Ella's Playful Paradise

Ella's Playful Paradise

Lindsay Tella
Nov 7, 2012

Name: Ella
Location: Chicago Area
Room Size: 15' x 15'

With a stylish mom like Trina guiding the way, it's no surprise that both children and adults swoon over Ella's room. Trina and her nine year old daughter Ella worked collaboratively to design the room, which is inspired by Scandinavian design with splashes of color and elements of fun.

For Trina, the goal was not to make everything match perfectly. Her process began with pieces she and Ella loved and involved working together to narrow down and refine the options. She has successfully combined various styles of furniture and accessories with creative DIY enhancements and a touch of the unexpected to create a space you can't help but fall in love with.

How would you describe the look and feel of this room? I think this room is best described as modern meets pretty with a touch of whimsy. The feel is very cheery and playful and yet relaxing all at the same time.

What was the inspiration for this room? I'm always inspired by Scandinavian design, as it is the perfect palette for bright whites and mixing the old with the new, all the while keeping a simple aesthetic. However, since it is 9-year-old girl's room I wanted to be sure to add color and an element of fun and whimsy. I did so with the accent wall, which was inspired by one of Julia Kostreva's lovely journals.

What was your biggest indulgence? The biggest indulgence was actually the custom painting. I'm a terrible painter and I wanted the walls to look as perfect as possible.

What is your favorite piece or element? My favorite element is definitely the accent wall. I love the instant pop of happy it adds to the space. And right after that the Swing Chair and the gold desk lamp, which I'm tempted to steal for my office.

How did you work with your daughter to design her room? Ella had a few ideas of what she wanted in her room. She knew she wanted a pretty bed and a fun element in her room. We talked about colors and then I began to put together a pin board of ideas and inspiration. We would then sit down at the computer together and look at the inspiration and see what really stood out to her and what she didn't like. Once we had a real visual plan of what we both liked and could agree upon then we got started. As we were painting I would ask Ella how she wanted to paint her little desk nook and bathroom and she had a definite opinion. I had a different one but in the end I let her choose and it turned out better than my original idea. And there were definitely things Ella wasn't sure about but once the room was painted she was convinced that it was going to be a very fun room.

What was the biggest challenge decorating this room? The biggest challenge for me was working around the carpet. If I had no budget, the carpet, without a doubt, would have been ripped out and replaced with white painted wood floors (large planks to be exact).

If money were no object, what's your dream source? I really love the LAX series by Viash Studios, particularly the lb dresser.

What do your friends say about the room? The most common thing I hear is, "I want to move into Ella's room." And this is coming from kids and grown-ups alike. My friends really love that it is playful and girly and yet modern and grown up all at the same time.

Do you have any advice for parents creating a room for their child? I would just say that you don't have to have a "theme" to create a great space for children. For me, it's key to always add an element of fun (for us, it was the swing chair). And then I start by picking a few favorite colors and a few star pieces for the room and begin to build the room around that. I also like involving my kids. Creating a pinboard for the room is a great way to give the kids some visual ideas to inspire and choose from.

It's good to give your kids choices and let them make some decisions when it comes to designing their rooms, but the great thing is, you can pick the options they choose from. Not only do you still have a say in the look of the design but the child feels they are a part of the process and decision making. Kids' rooms should be fun, inspiring, care free and magical. Above all else, I always try to find a way to add an unexpected and fun element into a child's space.

The best thing to remember is, everything doesn't have to match. It just needs to flow. A well-designed room always tells a story, and each piece builds upon the other.

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Thanks, Trina! See more on Trina's blog la la Lovely, including her post on Ella's Room. Check out the video of Ella's room here.

(Images: Meghan Rose Steiman)


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