By Peg Carmack Short - Produced by Jill Leslie Haack - Photography by Jessie Walker - Styled by Aurelia Joyce Pace
Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter". . . so begins one of the world's best-loved children's stories. It is fitting that this delightful tale should be the theme chosen for decorating the bedroom of a little girl, graced with another familiar storybook name-Madeline.

"When I was growing up, this is the kind of room I wished that I had," shares Sara Bliss, Madeline's mother, "but I never had that opportunity." So, with the help of designer, Mary Anne Herring, Sara turned the room of her dreams into a magical place for whispers and giggles for her little daughter.

The real inspiration for the room came when Sara saw a bunny-trimmed bed in Mary Anne's shop, Robin's Egg Blue. "I saw the bed and just fell in love with it!" says Sara. "Madeline is my only daughter, and I wanted her to have a great room with bunnies-because I love bunnies."

It was from this inspiration that Sara and Mary Anne decided to theme the room around the delightful children's classic, Peter Rabbit, written by Beatrix Potter. Calling upon the help of Mary Anne's friend and associate, faux painterRobert Ryan, the bedroom was transformed into a magical place with " lots of scope for the imagination," as Anne of Green Gables, heroine of another children's classic would have said.

"I just love what Bob did," says Sara, "and Madeline adores her bedroom." Here, Madeline presides over her many playmates-plump teddy's and cuddly rabbits, who undoubtedly feel right at home. Often, Madeline can be found sitting in her bunny-filled room dreaming and reading her books-including one of her favorites, which is, of course, about the adventures of little Peter Rabbit, a book her mother had once loved.

Madeline's room is full of memories for her mother. A chest and dressing table preserved from the boyhood farmhouse of her father, have been freshly painted white and embellished with scenes from the Potter storybook. Chairs, neatly dressed in new raspberry-dotted slipcovers, graced Sara's parents home for more than 30 years, and a quilt, turned back at the bottom of the bed, was stitched by Sara's grandmother. A family heirloom cradle, handed down through many generations, has become a place for Madeline to stash her many books and treasures.

"I could never redo this room," says Sara, who is already considering how the pink walls might be turned to a shade of blue when Madeline outgrows the room. Then, it will be turned over to baby brother, Cameron, so that he can go for adventures with Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail.

Articles included here are copyrighted by Peg Carmack Short and may not be copied in full or part without written permission of the author.

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