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Harper’s Surf Themed Room

December 9, 2019

It’s hard work making a new house feel like a home, but designing a new space can also be such a fun and exciting adventure. We just finished renovating Harper’s surf themed room in our North Carolina vacation home, and I can’t wait to share all of the details with you!

Harper really loved his old room. It was painted a beautiful gray called “Knitting Needles” by Sherwin Williams. It was decorated with his favorite jungle animals and he adored it. I knew that we would have to do something extra special in order to make sure that this one was just as personal for him.

Earlier this year, Harper went surfing for the first time during our trip to Maui, and it was the happiest I’ve ever seen him! I knew that using that experience as the inspiration behind his new bedroom design would bring that joy into his new space, too. I set out to design the perfect surf-themed room.

At the very beginning of the room renovation, Harper told us he wanted a bunk bed. At first I was reluctant. Bunk beds can be insanely difficult to make up every day. But I knew his heart was set so I started to research furniture companies. I wanted to invest in a bed that would last, and since Harper is a wild child, I knew I needed something that was built tough. When I found Maxtrix Kids, a local Charleston furniture company, I knew that their beds, which feature a hardwood frame construction, would stand the test of time.

At first, I was worried about how we would find beds that fit into Harper’s room. Our home was built in the 1950’s and is full of charm, however the rooms all have pretty funky layouts. One of my favorite things about working with Maxtrix was having a design team on hand to help me plan the space! After working with the designers, we settled on “The Wonderful” bunk bed, which features 4 beds and a staircase with storage steps (one of my favorite features). This Quadruple Bunk is two traditional Twin Low Bunk Beds connected by a staircase in the middle. It was the perfect fit against Harper’s long wall, without making the room too narrow, and the extra storage is the perfect place for him to keep his clothes, books and games. The fact that we have four beds in his room is a huge plus; nine-year-olds adore sleepovers and what better way to handle those last minute ‘extended’ play dates than with a quad bunk bed that sleeps four. We also have a lot of family that like to come stay with us so the more beds, the better. Everyone is floored when they walk in Harper’s room and see the bed; it’s the first thing that they comment on! It is so fun and unique, and Harper adores it. I can’t thank Maxtrix Kids enough for their amazing design and customer service!

After we decided on the quad bunks, I had to figure out how to make making four beds manageable. Bunk beds can be a nightmare to make, and the idea of having to make four beds was daunting! If you’ve never gone through the struggle, imagine a two-person job involving some spread eagle yoga moves and a lot of sweating, and then repeating it three more times. After reading a lot of raving reviews, I decided to give Beddy’s a try, and they completely changed the bunk bed game. I ordered the “Oh So Boho” set with minky (trust me people, get the minky!) Beddy’s are one-piece high quality bedding sets that zip-up so you don’t have to fumble around bed posts or walls. Even kids can make their beds in 10 seconds or less with their patented smooth zipper technology. Having all the bedding in one piece simplifies the process so much, and since all it takes to make up the beds now is a simple zip or four, I was able to fully commit to this wall of bunk beds and give Harper his dream room. If you want to try Beddy’s I have a discount code you can use. Get 20% off with CHARLESTON20. Click here!

Next, we rounded out the beds with stone washed velvet pillows in denim and marled navy knit throw blankets from Arhaus. I also fell in love with the marine animal stuffed animals from BigStuffed. 100% handmade in Paris, France, these toys are adorable and cozy while still adding to the aesthetic of the surf themed room. You can get the Big Albino Manatee HERE. The Big Albino Whale HERE. The Mini Blue Crab HERE. And the Small Original Octopus HERE.

After finding the perfect bed, it was time for us to start focusing on the décor. I love white walls but I didn’t want the room to feel too bare, so I decided to incorporate an accent wall into the design. When I came across this abstract wave print wallpaper from Anewall, I knew that it would bring Harper’s surf theme to life in a big way! The color is so calming, and the design has the perfect amount of whimsy for a kids’ room, without feeling immature. For an unexpected pop I chose a soft blue color for the ceiling, which not only tied in the wallpaper, but also gives the illusion of a higher ceiling!

Of course, you can’t have a surf-themed room without a surfboard. One of Harper’s favorite things about his new room is the custom Almond Surfboards longboard that they matched to the colors in his wallpaper! Almond Surfboards custom made a 6-foot-2-inch Pleasant Pheasant surfboard with a single stringer. All the colors are hand-mixed in a cup and the darker shade around the rails is a result of there being twice the amount of fiberglass, so it soaks up twice as much color. We purchased the hanging hardware from Almond Surfboards, which you can use to hang surfboards either horizontally or vertically, like we did.

Since we already had the most important piece of furniture picked out, we wanted to use the remaining pieces to incorporate both vintage and modern touches into the design. Harper and I love to go antique shopping, and we had the best time scouring flea markets and antique shops for his desk and campaign-style trunk. We got the desk & chair from @rail_and_stile and painted them Fantasy Blue (716) from Benjamin Moore, the same color that we chose for the ceiling!

The trunk is from @kpbungalow in Kernersville, NC and is painted in the color Adrift (SW 7608) from Sherwin Williams. We got it lacquered by Steins Furniture in Raleigh.

Our dog Fender was Harper’s best friend, and we wanted to give Harper something special to remember him by. Megan Carn created a beautiful monochromatic painting of Fender for Harper’s room, and she totally captured our puppy’s sweet, happy spirit. I’m so glad that Harper has this memento of him as a daily reminder of all the great times that they shared!

Harper’s always had a really hard time sleeping, but something we’ve found helpful lately is essential oils. We run the Serenity blend from dōTERRA 30 minutes before bed and that seems to do the trick! This diffuser is the best I’ve found and it can go for up to 9 hours straight. It fits perfectly along with the wooden oil organizer on a small side table from Amazon. The whole set up tucks away nicely beside Harper’s bed.

Harper’s personality shines throughout the whole room, but especially in his selection of vinyl records. He asked for a vinyl player for his birthday and got the Crosley UO-Exclusive Wood Cruiser vinyl player from his Mimi and Poppy. I found the vinyl record storage shelf at Urban Outfitters, but I didn’t love the color, so I spray painted it to match the room better.

Harper’s really into classic rock and rap music right now. The Beatles & The Rolling Stones are currently two of his favorite bands. So you can imagine the excitement when he found this Beatles figurine while we were antiquing from a vendor on the side of the road! It fits perfectly on the ledge of the record player and he loves it.

Here are a few of his favorite records:

At the far end of Harper’s room is another space where we put his desk, bookshelves and art cart storage. On the walls we hung three acrylic picture frames from Art To Frames. You send them your pictures and they’ll print and frame it for you. I love the gold hardware, which ties in a bunch of the other gold elements throughout the room. If you want to use Art To Frames for your next framing project, you can get 15% off sitewide with the code CB15 before December 17.

The Walnut and White Mid-Century Bookcase from Crate&Kids is one of my favorite parts of this area since it brings so much vibrancy to the room. Right now Harper is trying to start reading more chapter books, so he’s got the Harry Potter series, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and a collection of Roald Dahl books. I also found this neat set of classic books in bright colors that round out the shelf.

Finding the art cart for the corner beside Harper’s desk was also a lifesaver! The
White 3-Tier Rolling Cart from The Container Store keeps all of Harper’s homework and art supplies neat and organized so he can find them whenever he wants and put them away himself! I bought the cart and the coordinating accessories to organize it properly. On the bottom, I used the Medium Smart Store Handled Tray in White. In the middle tray, I used eight small inserts in white. For the top, I used six translucent inserts in steel blue to organize markers, pens and pencils.

We’re working on getting Harper to keep his room cleaner and stay more organized, so this system has been a big help. We also bought a new hamper for the room in a coordinated blue color that will hopefully help keep clothes off the floor!

One of my favorite parts of decorating any room is definitely styling the shelves. I’ve only done half of the shelves in Harper’s room, but the two I’ve finished are already looking great! There’s a mix of vintage finds and Target bargains that round out the surf theme of the space.

From left to right, top to bottom, here’s where you can find similar pieces:

  • The plant is a (fake!) fiddle leaf fig from Target, a perfect low-maintenance option to bring some life into the room.
  • I found these beads on Amazon and thought they looked like sea glass!
  • This portrait of our dog Folly was done by Becca Barnet.
  • Harper and I found some vintage jars at flea markets and antique shops and filled one of them with a bunch of bouncy balls. Our favorite place to go antique hunting is in downtown Cameron, NC.
  • The gold peace sign was another Amazon find and definitely brings in some laid back surfer vibes!
  • The wooden Connect Four game and the mini globe are both from Target and add some interesting visual texture to the shelf styling.

As for the books, I tried to find books that Harper would actually read and enjoy while also keeping to a cohesive color scheme. Harper loves books about the ocean and surfing and animals, so this wasn’t too difficult of a task. Find the books here:

It really is the details of this room that bring it all together. It was great to be able to have a vision in mind and see it through. Getting hands on meant I had a say in almost every detail, down to the paint color (Fresh Kicks by Clare on the walls)! With all the cool tones in the room, we chose a jute rug to bring some warmth back in. I found this one on Overstock and love it because it’s softer than a normal jute rug, so it feels better on the feet.

The natural tones of the rug are carried through in the window treatments. We worked with Barn & Willow to create these custom shades for Harper’s room. The best part about this company is that we were able to send them the specific measurements for the window and choose the fabric we wanted and they made sure the shades fit our needs. It was SO easy! The shades we have here are the Seafoam Roman Shades with blackout lining. Window treatments can be so expensive (mark-ups of 250% aren’t uncommon!), but with Barn & Willow you get the look and feel of a customized product at a reasonable price!

We also included a lot of gold tones in the room, such as in the light fixtures! We chose these models from Rejuvenation which have a sort of nautical feel to them. We also switched out the outlet covers and switch plates to gold switch plates. Those small touches really make a big difference!

There’s nothing quite like dreaming up a design and seeing all of the pieces come together to create something magical, and I’m so thrilled with how Harper’s room turned out! More importantly, he has a space that will grow with him, and remind him of our adventures together as a family. I can’t wait to get started on the next space!

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