What happens when two Wilton professionals, an interior designer and preschool teacher, team up to design spaces for children? The answer: smart playrooms.
Ann Lineberger and Christine Smith, the Fairfield County, CT-based team behind the concept, described their collaboration.
“Of all the rooms in the house, the organization of the playroom consistently frustrates parents,” explained Lineberger (pictured above, top right), a long-time design journalist and practicing interior designer who lives in Wilton. “I witnessed it when my teenagers were young, and it’s still a problem today. My goal was to devise a system where toys are not in control of the playroom.”
To solve the problem, Lineberger thought of her own school experiences and that of her children.
“Less is more in the classrooms,” she noted. “In highly organized spaces, teachers use creative ways to engage and focus children’s attention.”
Lineberger, who holds an associate’s degree from the New York School of Interior Design, reached out to educator Smith to see if she would collaborate. The two met when the designer’s youngest daughter was enrolled in Smith’s Masterpiece Art & Music class at the Wilton preschool where she teaches.
“It was a magical program that my daughter absolutely loved,” Lineberger enthused.
Over the course of a school year, the children were taught about artists, including Jackson Pollock’s action painting style while listening to Anton Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture.” They created collages in imitation of Henri Rousseau’s famous Jungle painting while listening and dancing to Camille San Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.” Through photography, Andy Warhol and Pop Art were introduced while the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” played.
“Christine is gifted with curiosity, insight, and a love of children,” Lineberger said of Smith, who, in addition to being a preschool teacher, is also a long-time camp counselor. “She’s an interior designer’s ideal collaborator for playroom design.”
Naming their company Playroom Inc, the women approach the design of play spaces using the following principles. The rooms must delight the children. The design should complement the existing design of the home, and it should be easily adapted as the children grow and their interests change. Included in the design should be activities that encourage cognitive, sensory, and creative exploration and movement. There must be an effective organizational system that is easy for parents to maintain and encourages kids to help in the clean-up process.
Playroom Inc recently finished a project that involved a Tea Party theme. The organization included the labeling and storing of toy bins in a walk-in closet with a locking system.
“The clients’ relatives have been very generous with toys,” Lineberger said, “but without the organization we devised, it was difficult for the family to see the basement floor after a morning of the children’s free play.”
“That said, the tucking away and the rotation of toys can’t feel like a punishment to the children, and we will work with families to come up with systems that work best for them,” added Smith (above, pictured bottom right). “The ages of the children have a lot to do with the type and placement of the organization.”
The women offer a variety of playroom design services over Facetime or in-person ranging from consultations to organization to complete design. They can be reached through their Playrooms Inc website, or by calling 203.981.9011.
For everyone who mentions this GMW story when they contact Playroom Inc, the team will make a donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.