Styling by Kimmy & Bear Spaces and Photography by Bailey Jane Pictures
When Bailey Bezuidenhout and her hubby Jan-Jan made plans to completely renovate their Johannesburg apartment, the style-savvy mama knew she wanted to create a space for her five-year-old twins that was calming, mystical and a safe-haven for them to explore their imagination through storytime and dress-ups. The end result was a forest-wonderland room of our dreams!
What is the theme of your space?
I wanted to create a classic children’s room for them. Our apartment is on the third floor and overlooks treetops, and one entire wall in their room is glass so light streams in naturally, creating a rather magical, romantic feel. It is a space that is uniquely theirs, where they can get lost in their imaginations, be surrounded by their special toys, books and treasures, and play to their heart’s content.
What made you choose the theme?
I wanted the girls’ room to be more whimsical with girly touches, wicker baskets, and an old fashioned bookshelf. It’s a space where everything has a special meaning, full of special things I have collected – from the photographs of family, to toys that were mine as a child. I wanted the room to surround them with happy feelings and love.
When did you start planning the room?
We completely gutted the apartment and renovated for a year. I started planning their room during this time. Kimmy & Bear – the design and consulting company I run with my two sisters -collaborated with Think Co in South Africa on a collection of wallpapers. I knew immediately that I wanted to use the forest scene in their bedroom, and that kick-started the process. I found a double bed in natural wood which was perfect for them to share, and a friend of mine was closing down her toyshop so I bought the bookshelf from her. The old wicker basket which I found in a vintage store was perfect as their dress-up box. The Persian rugs and a sheepskin add warmth.
Why was doing a special space important to you?
We were moving into a new home at a time when the girls were transitioning from their nursery into a real little girls’ bedroom. These are two quite big events! I wanted the girls to fall in love with the space so they wouldn’t even thinking about missing their old one.
How much time do you spend in the space vs. other areas of the home?
The only time we spend in their room as a family is bedtime when we are dressing the girls in their pyjamas after bath, reading stories and singing to them as they fall asleep. The girls are constantly in and out of their bedroom, playing dress-up or with their box of fairies or mice, and we read on the bed together. However, it is more of a quiet sanctuary – their art and crafts, and bigger type of play happens in the open area of the apartment.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us – in people, places, and words. Nature and the changing seasons offers up the perfect colour palettes, clothes informs interiors, informs food, informs art. I’m loving the sudden influx of beautifully design local products for children in South Africa – the community of creators and what they’re producing is very inspiring. Of course I have my favourite spaces from all over the world saved on Instagram which feels like the endless reel of beautiful spaces.
What looks are you in love with at the moment?
Although it’s the complete opposite from our apartment, I’m loving a paired back, natural look. I’m all about earthy tones, natural textures, and cool open dimensions right now. And arches! Give me all the arches.
What tips can you give to create a similar look/design?
Wallpaper has a huge impact on a space – choose a statement design for one wall and work from there. White linen is a great building block for pops of colour. Mix new pieces with old finds or sentimental items to give a space depth and interest.
What would be your one main piece of styling advice?
In terms of kids’ spaces, I would say that easy storage solutions are the most important thing to consider. This allows for toy rotation, for easy tidying, and maintaining a clean, calm space. Also, greenery brings wonderful life to a space.
What do you love about being a mama?
That feeling when they’re falling asleep at night – one either side of me, a heavy head on my chest, little fingers playing with my hair, feeling their heart beats against mine… That moment is just one tiny part of it. I love the overwhelming love, and the constant wonder at witnessing two beings growing, and becoming who they are.
How has your life changed since having children?
Our lives have changed so fundamentally, that it’s hard to describe. That life-altering feeling of utter selfless love, the value of time – not only those small snippets of time you get to yourself but the heart breaking speed at which time flies when you’re watching a child grow, I could go on… On a more practical note, we have definitely become more home bodies!
What do you wish you knew before becoming a mama?
The importance of organising your memories. Capturing my children’s lives and savouring these magical days of their young childhood is so important to me. I would have started off my photograph albums and memory books diligently instead of landing up where I am with millions of photographs on my computer and promises each year to sort them out!
What’s your best piece of motherhood advice?
These words by Brooke Hampton really inspire me as a mother and I would pass on to any new mama: “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” I try and remember them in those really difficult moments of being a parent, but also just every day as a reminder to honour your child as a unique being unto themselves and the beauty in that.
BAILEY’S FAV FIVE
1 // The Kimmy & Bear Forest Wallpaper
This was the first wallpaper in our collection and I love every element in it.
2 // Their collection of books
We read countless stories a day and they can never get enough.
3 // The blue velvet reading chair
This chair was my grandfather’s – it is huge. I had it in our nursery when the girls were babies and have many memories of night feeds and day snuggles with the three of us on there. Now they curl up on their dad’s lap on this chair for bed time story.
4 // Their Maileg mice
I think I may love them more than they do. I love the narrative I overhear when they play with these creatures in a made-up world of wooden mushrooms and felt fairies.
5 // Art
All the artworks in their room have a special meaning.