Show houses are all about fantasy. It is one of the few places outside a college studio class where designers get to stretch their creative muscle, and let their budget and imagination run wild. They are the stuff of when-my-ship-comes-in-found-a-genie-in-a-bottle-just-won-the-lottery dreams.
In that spirit, the nursery in the Santa Barbara Design House and Gardens is a breath of fresh air with it’s burst of color and pattern. Designed by Los Angeles dynamo Carla Lane, who specializes in spaces for children, this is truly a fantastical bedroom on more than one count.
It is a very happy space. The walls are boldly upholstered in Jungle Jubilee, the pillows are covered in Lollipop and the custom daybed Lane designed is wearing Firecracker, all by Lulu DK for Schumacher.
As much as I like this room, and I like it a lot, I have to play devil’s advocate for a minute. I said “boldly upholstered” for several reasons: It is an embroidered fabric, it is white, it is an expensive treatment that a child will outgrow in a short period of time, and I raised three kids (see below).
While I waited for other designers to filter out so I could take photographs, I listened to them discuss the details of the room. I heard several of them exclaim how great the “wallpaper” is. I was surprised that they didn’t take the time to notice that it isn’t paper. Like all of Lulu DK’s fabrics, it is a ton of fun. It’s just not practical for most homeowners from a cost of installation and use standpoint. If enough people request her great fabric patterns as wallcoverings, then maybe Schumacher will consider producing them. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.
The Lane designed daybed is a great transitional piece filled with happy happy, joy joy. Her mix of patterns makes me smile every time I see them.
True story: When one of my children was a toddler, I took advantage of nap time to do some gardening outside the nursery window. Nursery. That’s funny. It was a room with four walls and a baby bed. My house was a tiny, slapped together in a few weeks, 2 bedroom cottage. It wasn’t energy efficient or airtight, so I knew I would be able to hear when the baby woke up.
The problem? The kid was stealth. By the time I heard delightful squeals and jibber jabber, the damage had already been done. I walked in the room, looking forward to sweet hugs and kisses, and was assaulted by a horrific smell. I found a diaper in the bed and it’s contents on the walls, the crib and the carpet. It was also all over the baby. My child came clean fairly quickly; the cheap paint and carpet did not. I laugh about it now, every February 29th.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t wrap your child’s room in fully upholstered goodness. I’m suggesting that, unless you are a newly minted Rockefeller, you think through the possibilities before you do, so that you don’t need a grownup version of a padded room.
Oh, reality, why must you be so cruel? Let’s get back to fantasy:
The ceiling is painted in Cook’s Blue and the trim is Wimborne White, both from Farrow and Ball. The rug is Spain 1971 by Oscar de la Renta for Elson. I’d like to see Oscar’s PR Girl try that on for size. I kid. She would get swallowed in this rug.
The custom window cornices were designed by Lane and are covered in Cha Cha, also from Lulu DK.
In the bathroom, she introduced a new wall color with Blue Ground. The shower tile is Bubbles and the floor is finished in Eternal, both from AKDO. (Wondering if I really like them? Check the trunk of my car. Samples of both tiles have been in there for a while, just waiting for the right project.)
The ceiling of the shower is tiled in Circles.
Let me take this opportunity to remind you not to forget about your ceilings–they need love, too.
Our Giraffe, an original work by Ella Pennestri, hangs on the wall. She is the adorable daughter of the builder, and the granddaughter of the developers. Framing your children’s art work makes both the room and the child feel special. Give it a try.
Fun, fun, fun, with a dollop of happiness.
Lane added a few rustic details to the space by using bamboo blinds and the gorgeous Seychelles sea glass and hemp chandy from perennial fave resource Serena and Lily.
I think it’s safe to say that the nursery produced the most gasps from the day’s guests. It is a bright, bold and playful space. I heard more than one person express the desire to be a kid again while touring it. I felt that way too. Besides, now that I’m older, I still like to touch everything I know better than to run my hands all over stuff.
In spite of my concerns about how the fabric covered walls would hold up in reality, I loved Carla Lane’s lighthearted approach to this fantasy nursery. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d like my future parents to know that I will take good care of this room and will while away my pre-school hours snuggled up on the daybed with a pile of good books. I suggest they duct tape my diaper on until I’m potty trained, but otherwise, it’s all good!
Time is running out. The show house, with proceeds benefitting the Junior League of Santa Barbara, is open today through Sunday, October 7, 2012, from 10:00 to 2:00. Advance tickets are $35.00 and are available through the Junior League and SBDHG. Tickets are also available on site for $40.00.