Our friend, uber-stylist Megan Morton, has created a beautiful new book about children’s rooms with photographer Jason Busch and designer Penny Shek. It includes the real (but amazing) bedrooms of her own kids and those of fellow creatives including Rachel Castle, Megan Park and Beci Orpin, along with interviews with the kids themselves. Karen McCartney talks to Megan about creating a room that both child and parent can love.
MM, from a recent profile on Paula Joye’s Lifestyled. Image – Erin O’Sullivan.
In the book you share some of your decorating mistakes with your own kids’ rooms. Do you think you are getting better at it?
Oh always. Every room is a new opportunity to make a mistake or a brilliant act of decorating genius!
The adjoining rooms of Megan’s oldest children Millie and Sebastian. This experience led her to recommend against chalkboard paint in children’s rooms!
You point out that it is a balancing act between being led by your child’s personal choices and your own common sense. How do you stay in the space?
The key here is to be strict enough so the balance sits with the adult decision but flexible enough to let the child show their creative muscle.
A good example of this is…
You: What’s your favourite color?
You: Nice. So lets get you some purple (steering them towards lilac and grey throws, hero single chair, cushions, picture frames – NOT purple feature wall or bed head).
Elodie’s room, pretty and practical with pastel highlights. Her favourite feature? The stickers on the bedhead.
Did you enjoy interviewing the children? I like that Elodie wants to be a crocodile feeder, Jimmy a detective and that Holly would prefer to be called Fairy Holly.
Oh children are by far my favorite types of people! These were the delicious moments in the making of this book – I could have talked to them for days and days.
Jasper at home, filled with eccentric (but practical) English style by his antique-trader parents.
What are the three most important things every child’s room should have regardless of style preferences?
1. A bedside reading light – planting and encouraging the reading seed is so important.
2. A hook or rail on the back of the door so bag or seasonal jacket or hat can be easily accessed.
3. Something that is chosen by them and adds nothing to the room’s aesthetic appeal. Even if that thing is an unsightly gnome farm. You need to respect and accommodate a small amount of their ideas in order for them to feel they have ideas worth listening to!
A maximalist delight thanks to the magnetic and pinboard walls – the bedroom of Lana and Scarlet, the daughters of Liane Rossler & Sam Marshall.
Do you think it is important that creativity is nourished in children through having a space to call their own?
It’s not the room size or the size of the craft cupboard, it’s the way creativity is accessed that I think is important. To me, free play, making and craft should not be a ‘scheduled in’ activity but available daily.
What is your fail-safe decorating tip?
Wash ‘n’ wear paint! I find removing marks from walls hugely gratifying.
Holly’s room in gorgeous soft colours with splashes of pink, lilac and grey.
How do you recommend toys are weeded out and recycled?
Be part of a toy library so you’re not lumped with a kindergarten’s worth, or set up your swaps and loans between friends.
What tips do you have for displaying children’s art works? We have a lot of ceramics – in particular a life size cobra and a rather magnificent warthog?
Me too! I have pottery dogs that I adore and I put them to use as genuinely handy bookends! I use bulldog clips and make gallery walls for our youngest - but there is nothing nicer than taking your child (if they are into it) to the framer and picking up a framed piece of their own work, giving it as much reverence as if it were a prized piece from a gallery.
Betty Jean and Evie in their Southern Highlands home full of home-made treasures. Betty Jean describes her favourite colour as ‘pink, green, purple, orange, blue and white’.
If you were a child again which room would be your favourite and why?
I loved Megan Park’s twins Marley and Ella’s room – by far one of the smaller rooms in the whole book. I mean can you imagine the joy of waking up daily to a twin of the opposite sex in a weeny room filled with jingly jangled everything?
Images by Jason Busch, design by Penny Shek, courtesy of Thames & Hudson. You can order a signed copy of I Love My Home from Megan’s website or go along to her Melbourne book signing at The Woodsfolk (39 Church St Hawthorn) tomorrow night (Wednesday 19th June) from 6.30-8pm.
We have 1 copy of ‘I Love My Home’ by Megan Morton, Jason Busch & Penny Shek to give away. For your chance to win, leave a comment here on the blog before 5pm (AEST) Tuesday 25 June 2013. You must be a member of Temple & Webster to enter, and you may only enter once. We will choose our favourite comment, and will notify the winner via their Facebook page or at the email address attached to their Temple & Webster account (if we are able to ascertain it) by Friday 28 June 2013. If we are unable to make contact with the winner via either of those methods within 30 days, we’ll choose a replacement winner. Good luck!