In a world of themed bunk bed structures and elaborate climbing walls, a kid’s room with more modest square footage can seem like a letdown. But artist, cook, photographer, and author Julia Sherman sees things differently: “I remember when I was little, small spaces were really exciting because I felt like I filled them up a bit.” This summer, the Salad for President founder welcomed her now 5-month-old son, Dov, and had to carve out a nook for him in the mid-century Pasadena nest she shares with her husband, Adam Katz, and their daughter,
Her solution: Divide a large room in half to create two cozy, 50-square-foot sections that could each feel like a world unto itself. “They’re small, narrow rooms, and you can see a lot of the greenery through the windows, so we didn’t want anything too overpowering or overwhelming,” says Sherman of her less-is-more approach.
The same is true of the furnishings, a curated edit of practical yet cheerful pieces designed by Domino’s chief content officer, Kate Berry, in collaboration with Crate & Kids. In Red’s room, a secretary desk takes the place of a traditional dresser (until she’s old enough for homework sessions), providing a discreet home for her clothes and storybooks; art supplies are corralled in nightstand drawers; and toys get stashed away in bins under the bed. In Dov’s nursery, a dresser (which doubles as a changing table thanks to a topper) maintains a minimalist vibe without sacrificing personality. “The collection plays with scale in a way that’s fun and sophisticated,” says Sherman.
The children are too young to weigh in on the outcome just yet, but Red is claiming the space as her own. “There’s a mirrored disc on the ceiling that she likes to stare up at from the floor,” says Sherman of the toddler taking a full bird’s-eye view of her new digs. Here are some of the other standout details that bring the siblings’ rooms to life.
Photography by Trevor Smith
Words by Jennifer Fernandez
Styling by Merisa Libbey
To make room for her second child at her leafy Los Angeles home, artist and author Julia Sherman carved out square-foot-savvy zones for a book-loving toddler and an impressionable newborn.
“I love thinking about
things from her perspective and seeing all the opportunities there are
for personalizing one’s
“We’re real sticklers on screen time,” says Sherman, “but because of that, we never anticipated how important books would be.” In the old iteration of Red’s room, a “ridiculous tower” of reading material was not working, so Sherman used the secretary desk with a drop-down surface instead of a traditional bookcase to hide volumes away while still making them accessible to Red—and keep the room looking tidy. Meanwhile a swiveling wall sconce puts the spotlight on a comfy kid-size chair and pouf to create the perfect reading nook (the same blueberry-hued design appears in Dov’s nursery).
Words to Nest By
“We tried to add a sense of the handmade wherever we could,” says Sherman of her need to put her family’s stamp on the room designs. She and Red worked together to craft the strawberry-and-banana mobile that hangs above the bed. “I love thinking about things from her perspective and seeing all the opportunities there are for personalizing one’s own space,” she adds. The painting above Dov’s dresser (gifted to Sherman and Katz by their artist friend Molly Lowe and aptly nicknamed “Triumph Over Boo-boos” by the couple) also brings another tactile, sentimental element.
A Family That
To give the room’s palette an extra pop that coordinates with the custom wallpaper—and create a spot to streamline Red’s clothes—Sherman installed Reform doors on an IKEA Pax wardrobe frame. The fun color-blocking finish turns a utilitarian piece into yet another artful moment.
Wallpaper connects the two spaces and became the launchpad for adding more primary colors in the textiles and artwork—much of which was previously owned by Sherman and Katz but had childlike qualities that translated perfectly into a little one’s environment, too. In Red’s room, a cloud motif by Barcelona brand Batabasta (printed in a semipermanent, adhesive-backed vinyl by Astek Home) was customized to include the family terrier and Sherman’s and Katz’s childhood dogs, while a wave pattern featuring synchronized swimmers (also by Batabasta) is splashed across the wall behind Dov’s crib. “It feels playful, like a kid’s edit of an adult theme,” says Sherman. The description could apply to the mini universe the family has created.
From Open Skies to Shining Seas
Dream a Little Dream
“Kids always seem to create spaces on their own scale—nooks and hideaways that allow them to take up space. I had a canopy bed with curtains on it when I was small, and I loved the ability to enclose myself inside,” says Sherman of Red’s upgraded sleeping quarters, which was a big adjustment from her crib (they prepped for the transition by sleeping in larger beds at her grandparents’ house first). Another plus: The new bed’s raised platform allows the mom of two to fit storage bins below and keep toys and other playthings out of sight. Now it’s a prime place for the pair to read at bedtime, too.
Top: Twin Light Wood Bed, SoCal Organic Blue and White Pillow Sham and Speedway Organic Pink Quilt, Domino x Crate & Kids. Above: Tufted Crossover Rani Frock, Tia Cibani Kids; Renn Blue Pouf, Steamer Lane 3-Drawer Natural Wood Dresser + Knobs, Ash Dresser Changer Top, The Line Up Organic Striped Changer Cover, Domino X Crate & Kids; Boucherouite Moroccan Rug From Artist Katherine Bernhardt.
Murphy Wood Secretary Dresser Desk with Hutch, Steamer Lane Lilac Purple Drawer Knob, Domino x Crate & Kids; PC Portable Lamp, Hay.
Steamer Lane Natural Wood Kids Nightstand + Knobs, The Line Up Organic Striped Toddler Sheet Set, Speedway Shapes Sham, Domino x Crate & Kids.
Bug Metal & Wood Kids Swivel Wall Sconce, Renn Blue Memory Foam Chair, Renn Blue Pouf, Domino x Crate & Kids.
Steamer Lane 3-Drawer Natural Wood Dresser + Knobs, Kids White Corner Hamper with Metal Frame,
Domino x Crate & Kids.
Handmade Devil Doll from Mexico City.
Bolt Washable Wool Shag Rug, Domino x Crate & Kids; Framed Photography by Daniel Gordon; Synchro Wallpaper, Batabasta; vintage Masks.
Don’t forget to remove items from the crib before your kiddos go to sleep.