Most kids are lucky just to have a separate playroom to hold their toys, books, and games. Brittany Gogel of Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada wanted her daughter to have just a little bit more.
Brittany is an interior designer who believes “investing in our imaginations is what births creativity,” so when it came to designing a special hidden play room for her 2-year-old, she was determined to make the space as whimsical and full of joy as possible.
Taking inspiration from a childhood favorite series of books, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Brittany set out to transform a storage space under her home’s staircase into a hidden room reminiscent of a lush, green forest glen. “I really wanted a room where our (2-year-old) daughter could go to play, be messy and use her imagination,” Brittany explained.
To enter, one must use the secret passageway hidden behind — you guessed it — a wardrobe on the living room wall. Brittany had this wardrobe made specifically for this project, and it’s designed so that it can be moved should the family ever decide to relocate. After you open the doors to the wardrobe you’ll catch a peek at what lies beyond, a room Brittany has dubbed the “Imaginarium.”
The Imaginarium is designed to be “a place of wonder, excitement and adventure” for all who enter. Brittany did most of the work inside herself, including relearning how to papier mâché to create realistic bark for the trees.
She lined the floor with soft faux grass, which feels like the real thing, and painted the ceiling blue to look like the sky. She found old Christmas trees in thrift shops and added them to complete the look and feel of a calm, quiet forest.
Incredibly, this magical room project didn’t cost as much as you might think. Aside from the pricey custom-made wardrobe, Brittany pulled off all of the other elements of the design for about $1,000. Even more astounding, the project took just 5 weeks to complete!
For Brittany and her daughter, who absolutely loves the room, the project is like a vacation they can take each and every day without ever leaving their house. “Most of the time when people ask about the cost, I tell them that a lot of parents take their kids to Disneyland, but I would rather build a small piece of Disneyland here in our own home to get to experience every day,” she said.
Brittany says that the entire family has been loving the secret Narnia room, and as her daughter grows up she imagines the room will become even more important to her.
“It’s a destination for visiting friends and our daughter loves to play in it,” Brittany said. “Right now she’s too young to read on her own, so we mostly play hide-and-seek or just chase each other around the trunk. It has become a place where adults are invited to play with children. We have had everyone from age 1 to 75 in that room crawling around on the floor and imagining all sorts of crazy things together.”
Wow, what an amazing space to call your own! It’s hard not to feel your imagination spark to life when you see the pictures of this unique play space. Brittany’s daughter is a lucky little girl to have a parent who’s so invested in creating magical places just a few steps from their everyday living area!
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