I did the initial work in the girls' rooms in a flurry of activity, while they were away, and they didn't see them until they were almost-finished products. They had made some of the big decisions with me, like the wall color and choosing new rugs, but all those millions of little decisions? Well, I made those.
They used to share a room, and it has been interesting how much their sense of ownership has increased with their own spaces. Eleri immediately made a sign that said Eleri's Room, Keep Out! We had a talk about how she might still want to spend time in her old room and how it might be better to leave the door open, so to speak. Her new sign says Eleri's Room, Welcome!
As I watch them arrange their things and settle in, I realize that what we had upstairs before were two rooms for me. I decorated both the girls' room and the guest room early in this design career (and when the girls were pretty little), and what I was making was portfolio projects, pretty rooms that showcased my perspective as a designer. The girls are 7 and 9 now, and they have strong opinions, personalities, likes and dislikes, and as they started to use the room, I realized I could do more to make them theirs.
In her new book, Habitat: A Field Guide to Decorating (which is wonderful and deserves it's own post), designer Lauren Liess talks about the "pace" of a room, or how "busy" or energetic a space is (or isn't). I realized when the rooms first came together that while I had used the girls' color choices and so on, I had designed the two rooms with the same pace--the pace that I personally gravitate towards and feel good with.
Last week I mentioned that I was playing with Eleri's bedding a lot. The duvet cover in our room finally gave way and shredded completely (it was a wedding present and we've been using it regularly for a decade.) I moved the blue hotel bedding from Eleri's room to our room, and brought home some options for Eleri. When I laid them out on the bed and asked, this one or this one? She said: Both. When I gave her options of throws, she said: All. Finally, she looked at me and said, Mom, I like layers.
And indeed, she does. She'll wear leggings plus a skirt plus a dress plus a shrug plus necklaces and so on. She likes ruffles and sequins, tutus and flowers and prints. I caught a glimpse in her closet and I thought, Duh.
My older daughter, on the other hand, wears the simplest outfits imaginable: a shirt and leggings. She will only wear long sleeves with long pants or short sleeves with shorts. She prefers monochromatic.
So after the initial flurry of activity, my job has been this:
Add as much as possible to Eleri's room, to create a sense of energy and excitement.
Edit Clio's room to create a sense of simplicity and calm.
I meant for this post to be about the art and lighting choices in the room, and maybe that's more interesting as a One Room Challenge post. But maybe not: I think what is so compelling about decorating is the story it tells about our lives.
Just for fun, here's a pretty representative Clio outfit:
And here are some of Eleri's Stylez.
See you next week for the reveal.
Meanwhile, as always, take a gander at the week-5 progress of all the linking participants over at Linda's blog, Calling it Home.