With five children, Susie Fougerousse is experienced in the art of creating kids’ rooms. A self-proclaimed lover of color, Fougerousse thinks a combination of great storage, personal items, soft textures and engaging colors is a recipe for a happy space.
Designing her own kids’ rooms hooked her on the world of vibrant children’s design, so she founded Rosenberry Rooms, with a design center in downtown Raleigh and a thriving internet business.
Offering furniture, accessories, art and gifts, Fougerousse wanted Rosenberry Rooms to be a resource full of quality products, unique design and customizable options. She welcomed us into her kids’ rooms in their West Cary home and, though we searched, we couldn’t find a toy out of place.
Susie Fougerousse and her daughter worked together on Gabrielle’s vibrant bedroom. “Everything was ultimately agreed upon,” said Fougerousse, noting that as her children age, they become more involved in the decisions about their rooms. “I tried to take their interests and incorporate them on some level.”
Opposite: A soft place to land is a must for any child’s room.
Emily Uhland: What sparked your interest in designing children’s spaces?
Susie Fougerousse: Back in 2004, I was a stay-at-home mom having fun putting together my kids’ rooms and discovered a real interest in design and decorating for children. I had a bit of an entrepreneurial urge and so that morphed into what is now Rosenberry Rooms. Through my search for products and designers, I decided to create a business to bring those same things to other parents.
Rosenberry Rooms began as a web-based business. Why did you add the retail design center?
Being able to put together rooms and have a place where people can touch and feel products, even if it’s only 5 percent of the total offering, I think is really valuable. We have all of our swatches and wood samples. People can come and spend as much time as they want here, for local designers or customers. It was so much fun after all those years of just selling online.
Go crazy with a theme, color or pattern, says Fougerousse.
And you’ve just launched a new store to cater to young adults. What is it like?
District17 offers teens and young adults a broad mix of eclectic and stylish brand name and specialty furnishings and gifts. We cover all of the bases — sleep, study, lounge, dorm, apartment — and encourage imagination and self-expression with a fresh and fun approach to design.
Everything goes in children’s spaces. Light green and lilac mix with bold art and soft textures in 11-year-old Genevieve’s room.
What is different about designing children’s spaces?
When designing adult spaces you tend to take it a little more seriously and feel like you have to follow certain baseline rules. I think those are completely out the window with children’s spaces, which I love. There is no right or wrong. You can absolutely go crazy with a theme. You can go crazy with color; you can mix patterns. It’s about design and having fun and creating personality.
How do you keep your kids’ rooms so tidy?
Organization is so important to me that I literally design the rooms around that. I think that if you have the right storage then you are good to go. Each one of the rooms has a place where I can put everything. In the youngest girls’ room they have a window seat with pull-out drawers. My son has a trundle. You need a combination of some permanent storage, whether it’s a toy box or built-in, and some cute portable storage, like a book container or basket so the kids can clean up really quickly at the end of the day.
Why is it important to have thoughtfully designed rooms for kids?
Having an organized, beautiful, put together room — it becomes part of their identity. It’s where they go every day to relax, to read, to sleep. And I think that environment is really important. In all the kids’ rooms I have something that’s personal, whether it’s an initial on the wall or a painting with their name on it. A shelf to put some of the mementos they collect. The room becomes a little cocoon for them that’s meaningful.
A huge differentiating factor for Rosenberry Rooms is that so much of our stuff can be designed to your specifications, whether its color, pattern, monogramming or the size. That’s what makes us different. The designers working with us specialize in customization. You can get something that no one else has, which is pretty cool.
Sisters Cosette, 4, and Delilah, 2, share an unabashedly girly room.
Built in storage options, like the window seat and trundle bed, are vital for keeping kids’ possessions corralled, says Fougerousse.
Are there essential elements to remember in children’s room design?
Lighting is key. An overhead light is great, but also a softer light — a table or a floor lamp and a night light. I think all three are perfect for a kid’s room. I think that rugs are key as well. All my kids have a soft plush rug, and they spend tons of time playing on it. We have these jersey rugs called Shaggy Raggy Rug, and they’re made of pieces of jersey and can be thrown in the washing machine. They’re fun, great colors and really soft; I love them.
“I’m a huge fan of artwork in kids’ rooms,” says Fougerousse. “It’s inspiring and engaging. Kids like to look at it and talk about it.” The cherished painting hung above 7-year-old Sebastien’s bed, pictured below, spurs nightly conversations, she says. Personalized items, such as art and monograms, help make children feel at home.