Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Planning Kids' Rooms That Can Change, Grow

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Planning Kids' Rooms That Can Change, Grow

Article excerpt

WHAT DO children want?

In a room, they want a bed to sleep in, a chair to sit on, a desk for drawing and writing. They want floor space to play on, a light to see and read by. They want a place to stash their toys, an extra bed so a friend can sleep over. And if they are old enough to know what privacy is, they want that, too.

"There's no one right or wrong style," said Sandra Edwards, president of Childesign, a nonprofit design advocacy organization in Manhattan.

Most children respond to bright colors. "The most appropriate ways to add colors to the space are with soft goods or fabrics, Edwards said. "They should be able to be moved out of a setting, to adapt to a child's changing moods."

In homes from New York to London, designers and architects - many who are parents themselves - are creating child-friendly rooms that are meant to evolve as children do.

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"You want flexibility for kids," said David Hirsch, a Manhattan architect, who was asked by Joel Copperman and Leslie Newman for a room that would grow with their two eldest children. Hirsch obliged with a loftlike space on the ground floor of the couple's two-story co-op in Brooklyn. Hannah, 7, and Daniel, 4 1/2, can change the configuration of their bookshelves, tables and beds whenever they want to.

The room, which is 20 feet by 16 feet, could easily feel like a dungeon - but it resembles two tiny kingdoms, strongly but diplomatically divided by an S-shaped island that has an alcove for Hannah's desk and one for David's.

The children can play together or retreat to their own spaces. "One child might be messy, and one might be neat," said Newman.

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Peeking is encouraged in the London home of Wells Luke Weymouth, 3 1/2. …

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