Kids’ Play

Gone are the country decals of long ago, the fussy wallpapers that screamed nursery. Today’s best children’s rooms are positively posh and ultimately livable.

Kids’ rooms are going to ultra-stylish new heights, and raising the bar are rooms like these Portsmouth beauties. Of course, in such a chic new house (architectural design by Newport Collaborative Architects, construction by Parker Thompson), you’d expect no less.
Providence interior designer Nancy Taylor, who’s responsible for the interior detailing, didn’t scale back when it came to putting together nests for the family’s youngest members, ages four and five. From the cool arts and crafts room to the inviting bedrooms, these are smart spaces adults can envy.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Parents’ request? “Full support for craft activities for a range of ages,” explains Taylor. To that end, she devised an audacious room that withstands all the rigors of creativity. We’re talking a smart wave of laser-cut Marmoleum to guard the pale walls and an easy-care Marmoleum floor designed to look like a sprightly path through grass. On gray days and nights, a galaxy of Campo de Fiori lights mimic the heavens.
Squabbling over seats doesn’t happen. Any number of earnest artists can find a spot at a series of straightforward Design Within Reach tables. Supplies, games and toys roost in easily accessible cubbies. And washing up is a breeze with a generous sink and upscale fixtures.
Finished masterpieces (and favorite family photos) go on exhibit in the gallery-like hall (below), separated from the craft room by an eye-catching door (see page 61). Similar woodworking details, the playful kind all ages enjoy, flourish throughout the house.

Sibling Rivalry

Taylor wields the same successful formula for both the son’s and daughter’s rooms or, in this case, suites: handsome Pottery Barn “Land of Nod” furnishings (complete with twin beds for sleepovers), fun linens that look good even mussed and classic never-fail-to-please intense color. For the boy: Benjamin Moore Sheer Romance (#837), a shade that conjures ocean and sky thoughts. For the girl, Taylor used Benjamin Moore Primrose Petals (#1367), a strawberry shake hue that’s more sophisticated than you think. Fashion diva Betsey Johnson’s fabulous Manhattan apartment is a close match. 
Pottery Barn curtains cleverly customized with confetti-colored ribbons and appliqued with butterflies (the room’s theme, says Taylor) keep the mood forever happy for the girl. More tailored shades in an Oxford-shirt blue dress the boy’s windows. Each occupant has a comfy reading chair and a soft Stark carpet (ideal for bare toes), and both kids have carefully calibrated nooks for books and treasured whatnots to encourage tidiness. 


The little guy loves water and animals. Taylor sends him cruising in a ship-lapped, boat-shaped tub (built by Providence craftsman Thompson Pistocco). A Noah-like roster of animals—elephants, alligators, dogs—gaze on from their towel perches.
Still, fun aside, the room is also sensible. Marble and tile pay no mind to splashes, the tub’s teak deck spurns waves and the vanity sports dual sinks and ample storage to lessen clutter. Presto!
A pocket door reveals the water closet or not. Another design feature he’s sure to appreciate as years roll by.