Judy Ross' Shipshape Boys' Room in NYC

Judy Ross' Shipshape Boys' Room in NYC

Jill Slater
Mar 18, 2013
Name: Gabriel (16) and Henri (10 1/2)
Location: Union Square, Manhattan, New York City
Room Size: 9 'x 12'

Judy Ross has two boys, aged 10 1/2 and 16, who share a room in a small Manhattan apartment. Not only is their room neat, organized and stylish, but the rest of the apartment is impeccably designed. This means that Judy has two boys who have learned not only how to keep track of their things, but also how to respect and enjoy design.

Of course, discipline plays a role, and Judy doesn't hold back. For example, when her teenager left an empty pizza box on the dining room table, she responded, "I'm closing your facebook account if you do that again."

Judy knows that in a 600 square foot space, none of the residents have the luxury of creating a mess that might go unnoticed for days in a 4000 square foot space. Judy insists that her kids take care of their stuff, but for the most part, she makes it very easy for them to do that. Making their beds is easy. Putting clothes away is not too hard. Dropping their laundry in a bin located in the front hall closet, however, that's a little harder.

With a mom who owns a textile company, Judy's boys recognize how important design is to their mom and respond in kind. So very impressive!

How would you describe the look and feel of this room?
I mentioned in my video that I run my house like a ship. I think this room has a very clean feeling. Everything is hidden away so that there is not a feeling of clutter. This gives the room a bigger feeling. My sons are lucky to have two large windows on two of the walls, and the view is not obstructed by buildings and faces our building's beautiful garden roof deck. With the expansive view and clean lines of the built-ins and shelves, the room feels very open and spacious. They get to display their favorite books and objects in an organized way.

What is your favorite piece or element?
I think right now we all love the new murphy bunk beds. The boys each have their own sleeping space in a way -- my younger son is on the bottom bed and has plastered all his basketball heroes on the inside wall of the structure, and my older son is on top and has his own hidden shelf to keep his objects and books. And best of all for me, the top shelf of the unit is a great way to store and display all their rugby, football and soccer balls. The bed unit has a table attached to the front, which the boys use to do their homework before bedtime. Making the bed is easy too -- just adjust the sheets straight and close your bed from sight. The bed unit is space efficient and functional, with a modern, slick look.

What was the biggest challenge decorating this room?
The size of this room is small for two growing boys. My challenge was to get the most out of the space. It had to feel big and provide storage for toys and books as well as clothing. I want my boys to have their own areas in the space, and I achieved this with the Rakk shelving unit, with pull down desks (Ikea), and a Murphy bed. The boys share the room, but they can call parts of it their own and enjoy some autonomy.

What do friends say about the room?
Everyone loves the boys' room. The large windows, great view, ample bookshelves, and built-ins to hide their clothes and beds make the room so clean for a boy's room. There is a very modern and calm feeling to the room. Everything is white and the books, objects and one painted wall add color to the space. The boys' room gets great light from the west and south. My boys love their room so much, and that is the most important part.

Do you have any advice for parents creating a room for their child?
I think it is important to teach children about their space and about design. It should be comfortable and inspiring to them. I think it is also nice to get their opinion. When I wanted to get the boys the Murphy bunk bed system, I took them to the store to try it out. We also discussed what color to paint one of the walls. I think when they get to a certain age it is great to involve them so that when they go off on their own they have a sense of color and design for their own home.

What, if any, are your additional plans for the room?
I think that there is not much more I can do in the room. I have made the most efficient use of every inch. But I would love to get the back of their door covered in colored cork so they can pin up their notes and pictures. I have to find a source for that, but I have lots of designer friends so it won't be hard. It is so nice to pin pictures on a wall and see those memories every day.

If money were no object, what would be your dream source?
I would love to have wall-to-wall silk carpeting on the floor in a fun color. This might be a bit luxe for a boy's room, but silk carpets feel so nice barefoot and they hide dirt because they shine dark and light depending on the directions of the pile. I might have to do my bedroom first though! The source would be me! Judy Ross Textiles makes beautiful carpets in wool and silk or a combination of the two.


  • Shelving system by Rakks
  • Pull down desks using Ikea white lacquer kitchen cabinets installed on their side
  • Judy Ross designed built in shelves under both windows
  • Concealed wall unit Lollisoft bunk beds by Resource Furniture with exterior pull up table
  • Tall linen box frame lamp by Trans Luxe Lighting
  • Tolomeo Clip Spot Light
  • Arne Jacobsen-Believe Table Lamp
  • Aalto stools

Thank you Judy! For a tour of the rest of Judy's apartment , check out Judy Ross' Urban Family Home on Apartment Therapy.

For more from Judy, check out her 1-minute tips: Display Your Personal Art, Run Your Apartment Like a Ship, and An Ode to White Walls.

(Images: Jill Slater)


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