This is how an artist designs her own child's bedroom
A space that sparked joy was the goal for artist and mum Maiko Nagao Irvine when she created a bedroom for her son.
Auckland-based artist Maiko Nagao Irvine took great delight in curating a bedroom for her three-year-old son Kaito that provided light-filled and spacious play areas, while also showcasing favourite artworks and treasures that truly personalise the space. The result is a fun and inspiring space that beckons a busy little boy to linger and relax, while nurturing the gift of creativity he has inherited from his clever parents.
What was your inspiration behind Kaito’s room?
This is Kaito’s first bedroom so we wanted to create a super creative and magical space filled with everything he’s passionate about. We wanted to focus on what ‘sparks joy’ for him, rather than worrying about the latest trends.
What is your favourite aspect of his room?
Oh, I have so many faves! Let’s see ... favourite aspect would have to be his gallery wall. It’s filled with his daycare paintings (he is so proud to have them displayed like this!), some of my own art from maikonagao.com, and old birthday and baby shower cards. My favourite new print is the mustard-coloured one that says ‘It’s cool to be kind’. My husband, Mike, and I found ourselves telling Kaito this a lot lately ... that superheroes are cool but they’re also cool because they’re kind. So I created this print for him. He loves it so much I’ve caught him telling his friends that ‘It’s cool to be kind’. How great is that?! A big fat #parentwin moment right there!
I think the trick to creating a good gallery wall is to just go for it. I love using frames of different styles, colours and sizes. I tend to leave a 3-4cm gap between each frame, but that’s just me. Don’t be afraid of holes in the wall too – the frames cover them all up nicely!
Kaito’s skateboard pendant light is one of Mike’s masterpieces. He’s a skate fanatic so it had to be done! Kaito thinks it’s pretty rad too.
I also love the cute little egg-shaped wooden shelf. It was a sweet find from our local op shop – it’s actually a vintage egg rack and cost only $4! We showcase some of Kaito’s mini treasures on there.
What was your biggest splurge and your best bargain?
Our biggest splurge was his queen-sized Innature organic coconut fibre futon bed! We love that it’s nice and low (so it actually also doubles as his play area) and that it’s completely non-toxic. We’re hoping this bed will last a while, hence we purchased the queen to save us from buying a bigger size later on.
The best bargain would have to be his ‘Montessori-inspired’ play station. We bought the white cubby shelf from The Warehouse for $69 and attached some castors from Mitre 10 to the bottom. We found perfectly sized baskets for the cubbies from Spotlight, on sale for around $9 each. The other round cane baskets are vintage finds from our local op shops.
Each basket has its own category. At the moment they contain Lego, a train set, Duplo, cars, sea creatures and dinosaurs. We do a bit of toy rotation where we introduce a different basket of toys every now and then. Kaito’s able to sort through his toys on his own and cleaning up is a breeze.
How will you change the room as Kaito grows?
We’ll update his gallery wall with whatever sparks his joy as he grows. At the moment he’s all about dinosaurs, sharks and Spiderman, so that’s what you’ll see lots of. I can’t wait to see his interests evolve!
Styling and photography: Maiko Nagao Irvine, maikonagao.com
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 45 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW