your home | family living

In a Milton Colonial, reinvented bedrooms for three little girls

With a new floor plan giving them togetherness as well as privacy, sisters settle in to their redesigned bedrooms.

jessica delaney for the boston globe
A budget-conscious redo in Milton suits three little girls.

When photographer Jessica Delaney and her husband, Colin, moved into their Milton Colonial 5½ years ago, they had two young daughters, Teagan and Charlotte. All of the home’s four bedrooms were on the second floor. While the master suite was well designed, the layout of the other bedrooms was tricky: You had to walk through one to get to another. “At the time it was fine, because we only had two kids,” says Jessica.

Three years ago, Harper came along. With a third little girl in the mix, the Delaneys decided to adjust the second-floor layout. Working with a contractor, they took 3 feet out of one bedroom, creating a hallway and allowing them to close up the doorway that connected the other two.

“The bedrooms are smaller now, but each girl has her own completely separate room,” says Delaney. In addition, removing two closets created space to expand a tiny, awkward bathroom, and the laundry area was relocated to the basement.


Once the logistics were settled, Delaney eagerly embraced “the fun part of the project” — aesthetics. She’d long followed interior designer Dina Holland on Instagram and was awed by the bright, bold, whimsical spaces she created. “I called her out of the blue, and we hit it off immediately,” recalls Delaney.

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Holland and Delaney debated how to make the bathroom that the girls would share feel feminine without going over the top. “We weren’t going to paint it pink,” says Holland. Instead, white is the backdrop color. Accent pieces include two mirrors that had hung in the dining area off the kitchen; originally metallic, their frames are now painted bright pink.

Prioritizing is a key part of any renovation with a budget, says Needham-based Holland. “You can’t buy everything new. It’s difficult to envision moving furniture that you have in one room into another space, but you can give a piece you were tired of new life in another room.” A gold-tinted boudoir chair that had been in the living room, for example, now jazzes up Harper’s room. “The chair is probably from the 1950s, but it was immaculate and the color worked,” says Holland.

Some treasures came from Delaney’s grandmother’s house in South Bend, Indiana. The vanity from the bedroom set Delaney’s mother used as a child now serves as a night table in 7-year-old Charlotte’s room. Pops of bright pink — including the Land of Nod bedding and dyed Persian rug (a score from — and touches of glam abound.

In Teagan’s room, an oversize print of a cockatoo and coral-toned Serena & Lily wallpaper transformed the wall behind the bed. “Never underestimate two rolls of wallpaper,” says Holland. “It can completely change a room.” The dresser is new, and a Windsor chair Delaney picked up on the side of the road and painted chartreuse pairs with the IKEA desk where the 9-year-old builds Lego models.


A wall painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue with gold-dot decals creates a focal point in Harper’s room. The ceiling is painted pale pink, and there’s darker pink in the Land of Nod striped rug. A white Target lamp is dressed up with bands of pink ribbon glued to the edges of the shade. “It’s super simple to re-cover a lamp shade with fabric and glue,” says Holland. “You can also spray paint them. It’s one of the easiest places to do something a little funky and not break the bank.”

The girls adore their “suite,” and their mother couldn’t be happier with it. “I love the stories of the things in the space,” she says. “I love the mix of old and new.”


jessica delaney for the boston globe
Designer Dina Holland scored the wallpaper at a yard sale. A Martha Stewart Home mirror and a fluffy pink stool add pizazz. The lamp on the antique desk is from Target.

jessica delaney for the boston globe
The large-scale print of a cockatoo from Minted and the Serena & Lily wallpaper make a big statement.

jessica delaney for the boston globe
Between the windows, mom Jessica Delaney hung a dress that had belonged to her grandmother when she was a child, and the chair came from her home.

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