HOME DESIGN : A SPECIAL ISSUE OF ORANGE COUNTY LIFE : 'Castle Room' a Haven for Grandchildren

Tucked in a second-floor corner of Don and Barbara Flora's custom-built home in Big Canyon is a haven for petite princesses and pint-size squires: The Floras call it "the castle room."

Designed as a bedroom and playroom for the Floras' seven grandchildren ("I think it's still seven," says Barbara, laughing), the 12-by-15-foot room doesn't account for much of the 7,000-square-foot, multimillion-dollar home--or so it may seem to a grown-up.

"When the little ones visit, they come right through this house and go straight to their room," says Barbara. That was the plan.

The Floras broke ground for their Big Canyon manse 18 months ago, at a time when they were just about done rearing their own Brady Bunch. (Barbara and Don each brought three children to the marriage, the second for both.) Barbara says they were ready to move from their Villa Park neighborhood to the gated Newport Beach community. "We wanted to provide a place whereeveryone in the family could get together for the holidays, summer vacations, whenever," she says. And they wanted "a special room where the grandkids could play and make a mess."

The castle room--designed, like much of the interior, by decorator Martha Gresham--maintains the pale gray color scheme and cool contemporary look of the rest of the house. A sturdy wooden turret, dressed in a faux stone covering, dominates the corner next to the bunk and trundle beds; inside is a ladder leading to the top bunk.

Pictured on the washable wallpaper is a cloud-filled sky and the tops of medieval castles. The pinks and blues of the wall covering and window awning are accented in the cushioned seat and hand-painted face of a dragon-shaped rocking chair.

Barbara Flora estimates the room--with custom-built shelves for dolls and games and a long desktop for coloring and writing--cost about $8,000.

"When we first moved in, a few of (the grandchildren) came to visit," she recalls. "They took one look at the room and said, 'We're not going home! We're going to live with Grandma and Grandpa!

"My husband and I thought, 'Now wait a minute, maybe we overdid it. . . .' "

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