Oak Furnitureland selected the Room to Dream Foundation as its first U.S charity partner. The organization creates healing environments for children and adolescents facing debilitating illnesses. As the foundation’s exclusive furniture partner we will be providing furniture for six mini extreme makeover projects.
Our first Room to Dream Foundation makeover was for Breslyn and her sister Noelle. We talked with Taniya Nayak and Soramy Le of Taniya Nayak Design about where they found inspiration for the designs and some of the specific design challenges for kids’ rooms.
Tell us about Breslyn’s Room to Dream Project
TN: When I met Breslyn and Noelle it was love at first sight. They’re adorable, bubbly, sweet sweet sweet girls and mature. I’m sure given what they’ve had to go through they’ve grown up very quickly.
We started out by talking with Breslyn, asking her what she loves. We looked around to see what she puts effort into. What we noticed about Breslyn’s room is that she loved pink and she’s an artist. She especially loves to paint but she didn’t have a way to show off her paintings. So we pulled inspiration from all these moments and we made it “super sized” for her.
Actually one thing that ended up happening — and I don’t think it was our intention – is this room actually became a “room to dream.” You actually feel like you are in the clouds – there are fields of daffodils, hot air balloons on the ceiling, a cloud-shaped light fixture… when you open your eyes you feel like you’re dreaming.
What was Breslyn’s reaction to it?
TN: She jumped on the bed – the very sturdy, durable bed! She jumped on the bed and was flipping around like a fish out of water.
She was so excited, just giddy, beside herself. You couldn’t ask for a better reaction.
What is a special story about the pink walls in Breslyn’s room?
TN: Yes, Breslyn loves the color pink and her older sister painted her room pink as a surprise for when she got back from the hospital. She was so excited about it and it was so meaningful to her.
We had a lot of conversations around this because we wanted to keep what’s important to her so we used the pink as a backdrop to her headboard. It shows that we didn’t strip away what’s important to her, we built around it.
Tell us more about the inspiration of Breslyn’ artwork
SL: We learned that Breslyn is a little mini-artist who loved painting, coloring, and drawing.
TN: And really well, her art is nice!
SL: We asked her, as we do with all of our clients at Room to Dream, “what do you like, what do you enjoy” and she just kept saying unicorns and rainbows. So we decided we would take one of her actual pieces of art to inspire us with the concept of the room.
It was also important to design a room she could grow into. So we brainstormed and made sure to incorporate what she liked without being too literal. For example, we started with rainbow rugs and rainbow bedding and then we stumbled across a photo on Pinterest of rainbow shelving and we were like, “that is it”. She had so much stuff – little toys, little knick-knacks – and nowhere to put it.
What are some of the other ways you can create a space that kids can grow into?
TN: Make things easy to update. The way we’ve done it here is with the throw pillows that are easy to replace. Paint colors can also change over time.
And the Shea Mirror is right in her entry right when you walk in. I love the idea of a full- length mirror. It’s almost like when you’re on your way out the door and that feeling like you look good. And it’s a piece she can grow into. It’s something that works now but she can make it work in the future.
And with Breslyn’s room we did a nice job of taking a very classic clean beautiful timeless piece of furniture and making it kid-friendly. But I know you can easily change out the finishes around it. I feel like she’ll take this bed to a first home with her. It’s that kind of a bed that’s going to last forever.
SL: So sturdy. There’s video footage of her actually hopping into bed. It was an intense hop – she flew into her bed is what I should say.
TN: Originally her twin-sized bed was pushed up against the wall. So we were trying so hard to figure out how we could get that out off the wall and she’s going to grow so we asked, “can we fit a bigger bed in here?” We really stripped this room out and did CAD plans and started working with the Oak Furnitureland and the sizes and trying to see what works. We started with a trundle idea and turned it on its side to see if it was going to be against a wall to make it like a sofa but then we found that the double bed worked perfectly.
SL: This was immediately after we revealed it to her. There was a nestling moment where the whole family just joined around the bed and they were just lying there. It was so nice.
TN: The whole family, all of them. It was so sweet.
SL: Breslyn, as young as she is, she is so mature. When we talk about growing into the space, I think she grew into it that weekend. She needed this.
Were there any other particular challenges?
TN: No, just design a fun, happy room for her that connected with her!
Read about how we transformed Breslyn’s sisters room here.