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Neighbors becoming friends, and then friends becoming clients, is kind of my jam. In our old neighborhood in Dallas we all lived in these small (by Texas standards) little houses. They were all about 1500 square feet or less, and separated by chain link fences. I know what you are picturing - cars on cinderblocks, people in the front yard in their underwear - and you are mostly incorrect. Our fences were covered in honeysuckle vine. Our next door neighbor had an overflowing garden and would share the fruits (and vegetables) of her labor with us. And we would hang out in our backyards and see our neighbors and wave them over and share a bottle of wine and bond.

It's the dream.

Such it was with Amy and Bobby. They lived 2 doors down and we became friends within about 3 minutes of moving into the neighborhood. We cemented our friendship over dogs and wine. A few years later Amy and Bobby brought home two adorable little boy and girl twin babies to their cottage. It was 900 cozy square feet of LOVE. Those sweet little nuggets shared a room with two tiny cribs in that tiny room and that tiny house. And it was adorable. And, well, cramped.

Eventually they accepted the reality that maaaaybe they needed a bit more space and moved into Amy's childhood home outside of Dallas. But not before they handed down ALL of their baby stuff to us, because one year after they had their twins, we welcomed Henry to the world. They are amazing people.

In an interesting turn of events, we actually moved to that same town just a few miles away two years later. The friendship/clientship lived on!

I know that I'm seriously rambling at this point. I'm wordy. It can't be helped.

Fast forward to 2015 and those tiny babies are now in Kindergarten. They're still sharing a room because they are twins and that's what they've always done. The spare bedroom was being used to house all of the crap, er, toys, that kids come with. But the little guy and gal were asking for their own rooms. Amy called me in to help and I was THRILLED because I love doing kid spaces. They are less serious. Less fussy. You can have some fun and take some risks.

Here are the rooms before:

We had a little design meeting with Carson and Cameron and talked about what they liked and what they wanted their rooms to be like. We wanted them to feel excited about their new rooms and have some ownership of it. Ultimately Mom and Dad got to make the final calls, but these spaces are always more successful if the kiddos have a bit of say in the game.

Budget was really important, but thankfully Amy had collected a lot (possibly too much!) great stuff to work with. Much of it was from sale retailers like Tuesday Morning or Target or online garage sales. What we determined we couldn't reuse in the new design plan, she resold.

We planned the rooms in 3D before actually splitting their rooms. Rearranging two rooms of furniture can be a big o'l pain, and we wanted to have a plan of where each piece would go before the heavy lifting started. I showed them 2 layouts for each room, and this is what we ultimately decided on.

Cameron's room

Carson's room

Here's the "during" photo. Amy and Bobby split up their rooms and the kids were thrilled. They literally had no clue that we were just getting started. Look at that happy little man!

After that the work of painting, purging, and sourcing got underway. The process took several months. Both Amy and Bobby work full time, the kids were in school, and life is busy. We took our time and eventually, we made it here.

Here's Cameron's room after:

I'm so thrilled with how his space turned out. So often people get caught in this trap that a kid's room must have a THEME and everything must go with that. But kids don't fit in a box. They like too many things. They are messy, complicated little humans that have wild interests that change on the daily. So his room has super heroes and dinosaurs and legos and guns (because, Texas) and sports and cowboys and the list goes on. But it works.

We neutralized the purple paint color to a soft grey-green to make the space a bit more calm and restful. Now you can see all the cute accessories and toys that were lost before against the purple walls. New is bedding from Land of Nod. Funny story, that bedding was actually designed by another one of my clients, which I only found out about last week! And hurry, it's on sale now!

The Lego table is an IKEA Lack side table hack, but just about everything else in this space is vintage or a garage sale find. The bed is actually from the original room, and Amy and her sister slept in those in this very house as children. I love pieces with history.

OK, on to Carson's room!

This room had just a few too many colors going on originally. Green walls, teal dresser, dark green desk, red wall storage, black and white cabinet. It was too much. We swapped the green walls for a soft, sophisticated pink (SW Blushing), replaced the red IKEA wall shelf with white, painted the green desk, and then took a deep long refreshing breath. Aaaaaaah.

We reused most of the existing bedding and mixed in new sheets and blanket (no longer available), also from Land of Nod. Most of the accessories are garage sale finds or from Target.

The kids are thrilled with the result. Cameron gave me a huge bear hug and thanked me for his awesome room. And I nearly cried. Their spaces are now as unique as they are and sophisticated enough for them to grow into. No need to redecorate in 2 years because they are no longer obsessed with trains/lions/star wars/barbie/fill-in-the-blank. Which, other than being fun, is my #1 goal for any kid space.

I asked Amy how she felt about all of this now that the rooms are complete, and she had some sweet words to share: "I've worked with Tara several times and am grateful to have her assistance!! She is well organized, interested in meeting our needs, and able to work with a variety of design styles. For our twins' bedrooms, Tara gathered my input then went to work designing layouts to fit our budget and lifestyle. We made our selections and she put the workings into place as her digital layouts came to life! For this project, she was able to use most of my existing items and made additional suggestions for paint color and décor placement. Tara is a joy to work with and a very talented individual!" Thank you, Amy!

I love a good before and after. Hope you enjoyed it. If you need any design help with your kid spaces (or grown up spaces for that matter) please drop me a line. I'd love to help!

Also, I'd love to see your kid spaces! Drop a link in the comments below or tag me on Instagram @taralenneydesign.

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