pillows for the beds and chairs (if they ever come).

My favorite part of the girls' room is the amazing dolls made for the girls by another China mom. The dolls' dresses are made out of the dresses they wore in China on adoption day and the petticoats underneath their skirts are made out of a petticoat that belonged to my great great grandmother.

There are four other pieces of art in the room. The first two are by Sarah Jane. Michal and Kenna were the inspiration for a series of illustrations she did and I can't help but smile each and every time I look at them. The final two are small acrylic paintings -- one of Michal and one of Kenna -- that were painted by Carla Sonheim.

I absolutely love how the room turned out -- and more importantly, so do Michal and Kenna.


  1. Anonymous5:25 PM

    Will you be sharing pictures of the room to go along with your beautiful descriptions??

  2. I'm dying to see photos too!


    Our Blog: Double Happiness!

  3. Marina4:36 PM

    I too would love to see the pictures :)



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