Grid Work Playroom

This playroom was short on space, but Kids' Rooms Etc. designer Jeni Hilpipre-Wright was long on ingenuity.


Jeni Hilpipre-Wright took this 11-x-16-foot sunroom in the Des Moines Symphony Alliance Designer Show House and made it into a showpiece. Her cool vision for a sunny room where a little one could indulge in creative play began with a unique storage solution: a simple wall grid.

With toys off the floor in this pumpkin playroom, there's room for fun! Soft-sided bins attached to the wall between the wall grid's crossbars create an instant bookcase.

Roly-Poly

Rather than a typical toy box, designer Jeni Hilpipre-Wright chose simple rolling bins that a child can move from room to room (the playroom opens into a family living area and home office). "In a connecting room like this one, a child could take them to the family room and roll them back into the playroom when finished playing," she says.

Made in the Shade

Hilpipre-Wright custom-fit each of the playroom's windows with Roman shades. "The fabric I used on the shades works well because it looks like an abstract pattern from far away, but close up it has a playful design," she says. Banded in denim blue, the patterned fabric features kids holding hands.

Puppet Pals

Hilpipre-Wright knew a cabinet would be too bulky for the narrow room. The wall grid has a slim profile, but still offers plenty of toy storage. Extra storage tools can be attached to the grid's maple crossbars, including this peg rack made to hold puppets. "The grid makes it easy to store toys and is accessible for a child," Hilpipre-Wright says.

How Tall?

An oversize ruler that serves as a whimsical growth chart leans neatly in the corner. Light maple wood tones in the grid and in accessories such as this one create a classic yet modern feel.

Pony Up

This unique animal seat by famed designer Eero Aarnio is the room's one huge splurge at almost $2,000. But it provides a fun visual element and is also a great place for Mom and Dad to sit and watch the little one play.

Shopping Guide

Have you seen something you love? Contact these sources for more information about the products featured in this story. Current as of 2005.
Flooring -- Armstrong World Industries; 800-233-3823; www.armstrong.com.
Wall color -- Pumpkin Cream -- Benjamin Moore; for the location nearest you, call 800-672-4686; www.benjaminmoore.com.
Fabric -- for Roman shades Friendship in Rainbow -- Robert Allen; 800-333-3777; www.robertallendesign.com [to the trade only].
Wooden ruler -- Jumbo Ruler Growth Chart -- Pottery Barn Kids; 800-430-7373; www.potterybarnkids.com.
Pony -- designed by Eero Aarnio -- Highbrow Furniture; 888-329-0219; www.highbrowfurniture.com.
Rug -- PBteen; 866-472-3001; www.pbteen.com.
Soft toys -- Manhattan Toy; 800-541-1345; www.manhattantoy.com.
Table and chairs -- notneutral; 800-270-6511; www.notneutral.com.

  1. Head to your local lumberyard or home center to get maple pieces. Designer Jeni Hilpipre-Wright used 1x2s for the horizontal bars and 1x3s for the vertical bars.
  2. Sand the wood and round the corners to prevent sharp edges.
  3. Seal with a natural polyurethane stain.
  4. Attach the vertical pieces to studs in the wall using screws, then attach the horizontal pieces to that base to create the grid. Measure carefully to ensure an even grid.

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