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before & after: kate dixon’s circus room

by Grace Bonney


this might possibly be my favorite before & after bedroom that i’ve ever seen. it’s been on a few blogs already, but i couldn’t resist sharing this because it blows all those extreme home makeover rooms out of the water.


when i was little i always hoped for one of those crazy rooms that had a serious “FUN” theme and would have details like a race car bed or some sort of rope contraption that i could climb up to the ceiling. i ended up with a purple bedroom and grape vine borders on the wall, but a girl can still dream. and now that i’m grown up, i’d still like to live in this fantasy child’s bedroom that designer kate dixon created for the symphony designer showhouse in kansas city. kate created a circus themed room that where whimsical and functional manage to somehow meet. in addition to building a giant spinning ferris wheel toy storage unit (man i would have loved one of those growing up!), kate and her team also made rugs out of duckcloth and stitched them together to create a patchwork effect. the “ringmaster” pictured is kate’s son, who approved of the idea of turning old pallets into fun custom furniture. the look was finished with pillows by SOWN and circus illustrations created by jeff shumway, and the final room is just stunning. i know this was created by a pro- but there are so many ideas in here that you could easily take and do in a real home: stitched rugs, pallet furniture, custom themed portraits, chalkboard walls, etc. if we end up with a little boy down the road i am totally stealing some of these ideas- assuming he’s down with a circus theme. but man, what kid wouldn’t love to escape to this room to play? great work, kate– thanks so much for sharing!

[all photos by chad jackson at jackson visuals]



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