Excerpts from Living Large
Children are constantly reminding their parents of their light-speed passage from infancy to adolescence. Outgrown clothes, loose teeth, and first days of school are common milestones, but Rebecca Robertson and Marco Pasanella’s son, Luca, 5, announced his transition from toddler to schoolboy in a more creative way. “He began coming home from school each week with a folder full of art,” Rebecca says. “All of a sudden he was producing at a very rapid pace!”
For Rebecca, deputy decorating editor at Martha Stewart Living, and Marco, a designer and owner of the couple’s wine store, Pasanella and Son Vintners, the influx of new works suggest- ed more than his penchant for painting: Luca was outgrowing not just the clothesline they were using to display his art, but many elements of their family home.
Although it had been only a few years since they renovated their New York City loft (chronicled in the September 2008 issue of Living, below), the couple decided to make some adjustments to accommodate their growing son. Because the space, a former shipbuilder’s warehouse, is wide open and low on closets, Rebecca and Marco knew they had to be strategic about storage. “We’ve always needed storage that is useful and beautiful, because it’s not going behind closed doors,” Rebecca says.
The first order of business was dealing with the spillover of toys from Luca’s 126-square-foot room. To make space for clothes and art supplies in his tiny bedroom, Rebecca decided to carve out a play space for all of Luca’s toys, plus a tire swing, in the loft’s living room. “We spend so much time out there—eating, entertaining, reading,” she says. “I wanted to give him space to grow and express himself in the ‘adult’ area.” Toys were separated into wooden crates, which Rebecca painted in a spectrum of blue hues and placed in open shelving to create a graphic statement on the wall.
In other parts of the loft, the couple encouraged Luca’s burgeoning independence by adding such elements as kid-height hooks for him to hang his coat and a low drawer where he can access his dishes. To foster his creative streak, they set up a small arts-and-crafts station in his bedroom. Rebecca and Marco often pull up a vintage school chair and work alongside him.
“Drawing together is nice to do before bed because it calms him down,” Rebecca says.
As for that expanding art port- folio, a yellow lattice grid was installed along one of Luca’s bed- room walls for his drawings. “He’s still in the free-form stage right now,” Rebecca says. “But the wall could just as easily hold black- and-white prints.” If Luca’s artistic ambitions hold up, it’s just a matter of time before it does.
Rebecca’s Web picks
Our decorating editor’s favorite online sources for kids’ rooms
ikea.com It’s great for affordable kids’ furniture, but many of its adult pieces also work well in kids’ spaces. I also love the graphic linens.
nonchalantmom.com This Rhode Island parent sells chic kids’ room accessories and clothing, and writes an inspiring blog.
montessori-n-such.com Many of the toys on this site, such as the natural lacquered tower, are beautiful enough to display as sculpture.
clementineart.com I’m a big fan of these natural, nontoxic art supplies—if Luca takes a bite of one of the crayons, I don’t have to worry.
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House Beautiful, February 2011
Martha Stewart Living, September 2010
Manhattan, July-August 2010
Manhattan, May-June 2010
Oh So L.A. — For Better and For Worse
Globe & Mail (Toronto), May 1, 2010