North Shore Playroom Tour with Jen Naye Herrmann

Jenn with her children on Rio Sleeper Sectional

With bright pops of color and a comfy Rio Sleeper Sectional for hosting sleepovers galore, Jen Naye Herrmann designed her finished attic to maximize space for her family. Hear all about her move from Chicago to the North Shore and how she approached her new space. 

Q: Hi, Jen! Could you give us an introduction? 

Of course! Hi! I’m Jen. I’m a mom of 2, a passionate business owner and a content creator for my blog. I’m from the suburbs of Chicago, went to Indiana University and settled in the city (of Chicago) after school.  

During the pandemic, my husband and I started escaping to the North Shore just outside of the city and fell in love with its beaches and quaint downtowns. It made us feel like we were on vacation.So, after nearly 15 years, 7 places, 1 kid, and 1 on the way, we made the move to this darling little area and absolutely love it.

Q: What’s a typical day for you look like?

When the weather is nice, we love to walk and grab coffee in the morning.  It’s the best way to start the day and move. By 8:30, we’re off to the races, and I’m either working from home in my sunlit-drenched office that overlooks the garden or headed downtown to work with my business partner. 

We end the work day pretty early – usually by 4:30 and do something fun as a family until dinner. Once a week, that’s typically a beach dinner. 

Jen and her children climbing the stairs to the attic

Q: Tell us about your home. How long have you been there?

We’re in the North Shore, which are suburbs on the beaches of Lake Michigan just outside of the city of Chicago. I like to describe it as a beach town vs. a suburb 😉

We moved here a year ago. The previous owner was a contractor, and he redid the home in the early 2000s so the layout is intentional and all of the spaces are in the perfect place for a little cosmetic facelift. We’re having fun taking our time making the house our home. 

It’s funny–this is the first home I’ve ever toured that I fell in love with immediately. Even after we completely gutted our home in the city, I loved this home more. 

Q: How would you describe your design aesthetic, and how do you cultivate it?

I definitely have a classic vibe and while I don’t love the descriptor “coastal,” I definitely gravitate towards beachy. I’m such a visual person that I have to see it in the space to really know if I’m committed. I always start with a mood board and Pinterest is a key source of inspiration.

Playroom with colorful dots on the walls

Q: Tell us about your cozy playroom!

It’s so fun and colorful and a space that I would have loved as a kid. I love that it’s in the finished attic of our home instead of a basement. The medley couch really makes it because it’s cozy, pulls out for additional sleeping space and adds a fun pop of color to the room. 

The playroom is also designed to maximize the space for all times of the day. After the pandemic, we decided to have a nanny vs. send the kids to daycare. I loved the daycare experience and wanted to create that classroom feel at home. We were able to do that with the fun nook of kids toys and then the opposing side of the couch and banner. There are fun design elements like the banner and sconces that feel more adult, but are kid-friendly.

Jen and her Rio Sleeper Sectional

Q: What made you choose a Medley sectional for the room?

There were a few reasons I fell in love with Medley. First of all, it’s American made and a family-run company. I love to support a “small” business whenever possible. Second, I loved how customizable the furniture is–from colors, to couch styles to the size–there are so many choices in a good way. Ultimately, we fell in love with the Rio Sleeper Chaise Sectional because of the overall look of the sofa and thicker Maple legs. 

Rio Sleeper Sectional in Smart Navy

Q: How are you liking your Rio Sleeper Sectional? What drew you to it?

I love it even more than I expected. It is SO comfortable. The color is perfect–it’s a rich blue, but not too dark. We opted for the Smart Navy Fabric, which has a soft, versatile performance weave and subtle texture.

Our family also raves about the pull-out bed. It’s grandpa’s go-to spot to sleep in our house– even more so than our memory foam mattress in the guest bed!

Rio Sleeper Sectional

Q: What's a fun (or challenging) part of designing a space as a family with young kids? 

I may be one of the only people who enjoy this, but I actually love designing spaces suitable for young kids. I love entertaining, and now most of our family and friends have kids. I’ve always prided myself on having a home that feels like home to anyone who walks through the door.  Part of that, now, is having a space that can withstand messes. 

That’s actually one of the reasons why I was attracted to Medley–the fabrics were designed to be family friendly. The materials are durable and of a premium quality. When I ordered fabric swatches, I fell in love and was sold. 

Archie the baby

Q: Do you have a favorite memory in your new house?

Bringing our son, Archie, home the day before Christmas was a really special memory that I’ll never forget. There’s something magical about Christmas in general but to add another member to the family makes it that much more magical.

Q: What's next for your home?

I’m really looking forward to making our home cozy this year. The playroom was my first big project. I wanted a couch with a fun pop of color (yay for Medley) and a space that feels inspiring and cozy. Next is our dining room! We’re starting with a blank slate, and I have my eye on the Emilia 3-door credenza

Q: If you could sum up the feeling of your home in a few words, which would you choose?

The place where memories stick and everyone feels comfortable. 

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*Edited for brevity.