Thursday, June 21, 2012

Genius Boy's Bedroom - The Theory of Decorativity

Science and Science fiction themed room by

Sitting criss-crossed legged on Kade's floor, his mother and I stare at the room, back at each other and then down to my tablet.  What if, what about this, what about that and whoa, what about those is asked?  I'm rapidly sketching away at some ideas to cover the vastness of Kade's interests.  We're making headway with ideas but how do we tie them together.  Finally, the word to summarize him comes to mind.   It's genius, rather...he's a genius.

6 year old Kade has an inquisitive mind.  Within his quaintly small room are blooming amaryllis bulbs, crystals, plant seeds, disassembled toy pieces, works of personal art and an array of THINGS that I'm sure juggled around in his pockets before finding their rightful place in his room.  He loves Star Wars, reading, cooking and finding answers to his burning questions about biology, chemistry, dinosaurs and magic tricks.

My quest was to tie everything together in a room design fit for a genius.

His loft bed was Kade's dream piece of furniture.  It's one of those light maple kit units with the primary colored panels to play fort in.  Not exactly what I'd like to work with.  As a matter of fact, its monstrous footprint prevented the petite room from having a functioning arrangement.  So, it needed to go away or be reinvented.  Kade's mom raised her eyebrow inquiring "what do you mean, reinvented?"
Customized bed from faux reclaimed wood.  Makeover ideas.
Reconfiguring the loft bed made room for a retro steel desk and chair.

As a sucker for an artistic challenge, I proposed rebuilding Kade's loft bed by adding a facade of faux reclaimed wood, rethinking the crayon colored canvas, replacing it with burlap and reorienting the slide and re-facing it with galvanized sheet metal for an old school look.  Changing the bright maple required some sanding and re-finishing with a wood toned lacquer.  That's a lot of re's...whew.  

before and after boys bedroom makeover loft bed and slide
Before and After alteration of Kade's loft bed and slide.
A collage of mounted magazine clippings, science themed art, a "K" for Kade and a piece from my superhero wall art collection speak to the science theme.

The slide being refaced in galvanized sheet metal gives it a retro, old school feel.
His white walled room had a niche with a built in dresser and a sad little shelve.  With a few sawcuts and some trim I altered his floor standing bookcase and transformed it into an upper cabinet, above the set of drawers.  This made the new niche the perfect home for a fish tank.  

Vintage flash cards act as a decorative border.

Now that his bookcase became an upper cabinet we freed up room for a vintage steel desk and chair.  Topping it of with some painted shelving, the corner became the perfect spot to house organizational vintage locker bins, reclaimed tin can storage and glass mason jars to display his collections.  A little nod to his love of science, Star Wars and classical music was brought together by plaster casts of Einstein, Chopin and a faux plaster bust of Darth Vader, I created from a halloween mask.  A hollowed out and spray painted dinosaur became the perfect container for an aloe plant, which Kade remarked is used for burns.
Darth Vader Statue, bust with Einstein and Chopin
A Darth Vader halloween mask altered into a faux classic bust finds a home next
to plaster Einstein and Chopin.

I've been on a hexagon craze lately and with its sciencey shape, I found it to be the perfect solution to store some of his fabulous finds.  The hex cube unit, I built features decoupaged pages from an old dictionary, where key words like nucleic acid can be found.  Kade quickly filled it with his precious rock collection.
hexagon shelves by Aaron Christensen for a boy's room
Created in my studio, the unassembled hexagon shelve pieces looked like a
colorful game of Jenga.

Applying a sheet metal veneer over the awkward looking
colonial raised panel bifold doors turned them into modern magnet boards.
The family's home is built in a modern style which was compromised by the old fashioned raised panel bifold doors the builder had installed.  My laminating a sheet metal covering over the colonial looking bi-folds created a fun, modern looking usable magnetic and dry erase board surface for Kade. 

The addition of a vintage school map to the angular entrance of his room creates a focal point, a tribute to geography and acts as a reminder that a long, long time ago Navigation was best learned on a really big map with a sharp pointy stick.

I sent Kade's mom shopping for a retro Edison style light fixture.  What's more genius than Edison?  She was pleased to find out she could have one custom built at a local architectural salvage house.  The glowing filaments of the Edison bulbs look terrific.

Kade's feathers, melted crayon sculptures, pint size biospheres and his scientific notes are all safe, sound and organized in his genius boy room.  It's now a room that reflects his intellectual passions and feeds this playful young boy's needs for whimsy and fun.

Kade and his mom couldn't be happier.  The petite room is more user friendly, it has personality and it's a one-of-a-kind built just for him.  Kade's mom whispers...."he can also organize his collections", which was code words for clean his room.  Sorry Kade, even Einstein had to keep his room clean.

I'm no scientist, but I think the theory of decorativity comes into play here- for every aesthetic action there's an unequaled enthusiastic reaction!


Pictures of the Genius Boy Room are posted on my Pinterest page, if you are a pinning machine.


  1. This is a great room! I love the colors, your hex-shelves, the brilliant way you gave the bunk a make-over, everything is fantastic.

    1. Hey Holly, thanks for the kind words and for joining me on Pinterest! Gotta love the hexagons, I made myself a set for my studio. I store the little plastic PLAID paint containers in them. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. My nephew just asked for a SCIENCE room...I think a lot of this will come into play! Thank you!

  3. My son asked me for a laboratory bedroom, I found this room and fell in love! Cant wait to find you on pinterest.

  4. This is SO my son! I love those hex cubes!

  5. My "boy" is 15, ummm, did you hear me just groan? :) I have been searching for a way to industrialize bifold doors that I am turning into a room divider screen. I think what you did with the cost door is perfect! Soooooo, my question is ...How safe is it, does it have any sharp edges?

  6. One more did you cut/adhear it to the door?

    1. Blambky, drop the studio an email and we'd be happy to try to help.