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Transform your space into a themed room full of personality

Transform your space into a themed room full of personality

Cheryl Connor’s 1970s-themed bedroom in Georgetown was born out of necessity. She and her husband had just moved back into their rental property, which she describes as an 850-square-foot 1908 box cottage – very small and very dark.

“Either I would decorate my boring little house to the max or I would lose my mind and have to spend a lot more money on therapy,” she says. Connor decided to make each room in the house a different decade – “a bit of nostalgia to make me look like a house I don’t like”.

It worked and she wishes she had embraced maximalism sooner. “Every time I walk into that ’70s room, it makes me laugh because it’s so over-the-top. It makes me happy,” says Connor.

“Young people do a lot of maximalism,” she says. “My generation (baby boomers) tends to be tense. It felt good to be able to shed (my) conservative upbringing and do something crazy.

Connor embraced what she describes as “a bit of an ugly, obnoxious era” by combining 1970s decorating styles like dark American furniture, Danish teak, a floral sofa, ubiquitous orange and a disco ball and “not trying to match them.” » She stenciled the pattern for the retro wallpaper herself and painted it by hand. She bought a side table from Georgetown’s Buy Nothing, painted it avocado green and filled it with albums for the vintage record player. Most of the decor is authentic 1970s from antique malls. Next, she plans a 1950s bedroom painted pink and a 1980s laundry room complete with Laura Ashley curtains.

Themed decorating is nothing new and there are many ways to do it. We looked into the homes of Pacific Northwest residents for advice on how to create one, from designers who say there’s a right way and fans who say to just trust it. your instinct.

Geek chic: A Dungeons & Dragons room

Roshele Ray, principal designer and owner of NW Home Designers in West Seattle, designed a Dungeons & Dragons powder room that won second place in the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) Puget Sound Design competition.

Ray’s client, Jennifer Apple of Sammamish, wanted to give her husband, Peter, a great birthday gift. She’s a D&D enthusiast, so she decided to renovate their bathroom around a fantasy theme. He bought the dragon head faucet and Ray worked around it.

“It was a fine line between being chic or way too kitsch,” Ray says. But she found green tiles from Mercury Mosaics to mimic dragon scales and a custom mirror shaped like the ellipses of a dragon’s eye. Rejuvenation’s bronze sconces resemble torches and flank each side of the sink. The faucet and mirror were the star of the show, so she left the countertop and cabinets simple so as not to distract.

The result? “He said he was always there, smiling,” she said.

Once upon a storybook house

Seattle artist Marianne Maksirisombat created the Storybook House earlier this year near Alki Beach. Each room of the vacation rental feels like an immersive experience, hand-painted with images from iconic children’s books. There you will find the “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” kitchen decorated with colorful dots and a “Harold and the Purple Crayon” bedroom that looks like it was drawn with a pencil (or Maksirisombat’s paintbrush).

The “Good Night Moon” living room brings the book to life with the same painted cow above the fireplace, a blue clock, and even socks and mittens on clothespins. Children can play “I Spy” and find details like a framed and painted “porridge bowl” and the young mouse from the story on the mantle. There’s also a replica of the “Good Night Moon” house set on a timer that goes off at night and reveals a miniature of the room.

Bunk beds appear to grow into trees in the “Where the Wild Things Are” room.

“I extended the murals all the way to the ceiling to make them look very tall,” says Maksirisombat. “I drew the wild things on the walls opposite little details like the table with the lamp where Max’s dinner is served when he returns.”

The effect is enchanting.

“We’re living in a sort of beige era as a society right now,” she says. “When people come into this house, you see them awaken a childlike wonder and awe.”

Hall of Mirrors

Maksirisombat took inspiration from her main home in Highland Park, which has reading nooks for her 4-year-old and 9-month-old, for The Story Book House. This house is just as creative, with a steampunk dressing room and a downstairs designed like an old opium den. The main staircase houses what she calls “the room of curiosities.”

“We put a lot of medicine cabinets in the walls, so you don’t know which mirrors open but you can guess,” she says. Some open to reveal scenes inside, such as a crystal clear ice cave. The mirror frames are painted red to contrast with the malachite green walls in a curious atmosphere.

“For me, the design of these spaces is more about the details than the huge things,” says Maksirisombat. “For the ‘Good Night Moon’ room, I spent three weeks deciding the exact shade of green that would match the book. It was the details that charmed people.

How to get started

Start with what you like

Themed spaces usually start with a passion. Sarah Yao, who lives in Kirkland, loves Hello Kitty. “I wish my house was Hello Kitty themed,” she says, with pink walls, a bedroom set and a large Hello Kitty painting above the headboard. Meanwhile, her Hello Kitty-themed room makes her happy. It contains wall stickers, a character-centric bedspread and pillows, and even a little Hello Kitty couch for her chihuahuas.

“Watching Hello Kitty sparks a feeling of joy in me,” Yao says. “I keep it at home so I can see it everywhere I go!” »

Personalize it

Jon Cichucki lives in Newport, Washington, north of Spokane, but he’s originally from Wisconsin and still roots for the Green Bay Packers. His office is adorned with Packers paraphernalia, but the sports gear is offset by personal touches like pillows sewn by his wife and a yellow blanket with a big green G made by his granddaughter when she was 9.

Find balance

Holland Stephens, design director of Holland Stephens Interiors in Seattle, styles many collections and says, “Anytime you do constant repetition, your eye gets tired. There are aesthetically pleasing ways to present, rather than having a huge pile and making it look like a theme park.

She recommends a Dutch master painting approach that balances textures and surfaces. Group similar items together in the space you’ll place them in and stagger them at different heights and depths, she says.

All in the details

“You can have a mid-century modern home with the perfect orange and all the Eams,” says Maksirisombat. “But if the light switch cover is still the same button,” he throws it away. Scan the room for small details and slowly, over time, save items to change out and catch up.

“The first thing to do is to be courageous,” says Maksirisombat. “If you want to commit, you have to do it and not be afraid of color.”

For a truly immersive experience, paint all the walls, not just one accent wall. “The worst thing that can happen is painting over it, and it’s not that bad,” she says.

Think conceptually

Ray’s tip for creating a space that’s themed, but not too kitschy: Hire a designer and interpret the theme conceptually, not necessarily literally. “You want to imitate something, not match it,” she says, which is why she left the dragonscale tiles matte, instead of making them iridescent. The suggestion is enough. But at the same time, have fun, she says. “It’s your house!”

Go for it

Cheryl Connor says, “Do what you want and don’t let anyone discourage you. Life is too short to worry about what people think. She hopes her 1970s bedroom “will inspire someone else who has gone with the flow too much to just let their weird flag fly!” »