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This fairy tale playroom is what kids' dreams are made of

This drab basement was transformed into a magical, fairy tale forest for kids. See how it was done!
/ Source: Houzz

When designer Liz Finkelstein took on this basement playroom for a 4-year-old girl, she imagined a treehouse-like space. And that dream became more of a reality than she expected after a fortuitous meeting with a creative woodworker.

“This project really let me get back in touch with my inner child,” Finkelstein said.


Before: The basement was nicely finished but didn’t have a lot going on. “My clients wanted to make a creative space for their 4-year-old daughter, but they also wanted it to be a place where they’d enjoy spending time, too,” Finkelstein said. “They have very sophisticated taste and were up for doing something really fantastic.”


Photo by Daniel O’Connor Photography & Digital Media

After: During a meeting about building a treehouse-like space in the basement, woodworker Michael Auldridge suggested he could bring in real tree trunks instead. “I never would have known this was possible without him,” Finkelstein said.

Auldridge hand-picked trunks from fallen aspen trees, then bolted them into the floor and ceiling. “If we were going to do this, they had to be climbable,” she said. “There are also ledges to perch on and a ladder made out of branches so that she can play, hide and read in here.” If you look closely, you’ll see a few woodland creatures hiding in there as well. The wallpaper purposely matches the trees, extending the indoor forest.


Photo by David Lauer

“I’m obsessed with twinkle lights, and adding those was a nonnegotiable for me,” Finkelstein said. She recommends the twinkle lights from Restoration Hardware.

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“I’m not usually a huge fan of layering area rugs over wall-to-wall carpet, but the sheepskin throw just makes it extra cozy,” she said.


Photo by Daniel O’Connor Photography & Digital Media

Auldridge also built the cabinets, which, along with felt bins and woven baskets, keep all of the toys, books and art supplies neat and organized. The cabinets, topped with quartz, corrals all the clutter and meet the clients’ aesthetic standards. Ultracomfortable Ligne Roset seating also makes it a space where the whole family loves to hang out. “We chose this color because they match the color of aspen tree leaves,” Finkelstein said.


Photo by David Lauer

Also cutting the clutter is the bulletin board seen here that holds rotating artwork and is made from an antique mirror. “I love to repurpose antique windows, mirrors and frames,” Finkelstein said. She used an old window, seen on the left, to frame more of the young girl’s artwork. For the large frame in the center, she replaced the glass with corkboard so that artwork can be rotated in a neat, uncluttered way.


Photo by Daniel O’Connor Photography & Digital Media

An art table makes a great spot for creative projects, games, tea parties and important meetings. Here, “she is having a board meeting with her stuffed animals about which artwork to hang on their pin board,” Finkelstein said.

Raising kids can cost a lot of money, but decorating their bedroom doesn't have to. Check out these ways to create a youthful and whimsical bedroom for less than $100.

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There is specifically no TV in the room. “This room is just about play,” she said.