Room Tour: A Child’s Room With Storage That Can Evolve Over Time
A layout challenge inspired designer Karen Knox to create a cool, functional wall of storage for her son’s bedroom
Who lives here? Interior designer Karen Knox, her husband, Pete, and their son, Charlie
Property A 1960s semi-detached house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms
Room dimensions 3 x 3.8m
Designer Karen Knox of Making Spaces
Joinery Bare Joinery
There was plenty of space in this room for a toddler bed when Karen’s son, Charlie, was very small, but the layout proved more challenging as he grew.
“We could have knocked the chimney breast down, but as we’d already converted the loft with the chimney intact, it would have needed a steel support,” Karen says. “That’s a lot of work for a very small gain, and we decided it wasn’t a good use of funds.
“The solution was to create a straight wall,” she says. “Instead of making room to push the bed right back, we brought the wall forwards.”
Karen chose birch plywood for the shelving and wall cladding. “We looked at other options, including Valchromat, but it would have been very expensive,” she says. “We went back to our old favourite, plywood, which we’ve used throughout the house for things such as staircase spindles and flooring.”
“It’s a relatively cost-effective sheet material that comes in different grades,” she says.
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Karen also thought about longevity, and considered the size of things such as lever arch files and digital equipment that he might need to store when he’s a teenager.
“I then created an even spread to keep it balanced, and went for a mix of open storage and closed cupboards,” she says. “Charlie can grab things easily from the shelves, and anything ugly or cumbersome can be put in the cabinets.”
“They built the cabinets in their workshop, numbered all the parts, then disassembled them,” she says. “They then rebuilt the shelving in situ.
“The ceiling is 2.4m high, so it was a challenge to lift the large, completed units and fit them into the alcoves,” Karen adds. “There’s always a danger you’ll scratch the ceiling as you push a section up.”
Karen chose to have cut-out finger-pulls on the cupboard doors, rather than knobs. “The flush design means they won’t bang onto the wall when the doors are opened, and Charlie won’t knock his head when he’s jumping on the bed,” Karen says. “It’s also more cost-effective without knobs.”
The walls were painted when Charlie was a toddler. “It was completely white when we moved in, but as he started toddling around with sticky hands, the walls got quite a battering,” Karen says. “I didn’t have time to paint the whole room between naps, so I covered the lower half with scuff-resistant emulsion.”
Walls painted in Evening Blue, Benjamin Moore. Wall light, Ikea.
The storage makes it easy for Charlie to put things away, and has freed up space in the living room, where his toys used to be housed. “It’s always a good idea to make storage a part of the architecture of a room,” Karen says. “Charlie now has an official space for all his stuff, and this will be here forever.”
Mr P lamp, Nuku.
What do you think of this practical storage? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.