Nor-folk: Stanley’s studio
Stanley turned 5 in March and, as a little boy emerges, I wave goodbye to the pre-schooler and his associated toys. In his place, I welcome in a curious little boy with a huge appetite for learning...
Last year we built Stanley a new bedroom.
Ever since, I’ve been observing how he plays and what he plays with. This has helped us to create a well considered playroom, or ‘studio’ as we’ve named it.
Bobby and I both studied graphic design at Norwich University of the Arts. The moment I was pregnant, I began to imagine what Stanley would be like and we hoped Stanley would share our interests. Then, about nine months ago, a love of drawing was born. Now, wherever we go, we take a sketch pad and pencils.
Much like his bedroom, I wanted the palette to be muted with natural earthy tones. Over the last five years, I’ve seen a real link with Stanley’s behaviour when he’s overstimulated, so it was really important that we created a calm environment that allowed him to focus his attention on his task.
The central feature in his room is his desk, which is by Krethaus. It’s really easier to assemble and fixes to the wall. The rounded edges work perfectly for Stanley, as (much like me) he’s a bit on the clumsy side. His desk takes on many different guises as he plays – from his artist’s studio to a track for cars and even a garden for his dinosaurs. I love to watch his imagination unfold in front of me.
We setup a Plumen light which is fixed to the wall and runs off our mains. It provides a warm directional light whilst he works.
We’ve used storage (not seen) from Ikea. We labelled the boxes and encourage Stanley to put toys back in their ‘homes’ when he’s finished with them. Some days are more successful than others. Routinely, I will go through his toys and those he’s outgrown I take to the charity shop or pass to friends. Ones that I’m not sure about, I hold onto for a little while longer and, if he’s not asked about them within a couple of months, they move on too.
On the whole we have a less is more approach to toys. We’ve realised that less and better toys hold his interest more.
His favourites are trains, dinosaurs, lego and construction vehicles. He also has an Ikea kitchen and will play with that too when he’s developing ‘potions’.
Our intention is to frame some of Stanley’s favourite drawings and put them on the wall. As it’s a small room I’ve tried not to over-design or over-think the layout. The inclusion of the string shelving, visible from the hall, was just as much for him as myself. It’s a beautiful piece of engineering and we will replace the current orniments with either things we forage or have made. On our recent trip to Andalusia he really enjoyed clay modelling so we’ll be making a few ‘sculptures’ one weekend.
I’m really pleased with how his studio and bedroom work together as two rooms (opposite each other) but I am most pleased that he loves playing in there. It’s a great blank canvas that will allow him to develop over the coming years as his tastes and preferences emerge.