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Coolest dad ever turns son's bedroom into a work of art

Looking to make his son’s bedroom extra special, Neal Howard George asked him one question: “What’s your favorite animal?” The answer: cheetah.

So George hired San Francisco artist and skateboarder Mike Kershnar to paint a mural of the animal in the boy’s room. Kershnar also painted two hummingbirds on another wall.

Wire basket: Target; yellow storage unit: Ikea; chair: client’s own; pendant light: Castor

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“When hummingbirds feed from flowers, they nourish themselves, but they also nourish the flowers. Just like bees,” Kershnar says.The birds pollinate the flowers as they feed. “As you’re giving, you’re also receiving. It’s a really positive way to be in the world.”

Interior designer Kim Betzina decorated the room to work with the mural.

“The colors are really bold and really intense — there’s a lot happening there,” Betzina says. So the designer kept most of the room fairly neutral, with white walls, a soft white shag rug, a gray bed and a simple wood bedside table. Graphic bedding in blue and white balances the mural, while the orange chair and yellow storage unit echo its vibrant colors. Animal head sculptures made from wire add whimsy. Her aim was to “have things feel like they were as fun as the mural. And still cozy and easy to be a kid in,” she says.

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Betzina had a niche painted cobalt and shelves installed to display and store toys. Below the shelves is a desktop that can be adjusted higher as the boy grows.

The colorful room also includes savvy uses of space: The headboard has a 12-inch-deep ledge where the child can keep his collection of stuffed animals.

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Bed: in charcoal Thurmond woven felt, Blu Dot; duvet cover: The Company Store; ombré pillows: Anthropologie; nightstand: Burrows, EQ3; shag rug: Stark; wire animal heads: Bend; desk lamp: Gen 3 Z-bar mini LED, Koncept; floating shelves: Blu Dot

The room’s floor plan shows how the designer cut into the area behind a fireplace to make room for the niche.

Kershnar at work on a piece of street art. “Anywhere I look,” he says, “I feel a sense of beauty.”

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