Delightful Spaces

Busy household opts for whimsically sophisticated children's rooms.


Emily Hillman is an emergency room physician and her husband, Matt, is a pediatric dentist. On top of that busy life, the couple has a 3-year-old daughter and twin baby girls, so you can imagine the chaos that can ensue. But, thanks to a soothing yet happy decor and smart design, the children’s bedrooms and playroom are anything but chaotic.

   The Hillmans credit designer Pamela DiCapo, owner of the charming baby and children’s boutique in Brookside called Lauren Alexandra, with creating rooms in their large Glad Acres subdivision home in southern Overland Park that reflect a place they want to be after a hectic day.

   “I love Pam,” Emily Hillman says. “I love her personality. We wanted to capture a fun vibe and awesome places to enjoy our family. She picks stuff that can really grow with the children. So even though it’s an investment up front, I feel a lot of this stuff is going to be with them a long time. That’s really important. These rooms are exactly what I wanted. She would not stop until everything was perfect.”

   DiCapo met the Hillmans when they came into her store to buy a crib for their oldest daughter, Eloise. From that moment, the family has continually relied on the designer’s talent for incorporating textures, colors and patterns into delightful spaces. She started with the downstairs playroom. When the Hillmans knew they were expecting twins, Vera and Sloane who were born in late June, DiCapo turned her energy into creating a memorable nursery. Eloise’s bedroom also displays her magic touch.

   “These three rooms are probably my favorite rooms that I’ve done in a really long time for the simple fact that I was given creative freedom,” DiCapo says.

   Creativity certainly abounds in the children’s spaces. For instance, the nursery features special pom-pom mobiles over the twins’ rose gold cribs; black polka-dot wallpaper on one wall; pink polka-dot curtains; a pink, white and gold floor lamp by an extra-large armchair that turns into a sleeper sofa; and painted flamingos on the wall in the adjoining bathroom. DiCapo’s favorite colors to work with are tawny pink, cream and white, with perhaps a touch of emerald green thrown in.

   Heloise’s whimsical room features a sleek, light-colored bookshelf and embroidered black polka-dot curtains on a wall with black-and-white patterned wallpaper that DiCapo went nuts for. “When I found this wallpaper, I had an out-of-body experience,” she says with a laugh.

  DiCapo designed the playroom around a colorful rug. The room features bright, happy artwork, a midcentury-style laminate coffee table turned into a play table, and three “Dutch” playhouses designed to grow with the children. Because she continually stocks her store, DiCapo often travels to markets in Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and New York to buy from vendors whose products help bring her projects to life.

   “I go to every market and am constantly online looking at everything: Instagram, Etsy, all the different social media outlets that there are,” she says. “I think most buyers make appointments with vendors when they go to markets. I really don’t. I just walk the market every single time with fresh eyes so I don’t miss anything. And then for sure I go visit people — I always go visit. But I like to see new things, and I’m always looking for that next hot something that trips my trigger.”

   DiCapo, who doesn’t like to repeat things, says her clients steer away from products typically found in franchised home decor stores or Pinterest.

   “They may be inspired by them a little bit, but after we have a meeting, typically they will end up in another direction,” she says.

   And that direction, under DiCapo’s guidance, points toward fun, happy and sophisticated rooms with light-hearted decor.

   “A lot of people are being less serious about their pieces,” she says. “It brings a little bit of zip to your life if you walk into a room and it makes you smile.”

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Categories: At Home, Homes & Real Estate