When Carrie Livingston’s daughter decided to upgrade her bedroom from young-girl pastels and stuffed animals to something more 12-year-old-appropriate, inspiration came in the form of scratch-and-sniff wallpaper.
“I was researching for a client’s home and came across a company that made this wallpaper,” says Livingston, an interior designer who lives in Century City with her daughter, Madeline, and son Graham, 10.
“I showed Madeline samples and she started pinning them up in her room. That started a Pop Art theme that ended up inspiring the entire room.”
Together mother and daughter spent roughly a year transforming the room from “your basic bunk bed and Disney poster” space into a Pop-Art-powered retreat.
Here, mom and daughter tell us how they did it:
Carrie: “Doing this wallpaper ($470 per roll, flavorpaper.com) was an investment and at first I was conflicted. Would her taste change? She asked for it at the beginning of the process, but I didn’t buy it for six months. I figured if I waited a while, it was a safer purchase, not just a whim. We thought we were going to do a feature wall with the banana wallpaper. We ended up doing three walls. Our entire house smelled like bananas for a week. Now it just smells like them when you actually scratch the wall.”
Madeline: “Any time my friends come over they immediately run over and start scratching and sniffing the wall.”
Madeline: “I love Pop Art and I saw this hand spray-painting. Then I saw the ‘Pow!’ and I came up with the idea of doing them together. [A family friend] helped me paint it myself.” They purchased the spray paint at a local hardware store, Anawalt Lumber.
Carrie: “Yes, I let her spray-paint inside the house! Then they hand-painted over so it wouldn’t look quite so much like street art. I thought it was going to take them one day. It ended up taking three weekends.”
Banana leaf motif
Carrie: “I use the banana palm leaf from the Beverly Hills Hotel in every project I do, whether it’s in London or Ohio. Madeline has grown up seeing me use it, so she wanted it in her room too. We went downtown and found the fabric (Tommy Bahama Swaying Palms fabric, $27 per yard, LowPriceFabric.com) that looked like the original. It is not the original. It’s more cost-effective for a kid’s room.”
Carrie: “Gummy bears were my all-time favorite candy when I was pregnant with Madeline Rose. When I found them and noticed they light up I bought one in every color for her room. That's one yummy gummy look and such a sweet memory of mine.”
Carrie: “Madeline had tons of stuffed animals in her room before. For her new room, we had the idea of using stuffies in a different way. Over the course of a year and a half, whenever we went to Rite Aid, I’d buy Mickey and Minnie stuffies and we put them in these Lucite nightstands that I designed. Each nightstand has more than 150 in them.”
Madeline: “They’re one of my favorite things in my room.”
Carrie: “I had a client who requested a neon light of her favorite Bruce Springsteen song. I promised her I’d never make it for another client, so I only put it in my house. It’s one of Madeline’s favorite songs too. Pam Springsteen, Bruce’s sister, was recently over at our house and said it actually looks exactly like his writing.”
Madeline: “I thought the lyrics fit well with the theme of my room. My room is kind of crazy, but this is probably my dream world — emoji pillows, Peeps pillow, giant candy. I love my room and I think I’m going to love it for a while. How can you get sick of candy?”