At designer Lindsey Jamison’s house in Steamboat Springs, the family dines at a ping-pong table—not atop the turf-green surface you’d find in a rec center or college dorm, but on a lustrous walnut slab whose leather net is removed during mealtimes. It’s playfully avant-garde and elegant—and just one example of the unexpected fun that defines this 3,200-square-foot home near the ski town’s main street. There’s also the retro, cherry-red Big Chill fridge in the kitchen; the black-and-white VW bus mural that exudes vintage surf vibes in the family room; the unapologetically bold wallpaper on various walls and the dining room ceiling; the sculptural wooden chair in the shape of a giant hand anchoring the entryway; and so forth.
This was Jamison’s vision—the partner and lead designer at Rumor Designs naturally gravitates toward color and pattern—but she also had some unusual collaborators during the prolonged remodel of her late-’90s home: her three children, who were 8, 10, and 12 years old when they moved in. “I feel it is important to involve the kids and give them creative freedom; to let them be a part of the finished product and feel proud,” Jamison says. “We aren’t formal and fussy, and knowing we would be here for a while, we wanted to keep it lighthearted—a cool spot where the kids wanted to have friends over.”
That, of course, meant bedroom design was key. Some people have plain white furniture and walls in their rooms, says Jamison’s now-12-year-old daughter, Betsy, but “that’s just a room they sleep in. Mine is a room I live in,” she explains. “If I had a different room, I don’t think I’d be as creative.” Betsy worked closely with her mom to create a cheerful space that speaks to her free spirit and artsy side. Wallpaper in an oversized floral pattern is a whimsical foil to the upholstered headboard’s smaller animal print; both are grounded by accent pieces that reflect Jamison’s love of designs old and new (the Herman Miller chair and fringed floor lamp are antique-store finds, while the file cabinet side table is from Target).
Bedrooms aren’t the only spaces where the kids’ contributions shine. After Jamison scooped up the dining room’s wingback chairs at Annie’s Home Consignments in Steamboat, Betsy helped sand and paint them before they were reupholstered in fuchsia velvet for a mix-and-match seating arrangement—with Nuevo Living chairs and faux-leather-topped benches—that keeps the vibe casual and unpretentious.
What’s the secret to seamlessly combining these one-of-a-kind, conversation-starting design elements? Jamison’s advice is to start with one big statement piece that you love—even if you don’t have the rest of the room sketched out—and build around that. For her, that element is usually the wallpaper. “When it’s your own home, and not a client’s, it’s easier to be playful,” she says. “But there isn’t a perfect recipe.” Maybe not, but from our vantage point, this family’s formula is about as close as it gets.
Four Tips for Family-Friendly Decorating
Choose: FLOR carpet tiles
Instead of: Traditional area rugs
Because: Kids. Spills. Pets. Accidents. With FLOR tiles (like those in designer Lindsey Jamison’s dining and family rooms), you can create interesting custom patterns that look like full-size carpets, and all you need to repair a rug-ruining stain is a replacement square.
Choose: Vinyl wallpaper for bathrooms
Instead of: Standard wall treatments
Because: “It’s washable, durable, and a great choice for high-humidity areas,” says Jamison, who recommends Phillip Jeffries’ vinyl options.
Choose: Performance fabrics (made from olefin, acrylic, nylon,and polyester) in high-traffic areas
Instead of: Delicate velvets or linens
Because: These stain-resistant fabrics look high-quality and withstand the everyday wear-and-tear of an active family.
Choose: Mismatched frames for a gallery wall
Instead of: Predictable, uniform options
Because: It’s more personal. “If someone were to walk in and see [our gallery] wall,” Jamison says, “they’d get a feeling that hey, this is a fun family.”