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An Enchanted Woodlands Playroom Roots for Imagination

Place yourself in the shoes of a 4-year-old and imagine having a playspace complete with an interactive shrub, hand-crafted plush creatures, a lemonade stand alone and — wait for this — an indoor swing.

Is your mind bursting yet?

Designer and artist Jen Talbot never gets accustomed to her customers’ ecstatic reactions. “The kids’ and their parents’ excitement never gets older. I simply love blurring the lines between art and decoration, and I challenge myself by simply pushing the bounds of what you would expect to maintain a residence or a playroom or a nursery,” says Talbot.

With this project, Talbot went out in transforming what would otherwise have been the living room on the first floor of a Brooklyn, New York, brownstone. After her initial phone conversation with the customer, Talbot immediately started collaborating and imagining — and thinking big. “My customer wanted a location where all of the local kids would want to come and perform and never wish to leave,” says Talbot.

Playroom at a Glance
Who plays here: Avery and her cadre of local friends
Location: New York City
Size: 200 square feet

Jen Talbot Design

The celebrity of the playroom is a life-size interactive shrub with lemons prepared for picking, attached with Velcro. Talbot and her team of local artisans procured the shrub’s metal foundation in place and wrapped the structure in felt to give it an organic, texturized feel.

Jen Talbot Design

Originally, Talbot and her customer toyed with two ideas: an enchanting forest and a vintage candies and ice cream store.

“Avery’s mom expressed how amazing it would be to have a swing at the space. I ran with that and developed ideas for its enchanted woodland playscape,” says Talbot.

Before Photo

Jen Talbot Design

BEFORE: Talbot worked with a clean space from the get-go, which eased the mapping, measuring and documentation of the present space.

“I flew out from Chicago to Brooklyn so that I could see the space in person,” she says. “The trip helped me flesh out ideas and place the wheels turning to the conceptualization of the space. From there, I came up with inspirational images, concept drawings and a funding breakdown.”

Jen Talbot Design

AFTER: Talbot fashioned poufs resembling cut wood and produced a wraparound art table located alongside branch hooks holding artwork supplies housed in buckets.

“that I wasn’t there when my customer revealed the playroom to her daughter. But she stated that Avery kept going from 1 thing to the next in frantic excitement and that she took all those sensed critters to bed with her that night,” says Talbot.

Jen Talbot Design

Neighborhood kids flock to the swing and the lemonade stand at the corner of the playroom. Talbot and her team secured the swing into the plaster and lath ceiling by drilling 3-inch eye hooks right into the wood lath. Felt vines cover the swing jute handles.

Jen Talbot Design

A low-relief diorama hangs above the mantel. Felt grass covers the mantel’s foundation, complete with mushrooms, frogs and other enchanted creatures.

Jen Talbot Design

A closer look at the diorama reveals a whimsical scene of woodland creatures dressed for a day of picnicking in the forests. Talbot hand cut on the diorama from various types of paper, drawn characters and bits out of novels.

Jen Talbot Design

The playroom extends to the hallway. Talbot produced a large felt branch to hang on the walls, as if the tree branch were climbing through the wall from the playroom to the hallway.

A storage covered with felt vines and flowers houses hats and mittens, while jackets hang on additional branch hooks nearby.

Jen Talbot Design

Talbot lined the inside of the locker cubbies with a woodlands-themed background from Ferm Living.

Jen Talbot Design

The designer-artist upcycled a vintage footstool to a mommy raccoon for additional seating.

“I genuinely think great ideas don’t need to break your bank. It is about coming a project with innovative answers,” says Talbot. “I love the process of collaborating with a customer and thinking really big — and then pulling back to a workable solution that fits inside their needs and price range.”

A few weeks after installation, the designer-artist obtained an email from her customer, who revealed that the 1 downside of having this wonderful playroom: When it is time to go home, the parents of Avery’s playmates generally have to drag their kids out yelling.

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Odds are you will have to do a double take after viewing this photo. Nope, it isn’t Photoshopped. This mattress in London’s Notting Hill area gets its floating appearance from a smart structural trick. Installed by British designer Kia Sundra, the mattress remains in place thanks to some hidden leg.

Kia Designs

Lago, an merchandise designer designs the bedframe. The model’s name is Fluttua (“float”). A metal leg in the middle holds the mattress, which is also anchored securely into the wall behind. “It certainly is not going anywhere,” says Sunda.

This mattress was something the client had seen previously, but she was not convinced it would work for her because it removed the possibility of under-bed storage. But Sunda integrated wall cabinets on the left side of this space to compensate, allowing this bed to seem to float on air.

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