Printer Friendly

It takes more than Mickey Mouse.

Making a child's room a special place takes more than Mickey Mouse decals. Imaginative furniture designers lead the way by putting function, form and sometimes fantasy foremost.

Children today owe a debt of gratitude to the late Tony Torrice, an interior designer whose philosophy forever changed parents' mindset on furnishing kids' rooms. Torrice, who died in October 1992, one year after his talent and humanitarianism were highlighted in a White House Points of Light ceremony, was a national authority on the design of children's spaces.

"Don't 'decorate' your children's rooms," Torrice advised. " "Instead, ask them what they like to do in there, then furnish the room to allow them to do just that." He advocated adding a dash of fantasy along with the practical -- rooms with secret hiding places, clocks at kid's-eye level, doors that open with levers instead of hard-to-turn knobs.

Tony always said a child's room is about so much more than a cute, car-shaped youth bed, or a crib with Mickey Mouse decals. It's about function, not fashion, and should be a room where a child's self-confidence, self-esteem and identity can develop.

Taking up the cause

Other designers have also taken up the cause of well-designed children's furnishings that instill a positive sense of human values. Thomas Moser of Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers and Elizabeth Danko of Peter Danko and Associates have formed the Children's Furniture Co. with the idea of producing well-built furniture properly proportioned for a child's body. The principals sum up their philosophy as follows: "We believe that love and attention can be used in mass production of children's furniture without loss of good design, proportion and function."

Accordingly, the company has introduced the 1-2-3 Series of chairs with moulded plywood backs and seats and bent steel frames that are lightweight, stackable, durable and easy for a child to grab and move. Designed by Christopher Murray, the chairs come with square, triangular or round backs.

'Too much plastic'

When San Francisco designer Scott Willen wanted a present for his niece, he was dismayed at the prevalence of plastic products marketed for children, and decided he would build her a chair himself. That was the beginning of the Wonderland Collection, designed to be treasured from one generation to the next.

His new furniture, which consists of a table, side chairs, rocking chair and a stool, is made from ash veneer plywood, aniline dyed in red, green and yellow. Contrasting colored tenons become design details.

John Young, president of Design American, introduced Willen's collection at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in May. He described it as "truly a classic" and added, "It is a delight to bring to market children's furniture that combines wit, simplicity and affordability."

It started with a painting stool

Also at ICFF this year was the Tribeca Collection designed by Roberto Gil of Gil Associates, New York, for two age ranges: 2 to 6 year olds and 6 to 12 year olds. Constructed in the simplest of forms with straight-forward style, the chairs and tables are made of solid maple or pine legs, birch ply seats and tabletops with MDF sides and aprons. Tribeca is finished in washable, translucent, non-toxic glazes of brick red, sky blue and earth colors ranging from ocher to "dark UPS van."

Gil said the pieces were inspired by a woodworker's pet utilitarian objects: carpenter's bench, crate and saw horse. He then admitted that he had designed a small painting stool for himself and realized that such small-scale, simply-detailed furniture would be ideal for children.

A good deal of Gil's attention appears to have gone into engineering the pieces. Exposed hardware furnishes a lesson in how they are put together. Small drawers and secret compartments allow the child a sense of privacy, the possibility to store secret treasures and the magic of discovering hidden things.

Alikazam!

Imagine being a child again, waving a wand and watching your bed disappear into the wall cabinetry. Lexington calls the space-saving design "Create-a-Bed," but children will say it is magic. A state-of-the-art piston system, which does not require floor mounting, makes the bed easy and safe to lift. The bed self-locks in place when not in use or can be moved as needs change.

Eurostyle, which is part of Lexington Furniture's "Rooms to Grow" collection, features highly functional desks, hutches, bunk beds and storage beds. White melamine laminate accented with natural oak adds a clean, crisp appearance.

Made for a princess

Silvery towers atop a honey gold castle can appear in a child's dreams -- day or night -- if she has a Castle Camelot headboard from the Howard Romero Design Studio of Johnson, Vt. Romero uses a computer-controlled laser to cut several layers of MDF into three-dimensional designs which attach to standard metal bed frames. Each headboard is handpainted with non-toxic acrylics and iridescent metallic paints, then stippled and hand-rubbed.

"Treescape" silhouettes a grove of scarlet trees against a burnished gold background. "Galaxy" contrasts planets and comets in bold colors and bright iridescents against a sky of midnight blue. Romero said custom designs are also possible.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:designing children's rooms
Author:Garet, Barbara
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Words:842
Previous Article:Where are we now?
Next Article:Makore: valued for consistency and beauty.
Topics:


Related Articles
Feld Ballet offers four premieres.
DISNEY GRINS, BEARS IT; POOH TAKES LICENSING CROWN IN MAGIC KINGDOM.
MOUSEKETEER FACES TRIAL ON FRAUD CHARGES.
CLUB DISNEY OPEN TO PLAYFUL CROWDS OF KIDS : IMAGINATION RUNS RAMPANT AS FUN PARK DEBUTS IN THOUSAND OAKS.
KNOW YOUR ANTIQUES\Vintage Mickey Mouse toy wins by a (long) nose.
HOT TIPS : HELPING THE CLINTONS BRUSH OFF CAMPAIGN TRAIL DUST.
THE MOUSE HOUSE : CELEBRITIES MICKEY AROUND WITH DESIGN FOR CHARITY.
DISNEY, MOTOROLA TO PEDDLE GADGETS TO KIDS.
BRIEFCASE TEXACO'S PLAYING THE OLD SHELL GAME.
MYSTIQUE OF THE MOUSE DISNEY FOREVER FLIES BANNER HIGH WITH NEW GENERATION OF PRESCHOOLERS.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters