Jasper’s Joyous Jungle

updated May 5, 2019
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(Image credit: Elisabeth Wilborn)

Name: Jasper (2)
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Room size: 322cm x 260cm (10.56 x 8.5feet)

Jasper’s mama Kate is a Renaissance woman in every sense of the word. In addition to having a PhD in Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts, she has been a business owner, corporate facilitator, and yoga teacher. It is in her current incarnation as a designer, blogger and mother that we find her, and she’s the ingenious force behind her son Jasper’s bright and delightful room. Though the room feels highly designed, Kate explains that it was necessity, rather than a taste for luxury, that brought disparate elements together to work in harmony.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

How would you describe the look and feel of this room:
Eclectic and peaceful.

What was the jumping off point for the room? Where did you start?
The light was in our bedroom and I loved it as it cast an a branchy/jungle like shadow and I thought this would create a magical atmosphere in a child’s room. Then I discovered e-glue who make modern super-sized decals and I feel in love with the sloth. I built the rest of the room on those elements.

What is your favorite piece or element?
I can’t say that there is one piece that’s my favourite. It’s the overall effect which I love. I knew that as a mother of a newborn I’d be spending a lot of time in that room and wanted for it to be a place in which I liked being: day and night. I also didn’t want a nursery, but rather create a room which could grow with our son. After all, children are only babies for such a short period and who has the time, let alone the funds, to redecorate every few years?

What was the biggest challenge in decorating this room?
Its size and shape. Each wall had limited functional space: one has a built-in-robe, one a window, another the door and the final one a plastered up fireplace which protrudes into the room. It made it quite a challenge finding pieces that worked. The rounded edges of the crib/bed work particularly well in the small space.

What function do you want the room to serve? Is it just a place for rest and sleep or is it the main play room too?

  • Create a list of necessities and priorities. You don’t need to get everything at once.
  • Allow the room to evolve. The chair in Jasper’s room I found later. For the first year we used an armchair from our living room which was actually more comfortable for nursing.
  • Use things that you already have: the bookshelf and light we had owned for years.
  • Make sure you include loads of storage at accessible heights for children.
  • Atmospheric lighting is really important to create a calm environment.
  • (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

    What do your friends say about the room?
    They love it and can’t believe that such a small room looks so spacious.

    I love the vintage book collection. Was it yours as a child?
    Both my husband and I loved Ant & Bee as children. My husband collected first editions as teenager finding them at fairs and markets. We recently discovered that these first edition “Ant & Bee” books are incredibly collectible. Nevertheless, we read them to Jasper, although he is not allowed to sleep with them. They are quite surreal.

    What can you do to easily modify or adapt it as the child gets older? For us it was both the crib which converts into a junior bed, as well as the “change table”, which simply was just a padded mat placed on top of an Ikea Malm set of drawers, when we no longer needed a change table we removed the mat and were left with the drawers. Children actually need far less than we realise.

    I love the giant wall mural! Did you design it?
    No. It is a decal from an amazing French company, Studio E-Glue. You can order online.

    How did you decide on the artwork for his room? Sources?
    The four canvases on either side of the Toucan decal are by a close friend and illustrator, Pacquita Maher. They are birthday and Christmas gifts, so the wall continues to grow. The cross-stitch sample is a gift by another close friend. It’s a 17th century Dutch design.

    Where is the blue chair from?
    It’s an eBay find in really bad shape: the seat had fallen out, but i loved the shape and recovered in blue felt. It’s a great chair as it’s quite low and Jasper can easily get into it.

    The crib?
    Leander Bed. It’s a cot that converts into a bed. It has six phases which takes your child from newborn through until about 4. I fell in love with it when I was pregnant but could not justify the price and then by sheer luck found one on eBay for a fraction of the cost. Once my son grows out of the bed I will sell it on eBay as they have good resale value. I have had so much pleasure from looking at the crib and now it’s a little bed it’s just as sweet.

    Talk to us about that amazing bookcase!
    Years ago, my husband saw a photo of a similar bookcase in an inflight magazine. He loved it and was bemoaning its cost to his brother, who is a carpenter, who said he’d be able to make it without measurements in a weekend. It took much longer than that and I think was only finished as a matter of pride. We have had it for years and love it, but ironically the diagonals don’t make it that practical to store books. When I was putting Jasper’s room together I realised that it would be perfect to house children’s books and toys.

    You’ve managed to mix disparate style elements of sleek modernity with sweet vintage, with ornate decoration. How do you do it? Any tips?
    The style is a product of necessity. I tried to use things that we already had. We spent most of our budget on the a few items with the “WOW” factor i.e. the Leander Bed, which even on eBay was pricey, and the French decals. The rest we already had i.e. the bookshelf and the light; were given; or were basic pieces we picked up from Ikea e.g. the sheepskin, the curtain fabric and the chest of drawers, which doubled as a change table when Jasper was a baby. We just put curved a change matt on top and the supplies in the top drawer.

    (Image credit: Kate Challis)

    If money were no object, what’s your dream source:

    I don’t think I would have done anything differently. That’s not because we spent a lot on the room, but we really love that the room as it is and so does Jasper.

    Source List:

  • Blue chair: eBay and recovered in teal felt
  • Poster: a reproduction of a Raymond Savignac Dunlop poster in an Ikea frame
  • Sloth, Toucan and Frog decals: Studio E-glue
  • Curtains out of Ikea Inger fabric
  • Toy box found in a local coffee shop and is an ice-cream seller’s box from Senegal.
  • Light : Rust Garland light by Studio Tord Boontje for Artecnica (this is repurposed, it was originally in our bedroom)
  • Mobile: Sprout by Puka Puka (Etsy)
  • Wrapping paper of vintage animal postcards from Melbourne shop, Zetta Florence
  • Bookcase: my brother-in-law (repurposed)
  • Sheepskin: Ikea
  • Ikea curtain rail with clips hang across the front of the built-in-robe enables us to easily change what’s there and add pieces of art or postcards or balloons from parties.
  • Thanks Kate! We love it too. What a true inspiration you are. For more of Kate’s design, please visit Urban Kaleidoscope.

    (Images: Kate Challis)