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Style Watch

Designing a whimsical-yet-practical playroom in Charlestown

A homeowner/decorator creates a haven for her two young daughters.

“I design around the kids, in that the room is fun and functional, but I don’t like to make too many compromises,” says Jill Morelli. “I think design and kids can coexist. Kids learn to respect it.”

Eric Roth

“I design around the kids, in that the room is fun and functional, but I don’t like to make too many compromises,” says Jill Morelli. “I think design and kids can coexist. Kids learn to respect it.”

Eric Roth

Homeowner Jill Morelli, who has a design business called Small m, envisioned a space on the top floor of her family’s 19th-century Charlestown brownstone as a haven for her daughters, now 6 and 9 years old. “I wanted a place where they could hide away or curl up and read, but also be creative.” The result is a zingy chartreuse playroom that’s cozy yet bold and injected with whimsy. Morelli wants the space, located one floor up from the girls’ bedrooms, to grow with them, morphing from romper room to study area to — someday — teen central.

1 | The chartreuse walls, painted Sherwin Williams Lively Yellow, were inspired by wallpaper in the adjacent guest room. Morelli says, “I wanted the room to be vibrant.”

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2 | Morelli tweaked the configuration of existing cubbies, including expanding a section to accommodate dress-up clothes so they would be “organized but accessible.”

3 | A wood-clad stairway with stainless-steel railing leads to a roof deck with water views. Morelli appreciates that its narrow profile doesn’t eat up half the room.

4 | Morelli hung a pair of transparent pink Kartellpendants with the intention of illuminating a double workspace in the future. She plans to swap out the sofa with a homework desk sometime soon.

5 | A painting by local artist Rebecca Kinkead, who is known for her dreamy depictions of children, is an ideal focal point.

6 | The Twilight sleeper sofa from Design Within Reach is perfect for overflow houseguests. It’s especially handy when visiting kids want to stick close to their parents, since the guest room is just around the corner from the playroom.

7 | That the art table sits atop a white rug is surprising, but after trying other colors, Morelli felt it best brightened the space. “Ironically, it’s the cleanest rug in the house,” she says.

8 | Tucked into a dormer, the window seat is extra deep. The back half of the bench opens up, revealing storage underneath. Books are kept in the slots at front.

9 | Artist Aimee Empey-Rives decorated the nook under an eave to look like a castle. She fashioned mirrors out of reflective paper and used chalkboard paint to create windows on which the girls could draw their own (imagined) views.

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