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Design should be taught early. A Great Children’s Book – The Young Decorators

Design should be taught when they are studying reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Children’s book The Young Decorators by Nancy McClelland

When thinking about design and how best to explain to my inquisitive niece I came across Sadie Stein’s article in Elle Décor  (April, 2019) about a classic children’s book, The Young Decorators. This delightful 1928 children’s book by Nancy McClelland is about the four Baxter children who were taught by their Aunt how to decorate their rooms for their new home. Aunt Anne explains that it all starts with a plan – “the whole house is wrapped up in that bundle”. She creatively explains to the children elements of design such as scale, proportion, furniture grouping even color balance in design.

The children were each allowed to select whatever they liked for their rooms as long as they followed these simple rules:

  • You are to keep in budget
  • Choose things in good taste and
  • You are to design something that suits the spirit of the house

I have to admit I learned that Dado really refers to what many now call a chair rail trim detail.  To me that is what our boys first called their Dad!

You will have to visit your local library to read this 1928 book with classic illustrations by Rudolph Stanley-Brown because to my disappointment it is no longer in print. Perhaps Harper & Brothers, now known as HarperCollins will release a second edition of this decorating treasure!

Living with an Architect

Being married to an Architect/Master Builder our boys have experienced firsthand all of our family construction projects.  I believe it taught them that anything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it.  Walls can be transformed, spaces redefined even if it’s as simple as rearranging furniture.

If you are planning a renovation or new construction project be sure to work with a team that will encourage and include your young designers, for some day they will be the builders and owners of homes themselves and this experience will help them enormously in planning a home of their own.


#livingwithanarchitect #masterbuilder #architect #youngdecorators #youngdesigners #scale #harpercollins #elledecor

Here are a few pictures from our younger construction days. Who needs a pony when Grandpa has a tractor!

buss home Sue and boys and grandpa with bobcat
michael buss architects buss saw cut observation

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