Lola’s Bedroom: Before & After!

Hey everyone! I have been dying to share this space with you for, well, about two and a half years in fact. It is a sweet little girl’s bedroom belonging to my daughter, Lola, and it has been in the making for a really long time. I am a little ashamed to admit how long this project has taken me to complete, but in all honesty, with a full schedule of interior design and photography projects on the go, I end up putting my own home and house to-do list on the back burner. Some things just a little time, and thankfully Lola has been a pretty laid back customer and hasn’t minded the delay. During the summer break, I made Lola’s bedroom my focus and I am thrilled to finally, finally share this sweet space with you. You might remember I shared a sneak peek of it a while back (like, two years ago #mybad). Well brace yourselves for an epic before and after, folks. This one was a long time coming, but with this tour I hope I’ve well and truly made up for it!

Quick recap: We bought our home 2.5 years ago and have been slowly renovating and decorating it ever since. A lot happened in the first few months, as it always does, and then the pace slowed down while we recuperated after getting married, buying a house and replacing our car all in the same 5 month period. Though we’ve done things in between – painting the staircase/hallway, bringing in new furniture, and doing some exterior work – we seem to have really picked up the pace these last couple of months and are moving quite quickly again. We’ve been working in the kitchen, living room and garden and I will share these spaces with you in the coming few months. I shared our bedroom last summer, then my studio tour went live a few months ago, I did a studio update more recently and now I am excited we have wrapped up another room and that our sweet Lola loves it every bit as much as we do.

A little bit about this room. Like our bedroom next door, we had to paint each and every surface, rip up tired old (orange) vinyl from the floors, revealing original wooden floorboards which we then sanded and painted. We gave the window frame and sill a lick of paint too, and all the while, we were doing THIS kind of thing in our bedroom next door as well as a ton of painting and sanding downstairs too AND organising a wedding! When I think back to those days, I wonder how we did it.

Style wise, I wanted to open this space out and brighten it up, adding bright pops of colour but keeping the space calm at the same time. I wanted it to be fun and playful but not too young so she can grow into it. I wanted lots of texture and comfort so the space really beckons her to not only play but also to relax and unwind.

I chose a white basis for the upper walls, floors and ceiling, and painted the lower half of the walls in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Light Blue’. More than two years on, and I am still mad for this colour. It’s fresh, yet neutral, versatile enough for later on down the road when we might decide to move Lola from this room and make space for another human because isn’t too feminine or masculine. It work’s well with bright colours and beautifully with muted tones. It is a grey/green/blue and that’s exactly what I had hoped for.

We bought Lola’s bed second hand for €20 and at the time it was bright red. Cute but not what I was going for. To get the metal frame white, we gave it a light sanding and painted it with radiator paint, using a roller and a sponge to apply it. It was a tedious job but radiator paint dries fast and applies really well.

Her bed linen is vintage, I picked it up at a second hand shop for €2,75. They are 100% linen, pale seafoam green and in beautiful vintage condition. Quite possibly my best buy ever. The top has a very thin stripe and the underside is checkered so I fold the top end over so you see both and it makes my heart happy. The little stool beside her bed was also a vintage steal. Her pink wool blanket I picked up shopping recently but can’t remember where. The floral quilt on the end of her bed is the ‘Woodland Meadow‘ quilt from Schoolhouse Electric. It’s so beautifully made and adds a subtle floral detail to the room that I love in combination with the delicate stripe of her duvet, textured wool of the throw blanket and bold rug on the floor. The pillows are by Fest Amsterdam and I love the playfulness they add to her room! The pillow with the big pink dot is actually their ‘Lola’ pillow so it was kind of meant to be. If you love their pillows as much as I do, stay tuned because I’ll be giving away two pillows from their lovely collection next week!

Aaahhh look at that photo. Lola is flipping through a book I used to love as a child, called ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’, illustrated with beautiful botanicals through the seasons. I was my favourite book and it makes me so happy to see Lola love it too.

Would you like to see the BEFORE shot? The room was bright red when we bought the house so several layers of white had to be applied to cover over the red. We have amazing friends who helped us paint the whole house all in one day the weekend we moved in. The before & after pics below will attest to the amazing things that can happen when some white paint is applied. The same effect can be seen in our bedroom – big results, little effort and cost effective.

Look at that! I love a good before & after. Over there is where Lola transforms into Princess Elsa three times a day. For her fourth birthday we gave her a vintage dress-up box, which I dragged home from at a local antique shop. I thought about painting it but in the end decided the dark stain looked authentic so I left it. When she opened it up on the morning of her birthday there was a hideously blue and vaguely flammable Elsa dress inside it (of course) and we gave all our friends who were attending her birthday party the theme ‘dress-ups’ as an idea for a gift. By the end of the day the box was filled with goodies and she still plays dress ups every single day. Most of the stuff in there is all worn and tattered by now, and I can tell you now, trying to explain to her that dress-ups are only for when we’re at home is another matter altogether…

The little wooden wall hooks on her wall I found in a little shop on Etsy, called Layer Tree. They are a small UK based furniture, lighting and accessories label and have loved these hooks for a while. I used them on a project recently and liked them so much I snapped up a couple for Lola’s room. I wanted a place to hang her necklaces and tutu’s and they are understated and perfect.They come in various woods (oak, walnut, ash and elm) and the ones we have are English elm. Cute, aren’t they?

So this is the other side of the room – we built her a closet, desk and reading nook all in one using IKEA pieces as well as a little of our own creativity. Below, a quick glance at the BEFORE situation. Not that bad, but certainly not very good.

This particular ‘after’ shot makes me sooooo happy because this built-in nook took quite a bit of time, mathematics and frankly a bit of luck to realise. This is why:

If you look at the first ‘before’ picture you will see that there are two metal heating pipes which are exposed and run down and along the wall, taking up about 10cm of space. This meant that any piece of furniture we placed against that back wall would never have sat flush against the wall. I wanted to create a built-in reading nook that connects to a wardrobe and bookshelf, with a desk area for her to colour/draw/do homework one day/stare at the wall. I wanted it to be inexpensive and one way to achieve that is to use cost effective IKEA pieces as the base as opposed to hiring a carpenter. But because of the exposed pipes we ran into a few problems. And as much as I would have liked to, putting the pipes into the wall wasn’t an affordable option. With a bit of mathematics and a lot of time sifting through the IKEA catalogue, we decided to combine two of their popular lines – Besta Stuva a little bit of our own carpentry.

We used a Besta sideboard along the floor to create the base of the wardrobe and reading bench because each element is 40cm deep and 60cm wide. We then placed a Stuva wardrobe on top of the left-most Besta element because it is 50cm deep and 60 wide. So it basically fit perfectly on top width-wise, but had an extra 10cm behind it to allow space below for the metal heating pipes, but lean flush against the wall from the top of the bench up. Once the Ikea elements were in place, we built a bookshelf to the right using multiplex birch wood. We placed the back panel against the pipes that stick out a bit, and then cut a side panel to size to cover the little gap that left down the right side, and go all the way to the ceiling and sit nice and flush with the wall and ceiling.

We then obviously had a 10cm gap between the wall and the middle Besta units, so we placed a sheet of multiplex on top to hide the gap. I have a fabulous upholsterer Shannon Moyer who made a cushion for on top upholstered in an old rose linen blend fabric, which completed the picture. Side note: she is a talented furniture restorer and made these incredible vintage dining chairs which are for sale if you are interested? She painstakingly applied the most beautiful Danish paper-cord woven seat onto each of them and they are stunning. Drop me an email if you want to know more ([email protected]).

We built a simple desk with large brackets out of multiplex and painted the desk top and side panel of the bookcase white to blend with the Ikea elements, but left the inside of the bookshelf and edges of the desk unpainted for some contrast. A couple of linen pillows from my favourite By Mölle and a fun pillow from Fest Amsterdam and we are so happy with the results! And Lola spends hours here, reading, colouring, playing and relaxing which makes all the time and effort we put into this room more than worth it. A simple length of cotton string above her desk makes a sweet display of artworks and treasured photographs. The black and white photo is my mother as a young girl and Lola looks exactly the same as she did! Lola’s godmother (a talented health coach) painted the little blue watercolour bird.

I keep Lola’s bookcase neat and tidy but not filling the compartments full but spacing the books out, adding some decorative objects and even covering some books in pretty fabric. You might think this is a crazy idea, but she has a LOT of Barbie books and primary colours don’t really work in this space. Covering them means they look great in the bookcase and add an element of surprise to story time – you ever know which book it’ll be! Exhibit A above. That is a genuine reaction to discovering the book inside the pretty fabric. I will show you how to do this soon.

To finish off the cabinet fronts I used leather handles in chestnut from NU interieur|ontwerp (I use these in pretty much every project, forgive me but they’re cool). You might also know that the door fronts of the Stuva wardrobe from Ikea has a handle cut into it already on one of the doors, so to make it all look uniform, I purchased a second set of doors and used two flat doors and put leather handles on them.

Here’s one more before glance…

The vintage cupboard at the end of the bed is where we store the bulk of Lola’s toys from lego to puzzles and also some of the younger (and less attractive) books that her friends can access easily. The suitcase on top of it is from a shopping trip to Merci Paris when we went to Paris last year and houses doll’s clothes. Mr. Buttons is the monkey soft toy on top of the suitcase who was made by hand entirely out of socks by our good friend Meg Fussell who is a very creative little lady that we admire a lot.

Naturally, Lola had to do an outfit change halfway through this shoot. Any diva would.

The gallery above the reading nook is a special collection of artworks, vintage postcards and things that I have collected for the last few years. The left most graphic print is by Minted.

So that is Lola’s bedroom! I hope you enjoyed the tour every bit as much as I enjoyed designing, decorating and capturing this space for Lola and you.

In case you spotted something you like, here’s the resource list below. Back on Monday to share a beautiful book with you guys that is very dear to my heart.

Have a fabulous weekend,

Holly (and Lola) x

Shopping List: Paint colour: Light Blue by Farrow & Ball | Bed linen, toy cupboard, bedside stool: Vintage | Floral quilt: Schoolhouse Electric | Decorative pillows: Fest Amsterdam | Bugs poster: Sissy Boy Homeland | Wooden train with ‘Lola’ engraved onto it: Ikonic Toys | Bedside sconce: Nordlux | Wall hooks: LayerTree | Floral suitcase (on white cabinet): Merci Paris | White desk lamp: Pomax via vtwonen | String lights: Cotton Ball Lights | Reading bench: IKEA Besta | Wardrobe: IKEA Stuva | Upholstered bench pillow: made to measure by Shannon Moyer/Pheasant Gold | Linen pillows in ‘Almond’: By Molle |Leather cabinet pulls: NU interieur|ontwerp | Ceiling light: Muuto| Rug: Pink Rug Co. | Play kitchen: IKEA

// Styling and Photography: Holly Marder | Avenue Lifestyle | With thanks to Juliane Stany and Nina le Blanc for your assistance on this project

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