Room of the Day: Wall Flowers Dance in a Girl’s Bedroom
A hand-painted floral pattern creates a fun and cheerful vibe in a Kentucky teen’s room
Bedroom at a Glance
Who lives here: A teen girl
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Size: 400 square feet (37 square meters)
Architect: Shari Mullen of Pillar 3 Design and Construction
Creating a room for a 13-year-old — particularly one in absentia — can be tricky. “We knew she wanted aqua, something bright and fun, and her name on the wall. That’s where we started,” Mullen says. “We went back and forth with sketches and watercolor renderings and let her have input that way. It was a bit of an evolution.”
Design sometimes takes its cue from the unexpected. In this case, Mullen says she “stumbled across a fabric swatch” they liked for a colorful floral mural. With her background in decorative arts and her artist daughter-in-law in to assist, Mullen used the swatch as inspiration to hand-paint a lively floral mural that rises into the pitch of the ceiling. The mural set the color palette for the room as a whole — mainly aqua, orange, yellow and pink, with white as the accent. It established the bold, animated design theme as well.
“She liked patterns, so this seemed like a bright, fun way to achieve that,” Mullen says. “It makes the whole room come to life, and it’s special, just for her.”
The room, which opens to indoor corridors and an exterior balcony, can be something of a fishbowl, with two sides made of glass panels and glass doors. “The challenge of this project was the glass itself, and finding a way to provide some privacy,” Mullen says. Since these photos were taken, she has installed pale gray opaque sliding curtain panels that telescope into themselves at either end of the walls.
Mullen solved the issue by designing a steel frame that gracefully curves back on itself, giving the suggestion of a canopy without its visual clutter. The headboard, also designed by Mullen, lights up, providing a surprising and fanciful touch. It may look flat, but it is actually a light box fashioned from a white acrylic panel and an aqua painted plywood back, with a color-changing LED tape light installed along its interior perimeter. The curvaceous tendril cutouts in the acrylic panel, a design borrowed from the floral mural, were incised with a CNC router. “The whole thing glows,” Mullen says. “I think it really works.”
Bed: designed by Shari Mullen and fabricated by Garrett Stovall, GDS Metal Worx; matching glossy white dressers and media cabinet: CB2; mirror, stool and hippo bookends: HomeGoods; comforter: Eddie Bauer; paint by Sherwin-Williams: Extra White SW 7006 (walls); Carnival SW 6892 (ductwork); Mariner SW 6766 (aqua wall)
“I think the scaling up was almost as though one of those motifs had just jumped off the wall to the other wall,” she adds. The brilliant orange Ball chair, which sits between the bathroom and closet doors, serves as focal-point punctuation.
Donald desk: Eurostyle; wall organizer: Ikea; Ball chair: Lexmod
For anyone looking to mix strong patterns, Mullen has some advice. First, “if you keep the palette cohesive, that will help a lot,” she says. And next, “give the eye places to rest.” In this room, the wide swath of aqua wall behind the bed is a critical calm counterpoint to the lively floral mural above it. On the desk wall, with its single blown-up flower, “the white space within the flower is crucial,” Mullen says. “It’s like white space on a page — it gives your eye a place to rest.”
More: 5 Teen and Tween Girls’ Rooms With Fresh-Faced Style