It’s amazing how quickly kids grow. I’m gaining a new appreciation for this as my grandbaby Maeve seems to change before my eyes, leaving her toddlerhood behind and becoming an indomitable little girl with the world by the tail.
As a lover of interior design, it’s particularly fun for me to watch as children mature and discover their own design tastes. Over the nearly three decades I’ve had the pleasure to own Nell Hill’s, I’ve helped new mommas design their baby’s nurseries. Then, in the blink of an eye, we’re redoing the room for their elementary students, then tweens, then teens.
The Cook family is one that I’ve loved to watch grow. When we first featured Lisa, Jon and their three adorable daughters in my book Feather Your Nest 11 years ago, the girls were itty bitty. The photos above and below are what Ellie’s room looked like back then, when she was 7 and captivated by French country decor.
Now, the Cook girls are beautiful young women, pursuing their own dreams and passions. Lisa, their amazingly talented art director mom, has worked with each one of them as they’ve grown to transform their bedrooms into spaces that reflect each girl’s unique spark. In the next three weeks, we’ll peek in on each of the girls’ rooms to see what’s new. We’re starting with 18-year-old Ellie, who is now a freshman in college, majoring in communications.
Ellie loves to decorate. When she and Lisa come into Nell Hill’s, we have a blast. So she worked hand in hand with Lisa on re-imagining her room. The duo knew they wanted to keep a few of the key pieces they loved, but give the space an entirely new look. Lisa is the queen of remaking furnishings, so she was up for the challenge of updating existing pieces, and adding just enough new finds to make the room look brand new. One trick Lisa used was pushing Ellie’s little girl twin beds together so they functioned like a king. They picked out a mix of cheery fabrics to splash over the bed and a vibrant black and white rug to camouflage the carpet.
This lovely old sideboard was a keeper. All three girls have Madame Alexander dolls, so this was the perfect spot to showcase these keepsakes. Childhood books, sports trophies and Ellie’s collection of Eifel Tower statues are like a highlight reel of her childhood.
A sunny corner of the room is home to this plucky dressmaker’s form, which sports a tutu from Ellie’s younger years and the tassels from her high school graduation.
One of the new pieces in Ellie’s room renno was this campaign desk, a perfect spot to do homework and gaze out over the garden, dreaming of the future. The accents they chose for her desktop give you a lot of insight into this powerful young woman’s personality. An old fashioned desk nameplate says: “I’M NOT BOSSY. I am the boss.”
Lisa loves antiques. But her girls do not. So they came up with a compromise when redecorating the rooms, so everyone was happy: When possible, all antiques would get a modern facelift. Lisa updated this antique bamboo sofa by spray painting it black and upholstering the cushions in a vibrant magenta fabric trimmed in orange. “When you put a fun fabric on it, it makes it acceptable to the girls,” Lisa laughed.
Another way Lisa and Ellie breathed new life into the room was to swap out the old lamps with new. Simply by updating lamps, you take a room from dated to fresh in a snap. This pair of stylized Foo Dog-inspired lamps stand watch on either side of Ellie’s desk.
Next Week … We’ll sneak a peek at sister Annabelle’s reimagined room.