Annamarie Mack's bedroom was inspired by Clement Hurd's illustrations in the storybook "Goodnight Moon.
It’s 2-year-old Annamarie Mack’s bedroom, and she and her three brothers have heard Goodnight Moon enough to know much of it by heart: "Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon..."
The white door is enscripted in green with the opening words, "In the great green room..." There’s a cozy fireplace, and on a round table next to her bed are a brush and comb, a bowl and spoon, similar to those depicted in the slender 1947 book that’s vibrant with illustrations by Clement Hurd and text by Margaret Wise Brown. A rabbit rests in a rocking chair, a pair of kittens curl into a nap, a red papier-mache balloon bumps the ceiling.
"This was my favorite book when I was growing up. And when we had the twins, we read it every night," said Annamarie’s mother, Jessica Mack of South Toledo. "When I was pregnant with Anna I decided to do this room whether I’d have a boy or a girl."
In the book, a child bids good night to a litany of objects visible from the bed.
Ms. Mack began by hunting for two pictures that appear on the walls in Goodnight Moon: a cow jumping over the moon (that hangs above the fireplace), and the three bears (above the bed). "I searched everywhere for the perfect prints. My husband gave them to me for my birthday that year."
She brushed the walls with two coats of forest-green paint and her grandfather built a mini-mantle from her sketches. Inside the mantle, she painted a burning fire, and atop the mantle she set blue candlesticks and a clock. (VIEW PHOTO GALLERY)
"I’d paint everything if I could," said Ms. Mack, who earned a degree in art education and has four young children with husband Ben Mack.
When she couldn’t find fabric similar to the wide-striped curtains in the book, she turned to her grandmother for help. "How hard would it be to sew strips together for the curtains?" she asked. Yellow-and-green-striped curtains are cinched in an R on the room’s sole window.
Including all the colors in the book would have been too much for a 12-by-10-foot room, she decided, so she zeroed in on green, red, yellow, and white.
Annamarie, tucking her head into her mother’s shoulder, nods in the affirmative when asked if she likes her room.
Hannah, Alice, Olivia, and Jack begin visits to their grandmother’s house with a cup of tea in the playroom. Tea, said Janet Schroeder, is a soothing tradition.
"It’s just something we do. It’s something you can count on," said Ms. Schroeder, of the hot cups of Constant Comment with milk and sugar she serves. "When I was a child and even in high school, everybody else was drinking Coke and I was drinking tea."
Janet Schroeder created a tea time-inspired playroom at her Springfield Township home for her grandchildren.
It’s filled with treasures from her mother, her childhood, and things she sewed and renovated when her own two youngsters were small. A dresser belonged to her grandmother. "It’s fun when you collect all this stuff," she said.
In the middle is a low, round table set with four kid-sized tea settings and four munchkin chairs; its tablecloth was embroidered by her mother when she was a girl. Atop a cupboard are some antiques, including a 1924 volume of poems by "People’s Poet" Edgar A. Guest. (VIEW PHOTO GALLERY)
A long stuffed crocodile lolls across the open top of an old trunk spilling over with dress-up costumes, feathered hats, and a little sailor suit. There’s a basket of music makers, a farm set, doll house, and dolls in a high chair and a wicker chair. A teddy bear is tucked into a wicker baby buggy she restored. Next to the white infant cradle her uncle built when she was born is a little bed draped by a diaphanous canopy. She’s got lots of board games that can be played by the smallest hands.
"We don’t watch TV when they come over," she said.
Of course, they do pull everything out of the room, but they learn exactly where to put it back.
A special space
Karen Davis cleared out holiday decorations from a 9-by-4½-foot closet that’s five feet high and hung a sign on the door defining it as Nicholas’ Special Place.
Nicholas Barnhart, the fifth in a family of six children, is her 5-year-old grandson. When he visits her near-downtown Perrysburg home, he makes a beeline up the 12 stairs to his nook.
"With four brothers and a sister it’s fun to have your own space," said Ms. Davis. "It has a rug, a light bulb, a wicker chair, a bookshelf with books, table, and chairs. I have a plastic tea set and he loves to pretend to pour tea and invite his mom in for tea." It’s also stocked with Legos, one of his favorite toys.
Ms. Davis understands the wonder of such a spot.
"When I raised my two older daughters, I created something for them that they loved. It was in the bathroom. You took off a wooden door and the space was about nine feet long. It was big enough that the kids could get in there and have a cozy spot."
As a child herself, she and her best friend, Gretchen, turned a back-yard tool shed into their abode.
"We would sweep and clean and arrange ‘furniture’ and play hour after hour in a special place that we had designed as two little girls."
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