Sophistication with Flair
Ellie's happy and whimsical room
Photos by kc kratt
When Erin and Ryan Goldstein purchased their stunning 8,000-square-foot Orchard Park home, they did it with their kids in mind. The meandering Tudor-style house, which has been renovated to incorporate the rustic charm of a traditional English manor, was previously owned by a family with nine children, a testament to its ability to incorporate the daily needs of family life.
In making it their own, Erin—who has a keen eye for design—started with the kids’ spaces. “They mostly missed their bedrooms,” she says of their move from the only place the kids had ever called home, “which is why it was important to do their spaces first. I wanted them to be happy and cozy. Now they love it. We love it.”
Goldstein knew that the best way to make each room special was to make it personal to the child. Using either an item or personality trait as inspiration for each room, she engaged the kids and their ideas in the decorating process.
Fun, frilly, and sophisticated
The first bedroom up the spiral staircase from the sitting room belongs to seven-year-old Madison. The glass chandelier, billowing tulle over her bed, pink rug, and white shag reading chair would make any little girl feel like a princess. The wall has been hand stenciled with a purple dandelion, accented by wispy turquoise dandelion seeds blowing away from the flower and across the wall. The seeds are mixed with personal touches: pink music notes and silhouettes of dancers and gymnasts.
“I saw this photograph of a dandelion and it reminded me of her,” Goldstein says. “Then I wanted to incorporate all of the things she was into, piano, singing, tap, jazz, and gymnastics.
The en suite connecting Madison’s bedroom and bathroom is also pink, with a window seat hosting three large Beanie Boos and a vanity full of lip gloss and jewelry—charming enough for a younger princess, but sophisticated enough for an older girl with evolving interests.
A gaming haven
At nine, Cole is the oldest child and a video game lover, which became the thematic piece tying his room together. A collage of framed Minecraft pictures and shelves full of vividly colored Mario Brothers stuffed toys, ordered from places as far away as China, offer sophisticated pops of color.
It’s a cool space. With an attached bathroom, modern light fixtures, funky black swivel chair with a brown plush cushion, and a thumbs-up metal bulletin board embalzoned with his name, it looks like a place where a boy and his friends would love to hang out. And why not? Goldstein made a conscious effort to pull Cole into the decision-making process, which he enjoyed.
“The Internet is such an amazing tool! We looked through pages and pages of things that he could have painted on his wall,” Goldstein says. “We would go on Pinterest together, and he started pinning things he liked. He has big ambitions for his room!”
Goldstein easily created the Minecraft collage by framing calendar photos in matching picture frames. She anticipates changing the photographs over time to reflect Cole’s emerging interests.
Happy and whimsical
The youngest child in the Goldstein family is four-year-old Ellie. Ellie’s room is also pretty in pink, but more whimsical than her older sister’s. A colorful flag banner proclaiming “Best Day Ever” is instantly cheerful as an invitation to play.
“With Ellie, it was the sweetness I wanted to capture,” says her mom. “She’s at an age where she plays in her room so much. It was really important that it be her play place and her sleep space. I wanted to keep it happy and light.”
And she’s succeeded. A montage of baby pictures lines one wall. A small play kitchen, white kid-sized vanity, teddy bears, and bookshelves line the walls and are tucked into the corners. The most delightful and eye-catching part of the room might just be the massive pink canvas tepee nestled in one corner; a menagerie of butterflies, attached to the ceiling, flies above it. It all feels like something out of a fairy tale—perhaps just the feeling Goldstein was hoping to create for her curious little girl.
Hanging out together
The three kids’ rooms line one part of the house and are connected by a long hallway that hosts one other kid-friendly room: the craft and playroom. It’s the craft room of any mom’s dreams. There are cool light fixtures, a chalkboard, and well-placed display hooks for the kids’ art. The room also features a long black desk with cubbies and stools where all of the children could theoretically be coloring or painting to their hearts’ content without ever having to make a mess of more communal parts of the house (like the kitchen counter or dining room table). Having a designated room means kids have their freedom to leave projects out for a while, a mess one can close the door on. (Today, however, the space is enviably clean.) A Singtrix karaoke machine sits in one corner, and dress up stuff is tucked away in the closet.
When it comes to decorating for kids, Goldstein’s advice is relevant no matter how big or small your space might be: 1) keep it personal; 2) give the kids a voice by pulling them into the project; 3) leave room for growth by painting walls and picking neutral bedding that works as kids mature and interests and hobbies change.
Her last bit of advice is to realize that decorating, especially kids’ bedrooms, shouldn’t be rushed. Don’t buy something just to buy it; make sure it fits the personality of the space. “Even when I’m helping other people, I always try to make the space special to the family,” she says. “That’s the most important thing, to help it make sense for them. It’s not just about decorating, but asking what are we going to use the space for?” n
Lisa Littlewood is a freelance writer who has contributed to Forever Young, MomSense Magazine, Bay State Parent, and blogs as often as she can at littlewritermomma.com.