Before and After: A Surf-Style Redo Turns a Plain Room into the Ultimate Kid Space

published Jul 30, 2023
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When it comes to turning a plain space into a kids’ room, one thing is universal: It better have personality. While adults may love a bedroom that’s as serene and neutral as an overpriced spa, that style probably won’t be a hit among the under-12 set. Instead, consider using a range of colors or including a spot to climb or huddle. Or, take a note from this kids’ room redo and do all of the above.

For this project, Nicole Graff, the designer behind Hamsa Home, was hired by homeowner Rhianna to overhaul a room that hadn’t changed for more than a decade. It was set inside a Cape Cod-style home in Los Angeles, and had the clean lines and sterile vibes of a developer’s vision. “It was dark and bland with brown-painted walls,” Nicole says. “We needed to step it up a notch.”

Rhianna brought Nicole onboard during a big moment in her personal life: She and her boyfriend were moving to the next step in their relationship, and this room was intended for her boyfriend’s two kids. “They were blending their lives together,” Nicole says, who adds that the room redo was an anniversary gift from Rhianna to her boyfriend.

The two kids who inspired the redo are surfers who love the beach, so both women agreed that a surf-shack theme would be a perfect upgrade. “Remodels are meant to be fun,” Nicole says. “Start with a theme or a style and make sure to stick with it.” In this case, the refresh began with a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, a bright white that seemed to instantly illuminate the room. Peel-and-stick wallpaper on the ceiling brought an unexpected bit of pattern, and a new woven light fixture played into the beachy theme.

Nicole hired a local fabricator to build a custom bunk bed, which resembles a beach house complete with weathered shutters that can be opened and closed. She also opted for custom window treatments from the Shade Store, which match the ceiling in a darker navy hue. And for a little extra fun, Nicole brought in a swinging chair from CB2 that’s parked right by the main windows. That element required installing a supporting beam in the ceiling to withstand the weight and movement.

“Accessories were also chosen to be in tune with the theme,” Nicole says. Those include surf hooks, surfboard shelves, and a neon wave sign. An oversized rug from Ruggable provides a soft surface for fun, too. 

The project took about two months to complete and also included an ensuite bathroom (not pictured). And while hiring a professional might not be in the cards for many readers, Nicole has some DIY solutions to share. For starters, painting a pattern by hand is a cost-effective way to replicate wallpaper, and can be done easily as long as the pattern is simple enough — this one fits the bill! As for custom bunk beds, she says the following: 

“Buy or thrift a bunk bed and then paint or embellish it. It’s always fun to put your own spin on a furniture piece, so you can have a one-of-a-kind item!”

Nicole is also happy to share how the boys responded to this present. “They are absolutely in love with their new room, and the boyfriend thought this was the sweetest anniversary gift he could have ever asked for,” she says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.