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With children’s spaces becoming an emerging market for designers and product manufacturers, it was only a matter of time before a design-conscious generation started to wonder how to style their wee ones’ rooms just so. This year, Toronto’s Interior Design Show featured a special kids’ spotlight with 10 exhibitors. Here are some of the best items
Cubebot: The retro design – the square head, the wood – will appeal to adults just as much as to kids, which is good news, because both will be obsessed with figuring out how to get the robot back into a cube. Did we mention Cubebot is also a brilliant puzzle, inspired by Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles? Cubebot comes in a range of sizes and difficulty levels. It’s their simplicity compared to the beeping, flashing, plastic toy robots we’re so used to seeing that appealed to Cubebot’s creator. “I liked the idea of making primitive, wooden robots,” says David Weeks, a New York-based designer who specializes in lighting, furniture and household products. Now if only he’d tell us how to solve the puzzle. $24. (U.S.) davidweeksstudio.com
Dimix: The French luxury furniture company Gautier, founded more than five decades ago, opened its first Canadian showroom, in Toronto, last year. Its kids’ collection exemplifies the company’s modern design and deft touch with modular pieces – there’s even a bed that expands over the years as junior goes from single to double. The Dimix low cabin sleeper features plenty of storage as well as a desk that slides onto the bed when not in use. $2,989. gautier.fr
Oni: Willie Hoffman had made custom furniture and taught elementary school before he combined his passions to create a company that makes furniture that encourages kids to play. His company, Playable Studio, aims to create pieces that have multiple uses. For instance, the Oni can be used as a table, bench, stool or rocker – depending on which side you put it on. When wee ones aren’t using it as a hobby horse, it can just as easily double as an end table. “If you have a rocking horse that’s just a rocking horse, it’s fun, but it’s a big investment of space,” he says. $1,375.99, Playablestudio.com
Bear: Alyssa McMurter used to be a designer for a company that made custom rugs. This summer, Then, after her maternity leave, she launched Tiptoe Rugs. The Mississauga-based company makes rugs cut from industrial-strength Merino wool felt – strong enough to stand up to kids’ stomping and easy to clean. Perhaps best of all: McMurter can customize them to fit any space. The company makes a range of designs, but the bear skin is the favourite, McMurter says. “Adults even like that one just for their own use,” she says. $399. alistar.ca
Cubino: By the time Ralph Montemurro had his third child, he realized that most kids’ furniture isn’t much to look at. In 2005, he launched Monte, a Toronto-based company that makes nursery furniture. Cubino is billed as “a kid’s chair you won’t need to hide when guests arrive.” Made from foam and covered in microsuede, the chair comes in a two-tone design. There’s even a loveseat version for kids who really want to kick back or sit with a pal. As a father of four now, Montemurro knows how often spills happen, which is why the seat’s covers are completely removable and machine washable. $119. montedesign.net