Kids room transformation: Reinventing daughter’s room

I would love to have grown up as one of the Cook girls, with a mother who is a fearless decorator, who follows her spot-on instincts to create living spaces that are packed with personality. When I saw how Lisa and her middle daughter, Annabelle, reinvented Annabelle’s bedroom, I was agog. I wanted to pack my bags and move in that day.

When we first featured Annabelle’s room in my book “Feather Your Nest,” she was just 5. Back then, her room was sugar and spice and everything nice. Cupids, flowers and fancy tea sets were the choice of this little princess.

Today, Annabelle is a 16-year-old high school junior, and boy, how her taste has changed. Lisa uses these two words to describe her middle daughter: Creative and smart. Annabelle is the assistant editor of her high school newspaper, and likes marketing and graphic design. Her room needed to be an oasis that fueled her creative engine. I think they nailed it.

Once the walls were washed in vibrant pink, next up was to give Annabelle a bed more in keeping with her personality. Her flouncy four poster bed, capped by a crown, gave way to a contemporary bedframe upholstered in pale pink fabric. The bed alone instantly changed the look of the room, Lisa said.

One thing that’s great about having sisters is you get to share each other’s stuff. For the Cook girls, this extends far beyond borrowing sweaters or earrings. They swap furniture. This fabulous chair was last seen in little sister Georgia’s room. Lisa gave it a facelift by reupholstering it in this sassy pink and white buffalo check.

Once again, Lisa artfully uses a bookcase to tell the story of the room’s inhabitant. The wall of built-in bookcases hosts the things Annabelle holds dear, from her childhood to today: collections of horse figures and dolls, books, travel mementos and framed snapshots celebrating life’s special moments.

Lisa knows the secret to making a room feel evolved and interesting is to mix together a variety of styles. The chinoiserie-style mirror adds an exotic touch.

Lisa and I are simpatico when it comes to artwork. Like me, she likes to experiment with art treatments, mixing all kinds of things together. She purposely chose different frame styles and sizes for this gallery on Annabelle’s wall. In other spots in the room, she’s pulled in three dimensional pieces, like the whimsical gilded deer head over Annabelle’s bed.

Once again, Lisa used new lamps to help finish this reimagined space. She knew she was taking a risk when she picked statement lamps with a coral base and apple green shades. I’m so glad she pushed the envelope a bit, because the bold lamps work brilliantly in this high energy room.


This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at

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